Hyderabad: Over 30 lakh acres of catchment areas under major irrigation projects in Telangana are threatened by drought this year.
The state government is not in a position to supply irrigation water for crops sown in these catchment areas as water levels in all major reservoirs are very low. No fresh inflows have been received in major dams and reservoirs after two months into the monsoon season.
Major projects in the Krishna and Godavari basins are facing a huge deficit of 534 Tmcft over last year, putting the fate of crops sown on lakhs of acres in jeopardy.
Agri minister: situation is alarming
The state has a total crop-sown area of 1.08 crore acres. The irrigation facility is available for about 35 lakh acres.
Due to drought conditions and meagre water levels, around 28 per cent of crops sown in catchment areas of projects may dry up. The worst-affected crops are paddy, maize and cotton.
According to the latest data with the government, out of a total storage capacity of 681 tmc ft in Srisailam, Nagarjuna-sagar, SRSP, Jurala, Nizam-sagar, Ellampally and Singur projects, there is a deficit of 534 tmc ft. Projects in the Krishna basin alone are facing a deficit of 395 tmcft.
Under the Nagarjunasagar project, the catchment area is 6.60 lakh acres and to irrigate this land, the project should receive inflows of 85 tmc ft. But officials expect it will take at least two months for the water to reach this mark if the rainfall is normal.
The catchment area under SRSP is 9.68 lakh acres. To irrigate this, it requires up to 50 tmcft of water, but the project at present has only 10 tmcft.
Under the Nizamagar project, the catchment area is 2.31 lakh acres. But the project currently has only 1 tmcft.
Agriculture minister Pocharam Srinivas Reddy has been monitoring the situation with the irrigation department and admits that “the situation is alarming”, but says “there is little we can do at this stage”.
“There has been no heavy rain in July. There are no inflows from upstream states. All the projects are witnessing water levels that are worse than the previous year. We are hoping for good rains in August and for the situation to improve by this month-end,” he said.