Social Forum: Interlinking of Gadavari and Krishna Rivers in AP

The background

Andhra Pradesh’s river Godavari is the second largest river in India after river Ganga. Originating in Maharashtra, it flows into the Bay of Bengal, after flowing 1,465 kms through the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, making the entire stretch fertile.

Another large river in Andhra Pradesh, river Krishna too flows through Maharashtra, Andhra and Telangana and flows into the Bay of Bengal.

3,000 TMC (thousand-million cubic-ft) of the Godavari’s flood waters flows into the Bay of Bengal every year.

Efforts were on to harness at least 10 per cent of this water and divert some of it into the Krishna, whose delta faces an acute shortage of water for irrigation from June to August.

The Pattiseema plan

While the plan is to eventually divert water from the Polavaram dam, since the dam is still under construction and will take atleast 4 to 5 years to be ready, the Chandrababu Naidu government decided to divert Godavari water from the Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Scheme from September 16.

Pattiseema is a village in Polavaram mandal of West Godavari district.

And as per this plan,

  • 80 TMC of flood water from the Godavari at Pattiseema will be lifted and pumped into the Polavaram Right Main Canal, which is 3.9 km away.

  • 24 vertical turbine pumps of 4,611 HP each will lift and pump the water through 12 rows of pipelines into the Polavaram canal. The flood in Godavari lasts until the last week of November. The 24 pumps will lift 8,500 cusecs of water, harnessing 80 TMC over a period of 108 days or until the Godavari flood lasts, according to V S Ramesh Babu, Chief Engineer, Pattiseema Project.

  • And the Polavaram Right Main Canal, the interlinking canal, will take the water upto the Prakasam Barrage, which is 174 km away on the river Krishna at Vijayawada.

  • The water will be stored in Prakasam Barrage and diverted to irrigate paddy crop on seven lakh acres in the Krishna, West and East Godavari districts, often called the rice bowl of the country.

  • It will also provide water to some coastal towns and cities. The parched Anantapur, Kurnool and Kadappaa districts that make up the Raayalaseemaa region hope to benefit too, as there will be more water available upstream at the Sreesailam, with pressure easing on the Krishna river to irrigate the lower riparian districts.

  • Raayalaseemaa is always short of water but earlier in 2015, there was an acute water shortage in the Krishna delta, with farmers even declaring a "crop holiday" or growing no crop.

The Work

The Pattiseema project costed Rs 1,427 crore. It was approved on January 1, 2015, and work began on February 23, 2015.

An interlinking Polavaram Right Main Canal was dug for a distance of 124 km, in a record time of 5 months 15 days and the scheme was dedicated to the nation on 15th August, 2015.

And from September 1, the government started pumping water into the canal from the Tadipudi lift irrigation project of the Godavari.

River Interlinking – The Larger Plan

The Godavari-Krishna link, also known as Polavaram-Vijayawada link, is only one part of the much larger Mahanadi-Gadavari-Krishna-Pennar-Cauvery-Vaigai river-interlinking project.

It’s one of 30 such projects that aim to facilitate inter-basin transfer of water – 16 of these are in what is called the “peninsular component” of the plan and 14 in the “Himalayan component”.

Work on the Gadavari-Krishna link was taken up on a priority basis, along with Ken-Betwa, Damanganga-Pinjal, Par-Tapi-Narmada and Parbati-Kalisinndh-Chambal.

Of these, work on Ken-Betwa river link has started. The other three are awaiting Cabinet clearance.

Let us pray, plan and work towards realising this grand vision of our great Leaders and forefathers.

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