Monday, Jul 07, 2003
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By D. Sreenivasulu
Farmers and people supporting the cause of downstream people argued that the 10 hume pipes were meant for ensuring flow to the Rampur channel, the oldest anicut below the RDS and KC Canal anicut at Sunkesula. Five vents of the river sluices were designed to moderate water level. The closure of three pipes will immediately affect the interests of farmers under lift irrigation schemes at Kandukur and Tummiganur which had an ayacut of 1,600 acres in Kosigi mandal of Kurnool district. The Nandikotkur MLA, Byreddy Rakasekhar Reddy, said the river sluice and pipes were meant for ensuring water to the oldest irrigation systems -- Rampur channel and KC Canal.
On the other hand, RDS supporters contended that the 10 pipes were intended to drain water during construction and should have been closed long ago immediately after completion of the anicut. Out of 10 pipes which existed at 1,072 ft above mean sea level, seven were closed by the Karnataka Government in 1989. Only three pipes discharged water downstream. Now, the fight is to plug those three pipes. According to RDS canal officials, the three pipes created bowl action in the river and did not allow the RDS head sluice to draw water sufficiently.
The anicut comprises the head sluice on the left bank of the river located in Karnataka, scour vents, river sluice close to the right bank in AP border and ten hume pipes. The canal sluice comprises five vents of the size of 6x7 ft each at 1,082 ft above sea level. The crest level of the anicut is at 1,090 ft. At extreme left side of the anicut and close to the head sluice, three scour vents of 6x7 ft exist at the 1,080 ft level. At the right flank of the anicut falling in AP jurisdiction, five river sluices of 6x10 ft are located. The river sluices are intended to maintain the levels in the anicut during lean flow and judiciously distribute water between the RDS and downstream projects. The river sluices are completely closed now.
Now the status of the hume pipes located at 1,072 ft level is to be decided either by scrupulously adhering to the original plan of the anicut or making a fresh decision taking into account the discharges on both sides. The original blueprint of the anicut is said to be not available since the RDS system is operated by the Karnataka Government.
The history of the anicut, which was constructed in 1958, reveals that it had badly let down the farmers of Mahabubnagar district. As against the discharge capacity of 850 cusecs, the flow through the sluice never crossed 670 cusecs. As against the water allocation of 16.9 tmcft, the canal could hardly utilise 6.5 to 6.7 tmcft which was sufficient to irrigate just a little above 30,000 acres. The canal had an ayacut of 5,900 acres in Karnataka and 87,000 acres in Mahabubnagar districts. The unauthorised area in Karnataka, which was about 20,000 acres too added to the woes of Mahabubnagar farmers.
The argument is that closing or keeping open the hume pipes in the anicut is not very important but structural adjustments to utilise 16.9 tmcft by the RDS canal should be the priority. A thorough investigation of the reasons for the functional failure of the RDS system and remedial measures for rectification were needed. Increasing the canal capacity to 1,500 cusecs to draw more water during flood and stocking the water in the balancing reservoirs in the AP border are suggested as long-term measures to save the RDS system. The present controversy would help only water politics but not farmers.
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