The national media seems to be celebrating linking of Godavari and Krishna River in Andhra Pradesh on September 16, 2015 as the first major step towards Inter Linking of Rivers in India. An emotional Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Shri N Chandrababu Naidu called it historic and Pavitra Sangam (Holy Confluence).
What is the reality?
Water transfer, not river linking First let us understand what happened in Andhra Pradesh on Sept 16. The Chief Minister was to inaugurate the first pump (of the what is going to be a battery of 30 pumps) as part of the Pattiseema Project to lift water from Godavari River from a location about 15 km downstream of the proposed Polavaram dam site and transfer it to an intermediate canal of about 5 km length to already constructed Polavaram Right Bank Canal, which will take it to Krishna River near Ferry/ Ibrahimpatnam village in Krishna district, just upstream of the Prakasham barrage/ Vijaywada city (see the SANDRP map). Reports said that the Pattiseema pump did not start, and the water that was being transferred on Sept 16 was being pumped by the existing Tadipudi Lift Irrigation Scheme, a couple of kilometers downstream from Pattiseema. The reports said: “The government has decided to draw 500 cusecs of water from the Tadipudi lift scheme with the help of three pump sets to make Pattiseema scheme operational on an ad hoc basis due to non-completion of the latter’s works.”
The Pattiseema project involves 30 Nos of Vertical Turbine pumps, each of 8 cumecs (Cubic Meters per Second) capacity. The Pattiseema pump could be switched on only on Friday, Sept 18, to be switched off the next day, see for details below (due to a massive leakage in the canal).
The first thing that is clear from this is that this is essentially transfer (by pump) of water from Godavari to Krishna. This cannot be called River Linking. To label it so would show lack of understanding of what is a river. River is not just the water that Pattiseema pump was attempting to transfer from Godavari. The claim of river linking by such water pumping is clearly a false, misleading claim.
By Sept 24, 2015, two pumps were installed and two more had arrived the site, but in response to a controversy, the Chief Engineer accepted that the pumps were only temporarily borrowed from the Handri Neeva Scheme! So it seems even the pumps used at Pattiseema were borrowed from a Rayalseema project. The Cheif Engineer confirmed that the water transfer would be stopped “by November” to complete the works related to the canal.
Project needs Environment clearance under EIA notification, but has not secured it As the Minister of Andhra Pradesh (AP) Water Resources Department Shri D Uma Maheshwara Rao said, Pattiseema project involved removing about 1.3 crore cubic meters of sand from the Godavari River Bed. The kind of work involved in this project can also be seen from the photo album of the project put up on the AP Irrigation Dept website. The Pattiseems project “is likely to throw up new environment and ecological issues affecting agricultural production in thousands of acres en route, damaging the delicate biodiversity and inducing climatological changes in the uplands of West Godavari and Krishna districts… Transfer of such a large quantity of water from one river to another without conducting a proper environment impact study will do more harm than good” warns environmentalists. In fact the Times of India report rightly concluded: “The state government should take up environment impact study through a third party and take remedial measures before releasing water into the canal.” 
What is clear from all this is that Pattiseema is a major new irrigation project with major components and impacts on the river and surrounding area. Pattiseema Project was not part of the Polavaram project. However, Pattiseema project has not sought or got the environment clearance that is necessary prior to undertaking any such activity. It has not conducted environment & social impact assessment & management plan or public consultations. Effectively, it has bypassed environmental appraisal and scrutiny completely! What this means is that at this moment, the whole of Pattiseema project is in violation of the EPA 1986, EIA notification of Sept 2006 and is illegal. Some of us have written a letter to MoEF to this effect on Sept 17, 2015, the letter can be seen at Annexure 1. No response has been received from the MoEF or the EAC on this.
Baseless claim that Pattiseema is for domestic and industrial water use! The AP govt GO dated January 1, 2015 that sanctioned the Pattiseema project gives some details of the Pattiseema project with stated cost of Rs 1300 crores, the cost has reportedly now gone up to Rs 1400 crores. The GO misleadingly says that the project is for “domestic and industrial use” when in reality, as is apparent from the statements of the AP Chief Minister, Water Resources Minister and others, it is essentially for irrigation benefits for the Krishna Delta area immediately and Rayalseema in future. For example, the reports said: “Thousands of farmers in Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam, Kurnool, Kadapa, Anantapur and Chittoor districts will gain from the Godavari-Krishna linkage.”
This is also clear from the fact that there are no details as to how this water will be used for domestic and industrial use, either in the GO or anywhere else including in the statements of the CM and others. This baseless claim has been added to mislead everyone and possibly escape the need for clearances as per the EIA notification.
CWC and techno-economic clearances not taken Section 84 of the AP Re-organisation Act, 2014 requires the AP and Telangana governments to get projects like Pattiseema, involving the use of Godavari and Krishna waters duly appraised, among others, by the Central Water Commission (CWC), before they can be undertaken. Apparently, even this requirement stands infringed. Since the Pattiseema project involves Krishna and Godavari, both interstate rivers, it also needs CWC approval, in addition to getting the Techno-Economic approval from the Technical Advisory Committee of the CWC, which have also not been taken.
Pattiseema to benefit already irrigated area? Currently, Pattiseema project is transferring water that the Krishna delta farmers can use. But Krishna Delta is already irrigated with water from Srisailam-Nagarjunsagar. The under construction Pulichintala Dam is also supposed to benefit the same Krishna Delta. As Dr D Narasimha Reddy told SANDRP, the Pattiseema project is going to benefit the same area that is already benefiting from more than one project. The ultimate beneficiary of this transfer, it is claimed will be the drought prone Rayalseema area. Some say that this is indeed Naidu’s move to cut the popularity of rival Jagan Mohan Reddy in Rayalseema area.
Can Rayalseema benefit from Pattiseema? It is suggested that when Pattiseema irrigates Krishna Delta, the water that will be saved in upstream Srisailam Dam can be used by Rayalseema region. Dr. Y. V. Malla Reddy, Director of Anantpur based AF-Ecology Centre says that there are essentially two projects through Rayalseema can possibly use Srisailam water: Pothireddypadu and Handri Neeva. Both are essentially gravity cum lift irrigation projects, taking water from Srisailam back waters only when water level at Srisailam dam is above 854 feet. The trouble is that neither of the projects are fully ready, nor is the Srisailam dam water likely to reach anywhere near 854 feet this year or in most years, so this claim of Pattiseema benefiting Rayalseema would need a large pinch of salt to believe.
The Hindu agreed: “The logic is a bit convoluted in that there is no direct pipeline beyond the confluence of the Godavari-Krishna rivers that will carry water to Rayalaseema.”
The Power Cost The reports, say: The PLIS consumes 2.712 million units a day, which is nearly half the daily power consumption of the entire Vijayawada City, including its industrial units. The total power needed for operating 24 VT pumps each of 350 cusec discharge capacity with 24 synchronous motors of 4.7 megawatts capacity each require a whooping 113 mw. The unit cost of the power for lift-irrigation purpose is Rs 5.64. That is, the total cost of power consumption a day for the project stands at Rs 1.53 cr. The Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Scheme has been designed to release water at the discharge rate of 8,500 cusecs. The government intends to divert 80 TMC of Godavari water through the PLIS to Krishna. Even if the project continues to work 24×7, it will take about 90-95 days to pump out 80 tmcft of water. Even if we take the minimum amount required for the project to pump the total 80 tmcft of water, the cost of power consumed will come to 90 days x 1.53 cr, that is Rs 137.7 cr. This is only the cost of power and if the costs incurred on other heads like maintenance, etc., are taken into consideration, the total cost incurred for the diversion of the water from Godavari to Krishna will be much more.
The donor Godavari basin also includes Marathwada The most compelling logic of Inter linking of rivers proposal is supposed to be transfer of water from water surplus to water deficit areas to solve problems of both the basins. In the case of the Godavari Krishna River Link, Godavari is the donor basin and Krishna is the recipient basin. Donor basin is supposed to be water surplus basin. However, Marathwada, India’s most drought hit region this year and in recent years, is also in Godavari basin! Marathwada had till recently the highest rainfall deficit of 52%. Even after some good rains in last couple of weeks, its total monsoon rainfall is just over 400 mm! With what stretch of imagination can we say that this Godavari basin is surplus in water, ready to transfer to a needy basin?
The recipient Krishna basin donates 120 TMC water annually to Konkan The needy basin, in this case is Krishna basin. If Pattiseema does function as designed, it can transfer 80 TMC (Thousand Million Cubic Feet: 1 TMC = 28.17 Million Cubic Meters, 80 TMC = 2253.6 MCM, but for sake consistency, we will use the unit of TMC that is more popular in the south) of water in a normal year. However, this so called water deficit, needy, recipient under the link under discussion, the Krishna basin, every year transfers about 120 TMC water to high rainfall Konkan area through Tata and Koyna dams and further down to sea! And that water profligacy of Krishna basin is on display this year too! If we add the figure of virtual water export that Krishna basin does through its sugar production in Maharashtra and Karnataka, that figure would go up manifold. Under these circumstances, how can we describe Krishna basin as needy, needing water transfer from another basin?
This is not the first Godavari Krishna River Link (GKRL) The media described this pumping of water through Pattiseema as the first Interlinking of Rivers and Mr Naidu called it first confluence of Godavari and Krishna waters. In reality this is the third interlinking between Godavari and Krishna in Andhra Pradesh alone. The first GKRL happened during British period, about 160 years ago when the two rivers were linked for navigation. As the Times of India reports: “The Eluru canals from Godavari and Krishna meet at Malkapuram village to form part of the Kakinada-Pondicherry Buckingham canal.” About the second GKRL link, Dr D Narasimha Raddy wrote to me, “A 18-km pipeline connecting effluents collected in Manjeera basin, a tributary of R. Godavari, links with River Musi, a tributary of R. Krishna.” So what Mr Naidu inaugurated on Sept 16, 2015 is possibly the third Godavari Krishna link in Andhra Pradesh, not the first.
In addition, as comment to this blog from JPGL pointed out, there are several schemes in Telangana pumping water from Godavari basin to Krishna basin: “There are already four working lift water schemes in Telangana state transferring Godavari or its tributary (Manjira) water to the Krishna basin. These are Manjira water supply to Hyderabad located in Musi/ Krishna basin, irrigation water supply from Sriram Sagar reservoir across Godavari to Musi, etc tributary basins of Krishna river, Hyderadad drinking water supply from Yellampalli barrage across Godavari and irrigation water supply from Devadula lift irrigation scheme from Godavari river to Musi, etc tributary basins of Krishna river. In addition there are four more lift irrigation schemes under implementation such as Pranahita Chevella lift irrigation scheme, Kanthalapalli lift irrigation scheme, Rajiv Dummugudem lift irrigation scheme, Indirasagar Rudrammakota lift irrigation scheme, etc in Telangana to transfer/lift water from Godavari river for high lands irrigation in the Krishna basin.”
So clearly there are multiple other schemes already doing what Pattiseema has started down on Sept 16, now abandoned due to the breach in the canal.
The Interstate ramifications Since Godavari and Krishna are interstate rivers, any water transfer between the two rivers is bound to have interstate ramifications. Firstly, the Krishna Water Tribunal has directed that out of 80 TMC water that is to be transferred from Godavari to Krishna, Andhra Pradesh share is 45 TMC and rest is to be shared between Maharashtra and Karnataka. However, that was the situation before formation of Telanganga. Now with the bifurcation of AP, Telangana will also get a share of water from what AP was to get earlier. In fact petitions are pending in Supreme Court as to what should be the mandate of Krishna Tribunal in the aftermath of the bifurcation, whether KWDT should only decide distribution between AP and Telangana or should all four states be involved in fresh water sharing? In addition, there is the outstanding dispute related to the Polavaram Dam impact, involving Chhattisgarh, Orissa and now possibly Telananga. There are suits pending in the Supreme Court on these issues. Polavaram’s environment clearance also remains challenged and stands suspended by MoEF.
Incidentally, while the impacts and costs of the project will have to borne by Andhra Pradesh, the water transferred will have to be shared with the basin states, particularly since Andhra Pradesh did not share the project details with the basin states, nor got their consensus.
Why do sections of Andhra Pradesh polity see Pattiseema as wasteful expenditure? The Pattiseema project is to essentially pump about 80 TMC of water from Godavari to Krishna. This was one of the several other objectives of the Polavaram dam. Andhra Pradesh CM Naidu decided to implement Pattiseema considering the uncertainties related to Polavaram dam, there is question mark over if and when the Polavaram dam will come up. So the AP government took the unilateral decision to implement the Pattiseema project at a huge cost of Rs 1400 crores. When Polavaram project becomes a reality, Pattiseema will be redundant since the transfer will happen through gravity by the Polavaram dam and pumping will no longer be required. This is why there is opposition to Pattiseema among many in AP, as wasteful expenditure. Many also see it as a Naidu’s ploy to get credit for the water transfer that was already happening through Polavaram.
As The Hindu reported on Sept 25, 2015, “But both YSRC and Congress kept accusing the Government of squandering a whopping Rs. 1500 crore on an “ill-conceived temporary project”, while deceiving the people of West and East Godavari districts. Both parties had a point in that the project would become redundant once the Polavaram project is built. The YSRC, besides questioning the long-term utility of the project, had alleged large-scale corruption in the allotment of contracts.”
Moreover, the farmers in the Godavari basin have been objecting to the water diversion scheme ever since its conception by the TDP government, claiming it will impact their future. People of Nallajarla and Gopalapuram which fall under the Tadipudi Lift Scheme staged a demonstration at Guddigudem.
The Leakage in the Transfer! The hurriedly inaugurated water transfer has already “received a big jolt within hours after launching the motors”, as the Polavaram Right Bank canal has already developed massive leaks at Janampet village where Tammileru river crosses the canal. The leakage is so massive that the Pattiseema pump & Godavari Krishna water transfer have been stopped so that the damaged canal can be repaired. An aqua-duct constructed at an expense of Rs 15 crores has breached, leading to damages and stoppage of water transfer, see the map prepared by SANDRP. “We have been suspecting the danger as we were not allowed to work as per the rule book. The breach is the result of completing the work without giving proper time for curing,” said an engineer of water resources department. With the Naidu government insisting to be the first to link the rivers as part of National River Linking Scheme, the officials raced ahead of time and rolled out the project with half or partially-dug canal work. The engineers could finish the digging of canal just for about 20 metres width against the original design of 80 metres width along 174 km long canal.. The repairs could take 2-4 weeks.
Even a pro ILR editorial in the Pioneer accepted: “Finally, it goes without saying that the Government itself must do its homework properly, including thorough environmental assessments and financial calculations, and then ensure proper implementation. A poorly constructed aqueduct in the Godavari-Krishna link, for example, breached within hours of the motor pump being turned on. This should not become the norm.” The trouble is, lack of thorough Environmental Impact Assessment, manipulated economic, hydrological and financial calculations and corruption ridden and poor construction are the norms.
This shows that Pattiseema project was hurriedly inaugurated when neither the Pattiseema pumps were available, nor the link canal was ready, the whole thing was a misleading show!
In Conclusion While it is possible that such a water transfer could help Krishna Delta for now when almost all of the reservoirs in the Basin in Andhra had low water shortage, we cannot afford to sideline the reality that a project has been constructed, completed and celebrated in full public glare, without going through the statutory process and obtaining required clearances. We also need to note the consequences of undue hurry, the full ramifications of which are still unfolding. Moreover, there are serious question marks over the justification of transfer of water from a basin that is drought stricken to a basin from where more water is being transferred to high rainfall area and sea than what this transfer at best can achieve.
Such dramatic quick fixes are easy to appreciate and appear as if they are a result of courageous and prompt decision making from the highest quarters. However, such one-sided decisions and projects which bypass the laws of the land and bypass objective & informed scrutiny & democratic process do not bode well for the future of the nation or future of water resources in India.
Himanshu Thakkar (firstname.lastname@example.org), SANDRP
Letter to MoEF that Pattiseema project violates EPA and EIA notification
September 17, 2015
- Shri Prakash Javdekar
Minister of State of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (IC),
Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change,
Paryavaran Bhawan, Jor Bagh,
- Shri Ashok Lavasa
Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change,
Paryavaran Bhawan, Jor Bagh,
- Chairman and Members,
Expert Appraisal Committee on River Valley Projects,
Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change,
Paryavaran Bhawan, Jor Bagh,
Respected Shri Javdekar, Shri Lavasa, Chairman and Members of EAC,
As you might have seen from extensive media coverage, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh yesterday inaugurated the Godavari Krishna link through Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Project. This Pattiseema Project involves building of a lift irrigation project on the river bed and banks of the Godavari River at Pattiseema, about 15 km downstream of the Proposed Polavaram Dam site, in addition to a canal of around 5 km length to take the lifted water to the existing Polavaram Right Bank Canal. It involved 30 Nos of Vertical Turbine pumps, each of 8 cumecs (Cubic Meters per Second) capacity. As the Minister of Andhra Pradesh Water Resources Department Shri D Uma Maheshwara Rao said in media reports, this involved removing about 1.3 crore cubic meters of sand from the Godavari River Bed (such dredging also needs Environment Clearance). The kind of work involved in this project can also be seen from the photo album of the project put up on the AP Irrigation Dept website.
What is clear from all this is that Pattiseema is a major new irrigation project with major components and impacts on the river and surrounding area. It was also not part of the Polavaram project. However, the project has not taken the environment clearance that is necessary for any such project, it has not conducted environment & social impact assessment & management plan, public consultations, has not gone through environment appraisal. Hence the whole project is in violation of the EPA 1986, EIA notification of Sept 2006 and illegal.
The AP govt GO dated January 1, 2015 gives some details of the project with cost of Rs 1300 crores, the cost has reportedly now gone up to 1400 crores. The GO misleadingly says that the Pattiseema project is for “domestic and industrial use” when in reality, as is apparent from the statements of the AP Chief Minister, Water Resources Minister and others, it is apparent that this is essentially for irrigation benefits for the Krishna Delta area. This is also clear from the fact that there are no details of how this water is to be used for domestic and industrial use, either in the GO or anywhere else including in the statements of the CM and others. This aspect has been added to mislead and possibly escape the EIA notification.
Section 84 of the AP Re-organisation Act, 2014 requires the AP and Telangana governments to get such projects involving the use of Godavari and Krishna waters duly appraised, among others, by the Central Water Commission (CWC), before they can be undertaken. Apparently, even this requirement stands infringed. Since the Pattiseema project involves Krishna and Godavari, both interstate rivers, it also needs CWC approval, in addition to getting the Techno-Economic approval from the Technical Advisory Committee of the CWC, which have also not been taken.
Under the circumstances a project has been constructed, completed and celebrated in full public glare, without going through the statutory process and obtaining the clearance. We urge you to issue notice to AP government for violation of the EIA notification and Environment Protection Act and take necessary legal steps in this regard.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
EAS Sarma (former secretary, Govt. of India, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, email@example.com)
Himanshu Thakkar (South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People, Delhi, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lubna Sawath (Acting Convener, Save Our Urban Lakes ,Hyderabad, email@example.com)
Dr Sagari R Ramdas (Food Sovereignty Alliance, Hyderabad, firstname.lastname@example.org)
K J Joy (Forum on Water Conflicts in India, Pune, email@example.com)
Shripad Dharmadhikary (Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, Pune, firstname.lastname@example.org)
 For example, the TOI report cited earlier said: “Naidu cracked open a coconut but in the second part of the ceremony at Pattiseema, could not switch on the first motor pump on river Godavari as the pumps were not ready.”
 http://goir.ap.gov.in/Reports.aspx search for irrigation department GO dated January 1, 2015.
 See: https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2015/08/18/drought-and-marathwada-an-oft-repeated-tragedy/
 See for example: https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/as-krishna-bhima-basin-farmers-in-maharashtra-karnataka-ap-telangana-face-drought-crop-failure-water-scarcity-maharashtra-diverted-350-mcm-water-from-the-basin-literally-to-sea/, https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2015/08/18/open-letter-to-chief-minister-of-maharashtra-stop-westwards-diversion-of-water-from-krishna-basin/, https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/tata-power-responds-on-the-issue-of-tata-dams-diverting-water-from-drought-hit-bhima-krishna-basin-to-konkan-but-it-is-vacuous-insensitive-response/, https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/open-letter-to-tata-sustainability-group-to-stop-westward-diversion-of-bhima-basin-water-by-tata-hydro-projects/
 http://goir.ap.gov.in/Reports.aspx search for irrigation department GO dated January 1, 2015.
24 thoughts on “Godavari Krishna River Linking: Are we celebrating an illegal, unnecessary & misconceived water transfer project?”
How can a people’s representative and so called CM of the state, blindly say , that he has liked two rivers by just transporting the water, where already constricted canals . It is a share on him, that he is continuing his false propaganda.
He is always a liar. He came to power by promising all farm loans would be waived all dwacra loans would be waived job for every house pensions for all unemployment allowance for all and so on. But so far not even one is even 10% fulfilled but going on propagandising that he already implemented loan waiver. He even threated the people through two ministers to take lands of poor and middle class farmers in the name of capital. He even resorted to torching of farms and also kidnaps to threatedn farmers. Now doing all dramas about even special status which was promised by this liar and Modi in meeting after meeting , but now both are silent and when opposition leader is trying to take the issue he is being denied permission to do dharnas.
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It is not false propaganda my dear. The finisher is finisher whr the perfect pattisima canal is not constructed when he started all works for pattiseema. Plz don’t blame our CM he good and striving for AP if you have heart you can congratulate him for his wonderful job done..
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Pattiseema project is truly interlinking rivers between Godavari and Krishna main rivers. The navigation link using the Prakasam / Krishna barrage irrigation canal (Eluru canal joining Kolleru lake across Tammileru river) and Cotton / Godavari barrage canal joining Kolleru lake were used as the boats can travel in upstream direction in the canals. Actually the canals used for navigation are feeding / out flowing in to the Kolleru lake. Godavari water can not flow to Krishna river or vice versa with these canals constructed more than 100 years back.
There are already four working lift water schemes in Telangana state transferring Godavari or its tributary (Manjira) water to the Krishna basin. These are Manjira water supply to Hyderabad located in Musi/ Krishna basin, irrigation water supply from Sriram Sagar reservoir across Godavari to Musi, etc tributary basins of Krishna river, Hyderadad drinking water supply from Yellampalli barrage across Godavari and irrigation water supply from Devadula lift irrigation scheme from Godavari river to Musi, etc tributary basins of Krishna river. In addition there are four more lift irrigation schemes under implementation such as Pranahita Chevella lift irrigation scheme, Kanthalapalli lift irrigation scheme, Rajiv Dummugudem lift irrigation scheme, Indirasagar Rudrammakota lift irrigation scheme, etc in Telangana to transfer/lift water from Godavari river for high lands irrigation in the Krishna basin.
All above schemes are not transferring water from main Godavari river to main Krishna river except the the Pattiseema lift scheme which is a supplementary project of ongoing Polavaram Project. Pattiseema lift project is not a temporary project till the Polavaram barrage/dam is constructed. The live storage capacity of Polavaram reservoir is only 75.2 tmc above canal’s full supply level of 41.15 m MSL out of gross storage 194 tmcft. The live storage is adequate to meet all the water needs of Polavaram project and downstream Cotton barrage needs not more than two months duration after the monsoon season (end of September). With the Pattiseema lift nearly 100 tmc of dead storage above the crest level/ MDDL of power house can also be used every year for three more months.
Regarding sharing water out of the 80 tmc water transfer from Polavaram reservoir, Karnataka and Maharashtra states are entitled to use 35 tmc water of unallocated surplus water from Krishna river once the CWC recommends the project for implementation to the Government which was done in the year 2009 itself. There is no need of completing the Polavaram project to actually transfer the Godavari water to the Krishna river. There is no discussion on this valid agreement among the riparian states in the disputed tribunal award of Justice Brijesh Kumar (KWDT2) as it seemed to have negated this agreement and allotted 93% of the total water available in the Krishna river without sparing required average yearly environmental flows and salt export water needs.
In case water is exported to the Krishna river basin from other river basins (Godavari, Mandovi, Netravati, etc), the ongoing going Bachawat tribunal award (KWDT1) stipulates that no state is barred from raising water dispute or right to contest the other state claims under interstate river waters dispute act. When an upstream riparian state imports water from other states, the salt load in the river basin is enhanced by the amount of dissolved salts present in the imported water. When all the imported water is used / evaporotranspirated in the upstream state, the salinity/alkalinity of the water is enhanced in the river water received from upstream states by the the downstream states (particularly last riparian state) which is not suitable for use/ not of equal use similar to water quality available in upstream states. If new state Telangana is eligible for water share out of 80 tmc water from Polavaram link, AP state is also eligible for nearly 40% of Godavari water transfer to the Krishna basin area taking place from the commissioned and future projects. Otherwise, the Krishna river water available in its area will be of inferior quality reducing its productive value in agriculture and domestic uses.
The gist is that Pattiseema is not a temporary project as claimed by the politicians and is the first true inter link between Godavari and Krishna main rivers. The water sharing of transferred Godavari water by the riparian states are to be implemented by the central government as per the Interstate river waters dispute act by creating a empowered Bachawat tribunal award (KWDT1) implementation board . Otherwise Andhra Pradesh state is the main looser as it can not stop excessive / unallocated Krishna river water use by the upstream states in a river basin with regular water scarcity.
Many thanks, Mr JPGL, your comments as usual are very informative and useful. I have added the information about the existing and planned Godavari-Krishna links in Telangana from your comments to the blog, referring to your comment.
If you know such links also existing/ planned (one scheme that is planned in Krishna Marathwada LIS, but that has not yet got the sanction from the Krishna Tribunal, Krishna Tribunal has expressly prohibited it) in Maharashtra, let us know.
I am not against importing water from other river basins to a river basin which is facing water shortage in any state but not at the cost of other states benefits. The trend is that no state cares to bother the central laws or central government, other states and supreme court verdicts, while using available river waters within its reach including for irrigation use.
India is going to achieve water security along with energy security by harnessing unlimited solar power which has become cheaper than all other methods of electricity generation without contributing much pollution. Once electricity is surplus and affordable, pumping water by 600 meters height ( 2 units power consumption per cubic meter) is not a problem in future. Nearly 200 billion cubic meters of surplus water is joining sea from the coastal rivers of Western Ghats located in Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra. For more data refer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_policy_of_India https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_sector_in_India https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollution_of_the_Ganges#Ganga_Manthan
Initially the water stored in the reservoirs of the existing hydro power stations of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala located in western ghats are the lucrative options/possibilities to transfer by lift canals / tunnels to the east flowing rivers like Kavery, Vaigai, Krishna, Godavari rivers, etc for the uplands irrigation in Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra states. Later most of the rivers water available up to sea level can be pumped to the east flowing peninsular rivers with more pumping head (up to 600 m height). In India, 98% cultivable land and 95% of population are located below 600 meters elevation.
There are many rivers interlinking already executed in India. Some are:
Orissa is diverting Harabhangi tributary of Vamsadhara river to Rushikulya river in Orissa effecting downstream AP state.
Orissa is diverting Indravathi tributary of Godavari river to Tel tributary of Mahanadi river basin.
Andhra Pradesh is diverting water from Tungabhadra reservoir across Tungabhadra tributary of Krishna river to Penna river basin.
Andhra Pradesh is diverting water from Tungabhadra tributary of Krishna river to Penna basin.by KC canal.
Andhra Pradesh is diverting Krishna river water from Srisailam reservoir to Penna basin.by Pothireddypadu deep cut canal.
Andhra Pradesh is diverting Krishna river water to Penna and other medium coastal river basins.in Andhra Pradesh by Handri Neeva lift canal.
Tamilnadu is diverting Periyar river in Kerala to Vagai basin.in Tamilnadu
Andhra Pradesh is diverting Krishna river water from Srisailam reservoir to Channai drinking water needs via Penna and other coastal rivers.
Karnatake is diverting Kavery river water for Bengaluru city drinking water needs.
Andhra Pradesh is executing diversion of Krishna river water from Srisailam reservoir to Gundlakamma river basin.through tunnels.
Andhra Pradesh is planning to divert Krishna river water from Nagarjunasagar reservoir by extending its right bank canal up to Kandaleru reservoir to transfer water to many coastal rivers including Penna river. This link is termed as true link between Krishna and Penna rivers
NWDA Proposed Krishna to Penna river link from Almatti reservoir via Tungabhadra reservoir.
Maharashtra is planning to divert water of Gosikund reservoir across tributary Wainganga of Godavari river to Tapti basin in Maharashtra.
Karnataka planning to divert water from tributary Vedavati of Krishna river to Palar river basin in Karnataka
All the barrages/dams on big and medium rivers in coastal areas are water diversion canal schemes to transfer water to the adjacent medium and minor coastal rivers in all coastal states.
I think Pattiseema project was temporarily devised to defeat the delays in the sanctioning of permissions to the main Polavaram Project which may take years and is enmeshed in legal controversies up to the level of the Supreme Court. For lifting water from obviously waters inside Andhra Pradesh and transporting/transferring those waters to some other point in Andhra Pradesh only to link to the Polavaram right canal from that point may not involve such delays and legal controversies, hopefully. Of course, if successful, it will also fetch mileage to the current government. All these considerations should have gone into starting and pushing for completion of this project at the earliest. Of course, motives of corruption and moneymaking are also there in every project in India.
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Dear Mr. Himanshu,
The real intention of the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh in grounding the Pattiseema Project appears to make available 80 TMCFt/year of water for domestic, industrial and other uses on a permanent basis for use in Amaravathi – the world-class new capital of Andhra Pradesh state he conceived in a 33,000- acre land with the expertise of Singapore.
Dr. R. Jagadiswara Rao
Professor of Geology Retired
Sri Venkateswara University
Tirupati, AP 517502
The Godavari is a water surplus basin downstream as opposed to upstream unlike the Krishna which is reverse. So there is no problem in lifting 8500 cusecs of water in the monsoon and diverting it to the Krishna. The power used is also negligible compared to the huge lifts being constructed in Telangana and Rayalaseema. The govt. should construct another scheme for the left canal also.
What I object is the manner in which the scheme was constructed in a hurried manner for cheap publicity. In fact not even one cusec of water reached the Budameru diversion channel as construction of the Polavaram canal is still in progress. You can see pictures of the canal on the Hindu website. What they did was emptied a tank and as rains were there , the Budameru was also in flow and they just hyped it to the media and the national media bought it up. If one follows the Pattiseema project right from the beginning it reeks of corruption as the govt. promised to give 21% excess if they completed within one year. The cost for similar pumping schemes is only Rs,700-800 cr as opposed to the Rs.1300 cr for which tenders were called.
Corruption in irrigation is so much easier as the people are willing to forgive.
It is as usual that ultimately ruling party has to bear the blame for the failure of the engineers. The aqueduct which is not part of Pattiseema lift failed because the end spans are left as cantilevers and just resting on filled up soil of the canal. The end wall of the aqueduct were not constructed at the both ends of the temporary aqueduct. With a good and appreciable intention, AP govt wanted to commission the right bank canal by temporary stop gap measures wherever structures and canal stretch is not existing. Govt. wanted earlier partial commissioning of the canal within 6 months such that 8500 cusecs (original 17,500 cusecs) can be pumped from the Godavari river to Krishna river to provide some relief (20 to 30 tmc water to Krishna basin) in the unprecedented water scarcity experienced in this year.
Pattiseema project was awarded in a Swis challenge type open tendering with pre-notified terms and conditions. The terms include a additional payment (15%) for completing the project earlier (within one year) than the normal period of completion specified in the contract. If another contractor is ready to execute the contract cheaper, he could have contested/claimed the contract but nobody came forward. Earlier contracts execution durations are repeatedly extended by citing various delays and engineers in charge of the works also happily recommend cost escalations as genuine and justified. Polavaram right bank is one of such example which was started nearly 10 years ago but not completed even wherever there is no land acquisition litigations. Engineers and the revenue officials extend all the cooperation to the contractors in delaying the works completion. They allow the contractor to take up first the earth works where profit margin is good to the contractor and not the long time consuming structures like aqueducts and under passes, etc. Chief Engineers/ secretaries do not insist for a detailed project schedule and do not bother to monitor the critical items execution which needs expertise, adequate construction machinery and time.
Everybody certifies element of corruption but do not give even a prime fascia evidence. When government takes up some works with good intention and pursued the works with close monitoring, it can not be blamed by the neutral observers for the design / engineering failure on the part of engineers.
I agree that a similar pumping station is needed (like Pattiseema lift) for the Polavaram left bank canal also.
It is the Government’s job to ensure that engineers do the right thing. When government’s take credit for success, they should take responsibility for failures.
What is the qualification of the Minister for Irrigation and his background? Need I say more.
Who is the contractor for the project? For the blind, deaf and those who favour their caste, nothing is evident or obvious.
This is in response to your article on the Pattiseema river linking on your SANDRP website. Unfortunately there are some factual discrepancies in your article and along with that I would also like to make some of my views known on the Polavaram dam issue.
The Godavari river is water surplus in the downstream part and water deficit in its upper reaches. It is surplus only after the Pranahita, Indravati and Sabari join it. In Marathwada and Western Telangana it is water deficit. Even in the famous 1986 flood which is supposed to be India’s largest recorded flood of 36,00,000 cusecs the Sriramsagar dam was not filled. Thus diverting 8500 cusecs for the right canal and an additional 8500 for the left canal will not make a difference due to the flow.
The whole reason why Polavaram is vehemently supported by a large number of people in AP is because it will supply water to the Krishna delta, and an additional 7.2 lakh acres including 23 TMC to Visakhapatnam. Currently the Krishna delta gets 80 TMC of water from Nagarjunasagar and in the Bachawat tribunal this water was supposed to be transferred from Polavaram. Of the 80 TMC 35 TMC will go to Karnataka and Maharashtra. Telangana is also demanding a share. So Rayalaseema will benefit but only to a small extant of about 25 TMC but even that is much better than nothing. That is why Dummugudem – Pulichintala or NSP tailpond project is also needed. It will save about 50 TMC from the NSP left canal and make the Palamur lift in Mahbubnagar and other projects in Rayalaseema viable.
This year for the first time in 158 years more than 4 lakh acres of the Krishna delta has been left fallow. So if Pattiseema is completed then there will be no problem.
The Krishna is a dead river and due to many illegal projects in Maharashtra and Karnataka AP is not getting its due share of water. The KWDT 2 has allowed Karnataka to increase the height of the Almatti dam increasing its capacity to 300 TMC. If this is completed then AP will not get water until the beginning of October by which more than half of the Kharif season will be completed. Thus by relieving the Krishna delta water can be diverted from Srisailam to the perennially drought prone areas of Rayalaseema and Telangana.But the AP govt has to complete the pending works on the Pothireddipadu diversion channel which it has not even touched now. Unless those works are not completed, Rayalaseema will not benefit.
I agree that a lot of water is wasted for power generation into the sea at Koyna and Tata water projects. Koyna generates 1960 MW only at peaking times for Mumbai and it would be very difficult for us to stop it as the KWDT 2 has increased its allocation by another 25 TMC. We all need to stop this diversion for the benefit of the drought prone areas of interior Maharashtra.
The Pattiseema lift is a much better alternative than the Polavaram dam. If fact it is a boon to the opponents of the dam as when the objective of river linking has been met what is the need for a dam that costs so much and displaces more than 2.5 lakh people. The Polavaram dam is a terminal dam and needs to be built last after all upstream dams are built to avoid sedimentation and prolong its life. Its live capacity would be silted up withing 25 years if the siltation rates at Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar are taken. Srisailam lost 104 TMC in 28 years and Nagarjunasagar lost about 140 TMC since it has been built. But at Polavaram the Godavari carries 10 times as much sediment than at Srisailam. What is the need to spend more than Rs.7000 cr on a dam and an additional Rs.7000 cr on rehabilitation and resettlement ? K.L.Rao opposed the dam after the 1953 flood and felt that there was no suitable site for a dam and preferred a barrage. T.Hanumantha rao gave a suggestion to build barrages that would help minimize displacement and also help both Telangana and AP, but the govt is not too keen as building a dam is more lucrative for them.
The cost of power is not much when compared to the other lift schemes in Telangana. It would not even cross the power consumption of farmers in the ayacut area. The cost would be much lesser than the interest payment of the dam.
The reason why the govt is pushing for a dam is that the flows of the Godavari drastically decrease after October to around 40000 cusecs or lesser. As Telangana is building lift schemes upstream it would be difficult to even save the first crop forget the second.Also the second crop in the Godavari delta is the most preferred crop due to high yeilds and also to prevent salt water ingress into the delta. Even though Pattiseema will not solve these problems a series of barrages on the Godavari and Sabari along with supplementation for the Rabi crop from the Sileru hydro projects as is being done now will make Polavaram redundant.
This is just a brief of the reasons why Pattiseema is not bad, but I totally agree with your viewpoint of the massive corruption. If the govt cannot build an aqueduct that can carry 500 cusecs how can we trust it to build an earth cum rockfill dam on a river that has seen India’s largest recorded flood?
Regarding why no other contractor has come forward everyone knows how the process was rigged. Most of the Polavaram project canals have been finished but only parts where the govt has not paid the contractors have been held up. Only after it has been declared as a national project has work speeded up.
The canal near Vijayawada has not been completed and it was all a hogwash that they wanted to give water this year. Its all just show and eventually the govt’s reputation got damaged due to the Janampeta incident. Also a tank was breached and its water was diverted to the Budameru diversion channel on the day of the opening.
Maharashtra is opposing to raise the Pranahita Chevella Project barrage which is being actively pursued by Telangana. In fact, construction of this barrage with maximum possible storage capacity, is very crucial to Maharashtra’s interests. This is the closest location from the water surplus portion of the Godavari, to transfer water to the regularly water stressed Marathwada region via Sriramsagar reservoir.
Earlier in the Babli barrage dispute, Maharashtra claimed that it has right to use the water available in the Sriramsagar reservoir as per the agreement dated 06.10.1975 of Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal and Supreme Court upheld the claim of Maharashtra.
Additionally, lift irrigation schemes can also be taken up on Left bank side of the Pranhita barrage for irrigation in Vidharba region of Maharashtra. for more data, refer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pranahita_Chevella_lift_irrigation_scheme
Your statement of Polavaram canal being incomplete due to non-payment of contractor is incorrect. A few farmers were unhappy with the compensation offered and have approached HC and obtained a stay order. This is why canal works have got stalled and left incomplete.
Secondly, it is not the aqueduct which got breached. There was a temporary slab poured on the unlined canal bed to bridge the aqueduct and the canal. This temporary slab is not supported by any concrete structure beneath. It is designed that way as a temporary structure.. It is this temporary structure which gave it, not the aqueduct.
It is surprising that why so much of noise is being made by other parties and states which are on upstream. This patti seems project is constructed at the down stream of Godavary river which has no other dam till the river meets the Sea. Thus they are recovering water which is going to sea as a waste. If any one makes noise in Upstream of Godavary, it is some thing like making noise by a tiger drinking water at up stream with a Goat which is drinking water at down stream. This is a plan by tiger to eat that goat saying that it ( tiger) is getting water that is tasted by goat which is absurd.
It is for the future of the new Andhra pradesh state.
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I should say extremely poor research by the author. Interlinking of Godavari & Krishna rivers thru Polavaram project has already received EIA/EMP approvals long ago. There has been extensive communication between state government & Environment ministry regarding the environmental impact before the approval was given. Author fails to articulate what are the new variants Pattiseema brings to the discussion regarding transfer of water on the same Polavaram canal for which EIA/EMP approvals have already been obtained.
Author also makes an extremely ridiculous argument of Krishna basin transferring 120TMC to Konkan basin. How is this even remotely applicable for Pattiseema discussion? Does the author fail to understand that westward diversion of Krishna waters has been allowed Bachawat tribunal itself in 70s?
The author has published the facts which may not be to the liking of the caste riddled brains of pseudo intellectuals from Andhra Pradesh.
I am just a lay man for this subject, but I can clearly see prejudice in your article.
Everyone knows when we can complete Polavaram project with those budget allocations. A temporary solution is wise decision and I appreciate everyone involved in the project.
Please don’t bring those so called environmental approvals into serious public discussions, they haven’t achieved anything in India and they don’t have any credit to be mentioned in public.
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Read your blog post on Pattiseema. Presently, the project is in good working condition and meeting the requirements it has been intended for as I gather from media reports. Need your views on the Project based on the current situation
For every development project, there is always opposition, from other parties to show the ruling party in low light. This article is based on politics.