KRMB meeting to discuss water sharing between AP-Telangana today

Hyderabad: The 14th meeting of the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) will be held today to discuss the important issue of water sharing between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The meeting in Hyderabad will be followed by a joint meeting between both states and the Godavari River Management Board (GRMB) as well in the evening.

The KRMB has 14 points of discussion, and one of the main issues with regard to water sharing from the Krishna river is Telangana seeking a higher share of allocation. Post its bifurcation from the erstwhile joint Andhra Pradesh state, Telangana was allocated 299 thousand million metric cusecs (TMC) of water from the Krishna river basin, while the rest was given to AP.

However, Telangana had opposed this, and is seeking more water from the Krishna river. The matter is currently pending with the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-2, or KWDT-2, and until then the state has asked the KRMB to allot water on a 50-50 basis. However, AP is opposing this. Moreover, in the agenda, another major issue that will be discussed is diversion of water from the Krishna river basin to Godavari waters by AP, which Telangana is opposing.

Aside from this, other matters concerning handing over all of the projects to the KRMB and GRMB will also be discussed. The union government on July 15 passed a gazette notification for the same, according to which both states will have to hand over control to the Centre by October 14.

Prior to this, the Telangana irrigation department in August also opposed the funding of the Veligonda project by the Centre’s Department of Water Resources which diverts water from the Krishna river outside its basin.

The Veligonda project is located in the Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh and has been attempting to provide irrigational facilities to drought-affected areas in the districts of Prakasam, Nellore, and Kadapa districts by diverting floodwater from the Krishna river to the Srisailam reservoir.

In a letter addressed by the Telangana state irrigation department, the Engineer in Chief wrote to the Central department of water resources upon knowing that the Veligonda project is being considered by the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sanchayi Yojna- Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Program (PMKSY-AIBP) for the time period 2021-2026.

The letter questioned the decision by stating that the Veligonda project was approved by the erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh (before the bifurcation into A.P and Telangana) and was based on the surplus water coming out of river Krishna.

The engineer in chief remarked that the project has no current clearance under the Central water commission and is also listed under the gazette notification of July 15 as an unapproved project. It was thus argued against the central water resources department’s consideration and said that it “vehemently opposed” the same.

The letter asked the Central department to verify if the project was at all eligible for funding.