The ongoing spell of rains across the State for over a week has failed to bring cheer to water bodies yet as it helped only a handful of medium and minor irrigation sources get surplus inflows, although it has revived cultivation of kharif crops which was slowing down owing to long dry spell.
According to minor irrigation officials, only 1,221 (2.79%) tanks out of a total of 43,789 in the Godavari and Krishna basins have received surplus water even after one-and-a-half months into the south-west monsoon season. More disappointing is that 32,080 (73.26%) tanks have not filled even for 25% of their capacity.
“Although there have been widespread rains for over a week now, the long dry spell of about 20 days after the initial rains in June has denied inflows into water bodies, particularly the minor irrigation tanks which have their catchment areas locally. Most of the tanks would have received water for at least 50% of their capacity had there been couple of good rains during the gap period,” a senior engineer explained.
The situation of empty tanks prevails in spite of 18% surplus rainfall recorded in the State till July 13 this season from June 1 – 256 mm actual against 217 mm normal – as there has been severe soil moisture stress due to the long dry spell. About 103 mm rain recorded between July 4 and 13 has failed to convert into considerable inflows into the water bodies since the precipitation did not result in flows in the feeder streams.
However, rains have good impact in Mahabubabad district where the maximum (517 out of 1,940) number of tanks have received surplus water followed by Kothagudem-Bhadrachalam (203/2,427), Adilabad (152/457), Mancherial (105/952), Kumram Bheem (102/492) and Peddapally (57/1,185), all in Godavari Basin. In the Krishna Basin, only 33 tanks have received surplus water till date.
The ongoing spell of rain has done a world of good both to the standing crops in the early vegetation stages and to the cultivation of kharif crops as it has pushed up the extent of sowing considerably to 24.59 lakh hectares till July 13 from only 13.17 lakh hectares on July 4, agriculture department officials said. Sowing of various crops was completed in 22.71 lakh hectares till July 13 last year.
On the other hand, rains in the catchment areas of some tributaries of Godavari in the neighbouring States have resulted in considerable flood to some medium irrigation projects leading to release of surplus water downstream. The projects that received surplus water so far include Kumram Bheem, Taliperu, Sathnala, Mathadivagu, Suddavagu-Gaddennavagu, P.P. Rao project (Yerravagu), Nilwai and L.T. Bayyaram.
Among major irrigation projects, only Kaddam with 7.6 tmc ft capacity has received surplus water so far and the fate of Singur, Nizamsagar and Sriramsagar in Godavari Basin and Jurala, Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar in Krishna Basin hinges only on the flood let downstream by upper riparian States.