Major reservoirs at dead storage level

The three-year drought has led to the water level in the three major reservoirs in the district, hitting rock bottom.The three dams have water just above the dead storage levels leading to a situation where even drawing water for drinking is difficult, let alone for irrigation.

Lack of rain in Bidar district and parts of south-east Maharashtra that form part of the river basins, is the major reason for the drying up of the dams.

Of the 23 tmcft of water allotted to Bidar district in the Godavari basin, projects to utilise 18.86 tmcft have been completed.

These include the Karanja dam, the Chulki nala, the Manjra lift irrigation scheme, the Nizam sagar lower drainage and the existing minor irrigation tanks and barrages.

Karanja dam, the only major irrigation project in the district, has only 0.5 per cent of its total capacity of 9.27 tmcft. There is less than 0.5 tmcft of water in the dam, officials said in a report submitted to the District in-charge Minister recently.

The dam built on the Karanja, a tributary of the Manjra river, was commissioned in 1969 to irrigate 29, 227 hectares of land using 9.27 tmcft and was completed in 1989.

However, work on some tail-end canals, command area development and resettlement of rehabilitation of villages is yet to be completed. It has succeeded in providing water to 23,828 hectares of land at its fullest capacity.

The gross storage of the dam is 7.6 tmcft and live storage is 7.3 tmcft.

Of this, the proposed annual average utilisation is 4.9 tmcft, according to the Karnataka Neeravari Nigam officials who manage the reservoir.

However, water levels have been quickly receding in the dam due to lack of inflow and intense evaporation due to the heat wave. Karanja dam supplies drinking water to Bidar, Bhalki, Humnabad and Chitaguppa towns and 11 villages on the way.

The total annual utilisation for drinking purpose is 1.1 tmcft. However, officials have been able to draw only 0.3 tmcft of water for drinking this year.

Chulki Nala reservoir built across the eponymous stream, is supposed to hold 1.53 tmcft of water, of which 0.9 tmcft will be available for irrigation.

However, the water levels have reached 0.55 tmcft, which is nearing the dead storage levels. Water cannot be released in to the canals at this point, an officer said.

The Upper Mullamari project, built across a perennial stream, has nearly dried up. The dam in Kherda- Bujurg village in Basava Kalyan taluk is supposed to hold 0.98 tmcft of water and irrigate 3,279 hectares. But this has less than 0.1 tmcft of water now, officials say.

Water levels in all three reservoirs are the lowest since their construction, a senior officer said.

Parts of the catchment areas of these dams lie in Maharashtra. Once it rains there, our inflow will increase. We are hoping against hope that the neighbouring state gets water, said the officer.