Telangana far ahead of Europe in water management

At a time when most of the European countries are facing severe drought and shortage of water for both drinking and irrigation needs, the newly formed Indian state of Telangana has overcome all hurdles.

The US, Italy, France, and other countries are facing severe water shortages. They experienced prolonged dry spells and drought even in the winter season. The governments are planning to impose restrictions on water usage by people. The canals of Venice in Italy which are popular waterways have become shallow thus bringing the Gondolas to a grinding halt.

Decades-long negligence by Andhra rulers accumulated silt and breached bunds turning the tanks barren. Many villages are deserted as people gave up farming and went in search of livelihood in nearby towns and far-off cities.

When Telangana got statehood and TRS (BRS) came to power, chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao kept water management particularly irrigation improvement as the first and foremost in his agenda. Besides undertaking the construction of stupendous projects like Kaleshwaram, he launched ‘Mission Kakatiya’ aimed at all the defunct tanks. The programme desilting the tanks took off on March 12, 2015, at Yellareddypet in the Nizamabad district.

There are a total of 46,531 tanks with an ayacut of 24.50 lakh acres. So far in four phases, as many as 27,627 tanks were revived spending Rs 9,155 crore. Over 20,000 tanks are under the command area of various projects. They were linked and filled with the river water as dreamed by chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.

The total area of cultivation under the 46,571 tanks is estimated at 25,92,437 acres. However, not even five to six lakh acres are irrigated since 2008-09 as many tanks are rendered less useful. After Mission Kakatiya was launched, the tanks are able to store 8.50 tmc of water thus stabilising 15.05 lakh acres of ayacut.

As of March 8, 11,885 tanks are full by 25 percent; 9,920 tanks are 50 percent full; 11,393 tanks are 50 to 75 percent full and 9,809 tanks are full cent percent.

The groundwater level improved significantly following the initiatives of the TRS (BRS) government in Telangana. The groundwater level was 10.74 metres in 2016-2017 and 4.38 metres in 2021-2022. The total groundwater availability was 534 TMC in 2019-2020 of which 50 percent was utilised. In 2022-2023, the total availability of groundwater is 680 TMC of which 42 percent is utilised by the farmers.

These water management initiatives witnessed reverse migration. With abundant availability of water and free power supply to farmers, farming activity picked up. These initiatives also helped steady and slow the increase in meat, fish, and milk production in the state.

The massive plantation programme Haritha Haram launched by the state government yielded good results. The rainfall increased by 41 to 85 millimeters. The rainy days increased to 62- 80 days from 40 -50 days. The temperature fell by 1.5 degrees celsius. The hottest temperature recorded in 2016 was 40 degrees celsius and in the same corresponding period in 2022 was 38.2 degrees Celsius.

The farmers who constitute a significant percentage of the population are a happy lot in Telangana. The villages sporting a new look with increased greenery and farming activity at full throat.

By Gollapudi Srinivasa Rao

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *