Wednesday, June 16, 2021

After 10 years, all 26 gates of Nagarjuna Sagar lifted

Hyderabad: The good news of Telangana’s major reservoirs being filled up, thanks to Krishna river being in spate all along its course, was laced with tragedy when two persons were washed away downstream of Nagarjuna Sagar dam on Monday.

The inflows into Nagarjuna Sagar rose so rapidly that Irrigation Department officials, who first opened four gates, quickly raised all 26 gates at the dam to a height of 15 feet to let out 3,30,720 cusecs of water as the day progressed. Officials said two persons, caught in the discharge from the dam, were washed away and feared killed. This is the first time in 10 years that all the 26 gates have been lifted.

Meanwhile, upstream at Srisailam, 10 of the dam’s 12 gates were lifted to a height of 48 feet to let out more than 7.5 lakh cusecs. Each gate is 55 feet wide and 65 feet tall.

The flooded Krishna on Monday was joined by surging water of Tungabhadra river, adding to the flows into Srisailam reservoir. Officials said 2,08,363 cusecs of water was being released from Sunkesula barrage in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh on the Tungabhadra river, which joins Krishna near Alampur town in Telangana. This discharge from Tungabhadra was in addition to the 8,21,498 cusecs of water making its way into Srisailam reservoir from Priyadarshini Jurala dam.

Officials at Jurala, meanwhile, said Karnataka was releasing 5,90,000 cusecs of water from Narayanpur dam from where water flows to Jurala. The trend of outflows from Narayanpur indicate an increasing flood flow, they said.

Huge inflows

The total inflows into Srisailam, which stood at 8,19,254 cusecs on Monday evening, were expected to touch 10 lakh cusecs by late on Monday night or by Tuesday morning. On Monday evening, officials said 7,50,180 cusecs of water was being released from the 10 gates of the dam, while another 98,493 cusecs of water was being released by Andhra Pradesh and Telangana from the Srisailam right and left bank hydel power stations operated by the two States, respectively.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy described the increasing inflows into various reservoirs in both States as a sign of good times to come. “River Krishna, filling up Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar reservoirs, is set to spread smiles among downstream ayacut farmers,” Jaganmohan Reddy said in a tweet on Monday evening.

Utmost caution

Officials here explained that the heavy discharges were designed to absorb the incoming floodwater and avoid a repeat of the devastating 2009 floods in Kurnool district. While releases from Srisailam were to ensure that such a situation is not repeated, the outflows at Nagarjunasagar and the lifting of the 26 gates was to create space in the reservoir for the incoming flood. In 2009, Srisailam dam was buffeted by 12 lakh cusecs of inflows but officials then did not lift the gates adequately that resulted in several villages along banks of Krishna as well as Kurnool town being submerged by the rising backwaters of Srisailam reservoir.

“Flood management is a critical engineering activity and rational decisions have to be taken based on the incoming flood, time taken by the water to travel a given distance, current capacity in the reservoirs and the capacity to discharge floodwater from the spillways of the dam,” an official said.

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