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AP was deaf to flood warnings

State Ignored CWC Reminders On Dam Capacity

New Delhi: The flooding of Kurnool could have been averted had successive state governments in Andhra Pradesh not avoided repeated reminders of the Central Water Commission (CWC) on doubling the spillway capacity of the Srisailam dam.

Since 1990, the CWC had advised the state government twice to increase the spillway capacity of the reservoir on the Krishna river from the originally set 13.5 lakh cusecs to 25 lakh cusecs in order to avoid flash floods.

CWC chairman A K Bajaj told TOI on Tuesday that while the agency had told state authorities sometime in 1990 to increase the spillway capacity of the dam from 13.5 lakh cusecs to 19 lakh cusecs, another detailed study was carried out in 2005 when officials found that the design of the dam allowed the capacity to be increased to 25 lakh cusecs. "We had conveyed to the state government to increase the capacity and it would have taken them not more than six months to a year to carry out the required modification," Bajaj said. "At least Kurnool and many upstream areas could have been saved from being inundated. Only the downstream areas, at worse, could have got affected," Bajaj said. Inflows into the Krishna at Srisailam had increased to more than 25 lakh cusecs after October 2 when Karnataka released fresh waters from the Almatti dam to prevent submergence of its own towns.

Bajaj said the CWC would soon have a meeting with state authorities and the 2005 report will be taken up for discussion. He said though the state alone could decide when to carry out modification in the dam, the CWC would emphasise on increasing the maximum flood capacity of Srisailam reservoir.

by Pradeep Thakur, Times of India, 03 Oct 2009