Kalwakurthy pump house flooding may hit irrigation, drinking water needs

It serves an ayacut of 3.65 lakh acres across 24 mandals, meets drinking water needs of 336 villages

The flooding of the pump house (first lift) of Mahatma Gandhi Kalwakurthy Lift Irrigation Project (LIP) at Yellur village of Nagarkurnool district on Friday evening is likely to have a huge impact on farmers and people depending on its water for irrigation and drinking water needs.

Water lifted from the foreshores of Srisailam reservoir with the help of three lifts serves an ayacut of 3.65 lakh acres spread across 24 mandals of Nagarkurnool, Wanaparthy, Mahabubnagar and Rangareddy districts, besides meeting the drinking water needs of 336 villages in Kollapur, Nagarkurnool, Achampet, Wanaparthy, Kalwakurthy and Jadcherla constituencies.

“The impact of flooding of the pump house could be huge and it is going to be very difficult to resume pumping water from the facility in the immediate months as de-watering, and pumping out of flood water, is expected to take at least 25 days,” a source in the Irrigation department told The Hindu on Saturday.

According to the engineers, the pump house has five motors with capacity of 30 megawatt each to discharge 800 cusecs of water each after lifting to a height of 95 metres. Although several theories are making rounds on the immediate cause of flooding of the pump house, the engineers concerned have refused to point out at anything until they examine the entire facility physically to come to any conclusion.

Asked whether the underground blasting work being done for the pump house of Palamuru-Rangareddy Lift Irrigation Project nearby could be the cause, a senior engineer said, “There are so many possibilities including huge flood continuing for a long period this year and there could be some kind of mechanical failure too that could have failed to prevent flood water breaking the barriers of surge pool and inundating the pump house. Unless we see the ground zero physically we can’t pinpoint any of the reasons.”

The source, however, admitted that the question of giving water to the ayacut for the remaining season is a distant possibility as de-watering of the pump house itself was expected to take a long time. “The water already pumped and stored in the four balancing reservoirs could, at best, be given to the ayacut to serve the needs of standing crops but it could hardly last for 7 to 10 days,” he explained.

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