During the first week of May 2000 a work shop on Godavari waters was organized by the BJP at Hyderabad when the Union Minister for Water Resources and the Union Minister for Power accepted in Principle for the transfer of flood waters from the water reach basins of Ganga, Mahanadi and Godavari into the water starved basins of Krishna, Pennar and Cauvery rivers. A representation was made to the Union Minister for Water Resources by the author and an eminent irrigation expert Sri.K.Nageswara Rao on the urgent need for the Central Government to take up and execute the Southern water grid project. The present article is based on the above representation and the discussions held during the workshop.

The basic foundation of Indian economy is agriculture on which more than two thirds of the population depend for their livelihood and two-thirds of the labour force are employed in it.

The significant achievement in agriculture in the post independent India is food self sufficiency which was achieved due to development in irrigation, agricultural research, etc.

Although there was a drought in 1987, there was food production of 135 millions tons of which 50 million tons was due to irrigation under the major reservoirs completed in the post independent era.

Food grains production increased four-fold from 50 million tons in 1950-51 to about 200 million tons today, leading to augmentation of per capita availability of food-grains from 400 to about 500 grams and during the period the land under agriculture rose from 50 to about 128 million hectares.

In 1995 World Watch Institute warned that population rich but land hungry countries like China and India will have to resort to substantial food imports in another 30 years chiefly due to fast decreasing per capita availability of arable land and irrigation water.

Dr.K.L.Rao, advocated one of the alignments for the Ganga-Cauvery link with a few other links including the Brahmaputra and Ganga Link. The 2640km long Ganga-Cauvery link essentially envisaged the withdrawal of 1680 cusecs (60,000 cusecs) of the flood flows of the Ganga near Patna for about 150 days in a year pumping about 1400 cusecs (50,000cusecs) of this water over a head of 549 meters (1800 ft) for transfer to the Peninsular region and utilizing the remaining 280 cusecs (10,000 cusecs) in the Ganga basin itself. The proposal envisaged utilisation of 2.59 million hectare meters of Ganga waters to bring under irrigation and additional area of 4 M.ha Dr.Rao has also proposed a few additional links like (a) Brahmputra – Ganga link to transfer 1800 to 3000 cusecs with a lift of 12 to 15m (b) Link transferring 300 cusecs of Mahanadi waters southwards, (c) Canal from Narmada to Gujarat and Western Rajasthan with a lift of 275 m and (d) links from rivers of Western Ghats towards East. Dr.Rao has estimated his proposals to cost about Rs.12,500 crores. Very roughly at 1995 prices the Ganga-Cauvery link alone would amount to about Rs.70,000 crores (Capital cost) The annual cost including cost of power would be around Rs.30,000 per ha. As further seen, the present NWDA (National Water Development Agency) proposal for inter linking river between Ganga and Cauvery at present prices would cost only around Rs.15,000 per ha. Annually. The proposals were examined by the Central Water Commission and found to be grossly under estimated. It was also observed that the scheme would require large blocks of Power (5 to 7 millions kw) for lifting water. It will also have no flood control benefits. Therefore, the proposal was not pursued as such.

The proposal must be executed in stages by preparing a Master Plan in consultation in the concerned states in North India and south India. At a time when the nation is borrowing money from internal and external sources of a high order equivalent of several billions of rupees. The cost of this project appears to be insignificant when compare to the benefit to be reaped in terms of increased agricultural, productivity, poverty alleviation, industrial growth and food security for the present and immediate future generations. As a sub project of this major link the Mahanadi-Godavari-Krishna-Pennar-Cauvery link projects must be taken up on the lines proposed by the National Water Development Agency.

In order to ensure that the proposed Godavari water utilisation fits into this long term project of linking Ganges with Cauvery the original proposal of building the Inchampalli dam on Godavari with a height of 112.70 meters (see BBC website for details: project needs to be modify by replacing this one dam with two major dams on Godavari one about 30kms downstream and the other at the above same distance upstream of the proposed location of Inchampalli project. The salient features of the scheme are presented hereby comparing different features of the Krishna and Godavari rivers.

S.No.Name of ! Loation Max.flood 75% depend-! 50% depend- Differ-
theRiver! lakhs able Yield ! able yield ence
! cusecs !
1. Krishna       !Vijayawada      12 2060         2310 250
2. Godavari    Inchampalli      30 1550         2500 950
3. Godavari  Dowlaiswaram   34 2860         3730 870
(a)While Krishna is practically fully-used river, Godavari remains unutilized to the tune of about 75%
(b)While the upper states in the case of Krishna clamour naturally for greater share, there is no such a thing in the case of Godavari since there has not been any appreciable activity by the upper states during the last two decades in order to utilize atleast 1000 TMC (Thousand Million Cubic ft.) of their share.
(c)The tables are furnished in the Annexures.


1.When this project is examined in the light of what is stated above, it will be clear that it is an ill-conceived proposal, intended mainly for Hydro-power about 970 MWs, irrigation permitted being quite meager  as per the 1979 agreement Andhra Pradesh can utilize only 85 TMC from the reservoir for irrigation i.e. about 7 lakhs acres of paddy during Kharif on the ground that the tail-race waters are required to take care of the existing Godavari delta as well as the ayacut under the proposed Polavaram Barrage. This stand is incorrect since the water available below Inchampalli is atleast about 900 TMC – 75% dependability at Inchampalli is 1550 against 2860 TMC at Dowlaiswaram – more than enough to take care of the ayacut lower down. As such, all the available water at Inchampalli can be utilized in Telangana.

2.That when about 2000 TMC of precious Godavari waters on an average per year is being wasted into the sea, utilisation of the same even partially to irrigate about 67 lakhs acres in Andhra Pradesh alone – 30 lakhs acres of first crop paddy during Kharif and 25 lakhs acres of irrigated dry during Rabi (total 55 lakhs) in Telangana alone and another 12 lakhs acres of Kharif paddy in Rayalaseema gets prohibited if Inchampalli project is taken up as per the 1979 agreement.

3.As the entire area on the left side of Godavari from Pranahita to Inchampalli lies in the upper states (Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh), involving as much as 60% of the total submersion in those states against 40% in Andhra Pradesh, with no benefits to them, this project at FRL +112.77 meters will not see the light…

4.When there are 2 major reservoirs on Krishna (smaller than Godavari), there must beatleast 2 much bigger reservoirs on Godavari in order to have hydro-power from the upper one and irrigation from the lower one as in the case of Krishna. If Inchampalli is taken up it is not possible to have 2 reservoirs since Inchampalli is only about 33kms below the proposed upper reservoir in line with the ridge between Pranahita and Indravati with FRL +135 meters and about 40 kms upstream of the lower down reservoir above Eturungram with FRL +105 meters.

5.The only advantage at Inchampalli is the visible rocky foundation in the rive bed. Today with earthen dam in the rive proper and the spill-way located at the flanks where rocky strata is available it is not necessary to have rocky foundation in the river bed. In our state itself, spillway is located at the flanks in the case of Somasila reservoir in Nellore district, Yeleru reservoir in East Godavari and the proposed Polavaram barrage, the last storage on Godavari

6.Therefore, viewed from any angle, Inchampalli project not being useful for large scale irrigation in Telangana will have to be abandoned.

1.As irrigation benefits are only in Andhra Pradesh, it is incumbent on the part of Andhra Pradesh to select such alternate sites so that submersion in Andhra Pradesh is maximum and in the upper states minimum.

2.It is incorrect and unfortunate to talk of utilisation of only balance of about 700 TMC out of 1480 TMC allotted to Andhra Pradesh. As Andhra Pradesh is the terminal state, it is at liberty to utilize the remaining water (the term surplus is wrong) which otherwise, is wasted into sea. This part prevention of severe flood damages experienced once in a couple of years is also equally important. The difference between 50% and 75% dependably is as large as 950 TMC against only 260 TMC in the case of Krishna.

3.As copious flows are available only in the 3 months (July, August & September), the flows in October being quite meager can be utilized fully by the upper states even without any large storage. As such, storage t the end of September determines the extent of 1st and 2nd crops. Hence constructions of the largest possible reservoirs is a must in order to utilize Godavari waters effectively.

4.Irrigation in Rayalaseema: As Krishna will be over-used, especially after completion of Alamatti Reservoir etc., various irrigation schemes in Rayalaseema can have assured irrigation only when Krishna delta is fed from Godavari and about 200 TMC thus saved at Srisailam is utilized to irrigate about 12 lakhs acres of paddy during Kharif  there is no scope for irrigated dry during Rabi for obvious reasons

5.As copious flows are available only below the confluence of Pranahita with Godavari only 2 sites are available – upper reservoir in line with the ridge between Pranahita and Indravati with FRL +135 meters and lower one above Eturunagaram with FRL+105 meters the distance between these 2 reservoirs being about 73 kms.

Under the upper reservoir submersion on the left side of Godavari is only in Maharashtra, with maximum submersion to the tune of 70% in Andhra Pradesh. The dam lies in both the states  FRL +135 meters.

Under the lower down reservoir above Eturunagaram, the entire dam lies in Andhra Pradesh only - FRL +105 meters against FRL +112.77 meters a Inchampalli submersion in Madhya Pradesh gets reduced substantially with negligible submersion in Maharashtra  live capacity about 300 TMC. Even at reduced FRL +95 meters as proposed at Inchampalli in order to get immediate sanction, capacity will be about 150 TMC against only 40 TMC at Inchampalli  foundation will be for the ultimate FRL +105 meters.

As the cost of the entire project to bring 67 lakhs acres under irrigation in Andhra Pradesh  55 lakhs in Telangana and 12 lakhs acres in Rayalaseema  is estimated as Rs.37,000 crores it can be taken up only as a National Project financed mainly by the Central Government  about 50% of this can be collected later through betterment levy from the beneficiaries. When this responsibility is taken by the Central Government, about 150 TMC can be diverted from the Godavari to the South during 3 flood months (July, August & September) to get over the acute problem of irrigation under Cauvery, thus benefiting both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. This aspect is quite important in order to facilitate quick sanction.

Remote sensing to ascertain the rocky strata at both the sites and aerial survey preferably in April-May in order to get clear picture, if possible to have 1 meter contours are to be undertaken without delay.

As it is there is Food deficiency to the tune of atleast 20 millions tonnes since about 350 millions below the poverty line do not have necessary purchasing power. Now, in the light of water scarcity forecast in this century and in particular drought conditions forecast from 2001 or so in South East Asia, the picture is quite grim. We may be able to get over one drought year with available 30 million tonnes of storage. If the drought continuous during the subsequent year also, one shudders to even think of the grim picture – such a situation is quite likely since we have had 12 years of more or less normal monsoons.
In the back-ground of the fragile political, economic and social structure what will happen when food –riots break out?
Hence, it is needless to stress that large number of major irrigation cum hydro-power projects should be taken up in order to produce adequate food grains to feed the bulging population as well as to produce electricity renewable, pollution-free and quite cheap)  it is incumbent on the Central Government to provide funds to the tune of atleast Rs.20,000/- crores per year solely for the national projects. Otherwise, India will face famines as in the pre-independence era


S.No. Year To the end of 1st crop Available storage TMC Carry over storage TMC Storage for 2nd crop TMC
Inflows  TMC  Utilisation TMC Balance TMC
1. 1968 1740 1000 740 550 100 450
2. 1969 3050 1000 2050 450 100 350
3. 1970 3600 1000 2600 530 100 430
4. 1971 1330 1000 330 330 100 230
5. 1972 1170 1000 170 170 -- 170
6. 1973 3620 1000 2620 550 100 450
7. 1974 950 950 -- -- -- --
8. 1975 3250 1000 2250 550 100 450
9. 1976 2800 1000 1800 360 100 260
10. 1977 2050 1000 1050 430 100 330
11. 1978 3120 1000 2120 420 100 320
12. 1979 1880 1000 880 490 100 390
13. 1980 2660 1000 1660 390 100 290
14. 1981 2790 1000 1790 550 100 450
15. 1982 1300 1000 300 300 58 250
16. 1983 3920 1000 2920 550 100 450
17. 1984 1150 1000 150 150 -- 150
18. 1985 1370 1000 370 370 100 270
19. 1986 -- 1000 Good year -- -- --
20. 1987 750 750 -- -- -- --
21. 1988 3780 1000 2780 550 100 450
22. 1989 2060 1000 1060 460 100 360
23. 1990 4250 1000 3250 550 100 450
24. 1991 1470 1000 470 300 50 250
25. 1992 2050 1000 1050 380 100 280
26. 1993 1210 1000 210 210 -- 210
27. 1994 3740 1000 2740 520 100 420


S.No. Year JulyTMC AugustTMC SeptemberTMC OctoberTMC Total TMC Total for the yearTMC
1. 1968 290 700 500 250 1740 1900
2. 1969 570 960 1370 150 3050 3200
3. 1970 400 1770 1200 230 3600 3900
4. 1971 170 320 530 310 1330 1560
5. 1972 480 320 310 60 1170 1260
6. 1973 970 1220 630 800 3620 3930
7. 1974 80 520 110 240 950 1100
8. 1975 500 1040 1300 410 3250 3630
9. 1976 860 880 1000 60 2800 2900
10. 1977 470 800 650 130 2050 2300
11. 1978 910 1510 580 120 3120 3450
12. 1979 290 1130 270 190 1880 2240
13. 1980 460 1320 780 100 2660 2880
14. 1981 420 1270 730 370 2790 3000
15. 1982 240 620 300 140 1300 1470
16. 1983 370 1350 1500 700 3920 4170
17. 1984 230 670 150 100 1150 1280
18. 1985 290 670 200 210 1370 1540
19. 1986 -- - -- -- -- --
20. 1987 200 280 200 70 750 860
21. 1988 900 1230 1070 580 3780 3960
22. 1989 640 730 530 160 2060 2220
23. 1990 640 1930 960 720 4250 4830
24. 1991 400 820 170 80 1470 1600
25. 1992 220 1230 520 80 2050 2200
26. 1993 290 440 320 160 1210 1500
27. 1994 1130 960 1430 220 3740 4200


The National Water Development Agency made proposals to transfer surplus waters from Mahanadi and Godavari to the water deficit basins of Krishna, Pennar and Cauvery and the salient features of their objecties and methods of the transfer as follows:

1.To provide terminal storages on Mahanadi and Godvari to transfer a surplus water by gravity and lift to the drought-prone areas of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and other states.

2.To plan for diversion of water from the West flowing rivers of Kerala and the East flowing rivers of Tamil Nadu.

3.To plan for construction of small storage dams and to inter link the rivers flowing on the west coast for transferring water to the East of the Western ghats through small tunnels or mountain passes and thereby augment the water yield in the rivers of the Southern states.

The peninsular water grid enables additional use of about 8.4 million hectare meters (3000 TMC) to benefit Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and other states and provides additional irrigation to over 13 million hecatres (320 lakh acres). The lift will not exceed 120 meters.

The drinking water needs upto 2025 AD must be assessed by using the standard of 70 and 120 liters per head per day per day for rural and urban population respectively and 50litres for livestock. Surplus in Mahanadi is 22000 Mm3 (770 TMC) and Godavari is 28000 Mm3 (1000 TMC) against the present assessment of 11500Mm3(400 TMC) and 15000 Mm3 (530 TMC) respectively.

I.From Manibhadra dam on Mahanadi 8000 Mm3 equivalent to 280 TMC is proposed to be transferred through Mahanadi-Godavari link to deliver 6500 Mm3 (230TMC) into Godavari at Rajahmundry.

II.GODAVARI TO KRISHNA: Surplus in Godavari is calculated at 21500 Mm3 (15000+6500) (760 TMC) and this is proposed for transfer into Krishna through 3 links.

(a)1200 Mm3 (42 TMC) will be diverted through Polavaram-Vijayawada link to supplement needs of the delta.

(b)4370 Mm3 (154 TMC) is proposed to be transferred through Inchampalli-Pulichintala link totake over part of the command under Nagarjuna Sagar left and right bank canals as exchange.

(c)14000 Mm3 (500 TMC) of water is proposed to be discharge into Nagarjuna Sagar reservoir after considering needs of enroute irrigation and transmission losses. The electrical power requirements for lifting the water to Pulichintala and Nagarjuna Sagar will be about 110 MW and 1650 MW respectively.

Out of 14000 Mm3 discharged into Nagarjuna Sagar 12000 Mm3 (420 TMC) is proposed for diversion through Nagarjuna Sagar-Somasila link and the balance is utilized under part command of sagar left canal in exchange. After considering enroute irrigation under Sagar right canal in exchange and irrigation under other canals about 9800 Mm3 (346 TMC) reaches Somasila. Since this link provides water on exchange basis to Sagar canals an equivalent quantity of water may be diverted from Srisailam and Alamatti to other needy areas. 2300 Mm3 (80 TMC) is proposed to be diverted from Srisailam through Srisailam-Prodduturlink to reach the barrage at Proddutur. About 2000 Mm3 (70 TMC) is proposed for diversion from Alamatti through Alamatti-Pennar link to cater for enroute irrigation under Krishna and Pennar basins.

About 9500 Mm3 (335 TMC) of water is proposed to be transferred through Pennar-Cauvery link into Grand Anicut deducting for enroute irrigation and Madras water supply about 5000Mm3 (176 TMC) will reach Grand Anicut and out of this water about 3000 Mm3 (106 TMC) will be used in Cauvery delta.

Out of 5000Mm3 reaching Upper Anicut, about 2000 Mm3 (70 TMC) is proposed to be diverted through Cauvery-Vaigai link for utilization in Cauvery, Vaigai and other stream in between Vaigai and Vaippar.

Peninsular link project from Mahanadi to Cauvery costs Rs.50,000 crores for main works and additional amount of Rs.30,000 crores will be needed for branchcanals, field channels.

Out of total forests cover depletion since 1947 about 12% can be attributed to Reservoir projects. About 2.5 Mha. is affected by water-logging 3.0 M.ha by soil salinity and 0.25 Mha. by alkalinity in irrigation command areas in India. For hydro power storages, evaporation losses amount to1.0m to 1.5m per year and it is estimated at 10 to 15 percent of the storage. For hydro-power projects like Koyna, Sharavathi, Supa etc., there is West-ward diversion of water into sea and such consumptive use presently is 35 billion cum. and it will reach 100 billion cum with further development of hydro-power projects in future. Large reservoirs like Manibhadra on Mahanadi (49 meters high) Inchampalli on Godavari(41 meters high) and Polavaram on Godavari (23 meters high) are essential components and they involve submergence of the following:
S.No. Reservoir Forests Cultivated Population
(ha) Land (ha) affected (Nos)
1. Manibhadra 9,828 9,500 79,000
2. Inchampalli 21,734 37,742 1,00,000
3. Polavaram 3,887 43,158 1,10,000

Note: Submersion and Rehabilitation problems can be reduced by suitable lowering the height of the dams and consequently increasing the pumping rates and capacities of the canals.