Barrages would prevent Polavaram dam from being an economic and environmental disaster : Analysis reveal

An analysis/study on the Polavaram dam project and the need for barrages to prevent submersion of villages and help in inland water navigation of sea going vessels
12 Jan 2010
0 mins read

 Prof.T.Shivaji Rao,

Director, Centre for Environmental Studies,

Gitam University, Visakhapatnam.

Historical Developments: Initially the Polavaram project was proposed as a storage reservoir with FRL at +150ft  with a water storage of about 150TMC in 1941.  Subsequently many changes were made and in 1948 it emerged as Rampada Sagar dam with FRL at +208ft. with water storage of 836  TMC including 150 MW of hydro-power generation at an estimated cost of 129 crores (at 1948 rates) This scheme was abandoned because it was too costly and was bristled with foundation and construction problems.  Subsequently several expert committees were appointed by the Government of India to study the problems of Godavari water utilisation.  These committees under the Chairmanship of  Dr.A.N. Khosla (1953), Mr.Gulhati (1963) and Mr.A.C.Mitra  (1965) suggested to the state Government to build a barrage at Polavaram for improving the irrigation facilities and also to divert Godavari flood water into Krishna river. the Bachawat Tribunal, Andhra Pradesh filed a Report of Polavaram Barrage Scheme,( June 1970.)  The scheme consists of a barrage across the river Godavari with two canals; one taking off on the right up to Krishna river and the other on the left up to Vizag port.  It was to be located at Polavaram which is situated 25 miles above Dowlaishwaram anicut and 175 miles downstream of Inchampalli Reservoir.  The project also contemplated generation of power and navigation in the river and canal etc. The FRL of the barrage as given inthis Report is +145ft and minimum pond level +45ft.  The full supply level of the left bank canal is proposed to be +137ft and that of the right bankcanal+138ft.

Andhra Pradesh submitted another report called Polavaram Project Volume I, May 1978 (Exhibit APG-360).  This project envisages

“Head Works”: The head work  consist of an earth-cum-rockfill dam across the main river with spillways on the right flank and power-cum-river sluices block on the left flank as detailed below:

(i) The earth-cum-rockfill dam with a maximum height of 48.77 (16 0ft) and a crest length of 1555 m (5100ft) involving a total quantity of 7.3 M.Cum

(ii) Two spillways  on the right flank saddle controlled by 50 Nos of radial gates each +15.24m x 12.80 m (50ft x 42ft) with a flood lift of 4.3m (14 ft) for the peak designed flood of 0.102 M.cum.(3.6 million cusecs).

(iii) A concrete gravity dam on the left flank with power house and river sluices

The earth dam is about 35.05m(115ft) height above the average river bed and 48.77m (160ft) above the deepest bed level f the river, which is stated to be necessary for diverting the required quantity of water into the canals which proposed to irrigate vast areas on both the flanks. The MDDL and FRL stated to be required are RL +44.20m (+145ft) and RL +45.72m (+150ft) respectively.  The lake proposed to be formed by the dam has a waterspread of 552.63 (213 sq.miles) at FRL +45.72m and a gross capacity of 5665 M.cum (192TMC) The storage available between the minimum draw-down level and FRL (44.20 to 45.72m) is only 800 M.cum (28.31 TMC).

Polavaram project with an earth-cum-rockfill dam  is proposed for irrigating 7.2 lakh acres.  The project proposes to divert 80 TMC of water into Krishna basin out of which 35 TMC will be given to Karnataka and Maharashtra free of cost.  About 25TMC of water will be provided for industrial and drinking water supply to Visakhapatnam city.  960 MW of hydro-power is expected to be produced.  The project report was furnished to the Central Water Commission in 1983 and detailed project report again submitted in 1987 including the revised report in 2000.  A comprehensive report submitted to Central Water Commission in June 2005 and the “inprinciple consent” was issued by Central Water Commission on 28-9-2005.  The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests gave site clearance on 19-9-2005 and the Environmental clearance on 25-10-2005.

2. Bachawat Tribunal and its Conditional Award:  In order to enable clearance for the Polavaram project, anagreement was entered into in 1978 by the 3 states of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa regarding an FRL/MWL of +150ft on the condition that the back water curve due to the project during floods should not exceed +150ft above mean sea level.  Ultimately the agreement was revised on 2-4-1980 and it was accepted by the tribunal on 3-4-1980 and the Government of India accepted this agreement. 

 According to paragraph 80 on page-26 of the Final Order of the Bachawat Tribunal clause-VI deals with Polavaram dam and is reproduced here.


1)   In accordance with the statement dated the 3rd April, 1980 submitted on-behalf of the Government of India, annexed hereto and marked Annexure “H” (See below for details), we direct that --

(i) the Polavaram Project shall be cleared by the Central Water Commission as expeditiously as possible for FRL/MWL +150ft;

(ii) the matter of design of the dam and its operation schedule is left to the Central Water Commission which it shall decide keeping in view all the Agreements between the parties, including the Agreement dated the 2nd April 1980(see below for Details) as far as practicable; and

(iii) if there is to be any change in the operation schedule as indicated in the Agreement dated the 2nd April, 1980  it shall be made only after consultation with the states of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.  The design aspects shall, however, be left entirely to the Central Water Commission.

2)The State of Andhra Pradesh shall observe all safeguards including the safeguards mentioned in sub-clause (1) above regarding the Polavaram project, as directed by the Central Water Commission.


ANNEXURE-H (Para-163 of  Page 65 of the Bachawat Tribunal Report)

Statement submitted by Counsel for the Government of India in the Ministry of Energy and Irrigation (Department of Irrigation) and the Central Water Commission.

The Government of India in the Ministry of Energy & Irrigation   (Department of Irrigation) and the Central Water Commission are willing to submit to the following order by the Tribunal:

The Polavaram Project shall be cleared by the Central Water Commission as expeditiously as possible for FRL/MWL. 150ft.

The matter of design of the dam and its operation schedule shall be left to the Central Water Commission, which they shall decide keeping in view all the Agreements between the parties, including the Agreement of 2nd April 1980 filed to day as far as practicable..

 ( For details see below Annexure-G , Para-163 of page-63 of Bachawat Report)   ..

If there is to be any change in the operation schedule as indicated in the Agreement of 2nd April, 1980 it shall be made only after consultation with the  states of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.  The design aspects shall, however, be left entirely to the Central Water Commission.



3-4-1980                                                          Counsel for the Department of Irrigation

And Central Water Commission.

ANNEXURE-G (Para-163 of page 63 of Bachawat Tribunal Report)

Agreement dated the 2nd April, 1980 between the States of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.

To enable clearance of Polavaram Project, the following is agreed to:                                

(1)The Polavaram Project spillway shall be designed for a flood discharging capacity  of 36 (thirty six) lakh cusecs at pond level of RL +140ft (One hundred and forty)  and not less than 20 (twenty) lakh cusecs at pond level of RL +130ft (One hundred and thirty).” 

(2) The pond level shall not be kept higher than RL+145ft (One hundred and forty five) in the month of June if the inflow into the Polavaram reservoir exceeds 3 (three) lakh cusecs”. ………etc.,[continued]

In order to protect the interests of the people, their lands and property above +150ft level in Chattisgarh and Orissa likely to be affected by inundation floods including backwater effects due to Polavaram necessary protective embankments with adequate drainage sluices shall be constructed and maintained at the cost of the Polavaram project.  However the upper states may exercise an option to demand compensation instead of protective embankment works and the compensation for any damage or injury as estimated by the District Collectors of the upper states will be paid by the A.P.State.

The agreement deals with protective embankments with adequate drainage sluice gates to protect lands and villages likely to be submerged above FRL +150ft in Orissa and Chattisgarh along with alternative for the states to opt for compensation for the purpose. 

HURDLES DUE TO DELAY OF THE PROJECT:Firstly new obstacles to the project arose due to abnormal delay in the execution of the Polavaram project since 1980.  If the project was commenced before 1994  the new regulations for Environmental clearance for the project under Environmental protection Act 1986 would not have become a source of obstruction for the smooth completion of the project.  Secondly with the passage of time for 30 years  since 1980 extensive deforestation occurred in the catchment area of Godavari with the result the soil was degraded and substantial forest cover disappeared and it resulted in increased levels of extreme floods from the original level of 36 lakh cusecs to 50 lakh cusecs in Godavari river.  Consequently the old spillway design became redundant and the original conditions of the Bachawat Award became out of date and hence Orissa and Chattisgarh are pleading that Bachawat Tribunal Award has become invalid and hence the Polavaram project is objected by both the states since the increased peak flood is going to result in far higher levels of submersion in Motu and Konta taluks of Orissa and Chattisgarh. 

 3. Faulty design of the spillway and design flood:  The Polavaram project was designed in 1980s and as updated in 2005 has adopted the Probable Maximum Flood of 36 lakh cusecs for design of the spillway and these designs were not accepted by the Central Water Commission (CWC)  which originally accepted the design spillway flood of 36 lakhs cusecs on the premise that the Polavaram project was presented as a barrage to the Central Water Commission in the initial stages.   When Godavari experienced high floods of about 28 lakh cusecs and caused devastating inundation resulting in submersion of about 370 villages in Andhra Pradesh, the CWC opened its eyes to the changed realities of deforestation and global warming that lead to accelerated flooding they made a fresh assessment of the Probabale Maximum Flood (PMF) and estimated it as 49.5 lakh cusecs or 50 lakhs cusecs.  Consequently CWC directed the AP State Government to revise the Polavaram project designs to handle 50 lakh cusecs flood  for its spillway.  Infact the PMF of 50 lakh cusecs estimated by CWC for Polavaram project is highly underestimated because the experts of the National Institute of Hydrology (a research wing of Union Ministry of Water Resources) employed an inflow design flood of 170,000 cumecs (equivalent to about 60 lakh cusecs)for preparing the Dam Break Analysis report at the request of the AP State Government  which had to submit this report to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for obtaining the Environmental clearance.   According to the peak flood estimates made for several major rivers in the world  by International experts like Prof.L.Berga, Chairman of ICOLD committee on Dams and Floods.   The Polavaram dam  will experience an extreme  flood of 70 to 83 lakh cusecs as per the envelope curve prepared by international Dam experts.In fact Dr.K.L.Rao who studied the problems of Polavaram for decades stated that Polavaram project will not work due to poor spillway design as can be seen from the web site:

 4. Incomplete Dam break analysis:  The dam break analysis for Polavaram project is an essential component of the environmental impact Assessment report to be submitted by the AP State Government to the Union Government for obtaining the environmental clearance for the project and the Environmental Protection Act 1986 for preparing this report the AP State Government paid huge sums of money towards consultation charges to the National Institute of Hydrology at Roorkee in 1999.  The experts prepared the report according to International Standards and submitted the same to the Government of Andhra Pradesh through the Environmental Protection Training and Research Institute (EPTRI) which was under the control of the AP State Government.  This dam break analysis report clearly establish that if the dam were to collapse for one reason or the other the peak flood  that will flow out of the dam will be more than  2,00,000 cumecs equivalent to more than 70 lakh cusecs at a distance of 30 km in the neighbourhood of the major cities like Rajahmundry and Kovvuru which will be under flood water at an elevation of about 35m.  Unfortunately this dam analysis report was not  prepared in a logical way to extend the impact of this large scale flood waters until they join the Bay of Bengal by  inundating thousands of villages, a few townships and extensive fertile lands for about 100 kms distance.    This dam break analysis report clearly shows that the risk is very high amounting to several thousands of crores of rupees and such a scenario should have induced the AP state Government engineers to design the Polavaram dam for the Probable Maximum Flood and not for a limited design flood of 36 lakh cusecs.  Based upon this incomplete report a highly erroneous Environmental Impact Assessment report was submitted to the Union Government  which did not get the reports examined thoroughly to know whether it is beneficial to the nation or it will result in economic ruination of the country including the killing of about half a million people downstream of the dam in the most fertile delta districts of East and West Godavari.  (pages 103-107)


5. Disaster Management Plans ignored: According to the schedule under the Environmental Impact Assessment report the AP state Government has to submit the dam break analysis report and the devastating inundation impact scenarios downstream of the dam by indicating what levels of floods at different times of arrivals will present  a wall of flood water that will engulf the lives of thousand of people in different village, towns and cities in East Godavari and West Godavari districts.  Vast stretches of fertile agriculture fields will be inundated along with collapse of lakhs of houses of poor people including the death of lakhs of cattle.  In order to safeguard the interest the people and their properties the state Government has to prepare emergency response systems and evacuate all the villages and towns likely to be flooded at different points of time after the dam break and rehabilitate the potential victims in safe places.  The emergency response system has not been prepared on similar lines as followed in other countries like USA as per example in the case of the Horsetooth reservoir dam burst scenario and emergency response system as presented in the website.  

6. Improper rehabilitation and Resettlement programs:  The AP State Government has to submit the details on rehabilitation and resettlement programmes for the Polavaram project as per the schedule under EIA report proforma as contained in the website:

Unfortunately the AP state Government did not prepare the rehabilitation schemes by properly identifying the places likely to be submerged due to Polavaram dam construction and its back water afflux.  The state Government used a peak flood of 36 lakh cusecs which is incorrect for preparation of the maps to show the areas likely to be inundated.  The Central Water Commission also belatedly directed the State Government to adopt a Probable Maximum flood of 50 lakh cuses for the design of the spillway for the Polavaram project.  According to the Narmada water dispute tribunal award the back water levels have to be calculated by using the maximum water level in the reservoir for the Probable Maximum flood used for the design of the dam.  Since the AP state Government did not follow this procedure  the rehabilitation and resettlement schemes prepared for Polavaram project become highly underestimated and the expenditure involved is also underestimated and hence the costs of the R&R scheme are not properly reflected in the cost estimates of the project which fail to make a proper cost estimate ratio.


Only in September,2006,the Central water commission [CWC]Changed the maximum flood from 36 to 50 lakhs cusecs  for Polavaram spillway design and hence Orissa is objecting to Polavaram as the crucial conditions on peak flood changed and  hence Bachawat Tribunal Award becomes  out of date and illegal and void as the revised peak flood causes extensive flooding of villages and lands in Motu taluk of Orissa located in a highly fertile tribal belt.

Moreover, A.P. state has not revised the Back water Levels to correspond to the revision of peak floods from 36 to 50 lakhs. Central Water Commission is unknowingly denying the right to life of hundreds of tribals who will face avoidable submersion due to back water afflux from FRL/MWL of +150 ft. for Polavaram Dam project[If it is a Barrage with +100 ft., it is safe The Central water commission is unknowingly playing with the lives of tribals by not making Back Water afflux calculations as per standard norms fixed by Narmada Tribunal Award as in the case of Sardar Sarovar project . This mistake is committed by basin states and CWC is highly unacceptable to the victims. To illustrate this wrong being done by the CWC, one can see below two relevant proofs.
They consist of two parts. The first part deals with the directions given by the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal on Rehabilitation and Resettlement schemes to be prepared by the states on the basis of the Back water levels to be fixed by the central water commission on the basis of using the highest floods relevant to  the     maximum level of Water in the project Reservoir. This basic exercise is not done in time by CWC and it is incorrect to wink at such wrong calculations furnished by the project proponents of Gujarat based on under-estimated floods.  Orissa state Government is preparing scientific arguments to protect the interests of tribals of Orissa from the avoidable submersion due to Polavaram project which can be redesigned  as a barrage for the good of the people of the state and the country at large.


 NARMADA WATER DISPUTE TRIBUNAL AWARD ON LAND ACQUISITION  for Rehabilitation & Resettlement of people likely to face Submersion   (Back Water Levels for submersible areas upstream to be fixed by (CWC) based on Highest Floods due to MWL of SARDAR SAROVAR PROJECT)

Under the above web site,at the End,you have 3 menus for being clicked for more information and for the purpose ,click on the following item.
"Extracts related to R & R from NWDT award" and you will get the following web site  –[1979] and it gives you the following

CLAUSE XI. - Directions Regarding Submergence, Land Acquisition  And Rehabilitation of Displaced Persons.

SUB-CLAUSE I. - Definitions.

1(1): "Land" The expression "land" shall have the same meaning as defined in the Land

Acquisition Act, 1894

1(2): "Oustee" An 'oustee' shall mean any person who since at least one year prior to the

date of publication of the notification under Section 4 of the Act,

1(3): "Family"A family shall include husband, wife and minor children and other persons dependent on the head of the family, e.g. widowed mother.

 SUB-CLAUSE II. - Lands Which Are To Be Compulsorily Acquired.

II(1) :All Lands below FRL: Madhya Pradesh [M.P]and Maharashtra shall acquire for under Land Acquisition Act, all lands below the FRL+138. m (455') of Sardar Sarovar

II(2) All Buildings Between FRL and BWL:: M.P.and Maharashtra shall also acquire under L.A.Act , all buildings between FRL + 138. m (455') and MWL + 141 m (460') as also those affected by the backwater effect resulting from MWL +141. M (460').

II (3) Back Water Levels for Highest Flood from MWL: The Backwater level at the highest flood level in Sardar Sarovar shall be worked out by the Central Water Commission in consultation with Madhya Pradesh

 PART-II  Expert Committee of Union Environment Ministry Faults R & R schemes Of Sardar Sarovar project as violative of Narmada Tribunal Directives: TheHindu,Apr,2009.

 13 February 2009


The Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India vide O.M. No. 3-87/80-IA-I, dated 09.7.2008 superseded by O.M. of even number dated 02-09-2008 has constituted a Committee for assessment of survey/ studies/planning and implementation the plans on environmental safeguard measures for Sardar Sarovar & Indira Sagar Project. One of the time bound tasks is to assess the work relating to mitigation of impacts generated by raising of the piers and overhead bridge of Sardar Sarovar Project.

(A) The Report on the revised Back Water Levels calculations as submitted by NCA is not acceptable as it violates the NWDTA on following accounts:
(i) Firstly, because the award directed that calculations of Back Water Levels be done resulting from the Maximum Water Level of 140.21 meter (460 feet) at Sardar Sarovar dam. However, the computation for Back Water Levels by the NCA (June 2008) has been done with the maximum level of 137.17 meter at the dam site.
(ii) Secondly, the Back Water Levels calculations are to be carried out by the Central Water Commission (CWC) as per the award and not by a sub-committee of the NCA even if one member in the sub-committee is from CWC as has been done in the instant case.
(iii) Thirdly, since the dam is already designed and constructed for discharging the highest flood (30.7 Lakh cusecs), calculations of Back Water Levels corresponding to the observed flood of 24.5 Lakh cusecs (reduced to 16.9 Lakh cusecs upon routing) are not applicable.

(iv) As per the award of NWDT and stipulations of clearances (environment, forests and investment) accorded to the project by the Central Government, the E & R planning needed a higher level of flood protection. Thus the use of outflow of moderated flood from ISP of 10 Lakh cusecs for determining of BWL by the NCA sub committee is unsafe for planning of R&R and environmental issues as the rehabilitation and environmental safeguard measures have to be complied with respect to submergence caused by Back Water of highest flood.

(B) The revised Back Water Levels calculations of NCA has many technical infirmities as indicated below:

(i) The report has used the highest flood at SSP to be 24 Lakh cusecs which is lower than 24.5 Lakh cusecs worked out for a return period of 100 Years. The highest flood for spillway design has to be the probable maximum flood for a dam of this size for a return of 10,000 years as specified under CWC guideline.

7. Command area – more than two-thirds is already irrigated by the sources:    Only less than about one lakh ha. of new land will be irrigated under Polavaram project because  out of     7.2 lakh acres originally proposed for irrigation under  Polavaram dam, about  4.7 lakh acres is  actually irrigated under the New lift  irrigation schemes of  Pushkaram (1.86 lakh acres), Tadipudi (60,000acres), Chagalnadu (32,000acres) and old schemes of Yeleru project, wells,Bore-wells and tank irrigation as per field data  obtained by Dr.Bhiksham (See pages 69-82 in the following website.) and other experts as indicated in the appendix. below

Moreover other experts state that due to proposed industrialization and urbanization under the left bank canal in between the port cities of Kakinada and Visakhapatnam about 30,000 acres will become unavailable for irrigation.  Other experts who worked in the field emphasize that 70% of the land under the right bank canals  is already irrigated by means of wells, bore wells, tanks and canals and indicated in the following websites.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          



PAPER-1:  Analysis of the Inter-basin Water Transfer Scheme in India:A Case Study of the Godavari–Krishna Link

Luna Bharati1, B.K. Anand2, and Vladmir Smakhtin1

1 International Water Management Institute, Sri Lanka

2 Consultant, Bangalore

The planned Polavaram Dam is to have a live storage of 2,130 MCM. The annual total water use is, however, estimated to be 8,000 MCM. Since the planned storage is small in comparison to the water use, run-of–the–river flows will be utilized to ensure the expected benefits of the project. Thus the project will function more as a barrage combined with limited storage use. The project also includes a hydropower component (GOI 1999). It has been estimated that the proposed reservoir will submerge around 63,000 ha of land, which at present hosts 250 villages with a total population of 145,000 (Census 1991; GOI 1999; GOI 2006).

The government feasibility report states that the total cultivable area of the Polavaram link canal is 139,740 ha. Of this area, 71 % (99,755 ha) is irrigated by bore wells, tanks and open head channels taking off from the river, and the balance 29 % (39,985 ha) is non-irrigated  (GOI 1999). An independent survey conducted by Bhaduri et al. (2007) in the Polavaram area to assess the irrigation benefits, showed that these figures are outdated and that 95 % of the cultivated area in the link command area is under irrigation at present. Table 1 shows the different sources of irrigation in the link command area. Bhaduri et al. (2007) indicate that all cultivable area is irrigated and the remaining 5 % that is not irrigated is not under cultivation.

Therefore, the assumption that 39,985 ha of new irrigated area will develop due to the link canal is overestimated, as the existing Sir Arthur Cotton Barrage in the Godavari, the Prakasham  Barrage in the Krishna, and lift irrigation from the main river channel, all supply surface water to the Deltas. Therefore, most of the ‘new area’, which according to the feasibility study is to be brought  under irrigation, already is being irrigated with groundwater and water from either tanks or canals. Table 1 shows that currently 84 % of the command area is irrigated with groundwater and 9 % by canals (Bhaduri et al. 2007).

The letters in brackets correspond to locations in Figure 1 .Location of the link:

1= Upstream of the proposed Polavaram Reservoir including the submergence area,

2 = Downstream of the Polavaram Project area,

3= Command area of the link canal,

4 = Outside the command area of the link canal.

Category A = the command area for the link canal; Category B = mandals upstream of the link command area; Category C = the area submerged by the proposed reservoir; Category D = mandals upstream of the proposed Polavaram Reservoir; and Category E = the mandals downstream of the link canal command area. Locations A and C will be directly affected by the project. Locations B, D, and E will be indirectly affected by the project


The Polavaram – Vijayawada link canal takes-off from stilling basin proposed at the end of right side tunnel with a starting FSL of 40.232 m and runs for 174 km before joining Budameru river upstream of the existing regulator near Velagaleru village near Vijayawada. The water meant for diversion into Krishna river then pass through the existing Budameru Diversion Channel and join Krishna river about 8 km upstream of Prakasam barrage. The FSL of the canal at the tail end is 27.965 m. The link canal irrigates the cultivable and commandable lands lying between its alignment and the existing Eluru canals in Godavari and Krishna Delta systems. The total culturable command area of the Polavaram - Vijayawada link is 139740 ha. After deducting 7.5% towards watercourses, etc., the net irrigable area comes to 129259 ha. Out of this, an area of 121232 ha is commanded by gravity while 8027 ha is by a lift of 23 m. Out of the total CCA under Polavaram - Vijayawada link canal, 99755 ha is irrigated by bore wells, tanks and open head channels taking off from the river courses and 4032 ha is covered by dry lands presently under rainfed cultivation. There is an un-irrigated area of 35953 ha

The source wise irrigation details in the command area are given in the following Table.  21.16% of the irrigated area is served by open head channels, 20.45% by tanks and 43.38% by wells and the balance 15.01% by other sources.

8. Cost-benefit analysis works strongly against the project:  The cost benefit analysis for Polavaram project has been worked out by various individual experts and the AP State Government and for the Right bank canal the National Water Development Agency also presented the cost benefit ratio.  Among the experts Dr.Bhiksham presented the analysis which indicates that the project costs by far exceed the benefits as indicated in pages 69 to 82 of the following website:

Dr.Subrahmanyam , expert in economics from the Centre for Economics and social studies, Hyderabad presented detailed cost benefit analysis in pages 113 to 122 of the above website and this presentation also establishes hat the benefit cost ratio claimed by the state Government cannot be achieved.

According to another International expert Sri.T.Hanumantha Rao, former Engineer-in-Chief in Government Andhra Pradesh the cost of the proposed dam project will be very high when compared with the proposed barrages whose cost will be quite low.

On the basis of cost of Kanthalapally Barrage prepared in details in 2008-09 as Rs.880 crores, the cost of three barrages can be estimated at 4000 crores. Asa comparison the cost of Polavaram spillway and rock filled dam (2004-05 rates) was only 1627 crores including the surplus course.  Selection of locations of barrages will have to be done to get economic designs.  For example cost of alternate barrage at Polavaram was estimated as Rs.3000 crores.  This is almost double the cost of Dam & Spill Way. Whereas it should be only a fraction of this.

Assuming the R&R costs (to be worked out as per actual submersions), would be Rs.1500 crores (for the alternative proposal of much lesser submersion) and the cost of the canals and distribution system as Rs.3500 crores (some as in dam proposal) the irrigation component of that of the project (for the alternative proposals) would work out to Rs.9,000 crores. The total irrigation component for the “Dam” proposal would work out to Rs.18,700 crores (Rs.6700 crores for dam, spillway and power block-civil)+Rs,6500 crores (revised)  for R+R+Rs.3500 crores for canal and Rs.2000 crores for appurtenant works and connections.  On the basis of ayacut considered as 2.5 lakhs acres, the per acre cost of the alternative proposal would be Rs.3,60,000/- per acre (Rs.9,000 crore/2.5 lakhs acres) and that of the “Dam”proposal would be Rs.7,48,000/- per acre. Thus, the benefit cost ratio for the alternative proposal would be 2.07 times of that of the “Dam” proposal.

 9. Manipulated environmental and other clearances make the project illegal:  The environmental clearance for the Polavaram project was based on the environmental impact assessment report prepared in 2005. This Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report does not contain the compressive report on dam break analysis as prepared by the experts of the National Institute of Hydrology at Roorkee which is a research wing of the Union Ministry of Water Resources since this report presents a very alarmistic dam collapse scenario the project should have been given up as a reservoir but should have been changed into a multiple barrages project .  In fact the Environmental Impact Assessment report requires a presentation of alternative schemes for achieving the same economic goals as proposed by the dam.  Unfortunately these alternatives have not been presented  and even the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests did not exercise their right to obtain this relevant information from the sponsors of the project. Moreover EIA report was prepared on the basis of the Probable Maximum Flood of 36 lakh cusecs which is a serious underestimate for a massive catchment area of a major river like Godavari.  In view of the enormous floods received in Godavari in  August 2006  the Central Water Commission opened their eyes and made realistic calculations for estimating the Probable Maximum Flood and placed it at 49.5 lakh cusecs or 50 lakh cusecs. Since the Environmental clearance for the project was already obtained based on 36 lakh cusecs flood the calculations made for dam break analysis and for demarcation of backwater levels for identifying the areas of submersion in the upstream of the dam will be highly unrealistic and consequently the estimated cost of the project would be underestimated. By furnishing wrong information and without conducting public hearing on the EIA report in the areas likely to be submerged in Motu and Konta taluks of Orissa and Chattisgarh, the Environmental clearance obtained cannot be strictly considered to be legal.  Further the AP State Government submitted a second EIA report estimated at Rs.600 crores for construction of embankments to protect the areas likely tos be submerged in the Sileru and Sabari catchments in Orissa for a length of about 30km  and even for this project also there was no public hearing conducted in the upper states and the state Government has not taken the consents of the upper states for construction of these embankments.  Thus the clearances taken for this project from the various Ministries of the Union Government such as Water Resources, and Tribal Affairs and Planning Commission are based upon a misleading and incomplete environmental   clearance obtained from the Union Ministry of Environment.

10. Legal aspects – Precautionary principle – law of comparative consequences: Whenever legal judgments are to be pronounced on the acceptability or rejection of any development projects including irrigation projects an environmental impact assessment including the social impact assessments have to be made and if there are grey areas regarding the environmental backlashes on crucial natural resources conservation including species of plants, animals and human beings a decision has to be based on the precautionary principle which has been accepted by the world nations at the Rio-De-Janeiro conference on Human environment (1992).  One of the reputed Judges of the Supreme court of New South Wales, Australia , Justice Paul Stein gave his considered opinion on how to take decisions on projects intended for sustainable development. (Quoted from Environmental Law Review Journal of UK Volume-2, 2000)

Use Of The Precautionary Principle For Development Projects

Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration states:

“In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by states according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation”.

In the Australian context definition adopted in legislation has been:

“Where there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation. In the application of the precautionary principle, public and private decisions should be guided by:

(i) careful evaluation to avoid, wherever practicable, serious or irreversible damage to theenvironment; and

(ii) an assessment of the risk-weighted consequences of various options”.

The precautionary principle has the potential for positive gains for the environment and national development  if applied appropriately by decision-makers. Along with the principles of ecologically sustainable development (ESD), this principle has the capacity to be a key tool for  environmental protection and even improvement. The converse of the non-application of this precautionary principle, where the circumstances demand it, can surely lead to an irreversible deterioration in the environment and loss of ecosystems and human environmental assets.

To deal with some cases of application of this principle we can quote the “ Pakistani case of Zia v WAPDA in which the State Authority was constructing an electrical grid station in a residential area.  The petitioners, local residents alleged that the electromagnetic field created by the high voltage transmission lines would pose a serious health hazard. Article 9 of the Pakistani Constitution states that ‘no person shall be deprived of life or liberty save in accordance with law’.  Article 14 of the constitution  provides that ‘the dignity of man and the privacy of the home shall be inviolable’. Article 184(3) provides for public interest litigation. Where the ‘life’ of citizens is degraded, the quality of life is adversely affected and health hazards are created, affecting a large number of people, the Supreme Court may grant relief to the extent of issuing injunctions on factories which create and promote environmental degradation. The Court held that existing scientific evidence regarding the possibility of adverse biological effects on people from exposure, as well as the possibility of reducing or eliminating such effects, was inconclusive. In responding to such scientific uncertainty the Court applied the precautionary principle for the benefit of the public.

In another case of Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board v Nayudu,  the Supreme Court of India considered a petition claiming that certain hazardous industries proposed to be established without the necessary certificate from the Pollution Control Board could not proceed to operate such polluting industries . M. Jagannadha Rao J elaborated the difficulties faced by environmental courts in dealing with scientific data. He quoted articles by Lords Woolf and Carnworth on the desirability of specialist environmental courts. In particular, his Honour discussed the status and application of the precautionary principle.

His Honour said:

“The ‘uncertainty’ of scientific proof and its changing frontiers from time to time has led to great changes in environment concepts during the period between the Stockholm Conference of 1972 and the Rio Conference of 1992. In Vellore Citizens’ Welfare Forum v Union of India and others, 1995 (5) SCC 647, a three Judge Bench of this Court referred to these changes, to the ‘precautionary principle’ and the new concept of ‘burden of proof’ in environmental matters.”

Kuldip Singh J after quoting  the principles evolved in various international Conferences and to the concept of ‘Sustainable Development’, asserted that the Precautionary Principle, the Polluter-Pays Principle and the special concept of Onus of Proof have now emerged and govern the law in India too, as is clear from Articles 47, 48-A and 51-A(g) of Indian Constitution . . .

The Court also elaborated on  the issue of burden of proof in cases involving the application of the precautionary principle: “ The precautionary principle suggested that where there is an identifiable risk of serious or irreversible harm, including, for example, extinction of species, widespread toxic pollution in major threats to essential ecological processes, it may be appropriate to place the burden of proof on the person or entity proposing the activity that is potentially harmful to the environment.”

 Freestone, Legal Expert of the World Bank recognizes the emergence of the precautionary  principle as one of the most important developments of the new era. The precautionary principle has become part of international customary law. How the rhetoric of the principle can be operationalised is one of the challenges for the first decade of the 21st century.  This precautionary principle is not absolute nor extreme in its scope. It does not halt development  until the science is clear. But it changes  the underlying presumption from freedom of exploitation to one of conservation. One thing is clear—the precautionary principle is here to stay, with or without legislative support.  However Decision-makers and courts will not be able to avoid it or merely pay lip-service to it. Surely the courts will be required to review its application and attempt to apply it. Courts have to evaluate the principle and its place in environmental decision-making and particularly with regard to major irrigation projects whose viability is questioned in public interest.

In the Polavaram project the scientific and technical experts of the Union Ministry of Water Resources located in the National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee clearly stated in their report that several dams have collapsed and if the proposed earth and rockfill dam at Polavaram were to fail for one reason or the other the consequential wall of flood water will wipe out of existing thousands of people living downstream of the dam.  Hence there is sufficient scientific proof  and the precautionary principle has to be applied in this case and alternate methods of achieving the same economic goals can be obtained by converting the killer Polavaram dam into multiple barrages which are safe and beneficial. 

Law of Comparative Consequences: In the United States whenever there is a conflict in decision making with regard to a major development projects a comprehensive environmental impact analysis report is prepared including emergency response systems and disaster management systems.  After considering the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed project a decision is ultimately taken on the basis of the law of comparative consequences.  If expert “X” presents a particular  view that the positive contributions of the project work out to certain amount of costs  and expert “Y” presents another view involving the disastrous consequence of the project resulting in negative impacts of the project amounting to certain amount of costs,  then the decision makers will consider both points of view.  The decision makers compare the relative costs of implementation of the project and non-implementation of project and  ultimately decide on the choice which presents least cost to the community.  Otherwise a modified project which can achieve more or less the same economic goals of development will be taken up in the interests of ensuring sustainable development of the community on the plea that development also forms part of the Right to life and Right to livelihood as the project not only provides employment potential but also secures economic and social development resulting in a better quality of life.  In this context the people of India in general and the people of Andhra Pradesh in particular must weigh the costs and benefits of the proposals made by the State Government for construction of Polavaram dam and alternate proposals of constructing multiple barrages in place of the dam.

 12. Alternate barrages to the dam make the project safe & beneficial to the people: In view of the economic and environmental backlashes of the proposed Polavaram dam project  the people Andhra Pradesh and India must debate about all the above problems pertaining to the project and discharge their duties to protect the public health and environmental resources of the country as per article 51 A(g) of the constitution of India. 

Mahatma Gandhi said in 1947 after putting Mr.Nehru in the seat of the Prime Minister of India “Today I call Nehru as the Uncrowned King of India and he is a human being.  To err is human.  If  Mr.Nehru as Prime Minister commit some errors in the course of conducting administrative work his mistakes have to be corrected in public interest and for promoting a social welfare state.  In such a case his ministers will not come forward to correct his mistakes and his officials also will not dare to come forward to correct such mistakes.  In such a case who will correct his mistakes, Mahatma Gandhi asked the people before him.  When nobody came forward to answer. He told them in unmistaken terms “You, the people of India are the are the bosses in democracy and eternal vigilance is the price you have to pay for the democracy.  Hence all of you must come forward to commit the mistakes of the Prime Minister failing which you become unfit to be treated as responsible citizens of this great social welfare state.”. Even Mrs. Indira Gandhi wanted the people of India to protect the environmental under article 51 A(g) of the constitution of India.  I commend the alternative proposal of  barrages at Polavaram in place of the killer Polavaram dam as proposed by an eminent irrigation expert Shri.T.Hanumantha Rao  as presented in the following website.

In exercise of this power the author demands that as an environmentalist interested in ensuring development without destruction  and in promoting sustainable development the proposed Polavaram dam must be immediately changed into a multiple barrages project which will be safe economical and eco-friendly.



Former Engineer-in-Chief, Government of Andhra Pradesh and

 United Nations (OPS) consultant

                    (Proposals first appeared in Eenadu, A Telugu News Paper, Dt. 5-1-2008)

1. Introduction:  The recent peak flood, that occurred during the first week of October 2009, in the river Krishna has given a clear indication of  what the maximum peak discharges in the Indian rivers would be in the future.  Though the effects of global warming are not clearly established in physical terms, scientists (after analyzing the existing data)  had concluded that the peak flood discharges in the Indian Peninsular rivers, Krishna and Godavari would be increasing in the future. The peak flood flow in Krishna river  on 3-10-2009, is reported to be 25.5 lakh cusecs and this is nearly 2.5 times than the peak flood of 10.6 lakh cusecs ever occurred in the past 100 years.  If the same phenomenon is predicted to the Godavari river at Polavaram Dam, certain startling issues would emerge.  The  maximum flood discharge ever occurred in Godavari river during the past 100 years, was 33 lakh cusecs and the Polavaram Dam was designed for 36 lakh cusecs.  The Central Water Commission had determined the Possible Maximum Flood (PMF) as 50 lakh cusecs and the dam spillway was redesigned accordingly.  The recent floods in the Krishna river had created a scare in the minds of engineers and policy makers as to what would happen to Polavaram earthen (rockfill) Dam if such a 2.5 times increase in flood flow, namely 83 lakh cusecs occurs in the Godavari river.  The dam break analysis done by the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) from Polavaram to Rajahmundry and by other scientists from Rajahmundry to the sea, indicated that when a peak flood of 50 lakh cusecs occurs in the river and the dam breaks, Rajahmundry area would be under 40 feet of water.  This would lead to the death of 46.15 lakh people (2001 census) in the Godavari Delta.  Such a global tragedy in waiting, should be avoided at all costs.  The 2.5 times increase in Krishna floods at Srisailam, has resulted only in a few hundred deaths, whereas the same increase in Godavari floods at Polavaram would result in a major catastrophe of a gigantic scale  Now a question arises – is it not possible to avoid all these risks and yet realize the same benefits of the Polavaram Dam through suitable technical alternatives, which do not result in huge submersions of villages, agriculture lands, forests etc.  Fortunately the answer is yes, in the case of Polavaram Dam.  A study of latest thinking in the world on this subject would be relevant.
   2. Big storage:  The consensus of opinion evolved during the past decade of various international for a (including the World Water Forum), where engineers, environmentalists, social scientists and economists meet, favoured the entire river length to be developed as a continuous series of stepped reservoirs, limiting the  water submersion tos the peak flood flow section of the river.  Big storage reservoirs will have to be considred, only in special cases, such as flood storage (to prevent serious damages) carry over storages to meet drinking water requirements during drought years, and special hydro electric locations where adverse environmental impacts would be a maximum   Live storage in Polavaram Dam is 75 TMC, but it submerges 293 villages, over 1 lakh acres land 3731 hectares of forest land all resulting in displacing about 1.6 lakh people.  All these can be avoided if a barrage is constructed in place of the dam.  Let us examine how the barrage proposal an give all the benefits envisaged in the dam proposal.  It has to be understood that this alternative is suggested only for the dam and not the project as such. In fact this barrage proposal aims at increasing the benefits of the project without causing submersion of villages.  There is no doubt that Polavaram Project is very much needed for the development of all the regions in Andhra Pradesh.
  1. Details of barrage:  The barrage suggested in place of Polavaram Dam would be similar to the one existing   at Dowlaiswaram across the Godavari river.  It would be designed in such a manner that the upstream water level at the barrage will be the same, as the water level on downstream of the barrage, irrespective of the flood discharge – whether it is 20 lakh cusecs or 33 lakh cusecs or 50 lakh cusecs.  The vent way of gates of barrage will be increased to correspond to the river flow cross section area during the maximum flood, by extending its length into the flanks and providing smooth approaches and the whole process will be determined by hydraulic model studies.  In other words the ‘afflux’ would be limited to near zero, for all river discharges, eliminating the need for flood banks on the upstream side of barrage.  It is reported that a water level o 100ft above MSL was recorded at Polavaram, during 1986 when the recorded maximum flood at Dowlaiswaram was 33 lakh cusecs;  This water level will not get increased to a higher level even though the barrage is constructed.  Whatever natural submersion that will occur for a river discharge of either 33 lakh cusecs flow or 50 lakh cusecs flow will continue to occur and will not get increased even after the barrage is constructed.   In other words, there will be no additional submersion due to the barrage, and the entire flow will be limited to the high flood zone section of the river.  Some tribals have occupied certain places in the high flood zone area and are now residing there.  During high floods, they would vacate their houses and move to the higher areas, and again get back within a  few hours or days when once the floods recede. But when the barrage is constructed, the high flood zone will be filled with water for a few months and hence they will have to be rehabilitated.  The cost of this relief and rehabilitation will be negligibly small.  In this proposal, there is no question of submersion of the 293 villages, forest areas, lands etc as in the dam proposal, and hence the construction of protective dyke walls in Orissa and Chattisgarh does not arise.  Salient features of the barrage are briefly explained.  
  2. Salient Features: 
    • Upstream and downstream water levels with 33 lakhs cusecs = 100ft (30.48m) above MSL.
    • Sill level of spillway gates = 40ft (14m) i.e. bed level of river.
    • Height of spillway gates +54ft (16.5m)
    • Top level of gates  = 100 ft (30.48m)
    • Top level of bridge on spillway = 3m free board from water level when 50 lakh cusecs flood flows through the gates.
    • Maximum Observed Flood in 100 years = 33 lakh cusecs
    • Possible Maximum Flood (PMF)  = 50 lakhcusecs.  Provision is made in the design of gates for PMF exceeding 50 lakh cusecs also.
    • Storage in barrage upto top level of gates  = 30 TMC
    • Ayacut:  2,50,000 acres. Originally 7,20,000 acres ayacut was contemplated.  But, this got  reduced to 2,50,000 acres due to the actual availability at site.  As per the studies conducted by scientists of an International Organization (WWF), it was revealed that more than 4,70,000 acres within the ayacut area of the project, is already under irrigation through a) several major lift irrigation projects about to be completed, (e.g. Tatipudi, Pushkaram, Chagalnadu), b) Minor irrigation tanks completed   (c ) private ground water tube/dug wells  d) public tube well projects built by the State Irrigation Department Corporation, etc.  To think that the ayacut under Polavaram project would still be 7,20,000 acres is a myth and it would therefore be wrong to proceed on this basis.
    • Canals:  Gravity flow canals with FSL at 95ft an be planned on either side of the barrage.  But this would involve in excavation of new canals.  New gravity canals would need additional land acquisitions and capital costs over and above the amount of about Rs.2000 crores already spent on the two canals.  Though it is technically possible to divert 80 TMC  from Godavari to Krishna river at point just upstream of Prakasam Barrage (as against Budameru through the left canal under construction) it may ultimately be economical to use the canals now under construction, rather then excavating new gravity canals.  In such a case water will have to be lifted from 95ft level in the river to 133ft level of the annals. For a discharge of 12,00 cusecs (required for 2.5lakh acres, diversion of 80 TMC water to river Krishna etc.) and a static head of 38ft. (11.6 m) it would require 54MW and this can be met out of the 350MW hydro power that would be generated in the barrage.
    • Hydropower:  The Central Electricity Authority was holding a view that it would be possible to generate about 720MW hydropower in Polavaram dam as against 960MW proposed by the State Government.  On account of constructing a barrage (instead of the dam), the hydro power component, would get reduced to 360 MW.  However, this can be improved to 1260 MW by constructing three barrages on the upstream side – one near Bhadrachalam, second near Kunavaram on the Godavari river and the Third across the Sabari river.  All these barrages will have submersions within the high flood zone of the river and no village/forest/lands will get submerged.  Thus, 540 MW more hydro power can be generated through these 4 barrages proposed, as alternative to the Polavaram dam.
    • Water Requirements:  Polavaram dam envisages a live storage of 75 TMC and for the sake of this, a huge submersion problem is being faced.  Incidentally, this live storage gets filled up in 8.5 hrs when the flood is 25 lakh cusecs.  Since the ayacut area got reduced from 7.2 lakh acres  to 2.5 lakh acres, there is no need to have any storage for the Polavaram project.  Just as the run of the river system at Dowlaiswaram is able to supply water for more than 10 lakh acres, the alternative barrage at Polavaram can easily irrigate 2.5 lakh acres as a run of the river system.  This is possible because, the cropping pattern is only for one crop and that too in the Kharif rainy season when there will be adequate flows in the river.  All other benefits that are envisaged in the Polavaram dam proposal can still be achieved through this barrage proposal. For example the inter basin  transfer of Godavari water to river Krishna to an extent of 80 TMC can be drawn during the rainy period of four months when there will be adequate flows in Godavari.  Drinking water and industrial water requirements throughout the year (24 TMC) can be met with, through the 30 TMC storage available in the barrage. If for any reason at a later date, storage of water is needed for the project an utilizable storage of 80 TMC would still be available in these four barrages as against the urilizable live storage of 75 TMC in the Polavaram Dam. The only main difference in the barrage proposal is that water has to be lifted from the barrage to canals over a static head of 11.6M   The same  canals can also be utilized for carrying additional discharges (during the rainy season) to meet the requirements of further lift irrigation projects (Uttara Kosta Sujala Sravathi) on the left and right main canals.  In such a case additional pumping units will have to be installed in future,  at the barrage site, to pump this additional water for a static head of 11.6m.
  1. Costs:   The latest estimated cost of Polavaram Dam (without canals) is stated to be as 16,500 crores, out of which Rs.10,000 crores would be for spillway, rock fill dam and Hydropower civil works plus Rs.6,500 crores for Relief & Rehabilitation (R&R) of displaced persons.  On the basis of the recent estimate for the barrage at Kantalapalli on Godavari river (Rs.880 crores) the cost  of the above mentioned four barrages can be estimated as Rs.6000 including the capital cost of pumping at Polavaram barrage. Thus the alternative proposal would lead to a saving of about Rs.10,500 crores apart from having the facility of quick execution and completion of the project much earlier than the Dam proposal.  Added to this there will be no interstate or submersion problems.  More importantly there is no risk of “dam break”  of the earthen (rock fill ) dam  threatening the lives of 46,15,000 people, which cannot be ruled out as a figment of imagination in the light of recent floods in Krishna river (when 2.5 times the maximum flood occurred).  When all the benefits of Polavaram Dam project could be achieved through the barrages at less than one third of the cost and without submersions it requires a revised thinking on this project, especially in the revised context of the magnitude of the peak floods. 
  2. Interstate problems:  The barrages proposal will have no interstate problems with Orissa and Chattisgarh states, as there will be no submersion in those states when the alternative barrage proposal is implemented.  If the past experience with the Orissa state regarding Vamsadhara stage II and Janjhavati dam is any guide (stalling the projects for over 2 decades), it will not be prudent to assume that they will allow construction of Polavaram dam since it involves submersion of about 20 villages in their states. 
  3. Inland water navigation for seagoing vessels:  The entire length of Godavari river will have to be converted into a series of continuous stepped reservoirs, one below the other by constructing a number of barrages, all along the rive.  The author termed this as “Step Ladder Technology” about a decade back.  Sufficient draft (depth of water) will be maintained all along the river, even in summer, to facilitate sea going vessels (ships upto 3000T capacity) to ply in the river.  This would be similar to St.Laurence river seaway (7 barrages), Tennessee (9 barrages) river Illinois (9 barrages), Missouri (10 barrages) and Mississippi river (27 barrages) in USA.  The entire Godavari river will be a storage reservoir with submersions limited to the high flood zone of the river.  A ship load of coal from Singareni can go to any Indian seaport like Tuticorin, Haldia, Mumbai etc and also directly to any other foreign country.  This is also called as Green Technology.  Similarly ships from other countries can ply in the Godavari river and reach any place all along the river.  Villages and towns along the river will get international connectivity as happened in the cases of US, Europe(Rhine-Danube linkage) and China (from the Pacific sea to Chungking through the 3 Gorges dam).  This will facilitate development of major and minor industries duly utilizing the mineral and human resources in the area.  Employment throughout the year is possible through navigation, Industries including mass mineral based units (e.g. coal, cement).  Water required for these units as well as hydropower can be made available to these units.  Any raw materials imported can be done at a cheap transport cost.  Likewise goods (including manufactured goods) can be transported to other places (including international) at a cheap transport cost.  Ultimately Andhra Pradesh can develop economically like parts of China, withstanding international competition by producing goods at competitive rates.  More important is the employment generation to the youth in this navigation and allied sectors and the disposable incomes generated, boosting the economy of the area, (through several chain reactions of development).  The economic development of US and Europe in the mid Twentieth Century can be attributed to this navigation associated sectors, where nearly 70% of the workforce is employed, whereas only 15% of work force was employed in the agriculture and irrigation sectors.  Through Irrigation is important for food security, many people still think that eradication of poverty can be done by irrigating every acre of arable land.  All the irrigation projects in Andhra Pradesh are being executed for raising one assured irrigated crop during the rainy season.  This will give employment to the landless labour for about 90 days in a year.  They will have to go out to seek employment for the balance 9 months in a year.  This is the reason why poverty still continues among the landless labour (who constitute 50% of rural population) in the Krishna and Godavari deltas inspite of every acre in that area being irrigated.

In the case of Godavari river, inland water navigation for sea going vessels can be made possible through construction of 11 barrages as shown in the map in the vicinities of 1. Pedda Bellala, 2. Yellampalli, 3. Chinnur, 4 Suraram, 5. Kantalapalli, 6. Edira, 7. Dummagudem, 8. Bhadrachalam, 9. Koonavaram, 10. Sabari  and 11. Polavaram.  Out of this the items 2, 5 and 7 are now under construction.  Items 8, 9, 10 and 11 will form part of Polavaram Dam alternative plan  as described above, under the para 5 ‘Costs’.  Thus there will be a need to construct additionally four barrages (items 1,3,4 and 6).  There may also be a need for a few more barrages for navigation and this can be determined after a detailed investigation.  The cost of the above 4 additional barrages, locks and hydropower (about Rs.6,000 crores) can be met out of the savings of Rs.10,500 crores (as mentioned above in para 5 ‘Costs’).  Grants available in the Inland Water Navigation sector in Government of India, can also be utilized for this navigation requirement as well as other works such as developing inland water ports, rail and road connectivity to such ports, construction of wharfs, godowns, warehouses, purchase of loading and unloading equipment (cranes) extensionof power lines etc.  Also there is a possibility by considering all the above development project as a “National Project”.  This is the stage when Andhra Pradesh will have to plan for total economic development all along the Godavari basin, revolving round the water sector, rather than limiting all the development only to one irrigation sector.


Design details 

1.  Discharges in canals (left & right) in Kharif season:-

      (a) Ayacut (Total)  = 2.5 lakh acres @ a duty of 75 ac/cusec

           Discharge =  2,50,000/75  = 3333 cusecs

      (b) Krishna diversion in 120 days  = 80 TMC

            Q in 1 day   = 80/120  = 2/3 TMC

             @ 1 TMC / day discharge  = 11,574 c/s

              2/3 /day discharge  = 11,574 x 2/3 = 7,716 cusecs

      (c ) Domestic & Industrial water

             365 days    = 24 TMC

                  1 day     = 24/365    Q = 24/365 x 11574 = 761 cusecs

            Therefore  Total discharges in both the canals = a+b+c  = 11810 cusecs

                                                                         Or 11810/35.316 =  334.5 cumecs    

(Note : During non Kharif season, there will be pumping only for item (c ) requirement)

2. HP of pump sets required for both left andright canals: FSL Left canal =40.54 m

     Water level in barrage (allowing 1.0 m lower level) = 29.48;

     Therefore Static head = 11.06m

      Adding frictional losses @ 10%  = 1.10, Total head = 12.16m

     HP = 334.5 x 1000 x 12.16   100 ( eff. Of motor 95% x ef. pump

                                75                    76           80%   = 76%

     = 71,360 HP  or 71360 x 0.746  = 53235 KW  or 54 MW

3.Four additional balancing reservoirs can be constructed infuture, on each, on Pampa, Thandavar, Varaha and Sarada rivers to store about 24 TMC for future domestic and industrial uses.  These reservoirs can be fed through the left canal by pumping additional discharges (as part of a future project).



(Contentions raised by AP State Government experts on the article on Polavaram project without submersion by Sri.T.Hanumantha Rao and the clarifications thereon)

Question No.1: It is contended that Storage at the alternate low barrage site at Polavaram would be 22.8 TMC with FLR 100ft and out of this only 5 TMC can be used.

Answer: As per the area capacity tables, storage at 100’ level is 36 TMC and out of this 35 TMC can be utilized for pumping into canals, during the non flood season.  There will be a slight reduction in this due to locations of U/s barrages.  It is possible to utilize 33 TMC

Question No.2: It is contended that due to siltation, utilization of water and useful storages in barrages will be reduced.

Answer: The proposed barrages are not like others, where sill levels of weirs are raised (like Prakasam and Cotton Barrages) to facilitate supply of water to canals.  In such cases siltation will occur.  The alternate barrages will have sill levels at bed levels and the regime of the river U/S and D/s is not disturned.  The vent way would be equal the river cross section and the flows would be as per the open-channel flow hydraulics and not as per the weir flow hydraulics.  (Ref: Ven Te Chou) The water profile levels will be same as with or without a barrage.  Thus the river section will be the same (i.e. with same bed levels) with or without a barrage.  In other words, there will be  no bed load sedimentation due to the barrage.  The colloidal clay settlement in the pond due to long storage will be washed down as turbid water during the next floods.

Question No.3: It is contended that the Total storage in 4 barrages will be 53 TMC and only 33.5 TMC out of this can be utilized.

Answer: As explained in item2, the  full storages in the U/s barrages upto the bed level namely 35 TMC can be utilized without any limitations of Minimum Draw Down Level (MDDL) with skillful selection of sites, approximate FRLs and Limiting submersions it is possible to get maximum storage at a place in between Bhadrachalam and Kunavaram and another on Shabari.  Thus the total useful storage of 75TMC can be obtained only in  3 barrages.  (33+23+19) (e.g. Storage at Kanthalapally=22.5TMC)

Question No.4: It is contended that cost of barrages would be Rs.9,000 crores.

Answer: On the basis of cost of Kanthalapally Barrage prepared in details in 2008-09 as Rs.880 crores, the cost of three barrages can be estimated at 4000 crores. As a comparison the cost of Polavaram spillway and rock filled dam (2004-05 rates) was only 1627 crores including the surplus course.  Selection of locations of barrages will have to be done to get economic designs.  For example cost of alternate barrage at Polavaram was estimated as Rs.3000 crores.  This is almost double the cost of Dam & Spill Way. Whereas it should be only a fraction of this.

Question No.5: It is contended that as against 277 villages submersion in Polavaram dam, 128villages will get submerged under the barrages

Answer:  According to the submersion area tables ofPolavaram Dam 30 villages will get submerged with FRL @ 100ft.  This includes a portion of the submerged areas under the upstream barrages also.  Another 30 additional villages may get submerged under the two upstream barrages.  The exact details will have to be worked out based on submergence area 1m interval contour map and the FRL s selected for the upstream barrages. The upstream barrages should have dykes in continuation of barrages such that the upstream floods may not submerge the Down Stream Areas.

Question No.6: It is contended that power production in the 4 barrages will be 271 MW

Answer: Power production contemplated at the Dummagudem barrage is 310MW.  On the basis of this of this it is possible to produce about 960MW at the three barrages.  However details have been worked out by GENCO.  If there is any reduction, this will be only a disadvantage of the alternative proposals, and this has to be viewed against all other major advantages mentioned in my paper (especially eliminating dam break costing 46.15 lakh lives, limiting submergence of villages to 1/4th reduction of cost, early completion, navigation of sea going vessels etc.

Question No.7: It is contended that there will be 7.1 lakh acres under Polavaram dam and not 2.5 lakh acres.

Answer:  WWF officials have made a realistic study of existing irrigated areas, Mandal wise in the command area and came to a conclusion that only 85,330 ha. (2.1 lakh acres) are available for irrigation.  (Vide book on Perspectives of Polavaram).  This is said to be due to apart irrigation under Tatipudi  and Pushkaram L.I. Projects , Yelur project, Minor irrigation, GW (Public & Private) etc., there is no need to give irrigation to areas already under irrigation through G.W. Minor Irrigation tanks and L.I.Projects.  There is a need to reconcile the figures of the Government and WWF Officials.  A  much lesser storage than 75 TMC  (As per the dam proposal) would be able to meet the requirements of the Ayacut. GW &LI projects would need power and under this plea, it would not be prudent to abandon the existing infrastructure & supply water to these areas with gravity flow canals from Polavaram dam.

Question No.8: It is contended that Orissa Government will oppose the alternative design.

Answer: In fact they would welcome this, since there is no back water curve effect (due to storage or obstruction of flow ).  During the floods the whole length of river, flows to sea without any obstruction or storage anywhere.  Also no villages in Orissa areas will get submerged.

Question No.9: It is contended that there is no navigation facilities for sea going vessels down stream of Dowlaiswaram and hence the same need not be provided on the upstream of Polavaram dam.

Answers:  Two or three barrages will have to be constructed downstream of Dowlaiswaram upto the sea to facilitate the navigation of sea going vesseles.  This will be similar to what has already been done in St.Lawrence River (USA) where 7 navigation barrages were constructed from the starting of river (Lake Ontario) to the sea.  The cost of these barrages will go to the Navigation Budget and not the irrigation budget.



 Question No.1 on Polavaram Ayacut : While AP state Government experts assert that Polavaram project irrigates an ayacut of 7.2 lakh acres independent engineering experts challenge the claim by stating that the project command area is already getting irrigated by other projects and hence Polavaram project provides irrigation to less than 2.5 lakh acres only.  What is the correct position?

Answer:  Andhra Pradesh Government proposals envisages an ayacut of 7.2 lakhs acres to be fed by the left and right main canals by gravity.  Dr.Bhiksham gujja, Scientist, WWF and others, after a detailed study f the ayacut mandal-wise, determined that not more than 2.5 lakhs acres ayacut is available (for gravity flow), since more than 4.7 lakhs acres are already covered under various other irrigation sources (vide, chapter9 “Perspectives on Polavaram”) These irrigation sources are:

  • Pushkaram and Tadipudi Lift Irrigation (LI) projects which are having 2 lakhs acres under the gravity command of Polavaram canals (and 1.92 lakh acres outside the command).
  • Yeleru project ayacut (Gravity flow) = 0.67 lakh acres
  • Minor irrigation tanks, public (IDC) tube wells, private tube wells, flowing wells (artesian) dug wells and others having more than 2.1 lakh acres in command.

Their report concludes that after deleting the above ayacuts, the remaining area to be irrigated  under Polavaram canals by gravity will not be more than 2.5 lakhs acres.  This is a very strong point for re-examining the whole Polavaram project proposals.  The state Government will have to reconcile these figures in the interest of the state, instead of sticking on to the figure of 7.2 lakh acres. The avowed reasons for considering the ayacuts as 7.2 lakhs acres and how they are not valid are discussed below.

The AP State  Engineers are arguing on the various aspects of project as follows:

  • “Pumpsets  for lifting water from Godavari river to Pushkaram and Tadipudi main canals will be disbanded and their ayacut of 2 lakhs acres will be fed from Polavaram main canals, thus avoiding the pumping costs from Godavari.  These pump sets will be used elsewhere and the main canals of the LI projects will serve as part of the distribution system”.
  • “Minor irrigation tanks do not have assured water supplies and for this reason, it is preferable to supply to this ayacut also from Polavaram Canals”.
  • Yeleru gravity flow ayacut of 67,000 acres will be tagged on to Polavaram gravity canals, as this ayacut lies within command of Polavaram Left Canal”.
  • “For pumping ground water through tube wells, dug wells etc., it requires electric power and to avoid this, it is preferable to supply water to this ayacut also from Polavaram canals”.

A brief study is needed to examine the technical, financial and administrative aspects of the above issues. How far the above contentions are tenable and valid are discussed:

A) Pushkaram and Thatipudi LI Projects:

o       he average static head of pumping from Godavari river is 18m and with frictional losses, the total head would work out to about 20m, when compared to the Devadula LI project (on the same river Godavari, now under construction), the static head is 275m (from Gangavaram river site to station Ghanapur) and with frictional losses along the long pumping mains, the total head would then work out to about 400m.  The pumping head for Pushkaram and Tadipudi LI projects will be about 5% of that of Devadula LI projects and therefore, the power consumption for these two LI project would be rather insignificant, when compared to the other major lift irrigation projects on the same Godavari river.  To scrap both these LI projects, on the plea of power consumption would not be prudent for the following  financial reasons:

o       Elsewhere in the state, lift irrigation schemes are not scrapped when gravity flow is found possible through another project taken up later on. These two LI projects are of major category (not Minor or Medium) and also huge amounts are even now being spent on them to lift water and irrigate.

o       The two lift irrigation projects Pushkaram and Tatipudi cannot be considered as temporary works till Polavaram project takes shape, since all the component works are permanent and form durable assets.  These are unlike temporary structures like Coffer dams (dismantled later on) dewatering pumpsets (removed after construction is over)Assuming that the pumpsets of the LI projects would be dismantled and used elsewhere, the civil works constructed such as intake well, approach channel, pump house, mains etc. would all go waste.

o       The contention that the main canals of these two LI projects would be used as a part of the distribution system is not technically sound. The main canals of the two LI projects are contour canals, running parallel and very close to the Polavaram main canals.  They need not be operated when once the Polavaram main canals function and hence, they would become redundant.  A distribution system comprises of branch canals, taking off from main canals at an angle (or perpendicular) to the main canal, and runs along ridge lines.  Similarly majors/minors take off from Branch canals and distributaries take off from minors, forming the entire distribution system. In this scenario, the main canals of the two LI projects would have no role in the distribution system, when once the Polavaram canals take this role.  Thus the amount spent on these main canals including the cross masonry works, structures etc would all go waste.

o       Lift for the two LI projects cannot be entirely avoided, even if their ayacut is tagged on to Polavaram canals.  1.92 lakhs acres of ayacut, will have to be served by lifting only, as the same cannot be commanded by gravity by the Polavaram canals. The extra lift if these LI projects are continued, is only at Godavari river, which is relatively minor as discussed above. On the plea of avoiding this lift, it is not financially advisable to allow all the huge expenditures incurred on civil works (canals, structures etc.) to go waste.  Also, it would not be administratively acceptable, since large private lands were already acquired to build these engineering works.

Yeleru: Ayacutdars  of 67,000 acres are not willing to tag on to Polavaram ayacut, since they get water for only one crop from Polavaram canals, whereas, they are now getting water for two crops under Yeleru project.  Thus there is no need to supply water to this ayacut of 67,000 acres from Polavaram canals.

Minor Irigation (MI) Tanks:  The ayacuts under minor irrigation (MI) tanks is included under Polavaram canals while calculating its ayacut as 7.2 lakh acres.  This seems to have been done on the plea that this ayacut is not having assured water supply, there is no precedent for such a procedure in AP while localizing the ayacut under Sri Rama Sagar Project (SRSP) the ayacut under minor irrigation tanks was excluded.  The same was the case with Nagarjuna Sagar and other projects.  Polavaram project ayacut area is having much better rainfall than the SRSP ayacut, and hence the water resources for the tanks in this area, are more assured than the other projects.  On the Principle that no area should be served simultaneously by two separate and independent sources, the ayacut under MI tanks will have to be deleted from the Polavaram project.  The procedures followed in the other major irrigation projects in the state, will have to be followed in this project also.

Tube Wells, dug wells etc.,: Ayacuts irrigated under these sources are also included under Polavaram project.  This is said to be for the reason of avoiding pumping costs and electricity consumption.   Ground water can be utilized only by pumping and this can therefore never be avoided.  In fact the Polavaram project report contemplates and encourages the usage of ground water, as a measure of utilization of total water resources in that area.  Such usage of ground water is also contemplated in the National water policy, relating to conjunctive utilization of ground water with surface water.  It would therefore be a retrograde step to scrap these ground water extraction devises and provide water to these areas from Polavaram canals.  It is thus necessary to delete the areas served by ground water, from the Polavaram project Ayacut, and also encourage further usage of ground water in the ayacut (as proposed in the project report).  When all the areas ( mentioned above) are deleted, the Ayacut under Polavaram project gets reduced to less than 2.5 lakh acres as mentioned in the article of Dr.Bhiksham Gujja  The project proposals including the extent of storage of water needed at Head works, discharge capacity of main canals and distribution system, will all get reduced significantly, as the ayacut is reduced to one third i.e. from 7.2 lakh acres to 2.5 lakh acres. This means redesigning the project as per the existing realities.  The reservoir working tables will also have to be revised and correct and realistic storage required will have to be worked out.

Question No.2 on impacts on Godavari delta: If the proposed Polavaram dam is replaced by multiple barrages Godavari delta irrigation system will suffer due to water scarcity in Godavari  river.  Is it true?


A)    No Water Scarcity due to alternate proposal:  There are apprehensions (as seen in the print media reports) that Godavari Delta will not get adequate water if the alternative proposals are implemented. It is in fact the other way round.  Since the ayacut of Polavaram project is getting reduced from 7.2 lakh acres to 2.5 lakh acres, (in the alternative proposals),  the Godavari Delta will get more water than what is contemplated under the Polavaram dam proposal (now about to be constructed).  This is more so when the same extent of live storage of 75 TMC would be made available in the proposed three barrages. 

B)     Possible dam collapse kills lakhs of people in the delta: The risk of dam break is not imaginary and when this occurs, the lives of 46.15 lakh people living in the Godavari delta and surroundings would be endangered.  All the while there was a thinking that when the dam is constructed strongly, it will never break, and hence this risk is imaginary. In this context, it would be relevant to study the huge flood that occurred in river Krishna (an immediate neighbouring catchment of Godavari river) recently in October 2009.  As against the maximum ever occurred flood of 9.5 lakh cusecs (in the past 100 years) at Srisailam (and corresponding maximum discharge of 10.6 lakh cusecs at Vijayawada Barrage), a flood of 25.5 lakh cusecs had occurred at Srisailam during this year in October 2009.  This is 2.7 times more than the ever observed maximum flood.  If a similar flood occurs in river Godavari which is quite likely in the future, the discharge in the river would be 89 lakh cusecs (i.e.2.7 x 33 lakh observed maximum flood in Godavari river).  Such a possibility is very much real and not a figment of imagination, as it already occurred similarly in the Krishna river recently.  Climatologists who are watching “global warming” say that peak floods in Godavari river would increase in the future.  Meteorologists and hydrologists have similar views and hence caution is needed.  Though the Polavaram dam and spillway are designed for a Possible Maximum Flood (PMF) of 50 lakh cases, when a flood much larger than this occurs, water levels in the reservoir would rise above the Full Reservoir Level (FRL) of 45.72m, and may overflow over the dam causing erosion and ultimate breach of the earth cum rock fill dam.  Also any increase in water level above the FRL of 45.72would encroach on the free board and the same is not permissible in the case of earth-cum-rock fill dams.  This is because the wave action and the wave run up on the slopes of earth dam would cause spilling and erosion leading to a breach. The stability of the earth dam will get endangered when water levels rise above FRL.

It is good to start construction of Polavaram earthen dam with a firm conviction that it would be built very strongly and would never break due to any quality reasons.  If the recent experiences on the earthen dam constructed in the state are any guide one cannot be so sure of this conviction.  Infact, all the earth dams will be constructed only with such convictions.  But we see different results all over the world.

C)    Actual cases of Dam collapses: The Earthen dams of two medium irrigation projects (namely Gundlavagu project and Palemvagu project) constructed during the past four years in the state, have breached even without the designed maximum flood occurring. There are innumerable similar examples of dam breaks throughout the world.  The recent one in India was the Morvi Earth dam (Gujarat) breach, which killed about 15,000 people.  Earthen dams can also break due to reasons other than quality. That is why the recent international recommendation is to avoid as far as possible, construction of earthen dams in the close vicinity of thickly populated areas. Polavaram earthen dam sits just upstream of  an extremely thick populated area.

D)    Water storage in the dam provides incremental floods: There is an argument that when a flood of 89 lakh cusecs occurs in the river, the areas on either side of the Godavari river will any way get flooded (with or without the dam), and the population will get effected since the protective flood banks are designed only for a maximum discharge of 36 lakh cusecs  But there is a difference between a dam break and a natural flood increase.  In the case of a Polavaram dam break, the stored water of 194 TMC along with the huge flood of 89 lakh cusecs will flow down below as a gigantic wave, similar to the Tsunami wave.  People will have no time to leave their habitats.  If such a break occurs during the nights, 46.15 lakh people will have a watery grave within some hours of occurring of the dam break. With regard to natural occurrence of 89 lakh cusecs, this would occurs gradually over a number of days and people will have time to observe the same, vacate their habitations and move to the designated higher grounds.  It has happened similarly in Krishna Delta during the extraordinary floods that occurred in Krishna river in October 2009.  In other words the increase in water levels does not happened suddenly in a few hours (unlike the dam burst wave)

E)     Alternate Proposals ensures safety for people and their lands:  This alternative proposal is suggested primarily in the interest of population residing in the Godavari delta, especially in the light of the recent occurrence f Krishna huge flood of 2.7 times the ever observed maximum flood. As a matter of fact, this alternative proposal will have to be strongly favoured by the Godavari delta people instead of opposing it, since this gives all the benefits of the earlier “Dam proposal” without any risk to their lives in future.  This apprehension may be due to information gap about the alternative proposal.  In the case of the alternative barrage proposal the huge incoming flood of 89 lakh cusecs will pass down the structure, as it is without any obstruction, and hence there is no need to do any “dam break analysis” (as there is no dam).

Question No.3 on Navigation facilities: If the Polavaram dam is replaced by a barrage navigation will be adversely effected. Is it true?

Answer: The present Polavaram dam design provides for a small navigation canal, going in a tunnel and is suitable only for small boats and launches.  It is not suitable for sea going ships, which is possible only in the case of the low barrage alternative proposal.

Question No.4 on National Project status:  If the proposed Polavaram dam project is modified Union Government will not take it up as a National Project.  Is it true?

Answer: National Project status is for the project and not for the design.  Such a status will facilitate flow of funds from the centre and this is a facility to reduce the financial burden on the state.  The design can be altered at any time when it is felt that there are advantages.  As such the barrage proposal is not a hindrance in obtaining National Project status.   It is argued that if the design is changed now, it will take time to get clearances from the centre and thus the project work will get delayed. Actually, there is no progress on construction of the dam during the past four years and the work is about to begin now.  Construction of a barrage in place of the dam would take about ½ to 1/3 time when compared to the dam.  Thus even though it may take a few months to obtain the required technical clearances for the alternative proposal, the barrage can be constructed much earlier than the dam.  Also this proposal will be welcomed by the upstream states (Orissa and Chattisgarh) as there would be no submersion in their states, as against submersions in the dam proposals.

Question No.5 on storage capacity: What are the impacts of the change of the dam with a storage of 75 TMC into a barrage?

Answer: Siltation, cost of barrages, submersion of villages, hydro power generation of alternative proposals.  These aspects are discussed in the tabular statement and the main paper. The calculations made by the Government and reported in the print media are wrongly made out and they are not in accordance with the alternative proposals suggested by the author.  For example, the author suggested only three low barrages including the one at Polavaram and not four barrages.  As explained in this statement there will be no reduction in hydro power and water storage, if the proposals are worked out as per my suggestions.  The cost of the project will get reduced and the number of villages (submerged will get significantly reduced (to about one-fourth of the dam proposal),if the alternative proposals are properly calculated as suggested, duly selecting economic sites for construction of barrages.

Question No.6 on costs of pumping: Will the annual costs of pumping change if the Polavaram dam is replaced by the barrages?

Answer: Annual cost of pumping water in the alternate proposals: It is reported in the media that this works out to Rs.100 crore per year.  This does not reflect a correct understanding of the authors proposal detailed in his paper.  Out of the hydropower generated in the low barrage of the alternative design (say 320MW), 54 MW would be utilized for pumping the Godavari water into the canals.  Power produced is free since the hydro power system will be constructed under the Irrigation Budget.  The maintenance expenditure of hydro-power units as well as the pump houses are  also met under the irrigation budget.  Thus the supply of power to the pumping units is free and it cannot be said that the cost of power per annum would be Rs.100 crore.  The price of power is not costed for the other major lift irrigation projects in the state, involving  very high lifts, such as Devadula, Kalwakurthi, Nettempadu, Handri-Neeva etc.,   It would not be therefore appropriate to adopt a different norm for this project.  Even supposing that hydropower has to be costed notionally for comparison, (when the calculations are made based on the authors proposals) this would work out to Rs.30 crore per annum and not Rs.100 crore  When costed as per the rates fixed by the Electricity Regulatory Authority for hydro power namely Rs.1.50 per KWH .  In real time this would be a notional profit to the Irrigation Department and not an expenditure, as made out since capital and maintenance costs of hydro power are borne under the Irrigation Budget. 

 Question No.7 on cost-benefit ratio: Does the cost benefit ratio gets improved if Polavaram dam is replaced by the barrage?

Answer:  As explained in the tabular statement, the cost of the three barrages, if properly designed as per selected economic locations (and not as done by the Government) would workout to Rs.4000 crores.  Assuming the R&R costs (to be worked out as per actual submersions), would be Rs.1500 crores (for the alternative proposal of much lesser submersion) and the cost of the canals and distribution system as Rs.3500 crores (some as in dam proposal) the irrigation component of that of the project (for the alternative proposals) would work out to Rs.9,000 crores. The total irrigation component for the “Dam” proposal would work out to Rs.18,700 crores (Rs.6700 crores for dam, spillway and power block-civil)+Rs,6500 crores (revised)  for R+R+Rs.3500 crores for canal and Rs.2000 crores for appurtenant works and connections.  On the basis of ayacut considered as 2.5 lakhs acres, the per acre cost of the alternative proposal would be Rs.3,60,000/- per acre (Rs.9,000 crore/2.5 lakhs acres) and that of the “Dam”proposal would be Rs.7,48,000/- per acre. Thus, the benefit cost ratio for the alternative proposal would be 2.07 times of that of the “Dam” proposal.




1. Barrage D/s of Bhadrachalam:

    Q= 5,00,000 c/s or 14,158 cumecs on an average for peak power

    H = 3.25 m – water level difference between  U/s and D/s

    MW = cumecs x Head/75 x eff x 0.746 = 14158 x 3.25/75x0.75x0.746= 343MW  

2. Barrage across Sabari: Q = 1 lakh c/s or 2832 cumecs and H=10m (40-30)

    MW = 2832 x 10/75 x 0.75 x 0.746 = 211 MW

3. Low Barrage at Polavaram Q = 5 lakh c/s or 14158 cumes & H = 4m (29-25)

    MW = 14158 x 4/75 x 0.75 x 0.746 = 423 MW

4. Total Hydro power = 343 + 211 + 423 = 977 or 975 MW

5. Dia. Of Penstock pipes : 10nos turbines

    Q = 50,000 c/s or 1416 cumecs (more number of penstocks & turbine units will have to be              

    Designed to suit discharge limiations)

    For 8m dia pipes = A = 22/7 x 8sq/4 = 50.286 sq.m.

    V = 1416/50.286 = 28m per second

6. Duration: All the turbines will work during flood days exceeding the above discharges  On the  other days, lesser numbers will work, depending upon discharges.


      a) Total max discharge in canals = 11810 cusecs or 334.5 cumecs

      b) Total had = 12.16m; HP = 71.360; KW = 53235 (54MW)

      c) Maximum pumping would be in 4 months (120 days or 2840 hrs)

      d) In the other days of the year, pumping for Krishna delta and drinking water will be less

          and power consumed during this period can be considered as 30% of the peak power

          consumed in 120 days.

      e) The design of Polavaram main canals is not altered and they would still be capable of carrying the discharges required for Uttara Andhra Lift Projects and other lift projects on the Polavaram right anal.  Cost of pumping and power charges for this would be part of those projects, since the same cannot be accounted under Polavaram project.

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