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Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP)

  • Context (TH): Telangana Chief Minister called for an inquiry into irregularities in the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP).
  • Issues of submerging piers at the Medigadda barrage and the seepage in the Annaram barrage have brought the project into the limelight.
  • KLIP is a multi-purpose lift irrigation project in Telangana redesigned from the Pranahita-Chevella project of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh.
  • It is constructed on the Godavari River in Kaleshwaram, Bhupalpally, Telangana, India.
  • As of now, it is the world’s largest multi-stage lift irrigation project.
  • It is unique in terms of its reverse pumping mechanism.

Godavari Basin

  • Left Bank Tributaries: Dharna, Pranahita (conveying the combined waters of Penganga, the Wardha and Wainganga), Pench, Kanhan, Sabari, Indravati, etc.
  • Right Bank Tributaries: Pravara, Mula, Manjra, Peddavagu, Maner etc.
  • Kaleshwaram is a temple town on the Sangam, i.e., the confluence of the Godavari & Pranahita rivers.

Components of KLIP

  • It is divided into 7 links and 28 packages through 13 districts along with a canal network.
  • It targets sourcing a total of 240 TMC (195 from Medigadda Barrage, 20 from the Sripada Yellampalli project, and 25 from groundwater).
  • A barrage is constructed at Medigadda, and the water is reverse-pumped into the main Godavari river and diverted through lifts and pumps into a huge and complex system of reservoirs, water tunnels, pipelines, and canals.
  • It envisages four major pumping facilities to manage the project’s outflow. The largest is at Ramadugu and Medaram, Annaram, and Sundilla being the others.

Godavari river Basin


A map of irrigation system Description automatically generated

Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project

Interlinking of Rivers (ILRs)

  • It is an initiative to transfer water from water-surplus regions to water deficient & rain-fed areas.
  • ILRs is identified by the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) under the National Perspective Plan (NPP).
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Jal Shakti.

Advantages of Kaleshwaram Lift Project

  • Water availability: It will provide water for irrigation, Hyderabad municipal water supply, industrial uses, and drinking water supply to nearby villages.
  • Groundwater level restoration: It will replace the use of groundwater in irrigation with canal water.
  • Water Recharge Projects: Mission Kakatiya and Mission Bhagirath for water conservation will also be augmented by water supplied through the KLIP.
  • Interstate Water Dispute Resolution: A newly signed agreement between Telangana and Maharastra will address the long-standing interstate river water sharing dispute.
  • Improvement in Socio-economic Conditions: Farmers and cultivators around the area are expected to benefit from better irrigation, commercial crop cultivation, and a reduction in the cost of agriculture.

Issues in Kaleshwaram Lift Project

  • Impact on Agriculture: Submergence of agricultural areas (especially Chilli cultivation areas) and the consequent impact on the state’s economy remains a significant issue.
  • Reservoir-induced Seismicity: It can create reservoir-induced seismicity similar to the Koyna reservoir in the Satara district, thereby increasing the possibility of a massive earthquake.
  • Environmental Issues: Unusual dam orientation parallel to the stream in Mallannasagar may lead to waterlogging and artesian conditions due to a high hydraulic gradient.
  • Displacement Issues: It will submerge 19 villages, resulting in huge socio-economic costs.
  • Credibility of Estimates: Many experts are challenging the estimated figures of benefits and associated costs of projects.
  • Construction Irregularities: Recently surfaced construction and repair issues raise a question about the project’s long-term vision.

Way Forward

  • National Dam Safety Authority emphasized complete rehabilitation to avoid any compromises in the Medigadda barrage.
  • Rehabilitation and relief package needs to be revisited to resolve the ‘developmental displacement’ issue.
  • The project should undertake corrections as being studied by the Anil Jain (Center Water Commission member) committee — appointed by the Ministry of Jal Shakti to study the recent issues in the KLIP- Medigadda barrage.
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