Friday, March 4, 2011


1)  Right fromthe beginning the Engineering experts of AP state Government and the Central Water Commission have been knowingly committing grave mistakes in the design of he dam and in estimating the cost benefit ratios  on improper data.For instance the National Water Development Agency (See web site: see paras
a] Alternatives not considered by A.P.state as per Environmental Clearence Regulations,1994 While the Central Water Commission suggested for off take canal at 110ft elevation with a discharge point in Krishna basin at about 60ft, the AP state Government for its own vested interests for increasing the elevation of the Polavaram dam on a large scale insisted on increasing the level of Polavaram at off take level of 133ft with a discharge point in river Krishna at an elevation of about 92ft.A.P.state did not consider the alternatives of Barrages project since they failed to assess the Hazard potential due to a dam-break analysis although it was prepared by the National institute of Hydrology and Disaster Management  and Risk  Analysis reports too were not prepared and thus they failed to grasp the need for preparing alteratives to the project
A.P.state  and CWC are misleading the courts by failing to prepare these crucial reports even when CWC directed for redesign of the project by increasing PMF from 36 to 50 lakh cusecs.
Since CWC and A.P.state failed to evaluate Hazard Potential of the Dam as per international standards on Dam safety,they failed to modify the Dam as per standard procedures
According to Bureau of Indian Standard guidelines IS: 11223-1985, “Guidelines for fixing spillway capacity”, the IDF to be considered for different requirements

b)   Inflow Design Flood  for the safety of the dam is under estimated:
 Design flood for storage dams( As per ISI Standards)
Dams are important hydraulic structures which are constructed to serve a variety of purpose, more of which shall be discussed in detail in lesson 3.2. Most dams have a capacity to store substantial amount of water in the reservoir, and a portion of the inflow flood gets stored and the excess overflows through the spillways. According to Bureau of Indian Standard guidelines IS: 11223-1985, “Guidelines for fixing spillway capacity”, the IDF to be considered for different requirements IDF for the safety of the dam
It is the flood for which, when used with standard specifications, the performance of the dam should be safe against overtopping, structural failures, and the spillway and its energy dissipation arrangement, if provided for a lower flood, should function reasonable well.
1.    For large dams (defined as those with gross storage greater than 60 million m3or hydraulic head greater than 30 m), IDF should be based on PMF.
2.     For intermediate dams (gross storage between 10 and 60 million m3 or hydraulic head between 12 m and 30 m), IDF should be based on SPF.
3.    For small dams (gross storage between 0.5 to 10 million m3 or hydraulic head between 7.5 m to 12 m), IDF may be taken as 100 years return period flood.
4.    Floods of larger or smaller magnitude may be used if the hazard involved in the eventuality of a failure is particularly high or low. The relevant parameters to be considered in judging the hazard in addition to the size would be:
a.    Distance to and location of the human habitations on the downstream after considering the likely future developments; and
b.    Maximum hydraulic capacity of the downstream channel at a level at which catastrophic damage is not expected.
It is the flood for which, when used with standard specifications, the performance of the dam should be safe against overtopping, structural failures, and the spillway and its energy dissipation arrangement, if provided for a lower flood, should function reasonable well.
 Floods of larger or smaller magnitude may be used if the hazard involved in the eventuality of a failure is particularly high or low.
 Relevant Design factors considered in judging the hazard in addition to size of Dam project
1] Distance to and location of the human habitations on the downstream after considering the likely future developments; and
2] Maximum hydraulic capacity of the downstream channel at a level at which catastrophic damage is not expected
c)  CWC failed to estimate Peak Flood for Spill-way design:
Moreover the Central Water Comission always considered Polavaram as a barrage structure for purposes of design flood and thereby accepted for spillway design a 500-year return flood of 36 lakhs cusecs while the CWC guidelines insist on considering for the size of Polavaram dam a Probable Maximum Flood or a 1000-year return flood for spillway design purposes.  .see the following web site for design of Dams in USA.
DOES POLAVARAM DAM PROJECT CREATE 2 lakhs Ha.of additional  New irrigation Area ?
According to the calculations by Dr.Bhiksham in his book on "POLAVARAM  PERSPECTIVES",
published in 2007,polavaram project brings into irrigation about one lakh ha.of land as against the claim made by the Government of 2.91 lakh ha,while 2 lakh needed under National Project Criteria.see  the following web sites:
  [CWC guide-lines for National projects,irrigation]  
The NWDA website of the Government on Polavaram project clearly states under table 9.2 of the report under the Polavaram right canal out of 1,62,691ha of irrigable land area only 44,000 ha[about one lakh acres] is unirrigated while the rest of the land is irrigated under different sources like canals, lift irrigation systems,borewells and village tanks as can be seen from the following web site:    [see Table 8.2]  [A.P.water sources.District-wise irrigation under,canals,tanks,bore-wells etc.,]  [Tadipdi Lift and Pushkaram Lift schemes ]  [Jala yagnam Projects ]
CAG report on Pushkaram LIS objected in December 2010 [as reported in EENADU,Dt.22-12-2010]that Government has shown 73,318 ha.of irrigable land under Pushkaram lift irrigation scheme and the same land is again  shown under Polavaram command area under Left Canal.Parell canals were started within 6 months of each other.Hence Head works and pumps costing Rs.102 crores are wasteful expenditure. More money is wasted for Main canals that are redundant.Arguments of the state officials that they will use these head works for another new project when polavaram is completed were not accepted  by the Controller & Auditor-General..Similar is the case with Tadipudi Lift Irrigation scheme.
 Thus polavaram Dam project does not Qualify for being taken up as a National project for several reasons although demanded by A.P.state and although blindly supported by the Central Water Commission[CWC] without going into details of various components of the project and its implications to public health and welfare in the basin states.The state Public accounts committede of the A.P.state assembly may come out with more details in the matter in January,2011.

 Hence as per independent experts there is only about 1 lakh hectares of land available to be freshly irrigated by water from Polavaram dam while the claim is made for irrigating about 3.2 lakh acres under the right canal and 4 lakh acres under the Left Canal,making a total of 7.2 lakh acres
In fact independent experts have collected field data which shows that about 95% lands under the left polavaram canal is already irrigated and only 5% land may get benefitted by polavaram dam project.see the following web site:  Similarly under the left canal of the Polavaram project while about 4 lakh acres is proposed to be irrigated with water from Polavaram dam about 2.5 lakh acres is already under irrigation under the lift irrigation schemes,canals, medium irrigation projects, borewells and village tanks with the result that only about 1.5 lakh acres can be fed by Godavari waters from Polavaram project. 
 If these two true facts are taken into consideration the cost benefit analysis of Polavaram dam will be negative and there is no feasibility for taking up this project to promote national economy . Under the circumstances how can planning commission promote. such  a project that is highly risky as also not economically viable but also very costly, uneconomical and  detrimental to public  and national interests
2)    When Environmental clearance was granted in October 2005 the spillway design flood was taken as 36 lakhs cusecs and the design of the project including the rehabilitation, resettlement schemes were prepared accordingly.  But in September, 2006 the CWC without consulting the Orissa and Chattisgarh states changed the spillway design flood magnitude from 36 lakh cusecs to 50 lakh cusecs and as a consequence the design of the spillway has undergone a sea- change and the other components of the project also had to be changed accordingly and these changes caused drastic increase in the cost of the project from about Rs.12,000 crores to about 17,000 cores.  According to international Banking guidelines the cost escalation of a project by 15% is treated as a change in the scope of the project and when there is change in the scope of the project the Union Ministry of Environment requires that the project proponents should again apply for Environmental clearance of the project as per the conditions specified in the first Environmental clearance letter given to the project .
3)   In the case of the Polavaram dam the project authorities proposed to irrigate7.2 lakhs acres of land under the left canal (4.0 lakh acres) and Right canal (3.2 lakh acres)  in 1985 but since the project was delayed for decades the state Government approved several alternate projects including lift irrigation schemes.  Consequently the Tatipudi lift irrigation scheme was taken up to irrigate about 2 lakh acres which comes under the Polavaram right canal command area and the Pushkaram lift irrigation scheme to cultivate another 2 lakh acres that fall under the command area of Polavaram left bank  and they executed.  In addition several  deep bore wells for irrigation purposes were dug during the recent years.  Some medium irrigation projects were also constructed to irrigate the lands falling under the Polavaram command area.  Hence the Polavaram project when it comes into operation will have no more than one-third of the area originally contemplated under the Polavaram project.  If a cost-benefit analysis is made by taking into consideration the irrigation potential created  already the costs of Polavaram project become far higher than the benefits to be gained under the project, making the project economically very unviable.
The CAG report which reviewed one of these new schemes known as Pushkaram lift irrigation project has  on the projectadversely commented that the huge expenditure incurred is a wasteful expenditure.  The CAG did not accept the replies of the State Government that the lift scheme will be abandoned later and the pump sets and other equipment will be used for other projects when Polavaram Dam gets completed  But the CAG did not accept the replies provided by the AP State on this project
Pushkara Lift Irrigation Scheme
The ayacut of 73,318 Hectares contemplated under ‘Pushkara’ project was already covered and contemplated under Polavaram project. Further, the canal works of both the projects were taken up in the year 2004-05 with a gap of six months. Hence, if the Polavaram project is completed, the head works i.e., pump house, regulators etc. of Pushkara project costing Rs 101.49 crore will be redundant. Government stated (July 2009) that the headworks will be utilised in other proposed LI schemes. The fact remains that there is overlapping of ayacut and the pump house machinery will become redundant.
Pushkara Lift Irrigation Scheme   :    Electricity cost to be paid by contractor is paid by State  An amount of Rs 0.70 crore was paid towards electrical charges by the department. As electrical charges are to be met by the contractor as per the agreement conditions, this resulted in undue benefit to the contractor.  Government stated (July 2009) that there is no condition in the agreement that the agency has to pay the current consumption charges. The reply is factually incorrect as the agreement clause clearly stipulates that no separate payment towards O&M expenses will be made to the contractor by the employer and the bid price quoted by the bidder shall be inclusive of all these expenses. Further, the facilities e.g., accommodation, transport, electricity, water etc., are to be provided to the deployed manpower by the contractor only.     
a)  Experts of Union Ministry of Environment:     Experts of Central Water Commission and Union Ministry of Environment are prone to take wrong decisions due to lack of expertise, knowledge in a particular subject of serious concern with Environmental sustainability and public welfare. For instance the expert committee which cleared the Polavaram project in 2005 failed to ask the question whether in case the dam were to burst the wall of floods gushing out of the dam amounting to more than 60 to 70 lakh cusecs will be contained by the river below within the river flood  banks and if not whether the disaster management plan has been prepared to save lakhs of people  getting drowned before they can be shifted to safe places.  The expert committee members were blind to the fact that they cannot  take a decision on the  Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)  report  if Orissa and Chattisgarh Governments  have not furnished them with the reports of public hearing on the EIA reports pertaining to the dam and the embankment dam reports proposed as flood proof measures in Orissa and Chattisgarh.  The members were ignorant of the fact that when the previous historical flood of 36 lakh cusecs occurred in Godavari in August 1986 the utilization of 36 lakh cusecs as spillway design flood by the AP State Government is unscientific and illogical.  That the experts of Envrionmental Appraisal Committee  are not at all experts as per Sec.45 of the Indian  Evidence Act is confirmed by the fact that within one year in September 2006 the CWC increased the spillway design flood from 36 lakh cusecs to 50 lakh cusecs thereby proving that the EAC experts  are not competent persons even to estimate the Probable Maximum Flood of Godavari river.  The experts again never studied the crucial portions of the Bachawat Tribunal report wherein it is stated that AP State Government wanted the Bachawat Tribunal to permit the state to inundate the lands in Orissa and Chattisgarh upto 175ft. The expert committee failed to grasp the fact that the dam break Analysis for Polavaram dam prepared by the experts of the National Institute of Hydrology at a huge expenditure of several lakhs of rupees used an inflow design flood of 1,70,000 cumecs while the Godavari flood banks downstream of the dam cannot accommodate even 50% of the above flood during dam collapse resulting in braking of the river embankments and killed lakhs of people in East Godavari and West Godavari districts.  Infact some of the experts of the CWC were engineers specialized in fields other than civil engineering, Hydraulic Engineering and Environmental Engineering  with the result that their decision making cannot be more relevant to provide public safety than the quality of their expertise to take scientific decisions. 
b) Experts of Central Water Commission:  The technical staff in Central Water Commission (CWC) lack experience in operation and maintenance of Irrigation Projects, flood protection embankments etc. since they are not in direct charge of the same.  Irrigation being a state subject, there is no scope for this staff to directly got involved in these disciplines.  What is not commonly known is that CWC staff have also no opportunity to gain practical experience in irrigation projects pertaining to investigation, survey, construction, operation and maintenance etc., since these are all the responsibilities solely of the State Governments.  It would therefore be not correct, to be guided by the CWC with regard to flood protection embankments, submersion of villages etc. Opinions of experts in State Governments would be relevant in this context.


Anonymous said...

I want some clarifications from your article.How can we compare
assured irrigation by gravity canals with irrigation by lifts,tube wells and tanks without storage facility of water?Why are you opposing Polavaram project which takes part in linking the rivers of the country by diverting Godavari waters in to Krishna river?There is a proposal to irrigate entire north coastal Andhra region by Uttarandhra sujala sravanti by arranging a lift on Polavaram left canal which is not possible by construction of alternative barrages.Please tell your comment about it.

service-hyd said...

Dear Sir/Madam,

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Borewells in Hyderabad

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Born in 1932 at Mudinepalli, near Gudivada, Krishna Dist. Andhra Pradesh, received Bachelors degree in Civil Engg., from Viswesaraiah Engineering College, Banglore (1956) and Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering from Rice university, Houston, Texas, (USA) (1962), Ph.D (Hony). Former Head of the Department of Civil Engineering and principal of College of Engineering, Andhra university.Formerly Hony.Professor in Andhra University,Manonmanian Sundarnar University,JNT University. Fellow of the Institution of Engineers,India Recipient of the University Grants Commissions National Award "Swami Pranavananda Award on Ecology and Environmental Sciences" for the year 1991. Recipient of Sivananda Eminent Citizen Award for 2002 by Sanathana Dharma Charitable Trust, Andhra Pradesh state. Presently Working as Director, centre for Environmental Studies, GITAM University,