Friday, February 15, 2013


Prof.T.Shivaji Rao
Director, Center for Environmental Studies,
GITAM University, Visakhapatnam

A brief history of the development of water supply systems for Visakhapatnam is perhaps desirable when Visakhapatnam was a district head quarters, the authorities planned for a water supply scheme and the Mudasarlova project was executed in 1902 with a capacity of 4 lakh gallons per day (0.4 MGD)  to serve a ultimate population of 40,000 with the growth of industries and the town.  The Gosthani water supply scheme of 4 MGD executed by the military in 1942 was taken over by the Municipality.  In order to make further improvements the authorities executed  Gambhiram gedda scheme to supply 18 lakh gallons (1.8 MGD) , 1957 to supply water during one season.  To meet the increasing water demand the authorities executed a scheme in 1967 to supply 10 MGD from the reservoir at Tatipudi under the irrigation department.  Additionally 10 MGD was drawn by 1989 from a new reservoir on Meghadrigedda to meet the increasing demand for water for domestic and industrial needs.  Another 15 MGD water supply scheme was started in 1995 by using the canals from Raiwada and Yeleru reservoirs.  Thus the design capacity of water supply to Visakhapatnam comes to 40 MGD out of which half of it is used for domestic purposes, while the other half is used by the industries, other than the steel plant which has its own water supply through a long canal from Yeleru reservoir which was constructed mainly to provide 5 TMC of water flowing through Yeleru left main canal to the Kanithi balancing reservoir of the Steel plant.  At one time the city was getting only 34 MGD out of which 19 MGD was used for domestic purposes and 15 MGD for industries.  About 3000 public taps and 3000 bore wells are used for domestic water supply.             In most of the years there is a shortage of water supply as the demand is 45 MGD as against supply of 24 MGD and the shortage of 21 MGD  is made good by installing ground water  pumping.

The right to life  under the constitution is not only the right to health but also the right to safe drinking water and some courts gave finding that supplying safe water to its citizens becomes the first charge of a civic body like a Municipality or a corporation.  In the case of  Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation some of the suggestions to be considered for overcoming the present water crisis in the immediate short term and long term action plans are detailed below.

For meeting the entire domestic consumption of about 13 lakhs of people of Visakhapatnam at the rate of 30 gpcd  the city requires 39 MGD of water.  The existing water sresources at Tatipudi, Raiwada, Meghadrigedda, Gosthani and the water allocated to Visakhapatnam by the state Government will be adequate in normal years.  The municipal Corporation need not spend extra funds to get water for domestic consumption from the proposed Godavari industrial water supply project which is estimated to cost Rs.10,700 crores as per the state Government website http://www.apsez/andhra/industrial_water.htm
1.Immediate Action Plan:
a)       To sink borewells at suitable places in the reservoirs and the stream beds and Thatipudi, Raiwada, Megadarigadda and also the recently dried up storages at Mudasarlova, Gambhiram gedda and Ghostani
b)       To sink borewells in traditional areas with springs such as East point colony , old vekogipalem, police grounds and Hindustan Polymers area
c)       the existing water under Raiwada and Thatipudi must be completely reserved for providing drinking water to the city by paying compensation to the farmers as an emergency measure for this year only.
d)      the industrial water consumption maybe reasonably reduced by requesting them to reduce consumption by good house keeping and also by recycling and reuse of waste water for atleast secondary purposes like cooling, flushing, gardening, etc.
e)       the muncipal water supply maybe rationed to those houses which are already having alternate sources like well, hand pumps and bore wells.

Reservoirs utilisation is based on one  and half times filling.State Government is committed by G.O. to supply 5 TMC of Yeleru to the Steel Plant, 11MGD from Tatipudi, 27MGD from Raiwada, 2 MGD from Gambheeram, 10 MGD from Meghadrigedda.  But the Raiwada is giving water to Visakhapatnam city by suppressing the proposed 6000 acres for cultivation.  State Government may suppress irrigation for this year under Tatipudi and Tandava also by compensating the farmers for diverting water to the city.

Population (in lakhs)
Water needed
 (in MGD)
Present supply (in MGD)
Additional water (in MGD)

Distance (in Km)
Water Supply (in MGD)
Gambheeram (few months
MGR Filtration
WS Schemes (lift) (Villages)

Total Supply


Water Demand
 Domestic      Industrial
Total Demand
Present Supply

Future demands of Water supply for domestic and Industrial needs by 2021 AD

Water Demand (MGD)
Visakhapatnam city
Existing Industries including Steel Plant
Special Economic Zone

Mega Industrial park

Other Industries

Total Industrial 


Considering the minimal  water losses may help in ensuring  a more  reliable source of water supply.  This may be examined from the economical, technical and environmental angle.
a)      City can get additional water supply from surplus flood flows  from the rivers of North coastal Andhra like Janjhawati and Nagavali to transported by a gravity canal to feed the Thatipudi and Megadrigadda reservoirs
b)      The Janjhawati reservoir maybe completed by closing the river section and construction of spillway without facing any objections from the Orissa state .For this purpose the height of storage of water maybe restricted to the extent agreeable to Orissa government with a provision to extend to the full height after the inter state dispute is settled. The overflow from the Janjhawati reservoir can be discharged into a high level canal and taken to another reservoir to be constructed near Ramabhadrapuram and the water thus stored can be fed by gravity canal to Thatipudi reservoir. Hence Janjhawati may be completed on a war footing. It is proposed to divert 4 TMC from Janjhawati during monsoon months from August to December at a cost of Rs.50 crores in 1994 and about Rs.60 to 70 crores in 2001.  Including the improvements like raising the spillway of Tatipudi and strengthening its embankments the total cost comes to about Rs.100 crores.    The bed level at the Janjhawati off take for the high level canal is 442.50ft. and its level at the point of diversion to Tatipudi is +426.35ft and the FRL of Tatipudi is +299ft with the extension canal length is being 78km.
c)      As an alternative to the Janjhawati project with its high level canal a new reservoir scheme can be taken up at Purnapadu on Nagavali where its rocky bed level is at +400ft above mean sea level at Labesu.
d)     A reservoir of about 2.5 TMC can be constructed on the left bank of Nagavali at Purnapadu including a diversion barrage at Labesu from where about 4 TMC of water can be transferred into Tatipudi over a distance of 120km by gravity and this project costs of about Rs.120 crores.  The drinking and irrigation requirements of the local people can be easily met by the proposed Thotapalli barrage and the Janjhawati dam under construction.
e)      In order to increase the water availability in Thandava reservoir some water can b diverted from an upstream reservoir to be constructed on Sileru river. So that the water can be fed into Yeleru canal to feed upto Visakhapatnam.
f)       In order to augment annual rain fall by about 20% to 40% to improve the water storage in all the concerned reservoirs in North coastal Andhra by warm cloud seeding and cold cloud seeding experiments may be conducted by following the procedure adopted in many countries like United States and Israel
a)      As part of the national water grid for linking Ganga with Cauvery river the linking of Mahanadi with Godavari is under active consideration by the central govt. and this component may be taken up immediately to satisfy the drinking, industry and irrigation needs of not only Visakhapatnam. But the entire northern coastal Andhra district.  A major reservoir is proposed to be constructed on Mahanadi in Orissa.  From this reservoir about 400 TMC of water is proposed to be used by allocating 120 TMC of water for irrigating the lands in Orissa state to an extent of about 3.5 lakh ha.  and 20 TMC for irrigating 76,000 ha. in Srikakulam, 10,000ha. in Vizianagaram and 15,500ha in Visakhapatnam.  About 30 TMC of water will be lost during                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   transport and the remaining 230 TMC will be discharged into the Godavari river upstream of the cotton barrage at Rajahmundry.  The water utilisation can be readjusted by the state Government to meet the drinking, industrial and irrigation needs of the North coastal districts of the state.  Since the cost of the project is estimated at Rs.8000 crores and the length of the canal is about 930km.  Since the share of the state for this project will be very small. The state Government must request the Centre to take up this project immediately.
b)      Alternatively if the scheme  is going to be delayed the state govt. may kindly request the central govt. to take up the construction of Polavaram project by setting up a corporation like the one created for the construction of Tehri and Narmada dams so that the necessary funds can be provided by international funding agencies, non-resident Indians, foreign countries, NABARD and beneficiaries under the project.  If this project is to materialize the state Government must take up simultaneously with the Central Government the construction of a modified Inchampalli  and multiple barrages Polavaram project so that the Godavari waters can be used not only for power generation but also for supply of drinking and irrigation water to the Telangana and Rayalaseema by linking up Godavari, Krishna and Pennar rivers as suggested by NWDA during 1980s.  For this purpose a state Government may request the Central Government to take up this component as part of the Southern water grid of the Ganga-Cauvery link proposed by the Central Government.

The key role played by a good water supply as an engine of economic growth and as a yard stick of public welfare and national prosperity has been well recognized by the intellectuals of the developed countries like USA who aptly named water as the “Blue Gold”. The more the water wealth of a nation the higher will be the opportunities for  achieving high rates of progress in the fields of agriculture production and industrial growth that help in promoting economic wealth, employment opportunities and higher standards of living. Hence the advanced countries are constantly upgrading their water resources by harnessing not only all the ground and surface waters but also by tapping a renewable, virtually unlimited and unexploited sky water resource in the atmosphere in the form of innumerable clouds. Enlightened scientists, bureaucrats, industrialists and statesmen in about 50 countries are frequently using cloud seeding operations for over 40 years for the following purposes and for improving the environmental assets
1. Increase of annual rainfall for drinking and agricultural purposes,
2. Increase of hydro-power generation at the cheapest cost
3. Suppression of hail storms to reduce damage to life, crops and properties
4. mitigation of devastating impacts of recurring droughts
5. mitigation of damaging impacts of global warming and summer temperatures
6. increase of annual rain fall for improving the forests, wildlife and the environment
7. dispersal of fog in airports and metropolitan city roads
8. augmenting river flows to resolve interstate water sharing problems
9. augmenting snowfall in Himalayas to arrest the receding snowline
Several progressive countries like USA, Australia, China, Thailand, European states, former states of USSR, Latin American states, Arab states, Indonesia and Pakistan are getting highly benefited by employing the advanced cloud seeding technologies for the above purposes.. Several Indian states interested in promoting economic growth, agriculture development and public welfare are eager to learn from the successful experiences of other countries like China and USA and adopt those technologies by making necessary modifications to suit the local meteorological, topographical, geographical and other environmental conditions.
Cloud seeding is done to make some clouds to grow and give rain, and some clouds which give only about 10% to 20% of their water content as rainfall to increase the rainfall by seeding by 30 to 50% at a cost benefit ratio of 1:20 by using aeroplanes and 1:60 by using ground generators. Due to the heat from the Sun the water in the rivers, lakes and Oceans becomes water vapour.  As this hot moist water vapour in the air rises into  the sky the  temperature gets reduced at 7oC per km height in the sky, the water vapour condenses over smoke and dust particles to form cloud droplets of 20 microns in diameter [micron is a millionth of a meter]  A million cloud droplets must join together to form a raindrop of 1mm size to fall over the earth as rainfall or snowfall
Rain Formation:  If a warm cloud does not contain sufficient number of giant size water drops or hygroscopic particles  the cloud cannot give 10% to 20% of its moisture as rainfall. In cold clouds whose tops attain freezing level in the sky, insufficient number of ice-nuclei prevents the clouds from giving  more than 20% of the water content as in the form of rainfall or snowfall.
How Cloud Seeding Helps?: If warm clouds have to give more rain we have to inject into them chemicals like hygroscopic common salt or Calcium powder into such clouds We have to inject  Silver Iodide particles into cold clouds which extend into freezing zone for about 15km into the sky. So the  injection of seeding  chemicals into the clouds causes them to produce additional rainfall upto 25 %
Why Cloud Seeding Is Unavoidable?:  In Modern Times Urbanization, industrialization and deforestation are increasing the environmental pollution and global warming which are preventing the clouds from giving the normal rainfall and consequently drinking water supply and agriculture production, hydro power generation and employment opportunities are adversely effected.  Hence cloud seeding must be undertaken to supply more water to correct the above man made problems.
What is scientific secret for warm clouds to produce about 25%  additional rainfall?:
When hygroscopic chemicals like common salt are sprinkled into the warm clouds the water molecules with their negative oxygen ends interact with the positive sodium ions and the positive ends of hydrogen surround the negative chloride ions.  Consequently the water molecules pull out sodium ions and chloride ions one by one from the salt crystal and in the process Giant Condensation Nuclei (GCN) of over 40 microns are formed.  These Giant nuclei help to transform lakhs of smaller cloud drops into big rain drops of about 1 mm in size.  Due to the chemical reaction heat is liberated within the cloud and consequently more moist air is sucked into the cloud that grows in its size and thereby rainfall is also increased.   Depending upon the geographical, topographical and meteorological conditions the additional rain varies from 10% to 25% in a given area.  Some warm clouds of about 1km height do not give rain and due to insufficient number of giant size nuclei (GCN) some larger clouds give only10% to 20% of their water content as rain while the remaining water content dissipates as moisture into the atmosphere Hence we  have to inject optimum number of chemical nuclei to extract more water than what the clouds give in their natural course. See the following figure.


Each ion of the solid crystal becomes surrounded by water molecules, with the negative end [O-] of the water molecules approaching closest to the positive sodium ions [Na+], and the positive end[H+] of the water molecules surrounding the negative chloride ions[Cl-]. The water molecules pull these ions, one by one, away from the rest of the crystal and in the process Giant condensation nuclei[GCN] for Rain Drops form Polar water molecules oriented in one way around sodium ions and another way around chloride ions

What is scientific secret for Cold clouds to produce by about 30% additional rainfall?:
At temperatures below freezing, the saturation vapour pressure of ice is less than that over a droplet of water. Water evaporates from droplet and deposits on ice.The water droplet droplet dissipates while ice crystal grows into a snowflake. .  Due to the chemical reaction heat is liberated within the cloud and consequently more moist air is sucked into the cloud that grows in its size and thereby rainfall is also increased.   Depending upon the geographical, topographical and meteorological conditions the additional rain varies from 15 to 30%.  Due to insufficient number of ice nuclei some cold clouds do not give rain and some larger clouds give only10% to 20% of their water content as rain while the remaining water content dissipates as moisture into the atmosphere. Hence we have to inject optimum number of ice nuclei or their equivalent nuclei in the form of silver iodide to extract more water than what the clouds give in their natural course.  

Does cloud seeding promote the stealing of one region’s water by people of another region?
According to one expert ,the amount of moisture that falls "naturally" as rain at any point in the world is a very, very small fraction of the total amount of water (actually water vapor) that is moving over that point at any time. So if you cause more rain to fall from a thunderstorm through weather modification than what would fall normally, the additional amount of water vapor it removes would be insignificant and hard to detect. The churning in the atmosphere that occurs as the winds push it along would quickly replenish the water vapor that was removed. Thus there would be little or no discernable difference in available water vapor downwind from where the precipitation fell out. Also, you need to realize that the extra rain caused by cloud seeding is not removed from the system but rather moves back into the atmosphere through evaporation or transpiration from plants, and is then available to help produce more clouds down wind. This is part of the hydrological cycle, which is what drives most of the weather on this planet.
China Is World Leader In Cloud Seeding:  In China 37,000 technicians are employed to produce additional annual rainfall of  about 60 billion cubic meters or about 1800  TMC (Thousand Million Cubic ft) which is equivalent to the annual river flow in Krishna River in South India. The cost benefit ratio is estimated at 1:29.
Cloud seeding is done in more than 40 countries like United States, Japan, China, Thailand, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Latin America, Arabian States, Russia etc.,    during the last 50 years. India must take up cloud seeding to fight the recurring droughts and also to resolve the interstate water disputes in the Cauvery, Krishna and other rivers and also to fight the damaging impacts of global warming.  Although several doubts have been raised by scientists in USA and other countries Chinese Meteorologists have researched  and established that cloud seeding is not only highly scientific but is also a proven technology, if done on scientific lines.
Presently cloud seeding operations are proposed to be conducted by the state Governments of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and other states due to the prevailing large scale water scarcity.  The hydro-power generation in Karnataka can be increased by augmenting water availability by squeezing the sky water by cloud seeding.  The annual flows in all the rivers like Cauvery, Krishna, Penna and their tributaries can be increased by about 20% so that the additional rainfall can be used to resolve the inter –state river water disputes in South India.

Precipitation in India : The summer monsoon from the South West starts from the equatorial belt and crosses over India in two distinct currents known as the Arabian sea branch and theBay of Bengal branch. According to National Commission of Agriculture, during the 4 rainy monsoon months of June to September the Arabian branch carries moisture amounting to about 770 Mham (7700 BCM) and the Bay of Bengal branch, about 340 Mham (3400 BCM). Of the monsoon moisture content about 25% to 30% precipitates in the form of rainfall. There is a substantial amount of moisture over the country during the remaining 8 months, contributing a precipitation of about 100 Mham (1000 BCM) a small part being snowfall. About 3000 rain gages are set up for recording the rainfall by the Indian Meteorological Department and the state Governments. The national annual average rainfall of about 120 cm provide annual precipitation of about 390 to 400 Mham (4000 BCM) including snowfall which is not yet fully recorded.

If you would like to learn more about scientific cloud seeding operations being conducted in several countries all over the world browse through the following web sites and their links :
(President’s commendation on cloud seeding for Indians to take follow up action by IMD

As an alternative to Polavaram dam project the Government of India  proposed to augment water supplyto the Krishna basin, Pennar basin and Cauvery river basins the Planning Commission suggested to National Water Development Agency to prepare a project to transfer excess flood water from Sabari river in Orissa by linking up with Indravati river  from where water is lifted into Gadchiroli project on Pranahita and send water of more than 500 TMC through tunnels by crossing over Godavari river and then dropped into Srisailam reservoir through tunnels. This additional water supply is proposed to be distributed for irrigation purposes in Andhra Pradesh,Tamil Nadu and even Karnataka.  So that Karnataka inturn can supply water from Tungabhadra High Level Canal to the higher levels of drought prone districts of Anantapur and Cuddaph to make Rayalaseema a fertile land for growing paddy and other dry crops.  The following is the sketch containing the different interlinking projects from Kolab river in Orissa to Pennar river in Tamil Nadu.  The surplus water join in Bay of Bengal from Godavari can be diverted through the following several river links to permanently resolve water supply problems being faced by  the developing cities and state capitals like Visakhapatnam, Chennai and Bangalore.


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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,