Answer: Nagarjuna Sagar Left Bank Canal
The Left Bank Canal is observed in the Nagarjuna Sagar Irrigation Scheme. This extensive irrigation project is located in India, across the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
It is designed to harness the waters of the Krishna River for both irrigation and hydroelectric power generation. The project features a large dam, two main canals (the Left Bank Canal and the Right Bank Canal), and numerous smaller distributaries that supply water to the surrounding agricultural lands.
Overview of the Nagarjuna Sagar Irrigation Scheme
The Nagarjuna Sagar project was conceived in the early 20th century, but construction began in the 1950s and was completed in 1969. The dam, located near the town of Nagarjuna Sagar, is one of the largest masonry dams in the world, with a height of 124 meters (406 feet) and a length of 1,450 meters (4,760 feet).
The project was designed with two main objectives:
- Provide irrigation to vast stretches of agricultural land, particularly for the cultivation of water-intensive crops like rice and sugarcane.
- Generate hydroelectric power to cater to the growing energy needs of the region.
Main Components of the Project
The Nagarjuna Sagar Irrigation Scheme includes the following key components:
- Nagarjuna Sagar Dam: The primary structure of the project, responsible for impounding the Krishna River and creating a large reservoir with a storage capacity of 11.472 billion cubic meters (405.1 billion cubic feet).
- Left Bank Canal: A 295.8-kilometer (183.7-mile) long canal, which originates from the dam and runs along the left bank of the Krishna River, providing irrigation water to an area of 1.49 million hectares (3.68 million acres) in the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
- Right Bank Canal: A 203-kilometer (126-mile) long canal, which begins at the dam and runs along the right bank of the Krishna River, providing irrigation water to an area of 0.65 million hectares (1.61 million acres) in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
- Hydroelectric Power Stations: Two power stations, one on each bank of the river, with a combined installed capacity of 816 MW.
Left Bank Canal
The Left Bank Canal is a vital component of the Nagarjuna Sagar Irrigation Scheme, as it carries water from the reservoir to irrigate vast stretches of agricultural land in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The canal originates at the dam and runs for 295.8 kilometers (183.7 miles) along the left bank of the Krishna River. The canal was designed to accommodate a flow of 311 cubic meters per second (10,980 cubic feet per second) and has a total of 26 major distributaries.
The Left Bank Canal irrigates an area of approximately 1.49 million hectares (3.68 million acres) across the two states. This has significantly improved agricultural productivity and transformed the region into a major producer of rice, sugarcane, and other crops.
Some of the key districts benefiting from the Left Bank Canal include:
- In Telangana: Nalgonda and Khammam
- In Andhra Pradesh: Guntur, Prakasam, and Nellore
The canal has also facilitated the development of aquaculture and fishing industries in the region, providing a valuable source of livelihood for local communities.
Hydroelectric Power Generation
In addition to irrigation, the Nagarjuna Sagar project also generates hydroelectric power through its two power stations, one on each bank of the Krishna River. The Left Bank Power Station has a total installed capacity of 240 MW, consisting of 6 units, each with a capacity of 40 MW.
The Right Bank Power Station has a total installed capacity of 576 MW, consisting of 7 units, each with a capacity of 82.285 MW. The combined capacity of both power stations is 816 MW, making it one of the largest hydroelectric power projects in India.
The generated electricity is supplied to the national grid and distributed to various parts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, thereby contributing to the region’s overall economic development and providing power for agricultural, industrial, and residential purposes.
Like any large-scale infrastructure project, the Nagarjuna Sagar Irrigation Scheme has had both positive and negative impacts on the environment and local communities.
- Improved agricultural productivity has led to increased food security, better livelihoods, and higher incomes for farmers.
- The generation of hydroelectric power has contributed to the region’s energy security, reducing dependence on fossil fuels and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
- The project has also created job opportunities during construction and in the operation and maintenance of the irrigation and power generation facilities.
- The construction of the dam and reservoir has led to the displacement of thousands of people from their homes and lands. The government has implemented resettlement and rehabilitation programs to address this issue.
- The creation of the reservoir has submerged vast areas of forests and wildlife habitats, leading to the loss of biodiversity and potential long-term ecological consequences.
- The large-scale diversion of water for irrigation has altered the natural flow of the Krishna River, impacting downstream ecosystems and communities dependent on the river.