History of Andhra Pradesh

Geographically, Andhra Pradesh is in peninsular India consisting of coastal belt on the east and Rayalaseema in the south-west. Therefore, Andhra Pradesh has the advantage of having most of the east flowing rivers in the state bringing in copious supplies from the Western and Eastern Ghats and up to Bay of Bengal.

Andhra Pradesh has a heritage of cultivation and irrigation dating back to several centuries. In the past, ancient Kings and rulers built artificial lakes and reservoirs by constructing bunds and anicuts across rivers for creating irrigation potential as well as drinking water for the people.

Andhra Pradesh is a riverine state with 40 major, medium and minor rivers. Godavari, Krishna, Vamsadhara, Nagavali and Pennar are major interstate rivers.

Godavari River enters at Bhurgampad Mandal of state of Andhra Pradesh and flows for a distance of around 250 kms eastward before joining Bay of Bengal.

The River Tungabhadra is a tributary of Krishna forms boundary between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh for the length of 58 Kms, from where it flows past Rajolibanda anicut and then the river Tungabhadra forms border between the States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh until its confluence with main Krishna at Srisailam. The River Krishna then forms border between the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh from Srisailam to Pulichintala for about 290 kms flows passing through NSP Dam. The river then flows for a length of 105 kms through Prakasam barrage at Vijayawada and joins Bay of Bengal after traversing about 90 kms. Thus the total length of 485 km of Krishna River flows through A.P state.

The total length of the Pennar river from the head to its outfall into the Bay of Bengal in Nellore district, is 597 Km. (61 km in Karnataka and 536 km in Andhra Pradesh). Pennar River originates in south west region of Andhra Pradesh with small catchment area of Karnataka and flows eastward before joining Bay of Bengal.

Besides the above, five interstate rivers north of Godavari viz. Bahuda, Mahendratanaya, Poondi minor drains, Nagavali & Vamsadhara flows through Orissa and Andhra Pradesh and four rivers south of Pennar viz Palar, Araniar. Korataliar & Ponniar flows through Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu and two rivers i.e., Errakalva and Tammileru originate in Khammam district of Telangana and flows down to Andhra Pradesh state. Apart from the above 14 rivers, 26 medium and minor rivers flows within Andhra Pradesh.

About 70% of the population of Andhra Pradesh depends upon agriculture.

Andhra Pradesh has a heritage of cultivation and irrigation dating back to several centuries. In the past, rulers paid a good deal of attention to the development of irrigation in their kingdoms for the benefit of their subjects. Cumbum Tank, Kanigiri Reservoir, Anantapur Tank, Porumamilla Tank in Cuddapah District, Bukkaraya Samudram, Mopad Tank, Nandyal Tank and anicuts across the Tungabhadra river such as Koregal, Vallabhapur, Raya, Basavanna, Turtha, Kampli, Bennur, Rampur etc., are some of the monumental irrigation works inherited by the State from the Vijayanagar kings.

The anicut across the river Godavari at Dowlaiswaram, across Krishna at Vijayawada, across Pennar at Nellore, Sangam, K.C Canal System taking off from Sunkesula anicut across Tungabhadra, the regulator across Nagavali near Thotapally and the anicut across Muniyeru at Polampalli are the legacy of the British Engineers like Sir Arthur Cotton, Sir Charles Alexander Orr and Col. Jhon Penny Cwiquick, who transformed lakhs of Acres of barren lands in the coastal districts of the State into a big rice bowl during the Nineteenth Century.

Evaluation of Irrigation Potential Created

The total Irrigation Potential created in 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh is given below.

Description Irrigation Potential Created (in Acres)
Andhra Region Rayalaseema Region Total
Irrigation Potential Created before 1956
Major & Medium 2701447 271274 2972721
Irrigated area 3.45 7.31
Irrigation Potential Created 1956 to 02/2015
Major & Medium 2913010 1022679 3935689
Irrigation Potential Created Since Inception up to 02/2015
Minor Irrigation 1930169 630275 2560444
APSIDC 611681 91746 703426
Grand Total 8156306 2015973 10172280

The total irrigation potential created under major and medium projects before 1956 was 29.73 Lakh Acres, and from 1956 to 02/2015 is 39.35 Lakh Acres. The Irrigation potential created under Minor irrigation and APSIDC since inception up to 02/2015 is 32.63 Lakh Acres. Thus, the total new irrigation potential created under Major, Medium & Minor irrigation and APSIDC in the state is 101.72 Lakh Acres.

The main objective of irrigation Department in Andhra Pradesh is to create irrigation potential in the draught prone areas, upland areas and upkeep of the existing projects to enhance the agriculture productivity per unit of water.

The irrigation projects are classified based on the irrigated ayacut under the projects.

Major Irrigation Projects : Ayacut above 25000 Ac (10,000 ha.)
Medium Irrigation Projects : Ayacut above 5000 Ac up to 25000 Acres(10000ha.)
Minor Irrigation Projects : Ayacut up to 5000 Acres (2000 ha)