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1 June 2018

A Scarce Commodity

The youngest state in India is on the verge of completing an irrigation project of unparalleled ambition which will provide a vital supply of water to more than 3.3 million ha of agricultural land.

Vertical volute pumps

ANDRITZ will manufacture 27 vertical volute pumps for three pumping stations, each with an efficiency of up to 90%.


A state of emergency

By some estimates, the number of farmers in India exceeds 260 million people. Their profession makes them highly dependent on a reliable source of water, something that is quickly becoming a very scarce commodity due to extended droughts and an irrigation infrastructure in desperate need of expansion. Two thirds of agricultural land in India is dependent on the monsoon or regular rainfall, but constant sunshine, unbearable heat, and not a single raincloud in sight are becoming all too familiar for many parts of the country. This is making the living conditions close to unbearable for a big part of what amounts to a group of people more than half the size of the entire European Union.

Ambitious solutions

Over recent years India, especially Telangana State, has been hit by extremely high temperatures creating problems for irrigation and crops, diminishing economic development and causing human tragedies. While the state continues to be a leading hub for India’s vibrant IT sector, the lack of a consistent supply of water and the increasing frequency of droughts are forcing farmers to sell their land and move to other parts of the country.

Initially started in 2004, the Jala Yagnam super project was designed to provide a solution to this dire water shortage. Spanning a total of 90 major and medium irrigation projects, Jala Yagnam is the local government’s ambitious attempt to provide a durable water supply to 3.3 million ha of agricultural land. The Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project is one of the largest of the entire set, designed to store about 4.7 trillion liters of water in order to irrigate about 740,000 ha of land. This project comprises a dam and several pumping stations with reservoirs. Water will be transported over a height of 500 m and a distance of 200 km. It is the first multi-stage lift irrigation project of this magnitude and complexity in India. It also contains the longest water transport tunnel in Asia, extending over a distance of 81 km and connecting the Yellampally barriage to the Mallanasagar reservoir. An irrigation project of this kind is unique, not just in India, but worldwide.

The Kaleshwaram project is one of the largest sub-projects, designed to store about 4.7 trillion liters of water in order to irrigate 740,000 ha.


A high-stakes engineering challenge

ANDRITZ was awarded the contract with a partner company that will be supplying the motors for the pumps. ANDRITZ will manufacture 27 vertical volute pumps for three pumping stations, each with an efficiency of up to 90%. A special feature of these pumps is that they are similar to turbines due to their impressive size, with Francis impellers of 3.5 m, total weight of 130 t to 200 t per pump, and with spiral outlet diameters of 5.5 m, large enough to park a truck inside comfortably. Aside from the design and delivery of the pumps and spare parts, installation and commissioning will also be supervised by ANDRITZ.

The Kaleshwaram project begins at the Medigadda barrage, which is slated to be completed by the end of 2018, with water set to start being lifted from it by July 2019. Great hopes are being pinned on the success of this important infrastructure project. Harnessing sufficient water reserves for reliable irrigation of agricultural land will improve the lives of the people of India’s youngest state.


In 2017, the ANDRITZ GROUP had over 25,000 employees at 250 locations in over 40 countries. The international technology group is a world market leader for the supply of plants, equipment, and services for hydropower stations, the pulp and paper industry, the metalworking and steel industries, for solid/liquid separation in the municipal and industrial sectors, and for animal feed and biomass pelleting. In addition to turnkey hydropower plants, ANDRITZ develops and manufactures high-quality large and standard pumps for many different industries and applications worldwide. These include pumps for large infrastructure projects for irrigation, desalination, and drinking water supply, for drainage of mines, as well as for the pulp and paper and the food industry.