The Balimela Reservoir is located in Malkangiri district, Odisha, India on the river Sileru which is tributory of Godavari river. The gross storage capacity of Balimela reservoir is 3610 million cubic meters.
Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Odisha states entered into agreements to construct Balimela dam as joint project and share the Sileru river waters equally available at Balimela dam site. Odisha developed the 360 MW (6 × 60 MW units) power house by diverting the Balimela waters to Potteru sub-river basin. A barrage at Surlikonda across the Potteru stream was constructed to utilize the discharge from Balimela Power House for irrigation by means of two Main Canals one on the right side named as Tamasha Main Canal and the second on the left side named as Gompakonda Main Canal. These two canals are constructed under Potteru Irrigation Project for irrigation in Malkangiri district, the most backward district of the state and thereby lifting the living standard of the inhabitants. Two more power generation units 75 MW each were added under stage-2 to increase the installed capacity up to 510 MW.
The share of Andhra Pradesh from the available water in the Belimela is released downstream into the river for generating hydro electricity located at Upper Sileru, Donkarai and lower Sileru Hydro power stations ultimately utilizing the water for irrigation in Godavari delta during dry season.
Odisha is not permitting AP to install hydropower units (30 MW capacity) at the toe of Balimela dam on the grounds of secondary reasons. Though AP is permitted in the agreements, Odisha says the site of power house is located in Odisha's territory and AP cannot install the hydro power units in its land. Thus 30 MW power generation capacity at very low generation cost could not be developed for last 40 years due to non resolution of the dispute. The agreement also states that Kolab river surplus water available in Upper Kolab reservoir can be diverted jointly by Odisha and AP to Sileru / Machkund river basin for enhancing hydro power potential substantially. This diversion scheme has also not materialized till now. Odisha and AP should avoid deadlock in the water sharing negotiations and reach amicable solutions to optimize mutual benefits with the help of neutral experts.