Vijayawada: The negligence of irrigation officials, that allowed a mentally-unstable person to open the crest gates of the Prakasam Barrage on Tuesday, led to wastage of 10 days of water that could have been used by Guntur and Vijayawada.
According to Vijaya-wada One Town police, irrigation officials were working on repairs at crest gate Nos. 58 and 59 of the Prakasam barrage.
When the workers took a tea break, a 40-year-old mentally-unstable person, Bangaru Babu from Piduguralla, entered the control unit of the crest gates and pressed the green switch used to lift the gates.
The crest gates opened immediately and thousands of gallons of water gushed downstream and sank into the sand breaches.
Traffic police who saw the water gushing contacted irrigation officials who rushed to switch off the control unit and inform the police.
One Town police arrested Bangaru Babu.
Inspector of One Town police station, Dasari Kasiviswanath, said that irrigation officials should have locked the door when going out. Officials responded quickly or else it would have cost Guntur and Vijayawada cities 30 days of drinking water, he added.
Meanwhile, irrigation experts said that 10 days of drinking water required for the two cities was wasted and tighter security is essential.
Irrigation department officials were not available for comment.