In what it could be a milestone in linking rivers in the country, the Andhra Pradesh government formally released the water of Godavari river to flow into Krishna river on Wednesday.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu performed puja at Ibrahimpatnam near Vijayawada, where water from Godavari will flow into Krishna. The move is regarded as a major step towards realising the 50-year old dream of the state to link the rivers.

"The inter-linking of rivers has been on the cards and on the drawing board for a long time, from the days when (eminent engineer) K L Rao was irrigation minister in the Union Cabinet (in 1950s). The plan was revived during Atal Bihari Vajpayee's NDA government. But, this is the first-ever time, it has been implemented," Parakala Prabhakar, Advisor (Communications) to Andhra Pradesh government, told PTI.

The state has taken a historic step by linking the two rivers, which will result in diversion of nearly 80 TMC of water from Godavari to Krishna, said State Water Resources Minister Devineni Umamaheswara Rao.

The formal linking of the rivers is seen as a "boon" to farmers in the Krishna delta, as it addresses the problem of acute water shortage in the region, The Economic Times reported.

The farmers in the region faced acute water shortage following a row with neighbouring state Karnataka over the height of Almatti dam, a hydroelectric project on Krishna river in the northern part of the state.

Linking of the two rivers is expected to irrigate paddy crop spread across seven lakh acres in the Krishna, West and East Godavari districts, the region which is called as the rice bowl of the country, NDTV reported.

The Rayalaseema region, which always faces a dearth of water, will also be benefited from the move.