Heavy rains raise water levels in Kerala dams

The shutters of the Kallarkutty dam opened due to the rising water level during heavy rain in Idukki, Saturday, May 15, 2021. Photo: PTI

Thiruvananthapuram: With 17 more days remaining for the onset of southwest monsoon, heavy rains lashing the State over the past few days have increased the water levels in the dams.

According to statistics till Saturday, dams under the Kerala State Electricity Board had 33 per cent water and the Irrigation Department-maintained reservoirs were 65 per cent full.

If the rain continued for a few more days, the water levels in the reservoirs would touch the full capacity mark. Kerala received 145.5mm of rain on Saturday alone.

The water level of Idukki reservoir was at 33 per cent of its capacity, while the Mullaperiyar reservoir’s level touched 129 feet. The reservoir’s full capacity is 142 feet.

Meanwhile, authorities have made arrangements for raising the shutters of the dams in case the rain further intensified.

Sand, silt fill dams

Concerns have been raised over sand and silt filling up more than 50 per cent of the dams’ capacity in Kerala. No measures have been made to remove them, and hence the reservoirs may touch their maximum capacity much faster in heavy downpours.

It has been reported that lack of planning and preparedness led to the savage floods of Kerala in 2018. The Central Water Commission and the State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) were being briefed on the water levels in KSEB and irrigation department’s dams regularly for monitoring the situation.

The KSDMA said it was monitoring the situation and district collectors have been instructed to set up relief camps to accommodate people in case they were to be evacuated.

The State Dam Safety Authority has been responsible for the dams in Kerala. Authority Chairman Justice C N Ramachandran Nair said the body had apprised the Central Water Commission of the water levels, and the condition of the shutters.

He added that authorities concerned have been instructed to maintain vigil and initiate necessary steps in the backdrop of the 2018 floods.

The situation cannot be predicted if the rain intensified, he said, adding that all dams had undergone necessary maintenance works.

Idukki shutters won’t be raised

KSEB Chairman N S Pillai said the current situation did not warrant raising the shutters of dams, including Idukki, under the board. Water need not be released from Idukki even if the heavy showers continued for another 10 days, he said.

Chief Engineer (Irrigation and Administration) of the Irrigation Department, Alex Varghese said the water levels in reservoirs under the department were not of concern now. Necessary arrangements have been made, he added.

Flood warning in Pathanamthitta

An orange-code bulletin has been issued after the Central Water Commission warned of a possibility of Manimala and Achankovil rivers in Pathanamthitta flooding their riparian areas.

The warning was issued after water at Manimala river’s observation station rose to dangerous levels. The water level has crossed the danger mark at Thumpamon as well.

The commission asked those living on the banks to be vigilant and to shift to relief camps if necessary.  

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