Ernakulam/Kottayam/Idukki: In view of more rains predicted to lash Kerala in coming days, the shutters of the Cheruthoni Dam, which forms part of the larger Idukki Dam, were raised by 35 centimetre on Tuesday to let out 100 cubic metre per second (100 cumecs) of water as a precautionary measure.
Around one lakh litres of water per second were being released from the Idukki dam. All the arrangements for the opening of the Idukki Dam were completed by Monday itself.
Only a limited amount of water will be released and there is no need to panic, Kerala Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine had said earlier on Tuesday.
"The decision was taken to control the water level of the dam at 2,395-2,396 feet in the wake of a warning from the Central Meteorological Department that there would be heavy rains in the coming days. The decision was also based on past experience and was meant to allay people's concerns," the minister said.
The first shutter – gate number three – was raised by 35 cm at 11 am, while second shutter – gate number two - opened after an hour at 12 noon. The third and final shutter – gate number four – was opened at 12.30pm.
The Idukki Dam, constructed across the Periyar river, is one of the highest arch dams in Asia.
The Idukki district administration had sounded a red alert for the district at 6 pm on Monday.
The opening of the Cheruthoni Dam, part of the Idukki hydroelectric project, would not cause any inconvenience to the people, the minister said.
The minister also urged those staying along the banks of the Periyar river to take all necessary precautions.
The Idukki District Collector has urged the public and the authorities to be vigilant. The district authorities have also sounded an alert to those who stay in the vicinity of the dam to be very cautious.
Vigil on Periyar, Pamba river banks
Earlier in the day, the state government has opened two shutters of Idamalayar dam in Ernakulam district and Pamba dam in Pathanamthitta district.
The two shutters of Idamalayar dam were raised by 15 cm at 6 am, while Pamba Dam gates were opened by 30 cm. The Ernakulam and Pathanamthitta district administrations have sound alert along the Periyar and Pamba rivers.
Ernakulam District Collector Jafar Malik has urged those living on the banks of the Periyar River to take precautions.
Besides, the dams at Sholayar on Chalakudy river and Kakki on Kakki river have already been opened.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday asked people living on the banks of the rivers, whose dams are being opened, to be more cautious and take necessary precautions.
Hard lessons of 2018 fiasco
Opening of all the dams might bring back the haunting memories of the 2018 floods, to its survivors, when most of the dams in the state were opened almost simultaneously to release water amid heavy rains which led to widespread flooding and landslides resulting in loss of life and property across the state.
High alert in Aluva, Ernakulam
As water released from Idamalayar and Idukki dams would flow through Aluva, a prime commercial centre in Ernakulam district, state Industries Minister P Rajeev held a meeting to deal with the likely consequences.
Subsequent to the meeting, Rajeev said in a release that steps are being taken to ensure water from Idukki and Idamalayar dams do not flow into the Periyar together.
He also directed the Irrigation department to remove the obstructions to the smooth flow of water in the river on a war footing.
Thrissur District Collector Haritha V Kumar asked the public residing along the banks of Chalakudy river to remain vigilant.
Shutters of the Peppara dam in Thiruvananthapuram has been raised by 140 cm. The 1st and 4th shutters of the dam will be raised 5 cm each and the 2nd and 4th was raised 10 cm each at 10pm on Monday. The shutters were raised by 30 more cms(combined) on Tuesday morning.
Two shutters of the Kakki-Anathodu dam in Pathanamthitta have been opened by 15 cm. The banks of the Pamba River, especially in areas near Kuttanad, Kozhencherry, Ranni and Chengannur, are likely to be affected.
All the 39 shutters of Thottapally spillway in Alappuzha were opened. Water level has been rising at Pallathuruthy, Nedumudi and Kavalam in Kuttanad. The water level is also rising in the Viyyapuram area of Upper Kuttanad.
Red alert in 10 Kerala dams
Lower Periyar (Idukki)
Peringal Kuthu (Thrissur)