Kerala tense as water level in Mullaperiyar Dam rises

Setback to Kerala, TN allowed to store water till 142-ft mark of Mullaperiyar dam

Kumaly: The water level in the Mullaperiyar Dam has been rising steadily over the last few days, raising concerns in Kerala. While the maximum water level allowed is 142 feet, the reservoir of the dam had water up to the 135.10-ft mark on Thursday.

According to the order of the Central Water Commission, Tamil Nadu, which is in charge of the dam, can maintain a water level of 142 ft two times a year and is likely to raise the shutters only if the level touches this maximum mark.

Protocol to release water

As per the protocol in place to release water from the dam, Tamil Nadu will issue the first alert to Kerala when the level reaches 136 ft. Subsequently, the second alert would be given at 138 ft, the first warning at 140 ft and second warning at 141 ft. When the level reaches 142 ft, shutters of the dam would be lifted.

At the same time, Tamil Nadu has not agreed to Kerala’s request to release water from the dam in a controlled manner after the level crosses the 136-ft mark.

2018 situation

In 2018, when the worst floods in a century ravaged Kerala, the water level in Mullaperiyar was at a similar level. On August 14 that year, even though the level was 136.10 ft, Tamil Nadu was releasing only 2,200 cubic feet of water to the Vaiga Dam in that state. At that time, the inflow into Mullaperiyar was 4,420 cubic feet.

At evening that day the inflow increased to 11,500 cubic feet and the water level went up to 137.40 ft. However, Tamil Nadu neither lifted the shutters of the Mullaperiyar Dam nor released water to Vaiga. At night, the water level suddenly attained dangerous levels and Tamil Nadu opened the shutters of the Mullaperiyar Dam without proper warning.

Idukki Dam water

Meanwhile, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) said that it would continue to release water at 100 cubic metre-per second (cumecs) on Friday also. In case the rain subsides, the amount would be reduced or the spillway closed, it added.

At the same time, the release from Edamalayar Dam has been reduced from 123 cumecs to 80, while from Pamba Dam it is now 10 cumecs instead of the earlier 14. From Kakki Dam, the amount continues at 95 cumecs.

“Water is currently being released from 12 of the 18 dams under the KSEB,” said Board Chairman B Ashok.

Present water levels

The following was the water levels in some of the major dams in Kerala on Thursday evening with the maximum capacity in feet or meter in brackets:

Idukki: 2398.28 ft (2403 ft)

Edamalayar: 165.26 m (169 m)

Kakki: 979.47 m (981.46 m)

Banasura Sagar: 773.2 m (775.6 m)

Sholayar: 2662 feet (2663 feet)

Mattupetty: 1597.75 m (1599.59 m)

Houses submerged at Kallar

Around 30 houses downstream of Kallar Dam were inundated following a delay in raising its shutters. The dam was filled to its capacity after the isolated very heavy rainfall on Wednesday night and the level was 821.1 m at 12.30 am. When the level touched 822.5 m at 1.30 am, the Dam Safety Authority sought the permission of the District Collector to raise the shutters. However, the dam could be opened only by 2.50 am after all procedures were completed. By 2.30 am, the reservoir of the dam overflowed and flooded the houses.

But, according to Dam Safety Assistant Executive Engineer Sajeev Kumar, the dam overflowed as a result of the waves created by the lifting of shutters.

The maximum level in Kallar is 824.48 m.


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