SC panel backs Kerala's call for safe storage limit in Mullaperiyar dam

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

Kumily: According to the latest reports, the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam has reached 137.60ft. The water level is slowly inching towards the 138ft benchmark after which the second warning will be issued.

The maximum storage level in the dam is 142ft.

Meanwhile, a consensus has emerged in the Supreme Court monitoring committee meeting that the water level in the dam should be regulated as per the Rule Curve. (A rule curve or rule level specifies the storage of water which can be maintained in the dam every 10 days. It is meant to control floods. If the water level exceeds the limit set by the rule curve, the water from the dam will have to be released)

Right now, the water contained in the dam amounted to almost 90 per cent of the total storage capacity. Kerala had informed the monitoring committee that it would not be possible to release extra water to the Idukki dam in case the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam crosses 139 ft. The monitoring committee is understood to have accepted this argument.

Safe limit

Mullaperiyar's safety is linked to the water level. According to a Supreme Court verdict, the water level should not exceed 142ft. Kerala has been arguing against holding water beyond the 137ft level. Tamil Nadu, however, has been advocating to increase the water level to 152ft after strengthening the dam. Studies were commissioned at Kerala's behest to know the situation if the water level is increased to 152ft.

Panel for reducing storage 

The monitoring committee is expected to recommend to the Supreme Court of India on Wednesday the need for maintaining the water level at 137ft in the dam in view of the northeast monsoon ('Thulavarsham') season in Kerala.

As per the status report given by the Central Water Commission, the existing water level to be maintained as per the Rule Curve is 138ft. If the water level rises, the shutters of the spillway of the dam will be opened to release the extra water through the Periyar river.

Meanwhile, State Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine has said that the decision of the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee would further strengthen the case of Kerala. He added that no one should take this development as a setback.

Gates of Idukki-Cheruthoni dam closed

The last of the three shutters opened to regulate the water-level in the Idukki Dam was closed. Two shutters were closed earlier. Third shutter was raised from 35 cm to 40 cm. This gate is now closed when the water level reached 2397.90 feet. The flow of water to the dam has decreased, the KSEB officials said.

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