Mettur dam opened, but inflow down

R. Ilangovan- THE HINDU

Officials pin hope on monsoon revival to maintain regular discharge

Mettur Dam Opened - — Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

Mettur Dam Opened — Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

THE BIG DAY: Water gushing out of the Stanley reservoir in Mettur on Tuesday.

METTUR: To the joy of thousands of farmers, the sluices of the Stanley reservoir here were opened on Tuesday evening to let out water that will soon irrigate about 16 lakh acres in the delta districts. Showering of rose petals marked the event.

Before the water enters the delta region, thousands of devotees will throng the banks of the Cauvery to offer worship on August 3, the day of the ‘Adi Perukku’ festival.

But the sudden dip in the inflow, a mere 16,626 cusecs at the time of release on Tuesday, dampened the euphoria. The fruitful realisation of water within a fortnight between July 13 (water level 59 feet) and July 25 (90 feet) that had prompted the government to open the dam was due to a revival of the monsoon. “To maintain the discharge and to make the water reach the tail-enders, we need a second revival of the monsoon,” said a senior official.

Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S. Arumugam, who performed the customary opening, said farmers could go ahead with cultivation since the State had adequate storage of fertilizer and seeds. “The monsoon will revive,” he said on a note of hope. Some 5,000 cusecs was released initially. Staggering increases to the tune of 8,000, 10,000 and 12,000 cusecs followed.

Apart from meeting irrigation needs, the water will generate 250 MW of power through two power houses. Five barrages downstream will bring an additional 120 MW. “Judicious use of water is the need of the hour,” said a PWD official.

At the time of release, the level in the reservoir stood at 94.680 feet (full level 120 feet) with a live storage of 58.164 tmcft. The dam could not be opened on its customary opening date of June 12 due to poor storage. In its 75-year history, it was opened 15 times on June 12 and 50 times after June 12. It was opened 10 times before June 12. The dam has surplussed 35 times so far.

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