CHANDIGARH: The water level in the Bhakra dam crossed its permissible limit of 1,680 feet on Monday, prompting the authorities to increase the release of excess water through spillway gates to 41,000 cusecs, officials said.
"Water level in the Bhakra reservoir was 1,681 feet at 10 am on Monday against the permissible storage level of 1,680 feet," an official said.
The decision to raise the release of water through spillways was taken in order to bring down the water level in the reservoir to 1,680 feet in the next three-four days, an official of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) said.
"There is still water inflow of more than 1 lakh cusecs in the reservoir. Considering the present level of 1,681 feet and heavy inflows coming into the reservoir, it has been decided to increase the release through spillway of the Bhakra dam from 19,000 cusecs to 41,000 cusecs," the official said. "This release from spillway will be about 14 per cent of the total capacity of spillway."
The dam management authorities also sought to bring down the water level in the Bhakra dam by regulating water in the wake of another spell of rain forecast on next Sunday and Monday.
The water level at the dam, which usually gets filled to the capacity by September, crossed the permissible limits in the month of August for the first time.
According to a BBMB official, the water inflow into the reservoir peaked at 3.11 lakh cusecs on Sunday due to incessant rains in the past two-three days and it is almost near the level of 3.18 lakh cusecs that was witnessed during 1988 floods in Punjab.
An official said the inflow had happened despite the diversion of 8,500 cusecs of water of the Beas river through Beas-Satluj link project into the Sutlej river.
With many people in Punjab blaming the flooding of the downstream areas because of the release of excess water from Bhakra, the dam authorities ruled out the allegation.
In all the rivulets of Punjab having catchment area downstream of the Bhakra dam, there was heavy water inflow of around 2,00,000 cusecs, an official said. "It was due to heavy rainfall in Punjab areas and not due to any release (19,000 cusecs) of water from the Bhakra dam."
The authorities said they had been monitoring the situation continuously while asserting that the situation was under control.
"All necessary steps are being taken for the safety of the dam as well as for release of minimum possible water through spillway, downstream of the dam," an official said.
Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan are the partnering states which meet their requirement for different purposes, including irrigation, from Bhakra and Pong dams.