CHANDIGARH: India over the last seven days had approximately released over 2 lakh cusecs of water into Pakistan as a damage control measure to handle the flood-like situation in Punjab. The Indian government is likely to release more water over the next three days.
Meanwhile, the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) has resorted to controlled water release from Bhakra Dam to handle one of the worst floods that have taken place in the last forty years.
A senior official of the Punjab irrigation department said on condition of anonymity that in the last one week around two lakh cusecs of water has been released to Pakistan by opening the gates of Hussaniniwala Headworks in Ferozepur.
Earlier in May, for about five days 25,000 cusecs of water were released into Pakistan. "Excess water was released to Pakistan as gates at Hussainiwala were opened but if the neighbouring country stops water flow it comes back in Fazilka and Jalalabad areas,’’ he said.
Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) Chairman DK Sharma said, "In last few days about 2.25 lakh cusses of additional water has been released from the Bhakra dam and of this some 12,500 cusecs of water went to Rajasthan and rest of the water which went downstream due to the heavy rains and flooding in Punjab as water from rivulets also goes into the Sutluj and other rivers. Thus there was no way out one can stop this water as it had to go to Pakistan".
He said heavy rains in the intervening night of August 17 and 18 in the catchment areas had generated 3.11 lakh cusecs of water into Bhakra dam and this water
inflow was more than that of the 1988 floods. In view of the safety of the dam, we had to resort to the controlled water release through spillway gates, he added.
The water level in Bhakra dam today was at 1,679.50 feet.
“Though the water inflows into the dam have reduced yet the water level is still in the range of about 50,000 to 60,000 cusecs. It has also been decided to bring down the present reservoir level by at least five feet to 1675 feet level to handle the possible future flood events. Keeping in view present reduced inflows in to the Satluj river to 45,000 cusecs and as per IMD forecast of lesser rainfall in coming weeks, BBMB after analysing the technical parameters has decided to reduce the releases through spillways from 41,000 cusecs to 18,500 cusecs. Also, the spillway gates opening would be lowered down to 4 feet from existing 8 feet with effect from midnight."