AHMEDABAD: The water level of the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat's Narmada district reached a historic high of 138 metres, just 68 centimetres short of the overflow mark, a senior official said on Saturday.
He attributed the feat to water discharge from large reservoirs in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh into the reservoir of the Sardar Sarovar Dam.
"Water level in the Sardar Sarovar Dam is 138 metres. For it to reach the full height of 138.68 metres will depend on technical and natural factors," said Rajiv Gupta, Managing Director of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL).
"With large amounts of water being released from Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar dams in Madhya Pradesh, the Narmada Dam is receiving a heavy inflow of water," he added.
An official said the Sardar Sarovar Dam received 8.27 lakh cusec (cubic foot per second) water, of which 7.96 lakh cusec was released.
The rise in water level has prompted authorities to issue an alert for villages along the river's banks in Narmada, Bharuch and Vadodara districts, the official informed.
"Because of heavy outflow, 175 villages in Bharuch, Narmada and Vadodara are facing the flood-like situation. Especially in Bharuch, the situation can get serious due to high tide combined with heavy outflow of water," Gupta said.
Gupta said it was these factors that prompted the authorities to allow the water level in the Sardar Sarovar Dam to reach 138 metres, adding that a call would be taken in the next three to four days on whether to let the water rise to the overflow mark.
He said the dam has received water due to heavy rains in the catchment area and around 20,000 cusec of water has been released into the Narmada river.
Meanwhile, around 3,900 people, who were shifted to safer places from 23 villages and some low-lying areas of Bharuch over the last few days, have not yet been sent back as water level in Narmada river continued to be steady, collector MD Modiya said.
The state government announced that Chief Minister Vijay Rupani will attend the 'Narmada Aarti' near the Sardar Sarovar Dam on September 17 to mark Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 69th birthday.
Modi has also been invited, said functionaries, adding that the BJP expects the mega dam to reach the overflow mark by September 17.
To mark the PM's birthday, the Gujarat government and the ruling BJP have decided to organise events to commemorate filling up of the dam and other reservoirs in the state.
The dam was raised to its maximum height of 138.68 metres from 121.92 metres after Modi took over as prime minister in 2014.