PORINGALKUTHU: Chalakudy town was more or less unaffected by the heavy downpour this year although the downstream areas of Chalakudy river witnessed flood-like situations in many places.
But it’s not time to heave a sigh of relief as Upper Sholayar dam, which discharges excess water into Kerala, has reached 99 per cent storage level and dam authorities have issued the first warning ahead of opening the shutters.
Further, reservoirs like Thunakadu and Peruvarippalam in the custody of Tamil Nadu are filled to the brim. They are expected to discharge excess water into Kerala once they reach full reservoir capacity.
If the shutters of Upper Sholayar dam are opened, water reaches Lower Sholayar dam which is in the custody of Kerala, where the water level at present is 55 per cent of the total capacity. But if 100 cusecs of water are discharged per day, the Lower Sholayar will be filled in eight days. Down the stream, this water reaches Poringalkuthu reservoir and Idamalayar dam.
The present storage level in Idamalayar dam is about 50 per cent of the total reservoir capacity, while Poringalkuthu has already opened its shutters when the water level reached 62 per cent. Dam Safety Officer of Poringalkuthu said that if Tamil Nadu releases water, the dam won’t be in a position to hold excess water.
In Poringalkuthu, the shutters were opened when water level reached 419.4 m. If there is no heavy rain in the coming days, opening of the shutters of dams in the custody of Tamil Nadu won’t happen, he said. But if there is excess rainfall in the catchment areas of these dams, things won’t be easy for Poringalkuthu. “We have even proposed a dam at Kavalthodu to receive the excess water from Parambikulam, but it is not easy to work it out in the present circumstance,” he added.
Meanwhile, tribals who live on both shores of the Chalakkudy River are finding it difficult to cope with the vagaries of monsoon. During monsoon, power outage is very normal as large trees are uprooted in the rain, snapping power transmission lines. For weeks, the colonies have been depending on kerosene lamps and candles, while the state government was providing them with a monthly ration of half a litre kerosene, which is not even sufficient to meet the daily requirement. Further, when there are no electric lights, wild animals come to the settlement in search of food and elephant raids are rampant, said Geetha V K, Ooru Mooppathi, Vazhachal.