BHUBANESWAR: As tributaries drained huge volumes of water into Mahanadi river system, coastal Odisha once again stared at flood with at least 12 lakh cusec water set to pass Munduli gauge station in Cuttack by Wednesday evening.
With the flood water likely to hit the deltaic zones of the State by Thursday, a worried Odisha Government asked 13 Collectors to augment watch and ward on the rain-battered river embankments given the incessant showers that have lashed the State in the last three days.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik held video-conferencing with the Collectors to take stock of the preparations made by the district administration as the flood looked a near certainty.
Continuously fed, Mahanadi remained under immense pressure. Tributaries such as Hati, Sagadi, Udanti, Ret, Uttei and Rahul poured into Tel river which drained about 4 lakh cusec water into Mahanadi at Patharla. Similarly, other small rivers added to the flow and at Khairmal, Mahanadi’s discharge read 11 lakh cusec at 6 pm.
According to standard observation, by the time it reaches Munduli in about 24 hours, this would have risen by two lakh cusec. Discharge at Munduli read 8.95 lakh cusec at 6 pm.
“Since there has not been much rain in the lower catchment of the river, we expect that the river discharge at Munduli will reach 12 lakh cusec tomorrow before it flows to the deltaic zone,” Special Relief Commissioner Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra said. The SRC, however, allayed apprehensions saying that in 2011, at least 14 lakh cusec water had passed Munduli without causing much damage. “There is nothing to panic as of now and we have put the administration in a state of readiness,” he told “Express.”
Till Monday, the Government expected just about 10 lakh cusec discharge at Munduli, but that was unfounded as incessant rains in the catchment areas in the downstream of Hirakud changed the dynamics.
Deogarh district had received 246 mm rain in the last 24 hours, while Angul received 146.6 mm. Sambalpur was lashed by 246 mm rain too. Other districts such as Bargarh (134 mm), Sonepur (73 mm), Balangir (52 mm), Nuapada (95 mm), Kalahandi (72.5 mm), Boudh (81 mm) and Nayagarh (52.3 mm) took the flood managers by surprise.
Mohapatra said Monday’s heavy rainfall contributed to the changed scenario, but hoped that absence of rain on Tuesday could come as a relief. However, Hirakud Dam could be a cause of worry. With the depression moving over to Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, more rains lashed the upper catchment of Mahanadi.
The inflow into Hirakud had grown from 4.80 lakh cusec at 6 am to 5.96 lakh cusec by evening, whereas the outflow had been controlled as it remained steady at 2.59 lakh cusec all through the day.
In fact, the dam managers had initially planned to throw open nine more gates __ 24 in total __ to ease the pressure on the reservoir, but such was the discharge from tributary rivers in the downstream that the idea was dropped. Only four more gates were opened at 9 pm.
“This cannot be sustained for long if Chhattisgarh gets more rains and releases more water because the water level in the dam now stands at 625.65 ft against the full storage level of 630 ft,” said a Water Resources department officer.