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Ahead of deluge, Chennai's brimming dams release water into sea

With check dams and tanks downstream of reservoirs in the city brimming, excessive water released from the reservoirs are now let directly into the sea, and is getting wasted.

Published: 18th November 2021 04:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th November 2021 04:31 AM   |  A+A-

Chennai Rain

Image used for representational purpose only.

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: With check dams and tanks downstream of reservoirs in the city brimming, excessive water released from the reservoirs are now let directly into the sea, and is getting wasted. Ahead of the rains, the Public Works Department has been releasing water from the four major reservoirs here since Tuesday night.

As of 4 pm on Wednesday, 7,046 cusecs is being released from Poondi, more than 2,000 cusecs from Red Hills and Chembarambakkam, and 215 cusecs from Cholavaram. However, the check dams and other tanks, which have hardly been desilted, are unable to collect the water released.

“There are more than 500 tanks in Chennai, but none of them are desilted. Even under the major desilting projects for which funds have been allocated, only lakes are taken into the purview. If timely desilting was done, tanks would have had more storage capacity,” said K Varadhan, a water conservation activist.

Promises go down the drain
When the water was released from Chembarambakkam in November last, following a cyclone, Public Works Department officials had assured TNIE that not even a drop of water was going waste since the check dams on the downstream would collect it.

However, as rains continued, they kept releasing more water from reservoirs but failed to maintain the check dams and tanks. The check dams eventually became full as silt covered more than half of their capacity, according to experts.

“The rains brought to fore, the city’s poor water management. Those living in the low-lying areas constantly worry whether their houses would be flooded due to the water released from the reservoirs. Ironically, some areas did not have a drop of water to drink during the 2019 drought,” said S Raghavan, an Adyar resident.

Rainfall to result in another flood?
As per estimates, weather stations in Chennai and the northern districts may clock a rainfall of 15-20 cm or more in the 24-hour window ending 8.30 am on Friday, which is expected to be enough to cause extensive damage and flooding. Weather models also indicate the formation of another new system to bring rains next week



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