IDUKKI: In view of the rising water levels in Kerala's Idukki reservoir, one of the five shutters of the Idukki dam was opened as part of a trial run at 12.30 pm on Thursday. Fifty centimetres of the shutter is being opened, releasing 50,000 litres of water. It will remain open for about 4 hours.
The shutter of the Idukki dam, one of the highest arch dams in Asia, was lifted up by 50 cms during the trial run, following heavy rains in the catchment areas last night and throughout the first half of the day on Thursday.
The full capacity of the Idukki dam is 2403 feet, and the water levels touched 2398.80 feet at 10 am, which was only 0.20 ft away from issuing the red alert.
Idukki Dam is the tallest arch dam in India. The shutters of the dam are being opened after 25 years. A similar situation had occurred in 1981 and 1992. In 1992, the shutter was opened when the water level reached 2410ft.
"The opening of the shutters requires 10 minutes of technical processing, following which water will be released for four hours," the release said. The decision was taken based on the review meeting held at Thiruvananthapuram, during which power minister M M Mani said that opening the shutters for the trial run was necessary, or else, the water will have to be released all of a sudden.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan has written that Idukki Cheruthoni Dam will be opened at 12 pm as part of the trial run.
"There is no need to panic. All the safety requirements to be followed for opening the dam has been taken. Since the water level may rise in the river, people living on the banks should take precaution," posted Mr. Vijayan.
Read Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan's post here:
The water level in the dam shows a rise of more than 0.10 ft per hour, with the catchment area receiving high rainfall. The inflow into the dam was double than that of the water released by the KSEB authorities for power generation at the Moolamattam powerhouse.
District collector G R Gokul told Express that people need not panic as the water release will take place in a small quantum. "All necessary measures have been taken by the administration to ensure the safety of people residing in the downstream," he said. The state government has directed the district administration to warn the people who reside within 100-meter circumference on the banks of the Periyar River.
The locals have been advised to refrain from entering rivulets and streams due to the likelihood of flash floods. Bathing, washing clothes, playing and fishing in the river is strictly banned. Those indulging in selfies with the background of floodwater are strictly warned too.
Meanwhile, Idukki and Peermade registered a rainfall of 128.6 mm and 124 mm respectively on Thursday. While Thodupuzha and Munnar received 107.3 mm and 64.2 mm respectively.