If the shutters of the Cheruthony Dam is opened, the torrential of water will flow through the Cheruthony River towards Periyar (EPS | Ramesh Sivan)
IDUKKI: The authorities may drain excess water down the Periyar river within two or three days as water level in Idukki dam, Kerala's largest hydro-electric reservoir, keeps on rising to the full reservoir level following incessant rains.
The KSEB is monitoring the situation and has worked out the modalities of opening the shutters before the water level reaches 2400 ft. The total capacity of the dam is 2403 ft and the water level on Sunday was recorded at 2394.02 ft. The shutters of the dam were opened in a similar situation 25 years back in 1992 without causing any danger to people living downstream.
The district administration has taken all necessary preparations to ensure safety of the people residing in the downstream of Cheruthony dam. Presently, the leveling and cleaning of the Cheruthony River, by removing the piled up sand and other waste materials to ensure free flow of water, is underway at the river premises. The activities are conducted under the guidance of the National Highway Authority of India.
If the shutters of the Cheruthony Dam is opened, the torrential of water will flow through the Cheruthony River towards Periyar, a major lifeline of Kerala, stretching up to Aluva near Kochi.
As per the data available with the district disaster management department, there are a total of 4500 buildings on the downstream of the dam. The heavy flow of water is expected to affect crops cultivated on acres of land on the banks of Cheruthony and Periyar Rivers.
The Idukki district administration held an emergency meeting and worked out a contingency plan to ensure the safety of people living in downstream areas close to the dam which include Thadyambad, Karimaban, Injivarakkuth areas near Cheruthony.
According to an official with the KSEB monitoring the dam, the watermark in the dam had touched 90 percent of its FRL of 2,403 feet and if it rises by 3 or 4 feet, one or two shutters will have to be opened. "This will not pose any danger to people in the area though they will be informed of the situation in advance," he said.
"Though there was a let up in rains in catchment areas, the inflow is still on and if the current situation continues the shutters will be opened to release water through Periyar. If the dam's shutters are opened the Periyar could get swollen but it would not pose any serious threat to people living on the banks," the official said.