KOCHI: Dismissing concerns over the water level in Idukki reservoir, KSEB chairman N S Pillai said the dam’s catchment area requires 30 more days of heavy rainfall for water to reach the crest level. He said the demand to drain water ahead of monsoon had no merit and that a below average monsoon could push the state into a power crisis.
“There’s only 586.5 MCM storage in Idukki dam. The full reservoir capacity is 1,460 MCM. The water level in Idukki is 2,340 feet and water has to rise 33 feet more to reach the crest level. KSEB is following the Central Water Commission-approved (CWC) ‘Rule Curve’ to release water from the dam. We conducted a mock drill on releasing water from all major dams and the maintenance work of shutters have been completed. All dam offices have been provided satellite phones and generators for emergency communication,” he told TNIE.
Power Minister M M Mani had convened a meeting to review the dam’s safety on Wednesday. “The storage in Idukki dam is 20 feet more than the previous year. But, if we release water now expecting a normal monsoon, it will have repercussions. If the onset of monsoon is delayed and summer prevails, we will be forced to impose load shedding. As big shops and enterprises are not working, the power consumption has plunged to 65 million units (MU) a day and we are surrendering 10 MU of power worth `1 crore, purchased from the central pool, every day,” said Pillai.
Monitoring committees, comprising district collectors of downstream areas, MLAs and other stakeholders, have been formed at major dams like Idukki, Idamalayar, Sabarigiri and Banasurasagar. Dam Safety chief engineer S Supriya will be the nodal officer coordinating the activities.
Rain, gusty winds today
The Indian Meteorological Department has forecast thunderstorm, accompanied by lightning and gusty winds, to continue in the state on Thursday. The intensity of the rain will decrease from Friday, though the state will continue to receive light to moderate showers till Sunday. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea as strong wind from northwesterly direction, with speeds reaching 45 to 55 kmph, is likely to blow along and off Kerala coast, Comorin and Lakshadweep.