Floodgates of Idukki dam opened, Periyar river in spate

Three shutters of Cheruthoni dam raised by 35cm, releasing one lakh litres of water per second , 64 families from five panchayats on banks of river shifted to camps as precautionary measure

Published: 20th October 2021 06:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th October 2021 06:24 AM   |  A+A-

Water being released from the third shutter of the Cheruthoni dam of Idukki reservoir at 11am on Tuesday | SHIYAMI

By Express News Service

KOCHI: Ending hours of anxiety, the floodgates of the Idukki reservoir were opened at 11am on Tuesday. Three shutters of Cheruthoni, one of the three dams that form the Idukki reservoir, were raised after Electricity Minister K Krishnankutty and Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine held a review meeting with top officials at the dam site.

The third, fourth and second shutters were raised at 11am, 12 noon and 12.30pm in that order, after sounding the siren three times. The shutters were raised to a height of 35cm, releasing one lakh litres of water per second. Since its inauguration 45 years ago, the shutters of Idukki dam, the largest arch dam in Asia, have been raised three times before this — in 1981, 1992 and 2018.

As water gushed down, its level rose in Cheruthoni river, which is a tributary of the Periyar. People living on the banks of the Periyar have been alerted and 222 persons belonging to 64 families in five panchayats were shifted to relief camps as a precautionary measure. 

The ministers said all preparations have been made to meet any eventuality. They said controlled release of water will not cause flooding. Water from  the Idukki reservoir reached Aluva and Kalady in Ernakulam in the night.

In August 2018, the release of water from major dams amid torrential rain had led to flooding across the state. Water did not drain into the sea, which was rough in high tide, aggravating the deluge. As many as 493 people were killed during the flood. However, the climate has been favourable this time.

Water from the Idukki reservoir flowed down through dams and reached Kalady and Aluva. Considering the possibility of flooding, fishermen from Chellanam harbour volunteered to lead the rescue operations. Five teams of fishermen reached Aluva fire station, transporting country boats on trailer trucks, while two teams reached Paravoor fire station.

The Idukki arch dam is built between Kuravan and Kurathi rock hills. The Indo-Canadian project was inaugurated on February 17, 1976, by then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

Pampa, Idamalayar dam shutters also raised
Water was released from Pampa and Idamalayar dams at 6am on Tuesday. Two shutters of Pampa dam were opened to a height of 30cm, releasing 50,000 litres of water per second. The water level in the Pampa river rose by 10cm. Two shutters of Idamalayar dam were raised to a height of 80cm at 6am on Tuesday. Water reached Bhoothathankettu dam by 8am and Aluva at 12 noon. The water level in Periyar has risen by around one metre at Aluva.


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