SAMBALPUR/BHUBANESWAR:An expert team from World Bank, Central Water Commission (CWC) and Odisha Water Resources Department visited the Hirakud dam site on Tuesday to check if it was possible to construct additional spillways for discharge of floodwater from the reservoir.
The team visited two sites each on both the right dyke and left dyke of the dam and would submit its proposal to the Odisha Government by December. Survey, design and project cost estimate would be done only after the government’s approval, said Hirakud dam’s chief engineer Biswajit Mohanty.
Floodwater is released through 98 gates, of which 64 are sluice gates and 34 are crest gates, releasing about 12 lakh cusecs of water at a time. “The CWC has revised the floodwater release capacity of all major dams and has submitted a proposal for the construction of additional spillways at Hirakud dam to raise its floodwater discharge capacity. After construction of the additional spillways, the water discharge capacity of the dam will be enhanced to around 18 lakh cusecs,” Mohanty said.
He said Sambalpur witnessed flood-like situation last year, after floodwater was released through 30 gates of the Hirakud dam. If five to six lakh cusecs of water could be diverted and released through other sides, the flood situation could be avoided. “The revised hydrology of Hirakud dam has been approved by the CWC. The dam safety review panel has suggested construction of additional spillways, for which survey is conducted. However, no decision has been taken on the matter so far,” Water Resources secretary P K Jena said.
The panel has made several recommendations, including construction of additional spillways. The expert team would take a decision after examining the merits of the recommendations, technical viability, cost involved and other measures required to improve the safety and operation of the dam. The state government would take a final decision on the basis of the expert team’s recommendations, Jena said.