BHUBANESWAR: Water retention capacity of Hirakud dam will be increased to 24 lakh cusec from the existing 15 lakh cusec, informed Union Water Resources Secretary Upendra Prasad Singh on Wednesday.
Speaking at the International Dam Safety Conference-2019 here, Singh undermined the safety concerns of Hirakud dam, one of the longest in the world and the State’s lifeline. “There is no threat to the dam. Process has already begun to increase its water retention capacity and automatic functioning of the gates. Hirakud dam is the biggest beneficiary of the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) as an additional spillway is being constructed,” he said.
Built over Mahanadi river, the 5 km long dam has 98 gates, 64 sluice and 34 crest. The gates, which are now being operated manually, will be made automatic.
The two-day international conference, jointly organised by the Centre, Odisha Government and World Bank assisted DRIP, was inaugurated by Water Resources Minister Niranjan Pujari. “About 80 per cent of our large dams are over 25 years old. Many dams are over 100 years old and were built in an era when design practices and safety considerations were not at par with the current norms. The dams experiencing distress are in need of attention to ensure their structural safety and operational efficiency,” Pujari said.
In 2012, the Central Water Commission (CWC) had launched DRIP for restoration and improvement of 223 large dams located in seven States - Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand. With a revised estimate of `3,466 crore, the project is expected to be completed by June 2020.
In Odisha, 26 large dams have been taken up under DRIP. Apart from its rehabilitation, an additional spillway is being built at Hirakud dam at a cost of `600 crore to address issues pertaining to hydrological safety.
More than 700 delegates including policy makers, dam professionals, scientists, academia and around 100 overseas experts from 30 countries are participating in the conference. Three important national guidelines, 16 emergency action plans and five operation and maintenance manuals were released on the occasion.
A number of national and international organisations are showcasing their technologies, products and services at the event, reflecting the contemporary developments in the field of dam safety.