With the storage in the Mettur Dam, the lifeline of Cauvery Delta farmers in Tamil Nadu, improvingin the wake of copious inflows from Karnataka, water will be released for irrigation from August 12, exactly two months behind the regular date, to benefit 12 lakh acres of land.
Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa expressed joy that water would be released from the Stanely Reservoir, more popularly known as Mettur Dam, to enable farmers take up the long-term Samba crop.
She said that with the southwest monsoon being vigorous in Karnataka, Harangi, Kabini and Krishnarajasagar reservoirs in the upper riparian state were reaching their maximum storage capacity.
Excess water was being released from Kabini and Krishnarajasagar dams into Cauvery and water level at Mettur dam had subsequently reached 89.5 ft (maximum 120 feet), with a storage of 52.19 tmc ft (maximum 93.4 tmcft).
She said the storage was expected to touch 55 tmc ft by end of this month, while another 90 tmc ft of water was likely to be realised till the end of southwest monsoon in September.
"It is expected that another 48 tmc ft would be realised due to the northeast monsoon and overall it is likely to touch 193 tmc ft by January 2014," she said in a statement.
Water from this reservoir was generally released when the storage was over 60 tmc ft but she had directed that it be released in view of increase in storage levels.
The Agriculture Department was prepared to meet demand for the required seeds, fertilisers besides providing required farm equipment on low rents to assist farmers, she added.
While water was released from Mettur Dam on June 12 every year, it could not be done so last year (and this year) due to deficient rains and the stand-off with Karnataka over release of water, Jayalalithaa said.
Like getting the final award of the Cauvery Water Tribunal notified in a central gazette through a legal battle, her government was taking all steps to constitute the Cauvery Management Board and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee also, she said.
A Salem report said the Mettur dam today clocked an inflow of 52,701 cusecs and the discharge for drinking water needs was 6,800 cusecs.
Meanwhile, a report from Dharmapuri said the inflow of water at Biligundalu, where Cauvery enters Tamil Nadu, rose sharply to 95,000 cusecs around 3 pm today, prompting officials to step up flood alert along the river bank and at the famous tourist spot of Hogenakkal Water Falls.
The inflow was around 50,000 cusecs yesterday and registered substantial increase in view of continued discharge of surplus water from Karnataka reservoirs, officials said.
It was expected to touch one lakh cusecs by tonight.
Already a flood alert has been sounded in Hogenakkal and other areas along the course of the river in the district.
To avert any untoward incident, police pickets had been posted at the tourist spot. Officials led by DRO P Ramar were also camping in the area to monitor the situation.
Ramar said flood alert had been given using tom tom in hilly villages in the district.
The District administration was fully geared to tackle any flood situation, he added.