COIMBATORE: Several parts of the Coimbatore district could face scarcity of drinking water in a couple of months as the Kerala Irrigation Department has reduced discharge from the Siruvani Dam by half. This follows the decline in water level and release from the Aliyar Dam in the Coimbatore district.
Siruvani Dam located in Palakkad district of Kerala is one of the major sources of water for the Coimbatore district. Presently, out of the total water requirement of 265 millions of liter per day (MLD) for Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation (CCMC), 101.40 MLD is drawn from the Siruvani drinking water project.
The agreement for the water supply project was entered into between the Government of Tamil Nadu and the Government of Kerala on August 19, 1973. As per the pact, Siruvani water not exceeding 1.30 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) annually (1st July to 30th June) must be supplied to the erstwhile Coimbatore Municipal Town for drinking water purpose for 99 years.
The Kerala Irrigation Department has been maintaining a maximum water level of 45 feet at the Siruvani Dam, instead of the Full Reservoir Level (FRL) at 50ft as stipulated in the interstate agreement. Lowering the water level by 5ft results in a shortage of 122.05 million cubic feet (mcft) of water, which is 19% of the total storage. This is inadequate to the needs of the Coimbatore city in the summer months. In this situation, the Kerala Irrigation Department officials in Palakkad who have control of the Siruvani Dam valves have decreased the water supply to the Coimbatore district by half over the past few days which has raised concerns among authorities in Coimbatore.
Speaking to TNIE, a senior official of the Tamil Nadu Water Supply And Drainage Board (Siruvani Division) said, "Last week, we were receiving around 73 to 75 MLD of water supply from the Siruvani Dam. But in the past few days, the Kerala Irrigation Department has drastically reduced the water supply to 35 to 37 MLD. Currently, the water storage level at the reservoir stands at 25.8 ft against its full capacity of 50 ft. At this level, we will be able to supply water for only two months.
The Kerala officials asked us to hold government-level talks regarding the issue. We have informed our MD and department secretary about the decreased water supply."
CCMC councillors and the public have raised concerns over the dip in the water supply from Siruvani to Coimbatore. Sources said that the Kerala irrigation department had reduced the water supply after the water levels and discharge from the Aliyar Dam in Coimbatore dipped recently. After several councillors raised concerns over it, the CCMC Commissioner assured to take necessary action to sort out the issue.
CCMC Commissioner M Sivaguru Prabakaran said, "We have raised the matter before the Secretary of the Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department and the Chief Secretary. The minister has been informed about this issue. We are also taking steps to hold government-level talks and sort out the issue soon. However, the Pillur Scheme-3 project will be ready by February 11 and post its inauguration we will be able to manage the situation."
The current water level in the Aliyar Dam stands at 78.5 ft against its full reservoir level (FRL) of 120 ft. While the present storage is 1332.79 mcft out of 3864.41 mcft as on Tuesday, the storage level last year on the same date stood at 2354.25 mcft. With an inflow of 41 cusecs of water, around 307 cusecs is released from the dam including 290 cusecs for Kerala. While the outflow for Kerala was around 160 cusecs 10 days ago, the discharge was increased later.