Idukki dam likely to reach maximum capacity within 11 days
Cheruthoni: Idukki arch dam, the largest arch dam in Asia, will reach its maximum capacity if the water level in the reservoir rises by just 22 feet. If the heavy rains continue, the dam will reach its maximum capacity within 11 days and the shutters will be opened. The power department has increased the production in order to avoid this situation.
Presently, the water level in the dam is 76 percent of its storage capacity. The water level reached 2382.26 feet on Friday which is the all-time record water level in the month of July. The maximum capacity of the dam is 2403 feet. Earlier, the dam had reached its maximum storage capacity and opened its shutters in October 1981 and in 1992.
Even in those years, the water level had not risen to this level in the month of July. The water level was 2342 feet on July 20, 1981 and 2340.3 feet on July 20, 1992. The water level is 40 feet extra. Also, it is 64.62 feet more than the water level of previous year.
After 1992, the water level had risen to 2400.8 feet in October 2013. But the dam shutters were not opened in that year as the power production was increased to reduce the water level.
Usually, Idukki dam reaches its capacity during the northeast monsoon. Since the dam has nearly reached its capacity in southwest monsoon itself, it is likely to overflow during the northeast monsoon.
In order to avoid this, 8.821 million units of power was produced in Moolamattam power house on Thursday. This was less than 2 million units in the previous days. On Wednesday, the dam received sufficient water to produce 28.359 million units of power.
About two times more rain was received in the catchment area of the dam this year. 1638.58 mm rain was gauged between July 1 and July 20, whereas it was just 893.2 mm last year.
A meeting of the dam research and safety officers of the power department will be convened on Saturday at Vazhathoppu in order to assess the increasing water level in the dam. The meeting will discuss about opening a control room as a precaution prior to opening the dam shutters.
Meanwhile, the water level in Mullaperiyar dam is about to reach 135 feet. Kerala has been engaging in a legal battle to reduce its maximum capacity to 136 feet. However, neither the people are alerted about the present situation nor any safety measures are arranged. The people in the area are concerned about the laxity of the authorities.