More water stored in dams prior to flood; Documents hidden by KSEB comes to light
Thrissur: The documents which prove that the dams in Kerala had stored about two times more quantity of water than normal before the flooding rain has come to light. The figures that disappeared from the website of KSEB after the flood has been disclosed now. With this, the argument that the dams also have a role in the flood is strengthened.
Normally, water is stored in the dams only upto 10 percent of its storage capacity on May 31 inorder to store maximum amount of water in the monsoon. But the average water level in the dams of KSEB was 23.77 percent on May 31, 2018 when compared to 12.11 percent on May 31, 2017. This has been clarified from the records kept in the State Load Dispatch Centre under the KSEB. The board has not clarified the reason for storing such a huge amount of water.
The water level in the dams is predetermined as 10 percent with the belief that monsoon commences on June 1. With this, sufficient water to produce electricity is ensured even if monsoon is delayed for upto 10 days. As per the old records, about 50 million unit power is required in the state for a day. Based on this, the water required to produce 500 million unit power is kept in the dams.
The water that remained in the dams on May 31, 2017 was sufficient to produce 501.40 million unit electricity, while 984.28 million unit power could have been produced from the water stored in dams on May 31, 2018. This indicates that excess quantity of water to produce an additional 484 million unit power was stored in the dams. If the water level was reduced to the normal level, a large amount of flood water could have been stored in the dams, which in turn could have reduced the intensity of the deluge.
The Central Water Commission which concluded that it was the heavy rain that caused the flood also has not studied the water level in the previous years. The commission report contains only the details of rain from August 15-17 in 2018. The commission report said that the dams had reached their maximum capacity after the rain on these days.
The first recommendation by the commission is to leave space in the dams called ‘rule curves’ before monsoon in order to contain flood water. However, the commission has not commented on the water level prior to 2018 monsoon.
The website of the KSEB had shown the water level in the dams under the board every day. But after the devastating flood, only the data of 2019 is available on the website and the old information has been removed in the name of website maintenance.
Meanwhile, KSEB chairman N. S. Pillai said that excess amount of summer rain in 2018 resulted in the flood. The water level in the dams is likely to be less than required this time, if sufficient rain is not received, he added.
KSEB former director Muhammadali Ravuthar said that the dams were not opened following a lapse from the part of load dispatch centre in taking a decision. This is why the deputy chief engineer in the centre was suspended after the flood. As per rules, the water level in the dams should be displayed for the public. But this is removed from the site to hide their fault, he said.