Decision prompted by water level approaching red alert level; Edamalayar shutters to be opened at 6 a.m.

Decision prompted by water level approaching red alert level; Edamalayar shutters to be opened at 6 a.m.

With the water in the Idukki reservoir approaching the red alert level and the India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicting heavy rainfall from Wednesday, the authorities have decided to open two shutters of the Cheruthoni dam of the reservoir at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

At a high-level meeting addressed by Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine at the Collectorate on Monday, it was decided to open the two shutters by 50 cm to release 100 cumecs of water.

The water level at 5 p.m. on Monday was 2,397.44 ft whereas the red alert level is 2,397.86 ft. The full reserve level of Idukki dam is 2,403 ft. Though power generation was raised to 13.61 mu (million units), the water level of the reservoir kept rising despite less rainfall on Monday.

Two shutters of the Edamalayar dam will also be raised by 80 cm at 6 a.m. on Tuesday. It was decided to open the Edamalayar dam shutters, on the downstream of Idukki dam, earlier to avoid a surge in the water level on the Periyar river, according to Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) sources.

Evacuation plans

The district administration has started preparations for evacuating 64 families in five villages living close to the Periyar. Schools and other buildings scheduled to function as rehabilitation centres have been taken over. The District Collector has issued directives to the police and revenue officials to inform the public and attach notices on houses likely to be affected by floodwaters. People should not bathe in the river or fish there when the dam shutters are opened.

A meeting at the Aluva guest house led by Industries Minister P. Rajeeve discussed the steps to be taken in the event of water reaching the low-lying areas of Ernakulam district. He directed the Irrigation Department to remove blocks to the smooth flow of water. He also sought the support of fishermen and NGOs in damage-control measures. Ernakulam Collector Jaffer Malik and District Police Chief K. Karthick attended the meeting.

In 2018

The Idukki dam shutters were last opened in 2018 following heavy rain, resulting in large-scale destruction in Idukki and Ernakulam districts. There were allegations that the dam shutters were opened without proper preparation and the Central Water Commission (CWC) fixed a new rule curve level to avoid sudden opening of the dam shutters and releasing of a high volume of water.

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