Huge inflow from K'taka dams; districts to be alert

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami at the Stanley Reservoir in Mettur on Tuesday to oversee the opening of sluices of the dam for release of water for irrigation. DH photo

With the inflow of water released from reservoirs in Karnataka touching nearly 3 lakh cusecs, the Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday asked the administration in 12 districts to be alert and adhere to safety instructions, including evacuating people living in low-lying areas to safety.

As the inflow into the Stanley Reservoir in Mettur near Salem stood at 2.53 lakh cusecs on Tuesday evening, authorities are planning to gradually increase the outflow of the water from the dam. The Mettur Dam is fast filling up due to release of a record amount of water from Karnataka dams following heavy rains in catchment areas of River Cauvery — the water level stood at 102 feet and the storage touched 67 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet).

If the water inflow is constant, the Mettur Dam will achieve its full reservoir capacity (FRL) in the next few days. The dam achieved its FRL more than once in 2018 due to excess release of water from dams in Karnataka.

The advisory has been issued to collectors of Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Erode, Salem, Namakkal, Karur, Trichy, Ariyalur, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Cuddalore and Nagapattinam districts. Officials said the district administration has been asked to adhere to safety instructions due to water release from the Stanley Reservoir in Mettur and to monitor evacuation process in low-lying areas along the banks of Cauvery, Coleroon, Bhavani and Amaravati rivers.

The circular also asked the district collecting to ensure that people avoid taking selfies from vulnerable points along the river.

CM releases water for irrigation

With the Stanley Reservoir fast filling up, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday oversaw the opening of sluices of the dam that marked the release of water for irrigation in the Cauvery Delta region.

As the dam neared 90 feet, the minimum level at which water is released for irrigation, Palaniswami announced the release of water for irrigation. On Tuesday, he along with his ministerial colleagues were present at the reservoir in Mettur near Salem in western Tamil Nadu to oversee the opening of the sluices.

Though water is released from Mettur, it may not be useful to farmers in Delta since it is too late for the kuruvai (short-term crop). Water is usually released on June 12 for irrigation from Mettur dam, but the deadline has been missed for the past eight years. Last year, water was released on July 19 that too after Mettur dam was filled with excess water released from Karnataka.

Welcoming the move, P R Pandian, president, the coordination committee of All Farmers' Associations of Tamil Nadu, said the state government should ensure that Cauvery water reaches the tail-end areas which are in desperate need of water.

Around 16 lakh acres in the 12 delta districts depend on the dam for cultivation, which has been adversely affected over the past couple of years.

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