Nivar: Excess water from Chembarambakkam to be released

Cyclone Nivar: Excess water from Chembarambakkam to be released

Alerts were also issued for those living in low-lying areas across the Adyar river to be vigilant

Officials inspect Chembarambakkam lake, after it reached 80% of its capacity. Credit: PTI

Around 1,000 cusecs of water will be released from the Chembarambakkam Lake, one of the reservoirs that supply water to Chennai, on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said and appealed to the people not to “fear” due to opening of the lake.

The Public Works Department (PWD) said according to protocol excess water will be released once the water level reaches 22 feet as against the full reservoir level of 24 feet. “Since the water level is about to reach 22 feet, we have decided to release 1,000 cusecs of water from Chembarambakkam Lake at 12 pm on Wednesday,” the PWD said in a circular. The release of water will be regulated as per the inflow into the reservoir.

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It also asked people living in low-lying areas across the Adyar river to be alert and vigilant. Authorities also appealed to people not to fear the release of water from Chembarambakkam.

The announcement that the Chembarambakkam Lake, located close to Poonamalle on the outskirts of Chennai, brought back the scary memories of the 2015 floods during which the city was swamped for days together. It is widely believed that discharge of excess water from Chembarambakkam Lake at “one go” led to unprecedented floods in Chennai in the first week of December 2015.

Drainage congestion, encroachments in lakes and river channels, and large releases from storage reservoirs like Chembarambakkam, besides heavy rainfall were some of the reasons cited by a Parliamentary Committee for the 2015 floods that left a permanent scar on the residents. Over 300 people died and the economic losses are estimated to be anywhere between Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 1 lakh crore.