Mettur dam to reach FRL in few days

With huge amounts of water being released from dams in Karnataka, the Stanley Reservoir in Mettur in Tamil Nadu is expected to achieve full reservoir level (FRL) of 120 feet in the next couple of days, for the first time this year.

The inflow into the reservoir stood at 65,000 cusecs on the evening of Sept.6 with the inflow from Karnataka dams to Biligundulu, the entry point for River Cauvery in Tamil Nadu, increasing to 72,000 cusecs. The water level in the nearly century-old reservoir stood at 117.59 feet on Friday evening, while the storage rose to 89 tmcft.

The Tamil Nadu government also issued an advisory to 11 district collectors asking them to be alert as the release of excess water from Mettur dam once it is full might flood low-lying areas in these districts.

Sources said with the inflow of water from dams in Karnataka increasing to 65,000 cusecs, the dam is expected to achieve the FRL of 120 feet in the next couple of days. “Since only three feet of water left to achieve the FRL, we expect the dam to be full by Sunday or Monday,” a senior official with the Public Works Department (PWD) told DH.

FRL first time this year

Once the dam reaches its FRL, the entire amount of water received will be released fully as the dam cannot withhold water beyond its capacity. This will be the first time the dam would reach its full capacity in 2019 – in 2018, the Stanley Reservoir achieved FRL thrice due to heavy rainfall for more than a month in catchment areas of River Cauvery in Karnataka. Before 2018, the dam had last reached FRL in 2013.

Mettur Dam is the lifeline of lakhs of farmers in the fertile Cauvery Delta region in Tamil Nadu who entirely depend on the water released from the reservoir for the cultivation of crops.

The sluice gates of the dam, which is usually opened on June 12 to enable farmers to cultivate short-term ‘kuruvai’ crop, was lifted only on August 13 this year due to non-availability of water. Mettur dam filled up fast due to release of excess water from dams in Karnataka, which is being pounded by heavy rains since August.

11 districts on high alert

With the dam set to reach its FRL, the Tamil Nadu government on Friday asked administrations in 11 districts -- Salem, Erode, Namakkal, Karur, Tiruchirappalli, Ariyalur, Pudukkottai, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Nagapattinam and Perambalur –to be on high alert. They have been asked to take necessary precaution to ensure that people living in low-lying areas are evacuated if necessary.

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