With the storage in the Mettur dam, the lifeline of Cauvery Delta farmers in Tamil Nadu, improving in the wake of copious inflows from Karnataka, water will be released for irrigation from August 12, exactly two months behind the regular date.

Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said that water would be released from the Stanley Reservoir, more popularly known as Mettur dam, to enable farmers take up the long-term Samba crop in 12 lakh acres.

She said that with the southwest monsoon being vigorous in Karnataka, Harangi, Kabini and Krishnarajasagar reservoirs in the upper riparian state were reaching their maximum storage capacity.

Excess water was being released from Kabini and Krishnarajasagar dams into Cauvery and the water level at Mettur dam had subsequently reached 89.5 ft (maximum 120 feet), with a storage of 52.19 tmc ft (maximum 93.4 tmcft).

She said the storage was expected to touch 55 tmc ft by the end of this month, while another 90 tmc ft of water was likely to be realised till the end of southwest monsoon in September.

“It is expected that another 48 tmc ft would be realised due to the northeast monsoon and overall it is likely to touch 193 tmc ft by January 2014,” she said in a statement.

Water from this reservoir was generally released when the storage was over 60 tmc ft, but she had directed that it be released in view of increase in storage levels.

The Agriculture Department was prepared to meet the demand for the required seeds and fertilisers besides providing required farm equipment on low rents to assist farmers, she added.

While water will be released from Mettur dam on June 12 every year, it could not be done so last year (and this year) due to deficient rains and the stand-off with Karnataka over release of water, Jayalalithaa said.

(This article was published on July 27, 2013)
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