Agri Business

Vigorous monsoon fills up Mullaperiyar reservoir

| | Updated on: Nov 27, 2011

A vigorous northeast monsoon has filled up the century-old Mullaperiyar dam after a series of tremors, latest of which was felt as recently as Saturday, raised questions over its safety aspects.

Heavy rains in the catchment areas in the hilly forests have scaled up inflows to 15,000 cusecs and beefed up the reservoir level by almost six feet overnight.

The water level reached the maximum permissible storage level of 136 feet, and the spillways have gone ‘live' as it almost on cue. The water thus let out reaches the Idukki reservoir downstream.

The flow of water towards the Tamil Nadu side of the inter-State border has reduced since the canals and reservoirs in the riparian districts are mostly full from the heavy rains over the past two days, sources said.

Tamil Nadu uses the water to irrigate its otherwise dry farm lands in these districts, but do not need to draw the water since the currently active northeast monsoon on that side of the inter-State border meets most of its needs.

Meanwhile, a team of scientists conducting inspection in the Mullaperiyar area to ascertain the impact of recent tremors on the dam expressed concern about the frequency of such events.

More than 25 episodes of mild ground movements have been recorded in and around the dam site during the last few months alone.

The Kerala State Electricity Board research division at Vazhathoppe in the neighbourhood said that in the latest case, the first tremor of a magnitude of 3.4 on the Richter scale was experienced at 3.14 a.m. on Saturday.

Two milder aftershocks of M1.7 and M1.4 were recorded at 5.30 a.m. and 5.40 a.m., respectively. A stronger tremor of M 3.4 has been recorded in the district just over a week ago on November 18.

Kerala has proposed the construction of a new dam and decommissioning of the aging Mullaperiyar dam, which posed a threat to the lives of an estimated 30 lakh people in the Idukki, Kottayam and Ernakulam districts.

The Chief Minister, Mr Oommen Chandy, said on Saturday that he would depute the State Water Resources Minister, Mr P. J. Joseph, and the Revenue Minister, Mr Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, to New Delhi on Monday to open fresh talks with the Centre on the issue.

They would seek immediate Central intervention to prevail over the Tamil Nadu Government to allow the construction of the new dam at Mullaperiyar.

Meanwhile, the Idukki district administration has sought to calm frayed tempers over the filling up of the Mullaperiyar reservoir saying that there was no reason to panic.

It has also opened three control rooms to monitor the situation and help people in case of emergency.

Published on November 27, 2011

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