At least 25 dams/ reservoirs have been opened in Kerala over the last three or four days in the largest such coordinated event in recent times, after moderate to heavy rain continued in the forest areas of the catchment of major rivers in the state.
The rains have more or less subsided in the midlands and along the coast in the last couple of days, after the heavy rain belt migrated to northern parts of Peninsular India and adjoining Central India.
The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority said there is no case for panic though a number of dams are being opened and the discharge from some of them was raised even this (Tuesday) morning. At least 10 of the 17 dams owned and operated by the Kerala State Electricity Board are on red alert; seven of these dams are situated in Idukki district alone.
Varying level of alerts
While a blue alert (lowest on a scale of four) prevails at Sholayar and Poringalkuthu (Thrissur); the next-higher level yellow alert is valid at Moozhiyar (Pathanamthitta. An orange alert, above the yellow level and just below red, is valid at Kuttiayadi (Kozhikode) and Pampa (Pathanamthitta). None of the 20 dams owned and operated by the State Irrigation Department are on red alert. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the water level at Mullaperiyar and Idukki reservoirs climbed higher.
Idamalayar dam opens
Two shutters of the Idamalayar reservor have been opened, while all 13 shutters at Mullaperiyar have been opened since rains in the thickly forested catchments along the Western Ghats have not ceased. The water level at Idukki rose to 2,387 ft (maximum permissible limit is 2,403 ft) on Tuesday morning, while it was close to 140 feet at Mullaperiyar (maximum permissible level 142 ft), which has meant that discharge from the two dams would need to be sustained or even raised, based on the evolving situation.
Request to Tamil Nadu
The Kerala government has requested its counterpart in Tamil Nadu, which controls and operates the more than century-old Mullaperiyar dam, to adhere to the rule curve and not let excess water into the Kerala side that must empty into downstream Idukki reservoir and the Periyar River, which are already on a raised vigil. In Palakkad, the shutters of the Malampuzha dam would need to be raised further today, according to sources. In Pathanamthitta district, both the Pampa and Kakki-Anathode dams are open, with the catchment areas continuing to receive intermittent rain.