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Monday, August 3, 2015

Today is Adi Perukku .... break in shutter barrage in Mettur releases more water !!!

Today [3rd Aug] is 18th day in the Tamil month of Aadi and celebrated as ‘Aadiperukku’- paying tribute to  water's life-sustaining properties.  It will be celebrated on the banks of Cauvery in various parts of Tamil Nadu when people pray the river God, offer floral tributes, take holy bathe and eat happily with their family. 

The celebrations touch its peak with flow of water from Mettur dam, which was stepped up to 6,000 cusecs on Sunday morning.  About 2,000 cusecs was released from the dam for drinking purpose till Saturday and on the order of the Chief Minister Ms J Jayalalithaa,  the  release was increased by 4,000 cusecs for Aadi Perukku.The water level in the dam stood at 93.95 feet on Sunday morning against its full level of 120 feet.The inflow was 12,926 cusecs and the storage 57.28 tmcft.

As we all know, the Mettur Dam is one of the largest dams in India built in 1934. It provides irrigation facilities to parts of Salem, the length of Erode, Namakkal, Karur, Tiruchirappali and Thanjavur district for 271,000 acres of farm land. Upstream from the dam is Hogenakal Falls. The maximum level of the dam is 120 ft (37 m) and the maximum capacity is 93.4 tmc ft.

When it rains, it pours — and in the month of May, it rained a lot – not here but in USA. So much, in fact, that May was the wettest month on record for the United States inNOAA’s 121 years of record-keeping.According to the report, an average of 4.36 inches of rain fell across the Lower 48, which is 1.45 inches above average.  The majority of May’s torrential precipitation fell in Texas and Oklahoma, which both set their wettest months on record. Colorado also saw its wettest May on record last month.  Down south, 8.81 inches fell on average across the entire state of Texas, which made May the wettest month on record for the state — blowing away the previous record of June 2004 by over 2 inches.

Back home, the July that passed was one of the ten of Chennai's wettest in the last 200 years, reports Times of India, of date.  The second half of the month had a spell of concentrated downpour for 10 days, producing 205.9mm rainfall. It was also the second wettest July in the last decade, next only to July 2007, when the city received 243.9mm of rainfall. Last year, Chennai received only 62.8mm of rain. The regional meteorological department has predicted partly cloudy skies for the next week. This wet period, however, was preceded by an unusual heat wave, making this July the hottest in the last 200 years. Regional meteorological department attributed the heat wave to a subdued southwest monsoon.

~ and at Mettur which supplies water, things seemingly are not all that right.  There were two breaches in the shutters leading to water flowing out.  On June 24,  a breach occurred in the 3rd shutter of the dam. The earlier breach occurred in the Lower Mettur barrage in Chekkanur, eight kilometres downstream of the dam, after which a flood alert was issued for those living on Cauvery banks near Bhavani.The barrage in Chekkanur is the first of the four barrages in Lower Mettur built across the Cauvery. There are eight such barrages between Mettur dam and Tiruchy. When water is released from Mettur Dam, it flows through the barrage and produces 30 MW electricity in each barrage.

Such breaches and outflow could drown fishermen and people who bathe in the river. However, no untoward incident took place this time.After the breach was reported, Erode Public Works Department issued a flood alert for those living on the banks of the Cauvery river near Bhavani.

On 1st Aug, in a case of 2nd breach in recent weeks, a break in 14th shutter of barrage downstream at Chekkanur led to water flowing out and rise in level of water.   Officials alerted the fishermen of Ammapet, Singampet and Anandampalayam who had left their fishing nets in the river. Nets, worth around Rs 3 lakh, reportedly were washed away. When the water reached Bhavani, the locals were alarmed when they saw the sudden surge in the river.On information, PWD officials alerted staff at Mettur dam, who stopped the release of 500 cusecs of water from the dam. They also repaired the damaged shutter.

The 18-shutter barrage was built in 1998 and is one of the seven barrages to be built across the Cauvery river. Poor maintenance is said to be the cause for frequent breaches. As there is no provision of an emergency shutter, the stored water flowing out through the breached shutter could not be stopped. Electricity Department officials are taking steps to fix the problem.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
3rd Aug 2015.

Photo credit : Indian Express

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