Kerala disaster management authority issues orange alert as Idukki reservoir reaches 2,395 feet, nine ft short of full capacity

The reservoir in Kerala comprises three dams — Idukki, Cheruthoni and Kulamavu — built for the the Idukki Hydroelectric Project.

Press Trust of India July 31, 2018 09:30:44 IST
Kerala disaster management authority issues orange alert as Idukki reservoir reaches 2,395 feet, nine ft short of full capacity

Thiruvananthapuram:  With the water level in the Idukki reservoir touching 2,395 feet on Monday night, just nine feet short of the full level, authorities issued an orange alert. The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) said an orange alert does not mean that shutter operations would be done anytime now.

The shutters will be opened only in daylight and after sufficient notice is given to the public and all stakeholders concerned, it said in a statement. It added that there was no need for the public to panic. The final red alert will be issued when the water level touches 2,399 feet.  The full level of the dam is 2,404 feet. The water level is related to the Mean Sea Level and the catchment area.

Kerala disaster management authority issues orange alert as Idukki reservoir reaches 2395 feet nine ft short of full capacity

File photo of the Idukki dam. PTI

Earlier, the Kerala government had put the army, navy, air force and coast guard on alert to meet any eventuality in case the water level rose. The KSDMA had said that the water level touched 2,394.72 feet at 1 pm and an alert would be issued when the level reaches 2,395 feet.

Sources in the Kerala State Electricity Board said that when the level reaches 2,397 feet, there was a possibility of water being released on a trial basis for one or two hours. This was to find out whether there were any obstructions and diversions on the route the water flows, they said.

A team of the National Disaster Response Force has already been deployed in Ernakulam and Thrissur, and another team will reach Idukki soon, Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan said in a Facebook post.

The reservoir comprises three dams —  Idukki, Cheruthoni and Kulamavu — built for the the Idukki Hydroelectric Project. "The army, navy, air force and coast guard have been asked to be on vigil. Two helicopters have been kept ready. There is no need to panic as of now. The State Disaster Management Authority will give timely directive in this regard," he said. "The coast guard is also ready with small boats to evacuate
people if water enters low-lying areas of Ernakulam."

People living downstream of the reservoir till Lower Periyar area in Ernakulam district have been asked to be vigilant, he said. In the event of opening the sluice gates of the Cheruthoni dam, the water will flow through Ernakulam from Idukki before reaching the Arabian Sea.

According to the KSDMA, restrictions have been imposed on tourists visiting some areas near the dam.

The Idukki reservoir's shutters were last opened in 1992. This is the first time it will reach the full level during the South West Monsoon. While Idukki dam is used to store water, the other two dams are meant to route water to the powerhouse.

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