Idukki dam in Kerala set to be opened after 26 years

By PTI Published on Jul 28, 2018 10:36 AM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: The high range Idukki dam, one of the highest arch reservoirs in Asia, is set to be opened for the first time in 26 years, prompting a committee headed by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to take stock of the situation yesterday.

Due to copious inflows following heavy monsoon rains, the water level in the dam today stood at 2,392 feet against its maximum of 2,403 feet, official sources said.

The shutters of the dam, a double curvature arch reservoir constructed across the Periyar river, were likely to be opened once the water level touched 2,400 feet, officials of Kerala.

The dam's shutters were last opened in 1992. This is the first time that it will attain its full level during the South West Monsoon period. The arch reservoir comprises three dams -Idukki, Cheruthoni and Kulamavu, built for the Idukki Hydroelectric Project.

Idukki dam is used to store the water while the latter two are meant to route it to the powerhouse. Besides the Chief Minister, Revenue Minister E

Chandrasekharan, Water Resources minister, Mathew T Thomas, Revenue Additional Chief Secretary, P H Kurian were among those participated in the meeting, which discussed the precautions to be taken once the shutters are opened.

It was also decided to undertake a survey on a war footing on the total number of people who would have to be evacuated in case the shutters are opened.

The Disaster management authority has prepared a list of buildings in and around 100 metres of the dam area with the help of satellite pictures and details of people residing in these buildings would be collected, an official release said.

The survey will be jointly conducted by Revenue, Kerala Water Authority and the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB,) which is operating the dam for its 780 MW hydroelectric power station.

The Chief Minister has given directions to the Idukki and Ernakulam district collectors to make necessary preparations ahead of the opening of the dam.

During the current monsoon, the hilly Idukki received 192.3 cm of rains, about 49 per cent more than long term average rainfall received by the reservoir.