Water that flows out of Bhoothathankettu dam affects life on the banks of the Periyar in Ernakulam.

Life on the lower banks of the Periyar has turned into a nightmare with the river in spate and dams on the upper reaches of the Western Ghats full or near full.

Water that flows out of the Bhoothathankettu dam, about 50 km from Kochi, affects life on the banks of the river in Ernakulam. The dam had a water level of 30 metres on Saturday. The dam stores water up to 35 metres and 13 of its shutters have been open over the last four days.

Residents warned

An official of the department of irrigation said when shutters were up at the dam, flooding of the banks of the Periyar was normal and that people had been warned of possible inundation. Water was flowing at the rate of roughly 2,000 million cubic metres per second, the official said on Saturday.

The Aluva Shiva temple, which will witness a huge gathering of devotees on the occasion of Karkkidaka Vavu on Tuesday, is in knee-deep water. The temple premises, usually full of pilgrims at this time of the year, was almost empty as heavy rains lashed the town on Saturday.

At a lower level in the course of the river, over a dozen houses in the Eloor municipality at Edamula housing colony were flooded Friday night. People were being shifted to safer quarters when the flood waters receded as quickly as they had surged late in the evening.

Half-a-dozen families were shifted during the night, said municipal chairman Joseph Thomas on Saturday.

Water that passes through Bhoothathankettu originates from the Idamalayar hydro-electric generation dam owned and operated by Kerala State Electricity Board. According to data from the Kerala State Load Despatch Centre, the Idamalayar dam is 97 per cent full at 167.78 metres out of an actual capacity level of 169 metres.

The dam had a water level of 92 per cent on Thursday and its shutters have been opened to let out excess water as rains intensified in the catchment areas. The dam area received 67 mm of rain on Thursday. The dam will continue to keep its shutters up as heavy to very heavy rains are predicted for the State for the next 24 hours. The dam, at present, has water to generate 254.45 million units of electricity.

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