Shutters raised as a precautionary measure in view of Karkkidaka Vavu bali today, say KWA officials

The precautionary measure of partially opening two shutters of the Aruvikkara reservoir of the Kerala Water Authority (KWA), to keep the water levels in the reservoir under check in view of the Karkkidaka Vavu bali on Tuesday, triggered panic in many areas downstream of Aruvikkara after a few television channels went to town with news flashes saying that the heavy rain had forced the dam’s shutters to be opened.

According to the KWA officials, the first and second of the six shutters of the reservoir were raised, respectively by one metre and one-and-a-half metre, ‘as a precautionary measure’ so that the overnight rain did not cause any untoward inconvenience for devotees who would reach the spot on Tuesday to offer ‘bali.’

The water-level in the reservoir depended on the water allowed into it from the Peppara Dam and the levels at Aruvikkara were always maintained between 45.8 metres and 46.5 metres against the maximum overflow limit of 46.63 metres. One shutter was always kept open by 40 cm to ensure this level, a water authority engineer said.

At Peppara

The copious rain in the Peppara catchment area saw the water outflow increasing.

The shutters of the dam have been remaining fully open for the last one month. Hence, it was anticipated that the inflow into the Aruvikkara reservoir might be more if the rain continued on Monday night as well.

“That is why we decided to open two shutters partially and they will be closed most probably on Wednesday after the bali rituals are over,” the engineer said.

60 houses damaged

The rain in other parts of the district saw 60 houses being damaged partially. These were in Neyyattinkara, Nedumangadu and Chirayinkeezhu taluks.

There were no other untoward incidents reported, Deputy Collector (Disaster Management) B. Chandrika said.