Peppara Dam, the sole water source to the capital city, has begun overflowing, bringing relief to the Kerala Water Authority (KWA). Last year, the dam did not overflow and on May 31 this year, the water level in the dam, fixed at a maximum of 104.5 metres, had fallen to an all-time low of 91 m.
The Kerala State Electricity Board’s (KSEB) 3-MW hydroelectric power project, located alongside the dam, began generation of electricity on Wednesday, KWA officials at the dam site, about 50 km from here, told The Hindu on Thursday.
Not all euphoric
Officials said for the last several months the dam had water barely adequate for about two weeks supply to the capital city. It now holds enough water for at least three months.
However, the KWA is not all euphoric. One reason is that the actual volume of water in the dam cannot be measured, as there is no estimate of the amount of silt in the dam. Also, repeated efforts by the KWA to convince the government about the need to raise the dam’s crest by six metres have borne no results. The demand to raise the height, to be effected by lowering the radial gates so that the level could be increased to 110.5 m, the height envisaged when the dam was constructed, has been placed on the back burner due to environmental concerns.
Though the government had agreed in principle to a 3-metre raise last year, nothing more happened, primarily because the conditions laid down by the Forests authorities were “too stringent” and also owing to opposition from environmentalists. The KWA is now preparing a proposal to push the demand to raise it by 3 metres. The recent drought and the increasing water requirements of the capital city, officials said, point that the lowering of the radial gates is inevitable now.