Kabini reservoir has discharged 5,875 cusecs since July 27

Amid the showering of rose petals the sluices of the Stanley reservoir were opened here on Wednesday evening to let out a massive sheet of water for delta irrigation.

Farmers and those in the downstream towns who worship the Cauvery river on the ‘Adi Perukku' day (Aug 3), were delighted.

Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S Arumugam pressed the button atop the dam to signal the opening of the sluices. Staggered discharges of 6,000, 8,000 and 10,000 cusecs were maintained till 10 pm and at the stroke of midnight, it would be increased to a staggering 12,000 cusecs. The water, according to a Public Works Department (PWD) official, is expected to reach Kallanai in four days.

Responding to the demand for water, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had ordered the opening after detailed consultation with PWD officials. The Karnataka government had also been approached to release the Tamil Nadu share. Water managers have been pinning their hopes on the strong second revival of the South-West monsoon, which had been playing truant since its onset.

“The Kabini reservoir in Karnataka has discharged 5,875 cusecs on river course since July 27. This and the rains in the past few days in the catchment areas are expected to bring in ‘decent' inflows,” said an official. The water to the tail-end areas depends on these sustained inflows.

This was the second time in successive years that the dam was opened on July 28. It could not be opened on the customary opening date of June 12 due to poor storage. The dam was opened 15 times on June 12 and 52 times after June 12. It could be opened 10 times before June 12 and had surplussed 35 times so far.

Apart from the irrigation need, it will help generation of 125 MW of hydropower. Mr. Arumugam said the shortage in kuruvai cultivation could be compensated in samba. Of the total 1.40 lakh hectares under kuruvai, 66,800 hectares had been covered so far and an additional 28,000 hectares would be added. The stock position of fertilisers and seeds was very comfortable. He asked water users to use water judiciously.

At the time of release the water level stood at 82.460 feet (FRL 120 feet) with a live storage of 44.453 tmcft. The inflow was 4,080 cusecs.