Following damage to shutter at Pichattur reservoir in Andhra Pradesh

Many waterbodies in Tiruvallur district filled up to their capacity on Wednesday as a result of a damaged shutter at the Pichattur reservoir in Andhra Pradesh.

The recent rainfall has stepped up the storage in the reservoir, which is located in Chittoor district and about 20 km upstream of Uthukottai. The water level increased to 25 ft as against its capacity of 31 ft.

On Tuesday, one of its three shutters collapsed under pressure. About 4,800 cubic feet per second (cusecs) was discharged into the Araniar River and reached Surutapalli anaicut, which is about 50 km from Chennai, according to Tamil Nadu Water Resources Department officials.

Three more anaicuts and check-dams constructed across the river and a chain of 45 waterbodies received considerable inflow. Many waterbodies, which are otherwise dependent on monsoon rainfall, were filled to the brim.

The recently constructed check-dam at Paleswaram near Periyapalayam also benefitted and, in turn, provided water to several lakes, including one at Chinnambedu that had remained almost dry for several decades, the officials said.

People of 30 villages, including Puduvoyal, Perumbedukuppam and Karani would benefit from the discharge of water from reservoir upstream. One of the major beneficiaries was the Araniar River, running up to 70 km till Pulicat lake in Tamil Nadu limit. It needs at least 700 mm of rainfall to have a flow like this, an official said.

Meanwhile, revenue officials in Uthukottai taluk evacuated 88 persons from the flood-prone Ralapadi village and accommodated them in a school building as a precautionary measure. The traffic was cut off at a causeway in Uthukottai owing to water flow.

Tiruvallur Collector T.P. Rajesh said the people were provided food. Flood warning was issued to a few villages located along the river banks to move to safer places in case of an increase in the flow from the Araniar. Ralapadi residents were sent home on Wednesday.

Officials of the WRD said the authorities concerned in Andhra Pradesh are attempting to construct emergency shutter to contain the damage. WRD has commenced work to construct two anaicuts in Sengathakulam and A. Reddypalayam and two check-dams in Kalpattu and 43 Panapakkam across the Araniar to recharge groundwater.

Though there was a provision to divert water to Poondi reservoir, it was not done as the waterbody was already receiving about 700 cusecs of Krishna water, they added.