Kerala has once again failed to get its full share of 8.25 tmcft of water from the inter-State Parambikulam-Aliyar Project (PAP) for the Chitturpuzha irrigation scheme in Palakkad district, resulting in loss of the second crop of paddy.
The State has also failed to get its due of 12.3 tmcft from Sholayar under the PAP agreement. As per an agreement between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the latter should provide 12.3 tmcft to Kerala Sholayar every water year (July 1 to June 30), but in the water year that ended on June 30, Kerala received only 10.9 tmcft.
Under the PAP agreement, Tamil Nadu should release 7.25 tmcft to Kerala at the Manacadavu weir for the Chitturpuzha irrigation scheme in a water year. But last water year, Kerala received only 5.55 tmcft at Manacadavu. Besides this annual share, another one tmcft, the share of surplus water from the Parambikulam group of reservoirs due to Kerala, was also not given by Tamil Nadu.
Though there is heavy rain in other parts of Palakkad district, Chittur, which falls in a rain shadow region, does not get good rain. Consequently, Kerala has sought water for taking up the first crop of paddy under the Chitturpuzha irrigation scheme. P. Sudheer, Deputy Director, Joint Water Regulatory Board (JWRB), says Kerala sought 200 cusecs for one week and Tamil Nadu has started releasing it from the Aliyar and Parambikulam reservoirs under the PAP.
He says that Kerala could not get its full share of water for Chitturpuzha last water year owing to shortage of water in the PAP group of reservoirs. Though the catchment areas of the Parambikulam and the Aliyar reservoirs are not getting enough rain, the Sholayar reservoirs are getting filled up fast.
Tamil Nadu releases water from Upper Sholayar to Kerala Sholayar after generating power. The water level in Kerala Sholayar has risen to 2,610 feet, and if heavy rain continues in the Sholayar area, the reservoir will reach its full reservoir level of 2,663 ft.
As per the PAP agreement, Tamil Nadu has to fill Kerala Sholayar to its full reservoir level every September 1 and February 1. But in February this year, the level could not be reached. If the level is reached, it ensures 5.42 tmcft during the lean months from February to May.
The JWRB has asked Tamil Nadu to start filling up Kerala Sholayar right from the beginning of the southwest monsoon, so that the dam reaches its full reservoir level on September 1. This water is of great importance to Kerala: to produce power at Kerala Sholayar and Peringalkuthu and to provide drinking and irrigation water for the Chalakudy basin, Mr. Sudheer says.