0.3 tmcft water to be received from Tamil Nadu Sholayar reservoir

A meeting of the Joint Water Regulatory Board (JWRB) of the inter-State Parambikulam Aliyar Project (PAP) here on Monday decided to release 0.3 tmcft water from the live storage of Tamil Nadu Sholayar reservoir to Kerala Sholayar at Chalakudipuzha to solve drinking water shortage in Thrissur and parts of Ernakulam district.

The water can also be utilised for power generation in Kerala Sholayar and Peringalkuthu power houses of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), JWRB officials of Kerala here said.

The JWRB members of Kerala also sought the release of water from the dead storage of Tamil Nadu Sholayar reservoir as the 0.3 tmcft to be released from the live storage would not meet the requirement of drinking water in the Chalakudy basin till the onset of the monsoon, expected in June.

The JWRB members of Tamil Nadu said the request would be considered after obtaining permission of the Tamil Nadu government to release water from the dead storage of the Sholayar.

The JWRB meeting was held as part of a decision taken at a ministerial-level meeting of Kerala and Tamil Nadu governments on the PAP agreement in Thiruvanathapuram on April 28, 2013. At the meeting, Kerala had agreed to pump dead storage water from the Siruvani river to meet the drinking water requirements of Coimbatore.

But there was opposition to removing the dead storage water as it would drain the reservoir and affect the safety of the dam structure. It would deprive wild animals, birds, and other organisms of drinking water in forest  areas.

As per the PAP agreement, Tamil Nadu should ensure 12.3 tmcft water in the Kerala Sholayar a year.  Also, it should maintain the full reservoir level (FRL) of 2,663 ft on September 1 and February 1 in the Kerala Sholayar. Full reservoir level on February 1 is of prime importance to Kerala as it ensures 5.42 tmcft water during the lean months from February to May.

So far this year, Kerala received only 8.6 tmcft water to Kerala Sholayar as against 12.3 tmcft water in a water year ending in June.

As per the agreement, Tamil Nadu should draw water only after ensuring Kerala its due share.

The JWRD meeting was presided over by chairperson and chief engineer of Kerala Water Resources Department P. Lathika. Chief engineer of Kerala State Electricity Board Viswanathan Nair represented Kerala at the meeting.

The Tamil Nadu side was represented by K. Ranganathan, chief engineer of Water Resources Organisation and K. Thankaragu, Member, Tamil Nadu Electricity Board.

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