According to the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) officials, the present quantity will suffice for uninterrupted water supply for about 65 days
Water level in the Peppara reservoir, around which water supply for the capital city revolves, is rising with latest reports indicating that the recent rain had pushed the level up to a comfortable 99 metres against the dam’s present capacity of 104.5 metres. This is against an all-time seasonal low of 95.7 m recorded on June 25.
According to the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) officials, the present quantity will suffice for uninterrupted water supply for about 65 days. However, the rain was not “as strong” as it should be to make the KWA breathe easy, officials said, pointing out that the reservoir would be full only if the showers continued well into September. If the rain abated, that would mean that the KWA would have to think of lowering the shutters, and thereby pushing up the water level.
And this was where the dilemma cropped up. Any fiddling with the shutters would require the Forest Department’s clearance, not just from the State-level, but from the Centre as well since this would have an impact on the reserve forest area near the dam. With the KWA submitting a proposal to raise the capacity of the dam by six metres, to take it up to 110.5m, the Forest Department had carried out a study earlier this year.
According to Forest Minister K.B. Ganesh Kumar, he had personally visited the site and submitted a report to the Chief Minister, pointing out that raising the water level to 110.5m would submerge around 14 islands in the vicinity, which would mean huge damage to the precious biodiversity. The report had recommended that if it was of utmost necessity, the water level could be raised by a maximum of three metres, up to 107.5m, which still would submerge at least three islands. However, even this recommendation requires approval from the State Wildlife Board, and then the Central Wildlife Board.
As of now, the proposal was yet to be discussed by the State Wildlife Board, Mr. Ganesh Kumar told The Hindu on Thursday.
A recent proposal to draw water from the Neyyar Dam to the Aruvikkara had been shot down for want of practicality, a senior official said.