It will enable farmers to raise samba crop in 12 lakh acres, says Chief Minister

After facing the wrath of drought last year, the delta farmers have a reason to rejoice.

On Saturday, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced that water would be released from Mettur dam on August 12 for irrigation. The move would enable farmers to raise medium and long-term samba crop over an extent of nearly 12 lakh acres, Mr. Jayalalithaa said in a statement.

Seeds, fertilizers and pesticides were adequately available. The Agriculture Department would take necessary steps to facilitate the farmers to raise the samba crop, she assured. The announcement was along expected lines after the Mettur dam started receiving higher inflow in the wake of reservoirs in Karnataka across the Cauvery reaching full level with the monsoon turning vigorous. On Saturday morning, the water level at Mettur dam stood at 89.59ft against the full level of 120ft and its storage was 52.19 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) against the capacity of 93.47 tmc ft. The inflow was over 52,700 cubic feet per second (cusecs). The discharge was 3,800 cusecs including 800 cusecs through canals.

Ordinarily, the water release would begin when the dam's storage was 60 tmc ft or 65 tmc ft. Considering that Karnataka's dams were full and the southwest monsoon would intensify, the inflow to the Mettur dam was likely to go up considerably, Ms. Jayalalithaa explained.

The Mettur's storage level is expected to touch the 55 tmc ft mark by the end of this month and the dam would receive 90 tmc ft and more by September 30. The northeast monsoon, that is active in the months of October-December, is expected to bring in 48 tmc ft. Totally, 193 tmc ft would be realised by the end of January 2014, Ms. Jayalalithaa hoped.

This year, she pointed out that the water release did not take place on the scheduled date of June 12 in view of the Mettur's poor storage. At that time, the dam's water level was 17.82ft with storage of 3.491 tmc ft.

Last year, the water release began on September 17 due to the failure of monsoon and the refusal of the Karnataka government to give Tamil Nadu’s due share of the Cauvery water despite the government’s best efforts.

In 2011, for the first time, water was released from June 6 facilitating the State to register a record production of 101.52 lakh tonnes of food grains, for which it received an award from the Union government, Ms. Jayalalithaa noted.