The Stanley Reservoir at Mettur will be closed from January 28 as the storage was dwindling.

It was opened for samba cultivation in 11 districts in the delta region for 136 days, Public Works Department (PWD) officials here said.

While the stakeholders expressed satisfaction over the water release, they feared shortage during summer.

PWD officials said the total inflow from June 1, 2013 to January 18, 2014 was 226 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft). A total of 165 tmc ft water was released till today from August 2, 2013, against 81 tmc ft released for cultivation from September 17, 2012, to January 28, 2013. This was in addition to the water released for drinking purposes.

An additional 19 tmc ft water was released between August 3 and 10 last year after the dam reached its full reservoir level of 120 feet on August 5, the officials said. On Saturday, the level in the dam stood at 53.88 feet with storage at 20.434 tmc ft as against its capacity of 93.470 tmc ft. Inflow was 162 cusecs (cubic feet per second) and outflow 5,000 cusecs. Based on further directions from the government, if any, water release could be extended, the officials said.

“This year, samba crop in the delta region was better than the previous year. However, this year too water did not reach the tail-end areas”, P. Shanmugam, State general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, told The Hindu.

Executive Member of the Cauvery Family (comprising stakeholders of the river) and State general secretary of Tamil Nadu Banana Growers of Federation G. Ajeethan expressed concern over the availability of water for perennial crops, such as coconut and sugarcane in the river water-dependent areas.

“These crops need water from the Cauvery during summer too because the groundwater level has gone down due to poor rain in consecutive years,” he said. “A number of coconut trees dried up during the drought last year.”

The governments at the State and Centre must ensure that Tamil Nadu got its share of water during the summer as mentioned in the final order of the Cauvery, he said.

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