Tamil Nadu will release 1.2 thousand million cubic feet of water to Kerala under the Parambikulam Aliyar Project (PAP) agreement.

The release of water from the Aliyar dam via Manacadavu weir will begin on Thursday (December 27) and will go on till January 31.

The decision was taken at an extraordinary meeting of the Joint Water Regulatory Board (JWRB) in Pollachi on Wednesday evening after three-hour-long deliberations. This was also 94th meeting of the Board. Among those who attended the meeting were K. Ranganathan - Chief Engineer of Water Resources Organisation, Tamil Nadu, and Ms. Lathika, Chief Engineer of Kerala Irrigation Department

Last week, the Kerala Cabinet decided to approach the Supreme Court to secure the quantum of water due to that State.

When the Board met last on October 16, it was decided to release 1.25 tmcft to Kerala till December 31. Members of the Board that time had agreed to hold their meeting again in January. However, owing to a dry spell and demand from farmers, Kerala sought release of more water under the accord. It said standing crops on 20,000 acres in Chittur and Palakkad were on the verge of withering.

Under the PAP agreement, Tamil Nadu is to release to Kerala 7.25 tmc ft from the Aliyar dam, apart from 12.3 tmc ft from Sholayar. Kerala’s total share is 19.55 tmc ft, whereas Tamil Nadu’s entitlement is 28 tmc ft. Despite Tamil Nadu had been realising less water, it had been honouring its commitment to Kerala, an official said.

So far, Tamil Nadu released 3.45 tmc ft from Aliyar. Kerala’s demand was that 60 per cent of the remaining 3.80 tmcft - 1.75 tmcft – be given immediately.

During the Wednesday’s meeting, Tamil Nadu explained difficulties in releasing water and cited the distress situation arising out of poor rainfall during southwest and northeast monsoons.

As on date, Aliyar’s storage was only 87.9 ft (full reservoir level: 120 ft). On the same day last year, the storage was 116.7 ft. It also pointed out that the inflow was only 153 cusecs and outflow was 497 cusecs.

Besides, officials of Tamil Nadu told their Kerala counterparts that 96,000 acres in Zone III of the ayacut would go without adequate water for irrigation. Normally, four lakh acres, divided in four zones, were getting irrigated with a provision of each zone getting water once in two years. The next meeting will be in February to take stock of the situation and decide on release of the remainder - 0.55 tmc ft - of water before the current water year expires on June 30, 2013.