G. Prabhakaran

PALAKKAD: Though the inter-State Parambikulam-Aliyar Project (PAP) agreement stipulates that Tamil Nadu has to fill the Kerala Sholayar reservoir to its full reservoir level (FRL) on February 1, it failed to ensure it on Thursday.

The water level recorded on Thursday was 2,658.40 ft, which is 4.60 ft. below the stipulated FRL of 2,663 ft. This is not because of shortage of water, but due to stoppage of release of water to the Kerala Sholayar reservoir. Tamil Nadu stopped water supply to Kerala Sholayar on December 22 without any reason and resumed it only on January 10. A gap of 20 days resulted in a sudden fall in water level in the reservoir, from 2,658.60 ft. on December 22 to 2,650.20 ft. on January 10, ie., there was a fall of 8.40 ft. due to non-supply of water.

There is still a storage of 1.7 tmc ft of water in Tamil Nadu Sholayar, a clear indication that there is no scarcity of water. It is understood that during the non-supply period, Tamil Nadu had diverted 1 tmc ft of water to the Parambikulam group of reservoirs.

As much as 14.137 tmc ft of water is due to Kerala Sholayar during the current water year including the backlog of the previous years, the annual quota being 12.3 tmc ft. Only 7.526 tmc ft of water has been used at Kerala Sholayar, which now has a live storage of 4.814 tmc ft, ie., 1.8 tmc ft is yet to be ensured to Kerala Sholayar during this water year.

Water Resources Department sources point out that if the backlog is not cleared in a good water year, it would result in further accumulation. So the available water in Tamil Nadu Sholayar should be supplied to Kerala Sholayar even after February 1.

No board meeting

The Joint Water Regulation Board (JWRB) has not been convened for a year now. The last meeting was held in Coimbatore on February 3, 2006. Department sources say that the delay is due to an internal dispute between the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) and the Kerala Water Resources Department over the guaging process of the PAP system. The gauging responsibility is vested with the Water Resources Department, but the KSEB alleges that the process is bogus.

But department officials point out that a full-fledged exclusive division for guaging has been formed by the State Government and it is not fair on the part of the KSEB to raise allegations without any proof. And the State Government has not effectively intervened to settle the dispute.