S. Vydhianathan

Water level in the dam is being maintained at 58 tmcft

CHENNAI: With a storage of 58 tmcft in the Mettur reservoir, the State may not have problem in opening the dam on the scheduled date, June 12, for kuruvai cultivation in delta districts.

When the reservoir was closed for irrigation on January 31 this year, the storage was 58 tmcft.

The State managed to retain the same level despite a monthly release of 2.5 tmcft for environmental purposes. The current storage was due to steady flow of 6,000 cusecs into the reservoir in the last four days, a PWD official said. The last time the reservoir was opened on June 12 was in 2006. Last year, it could be opened only on July 18, due to inadequate storage, forcing a majority of small and marginal farmers to skip the kuruvai crop.

This year the storage is expected to be around 55 tmcft by June.

PWD officials alleged that Karnataka was drawing water from the reservoirs even after January 31 ignoring the guidelines issued by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in its final order.

As per the order, the States concerned should not draw water from their reservoirs after January 31 for irrigation.

However, Tamil Nadu was permitted to release 10 tmcft from the Mettur reservoir from February to May for environmental purposes.

While Tamil Nadu was adhering to the tribunal’s order, Karnataka was violating the order, a Cauvery Cell official here said.

The combined storage of Karnataka reservoirs on January 31 was 83 tmcft, but was now 66 tmcft.

This showed that it had been drawing water from its reservoirs.

The officials claimed that Karnataka’s strategy was to bring down the combined storage to less than 25 tmcft as on May 31 to show that their storage position was too poor to release water for Tamil Nadu.