For the second time in its 88-year history, the Mettur dam has been having water to its full 120 feet for the past 65 days. In 1981, the dam was full for 62 days. If the present position continues for two more weeks, the dam will break its previous record.
Officials of the Water Resources Department said the construction of the dam started in 1925 and ended in 1934. The dam is the main source of irrigation in the Cauvery delta region, including Salem, Namakkal, Erode, Tiruchi, Karur, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Pudukkottai, and Nagapattinam districts. It helps to irrigate 16.05 lakh acres of farmland.
Based on availability, water will be discharged for irrigation on the customary date of June 12. The discharge will continue till January 28. The dam also serves as the primary source for many water supply schemes in Salem district.
“The dam’s level is 120 feet and storage is 93.47 tmc. In the 88 years, the dam had water to its capacity for 78 days in 1959. It was full for 62 days in 1981 and 60 days in 1961. This year, the dam has been full for 65 days till Sunday; it attained its capacity on July 16,” an official pointed out.
“The catchments received a good amount of rain this year, and we let out only the surplus water for irrigation. Now the rain has stopped. If the present situation continues, we will have to release water from the dam. The samba season has started in the delta. If the demand increases in the delta, water will have to be released from the dam,” a senior official said.