Brimming reservoirs trigger exodus

As lakes breach their banks, residents leave inundated neighbourhoods for safer terrain; some receive help from rescue workers.

November 17, 2015 08:01 am | Updated November 16, 2021 04:21 pm IST - Chennai

CHENNAI, 16/11/2015, Shutters of Chembarambakkam reservoir was opened on Monday Morning as the reservoir is fast filling up. Photo: M. Vedhan.

CHENNAI, 16/11/2015, Shutters of Chembarambakkam reservoir was opened on Monday Morning as the reservoir is fast filling up. Photo: M. Vedhan.

Chembarambakkam and Poondi reservoirs, bone-dry until a fortnight ago, are now filled to the brim, which has led to consternation among residents of localities nearby.

An alert was sounded for residents of areas located downstream of the Chembarambakkam reservoir, including Anakaputhur, Gerugambakkam, Gowl Bazaar and Manapakakkam. Several people have vacated their houses to escape from the flooding.

The Chembarambakkam reservoir has been receiving an inflow of 17,000 cubic feet per second from its catchment areas and other lakes, including the one in Nemam. As the water level touched 21.3 ft against the maximum level of 24 ft, the Water Resources Department started discharging surplus water into the Adyar river. By Monday morning, the outflow was increased to 2,000 cusecs.

Later in the day, the Poondi reservoir reached its maximum water level too and floodgates had to be opened. WRD officials said the water body, the prime storage point for the city, had been getting an inflow of over 6,000 cusecs.

“We had to discharge 2,000 cusecs into Kosasthalaiyar river as the other chain of water bodies are also getting filled up rapidly. Several smaller water bodies like those in Ambattur, Madhavaram and Korattur are also overflowing. A flood alert has been given to 15 villages downstream of the reservoir, including Thirukandalam and Sothupakkam,” an official said.

In contrast, Red Hills reservoir has not given any reason for alarm, as it has touched only 65 per cent of its storage.

“The storage levels increased by 3,000 mcft in a single day. The water bodies received nearly 72 cm of rainfall in a week that brought in copious inflows,” said an official.

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