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Officials hope to release water from Periyar dam in time

Public Works department officials are hoping to release water from Periyar dam for irrigation of the first crop in double-cropping area of Cumbum valley in the first week of June, thanks to the early onset of Southwest monsoon and heavy inflow into the dam.

Catchment areas of Periyar dam and the dam site have been experiencing heavy downpour for the past few days. Inflow into the dam shot up to 1,213 cusecs on Tuesday morning which was just 488 cusecs on Monday.

The officials, however, reduced the discharge from 100 cusecs to 50 cusecs to improve the storage level. The dam site recorded a rainfall of 73 mm and Thekkadi 38.2 mm.

The officials said combined Periyar credit was 2,426 mfct and for releasing water it had to go up to at least 4,000 mcft.

If this trend continued for a week, the storage level would go up to facilitate release of water for irrigation of the first crop.

Meanwhile, Agriculture department officials have started importing required quantum of fertilizers and other inputs to maintain sufficient stock in all sales outlets, including cooperative societies, for timely distribution to farmers.

Farmers were jubilant over the early onset of the monsoon in Kerala. Summer rain helped them plough lands. Intermittent showers in the last one week too encouraged them to start preliminary work, including preparing fields, for the first crop in the valley.

Farmers in rain-fed areas are also happy as early onset of monsoon will ensure at least single crop this season. They also hope that they will not face any water shortage. They have been advised to mechanise farm activities in order to tide over labour shortage.

Water level in major dams in Theni district has been increasing steadily. Sothuparai dam has been overflowing for the past 11 days. Storage level is comfortable in Manjalar and Shanmughanadhi dams.

Farmers are hopeful that water will be released from all dams for irrigation.

The PWD officials said they would release water from the dams once they received order from the government.

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