Kerala: Idukki water level touches 2,397.20 ft, shutters likely to be opened

Idukki dam may be opened for the first time in 26 years, owing to rising water level of the Periayar river following heavy monsoon rains in Kerala | PTI

The prospect of Idukki dam shutters at Cheruthoni being opened seemed imminent on Wednesday with the catchment area receiving over 128 mm rain in the intervening night.

The water level at 6pm on Wednesday was 2397.20 feet, up from 2396.28 feet at 9 pm on Tuesday. The water level has been rising at a rate of 0.06 feet per hour. The KSEB has predicted that it will cross 2,398 feet by Thursday at this rate.

The shutters of the Cheruthoni dam will be lifted for a trial run and there will be a limited release of water when the level hits 2,398 feet.

According to sources, heavy rain continued in Idukki district and the water level is likely to rise further.

Kerala power minister M.M. Mani had, last week, stated that the shutters of the Cheruthoni dam would be opened if the water level touched 2,398 feet. If the rain continues to lash the district during the day, the water level may cross 2,397 feet. “The trial run will be held irrespective of the rain's intensity,” Mani had told reporters after an assessment meeting at the Idukki collectorate last week.

The district administration had made all arrangements to meet any eventuality. The 'orange alert' was sounded after the water level touched 2,395 feet last week, prior to the 'red alert' to be issued at 2,399 feet.

The full reservoir level of the dam is 2,403 feet. The authorities said people would be alerted when the water level touched 2,397 feet.

Following the orange alert, authorities had asked those living along the banks of the Periyar to stay alert.

Orange alert implies that the present condition had the capacity to significantly impact the people in theaffected areas. However, authorities said an orange alert does not mean that the shutter would be opened.

The final red alert would be issued when the water level touches 2,399 feet and the shutters will be opened only during day time after adequate warnings.