Written by Pallavi Singhal
The water level of Kaushalya Dam and Ghaggar reached near their danger mark on late Sunday night after it rained for many hours in Panchkula as well as Himachal Pradesh.
While water in the Kaushalya Dam, which tops out at 478m, reached 477.40m, the Ghaggar river, with its danger level at 1.9m, was recorded at 1.8m on Saturday.
Officials said the water at Kaushalya Dam rose by 4m within a few hours due to heavy rainfall in Himachal. To stop the dam from overflowing, the authorities released about 10,000 cusec water on Saturday and 12,000 cusec water on Sunday. “We were at the dam on Sunday evening and everything seemed fine. The water levels suddenly rose at night owing to the rainfall near rivers that merge into the dam’s water. Our main aim is to keep releasing the water so that the dam does not overflow. We do not want to release a lot of water into the river but will have to if it rains, like we did last year in accordance with the orders we received. We are taking precautions,” said junior engineer Virender who is working at the project sub-division.
“The aim of the department is to keep the dam’s water reservoir level at 477m. We are releasing water slowly. Almost 1,000 cusecs of water is being released every hour so that a situation like 2018 does not take place this year,” said SDO Navjot.
Special care is being taken not to flood the river by releasing a large amount of water in a short span of time.
Ghaggar will reach its danger mark once 20,000 cusec water is released and would flood the region if a total of 1.27 lakh cusecs of water is released, said Sumit, SDO, project sub-division. Deepak, SDE XEN (Irrigation), said they were keeping a check at water levels of Ghaggar as well as Kaushalya Dam.
The incessant rain in September last year had filled up not only the Kaushalya Dam reservoir up to the danger mark but also flooded other rivers flowing through the area. As the water crossed the dangerous level of 478 metre in the dam’s reservoir on September 24, the sluice gates were opened to let it flow. The water had destroyed several hutments and parts of national highway (NH-22). Although only 1,500 cusec water was released from the dam, its full discharge capacity is more than double, at 32,400 cusec.