The flash flood in Amreli and Rajkot districts on June 24 has damaged three gates of Bhadar dam, the second largest reservoir in Saurashtra region, with engineers saying that the complete repair will not be possible till water levels go down in the dam. Parts of Amreli and Rajkot districts, which form the catchment area of Bhadar dam, witnessed 20-30 inches rain on June 24. Heavy rain marooned many villages and swelled river Bhadar. Within hours, the dam, which has the capacity to hold 6,600 million cubic feet (mcft) of water, overflew. But the inflow of water continued to increase. To maintain a safe water level, engineers had to open all the 29 gates of the dam up to 14 feet each and release 2.17 cusec water from the reservoir on June 24.
“Bhadar dam has overflown 23 times since the time it was built. But never in its history has it recorded such a high inflow of water. Due to floods in villages, scores of trees and vehicles like mini-tractors and auto-rickshaws were washed away. They made their way to the dam and went downstream through the gates. These trees and vehicles damaged sill-beams of gate numbers 11, 14 and 24,” Ramesh Pipalia, superintending engineer (SE) of Rajkot irrigation circle, said Tuesday. Pipalia said that engineers noticed the damage on June 25 when they closed the vertical gates of the dam. “We observed that water was leaking from the three gates even after the system showed that they had been shut completely. Further observation established that sill-beams, the structures on which gates rest when they are closed, were damaged for gate 11, 14 and 24,” the SE said.
The senior engineer further said that mechanical wing of state irrigation department had been since trying to repair the damage. “However, for complete repair, we will have to bring down water level in the dam by five feet. This cannot be done given the water scenario of Saurashtra. Therefore, as a stop-gate arrangement, we have placed gunny bags and contained leakages by up to 80 per cent,” Pipalia said. The dam is filled up to its capacity and the current water level is 34 feet. However, the three gates are leaking around 100 cusec of water, the senior engineer conceded.
Located some 60 km south of Rajkot near Lilakha village, Bhadar dam is a major source of drinking water for Rajkot city and Gondal and Jetpur towns of Rajkot district.
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