The water level in Ukai dam on Saturday stood just two feet short of the danger mark of 345 feet, after receiving heavy inflow of water from the upper catchment areas in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. To maintain the water level in the dam, authorities on Saturday discharged over 92,000 cusec of water into the Tapi river, raising fears of flooding among Surat residents.
Sources in the Surat irrigation department said that Ukai dam, which is located in Tapi district, received rain water of 436 mm (17 inches) within 24 hours, as measured at 21 gauge stations lying in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Due to the heavy inflow, the water level in the Ukai reached 343.16 feet, against the danger mark of 345 feet. On Saturday, the total inflow of water in Ukai dam has was 91,181 cusec, while outflow was increased to 92,000 cusec. The live water storage in the dam is 6,396.94 million cubic meter. The dam is now 94 per cent full.
“We have decided to fill the dam upto 345 feet. The dam is 352 feet tall, so there is nothing to worry. The monsoon season will end in the last week of September. Keeping in mind that there are a few more days left for the monsoon season to end, we have started discharging a large volume of water,” Surat Irrigation department superintendent Engineer H R Mahakaal said.
“The water of Ukai dam is supplied to Surat district, Ankleshwar, Valsad, Navsari, Valsad and Tapi district for drinking and irrigation. The Ukai dam water is used by farmers for cultivation on 3.31 lakh hectares of agricultural land in South Gujarat. Apart from this, the dam supplies water to industries in Hazira. There is nothing to worry, we are keeping safety in mind and discharging the water from the dam.”
In the past 15 years, the water level in the dam has crossed 344 feet twice. In 2006, it touched 346.07 feet, and in 2013 344.62 feet. In 2006, Surat city was flooded, as water entered most of city’s localities, and leading to loss of human lives and as well as financial loss. Last year, the highest level of water in the dam during the monsoon season was 319 feet.
Furthermore, water in the Hatnur dam in Jalgaon district in Maharashtra, which is located in the upper catchment area of Ukai dam, stood at 212.65 metre.
With the heavy discharge from the Ukai dam into the Tapi river, the river has breached its banks. Fishermen in Surat have been making hay meanwhile, getting a good catch from the flooded Tapi.
Surat Municipal Corporation has installed digital signboards at various places in the city showing the water level in the Ukai dam and total inflow and outflow.
Sources said that with such a large volume of water in the dam, there would be no shortage of water for drinking and irrigation in the districts of south Gujarat.
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