Four days ahead of the filling season,the Bhakra Dam and Pong Dam are both showing signs that they will overflow earlier than they did last time. Heavier rainfall in the catchment areas has meant that the levels in both dams are higher than they were the same day last year.
The filling season for both dams is June 21 to September 20. The water in the Bhakra Dam,which can hold 1,682 feet,is now at 1,574.84 feet,63.90 feet higher than the 1,510.94 feet of June 17 last year. In the 1,395-foot-capacity Pong Dam,the water today touched 1,350.07 feet,63.35 feet higher than last years 1,286.72 feet.
The Bhakra Dam has had 1,182 mm rainfall compared to last years 902 mm,the Pong Dam 1,787 mm compared to 1,287 mm. The inflow into the Bhakra is 39,458 cusec compared to 23,287 cusec,the outflow 29,729 cusec compared to 28,875 cusec; at the Pong,the inflow and outflow are both 11,803 cusec,compared to last years 1,855 cusec (in) and 9,612 cusec (out).
Last year,the Bhakra Dam touched its maximum level of 1681.53 feet on September 23,while the Pong Dam hit its maximum of 1394.49 feet on September 15. This year,sources said,both are expected to fill before normal time.
Authorities are in the process of adding 90 MW power. Machines of the Bhakra (Left) Power House are being upgraded from 108 MW to 126 MW,raising the total capacity from 540 MW (5 machines) to 630 MW. The contract for the upgrade has been awarded to a consortium of Sumitomo-Japan,Hitachi-Japan and Andritz-Austria,at an approximate cost of Rs 490 crore. The phased upgrade is expected to be completed by March 2013.
Punjab Agriculture Minister Sucha Singh Langah said that rainfall may bring 10 per cent increase in paddy production. The heavy rainfall in major areas such as Patiala,Balachaur,Roop Nagar,Shahpur boosted hopes that paddy could be transplanted early.