The water level in the Narmada Dam went up over 135.2 metres on Sunday, just 2.57 metres short of the Full Reservoir Level (FRL) of 138.68 metres, even as Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) authorities opened 23 of the 30 radial gates of the dam on Sunday afternoon to release about 1.94 lakh cusecs of water into the river.
The district administrations of Narmada, Vadodara and Bharuch districts have sounded a flood alert in several villages along the river banks due to the rising level of the Narmada river.
The Sardar Sarovar basin is now 87.95 per cent full with 8,320.30 Million Cubic Metres of water in storage.
According to a release from the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL), although two of the five radial gates that were first opened on Friday morning were closed Saturday morning after the inflow from Madhya Pradesh reduced, the heavy inflow recorded over Saturday night prompted the SSNNL to open 15 gates until Sunday morning.
Around 2 pm Sunday, eight more radial gates were opened to a height of 60 centimetres to increase the release downstream to one lakh cusecs as the water level in the dam is recording a rise of four-centimetre per hour.
The Riverbed Powerhouse (RBPH), which started operating at its full capacity in mid-July when the dam was positioned at 119 metres, has generated electricity worth Rs 104 crore in the past 26 days, the release said.
The RBPH produces roughly around 20 million units (MU) of power worth Rs 4 crore per day. The Canal head powerhouse (CHPH), which has been operating its four units at full capacity since August 12, also produced power worth Rs 2.94 crore in three days until Sunday.
While one cycle of the RBPH releases about 45,000 cusecs of water downstream, the CHPH releases about 20,000 cusecs of water into the main canal, which is used for irrigation and drinking water supply.
According to SSNNL officials, the inflow of water from Madhya Pradesh has increased to about 2.33 lakh cusecs Sunday evening and thus, opening the radial gates was essential.
Narmada District Collector Shweta Tewatiya held meetings with mamlatdars of Tilakwada and Garudeshwar talukas to assess the situation, while Vadodara District Collector AB Gor has ordered the evacuation of persons from low-lying areas. An alert from the SSNNL flood control room to the districts of Narmada, Bharuch and Vadodara has warned that the discharge from the radial gates and the powerhouses will eventually be increased to 3.45 lakh cusecs.
As per a release from the Vadodara district administration Sunday, “According to the information received by the district flood control room at 6pm Sunday, the total water being released into the river is 1.94 lakh cusecs… The release will go up to 3 lakh cusecs if needed. Therefore, the villages on the riverbanks have been asked to stay alert while those located in the low-lying areas of the Narmada river will be evacuated urgently.”