In a historic move, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) opened one of the five shutters of the Cheruthoni dam on the Idukki reservoir as the water level inched up to 2398.99 ft. The shutters of one of the largest arch dams in Asia are being opened after 26 years. The maximum storage level in the reservoir is 2403 ft.
The dam, commissioned in 1975, has been opened only twice, both during the northeast monsoon in the months of October-November. This is the first time that the incessant southwest monsoon, which has caused a series of floods and landslides in several districts of the state, has forced the dam sluice gates to be opened. Follow Kerala rains LIVE
The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) made it clear that the middle shutter of the dam has been opened as part of a trial run for the next four hours to gauge the water level in the reservoir. The middle shutter has been lifted 50 cms, releasing up to 50,000 litres of water per second. The other shutters will be lifted only if a need arises. The SDMA said people living in a radius of 100 m along the banks of the Periyar river and in the low-lying areas must exercise caution as the shutter is being opened.
The water being released from the Idukki reservoir will travel through the Cheruthoni river to meet the Periyar after a distance of one kilometre. The river then passes by Thadambiyad, Karimban, Bhoothathankettu and Perumbavoor to reach Aluva. The Periyar drains further into the Arabian Sea.