Water at Mullaperiyar dam in Idukki district reached the permissible level of 142 ft on Friday morning as a result of the fresh rains in the reservoir’s catchment area coupled with Tamil Nadu’s strategy to ensure that water touched that level.
The water level at the 119-old dam has inched to 142 ft after an interregnum of 35 years. In the legal dispute between Tamil Nadu and Kerala over the permissible water level at the dam, the Supreme Court this year had allowed to increase the water from 136 ft to 142 ft.
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On safety ground, Kerala wanted to bring down the water level even below 136 ft, but Tamil Nadu, which is the custodian of the dam, wanted to increase the water level to 142 ft. The court backed Tamil Nadu’s stand of raising the storage level.
On Friday morning, after the water level reached 142 ft, Tamil Nadu began drawing water from the dam at the rate of 1400 cubic feet per second. The District Collector of Theni in Tamil Nadu informed his counterpart in Idukki that the spill way shutters of the dam would be opened only if the inflow to the dam reached 2300 cubic feet per second.
On Thursday, Tamil Nadu had stopped intake of the water to ensure that the water level at the dam reached 142 ft, as allowed by the Supreme Court. As the water level reached 142 ft, Tamil Nadu resumed intake of the water on Friday.
Idukki district collector Ajith Pateel said all precautionary steps have been taken to address any eventuality in the wake of lifting of the spillway shutters. The government has made arrangements to evacuate people residing on the banks of the downstream.