All the four spillway shutters of Malampuzha, Kerala’s largest irrigation dam, were opened by three centimetres after the water level crossed 114.88 metres on Wednesday morning. The shutters were opened at 11.45 a.m. in a phased manner and the process was witnessed by hundreds of people.
The full storage level of the dam is 115.06 metres. The water was released through irrigation canals to the nearby Mukkayi rivulet, from which it entered the Kalpathy river. By late evening, the water reached Parali to enter the Bharathapuzha, the second largest river in the State.
The dam shutters were opened for the first time in four years. On September 9, 2014, the shutters were opened after the water level crossed 114.76 metres. In 2013, water was released on August 15 after the level reached 114.86 metres. In the last four years, the catchment areas of the reservoir had received scanty rainfall resulting in poor storage levels. Farming suffered since the low percentage of water released for irrigation remained inadequate.
52 mm rain
According to Irrigation Department Executive Engineer S. Padmakumar, the catchment areas of Malampuzha reservoir received 52 mm rain this time. As heavy rain is expected on Thursday, the decision on closing the shutters would be taken at a review meeting on Friday noon.
The Fire and Rescue Services personnel and police are taking extreme vigil on the banks of the Bharathapuzha. People have been warned against crossing the river and its tributaries. Bathing and washing of clothes in the river have been prohibited.
Tourists would not be allowed to take selfies from the Malampuzha dam and garden premises. Entry of tourists to the hanging bridge across the main canal of the dam at Malampuzha has been banned.
Shutters of the Mangalam and Pothundy dams were also opened on Wednesday following incessant rain.
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