Thiruvananthapuram: A monsoon rainfall that has been more bountiful than in any year in the recent past has brought the water level in most dams in Kerala to record levels.
Authorities are now getting ready to open the shutters at most of the dams, as the rain kept pouring in the state on Sunday.
Rain damage in the state has also been at record levels and nearly 150 lives have been lost in the monsoon fury this season. In the latest rain-related tragedy, a tree branch broke and fell on a team of workers in a cardamom plantation in Adimali in Idukki district on Saturday, killing one of them, identified as Kunjamma (58).
The most notable of water levels in the state’s dams is at the Idukki dam, the biggest in Kerala, where the water level has now touched 2,385 ft, which is slightly more than 78 per cent of the dam’s capacity. If water level rises another 18 ft, the dam’s shutters will be opened.
Authorities have now resorted to maximum possible power generation from the dam to utilize the water and avoid opening the shutters.
The Idukki dam has filled to capacity only twice in its history, in 1981 and 1992, which gives a fair idea of the bountiful monsoon for Kerala this year, that has taken water levels in most of the state’s dams to near capacity levels.
The greasing work of shutters at the Idukki dam has begun in anticipation of raising them if water level touches capacity. In case the shutters are opened, water will flow into the Periyar river, which in turn means trouble for people living on its banks.
Nearby, water level in the Mullaperiyar dam has inched upwards of 132 ft which is 97 per cent of its capacity. In Sabarigiri, the water level has reached 82 per cent capacity, and in Thenmala dam the water level is less than a foot from its capacity level of 115.82 ft.
In the Moozhiyar dam in Pathanamthitta, two shutters have already been opened, and in the Neyyar dam in Thiruvananthapuram district, three shutters have been opened to reduce the water level. The Peppara dam in Thiruvananthapuram district has also filled to capacity.
In Kozhikode district, two shutters of the Kakkayam dam have been opened, and two shutters of the Banasurasagar dam in Wayanad have also been opened to reduce water level.
The forecast for Sunday was for a break in the rains, but the monsoon showed no reprieve Sunday.