16 lakh acres in 12 districts expected to benefit from the move; water is expected to reach the Grand Anicut on Wednesday
The sluices of the Stanley Reservoir in Mettur were opened for irrigation on Monday, in a move expected to benefit 16.05 lakh acres in 12 districts.
Minister for Electricity, Excise and Prohibition P. Thangamani, Minister for Higher Education K.P. Anbalagan and Minister for Environment K.C. Karuppannan showered flowers on the water as it gushed out of the sluices at 10 a.m. Initially, 2,000 cusecs of water was released from the reservoir, before the flow was stepped up to 8,000 cusecs at 4 p.m. and 15,000 cusecs at 10 p.m. The water level stood at 94.84 feet, as against its full reservoir level of 120 feet, while the storage was 58.35 TMC, vis-a-vis its full capacity of 93.47 TMC. The inflow stood at 13,938 cusecs.
The move would help farmers in Salem, Namakkal, Erode, Karur, Tiruchi, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Ariyalur, Perambalur, Pudukottai and Cuddalore districts to carry out samba cultivation. The water is expected to reach the Grand Anicut on Wednesday.
The release of water missed the customary date of June 12, as back then, the water level stood at 23.44 feet, while the storage was only 5.161 TMC. Copious quantity of water received from the dams in Karnataka, combined with the downpour in catchment areas, resulted in an improvement in the storage situation.
Power generation starts
Stating that there was sufficient stock of seeds and fertilizers, Mr. Thangamani asked farmers to use the water judiciously.
Also, the generation of 170 MW of power began at the Mettur Dam Power House and the Mettur Tunnel Power House, apart from 30 MW each at the five Lower Mettur Barrage Power Houses located across the river Cauvery in Salem, Erode and Namakkal districts.
Pointing out that the dam had not been opened for irrigation on the customary date for the sixth consecutive year, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam’s State general secretary K. Sundaram urged the government to take steps towards the constitution of the Cauvery Management Board to ensure that the State receives its share of the water from Karnataka on a regular basis. Last year, the water was released on September 20.
Collector Rohini R. Bhajibhakare, MPs, MLAs, Public Works Department engineers and farmers’ representatives were present at the occasion.