“Low Water Levels in Mettur Dam Raise Anxiety for Tamil Nadu’s Agricultural Heartland” (Mettur Dam Water Levels)
Chennai, 19 August (City Times): (Mettur Dam Water Levels) In the Delta districts of Tamil Nadu, Samba farmers are becoming increasingly anxious as the water level in the Mettur dam has plummeted to just 53 feet. This drop in water levels has prevented farmers from commencing their Samba cultivation, a critical agricultural activity in the region.
Comparing this year to the same period in 2022, when the water level in the Mettur dam stood at 120 feet, the current situation is dire. R. Arumukasamy, a Samba farmer, expressed his concerns, stating that while the Karnataka government has pledged to release 10 tmcft of Cauvery water, this amount is insufficient even to sustain the standing Kuruvai cultivation. Arumukasamy has resorted to using groundwater to raise Samba nurseries but remains uncertain about the crop’s viability due to the unpredictability of Cauvery water flow. (Mettur Dam Water Levels)
In response to Karnataka’s limited water release, Tamil Nadu has protested at the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) in New Delhi, emphasizing the threat to Samba cultivation.
On a more positive note, the inflow of water at Biligundlu, the entry point of the Cauvery River into Tamil Nadu from Karnataka, has steadily increased to 16,700 cusecs. This upswing follows a gradual rise from 10,000 cusecs on Wednesday to 13,500 cusecs on Thursday, thanks to combined discharges from the Krishna Raja Sagara (KRS) dam and Kabini dam in Karnataka. Tamil Nadu’s government has also appealed to the Supreme Court for its fair share of Cauvery water. Beneficially, ongoing rains in the catchment areas have contributed to this rise in water flow. (Mettur Dam Water Levels)
This surge in inflow has had an impact on Hogenakkal main falls, ‘aintharuvi,’ and cine falls, all of which are now flowing at full force. With water flow expected to increase further, officials from the Central Water Commission (CWC) are closely monitoring Biligundlu. However, due to the high water levels, coracle services have been suspended for the third consecutive day, disappointing tourists visiting the falls.
Furthermore, there’s been a slight increase in the storage level of the Mettur dam, from 53.010 feet to 53.500 feet on Friday morning. This increase is attributed to the rise in inflow, which surged from 3,260 cusecs on Thursday to 9,938 cusecs on Friday. The dam also released 6,000 cusecs of water for delta irrigation. (Mettur Dam Water Levels)