Two more shutters of the Cheruthoni dam of the Idukki reservoir in Kerala were opened on Friday morning. An alert has been issued to people living in the downstream areas and on the banks of Cheruthoni and Periyar rivers. Now, three gates of Cheruthoni dam have been opened 40 cm each to release 125 cumecs of water, the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) said.
It was after 26 years that a shutter of the Cheruthoni dam of the Idukki reservoir was opened on Thursday. The dam shutters were last opened in October 1992. A red alert was issued after water level touched 2,399.56 feet on Thursday evening. The initial plan was to keep one shutter of the Cheruthoni dam open for four hours. However, as the water level kept rising, the dam authorities decided to keep the shutter open all through the night. When dam shutter was opened on trial run Thursday afternoon, water level was at 2,399.04 feet. Restrictions have been imposed on taking selfies and fishing in the Periyar.
The third shutter of the Cheruthoni dam to be kept open for four hours. The Cochin International Airport at Nedumbassery resumed flight operations after it was halted for a brief period as a precautionary measure post the opening of Cheruthoni dam. However, water level kept rising outside the airport premises.
Power minister MM Mani had last week said the shutters of the Cheruthoni dam will be lifted for a trial run and there will be a limited release of water when the level hits 2,398 feet.
The ‘orange alert’ was sounded after the water level touched 2,395 feet last week. The full reservoir level of the dam is 2,403 feet.
Following the orange alert, authorities had asked those living along the banks of the Periyar to stay alert.
Orange alert implies that the present condition had the capacity to significantly impact the people in the affected areas. However, authorities said an orange alert does not mean that the shutter would be opened. The final red alert would be issued when the water level touches 2,399 feet and the shutters will be opened only during day time after adequate warnings.