It is after 5 years that water is drawn for first crop
Tamil Nadu has started drawing water from the Mullaperiyar dam for the first crop after five years.
This time, there is better storage in the dam following good summer rains, with the water level at 131 ft prior to the southwest monsoon season. The catchment area of Peerumade taluk received good summer rain, which resulted in a steady rise in the water level.
Tamil Nadu is drawing water at 300 cubic feet per second, say officials of the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department.
Water from the Mullaperiyar dam is stored at the Vaigai dam and is used for irrigating five districts of Tamil Nadu in addition to meeting the drinking water needs. The annual repair works of the penstock pipes and the power station at Lower Periyar are usually done in March after closing the shutters.
Last year, Tamil Nadu started drawing water from the Mullaperiyar dam in August as the monsoon got delayed. However, the Tamil Nadu PWD decided to draw water early in view of the chances of water reaching the maximum allowed level of 142 ft.
In the 2018 August floods, the dam shutters were opened leading to large-scale damage in downstream areas of the Periyar.
As per the new rule curve level fixed by the Central Water Commission, there is a limit to the allowed water level in the dam which is in conformity with the water calendar.
Tamil Nadu had drawn only limited water from the Mullaperiyar dam last summer as there was water storage in the Vaigai dam for meeting non-irrigation needs.
The agriculture sector in in Theni, Madurai, Sivaganga, Dindigul, and Ramnad is depended on the water supply from the Mullaperiyar dam.
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