Water level reaches maximum capacity in Papanasam Dam

Manimuthar Dam has 80% water

The Papanasam Dam, the second largest dam in the district that plays key role in determining farming operations in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi district besides quenching thirst of Virudhunagar district, reached its maximum storage level of 143 feet on Friday.

Consequently, over 4,680 cusecs of water is being discharged from Papanasam Dam and Servalar reservoirs since 6.30 a.m. and people living close to the watercourse of the Tamirabharani have been asked to stay alert even though flow of water into the dam is still in manageable quantum.

Moreover, 1,000 cusecs is likely to be released in the Tamirabharani from Gadana Dam which has water for 83.50 feet against its maximum capacity of 85 feet. Though inflow of water into this dam in the Tenkasi district is just 132 cusecs, the increased inflow of water may force officials to discharge 1,000 cusecs of water within a couple of days.

“Since the sudden flow of water into the dams will force officials to release increased quantum of water, the public have been asked not to take bath in the Tamirabharani. There is no need for panic as we’ve taken these steps only as precautionary measures,” Collector V. Vishnu said.

Revenue and police officials have been deployed in prominent bathing spots like Papanasam, Vickramasingapuram, Ambasamudram, Kallidaikurichi, Mukkoodal, Cheranmahadevi, Tirunelveli and beyond.

The district’s largest reservoir, Manimuthar Dam, with the capacity of 5,511 million cubic feet, has water for 106.45 feet (4,382 mcft or 79.52%) against its maximum storage level of 118 feet on Friday even as the inflow of water stood at 1,132 cusecs.

“It will take at least next three or four days to surplus unless the catchment areas experience heavy downpour,” said the PWD sources.

Though the Papanasam and the Manimuthar Dams have comfortable storage level now, both dams have received less rainfall than the precipitation recorded last year. After getting 303 mm rainfall in December 2019, the Papanasam Dam has so far got only 284 mm till Friday (December 18). Manimuthar Dam has so for recorded only 149 mm of rainfall this year against the last year’s precipitation of 328 mm.

“We expect Papanasam Dam will surpass at least 400 mm rainfall in December this year,” said an official.

As farming operations in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts has assumed decent pace with farmers getting confidence of water till the end of the ‘pisanam’ paddy season, 340 cusecs of water is being diverted in Kannadian Channel, 600 cusecs in Marudhur Melakaal, 377 cusecs in Marudhur Keezhakaal, 457 cusecs in Srivaikundam South Main Channel, 154 cusecs in Srivaikundam North Main Channel to feed the system tanks under these channels.

A distressing feature of this year’s north-east monsoon is that rainfall in the plains is far from satisfaction as 66 of the 740 system tanks in the district are still bone dry. And, 90 of the rain-fed tanks are also dry. In other words, 156 of the 1,290 irrigation tanks in the district are dry now.

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