Major reservoirs in the state, including the Mettur Dam on river Cauvery and the four lakes catering to Chennai have seen sharp increase in the recent days following intermittent rains and discharges from neighbouring Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. A Public Works Department official said the water level at the Mettur dam in Salem stood at 94.83 ft against a total scale of 120 ft.
Water in the Papanasam dam, with a full reservoir level of 143 feet, swelled by 9.7 ft on a single day due to heavy rains to reach 111.2 ft in the southern Tirunelveli district. Tuticorin received heavy downpour resulting in inundation in several residential areas.
Chennai's four reservoirs meeting its drinking water supply--Poondi, Cholavaram, Chembarambakkam and Red Hills- are witnessing an upsurge in water levels due to copious rains. Besides rains, Krishna water released from Andhra Pradesh has boosted the levels in the lakes.
The Servalar dam, also in Tirunelveli district, with a water level of 156 ft capacity, realised 18.5 ft in one day, pushing the water level to 118 ft. Veeranam lake in neighbouring Cuddalore district, also a source of drinking water supply to this metropolis, has 45.6 ft water against its total capacity of 47.5 ft.
As on Tuesday morning, all four main reservoirs in the metro saw water level higher than that recorded during the same time last year. The combined storage of the four lakes stood a little over 6 tmcft (thousand million cubic ft) on Tuesday as against the full capacity of 11 tmcft. The combined storage was 3 tmc ft the same day last year, according to Chennai Metro water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) data.
Officials from the dam safety directorate surveyed the Chembarambakkam lake this morning and said things were under control. "We will take a call on releasing water based on the rainfall status and the condition of surrounding water bodies.
As of now, rains have reduced and we are not planning to open the reservoir," S Asokan, Chief Engineer (operations and maintenance), said after the inspection. His statement came in the wake of speculations of opening up of the sluice gates following increasing water levels, bringing back memories of the 2015 deluge when water release from here was blamed as a key reason for flooding in many parts of the city.
Deepening and desilting of Adyar river has already been executed and hence people need not be afraid of water release from Chembarambakkam, Asokan said, adding, water release will be done if the level touches the 22 ft mark. Meanwhile, Minister Udayakumar said a disaster management plan had been chalked out by the government taking into consideration the data of damage due to rain in the state in the last 10 years and the extent of destruction in the last three decades.
"We have mapped 4,133 places vulnerable for inundation and the officials are all geared up to launch rescue and relief operations," he said. Keeping in the mind the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has formed 4,880 shelters to ensure social distancing norms, in addition to 4,713 that have been readied, he said.
Meanwhile, in Ramanathapuram district, a 65-year-old woman died when the roof of her house collapsed due to rains in the early hours of Tuesday, police said, identifying the victim as as K Solaiammal (65) of L.Karungulam. District Collector, Dinesh Ponraj Oliver, said following the incident, the district officials have been told to keep a vigil and ensure the safety of the people.