TN Govt To Release Water From Mettur Dam On May 24

For the first time, the sluices of the 88-year-old Stanley Reservoir in Mettur will be opened in May to facilitate the cultivation of short-term crop Kuruvai in the fertile Cauvery Delta region, thanks to the summer rains pounding the catchment areas in Karnataka.

Chief Minister M K Stalin has announced that the dam will be opened this year on May 24, which is 18 days before the set date of June 12 for releasing water from the reservoir for irrigation. The water level in Mettur dam increased exponentially over the past week due to summer rains in Karnataka and Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts.

According to a government release, the water level on Saturday stood at 115.35 feet (against the Full Reservoir Level) of 120 feet while the water storage was 86.25 tmcft. Since the inflow continues to be high, the dam is expected to reach FRL soon. The Chief Minister has instructed that the dam be opened on May 24 instead of June 12 for the benefit of farmers.

This is only the second time after independence that the dam is being opened on June 12 before the set date for three consecutive years. This is the first time that the dam is being opened in the month of May.

The water release is expected to benefit four lakh acres of land that will go for Kuruvai cultivation. “Desilting of water bodies in the Delta will come to an end on May 31 and the water released from Mettur Dam will reach the tail-end areas,” the release added.

According to officials, the early release of water from Mettur dam will not just allow farmers to go for Kuruvai but also allow them to prepare for samba (long-term crop) early and avoid them getting submerged in floods. An official said the groundwater will get recharged if the water release is continuous.

During the Kuruvai season in 2021, paddy was cultivated in a record 4.9 lakh acre against 3.21 lakh acre in 2020 – the highest in the last 46 years. The government recently said the increased cultivation area in Kuruvai and favourable rainfall during the year 2021-22 has contributed to the increased food grain production.

The Cauvery Delta, which was used to a three-crop formula – Samba, Kuruvai and Thaladi – had come down to just one crop a year. Till about a decade ago, cultivation would take place in three seasons – Kuruvai (short-term crop) from June to September, Samba (long-term crop) from August to January and Thaladi from January to May – keeping the farmer busy for the whole year.

While the first two seasons primarily cultivated paddy, farmers utilised the third season to cultivate pulses for centuries together with the progressive farming community.


Source: Deccan Herald
Photo courtesy: Deccan Herald


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