Salem: The stage has been set for the Chief Minister, Mr. Edappadi K Palaniswami to open the shutters of the historic Stanley reservoir at Mettur near here on Tuesday morning, 8.30 am to be precise, for Cauvery delta irrigation, with the water level in the dam crossing the 91-ft mark on Monday evening.
The full height of the reservoir is 120-ft and engineers say that as the water level has already crossed the 90-ft mark at Mettur, it is a safe gauge mark to release water for irrigation in the Cauvery delta districts.
The rapid rise in the dam level has been triggered by an exceptionally large level of inflows, 2,30,000 cusecs on Monday evening, in the backdrop of heavy rains in Cauvery's catchment areas in the past one week and reservoirs in upper riparian Karnataka discharging their surplus waters to the tune of 2,20,000 cusecs, official sources said.
Usually, the Mettur reservoir is opened for delta irrigation on June 12 to help farmers take up 'Kuruvai', short-term paddy crop. But this has not been possible for the last eight years due to delayed and erratic monsoon pattern. In the irrigation calendar of Mettur, in the normal course, the water discharge continues till January 28 the following year when the reservoir is again shut. During this period, cultivation in a total of 16.50 lakh acres of 'Kuruvai', 'Samba' and 'Thaladi' paddy crops in canal irrigated areas, used to be the norm if all goes well. However, these timelines have gone for a six in the past eight years, even as the controversy over Karnataka implementing the final award of the Cauvery Tribunal continues. Whenever there have been excess rains in the catchment areas in Karnataka and Kerala, it is only those surplus waters that Tamil Nadu has been receiving as they cannot hold up the extra water in their reservoirs.
It is under these circumstances Mr Palaniswami will be opening the Mettur reservoir on Tuesday morning. The Chief Minister reached Coimbatore from Chennai by flight late on Monday evening and then drove down to Salem for Tuesday's function. All arrangements have been made for the auspicious water release function, as Mettur has been the lifeline for millions of farmers....