The Bhakra-Beas Management Board (BBMB) on Saturday morning started the process of releasing nearly 55,000 cusecs of water from the Bhakra Dam.
The release of water from the 225 metre high dam, which is located in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh along the border with Punjab, about 130 km from here, has raised fears that low-lying areas in Ropar and other districts downstream of river Sutlej in Punjab could be flooded.
The Bhakra Dam, built after independence on river Sutlej, was described by India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru as the "temple of modern India".
"There is no immediate threat of flooding in Punjab. We still have a cushion of taking the water level till 1,680 feet. The water level today (Saturday) morning was 1,670.53 feet. We will be releasing 36,000 cusecs water initially followed by more later in the day," Punjab Irrigation Department Chief Engineer Amarjit Singh Dulat said.
Dulat added: "If there is more rain in the catchment area of the (Bhakra) dam, we will have to open the flood gates. Then there can be a threat of flood in Punjab."
Rivers Sutlej, Beas and Ravi flow through Punjab and inflow in all these rivers, from respective catchment areas in Himachal Pradesh, has increased in the last few days due to heavy rain.
District authorities and irrigation department officials say that preventive flood protection measures have been initiated in areas which fall along the rivers.
BBMB officials said the inflow of water into the Pong Dam reservoir of Beas river, located near Talwara town, about 200 km from here, is over 200,000 cusecs.
The water level at the Pong dam till Friday was at 1,360 feet and flood gates can be opened after the level reaches 1,390 feet, Punjab irrigation officials said.
Dulat said the water being released in all three rivers was flowing into neighbouring Pakistan, which has been devastated by floods in recent weeks.