Bhakra floodgates opened, alert sounded in villages along Sutlej
The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) on Friday opened the floodgates of the Bhakra dam to release excess water in the wake of a heavy rainfall in the catchment area of the reservoir in the last two days.
An alert was sounded for the villages situated on both the sides of the river, especially those located in Rupnagar district.
Also, the board has sent an advisory to the administrations of Ludhiana and Ferozepur districts besides Rupnagar to keep a close watch on the rising water levels in the Sutlej downstream. Last time, the floodgates were opened in August 2010.
Rupnagar deputy commissioner Sumeet Jarangal said, “We have alerted the people living in the villages situated along the river by making announcements. The district administration is ready to deal with the situation.”
Water inflow into the reservoir touched 59,000 cusecs (cubic feet per second) on Thursday night and was expected to increase by late Friday. To regulate the water level that touched 1,674 feet, the board decided to release 20,000 cusecs through the floodgates, the emergency water exit system.
On Saturday, the total release is expected to be 57,000.
Till Thursday, the BBMB was releasing 37,000 cusecs from the dam penstocks where power generating turbines are installed. Despite this, the water level increased by four feet in the last three days, forcing the board to hold a meeting on Friday and take a decision on opening the flood gates.
The board has fixed a meeting of the technical committee with the partner states Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan on August 20 on the release of water into the canal system.
A senior official said the board is making some formalities for alerting the areas along the river that would carry the floodwater once the release of water from floodgates is expected to increase. The BBMB also regulates flow of water in the network of canals in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan that originate from the dam.
“The water level in the reservoir is 6 feet below the maximum filling capacity of 1,680 feet. It is dangerous do go beyond that level, especially during the monsoon, with a month to go for closure of the filling season. But there is no reason to panic as the BBMB has developed a system to quantify rainfall in the catchment of the river on which the dam is built,” said BBMB chairman DK Sharma.