Alarming! Water level in Odisha reservoirs drop

Bhubaneswar: Although the monsoon hit Odisha in June, water level in major dams and reservoirs including Hirakud has dipped significantly owing to lack of adequate rainfall. The situation is such that the State government has directed Hirakud and other dam authorities to decrease hydro-power generation.

As there has been a significant drop in rainfall activity in the upper catchment area of Mahanadi, the water level in Hirakud is declining fast.

While the water level in Hirakud stood at 607.25ft on July 20 last year, the level was 599.83ft this year. Today, the water level of Hirakud further dropped to 598.85 ft. Currently, 2,300 cusecs of water is entering the dam against an outflow of 12,000 cusecs.

“This year due to less rainfall, the situation is alarming. We have written to reduce hydro-power generation so that water can be stored for canal irrigation. If there is no rainfall, the situation is likely to worsen further,” said Hirakud dam superintending engineer, Bhakta Ranjan Mohanty.

“The inflow to the dam is quite low as compared to the outflow. We have asked to control the power generation in the next 10 to 15 days,” said Water Resources Minister, Raghunandan Das.

“There will be a drop of 55MW of power per day and it is a revenue loss for us,” said Chief General Manager OHPC, Gyanaranjan Das.

While the first floodwater was discharged by Hirakud dam on July 25 last year, the scenario has completely changed as the State so far has received of 26 % less than normal rainfall.

Not only Hirakud dam, the situation of other dams and reservoirs including Balimela, Rengali, Machhkund is hardly any different. The water level of Indiravati reservoir stands at 630.58 meters against the water level of 633.04 meters last year.

The sharp drop in the water level of major dams and reservoirs is already impacting agriculture as water from these water sources is not reaching downstream.