Kerala Dams Were Full Even Before Torrential Mid-August Rains That Led To Devastating Flood, Says Report

Kerala Dams Were Full Even Before Torrential Mid-August Rains That Led To Devastating Flood, Says ReportThe Idukki dam in Kerala. (Rameshng via Wikimedia Commons)

Swarajya Staff

Major dams in Kerala, barring Idukki, were full to capacity on the eve of the torrential rains that caused widespread floods in the state. The Times of India reports that the finding is part of a study carried out by Central Water Commission (CWC). The report went to the water resources ministry last week.

On the build up, the report says that the exceptionally high rainfall between 15 August and 17 August,  leaving 12 billion cubic metre (BCM) of water in the state -- "more than double the capacity of all reservoirs" led to an "impossible scenario".  "The report said that the dams neither added to the flood not helped in reducing the flow," TOI report says.  It led to mass evacuation of people.  The state was left helpless after receiving exceptionally high rainfall in August. It received above normal rainfall in June and July.

The CWC report recommends "revisiting 'rule curves' -- strategic water level for planning operations of a dam -- of all reservoirs." The storage capacity of reservoirs in Kerala is 5.8 BCM. It also mentions that the “The dams did not release anything extra of what they received,” adding, “The authorities had released water in a very controlled manner. The commission has come to the conclusion after computing and analysing step by step inflow and and outflow of water during the entire season, CWC director (hydrology) N N Rai said.”

CWC's role is "only advisory in nature",  the TOI report says,  adding that the dams are maintained by the state government with the "help of experts in management bodies." CWC has also referred to other reasons behind the flooding in its report, including the encroachment of floodplains.