Inflow of water from Chhattisgarh to Hirakud reservoir has reduced drastically causing apprehensions amongst engineers here. The summer months are going to be tough with water levels low in the reservoir.
Power generation will be affected and even irrigation is likely to be hit, said a senior engineer. The situation is that every day six inch water is receding in the dam.
Though the non-monsoon flow of Mahanadi has, over the years, been less, the latest crisis is said to be due to the Kalama dam authorities in Chhattisgarh who have closed all the gates.
On 31 March , the inflow to the reservoir from Chhattisgarh was only 98 cusec and on 2 April inflow stopped – zero, said a Hirakud dam official. After completion of Kalama project in Chhattisgarh in 2016, the normal flow to Hirakud reservoir in the non-monsoon season has come down by almost 78 per cent.
The officials here quickly point accusing fingers at Chhattisgarh and the dams/barrages it has constructed upstream of Mahanadi impeding flow of water to Hirakud. The dispute over this is to be adjudicated by a Tribunal.
The inflow in the non-monsoon seasons to the Hirakud was 1.450 million acre feet in 2013-14, 1.355 acre million feet in 2014-15, and only 0.907 million acre feet in 2015-16.
Even during monsoon the flow had declined to only 11.871 million acre feet in 2017 which is much less in comparison to previous two years.
“After formation of water dispute Tribunal for Mahanadi last month, the Chhattisgarh government is working on war footing to complete its barrage and dam projects upstream and has closed gates,” allege locals at Hirakud. If the water level reservoir level drops to below 610 ft, power generation has to be stopped, said engineers at Hirakud.