Himachal’s Bhakra dam gates opened as water crosses danger mark

September 23rd, 2008 - 4:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Nangal (Punjab), Sep 23 (IANS) The gates of the 225-metre high Bhakra Dam near here were opened to release water after 10 years as torrential rain in the catchment area of the Sutlej river led to water in the Gobind Sagar reservoir of the dam crossing the danger mark, an official said here Tuesday.The four gates of the dam, which is located in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, 20 km from this Punjab town, were opened Monday for nearly 14 hours, Bhakra-Beas Management Board (BBMB) director (water regulation) R.K. Garg told IANS.

The water level in the reservoir of the dam touched 1,680.76 feet Monday against the danger mark of 1,680 feet.

The reservoir was filled to capacity after incessant rainfall in Himachal Pradesh in the last four days led to more water flowing into the river.

The Punjab government and district authorities in areas downstream were alerted before opening the gates, Garg added.

Though there were no immediate reports of flooding in the downstream areas, villagers in some areas near Anandpur Sahib town in Ropar district complained that water entered their fields and homes.

The last time that the Bhakra dam gates were opened by the BBMB authorities was in 1998. Before that, the gates were opened in 1988 causing flooding in several districts of Punjab.

“Power generation in both power houses of the dam is being done to capacity with all turbines running,” Garg said.

While the BBMB authorities released 36,000 cusecs of water through the turbines, 14,000 cusecs was released through the gates.

BBMB engineers said that the gates were opened as a precautionary measure so that the additional water in the reservoir did not exert too much pressure on the dam structure.

They added that there was no threat to the dam now since rainfall in the catchment areas in Himachal had stopped since Monday.

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