Himachal dam spills over amid reduced rainfall

August 15th, 2011 - 4:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Aug 15 (IANS) The inflow of water into Himachal Pradesh’s Pong dam, critical to the irrigation requirements of three states, came down amid reduced rainfall in its catchment areas, but authorities said its spillways would remain open.

Located on the state’s border with Punjab, about 250 km from Shimla, the dam serves the irrigation requirements of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

The spillways were opened Saturday as the water level rose beyond 1,382 feet against the danger mark of 1,390 feet in a dam that can store water up to 1,395 ft.

“The level was 1,383.22 feet at 9 a.m. and the inflow was 52,000 cusecs in the past two days,” P.K. Chauhan of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) told IANS over telephone.

“Now we are discharging 17,000 cusecs through normal operation of turbines and 18,000 through the spillways,” he said.

Another official maintained that a discharge of up to 50,000 cusecs is not treated as flooding the downstream. “But we have alerted the Punjab government as the discharge is affecting mainly villages and towns in Punjab,” he said.

Last year, for the first time in 15 years, the spillways were opened as a precautionary measure Sep 14 when the water level touched 1,394.25 feet.

One of the largest manmade wetlands in northern India, the Pong dam reservoir is spread over an area of 41 km, with a maximum width of 19 km. It came into existence after the construction of a dam on the Beas river in 1975.

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