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No threat of flood from Bhakra dam, say officials

Chandigarh, Aug 12 (IANS) There is no immediate need to release water from Himachal Pradesh’s Bhakra dam — a process that may flood some low-lying areas in Punjab — despite the rising level in its reservoir, an official said Thursday.

The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) official said that the situation is completely under control and there is nothing to worry as the water level in the reservior is still lower than the maximum limit.

The dam is crucial for water supply and power generation for northern states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.

According to the BBMB official, the water level at Bhakra dam Thursday was 1,650.60 feet as against 1,591.74 feet on the same date last year. As per the guidelines approved by the board, the Bhakra reservoir can be filled to a maximum limit of 1,680 feet.

‘This year inflow of water is better as compared to last year. At present the inflows of about 70,000 cusecs are coming into Bhakra and all our turbines are running round the clock. With this, the level of reservoir will rise about two-feet per day,’ A.B. Aggarwal, chairman of the BBMB, told reporters here Thursday.

‘If the same trend continues for over 15 days, then the level will reach 1,670 feet and then we have to release water from the spillway. Release of water through spillway is not an issue of panic as it is a regular feature to regulate inflow and outflow of water,’ he said.

During the last 40 years, water has been released through spillways in 15 years.

‘After reaching the level of 1,670 feet, water level rises very slowly and we have sufficient time to alert the state governments and make arrangements to prevent floods,’ he said.

‘If it reaches the maximum level of 1,680 feet, then we have to discharge water and the low-lying areas near Ropar town are the most vulnerable to floods but that is very rare,’ said Aggarwal.

The BBMB has called the technical committee meeting of all partner states here to discuss this issue.

However, due to the increased inflow from the catchment areas and good rainfall so far, the BBMB has recorded a good increase in electricity generation.

‘Current power generation from all BBMB dams is 47 million units per day and it is 31 million units per day from Bhakra dam alone. At the same time of the year in 2009, the overall power production of BBMB was 33.9 million units per day and from Bhakra dam it was 16.4 million units per day,’ said Aggarwal.

The 225-metre-high, totally earthen Bhakra dam is located nearly 20 km from Nangal town in Punjab. The dam on river Sutlej is in Himachal Pradesh along the hill state’s border with Punjab.

Besides, the reservoir level of BBMB’s Pong dam Thursday was 1,342.54 feet against 1,312.67 feet on the same day last year. It has the capacity to store water up to 1,390 feet.

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