Idukki dam: Why is Kerala planning to open this high-capacity dam after 26 years?


One of the highest reservoirs in the continent, Kerala’s high range Idukki dam is likely to be opened for the first time in 26 years, as copious inflows following heavy monsoon rains resulted in a rise in water levels in the Periyar river. On Friday, the water level in the dam stood at 2,392 feet against its maximum of 2,403 feet, news agency Press Trust of India reported. The shutters of the dam were likely to be thrown open if the water level touched 2,400 feet, officials of Kerala told the news agency.
The dam’s shutters, a double curvature arch reservoir constructed across the Periyar river, were last opened in 1992. However, this will be the first time that the dam is likely to attain its full level during the South West Monsoon period. The arch reservoir comprises three dams — Idukki, Cheruthoni and Kulamavu — built for the Idukki Hydroelectric Project.
While Idukki dam, the highest, is used to store water, the other two are for the purpose to route it to the powerhouse.
The decision was taken in a high-level meeting headed by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, called to discuss the precautions to be taken once the shutters are opened.