“Odisha’s refusal to change Hirakud rule curve may lead to serious problems”

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Sambalpur, July 26:

Lack of concern of the Odisha government over the management of water at the Hirakud reservoir, in accordance with the change in the prevailing rule curve as proposed at the inter-state meeting in 2012, may lead to serious consequences in the coming days, experts have warned.

Hirakud damIn a recent letter to the Water Resources department, the authorities of Mahanadi Upper Basin have stated that the rule curve, framed by the high powered committee in 1988, is no longer acceptable in view of the changing circumstances.

It may be mentioned here that the experts, in an inter-state meeting between the Odisha and Chhattisgarh government, held at Ashok Niwas in Sambalpur in 2012, had discussed about the water management of Hirakud reservoir at length and recommended certain changes in the rule curve implemented since 1988.

However, the Odisha government, till date, has not taken any steps to change the rule curve.

While the reason for non-implementation of the propsoed changes to the rule curve is not known, sources, however, said the government has shubbed the proposal under the carpet with a view to providing water to industrial establishments.

It is worthwhile here to mention that the management of Hirakud water is monitored from June 15 to October 31 every year, when the monsoon stays active in the state.

A high-powered technical committee of the Odisha government had formulated the rule curve in 1988  and set a benchmark on the water level of the Hirakud Dam.

As per the existing rule curve, the minimum water level of the reservoir should be 595 feet by July 1, 590 feet by August 1, 605-615 feet by August 11, 610-622 feet by August 21, 619-627 feet by September 1, 624-629 feet by September 11, 629.5-630 feet by September 21 and 630 feet by October 1.

The experts have opined that since the 1988 rule curve was formulated after taking into consideration the situation of the reservoir, the volume of inflow of river water into the reservoir and its environment prevalent then. However, there is a sea change in the situation of the reservoir and its environment at present, experts have said.

If the water management of the reservoir continues to be conducted as per the 1988 rule curve, there are strong possibilities that there would be heavy floods during the rainy season while the reservoir could turn dry in summer in the coming days, the experts have cautioned.

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