For the first time in 26 years, the Idukki dam was opened again as the water levels rose to just below 2399 feet in the reservoir, just 4 feet below its full capacity. At 12:30 pm on Thursday, one shutter of the Cheruthoni dam was opened 50 centimetres to let the water out. The shutter will remain open for 4 hours and 50 cubic metres of water is being released per second.
A statement released by Idukki Collector instructed all those living 100 metres along the stretch of the Periyar near the dam to relocate to safer spots. Residents living along the lower areas of the river have been relocated to a location arranged by the village officer and their stay there will be taken care of, the release stated.
The authorities instructed residents to keep all their valuables and certificates safe and instructed people to not crowd the banks of the river.
The Idukki dam is one of the largest arch dams in the continent. The last time this dam was opened was in 1992. As there are no shutters on the main dam, the middle shutter of the Cheruthoni dam has been opened to let the excess water in the Idukki reservoir flow into the Periyar river.
The trial run will be heavily monitored by the KSDMA and KSEB (Kerala State Electricity Board).
The KSEB issues three levels of alert. Code Green for when the water level in Idukki hit 2390 feet and Code Orange when the levels rose to 2395 feet. With the water level rising to 2399 feet, the reservoir only has 4 feet more to hit maximum capacity.
The State Disaster Management Authority and NDRF have rescue teams stationed in Idukki, Aluva in Ernakulam. Army, Navy and Air Force and Coast Guard personnel too have been roped in. The SDMA has readied a Mi17V helicopter and an ALH helicopter in case people have to be rescued.
Four columns of the Navy and Air Force have been deployed to handle any crisis situation. Rescue boats have been stationed to undertake operations in the low-lying areas of Ernakulam which are prone to flooding, CM Pinarayi Vijayan announced via Facebook.