Sambalpur: The water level in Hirakud reservoir has gone down in the wake of scanty and intermittent rainfall during June and July. So much so that it has affected kharif crops and power production in the state.
Water from Hirakud Dam irrigates large tracts of land. Lack of water has hit either planting of paddy saplings or those that have already been done. When the need for water is at its peak to carry on further agricultural activities, Hirakud reservoir level going down below dead storage mark has panicked the farmers throughout the state. If the situation continues, it will devastate food production, the farmers said.
According to sources, the Irrigation Department has attempted to manage the situation and save agriculture from being affected. Water is being released into minor irrigation canals in phases, keeping in mind the water level of Hirakud reservoir.
Even to the extent, water is being distributed in the lowland areas, in consultation with the local farmers. It is said that, the way level of water in Hirakud reservoir is going down will certainly cause drought in the state and also affect power production.
Executive Engineer of Irrigation Department Pramod Panda said, “The water level of Hirakud reservoir has gone down. However, water is being released into Sasan canal as well as Sambalpur distributary (an irrigation canal that originates in Hirakud Dam) as per the provisions of law”.
If rainfall in the upper part of Hirakud Dam will not be adequate, at least within a week, situation will go out of control. Now, water is being released from the main canals into minor canals, he added.
Worthy to note, 94 cusec of water was released into Sambalpur distributary, as per its capacity, from the Hirakud Dam Thursday. Similarly, 630 cusec of water was released into Sasan canal. In the absence of rain, 25,566 hectares of agricultural fields in the canal areas will be the worst affected in the coming days.