Sambalpur: Power generation from Hirakud dam has come down drastically with the water level of the reservoir falling to a low of 596.75 ft due to an erratic monsoon.
Last year, the water level of the reservoir was recorded at 602.21 ft. While the water retention capacity of the reservoir is 630 ft, this year’s water-level has been the lowest so far.
A 5.46 ft drop in the water level compared to the previous year has sent off alarm bells ringing in the agriculture sector. Farming community of Hirakud command area is highly dependent on the Hirakud reservoir for irrigation. While the farmers are disappointed over the lack of rainfall, they are growing increasingly concerned about the scarce supply of water by the Hirakud system for irrigation.
Official sources stated that while the total power generation capacity of the 10 units of the Burla and Chipilima power houses is 347.86 MW, only 15.75 MW of electricity was generated Sunday, leading to a deficit of 332.11 MW in power generation. While sources said fall in water level was the reason behind the steep plunge in power generation, they also cited technical problems at the power houses to be contributing factors.
According to the dam authorities, the upper catchment area of Hirakud dam received 23.88 mm rainfall while the lower catchment area received 15.58 mm in 24 hours between 10 am Saturday and 10 am Sunday. In the last 24 hours, 2,663 cusecs of water flowed into the reservoir and 7,006 cusecs of water was released.
For irrigation, a total of 4,530 cusecs of water is released, which includes 3819 cusecs into Bargarh canal, 630 cusecs to Shashan canal, 74 cusecs to Sambalpur canal and 7 cusecs to Hirakud canal.
It may be mentioned here that Sambalpur district received 86.98 mm rainfall in June, while the normal rainfall in that month is 211 mm.
Climate experts apprehended a drought-like condition in western Orissa due to the erratic monsoon. PNN