Dams may come up across Meenachil, Manimala rivers

Dams may come up across Meenachil, Manimala rivers
Manimala River. File photo

Kottayam: Most parts of Kerala bore the brunt of floods in the last two years. The recurring problem amid fears of drastic climate change has forced authorities in the rain-prone state to consider ways to curb the intensity of floods.

The Water Resources Department would soon start a study to identify suitable land to build two dams across the Meenachil and Manimala rivers which wind their way through many parts of Kottayam district. The floods in consecutive years had ravaged parts of the district.

Currently, both Meenachil and Manimala do not have dams. The 78-km-long Meenachil River has a catchment area of 1.272 sq km. The Manimala River is 90 km long and has a catchment area of 847 sq km.

The dams would be able to store water and prevent the deluge to some extent. Pala town, which bore the brunt during the floods this year and last year, is unlikely to be flooded with the construction of the dams.

The officials plan to open the floodgates when the dams fill up and let out 30 per cent of the water. And the water would be released only in a phased manner, preventing huge quantities of water reaching inhabited areas at once.

Water Resources Department chief engineer T K Joshy said that they have prepared a blueprint on the dams considering the frequent floods in the district. 

Officials would also look for the possibilities of irrigation. Generally, dams are constructed for irrigation and power generation. However, the dams are being planned at Meenachil and Manimala rivers as a solution to the frequent floods.

The purpose of the dam constructed for irrigation is to collect as much as water possible. Such a dam would be able to store more water until the next rains. However, if the water is released and it does not rain again, the dams would be left with only 70 per cent of water.

Around 10 per cent of the reservoir's capacity can be released through the spillway shutters. If the floodgates of the spillway are opened, then 30 per cent of the water could be released.