Highest snow-melt in 23 years, flood warning for Punjab

Chandigarh, July 10 : With the highest snow-melt recorded in the last 23 years in catchment areas of Sutlej and Beas rivers, the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) Wednesday said it would release excess water from the Bhakra and Pong dams.

BBMB chairman A.B. Aggarwal said: "Due to good snowfall in the catchment of Sutlej and Beas rivers, the inflows in Bhakra and Pong reservoirs this year are exceptionally high."

"The water levels as on July 10 are 1,629.87 feet (Bhakra) and 1,340.68 feet (Pong), which are, respectively, 84 and 48 feet higher in comparison to last year. However, the water level of Bhakra is higher by 24 feet in comparison to 2011 but that of Pong is 13 feet lower in comparison to 2011," Aggarwal said.

BBMB has already cautioned the Punjab government that with the reservoirs in both dams filling up very fast, it would have to release excess water through flood gates.

"Routine flood warnings have been issued. More warnings would be issued in anticipation and deputy commissioners of districts would be apprised if an alert is to be declared," he said.

"The release of water for irrigation will continue. Excess water will be released in a regulated way," he said.

Bhakra and Pong Reservoirs are controlled by BBMB for supplying irrigation water and power to the partner states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and union territory of Chandigarh.

The reservoirs of both dams are filled between May and September every year. In the 225-metre high Bhakra Dam, the maximum capacity is maintained at 1,680-feet.

In recent days, the inflow of water in Bhakra Dam reservoir has been above 70,000 cusecs. In the Pong dam reservoir, the inflow has crossed the 100,000-cusec mark.

The release of water from Bhakra dam had led to flooding in large parts of Punjab in 1988.

Aggarwal said power generation at Bhakra and Pong was at the maximum.

--IANS (Posted on 10-07-2013)

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