The water level at the Sardar Sarovar dam has reached the height of 131.5 metres against its approved 138 metres for the first time after the installation of the sluice gates at the dam in 2014. The authorities began releasing waters since the permissible storage by the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) is 131.1 metres.
The 17-metre tall sluice gates were installed in 2014 to take the dam's height from 121.92 metres to 138.6 metres after the requisite approval from the NCA. The storage has the dam has increased to 4.73 million cubic metres from the earlier 1.27 MCM.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel visited the dam site earlier in the day to assess the situation with the water levels nearing the danger mark.
Authorities said the 1,200 MW riverbed hydro power units at the dam were fired for the first time after a gap of two years. Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Managing Director Rajiv Gupta tweeted "With heavy inflows in SardarSarovarDam, we started River Bed Power House (1200 MW) after a gap of two years! A satisfying moment indeed for Sardar Sarovar Team!!"
Meanwhile, the state administration has drafted 18 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and 11 of its Gujarat counterpart at different locations in south, central and north Gujarat following heavy widespread rains during the last 24 hours. Several rivers were in spate and water levels in reservoirs across regions were rising.
In Vadodara city, water levels at the Ajwa reservoir reached its height of 212 feet and all the gates on the dam were opened to release the water in Vishwamitri river. The city had received around 18 inches rainfall in a single day last week, throwing normal life completely out of gear and the authorities had to deploy para-military forces and teams of NDRF and SDRF to rescue thousands of people.
According to data available from the State Emergency Operation Centre, Gujarat has so far registered 541.79 mm rainfall or 66 per cent of the average seasonal rainfall. Bharuch district in south Gujarat recorded the maximum rainfall at 13 per cent excess of its seasonal average, while Kutch region and the districts of north Gujarat reported a deficit from 50 per cent to 71 per cent as on Friday evening.
The Saurashtra region received total average rainfall of 329 mm, which is 51 per cent less than its normal of 663 mm.
Meanwhile, IMD forecast "heavy to very heavy rains" were very likely at a few places with isolated extremely heavy falls" in some parts of the state in the next 24 hours.