Coimbatore, in all likelihood, will face water shortage this summer as the Kerala Government had reduced the water level in the Siruvani Reservoir.
The Kerala Government that had reduced water level by around five feet, from 49.50 feet, which is the full reservoir level, to 44.50 feet, a few years ago after the State faced floods, had further reduced the level this year.
Sources in the know of the issue claimed the State had kept open the river sluice to let out more than necessary water into River Siruvani to bring down the water level to 34.77 feet. The inter-State agreement between Kerala and Tamil Nadu allowed for 15 cusecs to be released into the River to only meet the needs of wildlife and protect vegetation.
But by keeping open the river sluice the Kerala Government was releasing more water. The impact of this was that the water level was going down between 30 cm and 60 cm every day when it should be reducing by three to 10 cm a day.
The sources said the water level as of January 1, 2022 was 42.38 feet. On the same day last year the water level stood at 38.43 feet. Though the water level was high at the start of this year, by January 30 the water level dipped below the last year’s level on the same day. On January 30, 2022 the water level was 34.77 feet; and in 2021 it was 36.34 feet.
In 30 days the water level fell by 7.61 feet or 232 cm, which equalled around 40 days’ water supply to the city, the sources pointed out. This meant the city that usually faced water shortage in May could face it by March.
The sources also said the Kerala Government’s action had undone the benefits of good monsoon the Siruvani catchment had received in both, the South-West and North-East monsoon seasons.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin had written to his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan a few days ago asking for the water level to be maintained. He had said that water from Siruvani Reservoir met nearly 40% of the city’s water needs as the water drawn was 101.4 million litres a day (MLD). The city’s total water need stood at 265 MLD.
He had also pointed out that the reduction in water level by around five feet to 44.50 feet led to a 19% reduction in storage and urged the Kerala Government to honour the 1973 inter-State water-sharing agreement.