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Bhakra Dam Management Board Suspends Excess Water Release

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Bhakra Dam: Management Board Holds Water Release Amidst Flood Situation in Punjab and Haryana

The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) has made a significant decision regarding the release of excess water from the Bhakra and Pong dams on the Sutlej and Beas rivers. In light of the current flood situation in Punjab and Haryana, the BBMB has decided to suspend any additional water release until the situation normalizes. This decision was made during a special Technical Committee Meeting, which involved BBMB officials and representatives from the member states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, and Delhi.

The Concerns

While the BBMB had not released any water beyond the requirements of its partner states, a communication was sent on July 11, stating that an additional 16,000 cusecs of water would be released from Bhakra on July 13, in addition to the routine release of 19,000 cusecs. Punjab objected to this decision, emphasizing that there was no need for extra water release when the water level in the reservoir was significantly below capacity, while many areas in the state were already experiencing swollen rivers and streams.

During the Technical Committee Meeting, the position of the dams was thoroughly reviewed, along with the waterlogging situation in the downstream areas of Punjab and Haryana. It was decided that close coordination with the respective state authorities would be maintained on a daily basis. Nand Lal Sharma, the Chairman of BBMB, stated that the situation would be reevaluated after 3-4 days, and further actions would be taken accordingly.

Dam Levels and Reservoir Capacity

As of July 12, the water level at Bhakra Dam was recorded at 1628.72 feet, which is below the full reservoir level of 1,680 feet. Similarly, at Pong Dam, the water level was 1,363.96 feet, compared to the top mark of 1,390 feet. According to the BBMB, the reservoirs’ current positions are comfortable, with a vacant capacity of 40 percent at Bhakra and 31 percent at Pong. This capacity provides ample room to accommodate heavy inflows if required in the future.

Extraordinary Influx of Water

In the past four days, the Bhakra Dam received an astounding inflow of 4,45,037 cusecs (1,088 million cubic meters), while the Pong Dam saw an inflow of approximately 6,25,554 cusecs (1,530 million cubic meters) due to torrential rains. These excessive volumes of water led to a rise of 22.1 feet in the Bhakra Dam and 25.09 feet in the Pong Dam. Fortunately, the dams successfully stored this massive influx of water, preventing further escalation of floodwaters downstream.

With the monsoon season underway and expected to continue until the end of September, the BBMB recognizes the need to prepare for any potential future eventualities. In a controlled manner, the board may consider increasing water releases from its dams to manage possible heavy inflows in the days to come.

Bhakra Dam

Conclusion

The Bhakra Beas Management Board has prioritized the safety and well-being of the flood-hit areas in Punjab and Haryana by suspending the release of excess water from the Bhakra and Pong dams. The decision to review the situation after 3-4 days demonstrates the board’s commitment to maintaining close coordination with state authorities. With reservoirs currently at a comfortable capacity, the BBMB aims to handle any future heavy inflows effectively.


FAQs

1. Will the BBMB release any additional water from the Bhakra Dam? No, the BBMB has decided to suspend any excess water release until the flood situation in Punjab and Haryana normalizes.

2. Why did Punjab object to the extra water release from the dam? Punjab pointed out that there was no requirement for additional water release as the current water level in the reservoir was below capacity, while several areas in the state were already experiencing flooding.

3. What was discussed during the Technical Committee Meeting? The meeting involved a comprehensive review of the dam positions and discussions on the waterlogging situation in the downstream areas of Punjab and Haryana.

4. What is the current capacity of the Bhakra and Pong dams? The Bhakra Dam has a vacant capacity of 40 percent, while the Pong Dam has a vacant capacity of 31 percent, allowing them to handle heavy inflows if necessary.

5. How much water flowed into the dams due to the recent heavy rains? The Bhakra Dam received an inflow of 4,45,037 cusecs (1,088 million cubic meters) of water, while the Pong Dam received approximately 6,25,554 cusecs (1,530 million cubic meters) of water.

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