The Tamil Nadu public works department has opened the sluice gates of the Mettur dam, and 15,000 cusecs of the Cauvery water started gushing out of the Stanley Reservoir.
The dam, the lifeline of Delta farmers across Cauvery, is usually opened on June 12 annually for irrigation.
But it had been delayed for the fourth straight year in view of poor storage due to scanty rainfall and refusal by Karnataka to release Tamil Nadu’s share of Cauvery waters.
S Ranganathan, secretary, Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association,, said, “Farmers have been demanding that water should be released once Mettur level touches 90 ft. Accordingly government decided to release water on October 2 as water level had crossed 90 ft. We welcome this.”
He added: “But it is a calculated risk as we need water for at least one month initially and sustaining the crop will depend upon the behaviour of the northeast monsoon. We expect the monsoon to set in from at least Deepavali, October 18. Farmers should go for short term and medium term varieties of samba paddy.”
Water level in the dam increased following heavy rain in the catchment areas of the Cuavery in the last two weeks. Water level in the reservoir crossed 90 feet a couple of days ago.
Expecting good rain in the coming days, chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy on September 28 ordered release of water from the Mettur dam to save crops in 16.04 lakh acres of land of in the delta region.