In a major relief for farmers of the Cauvery delta region, the Tamil Nadu government on Monday ordered release of water from the Mettur Dam from July 19.
The storage level in the dam has touched almost 90 feet. The full storage level (FSL) of the reservoir is 120 feet.
Chief Minister K Palaniswami held discussions with his deputy O Panneerselvam and other senior ministers and officials in this regard.
He said the decision was taken based on the current storage level, reports from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) that the southwest monsoon would intensify in the Cauvery catchment areas and in anticipation of water being released from dams in Karnataka in the coming months.
On Monday, the storage level stood at 89.18 ft, he said, adding the inflow was 99,372 cusecs (water equal to one cubic foot per second.)
“I have directed water to be released from Mettur dam for paddy cultivation from July 19,” Palaniswami said in a statement.
Pleas have also been received from farmers in this regard, he added.
Following the release of water, about 700 water bodies in the Cauvery bed will be recharged and this will further help boost groundwater resources to also meet drinking water requirements, he said.
Subsequently, the Agriculture department has been asked to ensure holding of adequate stocks of seeds required for long-term paddy cultivation under the Samba season besides having required stocks of fertiliser.
The move has come as a relief to the farmers as the Chief Minister had on June 8 informed the state Assembly that water from the Mettur dam would not be released on the annual due date of June 12 due to lower storage levels.
He had then announced a Rs 115 crore short-term ‘kuruvai’ package for farmers that included subsidies on seeds and farm equipment.
The Cauvery delta region is often described as the “rice bowl of Tamil Nadu.”