Bhakra Dam at record level, Punjab warned of floods

Chandigarh: The water level at Bhakra dam has reached an all time high, prompting the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) on Wednesday to issue warning to the Punjab government that it would be releasing “excess” water into Satluj and Beas rivers in the next few days.

“Water level in our reservoirs (Bhakra and Beas) is going up like anything this season. Water level (in Bhakra) is the highest ever since the last 40-50 years.

“We had a meeting with the Punjab Chief Minister on July 5 to apprise him of the situation in Bhakra,” the board’s chairman A B Agrawal told reporters on Wednesday.

Agrawal said the water level was rising due to heavy snow melting and pre-monsoon showers this year and the excess needs to be released in the next few days.

He assured that the release of excess water will be carried out in a regulated way so that it does not lead to flooding. “We have assured that spillage will be regulated.”

Agrawal, however, expressed serious concern over the encroachments taking place in river beds of Satluj and Beas which could restrict the “free flow of excess” water in these rivers.

“I assure the public that we will try to release water in such a regulated way that there is no flooding. But (there is a) word of caution if any situation like Uttarakhand happened, BBMB or any other organisation in the world will be helpless,” he said.

The water level in Bhakra is expected to cross 1,645 feet in next 7-8 days, Agrawal said.

On being asked how much water will be released, he said it would depend upon the inflow and outflow of water at that time. “If we have 70,000 cusecs of inflow, 25,000 cusecs can go for irrigation while rest of water could be released.”

As melting of the snow has been 50 pc more than average this season and water inflow too has gone up by 27 per cent, the water level in Bhakra today touched the mark of 1,629.87 feet, which is 84 feet more than the level it had reached in corresponding period of last year.

Similarly, the water level in Pong dam has also shot up to 1,340.68 feet which is also 48 feet higher in comparison to level the level in 2012.