After Mullaperiyar dam’s water level rose to 136 feet, Tamil Nadu on Monday issued its first warning to Kerala. After the water level rose from 135.50 feet at 7 a.m. to 136 feet at 6 p.m. on Saturday, the chief engineer of the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department issued the warning. According to The Hindu, the dam can hold water up to 142 feet and will open after the water reaches the mark. The water is monitored by the Central Water Commission of Tamil Nadu, which is responsible for the dam.
Tamil Nadu will first issue an alert to Kerala at 136 feet, followed by a second alert at 138 feet and a final alert at 140 feet. Once the level reaches 142 feet, the water will be released. Kerala had requested that Tamil Nadu release water from the dam in a controlled manner once it reaches 136 feet, but Tamil Nadu refused. During the worst floods of the century in Kerala in 2018, the gates of the dam were opened late at night, without proper warning, as the water suddenly reached dangerous levels.
As the 150-year-old dam has lived longer than it should, Kerala’s request was based on its condition. It has been reported as a ticking time bomb with parts of it crumbling over time. It has been listed by the UN University – Institute for Water, Environment and Health as one of the world’s oldest dams that need to be decommissioned, according to Scroll. According to the report released in January, the Mullaperiyar dam is ‘an example of an old, seismically active dam that is still in good condition despite numerous structural flaws, political pressures, and environmental issues,’ said the study’s author, Duminda Perera. Currently, Twitter users are apprehensive about three-quarters of Kerala being submerged if the dam collapses.