Excess water released from Bhakra Dam, more discharges likely

Chandigarh, August 17 (IANS): As the Bhakra Dam across the Sutlej in Himachal Pradesh reached its capacity, excess water was released as a precaution, which could cause flood in villages located downstream, officials said.

According to Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) officials, a discharge of up to 50,000 cusecs is not considered to cause flooding downstream, but an alert has been sounded as it could affect villages and towns mainly in Punjab.

The spill gates were opened to release excess water and would remain open till the rainfall in dam's catchment subdued, said an official.

Meanwhile, water in the Pong dam across the Beas river was also rising, officials said on Saturday.

"The water level in the Bhakra Dam's Gobind Sagar and the Pong Dam reservoir stood at 1,674 feet and 1,364 feet, respectively," a BBMB official told IANS. The BBMB manages both the dams built on the Punjab-Himachal border, he said.

According to officials, the maximum storage capacity of the Bhakra Dam is 1,702 feet and the Pong Dam reservoir 1,393 feet. The inflow in the Bhakra reservoir was 60,000 cusecs and the outflow 53,000 cusecs. 

Both dams serve the irrigation requirements of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

Amid the forecast of heavy rainfall in Punjab in 48 hours, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has ordered a high alert and directed the Deputy Commissioners to monitor the situation closely.

The Met Office in Shimla said some areas in the state were likely to witness heavy rainfall till Monday.