Nilgiri Tahr

Nilgiri Tahr
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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What if Mullaperiyar Dam Breaches?

Mullaperiyar Dam and if the unfortunate happens.......

"I sign this Agreement with the Blood from my Heart"

Visakhom Thirunal Rama Varma, Maharaja of Travancore,1886........

Yes.Thats what the erstwhile Maharaja of Travancore said before he signed the "Periyar Lease Agreement" in 1886.The agreement was between Travancore(Part of Kerala) and Madras State for sharing the waters of the lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam.The agreement was for a whopping 999 years!

But why was the Maharaja so pained in signing an agreement which would benefit a neighbouring state and its people?The Maharaja was forced to sign the pact because of severe pressure from the Britishers.

It took another 9 years to complete the dam.442 workers lost their lives during the construction.The dam is built on the conflunece of Mulla River and Periyar River and thus the name Mullaperiyar.The dam falls inside the famous Periyar Tiger Reserve and is an abode for many exotic wild species.It is a masonry gravity dam (Constructed using lime and surkhi mortar)with a maximum height of 155 feet and situated at a height of around 2900 feet in the Western Ghats.Water is diverted thru a tunnel eastwards to join the river Vaigai in Tamil Nadu.When the water level in the dam is 136 feet it stores 15tmc of water(tmc=thousand million cubic)

Mullaperiyar and the Baby dams
Then Travancore and now Kerala never faltered on their promise to provide water to Tamil Nadu.Tamil Nadu also never faltered on remitting the fees involved with the lease agreement till today.The agreement was renewed in 1970.Although the date for another renewal is long overdue from 2000,because of the dispute it is not signed yet.

All seems to be going well or is it?Kerala and Tamil Nadu find themselves in a tight situation arising out of the disagreemnts about the sharing of water and the height of the dam.Tamil Nadu wants the height of the dam at a certain level but Kerala wants it to be lower,because of the feebleness of the 115 year old structure.

closer look at the Idukki and Cheruthoni Dams

So thats the point.Kerala feels that the dam is old and can cave in at any moment.The breach would destroy anything everything on its way till it reaches the Arabian sea in Eranakulam.Around 35 lac people live on the path of the feared devastation.

Mullaperiyar is situated in Idukki district of Kerala and is known for the seismic activity for a long time to come.The people of the district feel tremors every now and then.Forutunaely for everybody these tremors recorded lower values on the Richter scale.And  the fear is one day a larger earth quake could destroy the Mullaperiyar dam and the gushing waters swallowing everything on its path.An earthquake which is 5-6 on the richter scala could breake the dam.

The Idukki Reservoir formed by 3 dams
Here is what happens if Mullaperiyar Dam breaches.........(Pray to God that it never happens)

-The gushing water would rise 50feet and reach the Idukki reservoir in 45minutes.Idukki dam is 36kms downstream from Mullaperiyar Dam

-Vallakadavu village,which is between Mullaperiyar and Idukki will be completely engulfed in flood waters

-After swallowing Vallakadavu the deluge will reach Vandiperiyar,the first major town on the way

Vandiperiyar,the first major town

-Then it will take Chappathu,Upputhara etc and reach Idukki reservoir.70000 people live in these areas.

-Idukki dam usually contains 80% of its total capacity of water storage.The Mullaperiyar waters will overflow from the Idukki dam.The Idukki Arch dam is supported by another 2 dams;Cheruthoni and Kulamavu dams.All three dams together make the Idukki reservoir.

-The Mullaperiyar waters will overflow from all 3 dams.The overflowing water from Kulamavu will reach Thodupuzha;a thickly populated town in Idukki district.The overflow from Idukki Arch dam and Cheruthoni will destroy the Neryamangalam Bridge which connects Eranakulam and Idukki districts.

Kochi Airport and Eranakulam will be wiped out

-The water gushes thru 11dams and many major towns and will reach Aluva and will engulf Eranakulam town.Before that the Kcohi airport would have been washed away.

Vallakadavu Village...Just 8kms downstream

Thodupuzha,a thickly populated town

Neryamangalam Bridge will be swept away.........

-It will take roughly about 3 hours for the water to reach Eranakulam from Mullaperiyar.35 lac people inhabit the total distance the water travels

-Kalady,Thattekkad Bird sanctuary,Parumbavur and Bhuthathankettu are the other major places which will be vanished by Mullapriyar waters.

But when a "water bomb"like the Mullaperiyar dam breaches its wall,no one can predict the way the flood waters would take route.It can take altogether different direction and cause much more devastation than what one would imagine.

From Mullaperiyar to Kochi....The long arrows point the flow of water...........

All can hope that good sense will prevail and Kerala and Tamil Nadu will come to an amicable solution whereby Tamil Nadu will get all the water they want and 35 lac people downstream the Mullaperiyar Dam will live in peace.

The Idukki Arch Dam

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