The Hirakud dam authorities have asked industrial houses in Jharsuguda and Sambalpur districts to stop drawing water from the reservoir in view of water scarcity. Sending notices to at least 10 major industrial houses, the dam authorities requested them to make arrangement of water on their own till there is an increase in the reservoir level.
The water level of the reservoir went down to 594.97 feet on Wednesday and if there is no rain in the catchment area in a day or two, the level would soon go down to the “dead level” of 590 feet. Farmers of the region, too, expressed deep concern over the situation as water scarcity in the reservoir has affected agriculture. Water scarcity has reportedly forced the dam authority to reduce discharge of canal water. This has also affected power generation in Burla and Chipilima power stations. However, the dam authority denied the allegation saying everything is well under control and a rise in the water level is expected soon because of rain in the upstream of Mahanadi.
“We have asked the industrial houses to stop taking water from the reservoir as the water level has gone down bellow 595 feet. However, discharge of canal water is still unaffected,” executive engineer of the Hirakud dam project R K Panda said on Thursday. He informed that the industries that have been asked to stop taking water from Hirakud are IB Thermal, SMC Hirma, BIT, Action Ispat, Vedanta, Sterelite Energy and Ind-Barath of Jharsuguda district and Bhusan Steel and Power, Shyam Metalics and Biraj steel of Sambalpur district.
According to Panda, 38.94 mm rainfall has been recorded in the upstream and 55.40 mm in the downstream of Mahanadi on Thursday.
Dam experts, on the other hand, apprehended severe problems ahead because of the sharing of dam water with industrial houses. They feel that power generation and irrigation have been drastically affected owing to water sharing. “Power generation has been definitely affected because of water scarcity in the reservoir. Earlier the power house produced more than 1200 million units of power in a year, but now, it has come down to below 1000 MU. The dam record shows last year a little over 679 million unit power was generated,” the former managing director of OHPC, Kanunakar Supakar, said.