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Odisha stares at power crisis as Hirakud water level dips

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Sambalpur: The decreasing water level at Hirakud reservoir due to subdued monsoon rain is likely to hit hydroelectric power generation in Odisha.

The water level continued to reduce at the dam over Mahanadi River, which is the lifeline of both Odisha and neighbouring Chhattisgarh.

As per Hirakud Dam official sources, the reservoir recorded only 175 mm rain in its upper catchment area in the month of July, approximately 50% decline from the previous year.

Meanwhile, the inflow of Mahanadi River water into the reservoir has drastically declined in the past few days.

While the water level at the dam was 607.42 ft on July 21 in 2018, it reduced to 599.12 on the same date this year. The 630 ft-capacity reservoir recorded 598.91 ft water on July 22 morning.

With the continuous declining of water at Hirakud reservoir may intensify distress in lower Mahanadi basin, the sources said.

If such situation prevails, the rain deficit in upper catchment of the Mahanadi River may pose a major threat in the upcoming days both in irrigation and power generation sector.

Usually, the water supply from the dam to the industries is suspended if the water level falls to 595 ft. The authorities stop supply Hirakud water for agriculture and power generation if the level decreases to 590 ft, said Sunil Kumar Nayak, the Chief Engineer of Hiarkud Dam.

As the situation is likely to be worsened due to lack of rain this year, the Hirakud Dam authorities have held discussion with Odisha Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC) and State Load Despatch Centre (SLDC) in this regard. Besides, a request has been made to the OHPC for use of 3,000 cusec water instead of 13,000 cusec water from the reservoir.