After 11 years, Tamil Nadu to open Mettur Dam for paddy cultivation

Barring 2011, when water was released on June 6, the dam, built across Cauvery river, has not been opened on the customary date of June 12 for the past 11 years

Mettur dam, Cauvery river, Cauvery dispute, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka
The Mettur Dam reservoir in Tamil Nadu is one of the 123 water reservoirs in the country. Photo: PTI

After a hiatus of over a decade, the Stanely Reservoir, the lifeline of Cauvery delta farmers in Tamil Nadu, will be opened on June 12, the annual customary date, for the Kuruvai (short-term) paddy crop in view of comfortable water storage.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Monday (May 18) ordered the water release from June 12 following representation from farmers in the delta regions and in view of the present water level of 100.01 feet and storage of 64.85 TMC feet as against the dams maximum of 120 feet and capacity of 93.4 tmc feet.

Farmers were asked to ensure individual distance and use masks to cover their nose and mouth while engaging in agriculture activities in view of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The present storage in the reservoir, popularly known as Mettur Dam since it is located in the town in Salem district in western Tamil Nadu, would be sufficient for release of water for 50 days, an official release said.


The scenario, brought about by bountiful rains last year, will bring cheers to lakhs of farmers, who had to forego the short-term crop several years in the past, owing to non-availability of water.

Related news: In shutdown, Cauvery breathes life; shows dispute has little to do with river

Barring 2011, when water was released on June 6, six days ahead of the scheduled date, the dam, built across Cauvery river, has not been opened on the customary date of June 12
for the past 11 years.

In 2011, when late J Jayalalithaa was the Chief Minister, water was released from the dam on June 6, ahead of the customary date, officials said.

In subsequent years, they could not release water on June 12 in view of insufficient storage, they told PTI.

In the past two decades, the Mettur Dam was opened on the dot on June 12 in 2000, 2001, 2006 and 2008, officials added.

Palaniswami also ordered uninterrupted, 12-hour, three-phase power supply and continuation of disbursal of interest- free crop loan through Primary Agricultural Cooperative Credit Societies to the farmers, the release said.

Last year, delta districts, including Thanjavur, Tiruchirappalli, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam, considered the rice bowl of the state, saw a yield of 4.99 lakh tons of paddy from cultivation in 2.90 lakh acres.

“This year, 5.60 lakh tons of paddy yield is expected after cultivation in 3.25 lakh plus acres,” Palaniswami said and outlined several other measures to help farmers get a better yield.