With heavy rains lashing Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and parts of the east coast since Monday night, following Cyclone Nivar, shutters of Chennai's Chembarambakkam lake opened on Wednesday. The shutters of the lake were reportedly opened after five years earlier to let out 1,000 cusecs of water amid heavy rainfall in Chennai.
The lake's capacity to hold water is till 24 feet. As per the order from the Public Works Department (PWD), the water was expected to rise till 22 feet and a rise beyond that level needed the gates to open for the safety of the residents.
The lake has been reported to be 79 per cent full and the water will be diverted to the Adyar river which has the capacity to carry 60,000 cusecs of water."Though it has been raining very heavily in Chennai, the catchment areas of Chembarambakkam did not receive much rainfall. Its depth now stands at 21.2 feet and we will release some water only after it reaches 22 feet," said an official from the Public Works Department to The New Indian Express.
With the gates opening, social media soon saw numerous videos of water rushing out of the catchment area while the Adyar river is flowing at a high speed through the city.
Adyar River status at 11:00 AM on the Saidapet bridge. Water being discharged in the river. Still has capacity to carry water. Embankments also raised. #NivarCyclone #chennairains #Nivarpuyal pic.twitter.com/YcnJOcQINf— Sreedharan K S (@SreedharanKs) November 25, 2020
Visuals of water being released from Chembarambakkam reservoir in Chennai. Alert issued for people living along the banks of Adyar river. #CycloneNivar #Rains #Chennai #StaySafe pic.twitter.com/dVXGbW0S01— Shilpa Nair (@NairShilpa1308) November 25, 2020
Adyar river status at 14:00 hrs from roughly same locations on Saidapet Bridge. This is after sluice gates at #ChembarambakkamLake were opened. The stone pillar in the middle of the river still visible. Still sufficient capacity. #NivarCyclone #Nivarpuyal pic.twitter.com/Pc9BxO5FXn— Sreedharan K S (@SreedharanKs) November 25, 2020
#ChembarambakkamLake on Wednesday morning. Around 1,000 cusecs of water will be released from the lake at 12 PM on Wednesday. #CycloneNivar @DeccanHerald pic.twitter.com/9VxP40hPyh— Sivapriyan E.T.B | சிவப்பிரியன் ஏ.தி.ப (@sivaetb) November 25, 2020
Meanwhile, the Greater Chennai Corporation sent its people to the low-lying slum areas around the river for relocation. Alandur and Valasaravakkam are the two zones under watch, reports Times of India.
As the controlled release of water from Chembarambakkam Lake will reach Adyar river, the residents from low lying areas close to Adyar river are requested to go to the nearby GCC’s relief centres and stay safe. #ChembarambakkamLake#NivarCyclone #ChennaiRains pic.twitter.com/xHujaBvdI8— Greater Chennai Corporation (@chennaicorp) November 25, 2020
Residents are shifted from low lying areas close to Adyar river. They are shifted to the neighbouring relief camps as an advance precaution with regard to opening of Chembarambakkam lake. @chennaicorp #CycloneNivar pic.twitter.com/uRZeESlNAb— Dr Alby John (@albyjohnV) November 25, 2020
Several flights were cancelled and a public holiday declared to prepare for Nivar, which is expected to intensify into a “very severe cyclonic storm” and cross Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram late in the evening of November 25, India Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General Mrutunjay Mohapatra said.