Mullaperiyar Dam Issue

Mullaperiyar Dam Location Map

Mullaperiyar Dam Location Map
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*Map highlights the Location of the Mullaperiyar Dam. Disclaimer


The Mullaperiyar Dam is a masonry gravity dam built on the Periyar River in Kerala. The dam is located 2889 feet above mean sea level on the Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats in Thekkadi, Idukki District in Kerala. The dam was constructed in 1895 by the British Government to divert water eastwards to the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu.

The Mullaperiyar Dam has a height of 176 feet and a length of 1200 feet and the Periyar National Park is located around the dam's reservoir. Lately the safety of the dam has become a matter of concern and has raised a dispute between the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

In 1979, safety concerns were raised by the Kerala Government, after an earthquake left cracks and leaks in the dam. The Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS), Thiruvananthapuram, reported that the dam would not withstand an earthquake above 6 on the Richter Scale- the further cause for concern is that the dam is located in a seismically active zone. In response to this warning, the then Tamil Nadu Government lowered the storage level to the current 136 feet at the request of the Kerala Government, to carry out the safety repair.

The risk factors related to the dam are high as the dam is 116 years old as of 2011 and has outlived its expected life span of 50 years. Even strengthening the existing dam may not prove to be effective in the face of a disaster. Also changing weather pattern causing rainfall and floods will result in the overflowing of the dam. There is also the problem of insufficient safety maintenance and monitoring of the dam.

The rising concern is due to the adverse impact on life and property in the event of a disaster which will have a huge impact on lives and property downstream. The flora and fauna of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary will also be effected which will subsequently effect tourism to the state. The disaster will also be fatal to agriculture, and will affect drinking water supply and power generation in Tamil Nadu and Kerala and will overall be a blow to the economy of the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Last Updated on : 3/26/2012