BBMB's mismanagement led to flooding parts of Punjab
V K Gupta | 17 Aug 2013

The mismanagement of reservoirs and then pressing panic button to spill water led to flooding in parts of Punjab

BBMB's mismanagement led to flooding parts of Punjab

Wednesday August 14 2013


The spillage from Pong Dam leading to flooding parts of Punjab earlier this month was the result of mismanagement of Pong  reservoir by BBMB.

BBMB failed to increase generation during May and June from 396 MW Pong Power house by making proper use of  water in reservoir and the consequences was opening of flood gates of Pong Dam for two days. Even in August BBMB pressed the panic button by releasing water downstream when there was enough margin available in reservoir.

The less release of water in May and June not only led to reduced generation from Pong power house but also is responsible for less generation from 207 MW Mukerian power houses.The monthly generation from Pong was 39 million units (MU) and 58 MU in May and June against schedule of 59 MU and 110 MU respectively. Similarly Mukerian generation in these months was 5 MU and 47 MU against scheduled generation of 83 MU  and 113 MU respectively.

All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) in a letter to Union Minister of State for Power has alleged that there was  rationale behind curtailing generation at Pong powerhouse  as water level in  Pong Dam was above normal. It was clearly a miscalculation by the BBMB authoritieswhich presumed lower inflows and followed the policy of over conservation.

It is not understood that why BBMB does not take decision  to increase the storage limit at Pong to 1395 (instead of 1390) and at Bhakra from 1680 to 1685. This  is a management failure on part of Chairman BBMB.

On paper it is the technical committee where  decisions on reservoir releases are taken every month on the basis of irrigation requirements of partner states.  However  the overall strategy and coordination of reservoir operation  cannot be done by individual states but necessarily has to be done by BBMB Chairman. Therefore the reservoir operation is not  based  only on irrigation requirements but it has to be moderated so as to optimise the benefits.

A spillage condition represents the failure of reservoir management since all the three functions of Irrigation, Power, and flood control get defeated in a spillage condition. AIPEF has alleged that beyond doubt Chairman BBMB as Chairman of Technical Committee has to take the responsibility for failure to manage the Pong reservoir