The dam, on the Narmada river, is considered the lifeline of the western state and it reaching the FRL will bring relief to the administration as well as citizens, they said.
A Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) official said with 23 gates being opened to a height of 7.9 metres, a total of 18,41,566 cusecs of water was being released into Narmada river through the riverbed powerhouse, as against 18,63,117 cusecs being received from catchment areas in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.
The rise in the water level prompted authorities to issue alerts and shift people living along the Narmada river banks to safer places.
More than 250 persons in Vadodara and more than 300 in Bharuch have been relocated so far with the help of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and local rescue teams, officials said.
Vadodara authorities also sought the help of the Indian Air Force (IAF) for 11 people stranded on an islet in Narmada river in Karjan taluka of Vadodara, after a boat failed to get them out safely last night due to high water levels.
The NDRF team rescued five men, a woman and 10 children from Nani Sayer village in Karjan taluka of Vadodara, officials said.
Officials said while the condition of floods in low-lying area along Narmada river in the districts of Narmada and Bharuch was being constantly monitored, the quantity of water being released from Indirasagar and Omkareshwar dams in MP has decreased, providing some relief to the situation.
Bharuch collector Tushar Sumera said Narmada river was flowing in the district at 31 feet, higher than the danger mark of 24 feet.
“As a precautionary measure, we have shifted 338 people from low lying areas during the night as we were warned in advance. We have shifted people since we believe the (river) level will reach 36 feet,” Sumera informed.
An SSNNL official said inflow and outflow of water to and from the dam were being constantly monitored and all efforts were being taken to reduce impact of floods.
“From 15 lakh cusecs being released from Omkareshwar dam, the quantity was reduced to 9,10,000 cusecs,” he said.
Several parts of Gujarat received heavy to very heavy rainfall in a 24-hour period ending at 6am on Sunday, with central Gujarat districts of Panchmahal, Chhota Udepur, Dahod, Mahisagar, Aravali and Narmada being the worst hit, as per data provided by the State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC).
During this period, Morva Hadaf taluka in Panchmahal received 253 millimetres rainfall, followed by Chhota Udepur (247 mm), Shehera in Panchmahal (243 mm), Dahod (238 mm), it said.
As per the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast, a cyclonic circulation associated with a well-marked low pressure area over west central Madhya Pradesh was likely to move across northern parts of Gujarat region and adjoining southeast Rajasthan during the next two days.
This was likely to cause exceptionally heavy rainfall at isolated places in Dahod district on Sunday, as well as heavy to very heavy rainfall in other parts of the state, officials said.
The IMD bulletin said rains are likely to continue in several parts of Gujarat over the next five days.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel reached Ekta Nagar, where the dam is located, on Sunday morning to pay homage to Narmada river and called the dam reaching its overflow mark as a “historic day for Gujarat”.
Extending birthday wishes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his 73rd birthday, CM Patel said it was the former’s strong willpower which led to the raising of the height of the dam, a decision that had come within 17 days of Modi becoming PM.
The height of the dam was raised to 138.68 metres from 121.92 metres after Modi took over as Prime Minister in 2014.
“Today, north Gujarat, Saurashtra and Kutch are getting Narmada dam water for irrigation and drinking as per plans drawn by the government. As much as possible, we will make use of the water flowing from here for irrigation, drinking and to fill up lakes,” the CM told reporters.