Water gushes out of Rawal Dam after its spillways were opened on Tuesday. — White Star
Water gushes out of Rawal Dam after its spillways were opened on Tuesday. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: Rawal Dam’s spillways were opened in January for the second time in its history on Tuesday, dispensing water over its 1,752 feet capacity.

Records available with the Punjab Irrigation department that stretch back to 1966 show that the first time the dam’s spillways were opened in January was in 1991.

There was a rise of around 2,000 acre feet in the water level in Rawal Lake in less than 12 hours because of active rainfall and snow in Murree tehsil. By 8am on Tuesday, the water had reached 1,752.1ft.

The authorities decided to open the spillways. From 9am to 12:45pm, around 900 acre ft of water was released into the Korang River, bringing the water down to 1,751.5ft.

Rawal Lake’s catchment areas are the Korang River basin in Murree tehsil and Bhara Kahu. Both received an ample amount of rain in the 2019 monsoon, and rain in December also added to the regular inflow into the lake.

With more rainfall expected in the last week of January, the spillways could be opened again this month. Last year, the spillways were opened in February as there was negligible rainfall in January 2019.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2020