Kerala’s Idukki reservoir is close to overflowing after the water level in the dam reached 2,395 feet on Monday after heavy rain in the district. The capacity of the dam is 2,400 feet.

The release of the water may flood the downstream district of Ernakulam. Therefore, district officials have identified areas likely to be hit by flooding. Both Idukki and Ernakulam districts, as well as Kochi, are on high alert.

The Kerala government has issued an orange alert and will make it a red alert at 2,399 feet. Water will be released within 24 hours of the red alert.

The reservoir supplies water to the Idukki Hydroelectric Power Station, the largest power generation centre in Kerala. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has requested the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard to remain on high alert.

Government officials have begun to evacuate people from the banks of the Periyar river. The Kerala State Electricity Board, which owns the dam, plans to open the shutters to release water on a trial basis on Tuesday. However, Idukki District Collector Jeevan Babu told The Hindu on Sunday that the decision to open the shutters will be taken depending on the inflow of water into the dam in the coming days.

The shutters were opened just two times in the past – in October 1981 and October 1992 – during the northwest monsoon.