The Supreme Court on Friday said the water level in Kerala’s Mullaperiyar dam should be maintained at 139.99 feet till August 31, ANI reported. The reservoir’s maximum capacity is 142 feet. It is operated by the Tamil Nadu government.

The decision to lower the water limit in the dam was taken in view of the deluge in Kerala, the Supreme Court said. The bench fixed the matter for further hearing on September 6 and asked the Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments to file their responses.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud considered the Centre’s submission that the sub-committee of the Mullaperiyar dam had met on Thursday and directed Tamil Nadu to ensure that the water level in the dam is maintained at 139 feet, PTI reported.

On Thursday, the Kerala government told the Supreme Court in an affidavit that the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to suddenly release water from the Mullaperiyar dam was one of the reasons for the devastating floods in the state earlier this month.

On Friday, the top court said it will only deal with the matter of disaster management and not the dispute over the dam between the Kerala and Tamil Nadu governments.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami said Kerala’s claims that the floods were caused by excess water from the Mullaperiyar dam were baseless. His government alleged that “it could be a part of a sinister design” to circumvent the top court’s decision of 2006 fixing the maximum permissible water level of the dam at 142 feet.

On August 17, the Supreme Court asked the National Committee for Crisis Management and the disaster management sub-committee to explore the possibility of reducing the water level at Mullaperiyar dam to 139 feet after it touched 142 feet.

The dam was built in 1886 after an agreement between then Maharaja of Travancore and the British. It is located in Kerala’s Idukki distri.