Salem (TN), October 2: To enable farmers take up 'Samba' paddy cultivation in delta districts of Tamil Nadu, Cauvery water was released from the Mettur Dam in Salem on Monday.
The dam, the lifeline of Delta farmers across Cauvery, is usually opened on June 12 annually for irrigation.
But it had been delayed for the fourth straight year in view of poor storage due to scanty rainfall and refusal by Karnataka to release Tamil Nadu's share of Cauvery waters.
On June 12 this year, the water level at the dam stood at 20 feet against its maximum of 120 feet.
However, with recent monsoon rains in catchment areas bringing in copious inflows, the water level in the dam has reached about 95 feet, following which it has been opened for irrigation.
Water was let out by state ministers P Thangamani, K P Anbazhagan and K C Karupannan in the presence of Salem Collector Rohini and Mettur MLA S Semmalai.
Chief Minister K Palaniswami had last week ordered release of water from today for irrigation in the Cauvery delta districts.
Inflow into the dam was nearly 13,000 cusecs today.
Official sources told PTI that initially 2,000 cusecs of water has been released which would be increased gradually.