Attabad Lake spillway was reopened on Thursday on recommendation of American, Chinese and Nespak experts, said a press release. The water flow into the Hunza River after the spillway was opened is about 22,000 cusecs.
As a preventive measure, the government of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), on directives of National Disaster Management Authority, has vacated the low lying areas downstream till the water flow stabilises.
Currently water-level in the lake is lowering at about seven inches per hour. The G-B government has also imposed Section 144 along the river banks to restrict movement.
If things go according to Frontier Works Organisation plan, the water level in the lake will be lowered by an additional 30 metres by May 2011 and the 15 kilometres of the Karakoram Highway currently under water will re-emerge.
The lake was formed last year on January 4 during a landslide that completely buried Attabad village and killed 20 people. About 6,000 people were displaced and a further 25,000 were stranded in the upstream villages.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 28th, 2011.