Municipalities to monitor rainwater harvesting structures

The Department of Agro-engineering has proposed to construct 240 check dams, mostly across forest streams in the hill tracts of the district this year. Ground water depletion and the sharp dip in foodgrain output owing to monsoon failure have made water storage and rejuvenation of the ground water table a top priority.

The check dams will be constructed in four blocks – Chinnamaur, Bodinayakkanur, Periakulam and Kadamalaigundu-Mayiladumparai – to aid in the percolation of rain water.

Sixty check dams will be constructed in each union, said S. Selvaraj, Assistant Engineer, Department of Agriculture Engineering in Kadamalaigundu-Mayiladumparai union.

Decades of drawing ground water using water pumps had depleted the water table in many areas. Check dams will be constructed in these areas to recharge water resources and raise the water table.

Check dams will make it possible for farmers to access water for irrigation. They will help solve the drinking water needs of animals and prevent their intrusion into human settlements in Varushanadu hills in Kadamalaigundu union, he added. Check dams near villages will meet the drinking water needs of cattle and help farmers in rain fed areas raise two crops a year.

The rise in the water table will automatically recharge the irrigation wells, he added.

Check dams across supply channels will slow down the accumulation of silt in major dams and maintain storage levels.

The worrying factor is that the State government has scaled down the sanction amount for construction of a check dam to Rs.1.34 lakh from Rs.1.4 lakh.

Contractors will find it difficult to meet overhead costs, said officials in the department.

Around 865 development works, mostly desilting supply channels, irrigation tanks and ‘kanmais and ‘uranis’, were being implemented under MGNREGS to improve water storage facilities in rural areas. The main objective was not to waste a single drop of rain water, said Collector K.S. Palanisamy.

The municipalities were also advised to monitor rainwater harvesting structures in residential, commercial and government buildings to ensure maximum rain water harvesting. Summer rain will be crucial for solving the acute drinking water crisis, he said. ‘Constant monitoring of existing rainwater structures in rural and urban areas is necessary to ensure proper harvesting of rain water," he added.