The bone-dry Kodikulam tank and absence of water supply sources have resulted in most of the land near it remaining fallow, leaving farmers who depend on agriculture for their livelihood in the lurch.
“We weren’t able to cultivate more than 60 acres of land owing to lack of water,” says K.V. Pandi, a farmer said here on Sunday, while pointing to the photographs of the dry agricultural lands at Kodikulam. They were put up as a part of a photo collage presenting the landscape of Kodikulam on Alagarkoil Road. Mr. Pandi’s four acres is the only piece of land in Kodikulam which might see a harvest.
“All of us have small land holdings of not more than five acres which have gone dry. We have been looking for jobs in houses or have taken to rearing livestock for a living,” said S. Mahalakshmi, a villager.
“Even if it rains heavily for a day or two, the water dries up by the time we start cultivation,” she added. Most residents say they could remember seeing the tank having water well over three years agos.
Nearly 100 people gathered near the Kodikulam tank early on Sunday at the behest of city-based Wake Up Madurai’s ‘Water Walk’ initiative. During a two-hour programme, a number of speakers addressed the villagers on the importance of reviving and conserving the tank. The topics addressed included biodiversity that the tank supported, history of the tank, the flora and fauna it once had and the legalities involved in encroachment removal.
“A detailed study and assessment of the tank was done before the event. For all the residents here, their livelihood depends on the tank and they must be aware of its present condition and what they can do to revive it,” said Tamil Dasan, a member of Wake up Madurai.
“The results of quality tests of the water show a Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) level of 610. This is much better when compared to water tested from other tanks in the city which have been polluted. If revived, this tank can be a good drinking water source,” he said.