Sharp showers in the catchment areas of Periyar and Vaigai dams on Wednesday has raised the hopes of Public Works Department (PWD) officials of succeeding in managing irrigation for the standing paddy crops in the southern districts.

Water level in both the reservoirs was on a steady decline ever-since irrigation began for the single and double crop areas in Dindigul, Madurai and Sivaganga districts on October 2. With the Periyar dam recording 62 mm and Tekkadi 26 mm of rainfall, the level in the dam increased marginally for the first time, despite a discharge of 925 cusecs, thanks to the 1,146 cusecs of inflow.

Gudalur, Uthampalayam and Vaigai dam recorded significant rainfall increasing the inflow to Vaigai dam to 1,075 cusecs. Almost all the rain gauge stations in the Periyar-Vaigai basin recorded moderate rainfall.

“The North-East monsoon is yet to begin. Since, the Indian Metereological Department has predicted a normal monsoon, we expect around 500 mm to 600 mm of rainfall that could help the level in Periyar dam. If the level increases to 125 feet from the present 117.30 feet, it would help us in better planning of irrigation,” PWD Executive Engineer, Periyar-Vaigai Basin Circle, S. Vijayakumar said.

He added that North-East monsoon would be the major benefactor for the region. “So far we have received some 350 mm of rainfall through the South-West monsoon,” he said.

Stating that transplantation of seedlings was underway in the single and double crop areas of Dindigul and Madurai districts, he said uninterrupted irrigation would continue for the first 45 days. “We could implement turn system of irrigation thereafter. Otherwise, if there is sufficient rainfall in the plains, we could stop the irrigation and build up the storage in the dams and tanks,” Mr. Vijayakumar added. The system tanks in the region had water up to 40 per cent.

Besides the double and single crop areas, water should be released for the second crop of Cumbum valley, where the first crop was in the advanced stage.

Water level in the Periyar dam on Thursday stood at 117.30 feet (136 feet) with an inflow of 1,146 cusecs and a discharge of 925 cusecs. The level in the Vaigai dam was 54.20 feet (71 feet) with an inflow of 1,075 cusecs and a discharge of 1,891 cusecs. The combined Periyar credit stood at 3,509 mcft.

Rainfall

Periyar dam recorded 62 mm of rainfall followed by Vaigai dam 43, Gudalur 40.8, Uthamapalayam 33, Tekkadi 26, Manjalar dam and Marudhanadi 25 mm each, Sothuparai dam 24, Veerapandi 23, Peranai 20.6, Andipatti 11, Sattaiyar dam 9, Mettupatti 8, Shanmuganadi and Idayapatti 5 mm each, Kallandiri 4.2, Sittampati and Melur 4 mm each, Madurai 3.5 and Pulipatti 1 mm.