Overflow from the Periyar Main Channel of the Vaigai dam reached the eastern bank of the tank at around 6 p.m., after meandering through Kallanthiri, Kadachanendal and Valar Nagar channels.

Despite scant rainfall, the dry Vandiyur Tank here has managed to attract water. On Tuesday, overflow from the Periyar Main Channel of the Vaigai dam reached the eastern bank of the tank at around 6 p.m., after meandering through Kallanthiri, Kadachanendal and Valar Nagar channels.

Public Works Department (PWD) officials hailed it as a rare event since the tank has never received water directly from the Vaigai dam. “Water is usually diverted to the fields for irrigation and that is usually our top priority,” said an assistant engineer. “Following orders from the Collector to route water to dry tanks in the district, we have released around 3 cusecs of water to the Vandiyur tank,” he added.

Channel 9, which was choked with garbage and debris, was cleared to facilitate the flow, though the channel is still narrow. “Most of the canals and water channels have become narrower owing to the new extension areas and increasing encroachments,” said a member of the Federation for Vandiyur Tank Water Development (FVTWD).

The federation carried out a feasibility study of the tank and the feeder channels a few months ago. “We found that if water not used for irrigation is released through this channel, it would greatly benefit the areas that face a water crisis,” said D. Raghavan, coordinator of the FVTWD. “Since the farmland around the tank needed water for irrigation only till mid-August, the surplus was diverted to the tank to facilitate groundwater recharge. The quantum of water released is meagre, but if the flow is maintained for a month, it will make a huge difference,” he said.

The federation identified two other channels that can bring surplus water into the tank. The channel coming through Anna Bus Stand and Maanagiri can bring in nearly 300 cusecs of water from the Vaigai. The channel coming through Mattuthavani can move 400 cusecs of water, provided there is surplus water available from the Sathayar Dam.

The PWD is reinforcing the wall around the Vandiyur tank at a cost of Rs 1.25 crore. “Since the wall is very old, the work has been taken up as a precautionary measure ahead of the monsoon,” a PWD official said.

Proposals to de-silt the Vandiyur tank have, however, not elicited a positive response from the government so far, the officials said.

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