PWD yet to receive Ramanathapuram Collector’s consent

The request made by the Madurai Corporation to the Public Works Department (PWD) for water release from the Vaigai dam to augment its drinking water sources on the Vaigai riverbed has run into a stumbling block as the Ramanathapuram district administration is yet to give its consent.

PWD sources here said that the proposal for water release of over 400 mcft was prepared for Madurai city and rural water projects, and for Sivaganga district. However, without the mandatory consent of the Ramanathapuram Collector, the decision on water release hung in the balance.

Sources said that the Vaigai credit in the dam (water collected from Vaigai river’s own catchment areas) was to be shared among Madurai, Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram districts. For irrigation, the share was fixed at the ratio of 2:3:7 for the three districts respectively. "As the share of Madurai district is meagre, the concurrence of the Ramanathapuram Collector was important for the release," a PWD official said.

However, Ramanathapuram Collector K. Nanthakumar said that he had not received any communication from the PWD on this issue.

The dismal storage of just 1,772 mcft, including 748 mcft of Vaigai credit, in Vaigai reservoir should have put the officials of Ramanathapuram district in a quandary over giving permission for water release to facilitate Madurai city’s drinking water needs.

The Corporation officials had sought the water release for river wetting that would recharge the infiltration wells of various water projects of Madurai city, especially for the benefit of annexed areas such as Tirupparankundram, Harveypatti, Tirunagar and Avaniapuram.

PWD sources said that the wet Vaigai riverbed — owing to recent rainfall in the Periyar-Vaigai basin — would have helped in faster flow (had the water been released) and also higher realisation of water for Madurai city.

Though Corporation officials Keep their fingers crossed, an official said that if rain brought copious flow in the river, the city could make do without the water release for its immediate needs.

Meanwhile, various rain gauge stations in the Periyar-Vaigai basin recorded rainfall for the second successive day on Tuesday. The Vaigai dam was receiving 86 cusecs of inflow and it could go up as upstream Veerapandi had recorded 82 mm of rainfall in the last 24 hours ending 6.30 a.m. Vaigai dam recorded 12 mm and the downstream Marudhanadi (48), Manjalar dam (55) and Sothuparai dam (26).

Rainfall in other areas (in mm): Periyar dam 28, Tekkadi 2.4, Uthamapalayam 15, Andipatti 10, Thaniyamangalam 15, Idayapatti 10.4 and Kodaikanal 8.6 mm.

Water level

The level in the Periyar dam marginally rose by 0.1 foot, for the first time in recent months. The inflow to the reservoir was 290 cusecs and the discharge was 105 cusecs. The level in the Vaigai dam was 48.24 with a discharge of 60 cusecs. The combined Periyar credit stood at 2,384 mcft.

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