The Tamil Nadu government resorted to the extreme step following persistent demand from the public of the region and taking into account the increasing demand for potable water in the regions depending on the river.

Water released from Mettur Dam to meet the drinking water requirements of the people in Salem, Namakkal, Erode, Karur, and Tiruchi regions trickled across Karur district heading towards Tiruchi.

The towns en route would now have something to quench the parched throats of the public even as scorching summer sends the mercury level up by the day.

The sluices of the Mettur Dam were lifted on Tuesday to allow discharge of 3,000 cusecs to meet the drinking water requirements of people residing in the towns along the course of the River Cauvery.

The State government resorted to the extreme step following persistent demand from the public of the region and taking into account the increasing demand for potable water in the regions depending on the river.

Since there has been no flow down the river for quite some time now and with the sun beating down mercilessly over the past month, the water absorption rate is pretty high in the river bed hindering rapid forward movement towards Tiruchi. PWD sources hinted that water might reach Tiruchi in another three days. While it is normal for the PWD authorities to release water in the River Cauvery during summer to meet the drinking water requirements every summer, this year has been particularly harsh on the people and cattle that have been enduring rain-less monsoon for successive years. That apart, the demand for drinking water has risen sharply over the years as many towns such as Ramanathapuram, Madurai, Pudukottai, Manapparai, and Vedasandur , far removed from the riverside were being provided potable water through combined water supply schemes implemented over the past decade.

Meanwhile, farmers in the Kattalai High Level Channel, South Bank Canal and Krishnarayapuram Channel are pleasantly surprised at the meagre flow of water down their irrigation channels at this part of the year. “We will be able to provide lifeline to our withering banana, sugarcane and beetle vine crops that have depended on the river water.

“Also the groundwater level will rise and the bore wells might start yielding again,” says a farmer C.Andiappan of Krishnarayapuram.

Some also see politics in water release in the midst of the political campaign when Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is set to tour Tiruchi and Thanjavur on Saturday.