PWD trying to make good progress before opening of Mettur dam
Construction of the check dam across the river Cauvery near Kambarasampettai in the city is underway on a rapid pace even as the Public Works Department is racing against time to make substantial progress on the project before the opening of Mettur dam for irrigation in June.
The check dam was sanctioned at a cost of Rs.32 crore following a public outcry in the past few years over the heavy exploitation of the river bed for several drinking water schemes catering to the needs of various cities and towns as far as Ramanathapuram.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had laid the foundation stone for the project in June last year.
Farmers of the region and city residents had sought the check dam to help improve the ground water table and recharge the water sources on the river bed.
Work on the project got underway in March and currently work is in progress round the clock as the PWD wants to make as much progress as possible during the window offered by the Mettur closure period. Though the project is scheduled to be completed in two years, the department is keen to complete the foundation works within the window period.
“We are working 24 hours with multiple shifts and special teams of engineers have been deputed to monitor the work so that we could complete 40 to 50 per cent of the work before the water release,” a senior PWD official told The Hindu.
Currently, work is underway on construction of the cut-off walls both upstream and downstream, he said.
The PWD plans to continue the work, after release of water for irrigation, by putting up temporary bunds to divert the water on one side of the river.
The check dam, coming up close to the Tiruchi Corporation's main pumping station and the collector wells of Ramanathapuram water scheme, is located about 100 metres upstream of Amma Mandapam bathing ghat on the left bank of the Cauvery.
The structure would run for a length of 540 metres and stand about 1.5 metres in height from the bed level. It would head up water for a stretch of 1.50 km upstream and ensure continuous wetting of the river bed so as to keep the drinking water collector wells sufficiently recharged, especially in the summer.
According to PWD sources, the check dam would help recharge ground water table for a radius of about four to five km. Diaphragm walls would be built for a depth of seven metres across the river both upstream and downstream the check dam, preventing water seepage.
Three sand vents are to be built on either side of the check dam, to prevent silt accumulation.