With the storage at the Mettur reservoir increasing fast thanks to the heavy discharge from the Kabini dam in Karnataka over the past few days, farmers dependent on the 17 irrigation canals here have appealed to the State government to step up water release to save the horticulture crops.

At present, about 3,000 cusecs of water was being discharged from Mettur to meet the drinking water requirements of towns and cities.

Farmers are now demanding that the quantum of release be doubled to save the standing banana, betelvine, and sugarcane crops that are irrigated by the 17 irrigation canals in Tiruchi, Karur, Namakkal, Salem, and Erode districts.

The absence of flow in the Cauvery over the past six months has put farmers of these horticulture crops under much stress and the crops in tail end areas are already said to have withered.

“Now that the storage at the Mettur dam is fast rising, we request the government to release 6,000 cusecs of water to save the crops,” said Mahadhanapuram V. Rajaram, Working president of Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association.

As the water level at the Mettur dam is likely to touch 90 feet (against the maximum level of 120 feet) in the next few days because of continuing copious flow from Karnataka, the government is expected to take a decision on releasing water for samba season soon for delta farmers.