The water table has dropped sharply as the Cauvery has been dry for six months

With the surplus flow from the Kabini Dam in Karnataka to the Mettur reservoir giving a semblance of hope, farmers’ associations here have urged the State government to release at least 3,000 cusecs of water from Mettur for the next 15 days to save the standing cash crops and meet the drinking water requirement.

On Friday, the Public Works Department stepped up the discharge from the Mettur to 3,000 cusecs from 1,000 cusecs.

Welcoming the move, farmers organisations here said the quantum of release should be sustained for the next couple of weeks as the Cauvery has remained dry for over six months.

“We welcome the release of 3,000 cusecs. However, this has to be sustained for 15 days as standing cash crops such as banana, sugarcane, and even coconut which depend on the 17-irrigation channels fed by the Cauvery have started withering. The release should continue to help recharge the water table so that farmers who have pumpsets can irrigate their crops,” said Mahadhanapuram V. Rajaram, Executive President, Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association. Banana crop on over 30,000 acres of land require water, he said.

“More than 50 per cent of the banana and other crops have withered for want of water. There has been a sharp drop in the water table in a radius of 25 km from the Cauvery as the river has been dry for six months,” said A. Nagarajan, president, TN Horticulture Crop Producers’ Association. However, he insisted that at least 3,000 cusecs of water should be released from Mettur to meet the drinking water requirement. The release could help salvage some standing cash crop.

Echoing his views, P. Ayyakannu, State Vice President, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, said farmers had been reduced to a state where they were now pleading for release of water to meet the drinking water requirements. “At least, 5,000 cusecs should be released so as to ensure that the water reached here and helped recharge the water table,” he said.

Taking into account the shortage of water supply faced by the city, the Federation of Consumer and Service Organisations has urged the government to ensure that adequate water was released to meet the drinking water requirements. “The Tiruchirapalli City Corporation is struggling to meet the drinking water requirement as the water sources of the city on the Cauvery bed have dried up. The water sources need a wetting,” said M. Sekaran, president of the federation, in a representation to the Chief Minister.