Rs. 44.19-crore project to build check-dams has been shelved

A Rs. 44.19-crore proposal by the Minor Irrigation department to construct check-dams in the district to preserve the water table has been shelved with the State government refusing to spare funds.

The proposal was prepared by the department’s district wing after a detailed survey of locations of the district’s water bodies last year, which saw a sharp dip in the water table.

“The proposal was part of a State wide project of over Rs. 200 crore. The project has not been sanctioned as yet,” E. Raveendran, Executive Engineer, Minor Irrigation department, said on Wednesday.

The proposal remains in the cooler even as drought is beginning to make its presence felt this summer. Water scarcity is getting worse in many parts of the city, especially in the coastal areas.

“For the past two weeks, there has been a phenomenal rise in temperature. This has led to evaporation of water from many open water sources. Water level has gone down, and it may get worse as the summer proceeds,” Gopa Kumar, District Officer, Ground Water department, said.

Rejuvenated

The department’s proposal, if implemented, would have stopped ground water depletion and also rejuvenated the water table.

A survey by the Groundwater department in March last year of 54 sample wells in the district showed steady dip in groundwater level, ranging from 1 m to 20 cm.

Indiscriminate consumption, growing rate of urbanisation and levelling of paddy fields have brought down the groundwater recharge capacity.

The proposal had included 14 check-dams in the Chaliyar river territory falling within Kozhikode taluk at an estimated cost of Rs.8.72 crore.

The department had urged the government in the proposal that check-dams in Kozhikode were an urgent measure, and should be spread across major sources of drinking water, including Korapuzha. In Korapuzha, 13 check-dams at a cost of Rs.23.58 crore were proposed.

Besides, it had sought 21 check-dams at Kuttiyadi at a cost of Rs.9.46 crore and Rs.2.43 crore to construct check-dams at the Vadakara municipality, Eramala, and Chekkiyad panchayat as a long-term arrangement to conserve water to avoid drought situations in the district.

Check-dams recharge water resources and help farmers to access water for irrigation.

The rise in the water table would recharge irrigation wells and slow down accumulation of silt in major dams and maintain storage levels.

Depletion in water level has been consistent in the past three years. Official statistics show that in Kodiyathur panchayat, the groundwater level was 6.04 m in March 2011.

But in March 2012, the water table decreased to 7.11 m. In 2013, the levels had dipped to 8.36 m.

In the Vadakara municipality, the water table slipped from 4.80 m in 2011 to a marginal high of 4.78 m in 2012, only to dip again to a three-year low of 5.02 m in 2013.

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