The Karapuzha irrigation project is getting ready for partial commissioning to irrigate 957 hectares of land. A trial run was successfully completed a few weeks ago and the project would be dedicated to the nation by the second week of May, P.K. Jacob, Executive Engineer of the Project told The Hindu on Monday.

The project envisaged a dam across the Karapuzha — a tributary of the Cauvery — a reservoir and channels to irrigate 5,221 hectares of land in nine panchayat areas of three taluks in Wayanad district.

Work started in 1980 with the approval of the Planning Commission coming in 1978. The preliminary estimate was Rs. 7.6 crore for the completion of the project, but as much as Rs. 259 crore have been spent for the project so far, P.R. Sasikumar, Assistant Executive Engineer, said. According to the revised estimate, Rs. 429 crore are needed for the completion of the dam, he added. 

Though the construction work of the right and left bank channels had been completed last year, five breaches occurred during the last monsoon. Thus, the full potential of the dam cannot be used for irrigation purposes. However, 12 km of these channels will have the potential to irrigate as much as 300 hectares of land at the time of partial commissioning.

Moreover, work on both channels is yet to be finished and would be constructed after a joint verification of irrigation, agriculture and revenue department officials later, he added. 

Though the total water storage capacity of the dam is 76.5 million cubic metres, the water would be stored only at half the capacity as many parts of the water belt areas of the reservoir would be submerged in water where the land acquisition procedures are yet to be completed. 

1,238 hectares of 1,250 hectares of land have been acquired for the reservoir and 126 hectares of land for the construction of channels. A drinking water project under the Kerala Water Authority is nearing completion to supply 15 million litres of water from the reservoir in the Kalpetta municipality and the Meenangadi and Ambalavayal panchayats.