Claim that it will affect groundwater recharge

A section of farmers opposed the Public Works Department’s proposal for concrete lining of the Lower Bhavanis Project (LBP) canal, claiming that it would adversely affect the groundwater recharge.

The department had submitted a proposal to the Union Government recently for the concrete lining of the canal, which provides water to more than 2.07 lakh hectares of agricultural lands in Erode and neighbouring Karur and Tirupur districts.

The canal runs for about 125 miles, majority in Erode, and terminates in the border of Karur district. Officials said the primary objective of the proposal was to arrest the seepage. More than 40 per cent of the water released in the canal was lost in seepage.

Farmers, however, said that the seepage from the canal helped recharging the wells in the area, enabling them to get adequate water for their crops when water was not released from the Bhavanisagar dam.

If the proposal was approved, it would adversely affect the groundwater recharge. It would also lead to the removal of a number of trees on both sides of the bunds of the waterway.

A senior official said the proposal would bring in a number of benefits to the farmers. “The seepage weakens the bunds, which often results in canal breach. The canal’s bed also remains heavily silted at a number of parts in the district and wild growth of plants on the bed affects the flow of water. “The concrete lining of the bed and both sides of the bund will address all these issues,” the official said.

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