It is imperative not only to get the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award of 192 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of water from Karnataka but also to conserve and utilise optimally the water available in the Cauvery basin of Tamil Nadu for irrigation, assert farmers.
Mahadhanapuram V. Rajaram, working president of the Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association, and M. Natarajan, former Superintending Engineer, PWD, appeal to the State government to initiate steps on war-footing to remove silt from tanks; raise and strengthen the tank bunds to improve their storage. Besides, more barrages across the Cauvery and the Coleroon (Kollidam) should be constructed.
While about 100 tmcft is available between Mettur Dam and Grand Anicut, an equal quantity would be available beyond the Grand Anicut. It is imperative to store this water and utilise it optimally for irrigation, apart from drinking water.
Mr. Natarajan, who was earlier in charge of the River Conservation Division, says that of the 23 barrages suggested, including seven across the Kollidam, so far only eight had been completed.
“When this project was mooted in 1980s by the (now-defunct) Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, the total cost of the barrage including the power house was only Rs. 12 crore. The first four barrages constructed across the Cauvery had cost in total only Rs. 50 crore. Now, it would cost a minimum of Rs 100 crore each.”
Mr. Natarajan says that the Grand Anicut Canal alone serves 745 tanks, while Pullambadi canal serves 30 tanks and Kattalai Canal 106 tanks. “Thus about 1,000 tanks with various ayacuts could be used to store water and raise one crop.”