With copious showers in Coorg and Kabini catchment area, farmers of the Cauvery delta districts of Thanjavur and Tiruvarur are happy. After water was released from both Kabini and Krishnarajasagar, it has reached Hogennekkal and Public Works Department engineers hope that inflow into the Mettur dam will soon increase heavily.

The dam received 5,881 cusecs at 4.00 p.m. on Thursday. The level stood at 17.45 ft and the storage was 33.93 thousand million cubic feet. The inflow may increase enormously in the coming days, PWD engineers said.

As water could not be released from Mettur dam on the traditional date of June 12 this year also due to shortage of water, the State government has announced a special kuruvai package and is trying to cover the kuruvai area with underground water and pumpsets. As per the special package, 12-hour three-phase supply is given for agriculture pumpsets from this month. It will continue till September. It is given in six-plus-six hour phases. The government has also announced providing pipes for carrying water from ponds and rivers, wherever it is available for paddyfields, free of cost.

Under these circumstances, rain in Coorg and heavy inflows into Kabini and Krishnarajasagar reservoirs has given hopes for the farmers in these two districts.

But, Agriculture Department officials and PWD engineers feel that farmers should go for samba cultivation and skip kuruvai in canal-irrigated areas this year.

The Mettur dam is almost empty and it has to fill up with inflows from Karnataka.

“Only when the level touches 90 ft, can we think of opening the dam. But it can happen as the inflow will rise enormously with copious showers in Coorg” said PWD engineers. Farmers are divided on taking up kuruvai and samba cultivations this year.

While some favour taking up kuruvai cultivation late if the water position improves in the dam, others feel that going directly for samba is better.

“We need 134 tmc of water for kuruvai from June to September and this year this quantum may not be available even if storage improves. Hence it is advisable to go for samba so that water flow could be sustained and given.

For samba, the northeast monsoon (November-December) will supplement the Mettur dam water and hence can be easily taken” said many farmers. S. Ranganathan, secretary, Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association, said caution should be exercised and samba can be the best bet. Farmers, by and large, welcomed the petition filed by the Tamil Nadu government in the Supreme Court, praying for direction to the Central government to form the Cauvery Management Board and for release of 10 tmc ft of water due for June.

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