His life has been a crusade for water conservation. Sensing the depletion of groundwater table in the State, T. N. N. Bhattathiripad, called “the lord of check-dams”, has won many battles to build check-dams and sub-surface dams. On Thursday, the Wadakkanchery public library conferred the Jalasree title on him.
The State is indebted to Mr. Bhattathiripad, former Kerala Water Authority chief engineer, for implementing many micro water schemes, including a few on the Bharathapuzha. He had initiated the Chamravattam project, which awaits the government’s technical sanction.
“Water conservation is the most neglected area of the State’s water resource management. Though the State is blessed with monsoon showers, rivers, backwaters and lakes, we are awfully illiterate about issues related to water,” he said. On an average, the State gets an annual rainfall of 3005 mm. But only 5 per cent of the annual flow is saved in reservoirs. The rest flows into the Arabian Sea.
“The State has 44 rivers that carry around 72,000 million cubic metre of water. But its groundwater potential is just 800 million cubic metre. This means our surface water potential is 90 times more than ground water potential,” Mr. Bhattathirippad said.
This 67-year-old continues his water literacy mission through campaigns in schools