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Fewer winged visitors flock to tanks this year

V.S. Palaniappan
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Depleting storage and vanishing vegetation have resulted in birds fleeing water bodies in Coimbatore.— File PHOTO: S.SIVA SARAVANAN
Depleting storage and vanishing vegetation have resulted in birds fleeing water bodies in Coimbatore.— File PHOTO: S.SIVA SARAVANAN

The chirpy of birds are missing around many of the tanks in the city and the district. Water level in these tanks has started decreasing, thanks to the soaring mercury, keeping the birds away from their habitats.

Of the 26 tanks under the Noyyal basin in Coimbatore and Tirupur districts, a majority of them have gone dry in the first week of March itself.

The Noyyal sub-basin has tanks such as Ukkulam, Pudukulam, Kolrampathy Narasampathy, Selvampathy, Krishnampathy, Kumarasamy alias Muthannankulam, Selvachinthamani, Sottayandi Kuttai, Ranga Narayana Samudram, Perur Big Tank, Kuniamuthur, Ukkadam Big Tank, Valankulam, Kurichi, Singanallur, Vellalur, Kannampalayam, Irugur, Neelambur, Sulur big and small tanks, Shamalapuram, Semmandampalayam, Andipalayam and Mannarai.

From September to February, migratory birds from places such as Siberia, China, England and New Zealand visit these tanks. This year, the water level started depleting immediately after the exit of migratory birds. However, the native bird species such as Eggrettes, Cormorants and Brahmini Kite were dependent on the wetland eco systems, said P. Pramod of Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History.

These birds required places for nesting and that would be possible only if there were shrubs, bushes and trees. In the absence of vegetation, the tanks would not prove to be an ideal habitat for the birds, he added.

Though it was natural for water bodies to dry up during summer, it was happening early and at a faster pace because of excessive heat. The summer showers during April and May would renew the vegetation and the South West Monsoon in June/July would bring water to the tanks from the Noyyal system and the North East Monsoon in October/November would ensure that they reached the brim, said PWD sources.

As on date, of the major tanks, Narasampathy with a water holding area of 124.20 acre had only 1.1 tmcft of water as against the comfortable storage of 9.5 tmcft, Krishnampathy with a water holding area of 103.80 acre and comfortable storage of 7.5 tmcft had only 0.89 tmcft, Kumarasamykulam with 89.11-acre water holding area has water only in 11 acre, Ukkadam tank with 348 acre had water only in 45 acre, Valankulam with 172.16 acre had water only in 69 acre, Kurichi tank with 372 acre had water only in 102 acre, and Singanallur tank had 269.27 acre of water holding area and water was available only in 146 acre.

Selvampathy, Vellalore and Irugur tanks have gone dry. The other tanks have water only in the range of 10 to 30 per cent. Five more will go dry in April, said official sources.

Nearly 60 smaller tanks in Coimbatore, Tirupur, 30 in Sulur, Kinathukkadavu, Palladam and Annur have gone dry besides those in Perur, Kovaipudur, Madukkarai and Nachipalayam.

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