Damage to regulator shutter exposes multiple coastal panchayats to tidal flooding

Potential saline water intrusion threatens drinking water supply, lift irrigation schemes

October 05, 2022 08:51 pm | Updated 08:51 pm IST - KOCHI

A dilapidated house in Kumbalanghi in Ernakulam under the impact of tidal flooding.

A dilapidated house in Kumbalanghi in Ernakulam under the impact of tidal flooding.

A shutter of the Kanakkankadavu regulator, located downstream of the Chalakudy River just before it joins the Periyar, failed in the early hours of Wednesday exposing multiple coastal panchayats to saline water intrusion during high tide.

The seventh shutter of the regulator-cum-bridge was the one to be affected. The potential saline water intrusion in its wake threatens to affect drinking water supply and lift irrigation schemes thus damaging farming along the areas.

Puthenvelikkara Community Resource Centre complained that no action had been taken to address the problem despite alerting the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in the morning itself. DDMA sources, however, claimed that the Irrigation department had been asked to attend to the problem at the earliest though they were unable to confirm by when it would be rectified.

“The problem is that the authorities concerned are not at all serious about the maintenance and management of the regulator despite it being critical to the fortunes of at least six coastal panchayats in Ernakulam and Thrissur districts. Lackadaisical management of the regulator could lead to flooding during monsoon and tidal flooding,” said M.P. Shajan, coordinator, Community Resource Centre.

Equinoct, a community-sourced modelling solution provider working to address tidal flooding along the coastal belt, has also called for immediate action under the Disaster Management Act considering the serious problems it engenders.

“It may also lead to flooding during the impending north-east monsoon, which is round the corner, especially considering the damage to one of the shutters of the Parambikulam dam and release of water in the wake of heavy rain,” said C.G. Madhusoodhanan, chief executive officer, Equinoct.

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