Poor storage level in dams upsets farmers

Special Correspondent


As the southwest monsoon, which plays a vital role in improving water storage level in 11 dams in Tirunelveli and Tenkasi districts, has let down both districts this year, prospects of getting a bumper harvest in the ‘kar’ paddy season are bleak, farmers say.

Farmers were let down last year too during the ‘kar’ paddy season. Even as farmers were hopeful of taking up ‘kar’ paddy cultivation on over 15,000 acres in Tirunelveli district between June and September, a poor rainfall in catchment areas of major dams – Papanasam and Manimuthar – has discouraged them from taking up paddy cultivation.

While farmers near the Tamirabharani and its major channels have sporadically cultivated paddy as they are not sure of getting water till the end of the season, others do not have the courage to test their fortunes this time. After their venture in the ‘kar’ paddy season ended up on a losing note in 2019, those who are able to pump water from the river and channels have cultivated this water intensive crop while others chose to wait and watch this time. Naturally, the area of cultivation during the ‘kar’ season has come down drastically.

South-west monsoon brought bountiful rainfall to the districts in 2018 when water level in Papanasam Dam stood at 113 feet on August 3, 2018 against its maximum storage level of 143 feet. Now, this dam, the second largest reservoir in the district, has water for 67 feet and the Manimuthar Dam, the largest dam here, has water for about 62 feet against the maximum level of 118 feet. On this day in 2018, this dam had water for about 74 feet.

In Tenkasi district, storage level in Gadana, Ramanadhi, Karuppanadhi and Adavinainar Dams is a bit satisfactory as these reservoirs, which have not been desilted for the past several years, have water that may be sufficient to feed the crop till the harvest. While Gadana has water for 51 feet against the maximum storage level of 85 feet, Ramanadhi has water for 66 feet against the maximum level of 84 feet. Karuppanadhi dam has water for 40 feet (72 feet) and Adavinainar dam has storage level at 91 feet against the maximum capacity of 132 feet.

“Since all these dams have not been desilted for the past several years, actual capacity of these dams have drastically dwindled. So, with the water available now, we cannot take chances. So most of the farmers have not raised paddy this time,” said farmer Thirumurugan of Tenkasi.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2020 1:52:11 AM |

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