Madurai

Plea to increase height of Mettur dam

ARIYALUR

Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association has sought to revive a proposal to increase the height of Stanley Reservoir at Mettur so as to augment its water storage capacity.

As much as 40 thousand million cubic (tmc) feet of water flowed into the sea following the onslaught of Cyclone Gaja and collapse of a portion of the regulator across the Kollidam at Upper Anicut near Tiruchi last year. “The capacity of the existing storage structures could not prevent this as they were built several decades ago. We have to think of augmenting our storage capacity so that we need not depend on other States for supporting the agrarian economy,” S. Ranganathan, general secretary of the Association, said speaking at a meeting of members of Kandaradhitham, Sembianmadevi and Paereri Vivasayigal Sangam at Thirumanur in the district on Friday.

About three decades ago, Mr. Ranganathan said, the then Chief Engineer of Public Works Department, K. Manavalan, had submitted a proposal suggesting that the height of Mettur reservoir could be safely increased by another 10 feet so that the capacity of the dam would increase by another 20-25 tmcft.

The reservoir, built in 1934, had a capacity to hold 93.47 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) at its maximum level of 120 feet.

Advocating a mix of both macro and micro approaches, Mr. Ranganathan suggested construction of a series of bed dams on the Cauvery and the Kollidam between Mettur dam and the Bay of Bengal to store water from local rains.

Large tanks on the banks of the Coleroon, which had not been desilted for decades, should be restored to their original capacity by removing silt. There should be a well- planned kudimaramathu scheme. Ayacutdars should be involved in the planning and execution of the works, he stressed.

Indiscriminate sand mining in the Cauvery, the Coleroon and other rivers over the past three decades had severely affected water flow. Big shoals had formed in the rivers. Removal of sand had resulted in the sill level of major rivers going down and a substantial quantity of water released from Mettur was not flowing into the irrigation canals, which were on a higher plane, but running off into the sea. “At least a two-year holiday should be declared for sand mining from rivers,” he said.

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 4:02:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/plea-to-increase-height-of-mettur-dam-ariyalur/article26958772.ece

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