PWD urged to draw maximum water from Periyar dam

With water level rising in Periyar dam, Madurai farmers want the Public Works Department (PWD) to draw maximum water from the dam to fill up Vaigai dam so as to facilitate early release of water for irrigating the first crop in the double-crop areas in Madurai and Dindigul districts.

Following good rain in the catchment areas, the water level in Periyar dam rose to 131.80 feet at 4 p.m. on Friday. The combined storage in Periyar credit was 5,150 million cubic feet (mcft) at 4 p.m.

M. Murugan, president, Periyar Single Crop Area Farmer’s Association, said that first water had to be released for irrigating 14,000 acres in Cumbum Valley. “With the combined Periyar credit crossing 4,000 mcft level, farmers of double-crop areas are now eligible for water release. But, the storage in Vaigai dam is very low. Hence, it has to be filled immediately so that water can be released for irrigation,” he said. After the release of water for double crop-areas, water has to be released for single-crop areas in Madurai district from September 15, he added.

Maximum quantity of water has to be drawn from Vaigai dam to avoid the Periyar water overflowing to Kerala side when it reaches the maximum permissible level of 142 feet, said R. Arul Prakasam, president of Periyar Water Distribution Committee.

Mr. Murugan says that following good rainfall, the situation has changed positively for farmers in the last one week. “Water has to be released as soon as possible for commencing agricultural operations. This will provide relief for farmers, who have been financially suffering due to COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

Water for irrigating 45,000 acres of ayacut of double crop area in Dindigul and Madurai district usually begins on or after June 1 as and when the combined Periyar credit touches 4,000 mcft. However, due to scanty rainfall, there has been a delay in releasing water for the past few years. “As a result farmers could grow only a single crop in the double crop areas last year,” said an Agricultural official.

Though the water will be released more than two months behind schedule for ‘kuruvai’ paddy cultivation, it must be ensured that water is released for five months, said M. Tirupathi, a farmer from Kulamangalam. “Usually, the PWD releases water only for four months to cultivate paddy. But, this year they must provide guarantee that they will release water for an additional one month,” he said.

“This will help farmers to grow long duration paddy varieties and avoid harvesting of crops during the rainy season. This will also fetch good profits for the farmers,” he added.

A PWD official said that discussions are held regarding the release of water for irrigation. “A Government Order was awaited to finalise the date of releasing water,” he added.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 2:02:43 AM |

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