The ongoing water conservation exercises in the district under the Nellai Neervalam (Water Resources of Tirunelveli) scheme to restore neglected water bodies and conserving the Tamirabharani will effectively take the water quality of the perennial river from the now ‘bathing quality’ to ‘drinking quality’ by July 2024, Collector V. Vishnu has said.
In his introductory remarks in a water conclave organised here on Sunday as part of World Rivers Day, Mr. Vishnu said the district administration had taken credible measures to improve the ‘bathing quality’ of Tamirabharani water by cleaning the river, while effective steps were being taken to check the influx of domestic and industrial liquid waste into the river that was supplying drinking water to millions of population in five southern districts for drinking and bathing purposes. Implementation of underground drainage scheme in Tirunelveli Corporation had been expedited to avert pollution of the river.
The cleaning operations and the awareness progammes being carried out in sustained fashion for conserving the Tamirabharani right from Papanasam to Palayamkottai outskirts through a range of activities would tremendously improve the water quality.
Simultaneously, restoration of 2,000 plus water bodies across the district and associated channels under Nellai Neervalam with the active participation and contribution of civil society had been taken up to revive the ponds, tanks and wells in rural and urban areas. Since the channels of neglected water bodies were being desilted, there would be no flooding of residential areas even if catchment areas of the reservoirs and the plains experienced heavy downpour.
Moreover, the GIS-based digital water mapping done in all 204 village panchayats of the district, the first of its kind in the country, would ensure the implementation of drinking water schemes and judicious tapping of water resources available in the rural areas.
“All these collective measures will certainly improve the water quality of the Tamirabharani from ‘bathing quality’ to ‘drinking quality’ by July 2024,” Mr. Vishnu said.
On improving the groundwater table in places close to the coastal areas of the district, faculty of IIT – Madras Venkatraman Srinivasan said his team, which researched the ‘mystery well’ in Aayankulam near Thisaiyanvilai in the district that did not overflow even after millions of litres of water from Nambiyar Dam flowed into it for several weeks, found that subterranean limestone deposits and underneath caves were conduiting the water to dry wells in the surroundings and improved the groundwater table in these water bodies.
Since similar subterranean formations could be seen in the coastal region, the surplus water of the region, including the surplus water of Nambiyar Dam, could be allowed to flow into the dry wells of the region to improve the groundwater table for several km. It would effectively check the intrusion of seawater into the land.
“For creating a reservoir at Thervoy Kandigai village in Thiruvallur district, the government had to acquire 1,485 acres of land and spend ₹380 crore. Without any acquisition of land and without spending much, we can save more than 1 TMC water underground during the rainy season and use it during summer by employing this technique,” Mr. Venkatraman Srinivasan said.
Speaker M. Appavu, who presided over the meeting, said he was happy with the district administration’s initiatives for river conservation, which was paramount for the progress of any country.