Madurai

Need for check dam to store water flowing into sea

Failure by successive State governments to construct a check dam downstream of Srivaikundam check dam to store the Tamirabharani’s surplus water during floods has resulted in wastage of over 10,000 cusecs of water into the Gulf of Mannar.

Srivaikundam check dam, the last check dam of Tamirabharani irrigation system built in the 1860s with the storage capacity of 8 tmcft, had to wait for more than five decades for desilting, thanks to the delay in getting the nod from Ministry of Environment and Forest. When the desilting started, it caused a furore among the public, especially farmers, who alleged that desilting was not done properly as river sand was alone plundered in far away places. An additional check dam could help in irrigating over 50,000 acres of uncultivated area with the water draining into the sea. Though steps were taken to identify a place for the construction of a check dam during the previous AIADMK government, the proposal remains only on paper till now.

After Papanasam dam’s storage level touched 135 feet and Servalar dam’s storage rose to 142 feet, the Tamirabharani flooded recently as over 15,000 cusecs of water was discharged from these reservoirs. Consequently, over 10,300 cusecs of water was going waste into the sea at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. While 300 cusecs water is released in Vadakal channel, no water has been released in the Thenkal channel.

Since Nanguneri and Radhapuram taluks in Tirunelveli district and Sattankulam taluk in Thoothukudi district have been categorised as ‘rain shadow regions’, a 72-km-long flood carrier channel is being dug on an outlay of ₹ 872 crore for 13 years to take 2,675 mcft of surplus water of the Tamirabharani. The project is nearing completion and expected to be commissioned in March 2022 to nourish 56,908 acres of land under 252 irrigation tanks and 5,220 wells in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts.

Similar project to benefit the northern regions of Thoothukudi district was mooted by the previous AIADMK government towards the end of its tenure. As per this proposal, the Tamirabharani flood will be diverted from the check dam at Seevalaperi near Palayamkottai to Poovani by digging a channel for about 12.50 km. Then the 60-km-long channel will be excavated from Poovani to connect Uppathu Odai, Malattaru, Kallaru and Vaipar to take the excess water of the Tamirabharani even up to Muththalapuram. If it is done, this dry region will get drinking water in adequate quantity.

“Besides executing the second flood carrier channel for benefiting the northern parts of Thoothukudi district, the government should construct another check dam at Eral beyond Srivaikundam. It will immensely benefit the farming operations and effectively check the intrusion of seawater into the land to spoil the groundwater,” says K.P. Arumugam, district secretary of Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam.


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 11:00:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/water/article37522261.ece

Next Story