Check dams a death knell for Kerala rivers: conservationist

Water conservationist and Magsaysay award winner Rajendra Singh interacting with environmentalists and students on the banks of the Kabani river at Agraharam in Wayanad on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Rajendra Singh, water conservationist and Magsaysay award winner, has said that the check dams being constructed across rivers in the State would sound the death knell for the rivers.

Interacting with a group of students and environmentalists in the district at a debate organised by the Pazhassi library at Mananthavady on Friday, Dr. Rajendra Singh said the construction of check dams across rivers in a State like Kerala, which experienced heavy rainfall, was unscientific.

“Check dams are needed across rivers in States like Gujarat and Rajasthan as the rainfall is very low in those States,” Dr. Singh said, adding that the check dam across the Kabani and its tributaries were constructed without any scientific study.

It would accelerate floods during the monsoon and cause changes in the direction of flow in many places. It was suspected that such constructions in the State were only for exploring the possibilities of defalcating public money, he said.

Water storage

Check dams should be constructed in places where the rivers or rivulets dried out in summer and such structures could help to store water in pores of sand and aquifers.

Moreover, it would lead to a rise in the ground water table and help reduce evaporation loss while such constructions across perennial rivers would cause a rise in the evaporation loss, he said.

11,800 dams

Dubbed the “Waterman of India,” Dr. Singh said his group “Tarun Bharat Sangh” had constructed 11,800 check dams across rivers in Rajasthan and the endeavour could restore 12 rivers.

“We constructed three-times taller check dams in those rivers than the concrete check dams across the Kabani river without using concrete. Such constructions will not destroy nature,” Dr. Singh said, adding that such works with public participation was the need of the hour. Instead of constructing check dams across rivers in Kerala, the government should focus on ensuring free flow of water during summer with the support of the public, he said.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 8:24:02 AM |

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