Tamil Nadu

Depleting water level at Mettur dam has left them high and dry

Farmers have not evinced any interest in raising the usual cash, millet and horticultural crops in the dry water spread area of the dam this season, due to poor inflow and delayed onset of north-east monsoon.— Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan  

Local farmers hailing from villages in the vicinity of Mettur dam have not evinced any interest in raising the usual cash, millet and horticulture crops in the dry water spread area of the dam this season, given the poor inflow and the failure of the north-east monsoon.

The meagre realisation of Cauvery water at Mettur for the past 20 days following the refusal of the Karnataka government to release water from Krishnaraja Sagar and Kabini reservoirs and the failure of the north-east monsoon has turned the Stanley Reservoir into pools of water. The sluices of the Mettur dam were opened for the samba crop season in the dozen delta districts on September 20. With the season only halfway through, the discharge of water has already been stepped down to 2,500 cusecs, much to the anxiety of the entire farming community.

The water level in the dam stood at 42.82 feet on Monday against its full level of 120 feet. The storage level was 13.588 tmc against the dam’s full capacity of 93.47 tmc. The inflow into the dam was a paltry 134 cusecs.

Whenever the water level dips in the Mettur dam, the local farmers of the villages of Pannavadi, Kottaiyur, Settipatti, Sethukuli and Moolakkadu used to raise crops under ‘ muzhuvadai ’ farming in the dry, water spread area. Millets such as ellu (sesame seeds), cholam , kambu , cash crops such as cotton and tobacco, and horticultural crops such a brinjal, bhendi and radish are the favourite crops of these farmers. Sometimes, these farmers get lucky and even have three crops during a single year, thanks to healthy south-west and north-east monsoons.

At times, due to the failure of the monsoon and poor water table at the Mettur dam, even cultivation of fodder in the manavari dry lands in Kolathur and nearby areas fails. On such occasions, farmers involved in ‘ muzhuvadai ’ farming raise fodder to save the cattle.

This time around, despite the water level going below 43 feet, the local farmers have not evinced any interest in commencing the usual farming activities.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2020 3:50:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/Depleting-water-level-at-Mettur-dam-has-left-them-high-and-dry/article16439935.ece

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