Poor upkeep of shutters in Sothuparai dam led to water wastage, farmers say

Farmers of Theni district blamed Public Works Department engineers for the wastage, and have appealed to the district collector to ensure the shutters of all dams are maintained properly

May 12, 2021 03:33 pm | Updated 03:33 pm IST - THENI

The poor upkeep of the shutter of the Sothuparai dam near Periakulam in Theni district by the Public Works Department engineers has resulted in the depletion of water, farmers have charged.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the farmers said that the widespread rain in the catchment areas had led to a rise in the storage levels of the dam. The farmers said that over 5,000 acres of cultivable land depended on the water from Sothuparai dam and many habitations got drinking water from here.

The Sothuparai dam, one of the biggest in the region, next to Periyar dam, has a maximum storage capacity of 126.28 feet.

About two days ago, when the inflow was steady, the water level in the dam had reached the maximum level. Since continuous rain was witnessed, the engineers had planned to discharge the inflow in full into the river. However, the shutters appeared to have not worked properly. As a result, at least five feet of water may have gone waste into the river due to official apathy, the farmers claimed.

Attempts to repair the shutters failed and when the issue was taken up with the senior officers, they immediately organised manpower and the faulty shutters were repaired on a war-footing, a senior official said. According to the PWD engineers, the storage at 6 a.m. on Wednesday was 120.96 feet against the maximum level of 126.28 ft.

The farmers appealed to District Collector H. Krishnanunni to direct the PWD engineers to keep a vigil and ensure that such mistakes did not recur and urged him to check the shutters in other dams as both farmers and residents depended on the water for irrigation and drinking purposes.

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