Tamil Nadu

Villages close to Vaigai dam facing acute water crisis

A view of the dry tank at Kovilpatti.  

Even as Vaigai dam has comfortable storage and the Vaigai river has heavy flow, several villages that are situated less than 200 metres away from the Vaigai dam have been reeling under acute water crisis for more than three decades.

Farm activities have come to a stand still and migration of farmers is on the increase, owing to accumulation of silt in supply channels and destruction of other channels connecting nearby tanks that have surplus water.

The worst affected are Kovilpatti, Balasamudram, Marikundu, Rangasamudram and Thekkampatti panchayats in Andipatti block as major tanks in these panchayats are completely dry.

Residents and farmers at several villages in these pancahayats have been struggling to get water for drinking and irrigation.

Created by Chola kings, Sakkilichi Amman tank at Kovilpatti that spreads across over 356 acres and one of the biggest tanks in the integrated Madurai district, with an authorised ayacuts of 486 acres of wetlands, remain dry owing to dilapidated condition of 23-km-long Vaigai Duraisamypuram main supply channel. The tank’s surplus weir is 130 metre away from Vaigai dam.

Nallidaicherry tank at Balasamudram, Marigundu tank in Marikundu and Kodangi Naickar tank in Kovilpatti Rengasamudram, Thirumalapuram, Marikundu and Thekkampatti panchayats, that irrigated 960 acres of wetlands and recharged 636 wells, are also dry now.

“Two flood warnings were issued in the Vaigai and Periyar dams. Heavy rains lashed the district. But we did not get a single drop of water,” said K.V. Perumal, a farmer in Kovilpatti.

“The Nagalaru Odai and Virumanoothu Odai feed these tanks. We harvested paddy in those days and donated hundred bags of rice to Jambuliputhur Perumal temple. Now, we cannot offer one kg of rice to it,” he deplored.

Similarly, water has not reached Nariyuthu, Ottanai and Mayiadumparai big tanks also. At present, water is available in Karunkulam and Sengulam near Amachiyapuram. Diversion of water through 3-km-long channel will help fill the tank. But the district administration has not responded to their appeals, alleged Ramar, another farmer at Kovilpatti.

The situation turned worse when the government created Virumandi pond near the head-point of the odai to recharge groundwater.

The government should clear clogging Duraisamypuram channel or rehabilitate the 3-km-long link channel to receive surplus water from Kaunkulam, said the villagers.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 2:33:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/villages-close-to-vaigai-dam-facing-acute-water-crisis/article7956580.ece

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