Smaller irrigation structures more beneficial

A part of the inter-State Chanaka-Korata barrage across Penganga in Adilabad district.  

Recognition as a Heritage Irrigation Structure, which has come the way of the 125-year-old Sadarmatt anicut or diversion scheme in Nirmal district, also highlights the fact that irrigation can actually be developed through smaller structures, more so in the former undivided Adilabad district. The continuing utility of the small structure — located across a branch of Godavari on the left side about 50 km downstream of the mighty SRSP project near Medampalli village in Khanapur mandal — only buttresses this point of view.

Among the most important reasons for deciding in favour of smaller projects is elimination of damage caused to environment. It is a known fact that larger projects cause irreparably huge destruction to the environment and lose their efficacy within a few decades of going operational. A parallel can be drawn between the heritage diversion scheme and the Chanakha-Korata barrage coming across the Penganga river in order to get a clearer picture. Both Sadarmatt and Chanakha-Korata have a designed ayacut of 13,000 acres but the latter is being constructed at a cost of whopping about ₹ 300 crore and the former can be built for as less as ₹ 30 or ₹ 40 crore even in these times.

In comparison, the expenditure for per-acre development of ayacut for Chanakha-Korata comes to about ₹ 2.30 lakh and that of Sadarmatt would come to about ₹ 30,000. Most of the costing of an anicut would go towards land acquisition for canal system. The Penganga barrage will utilise about 5 tmcft of water while the much smaller Sadarmatt utilises over 4 tmcft of water, both in the rainy season.

The latter can get operational comparatively much quickly as it involves much less construction and in comparison over two years have already passed and only about 50 per cent of works are done on the Chanakha-Korata barrage.

“Yes, the contention of smaller structures being more beneficial is correct,” concurred a top level Irrigation Engineer in Adilabad district. “There is need for topographical study for finding locations suitable for diversions schemes and also a comparative economic study as a rationale for doing so,” he opined.

“There are many suitable locations for diversion schemes like the place of confluence of Swarnavagu stream with Godavari near Soan in Nirmal district. Though this stream feeds Sadarmatt, another anicut will be feasible at this spot,” he asserted.Another engineer pointed out that before the governments of the day opted for construction of big dams, irrigation was done through much smaller diversion structures on local streams called mathadi. “For example, the old mathadi on the local stream between Tamsi and Kapparla villages in Tamsi mandal has farmers cultivating paddy even in the present times,” he said, making out a case for anicuts.

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Printable version | May 5, 2021 8:39:40 PM |

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