'Better water management needed in TN'

'Better water management needed in TN'

Pamani River at the Sokkavanur-Perugavaazhthaan Bridge near Mannargudi in Tiruvarur district. DH Photo

Excess water due to heavy rains in catchment areas of Cauvery has once brought the focus on better water management by authorities in Tamil Nadu.

Farmers want the Public Works Department to focus more on maintenance of water bodies much before water is released from Mettur dam and involving their folk in the work of conserving lakes and ponds.

“Check-dams cannot be built in the delta region due to its nature of being a flat land. But the excess water that flows into the Cauvery can be conserved in lakes, ponds, river and system tanks. There are several such water bodies in the delta built during the Chola and British eras. But the question mark is on their maintenance,” P R Pandian, Tamil Nadu All Farmers' Association coordinator, told DH.

He also alleged that since the majority of the rivers have not been desilted and their bunds not strengthened enough, the water bodies have not been able to take water to their full capacity. At this, S Ranganathan, Secretary of the Cauvery Delta Farmers Association, says non-maintenance of the rivers lead to outright removal of sand from the river indirectly damaging the depth of the river and to the groundwater table.

“There is absolutely no water management by the PWD. They have not taken enough measures to ensure that water bodies are prepared to take water released from Mettur Dam. Though none expected such surplus water, the government was not even able to desilt at least half of the lakes and river,” Sami Nadarajar, secretary, Tamil Nadu Farmers’ Association, said.

Talking about the Kudimaramathu which was hyped by the government as the game-changer in water conservation, Pandian says the scheme has not been implemented in the right manner.

 Pandian also demanded that the government build a dam at Rasimanal on the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border so that water in surplus years like 2018 is stored and used during distress years or months. “Mettur can only store 120 feet of water. If Tamil Nadu constructs another dam in Rasimanal near Hogenakkal, it will help us storing huge amount of water,” he said.

Nadarajar said though inflow of river water into the sea cannot be completely prevented, it would be better if the amount is minimised through effective water management.