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Vaigai water flows through Nilaiyur channel

Will help in filling 22 tanks in the southern part of the district

Water from the Vaigai is being discharged through the Nilaiyur channel and is filling tanks in southern part of the district. The rising water level in tanks is helping farmers who have undertaken cultivation of paddy and banana.

A senior Public Works Department official said that water was being released through the Nilaiyur channel since Sunday. “Currently, a total of 450 cusecs of water is being discharged through the Nilaiyur channel,” he said.

Out of the 22 tanks that receive water through the channel, in 16 tanks the water level is around 90% of their total capacity. “The water level in the remaining tanks is now around 50% of their total capacity. The district received good rainfall which also helped to improve the water storage levels in the tanks,” he added.

All these tanks which are part of the old Vaigai system have an ayacut area of around 4,500 hectares. Water will be released through Nilaiyur channel for a total of eight days, he said.

Nilaiyur, Madakulam and Thenkal tanks are some of the major tanks that are being filled up through the Nilaiyur channel.

The PWD is constructing a bed dam at Kodimangalam to store water and supply to Melamathur, Thuvariman and Madakulam tanks. “Once the bed dam is constructed, the dependence on Nilaiyur channel for supplying water from the Vaigai will reduce,” said the PWD official.

Due to rapid urbanisation most of the tanks have lost their ayacut area, said K. Rajendran, a farmer from Tirupparankundram who is the district secretary of Tamil Nadu Farmers’ Association. “So, tanks like Madakulam and Thenkal are considered important to improve the groundwater level in residential areas of the city,” he said.

The recharge of groundwater table will also help to improve the water level in wells through which cultivation is undertaken in many parts of the old Vaigai system, said Karunanidhi, a farmer undertaking cultivation near Nilaiyur tank.

Over the years, many farmers have shifted from cultivating paddy to banana cultivation due to lack of availability of sufficient water, he added. “Most farmers are dependent on water from wells to cultivate banana,” said Mr. Karunanidhi.

But, many of the tanks in the Vaigai old ayacut are plagued by a number of issues.

At Thuvariman tank, indiscriminate sand mining has lowered the level of the tank by several metres, resulting in dysfunction of supply channels even when the flow is normal, said N. Murugesan, president of Thuvariman Farmers’ Association.

“It is important to remove encroachments inside the water spread area of the Madakulam tank”, said N. Prabhakaran, a farmer from Madakulam. “The officials must conduct a survey and based on it they must identify the boundary of the tank,” he added.

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