Tamilnadu-Erode-Seepage along LBP canal causes water loss

Farmers’ eagerness to cultivate lands out of turn and draw more water weakens the canal

ERODE: All along the 124-mile Lower Bhavani Project main canal there is something that happens in frequent intervals, which seen in isolation does not matter much. But when taken together presents a very disturbing picture: seepage.

Needs attention: Lower Bhavani Farmers Federation says 600 cusecs of water is lost because of seepage along the Lower Bhavani Project Canal . — Photo: M. Govarthan

Needs attention: Lower Bhavani Farmers Federation says 600 cusecs of water is lost because of seepage along the Lower Bhavani Project Canal . — Photo: M. Govarthan

According to Lower Bhavani Farmers Federation as much as 600 cusecs is lost to seepage.

Put in perspective the loss accounts for a little over a quarter of the quantity the Public Works Department releases from the Bhavani Sagar Dam: 2,300 cusecs.

A random check conducted between the sixtieth mile and fiftieth mile revealed too many seepage points.

For example at the fifty-sixth mile, very close to the National Highways 47, the water seepage from the left bank is too heavy to be ignored.

Similarly at Nallampatti where the village road goes beneath the canal, the seepage is too heavEy. Along the Nallampatti-Palakarai Road too the story is very much the same. Farmers use the seepage water to cultivate lands that otherwise will get its due at the end of the turn system of irrigation.

T. Subbu of Tamizhaga Vivasayeegal Sangam, a farmers’ organisation, says farmers eagerness to cultivate lands out of turn, to cultivate more land and to draw more water to do so, increases seepage points, thus weakening the canal. In many a location along the canal, farmers in a bid to cultivate more lands have encroached upon Public Works Departments lands.

Erode - Farmers have flattened lands

Erode - Farmers have flattened lands

Encroachment

The farmers’ representative says the farmers have flattened lands contingent with the left bank to raise crops. In other places unscrupulous elements have stolen earth from the PWD lands, leaving the bank not only narrow but also weak.

Canal breach

The result of such seepage and weakening of bank is canal breach, which happened twice in the recent past: in 2008 and 2006.

Another important impact of the seepage is that farmers in tail-end areas do not get water and those a little ahead do not get adequate supply. Mr. Subbu says farmers in Mangalapatti, Aravakurichi and other places hardly get water. He attributes it to the seepage. One cusec water irrigates 60 acres in a day, he says and adds that the total loss is over 20,000 acres. LBP canal irrigates 1.03 lakh acres during an agriculture season. The farmer leader says he wants the Public Works Department to bring down the seepage to help tail-end farmers. The Federation too passed a resolution to this effect in July this year.

A PWD official says the Government will soon pass an order appointing a technical expert committee to study the strengthening of the canal.

 From THE HINDU

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