Siruvani water position improving

COIMBATORE: Though there has been heavy drawal of drinking water from the Siruvani Dam during the World Classical Tamil Conference (June 23-27), moderate rainfall is helping in improving the situation now, Mayor R. Venkatachalam said on Tuesday.

Rain God's blessing:Rain helps in maintaining a comfortable water level in Siruvani Dam.

There was no heavy rain in the catchments during the conference period, but whatever was given by the South West Monsoon enabled the Coimbatore Corporation draw 80 million litres a day, as against the 62 mld to 70 mld prior to the monsoon setting in, the Mayor said.

“This is why we are able to supply Siruvani water to some eastern and northern wards in the city that face shortage under the Pilloor Scheme,” he pointed out.

From 20.34 ft (as against the full reservoir level of nearly 51 ft) on June 24, the water level in the dam dipped to 19.35 ft on June 29.

“With lakhs of people visiting the conference venue, there was a huge need for drinking water,” the Mayor explained. “Now, whatever the monsoon offers will increase the level steadily as there will be less pressure on the supply front,” he said.

The Mayor also said: “We have already restored the alternate day supply. This points at the comfortable situation we are in.

Between June 24 and 29, the catchments received rainfall ranging from 3 mm to 16 mm.

The monsoon is expected to turn vigorous in the first or second week of July. There will be further improvement in the supply position,” he said.

The Mayor assured the people in the city that the last anxiety-filled summer was over.

“The Pilloor Phase II scheme will be completed before the next summer and the city will have enough water from three schemes: Siruvani, Pilloor I and Pilloor II. The Bhavani and Aliyar schemes for the suburbs will remove the pressure on these schemes,” he said.

From THE HINDU

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Bhavani scheme water supply will begin by middle of this month

COIMBATORE: The Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage (TWAD) Board has some happy tidings for the people of Kavudamapalayam Municipality and Vadavalli Town Panchayat, suburbs north and west of the city.

The supply of drinking water under the Bhavani Combined Water Supply Scheme will begin by June 15, bringing to an end a 10-year wait for the project’s implementation. This follows an announcement by Rural Industries Minister Pongalur N. Palanisamy after a recent review of the scheme works that Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin would soon inaugurate the supply.

“Only the final stages of works on the filter bed and overhead tanks in the town panchayat are left to be done. All other major works have been completed,” Chief Engineer, Coimbatore, of the Board S. Venkatesan told The Hindu on Wednesday.

The official said the board had set itself a stiffer deadline of June 7 in order to expedite the works. “We want to begin supply around that date, but we have fixed June 15 as the final date should some work take a little more time,” he said. The scheme, costing Rs.30.38 crore, would provide seven million litres of drinking water a day to Kavundampalayam and four million litres to Vadavalli.

From the present 31 litres per capacity per day, which was way below the required amount, 70 litres per capita per day would be supplied under the new scheme to an approximate population of 1.10 lakh. Water would be drawn from River Bhavani at Nellithurai in Mettupalayam Taluk. It would travel six km through a pipeline to the treatment plant at Chellappanur.

After treatment, the water would come through a 14.5 km pipeline to a 11 lakh litre sump at Veerapandi Pirivu. From there, it would be pumped through a 15.5 km line to another 11 lakh litre sump at Kavundampalayam. Water would be pumped from this sump to seven overhead tanks in the municipality and eight tanks in Vadavalli.

The existing supply of Siruvani and Pilloor water to these two local bodies would be stopped and would be given to the Coimbatore Corporation areas to augment supply within the city.

From THE HINDU

Erode: No licences, but sand miners plunder Bhavani river

BHAVANI (ERODE DIST): The placid Bhavani river shimmers under the morning skies at Servarayanpalayam village near Bhavani town. As the village women trickle in to the weed-ridden banks of Bhavani for a bath, five round, iron boats furiously sway in the waters. Follow the boats, and you realise it’s no innocuous fishing expedition. Wearing a tiny piece of cloth around their loins, the boatmen slip into the water and firmly plant a 20-foot long stick into the river. And then, the plundering of the Bhavani river sand begins, in broad daylight,

No licences or permission have been given by the Erode district administration for mining sand in Bhavani river. Yet these specially-crafted boats ruthlessly ravage the river bed. “We have not given any licences for mining sand in Bhavani river,” concedes a senior revenue official. The men in loin clothes sink deep into the waters and bring out bucketfuls of sand. In the next two hours, the five boats are almost half-full with sand.

Every day, from 6 am to 8 am, these boats raid the Bhavani for its brown sand. After the raid, the boats are parked on the banks and the water is drained from the sands with filters. Then they unload the sand on the river banks and leave. In the evenings, bullock carts or tractor trailers trundle in to collect the mounds of sand.

Normally boats are made of wood or animal hide. But these huge boats, around 15 feet in diameter, have been specially designed to mine sand in the river. “We get Rs 150 for mining a boat full of sand,” says Palaichamy, a local villager.

The morning scene unfolds in almost all villages near Bhavani town. From Servarayanpalayam to Thippichettipalayam, Seethapalayam, Chinnamolapalayam, Jembai and Aapakoodal, illegal sand mining flourishes with support of local villagers. “The powerful sand lobby contribute funds for building village temples and bribe the local leaders too. And when the police stop the mining, they gherao them,” says lawyer Papa Mohan, who had got a court decree against indiscriminate sand mining in Bhavani river bed.

According the Rule 38 (A) of the Tamil Nadu Minor Minerals Concessions rules, 1950, only the district collector is empowered to issue licences for sand mining in river bed. And mining can be done only on a 10-hectare land within the demarcated area as per the sketch clearly provided by the collector. And a plaque should be put up at the mining site giving details of the period of contract. Importantly, sand should not be mined beyond one metre from the existing sand bed level at the time of award of contract. “But powerful local politicians control the sand mining show. And none of these rules are followed in any of the districts,” rues a government geologist.

In Erode, mining goes on unchecked even without issue of licences, at the instance of a powerful district political leader, says a police official. “The moment we arrest the miners, we are pressured to drop the case and release them,” he says on condition of anonymity. And the Bhavani river remains a mute victim of sand mining and the polluting dyeing units that dots its banks.

From TOI

Tamilnadu: Erode-Waste disposal mechanism flayed

FOR AN EASY FLOW: Machinery being used to desilt Kalingarayan canal in Erode region. - Photo: M. Govarthan.

FOR AN EASY FLOW: Machinery being used to desilt Kalingarayan canal in Erode region(2005 photo). - Photo: M. Govarthan.

ERODE: Consumer Protection Council, Bhavani, has criticised the waste management system in Kalingarayanpalayam.

Pollution

In a release, the organisation has said that in the absence of proper waste disposal mechanism in the area, people are dumping waste along the graveyard and also on the banks of River Bhavani and on top of it setting fire to the waste, which pollutes the river.

Criticising the Mettunasuvanpalayam panchayat for the sorry state of affairs, the consumer body has asked for cleaning up the area to provide easy access to the graveyard.

From THE HINDU

Tamilnadu: Coimbatore-Rain brings copious inflow

Water overflows from Pilloor and Siruvani dams; those in PAP zone are full 

COIMBATORE: Torrential rain over the last few days has led to copious inflow in the Pilloor and Siruvani dams that provide drinking water to Coimbatore city and the suburbs. Heavy inflow filled up the reservoirs in the Parambikulam-Aliyar Project zone also.

On Sunday morning, there was a discharge of 3,000 cusecs from Pilloor Dam. It came down to 500 cusecs in the evening. People living along River Bhavani in Mettupalayam sub-division in the district were warned of a spate and asked to move to safer places.

RAIN EFFECT: Water overflowing from Siruvani Dam is good news for local bodies on the drinking water supply front.

RAIN EFFECT: Water overflowing from Siruvani Dam is good news for local bodies on the drinking water supply front.

Officials said Upper Bhavani recorded 120 mm rain till 8.30 a.m. on Sunday. If there was more heavy rain, the discharge from the dam would go up. Filled to its capacity of 1,568 million cubic feet, the dam provided hopes of a comfortable water supply in the city and suburbs.

Water was overflowing from the Siruvani Dam also – the other water source for one half of the city and suburbs west and south of it. Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board Executive Engineer (Siruvani Division) P. Gopalakrishnan said this was the third time this year water overflowed from Siruvani Dam. “Two to three days of heavy rain led to yet another overflow,” he said. The dam recorded 122 rain.

Water overflowed from Sholayar Dam in the PAP zone. Heavy rain raised the storage to the full reservoir level of 160 ft on Saturday midnight. Now, the surplus water was going to Parambikulam reservoir. The water level was just a few inches from the full reservoir level of 72 ft.

The water level in Aliyar Dam stood at 117.90 as against the FRL of 120 ft. The water level in the other reservoirs were (with FRL in brackets): Amaravathy- 57.37 (90) and Thirumurthy – 33.15 (60).

Rainfall (in mm): Sholayar-99, Parambikulam-88, Aliyar-25, Upper Nirar-69, Lower Nirar-50, Upper Aliyar-2, Kadamparai-9, Pollachi-5, Thoonakadavu-98, Peruvaripallam-111, Makinampatty-9, Navamalai-2, Valparai-36 and Sarcarpathy-8.

Coimbatore Bureau – From THE HINDU

Bhavani River-Lack of maintenance leads to uncontrolled water hyacinth growth in River Bhavani

ERODE: Where is River Bhavani is the question one is sure to ask by looking at the river course near Sangameswarar Temple in Bhavani town.

Action please: Maintenance of River Bhavani is in a poor shape with water hyacinth covering almost the entire river near Sangameswarar temple in Bhavani town. — Photo: M. Govarthan

Action please: Maintenance of River Bhavani is in a poor shape with water hyacinth covering almost the entire river near Sangameswarar temple in Bhavani town. — Photo: M. Govarthan

The water is hardly visible, as water hyacinth has covered the entire stretch near the temple.

So much is the growth that it suggests that there has been no attempt to maintain the river.

Upstream the situation is little different in that the hyacinth growth has not spread as much as it has near the temple premises.

Downstream too the water plant has widened its reach. This growth of water hyacinth, citizens say, will prove disastrous to the river’s heath as well as during floods.

Vice-president, Consumer Protection Council, Erode, R. Balasubramanian, says when the river floods, the hyacinth will push the water to banks.

Disaster

“When flood water pushes hyacinth, an hectare of which weighs nearly 200 tonnes, it is a disaster waiting to happen,” he says and adds that the water will start inundating low-level areas along the banks.

There is also the question of water quality. Mr. Balasubramanian says water with hyacinth becomes unfit for aquatic life as it sucks out oxygen.

It also affects life of other plants.

Shortage of funds

The Bhavani Sagar division of Public Works Department, which is in-charge of maintaining the river, says it is short of funds. There is a shortage of funds, says an officer, who adds that after the division wrote to the government to take up the cleaning work, it got Rs. 2 lakh, which is inadequate.

The officer further says that the division will soon take up the cleaning work, which will happen after workers doing a similar work in Udhagamandalam arrive.

Mr. Balasubramanian suggests that the PWD officials make use of the hyacinth to generate gas using biomethanation and use the waste as manure, or pulp it to manufacture paper.

Karthik Madhavan from THE HINDU

India – Erode – Delay in water release brings down area under paddy cultivation

Farmers left with no option but to wait for samba season

ERODE: Paddy cultivation in areas under Kalingarayan Canal is down by at least 5,000 hectares. At least that is what sources in the Agriculture Department are telling ‘The Hindu’.

The sources attribute the reason to the delay in releasing water into Kalingarayan Canal. “The delay worried farmers, who hesitated to start paddy cultivation.”

Hard times: Delay in release of water into Kalingarayan Canal has brought down paddy cultivation.

Hard times: Delay in release of water into Kalingarayan Canal has brought down paddy cultivation.

In June this year, before the start of the Kuruvai season, the Public Works Department was unsure of releasing water into the irrigation channel because of the poor storage position in the Bhavani Sagar Dam.

Following pressure from farmers, who sought water to save standing crops, the department agreed to release water for about 20 days as special wetting. It released the water on June 25.

At the time of the water release, farmers, under the impression that the water would flow for only 20 days, did not prepare land for paddy cultivation. They focused only on saving sugarcane.

But then, within 10 days of the department opening the shutters, monsoon activity picked up in the Nilgris, which lead to a good inflow into the Bhavani Sagar Dam.

The storage position increased to such an extent that the department continued to release water. The farmers, caught unawares, were left with no choice but to wait for the samba season.

This delay in releasing water into the canal, poor storage in the dam and other factors contributed to farmers not starting sowing, says V.M. Velayudham, president, Kalingarayan Canal Farmers Association. He says had the farmers known that the dams storage position would improve and department would release water, they would have gone ahead and tilled and prepared the land to raise paddy nursery.

The farmers are keeping their fingers crossed and hoping that the samba season will be good with rains in time to get a good harvest.

By Karthik Madhavan – THE HINDU