Acute drinking water crisis haunting Theni district

Despite intermittent showers, marginal increase in Periyar dam level

THENI: Despite intermittent showers and marginal increase in storage level in Periyar dam, lifeline for Theni and four southern districts, acute drinking water crisis has been haunting several municipalities, town and village panchayats in the district for the past 15 days.

Many municipalities and town panchayats cannot supply drinking water to their residents even once in 10 days.

The quality of drinking water is not up to the mark. Water is turbid and brown, complain residents.

Mullaperiyar river alone supplies water to more than 25 drinking water projects. On an average, each municipality or town panchayat provides 70 to 90 litres per head a day.

With no water in the riverbed, several drinking water supply tanks sunk on Mullaperiyar bed are dry.

At present, Theni municipality supplies drinking water once in 10 days to many wards and 12 days to some remote wards. Similar trend prevails in Chinnamanur, Cumbum and Goodalur.

These municipalities too cannot supply water once a week.

Earlier, these municipalities had been supplying drinking water to residential colonies once in three days.

Poor quality of drinking water and shortage of supply boost sale of packaged drinking water in the district.

Environmentalists and naturalists feel that indiscriminate sand mining in the river is the main reason for the poor quality of water. Sand on the riverbed acts as sponge to improve groundwater, filters all contamination in the water and makes it clean.

With no sand in the bed, water flows on rocky surface without any natural purification process.

Sharp showers

But sharp showers that rocked the Cumbum valley on Thursday night brought some respite to people.

Public Works Department engineers release water through the Iraichal Bridge for drinking purpose only. But an acutely parched riverbed absorbs a sizable quantum of water released from the dam.

To improve drinking water supply, Theni municipality has sent proposals for a new drinking water project to meet the growing demand. The level in the Periyar dam on Friday stood at 109.8 feet.


Theni: Water level in dam rises by more than a foot in 24 hours

THENI: The water level in Vaigai dam rose by more than a foot in the last 24 hours, thanks to sudden spurt in inflow in to the dam. Water level stood at 31.40 feet in Vaiagai dam, 1.61 feet higher than the previous level of 29.79 feet on Saturday. Inflow into the dam was 841 cusecs and the discharge 41 cusecs.

Inflow into the dam shot up by over 800 cusecs on Sunday from just 204 cusecs on Saturday.

The flow in major rivers in the district was good.

Farmers in Cumbum Valley were very happy as the water level in Periyar dam touched 110 feet following steady increase in inflow into the dam and intermittent showers. But several parts of the district did not receive rain at all. Inflow into the dam was 185 cusecs and the discharge nil.

Rainfall recorded at various places at 8 a.m. on Sunday (in mm): Periyar 19, Thekkadi 4.2, Gudalur 1.2 Veerapandi 1. No rain was recorded in any other parts of the district.


Theni: Elephant sanctuary not a threat to livelihood of tribals, says Collector

Forest Minister N. Selvaraj met people on Tuesday assuring protection to their dwelling place, activities

THENI: Establishment of Periyar Elephant sanctuary on Megamalai will not affect tribal people at 50 villages including Thummagundu, Arasarai, Valiparai in Kadamalaigundu union on Varushanadu hill.

These villages do not come under the sanctuary area, said the District Collector, P. Muthuveeran.

Talking to press persons here on Wednesday, he said that 2,484 families had been living in these villages for the past 40 years.

Their living place and livelihood activities would be fully protected, he added.

People residing in these villages could use the lands that were under their control for a long time.

Status quo should be maintained.

They had the right to use this forest land only for their livelihood activities.

No fresh encroachment would be permitted.

Even sinking of bore wells and cutting of trees in the lands under their use would not be allowed.

The government had already identified 26,910 hectares of land on Suruli hills as part of Western Ghats covering Erasakkanaickanur, Mela Goodalur, Vannathiparai, Suruli areas only.


The fear-gripped people in 50 villages came to the Collectorate recently and staged an agitation demanding protection to their livelihood activities.

Forest Minister N. Selvaraj met people at these villages on Tuesday assuring protection to their dwelling place and livelihood activities.


Tamilnadu: 10 dams in southern districts overflowing

MADURAI: Ten out of the 32 dams in nine southern districts under the jurisdiction of the Water Resources Organisation, Madurai Region, of the Public Works Department have surplussed in the past few days.

Among the 7,287 irrigation tanks in the region, including eight districts and a portion of Dindigul district, 1,651 tanks are filled to the brim. Almost an identical number of tanks have water up to 75 per cent of their capacity.

Among the overflowing reservoirs, four each are in Theni and Tirunelveli districts. Vaigai, Shanmuganadi, Marudhanadi and Sothuparai dams in Theni district and Karupappandi, Gundar, Gadana and Ramanadi in Tirunelveli district have surplussed.

Both the districts, along the Western Ghats, have been largely benefited by the recent rain, says P. Ramamoorthy, Chief Engineer, WRO, Madurai Region.

The rain in the Western Ghats has also benefited the Mullaperiyar dam, which is just one foot short of overflowing.

The Marudhanadi dam in Dingidul and Sasthakoil dam in Virudhunagar district are the two others overflowing. Three major dams in Tirunelveli district — Papanasam, Manimuthar and Servalar — have significant storage.

Poor storage

However, the districts of Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga and Virudhunagar continue to have poor storage in the tanks.

Just three tanks (out of the total 1,115) in Sivaganga have water to their capacity. Eighteen (out of 342) tanks in Virudhunagar and 26 (out of 623) tanks in Ramanathapuram are full.

“We have sought the State government’s permission to fill the system tanks in Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram districts with (the 3,600 mcft of) Vaigai credit in the reservoir,” Mr. Ramamoorthy said.

Vaigai credit water, divided into 12 parts, is distributed among Madurai, Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram districts. While Sivaganga is eligible for three parts, Ramanathapuram gets seven. Madurai district is eligible for two parts.

As of now, the surplus water from the Vaigai dam is being used to fill the Big Tank in Ramanathapuram.


Theni: Water released for irrigation

From P.T. Rajan and other channels

THENI: Water has been released from the P.T. Rajan and Thanthai Periyar channels in Cumbum valley and also from the Shanmuganadhi channel in Uthamapalayam for irrigation of wet and dry crops, said Collector P. Muthuveeran.

After releasing water from the Shamuganadhi dam here on Monday, he said that the water was released from Periyar Vaigai Irrigation system in the valley for single crop in 5,146 acres – 468 acres of wet crops and 4,678 acres of dry crop areas – in Cumbum valley. Initially, 100 cusecs of water had been released. Water release would continue for next 120 days from Periyar dam in addition to the existing release of 200 cusecs. Chinnamanur, Seelayampatty, Veppampatti, Seepalakottai, Poomalaikundu, Tharmapuri, Thadicherry, Venkatachalpuram, Koduvilarpatty, Jangalpatti, Kovindanagaram and Balakrishnapuram would be benefited.

Later, he released water from the Shanmuganadhi reservoir to irrigate 1,018.17 acres of dry crop in second block on the same day. To begin with, 14.47 cusecs of water had been released. Water would be discharged in turn system from Shanuganadhi Reservoir for the next 62 days.

If the storage level depleted owing to the failure of monsoon in the catchments, water release would not be possible, he pointed out. With this release, five villages, including Erasakkanaickanur, Kanniservaipatty, Alagapuri, Velliammalpuram and Odaipatti, would be benefited.

The Public Works engineers had already released water for irrigation from Sothuparai and Manjalar Nadhi dams last week. Storage levels in all dams in the district had reached their total capacity owing to recent spell and flash floods in all major rivers, including Mullai Periyar River.

The level in the Periyar dam rose marginally to 134.8 feet (permissible level is 136 feet). Inflow in to the dam was 3,492 cusecs. But the discharge remained at 1,648 cusecs only.

The level remained static in the Vaigai dam, thanks to the massive discharge from the dam.

The storage level has been remaining in the same position at 69.06 for the past two days. Inflow into the dam was 4,074 cusecs and the discharge 3,492 cusecs.

Total rainfall recorded at various places in the district at 8 a.m. on Monday in mm:

Periyar dam 18.2, Thekkadi 18, Goodalur 14, Uthamapalayam 28, Veerapandi 16, Vaigai dam 18 and Shanmuga River dam 11.


Theni: Water released from two dams

THENI: Water was released from Sothuparai and Manjalar dams for irrigation and drinking on Wednesday.

The level in the Manjalar dam reached its total storage capacity of 55 feet (total height 57 feet).

Public Works Department engineers started discharging 1,840 cusecs into the river since Tuesday night.

Inflow to the dam was 2,010 cusecs. The Sothuparai dam has been overflowing for the past two days.

Releasing water from the Manjalar dam, Collector P. Muthuveeran said 100 cusecs of water – 60 cusecs for old ayacut and 40 cusecs for new ayacut — had been released.

A total of 5,259 acres — 3,386 acres under old ayacut and 1,873 acres under new ayacut — would benefit from the release.

A total of 3,148 acres in Theni district and 2,111 acres in Dindigul district will be irrigated.

With heavy flow in the Thalayaru, Varattaru, Kattaru and Moolayaru rivers, all originating from the Kodaikanal hill, the dam level touched its brim within 24 hours.

Sothuparai dam

Mr. Muthuveeran released 30 cusecs of water from the Sothuparai dam also for drinking and irrigation purposes.

Twenty-seven cusecs will be utilised for irrigating 2,865, acres, including 1,825 acres under the old ayacut and 1,040 acres under the new ayacut, in various villages in Periakulam taluk and three cusecs would be for drinking, he added.


Flood control room set up in Dindigul

DINDIGUL: A control room was set up at the collectorate with a toll free telephone service to get all flood related information and expedite relief measures, according to Collector M. Vallalar.

In a release here on Monday, he said that special staff had been deputed to man this room round the clock. People may contact the control room either through toll free telephone number 1077 or through another phone number 246 0320 to pass any information relating to flood and other calamities.

As torrential showers rocked the district for the second day, the level in several dams rose considerably. Two thousand cusecs of water has been released from Kudiraiyaru dam in Palani taluk, Varadhamanadhi dam has started over flowing since Sunday. Saveriammal (65) was killed when a house wall collapsed at Ulagampatti.

Torrential rains lashed Kodaikanal hill. Kodaikanal lake was overflowing. All falls including Silver Cascade and Pear Shola falls and Molayaru have high flow.

There were minor landslides in three places near Dum Dum Rock on Batlagundu-Kodaikanal Ghat Road. One tree fell on the road near Thekkanthottam. Highways department officials swung in to action and cleared the roads within two hours.

One earth moving equipment was stationed on the Ghat Road and special work force was kept ready to take up clearing operations quickly.

Total rain fall in the district 456.6 mm and average rain 50.73 mm. Rainfall recorded at various places at 8 a.m. on Saturday in Dindigul district in mm: Dindigul 10.7, Nilakottai 16.2, Vedasandur Tobacco Research Station 45.6 Vedasandur Taluk Office 41, Chatrapatti 4, Kodaikanal 130 and Kodaikanal Boat Club 124, and Palani 27. Natham 57.5.


Sothuparai dam has been over flowing since Sunday night as water level touched 127 feet.