Cultivable lands under all four reaches to receive water this year
In what could be the most soothing news of New Year for farming communities and water managers of Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts, the 62-year-old Manimuthar Dam now overflows with the largest reservoir reaching the maximum capacity of 118 feet.
As the 2.80-km-long dam with 5,511 million cubic feet storage capacity overflows after two years, cultivable lands under all four reaches of the reservoir up to Sattankulam in Thoothukudi district are likely to get enough water to recharge groundwater in a big way though more than 50% of farmers in tail-end regions will not go in for cultivation of crops, especially paddy.
In Manimuthar irrigation system, having four irrigation areas being fed by as many reaches, water will be released in alternate pattern. If the first two reaches receive water this year, the remaining will get water in the next year. Water will be released in all reaches whenever the dam overflows.
When the northeast monsoon started on a dull and delayed note last November, water was released to lands under the third and fourth reaches as it was in the first two reaches in 2019. As water level steadily moved up, farmers with lands under the first two reaches started demanding release of water to their areas too. And water managers assured them that their demand would be fulfilled only if the dam’s storage level became comfortable.
Since the dam now overflows, even as intermittent drizzle drenches catchment areas even in January, three of the seven surplus shutters have been opened. Hence, cultivable lands under all four reaches will get water this year.
“If the influx of water, which now stands just over 2,000 cusecs, increases substantially, all seven surplus shutters will be opened,” said a senior official of the Public Works Department.
Since water from Papanasam Dam has been released since November last for pisanam paddy cultivation, the district is all set to enjoy bumper harvest this year.
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