it out An old project that was put on the back burner, deserves relook, say experts In 1969, the government evolved a scheme to im pound 7.4 tmc water from the upper reaches of Vaigai river to benefit Virudhunagar and other areas in irrigation and provide drinking water.
The project did not re quire consent of any upper riparian State as the river originates and ends within Tamil Nadu.
Called the Azhagar val ley project, it was dropped in 1976 Green light In this link (Kattalai) no major environmental issues are involved. No waterlogging is expected since the canal runs through water short areas.
Rather, it will be beneficial in recharging the groundwater in the region — National Water Development Agency, Union Water Resources Ministry The total renewable water resources as of 2001 correspond to about 1820 kilo litres (KL) of water per person per year. The population of India is expected to stabilize at around 1500-1800 million by 2050 when the per capita availability of water would further come down to nearly 60 per cent of the availability in 2001. At that time, the per capita availability in the Brahmaputra basin would still be around 9000 KL and in the Sabarmati basin below 200 KL. This is against the minimum requirement of 1000 KL per person per year.
— Excerpts from a paper prepared by the Task Force on Interlinking of Rivers in the country Inter-State water disputes and the political agendas of State governments on managing water resources have put the ambitious programme of creating a national river water grid on the back burner. But Tamil Nadu decided to give it a push. On June 25 this year, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi took the first step to create a State river water grid by launching a project to build a barrage on the Cauvery at Kattalai in Tiruchy.
The idea is to maximise use of water resources by diverting Cauvery floodwater from Kattalai to the Agniar, South Vellar, Manimuthar, Vaigai and Gundar rivers, through a 255 km long gravity link canal. The canal will also link Ariyar and Koriyar, two tributaries of the Cauvery.
This will help cultivation in 2,20,424 acres in four droughtprone districts - Pudukottai, Sivaganga, Ramanathapuram and Virudhunagar. The capacity of the proposed canal is 6,300 cusecs and its alignment is almost the same as that proposed by the National Water Development Agency (NWDA).
The project requires 2,228 hectare patta land, 40 hectare forestland and 1,416 hectare poramboke land. The land is yet to be acquired.
The project is to be implemented in three phases. First, the Kattalai barrage will come up, which will serve as the headwork structure for the link canal. Next, the canal will be constructed from Kattalai barrage up to Manimuthar river in Sivaganga district. Finally, the link canal will be extended from Manimuthar to Gundar.
The whole project is expected to cost Rs 3,750 crore. The State government wants the Union Government to foot 90 per cent of the bill. The Centre has already agreed to provide funds for intra-linking of rivers in states under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme. The cost of constructing the Kattalai barrage alone has been pegged at Rs 165 crore.
According to the NWDA, no major environmental issues are involved in this link. "No waterlogging is expected since the canal runs through water-short areas. Rather, it will be beneficial in recharging the groundwater in the region."
The Kattalai barrage will create a small reservoir of 1.04 tmcft capacity. The 255 km link canal can carry 5.4 tmcft of water over 10 days in a year.
The project will create employment opportunities for thousands of people. It will also help recharge the groundwater aquifers in the region.
Tamil Nadu has taken the lead in building intra-river water links. Perhaps other water deficient states can take a leaf out of the State's book.
Tomorrow: Experts’ take Projects in pipeline LINKING THE 1 PENNAIYAR WITH THE CHEYYAR The proposal envisages a 25 km link canal to connect the Pennaiyar with the Palar through the Cheyyar in Tiruvanna malai district. The gravity canal will originate from the Sathanur reservoir and end at the Cheyyar on the down stream side of Alathur Anaicut. The ca pacity of the proposed canal is 3,070 cusecs. The canal can carry 265 mcft surplus water in a day. The scheme will benefit over 46,000 acre in the region.
715.47 ACRE PROJECT COST: AROUND RS 176 CRORE THAMIRABARANI 2 TRIBUTARIES, KARUMENIYAR AND NAMBIYAR It links two tributaries of the Thamirabarani — Pachaiyar and Kodumudiyar — and interlinks the Karumeniyar and Nambiyar river basins through canals. It aims to tap the dependable flood surplus at Kannadian anaicut without af fecting the existing irrigation water that is used from the Thamirabarani. It will benefit 23,040 hectare in the region. The groundwater level in the nearby wells will also be recharged.