THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala has decided to try out a Goan model in water conservation to combat future droughts. A meeting convened by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan decided to construct ‘Bandharas,’ a type of dams to enable better conservation.
In the first phase, Bandharas will be constructed on five rivers and their tributaries. More than 400 Bandharas are currently operational in Goa, the government said. The selected rivers in Kerala in phase one are Thoothapuzha and Bhavani in Palakkad, Chandragiri in Kasargod, Panamaram in Wayanad and Achenkovil in Pathanamthitta. It is estimated the state can save up to 1,938 crore litres of water once the construction is completed.
The government has decided to experiment with Bandharas on the recommendation of a committee headed by Terrence Antony, Chief Engineer, Irrigation Department (IDRB). The panel also included V M Sunil (mission monitoring team), Abraham Koshi, consultant, Haritha Keralam Mission and five other engineers of the Irrigation Department. The project will be implemented by the Water Resources Department with the support of the Haritha Keralam Mission. It is constructed by erecting pillars in the river at two-metre intervals and adding a shutter made of fibre-reinforced plastic. Depending on the depth of the river, Bandharas are constructed every 5-6 km.
The main cause of drought in the state is not a decrease in rainfall rather the state’s inability to store water. Rainwater quickly washes away into the sea because of the peculiar geographical characteristics of the state.