VELLORE: After a decade, the district’s largest water-body - Kaveripakkam Tank - now has surplus water cheering the farming community around Kaveripakkam in the hope that it will recharge hundreds of dry farm wells in a radius of 20 kms and raise ground water levels.
The tank which spreads over 1,575 acres of land with overflowing water last filled up in 2005. Before that period, the tank received surplus water in 2001, according to farmers who converged on the bund of the giant tank maintained by the Public Works Department (PWD).
The water level rose to 29.6 feet as against its full capacity of 30.6 feet at 9 am on Wednesday. Since then, 1,000 cusecs of water was released from the tank into Kosasthalai River.
“At present, the tank has 1,474 million cubic feet (mcft) of water. It will recharge the ground water and farm wells in a 20 km radius and ensure sufficient water for both irrigation and drinking water for the next three years,” Executive Engineer (EE) of the Water Resources Organisation (WRO), PWD, P Anbarasu told Express.
Rain water from Pundi, Sumaithangi, Chinna Samuthiram and surrounding areas gushed into the tank following incessant rain in the last two weeks.
The farmers, however, said that silt in the tank had reduced the water storage capacity of the tank by not less than 200 mcft. The PWD did not take up cleaning and desilting of tanks for several years.
“In 2011-2012, we had taken up the tank’s bund strengthening work. The department did not take up desilting and deepening of Kaveripakkam tank due to lack of fund allocation from the government,” said an official.
Banana plantations and paddy crops cultivated in hundreds of acres of land inside the tank by farmers, after obtaining conditional patta from PWD, were inundated following heavy inflow of water into the tank.
“The farmers obtained conditional patta to raise crops when the tank remained dry. It was in practice for more than six decades,” said the official.
PWD officials further said that over 60 percent of the tanks surplus water. Of the total 519 tanks, the water level has touched the 100 percent level in 326 tanks. Of the remaining tanks, the water level touched 75 percent in 83 tanks and 50 percent in 73 tanks. A total of 37 tanks has less than 50 percent water as against the storage capacity.
Mordhana Reservoir (storage capacity 261.36 mcft) and Andiappanur Reservoir (full capacity of 112.20 mcft) received surplus water following the two-week long rainfall, while Rajathoppu Reservoir has been just 1.5 feet away from its full capacity of 24.5 feet, further said the official.