KOCHI: Finance Minister has announced a Rs 500-crore package for desilting dams and canals, river protection and allied conservation projects. As the first phase, Rs 50 crore has been set aside in the budget.
The project includes desilting of dams, protecting canal banks, construction of mangrove barriers along coastal areas, removal of low-level bunds to facilitate free flow of water in flood plains, dredging of river and making temporary storage mechanisms by creating water retention areas by interlinking lakes, irrigation canals and backwaters.
The departments of water resources, environment and local self-government will collectively implement the comprehensive project. “The KSEB has drawn an action plan for desilting dams,” said KSEB chairman N S Pillai. “The Central Water Commission will conduct a study on the quantity of silt accumulated in big dams like Idukki and Edamalayar. A standard operating procedure has been developed to assess the silt accumulation in these dams after which the desilting process will be completed in a time-bound manner,” he said.
The KSEB will conduct a study on desilting small dams.The irrigation department has taken up a project to desilt seven dams. “A Hyderabad-based company had started desilting the Mangalam dam in December, 2020. The Kerala Irrigation Infrastructure Development Corporation has taken up the desilting of Chulliyar dam while the Kerala Mineral Development Corporation is assessing the silt accumulation in Walayar and Meenkara dams. We are conducting bathymetry study to assess the depth of other dams,” said irrigation department chief engineer Alex Varghese.
According to a study, the Peechi dam has lost 12.5% of its capacity to sediment accumulation.
The Walayar dam has 16.5% sediment accumulation while the storage of Kuttiyadi dam has been reduced by 36.65%. Malampuzha has 27.46% sediment accumulation and Kanjirappuzha 24.76%.