SALEM: Farmers in Salem district now have a reason to celebrate: 103 waterbodies in the district have attained their full capacity so far, clearing the irrigation needs for around a year of farming. The inflow of water to the water bodies have increased as the district has witnessed rains in regular intervals for the past two months.
Many lakes and ponds which had remained dry for years have received water following heavy rains in this month. Mettur dam which reached its full capacity of 120 ft helps irrigate farmlands through canals.
Till 6 pm on Sunday, November 21, 2021, of the three water bodies maintained by the SCMC, one reached 75 per cent of its capacity, one less than 50 per cent, while the third one was still dry. Of those maintained by panchayats, 43 reached full capacity; 38 attained 75 per cent of capacity; 17 reached 50 per cent of capacity; 78 had less than 50 per cent of water, and 100 waterbodies were still dry. Of the 44 waterbodies maintained by town panchayats, three attained their full capacity, two filled to 50 per cent of capacity, 24 with less than 50 per cent of capacity, and 15 water bodies remained dry.
Of the 18 waterbodies maintained by PWD, 10 water bodies, including Mettur, dam attained its full capacity, one filled to 75 per cent of capacity, one with less than 50 per cent, while six still remained dry. Of the 89 waterbodies maintained by PWD Sarabanga, 47 attained their full capacity, two filled to 75 per cent of capacity, four with 50 per cent, 32 with less than 50 per cent water and four remained dry.
In total, 103 waterbodies in the district attained their full capacity, 42 reached 75 per cent of capacity, 23 had 50 per cent, and 136 had less than 50 per cent. A total of 126 waterbodies still remained dry.
A senior PWD official said most of the waterbodies that remained dry were either ponds or tanks as water inflow was disrupted by encroachments. "However, lakes which are the main source of water for farming in the district have sufficient water and all lakes are expected to brim in the coming days if the rains continue," he said.
Suresh, a farmer at Kuppanur, said farm wells were filled thanks to the recent copious rains and the water would be sufficient for small farmers to perform agricultural activities for a year.
Collector S Karmegam told TNIE that the district received 100 mm more rainfall during Southwest Monsoon while the average rainfall in the district during the monsoon was 440 mm. "Similarly, the Northeast Monsoon average is 370.50 mm rainfall. This year, till the second of November alone, we had received 360.03 mm. Till the second week of November, cultivation of paddy, sugarcane, cotton and cereals had taken place in 1.80 lakh hectares. Similarly, on behalf of the Horticulture department, crops like fruits and vegetables are cultivated in 60,949 hectares," he added.
430: Total number of water bodies in the district
No of water bodies Maintenance authority
3 Salem City Municipal Corporation (SCMC)
44 town panchayats
18 Public Works Department (PWD)
89 PWD Sarabanga