1. Agriculture World

Delayed Monsoon and Shortage of Water Affects Farmers of Cumbom Valley in Tamil Nadu

Aiswarya R Nair
Aiswarya R Nair

With a delayed monsoon, the Mullaperiyar dam has faced an acute shortage of water leading to a crisis in four districts of the Cumbom valley in Tamil Nadu. As per the data of the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department, the Mullaperiyar water level was 112 ft as compared to the maximum level of 142 ft as of now. An official said water could be released for farming only when the water level went above 118 ft to ensure 120 days of continuous water to the paddy fields.

Usually, by June 1, 600 cusecs of water are released through the four penstock pipes to the districts of Theni, Madurai, Sivaganaga, and Ramnad. As per the PWD norms, when the water level falls below 116 ft, water will be released so as to meet the drinking requirements of the people. However, Tamil Nadu cannot draw water from the dam when the level dips below 104 ft.

For the second time in a decade, the first paddy crop is affected due to shortage of water. As per official data, in 2019, there was a gap of March-end to August in releasing water and in Theni district, only 25 per cent of the 14,915 ha of paddy cultivation could use the water.

The delay in rainfall and release of water will affect the first crop. According to farmers in Cumbom, due to shortage of water, they have to keep the land idle. Water from the Mullaperiyar dam is used for power generation at Lower Periyar and the tailwater is stored at the Vaigai dam to meet the lean season.

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