1. Farm Mechanization

Small Irrigation Structures more useful; causes less damage to environment

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

As the availability of water and water level is decreasing day by day, construction of smaller irrigation structures are becoming essential. Recognition as a Heritage Irrigation Structure, which has come the way of the Sadarmatt anicut (diversion scheme) located at Medampally in Nirmal district of Telangana underlines the fact that irrigation can actually be done through smaller structures. The ongoing utility of the small structure — situated across a branch of Godavari on the left side about 50 km downstream of the mighty SRSP project near Medampalli village in Khanapur mandal - supports this point of view. 

Among the most significant reasons for taking up smaller projects is - elimination of damage caused to the environment. We know that larger projects cause vast destruction to the environment and lose their efficacy within a few decades after going operational. A parallel can be drawn between the heritage diversion plan and the Chanakha-Korata barrage that comes across the Penganga River to get a better view. Both Sadarmatt and Chanakha-Korata have a designed ayacut of 13,000 acres but the latter is being constructed at a huge cost of about Rs. 300 crore and the former can be built for as less as Rs. 30 or Rs. 40 crore even in these times. 

If compared, the expense for per-acre development of ayacut for Chanakha-Korata comes to about Rs. 2.30 lakh and that of Sadarmatt would come to Rs. 30,000. Most of the costing of an anicut would go towards land acquisition for canal system. The Penganga barrage will utilize about 5 tmcft of water while the much smaller Sadarmatt utilises over 4 tmcft of water, both in the rainy season. The latter can get operational comparatively much quickly as it involves much less construction and in comparison over two years have already passed and only about 50 percent of works are done on the Chanakha-Korata barrage. 

A senior Irrigation Engineer in Adilabad district said “Yes, the contention of smaller structures being more beneficial is correct.  There is need for topographical study for finding locations suitable for diversions schemes and also a comparative economic study as a rationale for doing so”.  He further stated that “There are many suitable locations for diversion schemes like the place of confluence of Swarnavagu stream with Godavari near Soan in Nirmal district. Though this stream feeds Sadarmatt, another anicut will be feasible at this spot”. Another engineer pointed out that before the governments of the day decided for construction of big dams, irrigation was done through much smaller diversion structures on local streams called mathadi.

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