Farmers have expressed concern that due to lack of barrages across the Bavani river, 5 to 10 TMC of water is wasted during heavy rains and enters the Cauvery into the sea. They wanted construction of barrages in the river as in Cauvery River.
Bavani River, one of the tributaries of the Cauvery River, originates in the Kunta Hills of the Nilgiris District, flows into Kerala via Mukkali, reaches the Attappady Valley and then re-enters Tamil Nadu via Athikadavu. In Kerala it flows a total of 22 km distance only. Most of the area is in forest. In the area, the Kerala government has built barrages at 6 places namely Thekuvattai, Manjakandi, Saliyaur, Seerakadavu, Padavayal and Savadiyur in the last 3 years.
The river flows a total of 217 km in TN upto Kuduthurai, Bavani. Bavani River is a source of drinking water for the cities of Coimbatore, Mettupalayam and Tirupur through the Pillur Dam. Apart from that, it is a source of irrigation for two and a half lakh acres in Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode and Karur districts.
Bavanisagar Dam was constructed across Bavani River in 1956. Through this 120-feet high dam, irrigation projects including Kizhbavani, Kalingarayan, Thadapally, Arakankottai are being carried out. The Bavani River flows into the Cauvery River at Kuduthurai via the Kalingarayan check Dam at Bavani after crossing Sathyamangalam, Kodiveri, Gobi, Athani, Appakodal, Jambai below the Bavanisagar Dam. It travels
92 km from Bavanisagar Dam to Bhavani Kuduthurai. The storage capacity of Bavanisagar dam is 32.5 TMC and 10 percent of it is silt.
When the dam is full, the water from the dam is wasted in the Bavani and Cauvery rivers. The source of water for the dam is the rainwater that falls during the rainy season. For 15 years in the last 25 years, 5 TMC to 10 TMC of surplus water has been discharged into the Cauvery River every year.
However, Kizhbhavani, Thadapalli, Arakkankottai and Kalingarayan irrigation canals are unable to open water due to lack of sufficient water in the dam.
The excess water of the dam is discharged to Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagai districts during the rainy season and gets wasted in the sea without any benefit to the people of those districts. In this case, the surplus water of Bavani river coming from Bavanisagar Dam every year can be prevented from mixing in the sea in vain if barrages are constructed across the river.
During the previous AIADMK regime, the public works department conducted a study to find out where barrages can be constructed in the river and planned to build the dams at 5 places namely Arakankottai, Alathukombai, Vaniputhur, Athani and Periyamolapalayam.
Two check dams were constructed two years ago in Atthani and Periyamolalayam. The farmers have alleged that the dam was disappeared due to sand cover as only a 1.5 meter (about 5 feet) high check dam has been constructed.
In this regard, the Joint Secretary of the Kizhbavani Project Water Irrigation Farmers Federation, P.M. Venkatachalapathy said: There are no big dams or barrages to save water in the Bavani river except in Kodiveri Dam. It is a dam that diverts water for irrigation. Thus, even during the rainy season, the dam is unable to store water. An average of 5 to 10 TMC is wasted every three years in Bavani river. The excess water is wasted in the sea.
In particular, 21 TMC was wasted in 2018 and 7 TMC every year from 2019 to 2022 into the Cauvery. None of the farmers benefit from the surplus water that comes out like this. Hence, barrages can be built at every 15 km distance in the river below Bavanisagar dam.
The authorities conducted a survey 5 years ago regarding the construction of barrage and built check dams 2 years ago. They are not even 5 feet high. So, silt completely covered them. Due to this, the water does not stagnate there.
A total of Rs.100 crore is needed to build barrages at 5 places with 15 feet to 20 feet high. If the shutters are installed, water can be stored there and used for irrigation. Also, clean drinking water will be available and ground water level will also rise. The water will be used as per requirement for irrigation. Due to this, there will be water in the dam at all times.
Keeping this in mind, the barrages below Bavanisagar Dam up to Jambai should be constructed in Bavani river as in Cauvery River, he said.