Farmers seek release of adequate water for cash crops

With the storage at the Mettur reservoir remaining above the 100 feet mark, farmers representatives in Tiruchi district have appealed to the State government to ensure release of adequate water to meet the requirements of standing cash crops such as banana, sugarcane and betelvine till May.

At present, about 1,500 cusecs of water was being discharged from Mettur to meet the drinking water requirements of towns and cities downstream.

Farmers are now demanding that the quantum of release be sustained through the non-Mettur season to irrigate banana, betelvine, and sugarcane crops that are irrigated by the 17 irrigation canals running between Mettur dam and Kallanai.

The Tiruchi district secretary of the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, Ayilai Siva.Suriyan, in a statement, pointed out that normally about 1,500-3000 cusecs of water would be released in the Cauvery to meet the drinking water requirements and to irrigate the annual crops fed by the irrigation canals. “The water will normally be released in the canals continuously or adopting a turn system till May 10. Water will be released for this purpose even when the storage is less than 40 feet in the dam,” Mr. Siva.Suriyan said.

However, over the past decade, only about 500-1000 cusecs was being released during the non-Mettur season citing poor storage at the dam. Though for the past three years, the storage has been above 100 feet, the demand of the farmers has not been accepted and only meagre quantum of water was being released for drinking water purposes periodically. Owing to this, the area of coverage of annual crops has shrunk drastically and summer paddy cultivation has completely stopped, he said.

Taking into consideration the losses sustained by farmers due to the unseasonal rain and the pandemic, the government should ensure the release of adequate quantum of water to meet requirements of farmers dependent on the irrigation canals including the Uyyakondan and Kattalai High Level canals, till May 10, he said.

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