Chennai: District administrators and water managers in Chennai are now identifying abandoned wells and groundwater sources in north Tamil Nadu to tap drinking water. Palar river basin, Veeranam tank, Manimangalam lake and Chengalpet Kolavai lake are the potential places the water managers are now examining amidst growing protest from the local farmers.
Chennai metro water authorities recently contacted the Kancheepuram PWD officials to help them by identifying water sources and also so expressed interest to tap water from sprawling Manimangalam lake which has a storage level of 11 feet of water against its total capacity of 18 feet. When contacted, PWD executive engineer P. Muthiah said that they were trying to help water managers from Chennai. But in the case of Manimangalam, the local farmers are depending on the water body for their livelihood. PWD will not accord permission to the metro water for tapping the water as the lake now serves as a livelihood for local farmers and 20 neighbouring villages, he added.
“We came to know about metro water looking for water resources in the entire Kancheepuram district is under drought and there are some lakes giving us respite. If the metro water draws water from these local bodies, the local villagers will be put through severe hardship,” said farmers R. Suman and M. Venugopal. Meanwhile, Kancheepuram collector P. Ponniah who conducted an inspection at Palar river basin last month also discussed constructing check dams across the river as it would help the state to recharge the ground water and then harvest during summer. However, the move by the collectorate has earned criticism from green activists. “Construction of check dams across rivers will only affect the catchment area of river basin reducing them into an artificial structure,” said green activist M. Gauthaman of Chinna Kancheepuram.