Water is the precious gift of nature to humankind and millions of other species living on the earth.
Tamil Nadu constitutes 4% of India’s land area and is inhabited by 6% of India’s water resources.More than 95% of the surface water and 80% of the ground water have already been put into use Major uses of water include human/animal consumption, irrigation and industrial use.The state is heavily dependent on monsoon rains.The annual average rainfall is around 930mm(47% during the northeast monsoon.35% during the southwest monsoon.14% in summer and 4% in winter).
Surface water resources and numbers
Multipurpose River Valley projects
Multipurpose River Valley projects are basically designed for the development of irrigation for agriculture and hydropower generation.However ,they are used for many other purposes as well.
The Mettur Dam was constructed in a gorge ,where river cauvery enters the plains.It is one of the oldest dam in India .It provides irrigation to Salem,Erode ,Karur, Tiruchirappalli, Thanjavur,Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts for about 2,71,000 acres of farmland.The dam,Park,major Hydroelectric power stations and hills on all sides make this dam an important tourist spot.
Bhavani Sagar Dam
The Bhavani Sagar Dam is located 80km away from Coimbatore city in the district of Erode.It has been constructed across the river Bhavani.This dam is one of the biggest earthen dams in the country.
The Amaravathi dam is situated 25km away from Udumalpet in Tirupur district.The dam has been constructed across the river Amaravathi,a tributary of Cauvery.The dam was built primarily for irrigation and flood control.A small hydropower station has also been installed recently.This reservoir is notable for the significant population of mugger Crocodiles.It is also a familiar tourist spot.
Krishnagiri dam is situated at a distance of 7km from Krishnagiri towards Dharmapuri.This dam drains an area of 5428 sq.km.This is a famous tourist spot too.This dam is flooded with tourists during the weekends.
Sathanur Dam was constructed across the river Thenpennai in Chengam taluk.It is in the midst of Chennakesava hills.The water -holding capacity of the dam is 7321 million cubic feet(full level:119 feet).About 7183 hectares of land is drained by the left bank canal and 905 hectares by the right bank canal of this dam.It irrigates the land in Thandrampet and Tiruvannamalai blocks.There is also a large crocodile farm and a fish grotto.Parks are maintained inside the dam for tourists and the gardens are used by the film industry.
Mullaperiyar dam was built by the British administration in 1895.It has been constructed on the Periyar river,which originates from Thekkady hills of Kerala.The dam was built mainly for watering the farming land of Tamilnadu ,which is perennially drought-prone.Though the dam is located in the state of Kerala,most of its water is used to irrigate Tamil Nadu.The dam is 175feet in height and 1200 feet.
This dam bulit across the river vaigai nera Andipatti.The dam with a height of 111 feet can store water up to 71 feet.It is located 7km from Andipatti and 70km from Madurai.This dam has a unique garden that deserves the surname ‘Little Brindavan’.It is a popular picnic spot in Theni district.
Manimuthar Dam is located about 47km from Tirunelveli.The gorgeous garden of the dam is located about 5km from the dam and is accessible boating and waterfalls are additional tourist attractions near the dam.
The Papanasam Dam
It is also known as karaiyar dam and is located about 49km away from Tirunelveli.The dam is used to irrigate 34,861 hectares of land in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts.It generates 28MW of hydro power.
Parampikulam Aliyar project
It is a joint venture of Tamil Nadu and Kerala states.It envisages the construction of seven interconnected reservoirs by harnessing the water of seven rivers,which include major rivers of parambikulam and Aliyar.Parappalar project is located nera Ottanchatram.Its stroage capacity is 167 million cubic feet of water.It is about 75km from Madurai and is in Palani taluk.
Surface water Resources
The total surface water potential of the state is about 24,864 mcm.(million cubic metre).There are 17 major river basins in the state with 81 reservoirs and about 41,262 tanks.Most of the surface water ha already been tapped, primarily for irrigation, where water use is largest.An area of 24 lakh hectraes of the land are irrigated by surface water though major,medium an minor schemes.
Ground water Resources
The utilizable groundwater resource of the state is 22,423 mcm.The current level of utilization of water is about 13,558 mcm which is about 60 percent of the available recharge,while about 8875mcm(40 percent)is the balance available for use.
Water Resource Management
Water resource management is the activity of planning,developing,distributing and managing the optimum use of water resources.The demand for water in Tamil Nadu is increasing at a fast rate both due to increasing population and also due to larger per capita needs triggered by economic growth.The per capita availability of water resources is just 900 cubic metres when compared to the nationl average of 2,200 cubic metres.Agriculture is the largest consumer of water in the state using 75% of the state’s water resources.Demands from other sectors such a domestic and industries have been growing significantly.The state is heavily dependent on monsoon rains.Dince the state is entirely dependent on rains for recharging its water resources,monsoon failures lead to acute water scarcity and severe droughts .So,it is important to save water for us and the future generation.