WHILE the recent rains have left rivers in spate and thousands of acres of farmlands flooded across the State, the farmers of Villupuram are facing a unique predicament — the two biggest checkdams built across their lifeline, the Thenpennai river, suffered damage and were not able to store much rainwater. They watched helplessly as lakhs of liters of water drained into the sea, instead of being stored in checkdams and used for irrigation and replenishing groundwater resources.
The Ellis Chatram checkdam was built in 1950 and was only expected to have a lifespan of 60 years. So it wasn’t very surprising when it sustained damage recently after serving the district for 71 years. With a length of more than a kilometre and a capacity of 0.5 TMC, the dam located at Thiruvennainallur taluk is easily the largest in the district. With the right sluice gate damaged, water was redirected to the left abutment.
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