Improving the capacity of irrigation canals

Nandur Madhyameshwar
Improving the capacity of irrigation canals

NASHIK: The canals constructed during the pre-independence period are narrowing due to the shrubs, weeds along the sides. As a result, the water-flowing capacity of the left and right canals of the Nandur Madhyameshwar weir has reduced significantly.

The agricultural experts are demanding repairs and reconstruction of these canals on the part of the irrigation department. At the confluence of Godavari, Kadava, and Darna rivers at Nandur Madhyameshwar, the British had sanctioned the construction of a 1-km long reservoir in 1889 and started the actual work. The construction work was completed in 1905 using stone, lime, and clay.

At that time, the water storage capacity of the dam was 1050 million cubic feet, but now, due to the accumulation of a large amount of silt in the dam, the water storage capacity of the dam has come down to only 250 mcft.

After construction of the dam, construction of right and left canals on both sides of the dam was started, and the carrying capacity of the 119-km long right canal was increased to 550 cusecs. The carrying capacity of a 90-km long left canal was also increased to 300 cusecs. The work of these two canals was completed by 1915 and in 1916 water was released into these two canals for the first time.

Due to these canals, agriculture flourished in Niphad, Yeola, Sinnar, Kopargaon, and Rahata talukas. The water was also used by major cities, sugar factories, and industrial estates. The canals irrigated thousands of hectares. But now, more than 100 years later, these canals are in dilapidated condition.

The Irrigation Department only repaired the bridges. As a result, the water carrying capacity of these two canals has been halved due to the erosion of the canal side and the emergence of water weeds (PanvelI), babhli shrubs grown in the canals.

Even though the canals are closed today, it is still half full. This means that the water in the canal is conserved due to the rocks, stones, and ups and downs in the canal. In many places, the filling of these two canals has become weak. So they can develop cracks anytime and anywhere. These canals have burst many times before. But time is being wasted by temporary repairs.

To reduce seepage & increase velocity of water flow

Naturally, both these canals need to be reconstructed and repaired to increase their carrying capacity. Also, the canals and sub-canals of these canals have become extinct and efforts have to be made to provide the benefits of canal water to the concerned farmers by renewing them. Irrigation institutes were also working on this canals.

However, due to rising electricity bills and exhausted water supply, these institutions have become non-functional. Recognising the importance of water scarcity in the future, the Irrigation Department and the farmers need to make efforts to make these institutions functional.

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