Tamil Nadu has bagged the first place in the best State (normal) category in the National Water Awards, 2019, presented by the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
The construction of 100 checkdams and anicuts, the stabilisation of the command area to the extent of 2.85 lakh hectares through ‘Kudimaramathu’ and the coverage of over 2 lakh hectares through micro-irrigation are among the factors for the recognition, officials said.
The awards are presented in 16 categories, including best State, best district, best village panchayat, best urban local body, best research/innovation/new technology and best education. Each category has sub-categories in different zones of the country, a release said.
The check-dams and similar storage structures were built at a cost of ₹1,000 crore during 2019-20. Various schemes led to the creation of about 3,650 hectares of command area.
Performance in micro-irrigation, which was accomplished through the Agriculture and Agricultural Engineering Departments, was cited to support the State’s claim for the award, said an official of the Public Works Department (PWD).
The implementation of the Athikadavu-Avinashi project, a long-standing lift irrigation and drinking water supply scheme to benefit Coimbatore, Tiruppur and Erode districts, also came in handy for officials to substantiate their claim. Nearly one half of the project has been carried out.
The execution of the Therovy Kandigai reservoir on the outskirts of Chennai, which will be the fifth storage point for the city’s water requirements, was also cited. Now ready for commissioning, the reservoir will have a storage of 500 million cubic feet.
Apart from local catchment, it can receive water from the Satyamurti Sagar in Poondi through a newly laid canal, the PWD official said, adding that the presence of numerous roof-top rainwater harvesting structures, taken up with the help of local bodies, also supported the State’s application.
Under the best district category in the south zone, Vellore and Karur were awarded the first and second spots respectively in the sub-category of revival of river. Perambalur came second in the water conservation category.
The Sasthavinathur village panchayat, Thoothukudi, stood first in the water conservation category. The Madurai Municipal Corporation was awarded the first place in the best urban local body category.
The awards distribution ceremony will be held on November 11 and 12 through a virtual platform.