Irrigation
While Vaigai Dam has been ordered open for a period of 120 days, CM Edappadi Palaniswami urged farmers to be judicious in their use of water.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami announced on Saturday that the Vaigai dam in Theni district will be opened from August 20.

It is hoped that the dam, which has been ordered open for a period of 120 days, would help irrigate lands along the Periyar as well as the Thirumangalam Main Canal.

According to a statement released by the Chief Minister, the move is a response to requests from resident in the areas.

However, it is also to be noted that the water level in the dam crossed 66 feet on Friday, following which a preliminary flood alert was issued. The maximum storage level of the dam is 71 feet.

The water would be released at a speed of 1,130 cusecs per second thereby helping to irrigate 85,563 acres along the Periyar River and 19,439 acres along the Thirumangalam Main Canal.

This would facilitate the irrigation of 1,05,002 acres of crops in Madurai, Dindigul and Sivagangai districts.

The Chief Minister also requested farmers to be judicious in their use of the water.

EPS is also expected to visit flood-affected areas on Sunday. He would be visiting Bhavani, Komarapalayam, Pallipalayam and Karungalpalayam followed by a review meeting with officials at the Erode circuit house.

While Theni district collector Pallavi Baldev had assured residents that emergency preventive materials were available at the dam, Madurai district collector K Veera Raghava Rao asked those in low lying areas along the Vaigai to move to safety.

Water from the Vaigai dam was last released in November last year, following a five-hour protest. Farmers, primarily from the single crop area, had petitioned the government for release of water. However, water was only released on the PT Rajan and Thanthai Periyar Canals. The farmers from Melur in Madurai district then staged a five-hour protest on the Madurai Chennai highway, demanding that water be released to Periyar and Thirumangalam Main Canal as well.