After nearly 10 years water overflows from the Kuniamuthur Small Tank through the surplus channel on the eastern side, just west of Palakkad Road, towards Kurichi Tank. The Small Tank is full as the Sengulam Tank that feeds it is also nearly overflowing.

But, all is not well at the surplus channel where water flow is curtailed due to heavy encroachment.

Activists, who clean tanks, say that the channel that measures about 30 feet on records in reality is less than five feet wide. There is a warehouse storing plastic goods including waste from hospitals, tile factory and house attached to a firewood shop, all of which measuring 100 to 120 m length have reduced the width.

Siruthuli Apex Committee member K. Mylswami says if the officials were to remove the encroachments, it will result in increased flow through the channel to Kurichi Tank, which is getting water from River Noyyal through the Kurichi Channel.

More water in the Kurichi Tank will result in increased percolation, resulting in improved groundwater storage in the southern side of the city.

But, all is not well on Saturday night as the water level increased rapidly in the 255-acre Sengulam and 25-acre Small Tank, raising concern among residents and farmers in localities in Kuniamuthur.

The work to strengthen the two tanks’ bunds using sand bags started late on Saturday night and ended in the small hours of Sunday, says P. Chenniappan, a Kuniamuthur resident, who helped in supplying the bags and men.

The Public Works Department officials say as the water level increased, the department opened the irrigation sluices on the southern side of Sengulam to release water into the Manjuvaikal and maintain water level in the tanks.

The use of sand bags was more of a precautionary measure to reassure residents.

Meanwhile, on Sunday morning, Municipal Administration Minister S.P. Velumani visited the tanks and also saw the water flowing through the encroached surplus channel.

He later told
The Hindu
that he had asked the Public Works Department officials to do the needful to remove the encroachments at the earliest and promised alternative housing to the occupants of the houses along the channel.

The officials say that work to measure the extent of encroachments has begun, but the actual eviction can begin only after the water flow recedes in the channel.

The activists say the PWD should carry out the work sooner than later because the water inflow into the Sengulam and Small Tank is because of the South-West Monsoon in River Noyyal catchments.

If Coimbatore were to receive more rains, particularly the two tanks’ catchments – Ayyasamy hillock, Kovaipudur, Sundakkamuthur and Perur Chettipalayam – the water flow into the tanks will be heavy, resulting in flooding.

Therefore, the work should be taken up at the earliest.

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