Sources said, the lake spread over an area of 5000 acres has been playing a key role in quenching the thirst of Chennai besides feeding crops directly in around 55,000 hectares in Chidambaram and 20,500 hectares in Kattumannarkoil along with irrigating several tail end part of the Delta region such as Bhuvanagiri, Kumaratchi, Parangipettai and Keerapalayam in Cuddalore district. The discharge from Mettur reaches the Veeranam lake through Kallanai in Thanjavur district.
On Friday evening, out of the total storage of 47.50 feet, the storage touched 47.37 feet (with the storage capacity of 1465 million cubic feet, 1433.41 mcft reached). While the inflow into the lake was 365 cusecs from Vadavar, the discharge was maintained at 59 cusecs to cater to the drinking water needs of Chennai city.
Sources said that the full capacity in the tank is a good sign as drinking water shortage may be unlikely in Chennai this year.
However, the farmers in the region were apprehensive that they may not be able to enjoy the full benefits of the good storage as the opening of the lake for irrigation had not so far commenced.
According to P Ravindran, State secretary of Tamil Nadu Farmers’ Federation, officials are keen on taking water to Chennai without supporting farmers of the region to enjoy the full capacity to utilize them for irrigation purpose. Since water was not released, tail end areas are struggling sans water for crops.