On Tuesday, a seven-member team led by Yashvir Singh, Economic Advisor, Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, visited different parts of Tiruchi district.
Accompanied by Collector S. Sivarasu, Mr. Singh inspected ongoing works at Manapparai, Vaiyampatti, Musiri, Thuraiyur and Uppilliyapuram. Team members visited other parts of the district to inspect construction of check dams, desilting of tanks and other works.
At a meeting with officials of Public Works department, Rural Development, TWAD Board, Agricultural Engineering, Corporation, Municipalities and Town Panchayats here on Monday, Mr. Singh had underlined the importance of adopting effective rainwater harvesting measures to improve ground water table.
Groundwater was available at an average depth of 11.88 metres in Tiruchi district in 2015. But it has gone down steadily to touch 22.84 metres this year, he said.
He urged the officials to utilise Jal Sakthi Abhiyan to create infrastructure for rainwater harvesting, especially in rural areas. Also farm ponds must be created and old tanks renovated.
He instructed officials of all departments to fully utilise the funds sanctioned for water management to create necessary infrastructure. The officials can also submit reports seeking funds for creating rainwater harvesting structures, and steps would be taken to get them from the Union government.
Mr. Singh suggested holding of essay writing, quiz, oratorical and other competitions on rainwater harvesting to sensitise school students and, through them, their parents. Voluntary organisations should be roped in to raise awareness by organising street plays and other means.
Last week, the Central team made an elaborate field survey in Perambalur district.
The team members, led by T. Rajeswari, Additional Secretary to Government, Ministry of Jalsakti, collected inputs on average rainfall in the district, irrigation structures, available infrastructure to store water, check dams, water tanks, defunct borewells and best practices of rainwater harvesting.
The team also held a meeting with district and officials of various departments such as Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Public Works, Agriculture, Agriculture Engineering and Forest, the Tamil Nadu Water and Drainage Board and reviewed the feasibility and all possible means to convert abandoned borewells and unused open wells into vibrant groundwater recharging structures and expressed their satisfaction
Additional Secretary instructed all officers to create awareness among the general public of groundwater recharging methods and to involve all farmers, NGOs, colleges and SHGs in Jal Shakthi Abhiyan. The team will visit the district again after a few weeks. Based on detailed assessment, a report will be prepared for further action to improve the groundwater source.
On Monday, a three-member Central team held a meeting with government officials in Karur district and conducted a survey in several places including Alangudi and Keeramangalam.
The meeting presided over by Collector P. Uma Maheswari and attended by officials of all government departments, focussed on improving groundwater table.
The Collector said the Jal Shakti Abhiyan was a time-bound, mission-mode water conservation campaign of the Centre that would run in two phases: Phase 1 from July 1 to September 15 for all States and Phase-II from October 1 to November 30 November for States and Union Territories receiving retreating monsoon such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu.
The Central team would inspect ongoing works in the district in Keeramangalam block on Tuesday and Wednesday.