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Korattur hit by tank leak

K.Lakshmi

Pollution and encroachment are major challenges to the waterbody



Down the drain:Water leaking from a sluice of the Korattur tank.

CHENNAI: For several months now, water has been leaking from Korattur tank, one of the prime waterbodies in Ambattur Municipality, owing to damaged sluices. The waterbody already faces challenges in the form of pollution and encroachment.

Residents of Canal Road, Korattur, said two sluices and a surplus weir on the eastern side of the tank were damaged. Water flowed along the road and drained in an open stormwater drain that joins Otteri Nullah Canal.

According to records of the Water Resources Department, the tank, which has a water spread area of 8.19 sq.km. and six sluices, has a storage capacity of nearly 240 million cubic feet. It is one in the chain of waterbodies linked to Red Hills reservoir.

A. Sridhar, a resident, said the water leakage was more during the rainy season. Though the tank is no longer used as an irrigation source because of urbanisation, the authorities concerned must take measures to improve it as a groundwater recharge structure.

“Groundwater in areas around the tank is saline. If the tank is properly maintained, the water quality would improve substantially,” he said. While some residents said the sluice gates were damaged by people for fishing, some said encroachers damaged the sluices to avoid flooding of their areas during monsoon.

Residents also complained that people using the unpaved stretch of Canal Road have a tough time as the road surface gets damp.

A.Seshagiri Rao, a resident of Korattur, said “The size of the tank was said to be about 1,800 acres during 1920s. It has shrunken in size over the years and covered with hyacinth owing to encroachments and dumping of garbage.”

Many industrial units continue to release their effluents into the waterbody despite protests from residents, he added.

Sources in the Ambattur Municipality and WRD said that the encroachments could not be removed owing to want of funds.

Officials of WRD said that measures are being taken to create a straight cut canal from the waterbody in Ambattur to Korattur tank. A team of officials from Chennai River Restoration Trust would make an inspection of the site soon. The team would also discuss measures with the local body to improve the waterbody.

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