Agri Business

Kerala explores rubber check dams for water regulation in Kole lands

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on January 21, 2020

Work in progress for the construction of rubber check dams in Kole lands in Thrissur district of Kerala   -  The Hindu

The durability of mud-bunds constructed across canals for water regulation is a source of worry for farmers as they breach frequently. The Indian Institute of Water Management, Bhuhaneswar, has now come up with the idea of replacing traditional mud bunds with rubber bunds.

Experts at Kerala Agriculture University have said that rubber check dams are inflatable and built across streams for water conservation, flood control and regulating the flow of water.

During flood and high tide, it can prevent salt water intrusion into the fresh water system. It is an eco-friendly technology which has already been implemented successfully in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Odisha. Kerala Agriculture Minister VS Sunil Kumar told BusinessLine that scientists from KAU along with State Agriculture and Minor Irrigation departments have assessed the possibility of introducing the technology in Kole lands of Thrissur, which is one of the largest, highly productive and threatened wetlands covering an area of 13,640 hectares. Based on the presentation made by IIWM experts on rubber check dam technology, the Directorate of Research under KAU has taken the initiative to explore its feasibility in Kole lands. An expert team identified Herbert Canal in Cherpu block in Thrissur as the site for the pilot project, the Minister said. “We have also identified some more spots for the project and it will be extended later,” the Minister said, adding that the cost involved for implementing the pilot project would be around ₹15 lakh.

Indira Devi, Director (Research), KAU, said the adoption of the new technology is part of the larger project called ‘Operation Kole Double’, aimed at increasing rice production in the State through cultivating the Kole lands in two seasons, instead of the present single-crop pattern.

Kole lands are a classic example of below-sea-level farming. In the existing system of water regulation, temporary structures made of soil and locally available materials such as bamboo and wooden shutters are used, which is expensive and requires skilled manpower to operate, she said

Published on January 21, 2020

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