[Posted in June 2012]
Storms, flooding and salination threaten the livelihoods of Kumarakudi. AdaptCap is building a bund and shutter to keep the village agriculture safe from storm surges and backwater flooding.
What is the problem?
Kumarakudi is a Bay of Bengal coastal village where around 2000 people live. At one time, the 350 families farmed multiple harvests of paddy, black gram, green gram, and ground nut per year. Recently, there have been major crop losses in Kumarakudi because salt water is flooding from the Sunder river inlet in the rainy season and from the sea during cyclone season. Also, storms have hit the coastline with increasing intensity, lifting the ocean over the dunes that used to protect village fields. The villagers are already relying on external help because they are not able to maintain themselves. With projected impacts from climate change such as more extreme weather events, storm surges and flooding, protecting the village and the fields becomes even more pressing.
What is the proposed solution?
Local NGOs worked closely with village leaders to identify that the most needed and preferred pilot project to be built would be a 1-2 kilometer long bund around the agricultural fields. Beginning near a communications tower on the west side of the village, the bund will bend around with the Sunder river until it turns, right behind the dunes, to encompass all agricultural fields and the village burial sites. The contractor will excavate and increase the height of the bund to 3 meters and the width to 8 meters, leveled, planting undergrowth on the slopes to prevent erosion. A shutter will also be required where irrigation canals connect to the Manjal River in order to allow for field drainage during the monsoon season. The steel, wood plate shutter will be placed on the north-western confluence of the fields’ irrigation canal and the Manjal River.
What are the benefits of the measure for the community?
The project will protect from saline floods and therefore prevent increasing destruction of agricultural fields. In the current situation, the community’s water sources are insecure and the crop yields are not sufficient for the villagers to maintain themselves. Storms and floods are endangering crops, houses and infrastructure. The new bund will allow the rainwater to regenerate Kumarakudi’s planting fields in time for the harvest after the monsoon. A pond renovation project, proposed in early 2011, has already been accepted for funding by Kumarakudi’s Panchayat president and will work well with the bund building and shutter projects through AdaptCap. The AdaptCap pilot project will improve the cleanliness and structure of the fresh water pond for village drinking, bathing, washing, and irrigation. Villagers will be able to link the freshwater canal running from the pond into their newly protected agricultural fields when the bund is built. The project will protect people’s livelihoods and contribute to climate-proofing the development of Kumarakudi.
This pilot project is financed by the AdaptCap project.
Avvai Village Welfare Society (AVVAI)
260, Public Office Road, Velipalayam
611 001, Nagapattinam District, Tamil Nadu, India
11.104779 E, 79.848332 N
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