[Posted in June 2012]
Water is becoming scarce in Thangal Perumpulem and climate change-related phenomena such as heavier rains in shorter, unseasonable times of the year are putting agricultural resources under pressure. A drainage channel will use the water more efficiently and prevent severe impacts from flooding during monsoon season.
What is the problem?
Thangal Perumpulem is a small community with approximately 250 inhabitants that mainly rely on agriculture and to some extent on fishing. Currently, the irrigation system in Thangal Perumpulem is not working appropriately. Water is not used efficiently and the agricultural land is prone to flooding and erosion. Due to longer dry seasons and changing rainfall patterns in the past, soil quality and water availability has changed. Additional water stress is expected from climate change. Shorter but heavier rainfall periods will further reduce rain water catchment and ground water replenishment. At the same time water demand is projected to increase with climate change. As a result of current water shortages, the cropping pattern has changed from 2 harvests to 1 harvest in a year between January and February leading to a significant loss of income.
What is the proposed solution?
Village leadership suggested during community meetings that a new drainage channel would best address Thangal Perumpulems’ water-related problems. The AdaptCap contractor will dig two 650 meter long channels, depositing earth on the sides with stiff clay, red earth, and gravel soil as revetment and overflow protection for the channel as per SS20A recommendations. Dirt will be cleared from the concrete water outlet underneath the existing government bund. The newly dug channel as well as five other irrigation areas will remove soil from the government cement revetments, allowing water to pass under the bund and road, and add shutters to each of these cement structures to prevent flooding of the fields and keep them clear of debris and dirt. The maintenance training for the channel and shutters will be carried out by the local NGO through community meetings and leader training over the first year of operation.
What are the benefits of the measure for the community?
The AdaptCap project activities will contribute to sustaining and climate-proofing the agriculture of Thangal Perumpulem. With the new drainage channel the community will be able to take full advantage of the rain water catchment infrastructure. Due to a better use of water, crop patterns will be improved generating income and welfare. According to local farmers, the new irrigation canals will open up 300 extra acres of land that cannot yet be cultivated allowing for a March through April growing season as well, increasing yield and income. The channel will also support in case of flooding, diminishing the negative effects of unpredictable precipitation patterns and thus reduce climate-related vulnerabilities.
Read (in PDF format) what some community members from Thiruvallur District, Tamil Nadu, have to say about AdaptCap Local Adaptation Project.
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
13.380351 E, 80.323448 N
View Thangal Perumpulem in a larger map