Most temple tanks remained half filled despite heavy rains and flooding at many places in Chennai recently. Except a few temple tanks like Parthasarathy temple tank in Triplicane, many tanks remained half filled. The reason can be traced back to the water drainage system with which these tanks were originally built. These tanks were originally connected to storm water drainage system from the surrounding areas. The excess water from the tanks were also drained through channels constructed in the tanks. The feeder channels were encroached upon is the reason why these tanks got less water in the rainy season. I heard that such networks of feeder channels are intact in Madurai tanks. Hope Maduraiites remain ever vigilant in safe guarding those channels.
The puzzle of half-full tanks
The recent heavy rain spells might have had a positive impact on groundwater levels in the city and suburbs. At the same time, there are many temple tanks that have not been filled to the brim despite copious rains. In a bid to find remedial measures, the Rain Centre is surveying the impact of the floods.
Based on the findings of the survey, suggestions will be presented to the Sustainable Water Security Mission, which was recently formed by the government to restore water bodies and meet the city’s drinking water needs. The Mission comprises representatives of voluntary organisations and government departments.
In Triplicane, the Parthasarathy temple tank is full, while not very far away, the Tiruvatteeswarar temple tank is not. Residents of Triplicane said the stormwater drains and channels were obstructed and not linked properly to the temple tank. The tank of Kasi Viswanathar temple in Ayanavaram, is also in a similar condition. To study the contrast, the Rain Centre recently worked with the Chennai Corporation to improve channels connected to tanks in Madhavaperumal temple, Mylapore and Vadivudaiamman temple, Tiruvottiyur.
The survey will seek details about the intensity and time of flooding in a specific area and information about temple tanks and groundwater level before and after the heavy rain.
The Centre’s director Sekhar Raghavan said: “Groundwater level has gone up by 3 metres across the city. We are also inviting residents to write to the centre firstname.lastname@example.org. This may help to prepare an action plan to prevent floods and also restore ancient water bodies,” he said.