An ‘experiment’ by PWD officials to try and cut water loss due to evaporation in Vaigai dam by covering a small portion of it with thermocol sheets came unstuck when parts of it were swept away by strong winds. Tamil Nadu Minister for cooperatives Sellur K Raju, who inaugurated the unconventional method to conserve water in drought hit Tamil Nadu, saw the attempt go awry as the sheets flew in different directions in gusty winds in the river.
The minister later held discussions with PWD experts on ways to overcome the problem of wind and water flow, which led to the sheets drifting in various directions, officials said. Water from the Vaigai dam flows through six water starved districts of south Tamil Nadu including Madurai, sivaganga, ramanathpuram theni and dindigul districts. On this technique, Raju merely said the “thermocol covering technology” was received from a “source.”
Journalists, who were part of the team taken to the spot to demonstrate the ‘technology’, found there were not enough sheets to cover the water. The attempt to spread the sheet at different water levels also did not serve the purpose. Raju said such methods are used abroad to reduce evaporation and that experts would also be consulted for these initiatives.
He said the state Government had allocated Rs 10 lakh to try out different technolgoies to prevent water evaporation. Madurai Collector K Veera Raghava Rao said different methods would be adopted or experimented to save water which is in 10-12 hectares of waterspread area in the Vaigai dam. He said 1.2 Million Cubic Feet of water is lost due to evaporation every day.
On use of thermocol, he said this was done as the material was non-polluting. But Rathnam, a scientist, differed, saying thermocol is non-biodegradable and can harm fish when they break into pieces.