Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

Places in news: Mullaperiyar Dam


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Mullaperiyar Dam

Mains level: Not Much

The Mullaperiyar dam has recently turned 125.

Try this PYQ:

Q. What is common to the places known as Aliyar, Isapur and Kangsabati?

(a) Recently discovered uranium deposits

(b) Tropical rain forests

(c) Underground cave systems

(d) Water reservoirs

Mullaperiyar Dam

  • It is a masonry gravity dam on the Periyar River in the Indian state of Kerala.
  • It is located 881 m above mean sea level, on the Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats in Thekkady, Idukki District of Kerala.
  • It was constructed between 1887 and 1895 by John Pennycuick and also reached in an agreement to divert water eastwards to the Madras Presidency area (present-day Tamil Nadu).
  • Pennycuick is widely worshipped as a hero by farmers in the four districts of southern Tamil Nadu, where water from the dam meets the drinking water needs and irrigates thousands of hectares.

Why is the dam special?

  • The dam was constructed surmounting many odds, with malaria and thick jungles taking a toll on workers. It was a huge challenge before him to construct the dam and divert the river course.
  • Pennycuick sowed the seeds of river interlinking to bring barren and rain-starved areas under cultivation.
  • To fund dam construction, gold ornaments were donated by Chettiar families and farmers in Cumbom valley also gave their meagre savings to Pennycuick.
  • Pennycuick even sold his ancestral property in Britain and spent the amount for completing the works of the dam when the expenses exceeded the allotted funds.
  • The British government endowed him with the ‘Companion of Star of India’, a high civilian honour. He died on March 9, 1911, at Frimley in Britain.

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