The Nilgiris Water

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Keystone Foundation


Happy Valley
General Narrative parameters:

The mission Compound or happy wetland starts at the outskirts of Kotagiri village near the KMF hospital and near the Sterling factory. These two origins finally meet and result in the big stream that one comes across near the bridge.

The happy valley wetland is unique in as much it serves as the water supply for much of Kotagiri. Besides, intensive agriculture is a common feature in the lower reaches of the valley.

Being one of the first wetlands, it was an eye-opener for the group showcasing both sides of human behaviour - that of preservation and of exploitation.

Preservation as concerns has been made on the need to preserve this vital source of water. The source has been protected and some amount of the catchment area has been fenced. However, fencing has been violated in parts and the catchment area has become a central dumping yard and a centre for attending nature's call.

Yet, farsighted visionaries had taken ample care and much of the water that is collected is done from an underground source. The authorities have constructed an underground check dam that acts as a reservoir and drinking water source for the people. From that point till the very end of the streams flow through Kotagiri, the story is one of extraction- extraction for drinking water, for commercial purpose and for agriculture. We counted a minimum of 10 municipality wells and at least 50 private wells dug in several crucial places.

Biological and botanical condition:

The source of the wetland was a spring. The spring was surrounded by shrubs like Lantana, Eupotorium, Cestrum, Solanum verbascifolium , Ricinus and Pteris. A small stream was running off from the spring. Along the course of the stream Polygonum spp. Tree fern, Cyathea were found. The agriculture belt had Rumex and Plantago spp. Tea plantation was seen in the upland portion of the wetland.

Status type



Benefits & Uses




Heavy domestic and Commercial


The original wetland appears to have been diverted for usage sometime back and there are but traces of indicative flora that is associate with wetlands. In its lower reaches, the wetland is totally modified and intensive agriculture is practiced. Not a bit of space is left vacant. By the time the wetland stream reaches the confluence with the second branch - it has already become a carrier of sewage and wastewater. Houses dotting the valley directly disgorge their loads into the stream leading to high levels of undesirable components such as coli form, fluoride and to others.

The second section of the wetland originates near the Sterling factory and covers its course undisturbed until its confluence with the first stream. From that point onwards, the big stream becomes a massive drain carrying nothing else but sewage.

From Coonoor Road Bridge, near Chettiar Automobile - the sewage stream become a further dumping yard of sewage followed by slaughterhouse and finally the washing ground. By the time, water reaches the washing yard - it has become a collection ground of hazardous material. Beyond the washing Ghat, the stream travels through tea country before finally meeting the Agala stream.

Posted by: keystone       Category: NHW Home > Wetlands       Updated: 2007-03-08 02:02:51


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