The Nilgiris Water

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Water Traditions

 The Nilgiris water, feeds into the reservoirs/basins of three southern states. Most of the villages have tapped a spring - based system. Out of the 35 water sources surveyed - 60% were from springs. There are differential uses for diverse water sources. Shola springs for drinking water purposes and lower down valley sources for agriculture.

Village Semmanarai

 A fairly large village in Kotagiri taluk with 107 Irula and 8 Kurumba families live scattered in the valley. The village is located on a slope through which no perennial steam flows. There are few folds/ gullys and a thin marsh on the slopes where few dug wells are made by the villagers to collect drinking water. These water holes' have supplies during rainy seasons but many will dry out during summer. Because of either no proper protection or construction, the waters get polluted by falling materials from the ground surface.

 Source No 1 : Konja bavi

It is a spring located in Raju's land, which serves as domestic water supply for seven families. The field study result indicates presence of coli form in the water. To prevent it, source protection was necessary. Hence this sources was cleaned first and built with cut stone as a circular well. A protection wall was raised with cement mortar, two feet from the ground level. A HDPE hose line was fixed to drain water from the well so that pollution through the vessel or even by drawing is also avoided.

Source No 2 : Nellimodakku

This is a tank for which the water is tapped from a stream located on revenue parambokku about 600 meters away from the village. A 300-meter HDP hose was provided as project assistance while for the remaining distance, old pipes from the village itself, were used. This tank was unused till date. A tap and three distributing lines have been provided. Also drains have been put around the tank to avoid unnecessary collection of water.

 Source No 3 : Nadur

It is located in a swamp. Labour support was provided to deepen it and the construction with stones.

 Source No 4 : Nadur tank

Repairing and provided with fittings to the water system. So the distribution was good and the wastage was reduced.

 Village Vagapanai

 There are 43 Irula families and 3 Kurumba families in this settlement. The houses are located in two clusters. Both the clusters have separate water sources. There is another spring which flows through during the rainy season and is mainly used for cattle and washing. Project assistance was provided for the two main drinking sources only.

 Source no:1

It is a dug well about 15 feet deep and 8 feet in diameter, built with stones and a protection wall around it. Few years back, during summer, when the water table was low, a herd of elephants came into the village knocked down the protection wall and damaged the well heavily. Since then the water become non potable. The well was cleaned and repaired.

Source no:2

It is a spring, located in the middle of coffee plants. It serves the lower settlement. With no protection around, it used to silt during rainy season and got polluted with grazing cattle and their droppings.


 It is a Kurumba settlement located on the Kallar slopes. There are 14 families who live here and are mainly dependent on two water sources. The first and traditional source is a protected spring which was damaged by elephants some years ago. The second is a tapping of a stream on top of the mountain ridge about 1800 meters away from the village.

Project assistance: The project assisted to clean up the damaged source.

  Village Bangalapadugai

 It is an Irula tribal village located in a valley. There is a panchayat water system installed in a spring which used to dry up during summer. The village has a traditional drinking water source next to a temple from where it is carried in vessels. A perennial stream flow adjacent to the village was selected to tap water for domestic and excess flow could be used for agriculture purposes. Since the stream is at a higher elevation, water was brought down through gravity flow and a storage system made.




Posted by: keystone       Category: NHW Home > Nilgiri Water Resources       Updated: 2007-03-07 09:00:22


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