Story of Muparithod Restoration Part-1
Updated: Jan 14, 2021
Traditionally canals, natural or human made have served a major role in supporting livelihoods of people across Kerala. With heavy rainfalls during monsoon seasons canals also played a major role in reducing impact of water inundation.
As part of the model wetland village project, ATREE CERC along with the Muhamma panchayat had decided to revive some of the major canals in Muhamma panchayat to facilitate easy flow of water and improve water quality of the region. As part of the project our intern Anna and Aswathy, then an urban planning student was involved in understanding water quality of one of the major canal in Muhamma Panchayat – the Muppirithod Canal.
There are a chain of canals support inland navigation and other activities of the rural people in this region whose major occupation is fishing and clam collection. It’s a long canal, with the right end leading to Vembanadu Lake. On the other side, it splits into two canals, one ending in a paddy field. The other branch leads to another perpendicular canal, which runs all the way into the Vayalar Lake up north.
The environmental condition of the region got degraded due to the development of new roads across the distributor channels clogging the water bodies, increased floods during peak monsoon and water logging in the areas. But in dry seasons, the water level of the entire canal which meant no water movements and obstructing canal navigations. This led to water borne diseases and its occurrence in the region. Bacteriological pollution and anaerobic conditions are the major problems of its kind in the region caused by uncontrolled solid waste dumping and household human lavatories directly into the canals at certain areas.
Spreading of freshwater weeds which hinders the inland navigation and affecting water transport in some of the stretch is another problem to be tackled. Lack of civic sense and and unawareness of ecosystem conservation practises are some of the reasons for this decrease in water quality of that region.
The fishing community used to come to the southern shore of Chaaramangalam for having food and due to the presence of karakam, mangroves & ponthakaadu, this place got its name athaazhakaadu. The portion where Muppirithod flows & joins with the lake was used to be call as Mukhappu. In the past fish for the Muhamma market was brought along the canal from the lake. Many stakeholders in the vicinity depends largely on this canal like fishermen, clam collectors, farmers, residential & commercial sectors. The need of the local population is to decrease the pollution and stagnation so that the water can be made usable and the fish catch of the region be retained to the earlier level.
The main issues that the canal face are
Decreased water quality
Stagnation of water was given top priority as it led to reduced DO, increased BOD and COD, increase in bacterial pollution etc.
Dumping of solid wastes plus the proliferation of water weed were also issues related to stagnation.
Region along the canal is mosquito infested and health of the people is effected.
Slaughter house being dumped into the canal.
Plastic and sanitary waste accumulation.
Water weed infestation.
The study report has led to the second phase of the project where a participatory cleaning was done along with panchayat, trade unions, Kudumbasree, youth association and MGNREGA workers. The cleaning that extended for 5 days helped in restoring the glory of the Mupari Canal. More details on the restoration to be available soon.