Water in percolation ponds, check dams vital for wild animals in Jawadhu Hills during summer

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 Water levels in many ponds and check dams have begun to reduce in recent weeks due to rising temperature in the hills.

Water levels in many ponds and check dams have begun to reduce in recent weeks due to rising temperature in the hills.

As Tiruvannamalai continues to witness a steady rise in the day temperature, water stored in the percolation ponds and check dams in Jawadhu Hills in the district remains the major water source for wild animals this summer.

Forest officials said that Jawadhu Hills forest range comprises Pattarakadu and Veerapanur reserve forests (RFs), covering around 12,200 hectares of the forest area. The hills also have other forest ranges like Alangayam (Tirupattur), Odugathur, and Amirthi (Vellore) and Polur and Melpattu (Tiruvannmalai). Some of the wild species includes Indian gaur, peacocks, spotted deer, migratory birds.

Wildlife in these forest ranges depend on the water sources, mainly man-made percolation ponds and check dams. “After many years, Bheemam falls in the hills has become bone-dry before the start of summer. Earlier, the falls remained a key perennial water source for wild speciesin the hills,” M. Prabhu, forest range officer (Jawadhu Hills), told The Hindu.

Each forest range in the hills covers around 15,000 hectares. Each range in the hills has 5-10 percolation ponds and 20-25 check dams to store water for wild animals. Each percolation pond will be 10 feet deep whereas the check dam will be at least 20 metres long. Most of these ponds and check dams depend on excess water in the Pennar and Palar rivers that get flooded during monsoon.

Forest officials said that the region has not received good rainfall since the 2021 floods that inundated several villages along the Pennar and Palar rivers in the region. Also, unlike in the plains, forest officials said that drilling of borewells in the hills is prohibited. As a result, they have to depend on the water sources in the hills up to May.

Water levels in many ponds and check dams have begun to reduce in recent weeks due to rising temperature in the hills. Forest officials said efforts were also being taken to bring tankers from the plains to fill troughs and man-made ponds on a regular basis. 

Meanwhile, water troughs around the arid Girivalam path of Arunchalaeswara temple in Tiruvannamalai town have been filled up for wild animals, especially spotted deer, by forest officials for the past few days.

Tiruvannamalai range has seven RFs, including Chippakadu, Athipakkam, Adinamalai, and Sorakolathur, covering 13,000 hectares. At present, Adinamalai RF that covers 14 km of Girivalam path has 14 big water troughs in its 900 hectares.



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