Story of A Dying River-II: Periyar River of Kerala, India.
View of Periyar from Gavi, downstream of Mullaperiyar Dam not far from the river's origins and the Periyar Lake. Shot by my son Robin..
( the river is called Mullaperiyar in these areas before it joins its other tributaries)
The Periyar River is the longest river in the state of Kerala, India, with a length of 244 km. The Periyar is known as The lifeline of Kerala; it is one of the few perennial rivers in the region and provides drinking water for several major towns. The Idukki Dam on the Periyar generates a significant proportion of Kerala's electrical power too.
The source of the Periyar is in the Sivagiri hills of Western Ghats range in Kerala. It flows north through Periyar National Park into Periyar Lake, a 55 km² artificial reservoir created in 1895 by the construction of a dam across the river. Water is diverted from the lake into the Vaigai River in Tamil Nadu via a tunnel through the Western Ghats. The lake is surrounded by a wildlife sanctuary noted for its herds of elephants,tigers and other fauna.
From the lake, the river flows northwest through the plains into Vembanad Lake and out to the Arabian Sea coast. Its largest tributaries are the Muthirapuzha River, the Mullayar River, the Cheruthoni River, the Perinjankutti River and the Edamala River.
Through the Mullaperiyar Lake dam and tunnel, the river serves as the major water source for five drought-prone districts in the state of Tamil Nadu, including Theni, Madurai and Ramanathapuram. The dam is maintained by the Tamil Nadu public works department under a 999-year lease arranged between the governments of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This deal was made during the British Raj era, between the kingdom of Travancore and British colonial rulers representing Tamil Nadu.
Periyar has been performing a pivotal role in shaping the economic prospects of Kerala,as it helps in power generation, domestic water supply, irrigation, tourism, industrial production, fisheries and also serves as a source of many inorganic resources.
However as in the case of several inland water resources, Periyar is gradually unergoing serious eco-degradation throughout its course of flow due to indescriminate deforestation,excessive exploitation of resources, pollution(domestic, indusrial,agricultural) large scale sand mining from the river bed for construction andsuch other careless exploitation by us humans.