The residents and farmers of Jaladanki village in the remote Udayagiri upland area in Nellore district are a happy lot what with their newly constructed fibreglass check dam presently storing a backwater of nearly 1.9 lakh litres to meet the needs of their drinking water, cattle use and groundwater recharge during the next few months of sweltering summer season. The 6-ft height check dam is made of top quality, multi-layered fiberglass in which German technology is used.
The fibreglass plates are rust-proof and they can be manually lifted by two persons even when there are floodwaters overflowing the check dam. These plates are spill and leakage-proof also. “This is for the first time in the country that such top class technology is used for the check dam. As it has proved to be very efficient and cost effective, plans are being made to construct 200 more such check dams all over Nellore district before the next rainy season," said former Minister and MLC Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy. Mr. Reddy, along with Udayagiri MLA Bollineni Rama Rao, visited the check dam which is constructed across the Chippaleru rivulet and along the nearby Jaladanki road bridge.
The width of the check dam is 58 metres running end-to-end of the road bridge and using the bridge's embankments as the dam's approach ways. This has eliminated the cost of constructing special embankments thus saving the funds. The total check dam cost Rs. 45 lakh of which the civil construction works were valued at Rs. 30 lakh and the fibreglass plates at Rs. 15 lakh. The immediate advantages of these check dams are that the use of fibreglass is far less costly and it is rust-proof and usable for over 40 years with easy maintenance. The fibre glass gates can be fitted into the vents and lifted manually by two persons easily.
In case of iron gates, they rust easily and hydraulic systems are necessary to manage the crest gates. Because of the facility for easy management, the fibre glass plates can be easily lifted and taken away when there are high floods. This prevents silt formation in the backwaters area thus keeping the storage capacity of the check dam undisturbed for longer durations when compared to iron gates technology.
Mr. Rama Rao, who expressed satisfaction over the good results from the check dam scheme, said that this would prove to be an ideal model for the check dams to be constructed in other places. This fibreglass model will prove to be a boon for the villages in upland areas especially where precious water in streams can be stored and used for summer needs. Any stream or rivulet having a 20 metre width at any point in its course is eligible for constructing such check dams. It is has been identified that there are 26 places in Udayagiri area where check dams can be constructed at road bridges at lesser cost.
Mr. Chandramohan Reddy said that this technology would go a long way in achieving the goal of water conservation at a time when one out of every five persons in the world is struggling for drinking water. The Latur experience is painful as villagers are facing such hardships for a few litres of water, he said.
Groundwater recharging:- These check dams are expected to keep the groundwater table safe by recharging it throughout the year. Two years ago, groundwater was available at 200 ft depth but now it is available at 100 ft depth thanks to the last heavy rains and filling up of the tanks and reservoirs.