Environment Ministry Clears Veli Breakwater Project
Project to help control flooding clear water hyacinth from the lake and also help local fishermen | By Yentha
On May 17, 2012


Trivandrum: Mooted as a long-term solution for the flooding problem within the city area, the construction of the breakwater on the Veli river mouth could soon commence. The main cause of delay was for the Ministry of Environment and Forests to give sanction for the project, which has finally been obtained. The only remaining hurdle is the rate revision of the project, for which tender has already been awarded.

“We have received sanction from the Environment Ministry. But the project still has an allotted budget of Rs.12 crores which was estimated three years ago. The input costs in terms of cement and stones have significantly increased during this time period and Rs.12 crore is no longer feasible. The contractor, to whom the tender was given, has asked for a rate revision and commencement of work is subject to budget revision.

Once this minor problem is solved, the work could commence in a matter of weeks and the construction will be completed within eight-twelve months,” an official from the Harbour Engineering Department said.

The plan for the project was developed back in 2009, but soon ran into rough weather as concerns were raised about the environmental impacts of constructing breakwater at the river mouth. The scheme involves building two breakwaters in the model of those at Vizhinjam.

Tetrapods, each weighing between 5 - 10 tonnes, will be used for the construction of two breakwaters. Each has a length of 220 metres separated by a width of 130 metres and built at acute angles with respect to the shore line. The project would be carried out by the Harbour Engineering Department on behalf of KSUDP (Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project).

The city of Trivandrum has been planned for the numerous small to mid-sized canals which crisscross the city, to carry the flood waters to the Akkulam lake during the rains. But the formation of sandbar at the Veli estuary will result in the stagnation of water in the lake leading to the lake getting polluted with the city waste and for the city to be flooded. The sandbar separating the sea from the river has to be opened at least ten times a year to let out the accumulating flood waters. The building of the breakwaters would ensure that the river mouth remains open to the sea all year round, thereby drastically reducing the flooding of the city.


However, concerns were raised on the chances of untreated sewage from the city reaching the sea, resulting in the pollution of the shore line. There were also concerns about it affecting the livelihood of the fishermen community. The Muttathara sewage treatment plant, which is expected to be commissioned in June will ensure that no sewage will reach the sea.

As for the fishermen community, the coming of breakwaters could actually benefit them as the breakwaters could be used as a small time fishing harbour and that they would be provided with continuous access between the lake and the sea throughout the year. The length, distance of separation and the angular laying of breakwaters would ensure no adverse effects happening to the fish wealth and on the shoreline due to erosion.

The coming of breakwaters will help in significantly boosting the tourism potential of the Veli - Akkulam Tourist Village. The long standing problem of water hyacinth covering the water surface too would be eliminated once a continuous flow of water from the lake to the sea is established. 


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