Saltwater Intrusion in Thoothukudi

Intrusion of salt water into the groundwater of the Thoothukudi area of Tamil Nadu has led to a drop in agricultural output and exodus of people.

Saltwater Intrusion

Saltwater intrusion is the process by which saline water enters into an area containing freshwater, such as the groundwater. It is also called saline water ingression. It causes land degradation due to increase in water and subsequently soil salinity.

Causative Factors

The saline water intrusion in Thoothukudi region is being caused by over-extraction of the groundwater. This causes the water pressure in the groundwater table to drop leading to the entry of the saline water from the sea which is 3km away. Decrease in rainfall has also contributed to the drop in water pressure. Presence of water intensive weeds like Prosopis juliflora and poor water management are other contributing factors.

Thamirabarani River

The Thamirabarani River is the only perennial river originating in Tamil Nadu. It originates from the Agastyarkoodam peak in the Western Ghats. It flows into the Gulf of Mannar after passing through the Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts. Its water is vital for irrigation of the agricultural areas of Thoothukudi.

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