Monday, October 19, 2009

River mouth

At its northern end, just after the MGR and the Anna Memorials, the mouth of the Cooum marks the 'public' limit of the Marina Beach. Not that the public flock to see the river meeting the Bay of Bengal. It is rather dull, but that is only to be expected. The Cooum, at the end of its 65 km run, is weighed down by all the muck that has been poured into it (mostly along its last 16 km within Chennai city) and is barely moving along, more sludge than water.

For maybe just a couple of days in the year, the waters of the Cooum would be racing to the Bay of Bengal. That happens when (and if) the storm water drains do their job during the monsoons. There are 16 canals which collect the runoff from those drains and pour it into the Cooum (and to the other waterways of Chennai - the Adayar River and the Otteri Nullah), en route to the Bay of Bengal. Works well in theory; but with Chennai being quite a flat city, any blockage of the drains will cause the city to flood up.

One of the largest potential blockage points has been the silting - and sedimenting - of the Cooum's mouth. Though it is sometimes cleared up during the monsoon by the sea, most of the time, the waves deposit sediments which clog up the mouth. October is normally the month when the authorities clear up the mouth - and other passages. Let's hope they do it well enough for us to have a flood-less monsoon!

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