Veeranam Lake(Veeranaaraayanapuram Lake) is located 14 km (8.7 mi) SSW of Chidambaram in Cuddalore district in the state of Tamil Nadu in South India. 1 km (0.62 mi) from Sethiyathope. The lake located 235 km (146 mi) from Chennai, India, is one of the water reservoirs from where water is planned to be supplied to Chennai.
The Veeranam project, to supply water to Chennai, was conceived in 1967 by the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, C. N. Annadurai, and executed under his successor, M. Karunanidhi. The project was subject to rampant corruption and money earmarked for the project was lost leading to stagnation of the project.
The project's completion in 2004 was a major political victory for the AIADMK government of the time due to the project's long history of corruption and politicking. Ironically it was impossible to use any water from the lake since it had run dry, and the face-saving proposal adopted by the authorities was to dig 45 deep borewells around the area and pump the resulting water 235 km (146 mi) to Chennai via the pipeline.
While the new direction the project took was heavily criticized by local farmers and conservationists fearing depletion of the ground water resulting from the borewells, the fears have been unfounded and for the most part the lake and the surrounding borewells have been able to provide between 50 - 180 MLD (million litres daily)
Like most of coastal Tamil Nadu, the areas adjoining Veeranam tank has a sub-tropical climate receiving most of the rainfall during the North-East monsoons from Oct - Dec. Hot weather prevails in the summer months from March to June, and the maximum temperature varies from 30–38 °C. Being close to the coast cyclones that strike the area have a profound impact, resulting in heavy rains.
Two rainfall monitoring stations are located in Veeranam Tank one at its right bank i.e. Kattumannarkoil and another at left bank i.e. Sethiyathope. The average rainfall in these stations is more than the state average of 950 mm. During the last 18 years the average annual rainfall in Kattumannarkoil is 1025 mm. In Sethiyathope, the average annual rainfall during the last 25 years is 1273 mm. But due to the vagaries of the North-East monsoon, Veeranam tank often has to depend on water from Mettur dam.
Veeranam Tank is one of the biggest tanks in Tamil Nadu and also an age old one. This tank has been referred briefly in the book called “Ponniyen Selvan” Written by the famous author ‘Kalki’ in the year 1950. This book gives the information on the age of this tank and it has been mentioned that the tank was formed at a period of more than 1000 years by the Prince Rajathithar Son of Paranthaka Chola. The tank was originally called as Veeranarayanan Tank.
When king Paranthaka Chola I ruled over Chola Kingdom during the 10th century i.e. 907 to 935 AD he wanted to improve the Irrigation facilities in and around Chidambaram. He formed a village called as ‘Veera Narayana Sathurvethi Mangalam. This Village was gifted to the Scholars who were well versed in the Four Vedas. This Village is now called as Kattumannarkoil which is situated in the right flank of Veeranam Tank. He then formed the biggest tank and named it as ‘Veera Narayanan Eri’ ‘Veera Narayanan’ is the nickname given to king Paranthaka Chola I for his Valour. Subsequently this tank is now called Veeranam Tank.
During the later period of Chola Kingdom, King Rajendra Chola I who ruled during the period 1012 AD to 1044 AD, Spread his kingdom up to Ganges. He conquered the lands up to River Ganges. In Memory of his Victory he formed the Village ‘Gangai Konda Cholapuram’ during the year 1024 AD. In addition to that in order to improve the Irrigation facilities in and around the new Village, he formed a new tank and called it as ‘Chola Gangam’. He made a link between ‘Chola gangam’ and Veeranarayanan Eri so that the former surpluses into the later. The tank ‘Chola Gangam’ is now called as ‘Ponneri Tank’ which is situated at the road connecting Jeyamkondam and Gangaikonda Cholapuram. These details were collected from Saraswathi Mahal Library at Tanjore.
Veeranam Lake and water resources
Veeranam Lake is a major tank attached to Chidambaram Division of South Arcot. PWD circle and the Lalpet Section of PWD is in charge of the maintenance and operation of irrigation systems of this tank.
The location of this tank is between latitudes 11 15 ‘E and 11 25’ E and Longitudes 79 30’ N and 79 35’ N