National Waterways-3

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Index Map of National Waterways 3(source:Annual report2007-08,IWA)

The West Coast Canal from Kottapuram to Kollam was declared as National Waterway No.3 vide National Waterway (Kollam-Kottapuram stretch of West Coast Canal and Champakara and Udyogmandal Canals) Act 1992 ( 33-F of 1992 ) and notified on 1st Feb. 1993. From Kottapuram to Kollam including Champakara and Udyogmandal canals has a navigable length of 205 kms.
This waterway comprises of natural lakes, back-waters, river sections and man-made canal sections. The Champakara and Udyogmandal canals link industrial centers of Ambalamugal and Udyogmandal with the Kochi port. On the main West Coast Canal between Kollam and Kottapuram, the Kochi Edapallikota (120 kms) stretch was opened for cargo movement during November 1994 consequent to improvement works carried out by IWAI.


Fairway Development:
Fairway development works including maintenance dredging, and maintenance of 24 hrs navigational aids are continued during 2008-09. Bank protection works in some stretches were completed in 2007-08 and these were also taken up in some critical stretches of Champakara and Udyogmandal canals during 2008-09.
Capital dredging for widening and deepening of canal between Kochi and Kollam was started in first phase during 1997-98. In Kochi – Kottapuram stretch, capital dredging was started in 2nd phase during September 2002. Work in Kochi-Allapuzha sector was completed and in Kochi-Kottapuram sector (30 km) dredging was completed except 4.83 km. But in the remaining reaches, it got delayed due to various problems such as disposal of dredged material, fishing nets, local issues leading to contractual problems etc. Out of entire length of 205 km of the waterway, the total shoal length has been estimated as 87.16 km out of which 59.75 km has so far been dredged and 24.49 km remains to be dredged. The total quantity which was to be dredged for deepening the entire shoal length was worked out as 40.33 lakh m3 out of which 23.98 lakh m3 has been dredged and 16.35 lakh m3 remains to be dredged. For completion of this capital dredging (which also includes widening of the narrow sections which necessitates removal of boulders, coconut trees, old bank protection etc), a scheme at a cost of Rs.89.74 Cr was approved by the Govt. and tenders were invited to take up this work.

Loading Rutile


Terminals at seven locations namely Kottapuram, Aluva, Maradu, Viakom, Thaneermukam (Chertala), Trikkunnapuzha and Kayamkulam have already been constructed.Under PDO/PDC mechanism, the PDO was entrusted the work of formulating a project for operation and maintenance of these terminals as a PPP project. The PDO had made a field visit and collected relevant data and they were in the process of formulating the project. Construction of 8th terminal at Kollam by CPWD was also in progress. For providing facilities for mechanical handling at these terminals, 8 mobile cranes and 8 fork lifts were procured and provided at each terminal.

Ro Ro Willington Island terminal NW3

Navigational AidsAn on board instrument, device, chart, method, etc., intended to assist in the navigation.:

Project for providing and maintaining 24 hrs navigational aids by way of buoys and lights had been completed during 2007-08 and now the entire waterway has the facility for 24 hrs navigation which was maintained during 2008-09.3.64 In view of the development of International Container Transshipment Terminal at Vallarpadam in Cochin Port area, there is a tremendous potential for transport of containers through NWNational Waterway-3. Keeping this in view, IWAI in collaboration with Cochin Port Trust initiated the process of construction of Roll on-Roll off cum Lift on –Lift off IWTInland Water Transport terminals at Willingdon and Bolgatty islands on NW-3 in Cochin port area.Cochin Port Trust (CPT) is presently handling 3 lakh TEU containers per annum through its existing facilities at Willingdon Island. On commissioning of Vallarpadam ICTTInternational Container Transshipment Terminal, the quantum of containerized cargo would substantially increase. The traffic will reach at Willingdon Island and move to ICTT by barge/ RO RO service by making use of IWT. Dedicated IWT terminals on NW-3 will provide the requisite infrastructure and landing facilities for containers in transit through NW-3 from IWAI’s existing terminals to ICTT, besides providing facility for transporting containers to Vallarpadam ICTT through RO-RORoll on-Roll off barges from Cochin Port.

Snak Boat Race
Aluva Terminal NW3

River Cruise in Gods Own country

Kerala's backwaters offer incomparable beauty and unique experience which have contributed to its inclusion in the list of 50 must see placent in the world. Kerala back waters include the kuttanad region,called the rice bowl of kerala, where paddy cultivation done on fields which are below sea level, lake vembanad the largest stretch of backwaters in kerala, lake Ashtamudi and lake kayamkulam. The palm fringed, tranquil backwaters which house hundreds of River Cruise between Kochi to Alleppey,also known as venice of the East is popular among tourists. M.V.Vrinda-an exclusive river cruiser with 8 tastefully appointed luxury cabins takes tourists from kochi along the main waterway on Lake Vembanad, Kerala's largest backwater stretch to Alleppey.tourists are taken in smaller country boats on rice excursion, tour of traditional Kerala tharavad (family residence), St.Marys Church established by St. Thomas in 1721 and are also exposed to performance of traditional classical dance forms like Kathakali and Mohiniattam.

Salient Features of National Waterways-3

NameNational Waterway-3
Date of declarationNotified on 1st Feb. 1993 vide National Waterway (KollamKottapuram stretch of West Coast Canal and Champakara and Udyogmandal Canals) Act 1992 (3-F of 1992 ).
Total length205Km
Stretch Details
  • West coast canal (Kottapuram - Kollam)-168 Km
  • Udyogmandal canal (Kochi Pathalam bridge)-23 Km
  • Champakara canal (Kochi - Ambalamugal)-14 Km
North EndKottapuram
South EndKollam
OwnerInland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI)
OperatorCentral Inland Water Transport Corporation (CIWTC)
Sea opening4 nos (Munambam, Kochi, Kayamkulam and Neendakara)
Tidal influenceAbout 0.70 m to 1.00 m rise during high tide
ObstaclesLock gates at Thanneermukkom, and Thrikunnapuzha
Narrow portionsAlappuzha – Kollam stretch
Navigational AidsThis is the first National Waterway in the country having 24 hours navigation facilities in the entire stretch.Navigational aids comprising of navigation buoys and solar operated navigation lights and 18 beacon towers installed in the entire stretch.
Important Terminals9 Terminals-Kottapuram, Aluva, Maradu,Vaikkom, Thannermukkom, Kayamkulam, Kollam (under construction), Alappuzha, Willingdon Island
No of Bridges38
Lock gates2 (Thanneermukkom, Thrikunnapuzha)
Fairway DevelopmentA fairway of 38/32 m width (Lake area- 38m ; Canal area- 32m with 2m LADLeast Available Depth is being developed for the entire waterway.
TransportThe National waterway 3 is one of the most navigable and tourism potential area in India and has much to offer to the potential tourist. Raw materials for the fartilizer plants forms a major part of the barge movement in NW3.
Limit of NW-3

Northern limit- A line drawn across the river Periyar parallel to Kottapuram road bridge (NH-17) connecting Maliankara and Valiapanikan Thuruthu at a distance of 1 Km upstream.
Southern limit- A line drawn across the Ashtamudi Kayal at a distance of 100 m south of Kollam Jetty. The Champakkara Canal starting from the Confluence with the West Coast Canal and ending at the rail bridge (railway siding for Kochi Oil Refinery) near Fertilizers and chemical Travancore Limited boat basin. The Udyogamandal Canal starting from the confluence with West Coast Canal and ending at the Pathalam road bridge (Eloor-Edayar).

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