The reservoir was formed by the construction of the Pechiparai Dam, which was built across the Kodayar River about 1 mi (1.6 km) below the confluence of the Kallar, Chittar and Kuttiyar tributaries. It was built during the period 1897 - 1906 by the European engineer, Mr. Minchin,(called as mookanthurai by the local people) during the reign of the Travancore Maharaja Moolam Thirunal.
The original cost of construction of the dam was Indian Rupees 26.1 Lakhs (in the late 19th century). The catchment area of the reservoir is 207.19 km2 (80.00 sq mi), and the depth is 14.63 m (48.0 ft). The dam is a straight gravity type masonry dam 425.5 m (1,396 ft) long and 120.7 m (396 ft) high above the deepest foundation. There is no inspection gallery.
The water from the reservoir is used for both irrigation of crops and for drinking purposes, which has led to conflict between farmers who want to use all the water for their crops, and local authorities, who don't have another place to draw drinking water from, for supply to the urban areas. The dam is surrounded by hills of the Western Ghats.
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