The man, identified as K Sivaramakrishnan, a resident of Ghatipattu, fell into the canal on Wednesday night, leading to the collapse of the bridge over the river Ghatupattu.
The canal has a capacity of around two million cubic metres per day, but it is usually used only for dredging and pumping, which is a regular occurrence.
On Wednesday night the bridge had been open for about 30 minutes, with many people in the area.
The water level in the canal rose rapidly after the bridge was opened, submerging the bridge and leaving residents stranded, said a police official.
The cause of death will be announced soon.