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Kaveri (Cauvery) River

  

Introduction
Source of Kaveri River
Kaveri River in plains
Dams on Kaveri River
Kaveri River water dispute
History
Kaveri River in Hindu religion
Economy
Ecology
Tributaries of Kaveri River
Environment Protection
Kaveri River Map

  Introduction

  Kaveri river

  Kaveri River or Cauvery River is one of the major rivers of southern India, which is considered sacrosanct by the Hindus. The river rises at Talakaveri in the Brahmagiri hills of the Western Ghats in Karnataka. It flows in the south and east through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and then across the southeastern lowlands and finally surrenders in the Bay of Bengal through two principal mouths. The river has an approximate length of 760 km. The river basin is estimated to be 27,700 square miles. Kaveri or Cauvery is among the most sacred rivers of India and though to be the Dakshina Ganga or Ganga of the South.

  The Kaveri River is the lifeline for Karnataka and Tamil Nadu providing water for irrigation, water for household  consumption and the generation of electricity. The water sharing of Kaveri River has undergone several disputes over the year and has been a major issue of contention between the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the union territory of Pondicherry. 



   Source of Kaveri River

  River Kaveri originates in the Brahmagiri hills in Kodagu called Talakaveri or the head of Kaveri. The Kaveri river originate from a small pond called as Kundike pond and later in the course two tributaries known as Kanake and Sujyoti joins it. All these three rivers meets at the point called Bhagamandala  lies at an altitude of 1350 meters. The river  flows from the direction of south to the eastward direction. River Kaveri  flows in the state of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and finally merges into Bay of Bengal.

   Kaveri River in plains

  River Kaveri flows in 4 states and Union Territories - Karnataka (34,273 km^2 ), Tamil Nadu (43,856 km^2 ), Kerala (2,866 km^2 ) and Puducherry (160 km^2 ). and finally merges into Bay of Bengal. River Kaveri originates in the Brahmagiri hills in Kodagu at the Talakaveri in Western Ghats of Karnataka and reaches up to the fertile plains at its lower course.  The river becomes a major river when it leaves the Western Ghats near Kushalanagara.

  River Kaveri in Karnataka has several channels with dams. In its course through Karnataka, the channel is broken up nearly twelve small dams for` irrigation. From the dam at Madadkatte, an artificial channel is diverted at a distance of 72 miles, irrigating an area of 10,000 acres and ultimately bringing its water supply to the town of Mandya. As the river flows in the Deccan Plateau, it forms two islands, Srirangapatna and Shivanasamudra.

       Kaveri river Map

  The River Kaveri enters Tamil Nadu through Krishnagiri district and along its course structure many gorges and waterfalls; among them the most famous is the Hogenakkal falls in Dharmapuri District. The three minor tributaries of River Kaveri, flowing in this state are Palar, Chennar and Thoppar above Stanley Reservoir in Mettur , where the dam has been constructed.

   Dams on Kaveri River

  The major dams constructed across the Kaveri river are Dams Krishna Raja Sagara Dam and Mettur Dam and the Banasura Sagar Dam on the Kabini River, which is the tributary of the Cauvery. The Krishna Raja Sagara Dam has a capacity of 49 tmc ft. and the Mettur Dam which creates Stanley Reservoir has a capacity of 93.4 tmc ft. (thousand million cubic ft) The hydroelectric plant built on the left Sivanasamudra Falls on the Kaveri in 1902 was the first hydroelectric plant in Karnataka.

  Kaveri River water dispute

  The sharing of waters of the river Kaveri has been the source of a serious conflict between the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The river originates in Karnataka and flows into Tamil Nadu. Karnataka, through a system of dams, is in a position to control how much water will continue into Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu believes that even though it is downstream it has as much right to the river as Karnataka. The 802 km Kaveri river has 32,000 sq km basin area in Karnataka and 44,000 sq km basin area in Tamil Nadu. The state of Karnataka contends that it does not receive its due share of water from the river as does Tamil Nadu.

 The Government of India constituted a tribunal in 1990 to look into the matter. After hearing arguments of all the parties involved for the next 16 years, the tribunal delivered its final verdict on 5 February 2007. In its verdict, the tribunal allocated 419 billion ft³ (12 km³) of water annually to Tamil Nadu and 270 billion ft³ (7.6 km³) to Karnataka; 30 billion ft³ (0.8 km³) of Kaveri river water to Kerala and 7 billion ft³ (0.2 km³) to Pondicherry. The dispute however, appears not to have concluded, as all four states deciding to file review petitions seeking clarifications and possible renegotiation of the order. The Indian government has tried to solve the dispute, but has largely failed. 

  On September 19,  2012, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh , who is also the Chairman of Cauvery River Authority (CRA), directed Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu at Biligundlu (the border) daily from September 21, 2012. But Karnataka felt that this was impractical due to the drought conditions prevailing because of the failed monsoon. Karnataka then walked out of the high level meeting as a sign of protest. On Sep 21, 2012, Karnataka filed a petition before the Cauvery River Authority seeking review of its September 19 ruling. On Sep 24 ,2012, Tamil Nadu Chief minister directed the officials to immediately file a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to Karnataka to release Tamil Nadu its due share of water.

  On September 28, 2012, the Supreme Court slammed the Karnataka government for failing to comply with the directive of the CRA. Left with no other option, Karnataka started releasing water. This led to wide protests and violence in Karnataka.  In an interim relief to Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court directed Karnataka on December 5, 2012 to release 10,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to its neighbouring state and asked the Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC) to hold a meeting to decide the amount of water required by each state.

  Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal final award
  On February 19, 2013 centre notified the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal final award. *With this, the future sharing of water among all Cauvery basin states, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry, will be based on the final award. Now, water sharing is being done as per the interim award of the tribunal.

 The tribunal, comprising chairman Justice N P Singh and members N S Rao and Sudhir Narain, in a unanimous award pronounced on February 5, 2007, determined the total availability of water in the Cauvery basin at 740 tmc feet at the Lower Coleroon  Anicut site. The tribunal gave Tamil Nadu 419 tmc of water (as against the demand of 562 tmc); Karnataka 270 tmc (as against its demand of 465 tmc); Kerala 30 tmc and Puducherry 7 tmc. For environmental protection, it had reserved 10 tmc.

  Eight reservoirs in Cauvery basin "Hemavathy, Harangi, Kabini and Krishnarajasagara in Karnataka, Lower Bhavani, Amaravathy, Mettur in Tamil Nadu and Banasurasagar in Kerala" will come under the monitoring of the Cauvery Management Board.

   History
 

 According to Hindu Mythology a king Kavera lived in the Brahmagiri hills and prayed to Lord Brahma for a child. He was blessed with a daughter whom he named Kaveri. She was the water manifestation of the human form. The great sage Agastya married her and kept her in his kamandalu or the spouted jug. When a terrible drought trounced the land, Ganesha in the guise of a crow, tipped the kamandalu and out flowed Kaveri.

  The Chola king Karikalan has constructed the bank for the Kaveri all the way from Puhar (Kaveripoompattinam) to Srirangam. It was built as far back as 1,600 years ago or even more. On both sides of the river are found walls spreading to a distance of 1,080 feet (330 m). The Kallanai dam constructed by him on the border between Tiruchirappalli and Thanjavur was made with earth and stone and has stood the vagaries of nature for hundreds of years. In 19th century, it was renovated on a bigger scale. The name of the historical dam has since been changed to “Grand Anicut” and stands as the head of a great irrigation system in the Thanjavur district.

   Kaveri River in Hindu religion

  Kaveri river or Cauvery river  is a sacred holy river for Hindus as the River Ganga (गंगा)River Yamuna (यमुना)   Godavari ( गोदावरी) River and River Narmada ( नर्मदा}. The Kaveri River is often known as Dakshin Ganga or the `Ganges of the South`. The river is embodied as the Goddess Kaveri Amman, who is worshipped at several shrines along the course of the river. According to Hindu legends, Vishnumaya or Lopamudra, daughter of Lord Brahma, took birth on the earth as the child of the Kavera Muni and later was married to Sage Agasthaya. Later, she took the form of the river Kaveri in order to serve mankind.

  It is said that a bath in Cauvery during Tula month, a bath in Prayaag during Maagha month, and a dip in Setu during ardhodhayaa period can be possible only as a fruit of penance done in ten million lives. These Holy Baths have the power to remove pancha paatakaas (five major sins that can drag the Soul down in its ascent towards Divine Realization), and can cause liberation to the entire line of ancestors. According to Agni Puraanam,

  “ShaTShaShTi kOti tIrthAni dvisaptha bhuvanEShu cha. 
 KEshavasya AjnayA yAnti thulAmAse marudvridhAm” 
 The three major river islands at Kaveri have a strong Vaishnava heritage, with sculptures of Lord Vishnu विष्णु)   in a reclining posture on the legendary seven-headed serpent (Sesha ) as his celestial bed (Sheshashayana). These three temples are known as Adi Ranga, Madya Ranga, and Anthya Ranga. On the banks of the Kaveri is the ancient temple town of Talakad where the holy festival Panchalinga Darshana is held every 12 years and devotees bathe in the Kaveri River.

   Economy

 The Kaveri river providing water for irrigation, water for household consumption and the generation of electricity in the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. An estimate at the time of the first Five Year Plan puts the total flow of the Kaveri at 12,000,000 acre feet (15 km^3 ), of which 60% was used for irrigation. The Torekadanahalli pumpstation sends 540 Mld (million liters per day) of water from Kaveri 100 km to Bangalore. The river has supported irrigated agriculture for centuries and served as the lifeblood of the cities of South India.

   Ecology

 On either side of Kaveri river are several water falls. At Sivanasamudra the river drops 320 ft (98 m), forming the famous Shivanasamudra Falls known separately as Gagana Chukki and Bhara Chukki  Three kilometers away from Srirangapatna , the Kaveri is the basis for the Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary. The river also joins the Hogenakal Falls before arriving in the town of Hogenakal and Srirangam in Tamil Nadu.

 Centre notifies Cauvery Dispute Tribunal award
  Amid opposition from Karnataka, the Centre on February 19, 2013 notified the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal final award. *With this, the future sharing of water among all Cauvery basin states, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry, will be based on the final award. Now, water sharing is being done as per the interim award of the tribunal. The notification, which was issued as per the Supreme Court direction that set the deadline of February 20, will come into effect within 90 days from Tuesday. "The notification was issued on February 19, 2013 and sent for publication in a Gazette. It will be available for public on February 20.
  However, the sources maintained that the legal battle on the water sharing in court will continue as the Supreme Court is yet to decide on the fate of the petitions filed by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu against the final award.
  With the notification, institutions like the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) chaired by the prime minister and the Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC) will now cease to exist. And Cauvery Management Board and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee will be constituted.
  Rejecting the Karnataka's demand of the retaining the CRA and CMC, ministry officials said, "Notification will be done as per the final award of the tribunal and the Centre has no power to modify the tribunal verdict.".... 

  River Kaveri in Tamil Nadu features lovely waterfalls and gorges, among them the most famous is the Hogenakkal falls in Dharmapuri District which serves as great tourist spots.

   Tributaries of Kaveri River

 The Kaveri basin is estimated to be 81,155 km^2 with many tributaries including the Shimsha, the Hemavati, the Arkavati, Honnuhole, Lakshmana Tirtha, Kabini , Bhavani River, the Lokapavani, the Noyyal and the Amaravati River .

  Environment Protection

 The pollution in River Kaveri is increasing and it is dying at an increasing rate. The main polluters are agricultural, industrial and urban sectors. Huge quantities of fertilisers and pesticides are dis­charged into the river as agricultural runoff. Coffee plantation in the districts of Kodagu, Hassan and Chikmagalur contributes heavily to BOD level (about 4,730 tons of BOD load in each season) in the river water which ranges between 2000 to 4000 mgand1.
   A total of 61 industries in Karnataka and 1,139 in the Tamil Nadu contribute a heavy pollution load. These include water intensive textile and sugar units, paper mills, chemical units, engineering units and tanneries. The quantity of waste-water discharged directly into the river is approximately 87,600 cum/ day. The river has a total dissolved solid (TDS) level of 1,450 mg/1 which is three times higher than the permissible limit of 500 mg/1 prescribed by the W.H.O.

  Kaveri River Map