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The Cauvery - a river of power and dispute

Weber, Eberhard (2005) The Cauvery - a river of power and dispute. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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The Cauvery River, South India’s biggest and most important river has many names. To many known as the Daksina Ganga, the Ganges of the South, the Cauvery is crucial to agriculture in this region of Tamil Nadu. Originating in the Brahmagiri Hills of the Western Ghats in Coorg district of Karnataka the Cauvery flows some 765 km in a south-easterly direction through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, passing the Eastern Ghats in a series of great falls. When entering Tamil Nadu, the river breaks through a series of wild gorges until it reaches Hogenakal Falls. From here it flows through a narrow gorge near Salem to reach the Mettur Dam. 1,700m long and xxxm high the dam creates a lake of 96 sq km, the Stanley Reservoir. When the Mettur Project had been completed in 1934 it created an important agricultural and industrial area by improving irrigation and providing hydropower. Before the river finally ends its journey and meets the Bay of Bengal south of Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu it branches out into a large number of distributaries forming a wide delta. Water for irrigation had always been an important foundation of power for the rulers of South India, no matter when they were in power. Almost 2,000 years ago, under the Chola Kings, a sophisticated irrigation system had been established in the delta of the Cauvery River that helped the region to become the rice bowl of South India. Under the British, the system was expanded and new irrigation areas added. About one million ha of agricultural land are under irrigation in the Cauvery delta. Every year about 14 billion cubic meters of water are needed. A century back there was hardly any challenge concerning water supply from the Cauvery. In the first few decades of the 20th century the government of the Madras Presidency (today Tamil Nadu) and the rulers of the princely State of Mysore (today Karnataka) started to modernize agriculture and expanded irrigation infrastructure. Since then many areas under irrigation were added in Karnataka and also the fast growing city of Bangalore with a population of more than 6 million people increasingly depended on the river’s water.

Item Type: Other
Uncontrolled Keywords: Water, conflict, Cauvery River, India, Political Ecology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Geography, Earth Science and Environment
Depositing User: Eberhard Weber
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2014 02:53
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2014 02:53

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