Cauvery Current Affairs - 2020

Cauvery Delta of Tamil Nadu declared Protected Agricultural Zone

On February 10, 2020, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu announced that Cauvery Delta is to be declared as Protected Special Agricultural Zone. In 2019, the Central Government had awarded the oil and gas exploration projects in the Cauvery basin. This invoked large protests amid water crisis in the state. Extraction of hydro carbon requires excess amount of fresh water.

Highlights

With the zone being Agricultural protected Zone, the permission of State government is required to undertake projects. This infers that oil exploration projects cannot be undertaken by the private firms without the permission of state government.

Agricultural Protection Zone

When a land is announced as Protected Agricultural Zone, it cannot be used for any other non-agricultural activities.

Significance

The Environmental Impact Assessment of 2006 that was recently amended by the central government gives permission for ONGC and other private firms. And since Cauvery Delta is rich in Hydrocarbons, it is essential to protect the agricultural land in the region.

Godavari-Cauvery link project

The Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari announced that the Centre would soon take up a major project to Link Rivers Godavari and Cauvery.

The detailed project report for linking rivers Godavari-Krishna-Pennar-Cauvery has been finalised and will be presented before the cabinet soon for approval.

Objectives of the Project

The objectives of the project are:

  • The project aims to make good use of about 1100 tmc ft of Godavari water that is currently getting drained into the Bay of Bengal.
  • The project would take the water from river Godavari to the tail end of Tamil Nadu.
  • The government aims to raise finances for the project either from the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank as the project cost is about Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 60,000 crore.
  • The government aims to address the water deficit being faced and the resulting water dispute among the riparian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Union Territory of Puducherry over sharing of the water from river Cauvery.

The project would use low thickness steel pipes with a special treatment for linking Godavari and Cauvery rather than canals as it results in water loss due to evaporation losses. The use of use low thickness steel pipes would also aid in reducing the project costs.