Cauvery River 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.


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.


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.

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Factbox: Mekedatu Project

The tussle between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu on the issue of River Cauvery has got a new addition. The proposal of Karnataka to build dam at Mekedatu is opposed fiercely by Tamil Nadu.

About the Project

  • The Government of Karnataka is planning to build a dam across river Cauvery near Mekedatu in Ramanagara district.
  • The proposed capacity of dam is 48 TMC (thousand million cubic feet).
  • The objective of the dam is to supply drinking water to Bengaluru and recharge the groundwater table in the region.

Why Tamil Nadu is opposing the project?

  • Tamil Nadu’s main argument is that the project violates the final award of the Cauvery River Water Tribunal.
  • Tamil Nadu argues that the construction of the reservoir would result in impounding of the flows in the intermediate catchment below the Krishnaraja Sagar and Kabini reservoirs, and Billigundulu in the common border of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • Tamil Nadu also suspects that with the proposed project Karnataka intends to extend the area under irrigation.

Karnataka’s Arguments

  • Karnataka argues that Mekedatu project will not come in the way of releasing the stipulated quantum of water to Tamil Nadu, nor will it be used for irrigation purposes.
  • Karnataka is willing to hold talks with Tamil Nadu on this issue.
  • Karnataka has again made it clear that the reservoir is only for storing water meant to generate electricity and provide drinking water to Bengaluru as well as its neighbouring areas.

The feasibility study of the dam is cleared by the Central Water Commission (CWC). The CWC has conditioned that water supply to Tamil Nadu from Cauvery must not be hampered. Now Karnataka can go ahead and prepare Detailed Project Report. The Government of Tamil Nadu had moved to Supreme Court seeking to prohibit Karnataka from proceeding with its Detailed Project Report. Supreme Court has refused to give the stay as of now.

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