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River Cauvery EN.png
Map of the Cauvery river basin
Country India
State Karnataka, Tamil Nadu
Region South India
Physical characteristics
Source Talakaveri, Kodagu, Western Ghats, Karnataka
  location Karnataka, India
  coordinates 12°23′N75°29′E / 12.383°N 75.483°E / 12.383; 75.483
  elevation1,341 m (4,400 ft)
Mouth Bay of Bengal
Poompuhar, Tamil Nadu, India
11°21′40″N79°49′46″E / 11.36111°N 79.82944°E / 11.36111; 79.82944 Coordinates: 11°21′40″N79°49′46″E / 11.36111°N 79.82944°E / 11.36111; 79.82944
0 m (0 ft)
Length805 km (500 mi) [1]
Basin size81,155 km2 (31,334 sq mi)
  average677 m3/s (23,900 cu ft/s)
  location Grand Anicut (South) [2]
  average400.716 m3/s (14,151.2 cu ft/s)
Basin features
  left Harangi, Hemavati, Shimsha, Arkavathy
  right Lakshmana Tirtha, Kabini, Bhavani, Noyyal, Amaravati, Moyar

Kaveri (also known as Cauvery, the anglicized name), is an Indian river flowing through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The Kaveri river rises at Talakaveri on the Brahmagiri range in the Western Ghats, Kodagu district of the state of Karnataka, at an elevation of 1341m above mean sea level and flows for about 800 km before its outfall into the Bay of Bengal. It is the third largest river after Godavari and Krishna in South India and the largest in the State of Tamil Nadu which, on its course, bisects the state into North and South. The Kaveri is sacred river to the people of South India and is worshipped as the Goddess Kaveramma. The Kaveri is also one of the seven holy rivers of India. [3]


The catchment area of Kaveri basin is estimated to be 81,155 square kilometres (31,334 sq mi) with many tributaries including Harangi, Hemavati, Kabini, Bhavani, Lakshmana Tirtha, Noyyal and Arkavati. The river basin covers three states and a Union Territory as follows: Tamil Nadu, 43,868 square kilometres (16,938 sq mi); Karnataka, 34,273 square kilometres (13,233 sq mi); Kerala, 2,866 square kilometres (1,107 sq mi), and Puducherry, 148 square kilometres (57 sq mi). [4] Rising in Talakaveri in Kodagu, Karnataka, it flows southeast some 800 kilometres (500 mi) to enter the Bay of Bengal. In Chamarajanagar district it forms the island of Shivanasamudra, on either side of which are the scenic Shivanasamudra Falls that descend about 100 metres (330 ft). [5] The river is the source for an extensive irrigation system and for hydroelectric power. [6] The river has supported irrigated agriculture for centuries and served as the lifeblood of the ancient kingdoms and modern cities of South India. Access to the river's waters has pitted Indian states against each other for decades. It was profusely described in the Tamil Sangam literature and is held in great reverence in Hinduism.

River course

After the river leaves the Kodagu hills and flows onto the Deccan plateau, it forms two islands in Mandya district's Srirangapatna and Shivanasamudra. First comes the Srirangapatna, which forms the sangam, and then comes Shivanasamudra. At Shivanasamudra the river drops 98 metres (320 ft), forming the famous Shivanasamudra Falls known separately as Gagana Chukki and Bhara Chukki. [7] Asia's first hydroelectric plant (built in 1902) was on the left falls and supplied power to the city of Bangalore.

In its course through Karnataka, the channel is interrupted by 12 "anekattu" (dams) for the purpose of irrigation. From the Anaikattu at Madadkatte, an artificial channel is diverted at a distance of 116 kilometres (72 mi), irrigating an area of 4,000 hectares (10,000 acres), and ultimately bringing its water supply to the town of Mandya.

Three kilometres away from Srirangapatna, the Kaveri is the basis for the Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary. Near Srirangapatna is also an aqueduct, the Bangara Doddi Nala, which was constructed in the 17th century by the Wodeyar maharaja of Mysore, Ranadhira Kantirava, in memory of his favourite consort. This aqueduct also served as a motorable bridge until 1964.The kabini river tributary of Kaveri joins Kaveri at Tirumakudal Narasipura where triveni sangama takes place along with mythological river Spatika. The Moyar River is an east flowing river that originates in the Mudumalai, Bandipur, and Wayanad National Parks draining the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and is one of the tributaries to the Kaveri River.

The river enters Tamil Nadu through Dharmapuri district leading to the flat plains where it meanders. It drops into the Hogenakkal Falls just before it arrives in the town of Hogenakkal in Tamil Nadu. The three minor tributaries, Palar, Chinnar and Thoppar enter into the Kaveri on her course, above Stanley Reservoir in Mettur, where the dam has been constructed. It then flows further through the length of Erode district where the river Bhavani, running through the breadth of the district, merges with it. The confluence of the rivers Kaveri, Bhavani and Akash Ganga (mythological) is at the exact place of Bhavani, Tamil Nadu Kooduthurai or Tiriveni Sangamam, Northern part of Erode City.

While passing through Erode, two more tributaries merge. Thirumani Mutharu joins it in a village called Kududurai in Namakkal District. Noyyal and Amaravathi join it in Karur district before it reaches Tiruchirapalli district. Here the river becomes wide, with a sandy bed, and flows in an eastern direction until it splits into two at upper Anicut about 14 kilometres (9 mi) west of Tiruchirappalli. The northern branch of the river is called the Kollidam while the southern branch retains the name Kaveri and then goes directly eastwards into Thanjavur District. These two rivers join again and form the Srirangam island that is a part of the city of Tiruchirapalli. The oldest functional dam [8] Grand Anicut or Kallanai was present at this place. From Thanjavur, the river splits and goes to few places in the Delta Kaveri.


Kaveri river flowing at Mekedatu


The primary uses of Kaveri is providing water for irrigation, water for household consumption and the generation of electricity.

An estimate at the time of the first Five Year Plan puts the total flow of the Kaveri at 15 cubic kilometres (12,000,000 acre⋅ft), of which 60 percent was used for irrigation. [9]

The Torekadanahalli pumpstation sends 540 million litres (19,000,000 cu ft) per day of water from Kaveri 100 kilometres (62 mi) to Bangalore. [10] [11]

Stanley Reservoir formed by Mettur Dam, the largest dam in Tamil Nadu Water Catchment Area of Stanley reservoir.jpg
Stanley Reservoir formed by Mettur Dam, the largest dam in Tamil Nadu

The hydroelectric plant built on the left of Sivanasamudra Falls on the Kaveri in 1902 was the first hydroelectric plant in Asia. [5]

The Krishna Raja Sagara Dam has a capacity of 49 tmc ft. [12] and the Mettur Dam which creates Stanley Reservoir has a capacity of 93.4 tmc ft. (thousand million cubic ft)

In August 2003, inflow into reservoirs in Karnataka was at a 29-year low, with a 58% shortfall. [13] Water stored in Krishna Raja Sagara amounted to only 4.6 tmc ft. [13]

In February 2020, Tamil Nadu assembly passed bill to declare Cauvery Delta as Protected Agricultural Zone, includes Thanjavur, Thirvarur, Nagapattinam and five blocks in Cuddalore and Pudukottai. The bill fails to include Tiruchirappalli, Ariyalur and Karur which are geographically included in the Cauvery Delta. [14]

Water sharing

As per an order by the Indian Supreme Court on 16 February 2018, [15] Karnataka will get 284.75 tmc ft, Tamil Nadu will get 404.25 tmc ft, Kerala will get 30 tmc ft and Puducherry will get 7 tmc ft, 10 tmc ft will be reserved for Environmental Protection and 4 tmc ft will be reserved for Inevitable Wastage into the Sea. [16]

Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) 2018

Acting on the Supreme Court's direction, the Centre constituted a Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) on 1 June 2018 to address the dispute over sharing of river water among Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry. [17] . The central government failed to adhere with the top courts deadline of within six weeks of deliverence of judgement

On 16 February 2018, the apex court had directed the government to form the CWMA within six weeks in a verdict that marginally increased Karnataka's share of Cauvery water, reduced the allocation for Tamil Nadu and sought to settle the protracted water dispute between the two sout. [18]

On 22 June 2018, Despite opposition from Karnataka, the Central government constituted the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) as per the provisions in the Kaveri Management Scheme laid down by the Supreme Court. [19]

Central Water Commission chairman, S. Masood Hussain will head the CWMA and chief engineer of the Central Water Commission, Navin Kumar will be the first chairman of the CWRC. While the CWMA is an umbrella body, the CWRC will monitor water management on a day-to-day basis, including the water level and inflow and outflow of reservoirs in all the basin states. [19]

See also

Related Research Articles

Erode district District in Tamil Nadu, India

Erode District is a district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It was the largest district by area in the state before the formation of Tirupur District in 2009. The headquarters of the district is Erode. It is divided into two revenue divisions, Erode and Gobichettipalayam, and is further subdivided into 10 taluks. Erode District, then known as, was a part of Coimbatore District before its division into two on September 17, 1979. It covers an area of 5,722 square kilometres (2,209 sq mi), and as of 2011, had a population of 2,251,744.

Amaravati River river in South India

The Amaravati River is the longest tributary of Kaveri River in the fertile districts of Karur and Tirupur, Tamil Nadu state, South India.

Noyyal River river in South India

The Noyyal River is a small river in Western Tamil Nadu, and a tributary of Kaveri River. It rises from the Vellingiri hills in the Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu, very close to Kerala border, and flows through many villages and the cities of Coimbatore, and Tirupur finally draining into the Kaveri River at Noyyal, a village in Karur district named after the river itself. The river's basin is 180 km (110 mi) long and 25 km (16 mi) wide and covers a total area of 3,500 km2 (1,400 sq mi). Cultivated land in the basin amounts to 1,800 km2 (690 sq mi) while the population density is 120 people per km² (311/mi²) in the countryside, and 1000 people per km² (2590/mi²) in the cities. The area is known for its scanty rainfall and the development of the Noyyal River Tanks System to hold any overflow from the rains plus the water of the Northeast and Southwest monsoon season was ecologically important. The 173 km (107 mi) long tributary of the Kaveri River filled 32 tanks. These interconnecting tanks held the water flowing from the Noyyal.

Mettur Town in Tamil Nadu, India

Mettur is an industrial and tourism town located in the Salem district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is best known for the Mettur Dam.

Bhavani River river in India

Bhavani is an Indian river flows through Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, India. It's a major tributary of the Kaveri River.

Kallanai is an ancient dam, which is built across the Kaveri river in Tiruchirappalli District and THANJAVUR District of the state Tamil Nadu in India. Located at a distance of 45km from thanjavur, 15 km from Tiruchirappalli, the dam was originally constructed during the reign of Chola king Karikalan in c. 100 BC – c. 100 AD. It is located on Kaveri river approximately 45 KM from THANJAVUR and20 KM from Trichy city, the dam comes under Thanjavur district. It is the fourth-oldest water-diversion or water-regulator structures in the world and the oldest in India which is still in use.

Stanley Reservoir reservoir in India

Stanley Reservoir is one of largest fishing reservoirs in South India. Its main source of water is the River Kaveri (Cauvery). Three minor tributaries – Palar, Chennar and Thoppar – enter the Kaveri on her course above Stanley Reservoir. The water is retained by the Mettur Dam, Tamil Nadu. Its total capacity is more than 93,470,000,000 cubic feet .(2,146,071 acre ft)

Kabini River river in India

The Kasbani river is also called Kabini or Kapila River is one of the major tributaries of the river Cauvery in southern India. It originates in the Wayanad District of Kerala state by the confluence of the Panamaram River and the Mananthavady River. It flows eastward to join the Kaveri River at Tirumakudalu Narasipura in Karnataka.

Mettur Dam dam in Mettur, Salem District, Tamil Nadu, India

The Mettur Dam is one of the largest dams in India and the largest in Tamil Nadu, located across the river Cauvery where it enters the plains. Built in 1934, it took 9 years to complete. Maximum height and width of the dam are 214 and 171 feet respectively. The dam receives inflows from its own catchment area, Kabini Dam and Krishna Raja Sagara Dams located in Karnataka. There is a park at the base of the dam called Ellis Park maintained by the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department. It provides irrigation and drinking water facilities for more than 12 districts of Tamilnadu and hence is revered as the life and livelihood-giving asset of Tamil Nadu

Hogenakkal Falls waterfall

Hogenakkal Falls is a waterfall in South India on the Kaveri river on the border between Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu and Chamrajnagar district of Karnataka. It is located 127 km (79 mi) from Bangalore, 165 km (103 mi) from Kollegal, 147 km (91 mi) from Kolar, 152 km (94 mi) from Kolar Gold Fields and 46 km (29 mi) from Dharmapuri. Sometimes referred to as the "Niagara Falls of India," it is known for bathing areas and hired boat rides and as a major tourist attraction. Carbonatite rocks in this site are considered to be the oldest of its kind in South Asia and one of the oldest in the world. The Government of Tamil Nadu made a proposal to convert the falls into providing drinking water for the state.

Shivanasamudra Falls Waterfalls on the Kaveri River in India

Shivanasamudra Falls is a waterfall in Chamarajanagar District of the state of Karnataka, India. It is situated along the river Kaveri, which forms here the boundary to the Mandya, and is the location of one of the first hydro-electric power stations in Asia, which was set up in 1902.The project was designed by Diwan Sheshadri Iyer.

Bayalu Seeme Geographic region of Karnataka

Bayaluseeme or Bayalu Seeme is the area lying to the east of Malenadu, a region of Karnataka state in India. The area is largely open plain, with few hillocks. It includes the districts of Bangalore, Bagalkot, Bijapur, Chitradurga, Davanagere, Dharwad, Gadag, Hassan, Haveri, Mandya, Mysore, Tumkur.

Kaveri River water dispute river in India

The sharing of waters of the Kaveri River has been the source of a serious conflict between the two states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The genesis of this conflict rests in two agreements in 1892 and 1924 between the Madras Presidency and Kingdom of Mysore. The 802 kilometres (498 mi) kaveri river has 44,000 km2 basin area in Tamil Nadu and 32,000 km2 basin area in Karnataka. The inflow from Karnataka is 425 TMCft whereas that from Tamil Nadu is 252 TMCft

Triveni Sangam Junction of three rivers, important in Hinduism

In Hindu tradition Triveni Sangam is the "confluence" of three rivers. The point of confluence is a sacred place for Hindus, with a bath here said to flush away all of one's sins and free one from the cycle of rebirth.

The Hogenakkal Water Dispute is a conflict between the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over the implementation of Hogenakkal Integrated Drinking Water Project, whose foundation stone was laid in February 2008. The Rs. 13.34 billion project envisages water supply to 4040,000 people in the fluorosis affected Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts of Tamil Nadu.

Kalingarayan Canal

Mamannar Kalingarayan Canal is a 56.2-mile (90.5 km) long irrigation canal in the Erode district, Tamil Nadu, India. It was constructed by Kongu Nadu Chieftain Mamannar Kalingarayan Gounder and completed in 1283. The canal's source is the Kalingarayan Anicut dam near Bhavani, Erode. The canal irrigates approximately 15,743 acres (6,371 ha) of agricultural land.

Kalingarayan Anicut

Mamannar Kalingarayan Anicut is a dam constructed on the Bhavani river in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located just before Kooduthurai where Bhavani combines with Cauvery, in Bhavani, Erode.

2018 Tamil Nadu protests for Kaveri water sharing dispute on Cauvery river water sharing

The 2018 Kaveri River water sharing protests are a series of ongoing protests on the issue of water sharing problems from the River Kaveri between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka which are the two main states of India. The Kaveri water dispute has been a major controversial issue between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over the years and the issue has been raised further with protests have been conducted across the state of Tamil Nadu by several groups including from the large pile of actors and directors who have temporarily stopped working on their projects, films over the Karnataka's sharing the Kaveri water to Tamil Nadu. The delay in establishing a Cauvery Management Board inorder to share equal river share award has sparked off protests in Tamil Nadu against the Karnataka state government. This issue is often used to be a hottest scenario between the two states in the sport of cricket between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League.

Palar River, Kaveri basin

Palar is a river in the Indian states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It originates near Guthiyalathur in Bhavani Taluk of Erode district in Tamil Nadu and forms border between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Later, it flows into the Kaveri River near Palar in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.


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