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Cauvery - South India’s Lifeline

River Cauvery

Cauvery is the lifeline of South India and provides food, water, and economic security for the entire region. It provides water to 100 million people and 600 major industries. Hence protection of Kodagu as the catchment of Cauvery is extremely critical.

During every summer over many years, we have seen protests, violence, court appearing by states. And every year we overlook a major fact that leads to such disagreements, Cauvery cannot supply the needs of the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and nobody tries to go further than the problem they see, the protests. There is a basic lack of awareness amongst people.

Cauvery is one of the major rivers of India, there is a rich cultural heritage with it, and large tracts of land have been irrigated which has helped in feeding millions of people. When the Kannadigas or the Tamilians talk about Cauvery there is a sense of pride, innumerable songs, poems and books have been written about Cauvery capturing her beauty, grace and the generosity.

Western ghats

Paddy fields

Sadly her generosity is not what it used to be and it certainly is not the fault of the river. We have been losing forest cover at a very rapid pace in the name of development, mining, dams, defence or other projects.

In Coorg tourism plays a devastating role in the catchment area of Cauvery. Coorg has a population of 554519 (2011 census) but the people visiting the district every year is 3500000, this brings a huge pressure on the natural resources and with thriving tourism, the problem of people staying has to be addressed and for this, there need to be more hotels hence deforestation. And Coorg being a hill station there is a lot of land/estates that is converted to plots for people to buy. In the last few years over 2500 acres of coffee estates and paddy fields have been converted for commercial purposes.

There are various Government agendas such as power lines and railway lines that will destroy the forests. The power line that has already passed by Coorg has deforested over 50000 trees and nobody knows how many trees the railway line will take away.

Power lines supplying power to neighbouring Kerala

College built by cutting down a hill near Madikeri

One of the many forest clearing work

Massive urbanisation and the demand for real estate in Kerala and parts of Karnataka, there has been undue pressure on the bed of the river for its sand. Unchecked sand mining is killing the river and its tributaries.

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