Cauvery is an important source of drinking water as well as irrigation for farmers in Tamil Nadu. There are a total of 127 combined water supply schemes providing water equivalent of 17tmcft every year. “More than 20% population in 19 districts depends directly Cauvery for their water requirement. The river contributes 50% of the total surface flows in all rivers and river courses across the state,” informs Vaikundarajan, founder of VV Minerals India.
The river that runs for 416 km in the state has seen several drinking water schemes in the last twenty years. Currently, the state is highly dependent on Cauvery for its drinking water needs. “Major problem occurs due to the shortage of rain and shortfall in river flow. This leads to Mettur reservoir not reaching a full storage. In these circumstances, the officials have to rely on local sources to augment the supply,” explains Vaikundarajan.
There are 4 reservoirs meant to meet the needs of a rapidly growing Chennai, but to no avail. Other major rivers such as Vaigai, Palar and Thenpennaiar have failed to contribute.The issues faced are attributed to illegal sand beach mining which, according to officials, has endangered the life of the river. “The government grants permission to companies with a limit on sand beach mining. Crossing the government approved limit is considered illegal mining. Several complaints of illegal activities have been report across the state. The government has promised to take appropriate measures to curb illegal sand beach mining activities. Hopefully, in time to come, we will see all the problems concerning Cauvery restored,” assures Vaikundarajan.