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Mekedatu project

Topics Covered:

  1. Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
  2. Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.


Mekedatu project


What to study?

  • For Prelims: Key facts and location of Mekedatu dam and about the Cauvery river and its tributaries, about CWC.
  • For Mains: Controversy over the project, what’s the way out, need for a uniform mechanism to solve river water disputes.


Context: The Karnataka Government has submitted a detailed project report (DPR) of the Mekedatu project to the Central Water Commission (CWC). As per the DPR, the total project cost will be the Rs 5,900 crore.


What next?

  1. Now, the DPR will be placed before the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) and after its approval, will be brought before the Advisory Committee of the Union Ministry of Water Resources.
  2. The DPR will be examined in specialised directorates of CWC including the Inter-State Matters Directorate, and if found acceptable, will be submitted to the Advisory Committee of Irrigation and Multipurpose Projects of the Ministry of Water Resources, for acceptance.
  3. On the basis of the note prepared by CWC and deliberations during the meeting of the Advisory Committee, a decision on acceptance of the project will be taken.


Why is Tamil Nadu opposing?

Tamil Nadu has been vehemently opposing the project and the CWC’s decision to grant permission for Karnataka to prepare the DPR.

Arguments of TN:

  1. Proposed reservoir violates the decisions of the Supreme Court and the Cauvery Tribunal. The Supreme Court had noted that the existing storage in the Cauvery basin of Karnataka should be taken into account for ensuring water releases to Tamil Nadu during the period of June to January.
  2. The centre says that the DPR submitted by Karnataka was subject to the amicable resolution of connected inter-State matters. However, Kerala, referring to the Guidelines of Submission, Appraisal and Acceptance of Irrigation and Multipurpose Project of 2017, argued that inter-State aspects had to be dealt with even at the stage of preparing the pre-feasibility report on the project.


About Mekedatu dam project:

Being set up by the Karnataka government, the project is near Mekedatu, in Ramanagaram district, across the river Cauvery from Tamil Nadu. Its primary objective is to supply drinking water to Bengaluru and recharge the groundwater table in the region.


About CWC:

Presently functioning as an attached office of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India.

Entrusted with the general responsibilities of initiating, coordinating and furthering in consultation of the State Governments concerned, schemes for control, conservation and utilization of water resources throughout the country, for purpose of Flood Control, Irrigation, Navigation, Drinking Water Supply and Water Power Development.

Headed by a Chairman, with the status of Ex-Officio Secretary to the Government of India.


Facts for Prelims- Cauvery River:

  • River rises on Brahmagiri Hill of the Western Ghats in south-western Karnataka state.
  • It flows in a south-easterly direction for 475 miles through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Before emptying into the Bay of Bengal south of Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, the river breaks into a large number of distributaries.
  • In the upper course, at the Krishnaraja Sagara, the Kaveri is joined by two tributaries, the Hemavati and Lakshmantirtha, where a dam was constructed for irrigation.
  • Upon entering Tamil Nadu, the Kaveri continues through a series of twisted wild gorges until it reaches Hogenakal Falls. There the Mettur Dam was constructed for irrigation and hydel power.
  • The Kaveri’s main tributaries are the Kabani (Kabbani), Amaravati, Noyil, and Bhavani rivers.


Sources: the hindu.

Mains Question: What are the key contestations of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka in the Cauvery dispute? Are there any alternative solutions to resolve this dispute? Examine.