Kaveri River System in India

Important Features of Kaveri River

  • Kaveri river is also known as¬† the “Dakshi Bharat ki Ganga,” or “Southern Ganga.”
  • The Cauvery River rises at Talakaveri on the Brahmagiri range near Cherangala hamlet in the Kodagu (Coorg) region of Karnataka, at a height of 1,341 meters.
  • The river is 800 kilometers long from its source to its mouth.
  • It flows for 705 kilometers through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, descending the Eastern Ghats in a series of massive falls.
  • The river breaks up into a huge number of distributaries before draining into the Bay of Bengal south of Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, forming a wide delta known as the “garden of southern India.”
  • There are several dams built on the kaveri river. The most popular ones being the Krishna Raja Sagar Dam (KRS) in Mandya, Upper Anicut in Tamil Nadu, Amaravthi Dam, Mettur Dam and Kallani Dam in Tamil Nadu.
  • The Cauvery basin drains an area of 81 thousand square kilometers and spans the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
  • It is bordered on the west by the Western Ghats, on the east and south by the Eastern Ghats, and on the north by the mountains that separate it from the Krishna and Pennar basins.

Interesting Facts About Kaveri River

  • The Nilgiris, which stretch eastwards to the Eastern ghats and split the basin into two natural and political divisions, the Karnataka plateau in the north and the Tamil Nadu plateau in the south, are an offshore extension of the Western ghats.
  • The basin is separated into three segments physiographically: the Westen Ghats, the Mysore Plateau, and the Delta.
  • The delta region is the basin’s most fertile location. Black soils, red soils, laterites, alluvial soils, forest soils, and mixed soils are the most common soil types found in the basin. Red soils cover a substantial portion of the basin. In delta locations, alluvial soils can be found.
  • The S-W Monsoon and the N-E Monsoon both contribute to rainfall in the Karnataka basin. The North-East Monsoon brings good flows to Tamil Nadu’s basin.
  • The south-west monsoon brings rain to the upper catchment region in the summer, and the retreating north-east monsoon brings rain to the lower catchment area in the winter.
  • As a result, it is practically a perennial river with minimal flow changes, making it ideal for agriculture and hydroelectric power generation.
  • The picturesque Sivasamudram Falls, which plunge a total of 100 meters and reach a breadth of 300 meters during the wet season, are located near Sivasamudram.
  • Mysore, Bengaluru, and the Kolar Gold Fields all receive hydroelectric power from the falls.
  • As a result, the Cauvery is one of the best-managed rivers, with 90 to 95 percent of its irrigation and power generation capacity already tapped.
  • The water from the river flows into the Bay of Bengal. Agricultural land covers the majority of the basin, accounting for 66.21 percent of the total area.

Tributaries of Kaveri River

Cauvery basin: its culture, places of historical significance, birth place, climate, precipitation, catchment, tributaries, state-wise spread, landuse | India Water Portal

  • Harangi, Hemavati, Shimsha, and Arkavati are all on the left bank.
  • Right Bank: From the right, the Lakshmantirtha, Kabbani, Suvarnavati, Bhavani, Noyil, and Amaravati unite.
  • Through the Sivasamudram waterfalls, the river flows from the South Karnataka Plateau to the Tamil Nadu Plains (101 m high).
  • The river splits in two at Shivanasamudram and falls in a sequence of falls and rapids to a height of 91 meters.
  • The power facility at Shivanasamudram uses the falls at this point to generate electricity.
  • After the fall, the two branches of the river unite and run through a huge gorge known as ‘Mekedatu’ (Goats leap), before continuing on a 64-kilometer journey to form the state border between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • It enters the Mettur Reservoir in a southerly direction at Hogennekkal Falls.
  • About 45 kilometers below Mettur Reservoir, a tributary known as Bhavani joins Cauvery on the right bank. It then travels through Tamil Nadu’s plains.
  • On the right bank, two further tributaries, Noyil and Amaravathi, join the river, which widens with a sandy bed and flows as ‘Akhanda Cauvery.’

Kaveri River Map with Districts

Cauvery | River, Map, Cool gifs

  • The river divides into two branches shortly after reaching Tiruchirapalli district, with the northern branch known as ‘The Coleron’ and the southern branch known as Cauvery, and the Cauvery Delta begins from here.
  • After around 16 kilometers, the two branches rejoin to form ‘Srirangam Island.’
  • The “Grand Anicut” on the Cauvery branch is claimed to have been built by a Chola King in the first century A.D.
  • The Cauvery branch splits into two, Cauvery and Vennar, below the Grand Anicut.
  • These branches split and subdivide into smaller branches, forming a network that stretches over the delta.


Hemavati River

Location of Hemavathi Reservoir-Upper Cauvery Basin. Blue line... | Download Scientific Diagram

  • It is a significant Kaveri River tributary.
  • It rises near Ballalarayana Durga in the Chikmagalur District of Karnataka, at an elevation of around 1219 meters, and runs through Chikkamagalooru, Hassan District, and Mysore District until entering the Kaveri near Krishnarajasagara.
  • It’s about 245 kilometers long. At Gorur in the Hassan area, a big reservoir has been built on the river.

Shimsa River

Shimsha River

  • It comes from the Devarayanadurga hills in the Tumkur District of Karnataka, at an elevation of 914 meters.
  • It is one of the Kaveri River’s tributaries.
  • On this river, there is a significant town called Maddur.
  • Markonahalli Dam is a dam erected across the Shimsha River in Tumkur’s Kunigal Taluk.
  • Shimshapura in Malavalli Taluk has a waterfall named Shimsha.
  • The Shimsha Hydroelectric Project is also located here.

 Arkavathy River


  • This 161-kilometer-long river originates in the Nandi Hills in Karnataka’s Chikkaballapur district.
  • It is a tributary of the Kaveri River, which it meets near Kanakapura, where it is known as Sangama in Kannada, after running through Kolar and Bangalore Rural districts.
  • Near Kanivenarayanapura, the river empties into the Chikkarayappanahalli Lake.
  • Numerous people flock to Sangama near Kanakapura to see the beautiful Chunchi waterfall on the Arkavathi River.
  • The water comes from the Hesaraghatta (or Hesseraggatta) Reservoir and the Tippagondanahalli Reservoir, both of which are situated on the river (or T G Halli).

Tirthha Lakshmana River

  • It rises from the Irupu Falls (sometimes Iruppu Falls) in the Brahmagiri Range in Karnataka’s Kodagu district, which borders Kerala’s Wayanad district.
  • It then flows eastward into the Krishna Raja Sagara Lake, where it meets the Kaveri River.
  • Its main tributary is Ramathirtha.

Kabini River

  • Kabini (also known as Kabani and Kapila) is a Kerala river that comes at the confluence of the Panamaram and Mananthavady rivers in the Pakramthalam hills of Wayanad District.
  • The Kabini reservoir’s backwaters are teeming with species, especially in the summer when the water level drops, revealing lush grassy meadows.
  • Kabini produces Kuruva Island, a 520-acre island with unique flora and fauna, after traveling two kilometers from the confluence of the Panamaram river.

Suvarnavathy River

  • This 88-kilometer-long river originates in Karnataka’s Nasrur Ghat Range.
  • It flows into the Kaveri River as a tributary.
  • The catchment area of this river is around 1787 square kilometers.
  • The Suvarnavathy dam is located near Attigulipura in the Chamarajanagar Taluk, about 3 kilometers from the Chikkahole reservoir project, across the Suvarnavathy River.

Noyyal River

  • Kanchinadi was its original name, but it was eventually changed to the name of the site where it empties into the Kaveri River.
  • It originates in the Vellingiri hills of Tamil Nadu’s Western Ghats and flows into the Kaveri River.
  • At Kodumudi in Erode District, the Noyyal joins the Cauvery River. Noyyal is another name for the location.
  • The Kaveri River’s 173-kilometer-long tributary filled 32 tanks.
  • The water flowing from the Noyyal was kept in these interconnected tanks.

Amravathy River

Amaravati River - Wikipedia

  • This 175-kilometer-long river, also known as Pournami, begins near the Kerala-Tamil Nadu boundary at the bottom of Manjampatti Valley, between the Annamalai and Palni hills in the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park.
  • At Amaravathinagar, it descends in a northerly route through Amaravathi Reservoir and Amaravathi Dam.
  • The Erode District’s crops is nourished by this river.
  • Because of the huge number of textile dyeing and bleaching units, the Amaravathi River and its basin, particularly in the neighborhood of Karur, are heavily exploited for industrial processing water and waste disposal, and as a result, are seriously contaminated.


River Kollidam ( also called Coleroon River)

  • The Kollidam is a river in India’s southeast. The Kollidam is the Kaveri River’s northern distributary as it runs through Thanjavur’s delta.
  • At the island of Srirangam, it breaks off the main branch of the Kaveri River and runs eastward into the Bay of Bengal. Kollidam’s distribution system is located on Lower Anaicut, a river Kollidam island.
  • Chidambaram, a town on the river’s banks, is located there.

River Vennar (or Vennaaru)

  • The Vennar River, also known as Vennaaru, is a river in the Kaveri delta and a distributary of the Kaveri River.
  • It runs across the Tamil Nadu districts of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, and Nagapattinam.
  • The river begins at the Grand Anaicut, on Srirangam Island’s eastern edge, when it splits from the Kaveri. The Vennar runs east after separating from the Kaveri.
  • The Vennar splits into a northern and southern branch northwest of Thennankudi, at the Thenperambur dam. The Vettar River is formed from the northern branch, while the Vennar is formed from the southern branch.
  • There is another dam across the river northwest of Needamangalam, and the river separates into three branches once more. The Pamaniyar and Koraiyar Rivers start as the two southern branches of this divergence, while the Vennar flows through the northern branch.

Arasalar River

  • The river Arasalar travels through Tamil Nadu and Pudducherry and is a distributary of the Kaveri River, which separates into five rivers when it approaches Thanjavur district from Trichy.
  • The river flows from Thanjavur’s Thiruvaiyaru, where it splits from the Kaveri, to Karaikal, east of Akalanganni, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal.
  • Until the 19th century, Karaikal was a river port where yachts and Marakkalam ships of Karaikal Marakkayar docked and loaded and unloaded products for export and import.
  • Due to the mixing of sewage water into the river stream and industrial activity, the river is polluted with high quantities of nitrate and chromium (in 2013).

Floods in Kavery Basin

  • In Karnataka, the Cauvery basin is fan-shaped, while in Tamil Nadu, it is leaf-shaped. Because of the basin’s form, run-off does not drain quickly, and hence no fast-rising floods occur.

Kaveri River Dam

  • Many projects in this basin were completed during the pre-plan period, including Krishnarajasagar in Karnataka, Mettur dam, and the Cauvery delta system in Tamil Nadu.
  • During the plan era, key projects such as Lower Bhavani, Hemavati, Harangi, and Kabini were completed.

Industry in Kavery Basin

  • Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka, is located just beyond the basin.
  • Cotton textile industries in Coimbatore and Mysore, cement factories in Coimbatore and Trichinapally, and mining and metal industries are also important industries in the basin.
  • This basin also has the Salem steel factory and a number of engineering firms in Coimbatore and Trichinapally.

Disputes over the Cauvery River

  • Tamil Nadu has historically consumed about 602 TMC of the river’s total yield, or the amount of water available in a given year.
  • As a result, until the turn of the twentieth century, Karnataka had only about 138 TMC available.
  • The Mettur dam, which spans the Cauvery River, was built in 1924 by Tamil Nadu.
  • Following that, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu agreed to a 50-year accord.
  • As a result, Tamil Nadu was given permission to increase its agricultural land from 16 lakh acres to 11 lakh acres.
  • Karnataka has been given permission to expand its irrigation area from 3 lakh to 10 lakh acres.
  • As a result, the Cauvery River predominantly supplied the requirements of Tamil Nadu farmers.
  • The agreement expired in 1974 after 50 years.
  • Karnataka then alleged that the pact limited its ability to grow agricultural enterprises along the Cauvery River basin.
  • Karnataka tries to make up for lost ground by expanding farming activities in the Cauvery basin.
  • It began to construct reservoirs.
  • The issue of water sharing on the Cauvery River arose as a result of this.
  • Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry, and Kerala are now embroiled in a serious water-sharing dispute.
  • In 1990, the Union government established the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) in response to Tamil Nadu’s request.
  • In 2007, the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) decided the case.
  • Tamil Nadu and Karnataka both appealed the tribunal’s decision.
  • In September 2017, the court reserved its decision.

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