Godavari-Cauvery river linking: Tamil Nadu’s pipedreams and ground realities

Godavari Cauvery, river linking
But are such mega river-linking projects enough to solve the woes of people like Kannan? Both environmentalists and engineers beg to differ | Image - Eunice Dhivya

Every time there is a shortage of rainfall and a drought-like situation is seen, Kannan and other farmers in Nagapattinam and other southern districts of Tamil Nadu have to think twice about cultivating rice in their fields.

Known for the heavy paddy cultivation, which requires lots of water, the region is otherwise dependent on Cauvery water released from Mettur dam. But if the rainfall is scarce, there wouldn’t be enough water to be released from the dam.

“We cannot do farming without water. So during the drought year, we search for other employment opportunities for daily wages,” says Kannan, a farmer in Nagapattinam district.

Well-off farmers either have or build a percolation pond, in which the salt water from the sea mixes with the groundwater. They use that water to cultivate crops that don’t require much water, such as millets, groundnut, etc.

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