Asian Development Bank has approved a USD 100 million (around Rs. 660 crore) loan to strengthen a key irrigation system and improve water management in the Vennar sub-basin of Cauvery Delta in Tamil Nadu.
The Vennar irrigation network is no longer able to meet the needs of many of its poorest farmers particularly in coastal areas and the climate extremes that have been battering the country and are expected to worsen mean there is a pressing need to upgrade it.
This project will support both physical improvements and stronger water management, giving a significant boost to the lives of coastal communities who often go without sufficient irrigation water.
The project will strengthen the embankments of six major irrigation water channels in Vennar system to make them more resilient to floods and upgrade water regulators, sluices and pump stations.
To boost management, more community members will be tapped to take part in planning and delivery of water services, training will given to state water resource department officers.
The Cauvery delta, on the east coast of Tamil Nadu, is known as the ‘rice bowl’ of the state, with over 70 per cent of the delta population engaged in farming and fishing, but access to water is unreliable and flooding common during the monsoon season.
This is expected to worsen as climate change intensifies with projections that storm rainfall could increase by 19 per cent, the sea level could rise by up to 0.87 meters by 2100, and maximum temperatures could increase by as much as 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050.