ADB and the Government of India are working together to reduce flood risks and improve the distribution of water for irrigation in the Cauvery Delta of the state of Tamil Nadu. The Climate Adaptation in Vennar Subbasin in Cauvery Delta Project aims to protect coastal districts from cyclones and flooding that is being made worse by climate change. The project is upgrading infrastructure and resectioning and strengthening embankments of six main channels totaling 235 kilometers. More robust flood control structures will reduce the frequency and impact of flooding. Thirteen pump stations are also being upgraded. The management systems of the Water Resources Department will also be strengthened, with greater participation by stakeholders in the planning and delivery of water services, better assessment of water resources, development of a decision support system, and training of officers.
PROJECT RATIONALE AND LINKAGE TO COUNTRY/REGIONAL STRATEGY
Tamil Nadu is one of the most water-stressed states in India, with a per capita availability of water resources of 900 cubic meters per year (m3/year) compared with a national average of 1,545 m3/year and a water stress threshold of 1,700 m3/year. About 90% of surface water of the Cauvery river basin is used in irrigation. The irrigated area is approximately 640,000 ha of which 564,000 ha is in the Cauvery delta. The delta's population of around 4.8 million heavily relies on farming and fishing. Communities in the Cauvery delta are vulnerable to a number of water resources development issues that impact livelihoods, agricultural productivity, and food security.
The sharing of Cauvery waters among the states has been disputed since the 1890s, and in February 2013, the Supreme Court of India upheld the water allocation decision that the Cauvery Waters Dispute Tribunal had made in 2007. Despite high levels of water stress, recurrent flooding, and increasing risks of climate change, the long-standing dispute prevented investments toward improving the irrigation and drainage systems in the delta beyond essential maintenance. Therefore, the irrigation and drainage systems are dilapidated and unable to effectively convey irrigation and floodwaters. This led to inequitable distribution of irrigation water, with upstream farmers benefiting, and increased flooding due to overtopping or breaching of embankments. Some of the tail-end areas no longer have access to irrigation water. Malfunctioning tail-end regulators led to seawater ingress along channels. In the lower reaches of the delta, the availability of fresh groundwater is limited as a result of variable recharge and saline aquifers.
(i) Coastal districts are protected from cyclones and flooding exacerbated by climate change (Vision Tamil Nadu, 2023)
(ii) Innovative and inclusive economic growth, including agricultural growth, in Tamil Nadu is accelerated (Twelfth Five Year Plan, 2012 2017)
Project implementation consultants will be engaged as individuals to support the project management and project implementation units. An NGO will be engaged to support the implementation of the resettlement plan. A firm will be recruited to design a decision support system and conduct a feasibility study and detailed design for a follow-on project.
The procurement plan calls for 6 civil works packages and one package for the pump stations, all using national competitive bidding procedures. Field hydro-meteorological and office equipment will also be purchased.
ACCOUNTABILITY MECHANISM OF ADB
The Accountability Mechanism is an independent complaint mechanism and fact-finding body for people who believe they are likely to be, or have been, adversely affected by an Asian Development Bank-financed project. If you submit a complaint to the Accountability Mechanism, they may investigate to assess whether the Asian Development Bank is following its own policies and procedures for preventing harm to people or the environment. You can learn more about the Accountability Mechanism and how to file a complaint at: http://www.adb.org/site/accountability-mechanism/main
Responsible ADB Officer Malvicini, Cynthia
Responsible ADB Department South Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture Division, SARD
Executing Agencies Water Resources Department, Public Works Department, Government of Tamil Nadu
Chepauk, Chennai 600 005
Tamil Nadu, India