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    Known to devout Hindus as Daksina Ganga ('Ganges of the South'), the River Cauaveri is celebrated for its scenery and sanctity in literature, and its entire course is considered holy ground. It is one of the major rivers of the Peninsular. An Inter-State river, it originates at Talakaveri on the Brahmagiri Range of Hill in the Western Ghats, in Karnataka, at an elevation of 1,341m (4,400 ft.) msl. The river flows in a south-easterly direction through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, and descends the Eastern Ghats in a series of great falls. Before emptying into the Bay of Bengal south of Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, the river breaks into a large number of distributaries forming a wide delta called the 'garden of southern India.' The river is also important for its irrigation canal projects.

    The river is lifeline for the people of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. It is the main source of drinking water, irrigation and electricity generation. Over 60 % of Cauvery water is utilized for irrigation in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The river has supported irrigated cultivation for centuries and served as the life giver to the ancient kingdoms and modern cities of south India. Cauvery is main source of drinking water for major cities like Bangalore, Mysore and Mandya in Karnataka and many towns, villages and cities like Salem, Erode, Tiruchirapalli, Tanjavur and Karur located on the banks of Cauvery in Tamil Nadu.

    The Cauvery basin constitutes of three sub-basins namely Upper Cauvery, Middle Cauvery and Lower Cauvery. The catchment area of the Cauvery Basin is 81,155 sq. km. including the other basin states of Cauvery River System and their drainage areas. Of the total area of the basin 41.2% falls in the state of Karnataka, 55.5% falls in the state of Tamil Nadu and 3.3 % in Kerala. The width of the basin ranges from 65 to 250 km.

    Rapid growth of population, increasing urbanization, expansion of industrial activities, intensive agricultural practices, dumping of solid wastes into nearby water courses, increased use of fertilizer and agrochemicals and untreated wastewater being released to the river has contributed to rigorous pollution, jeopardizing the ecology and biodiversity of these areas and also deterioration of water quality.