Cauvery Calling — What is known so far? (Part 2)

Devil’s Advocate
4 min readJul 30, 2019


I had posted a blog earlier today:

More questions kept coming about this project. So, I decided to post the second part here addressing some of them.

(6) There is no land to plant all these 242 Crore trees! Who is going to plant all these trees first?

Let’s look at this from a purely statistical point of view. The average number of trees per square kilometre can go upto 100,000 per square km.

So, that will be about 24,200 square kilometres for planting all the 242 crore trees.

The Cauvery basin overall is 81,155 km2 (31,334 square miles).

This matches perfectly with Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev has said in his videos that he is asking farmers to consider less than 1/3rd of the land in Cauvery basin to be converted to agro-forestry.

So, that there is no land to plant all these trees is an invalid argument.

More importantly, nobody’s land is being taken away for this either in Karnataka or Tamilnadu. The idea is to provide saplings to the farmers who already own the land and they plant / nurture them in their own lands. The setup of nurseries in Tamilnadu and Karnataka states is only for providing this support to the farmers.

Also, not all trees are planted along the coast of main Cauvery river. Cauvery has around 120 major tributaries. The plantation will happen on the basin of all these major and minor tributaries as part of Cauvery Calling.

(7) Rally For Rivers is promoting privatization of water. So, Cauvery Calling also will do the same.

This is baseless promotion of fear. The Rally for Rivers document does not talk about Privatisation of water anywhere! So, why are people accusing of RFR? Because it merely talks about private investments in improving the water infrastructure and people have completely misunderstood it for privatisation of water!

Pg: 307 says this: “An often-faced dilemma is how to balance charging customers for the true value of water while maintaining affordability. Higher rates encourage water conservation and reuse, and can positively impact efficiency by encouraging investment in infrastructure improvements; but it can also be cost prohibitive. Low instances of leakage, as well as accountability in terms of water usage in the form of metering, are key to ensuring a city’s water systems run efficiently.”

Pg: 369 talks about major investments in water storage capacity being needed to benefit from increased river flows in spring and compensate for lower flows later on.

Pg: 749 talks about increasing private investments in irrigation

Pg: 758 talks about incentivising states to increase public investment in
agriculture and allied sectors

At best, the only inference that can be drawn is the document suggests public-private partnership for investment in enhancing water supply to farmers!

It has already been addressed in more detail in one of my earlier blog posts:

(8) Why is Cauvery Calling project not addressing the other issues with Cauvery like sand mafia and river pollution?

Cauvery Calling is an extension of the Rally For Rivers project, which does address all these issues already as part of the ‘Rally For Rivers’ draft documentation. These are all spoken in detail in the RFR documentation. One has to really go through this 760+ pages document to pass comments about it. For those who do not know this already, the Rally for Rivers (RFR) draft document can be found online at

Pg 21 of the RFR document starts about addressing pollution and Pg 62–64 talks in detail about these issues.

- The sources of pollution to a river are: domestic sewage from urban and rural areas, non-sewage drainages, wastewater from agricultural facilities, and industrial wastewater / effluents. Wastewater generation is proportional to the amount of water consumed. Out of the total freshwater used in India, irrigation accounts for nearly 78%, followed by domestic use 6%, industries 5%, power development 3%, and other activities including evaporation losses, environment and navigational requirements around 8%.

- The agricultural runoff water, though not technically wastewater, has large proportions of agro-chemicals, adding to the toxic load in water.

- The five states viz Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Gujarat account for approximately 50% of the total sewage generated in the country. Maharashtra alone accounts for 13% of the total sewage generation in the country.

- Industrial effluents and domestic sewage contaminated by mixing with effluents can carry various other, often toxic, chemicals such as pesticides, heavy metals, etc

- The river beds are today being disturbed either to mine sand or to dredge and deepen the river floor for waterways.

Pg 73 of the RFR document starts to talk about tackling the agricultural pollution from runoff of fertilizer and pesticides by promoting organic and NPM practices on the riverside farms.

‘REGULATORY FRAMEWORK TO PREVENT AND COMBAT POLLUTION AND MISUSE OF RIVERS’ is the key point being addressed from pages 184 till 190 of the RFR document, talking in detail about addressing both the pollution and sand mining menace.

So, it would be grossly incorrect to say that the project does not talk about addressing pollution, sand mining, etc.



Devil’s Advocate

Seeker for life. Looking to make technology simpler for everyone.