New Delhi– India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday signed a $100 million loan agreement for strengthening irrigation, drainage and water management in the Vennar sub-basin of the Cauvery delta in Tamil Nadu, an official said on Thursday.

“The financing will be used to strengthen embankments of six major irrigation water channels in the Vennar system and rehabilitate 13 irrigation pumping schemes,” an Indian finance ministry statement here said.

“The Cauvery river basin is a critical source of water for agriculture, both within Tamil Nadu and neighbouring states. The project aims to improve existing infrastructure and will provide flood protection and renewed access to irrigation,” said Raj Kumar, joint secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, who signed the agreement on behalf of the central government.

“The loan will support Tamil Nadu’s water resources professionals to manage resources better, and with greater involvement of the stakeholders they service,” said L.B.Sondjaja, Deputy Country Director of ADB’s India Mission.

According to the ADB official, while local communities will be involved in planning and delivery of water services, flood forecasting and warning systems will be installed and a flood risks map drawn up to help them respond more effectively to extreme natural phenomena.

The loan, which has a 25-year term, will be managed by the Water Resources Department of Tamil Nadu for implementing the project, which is expected to be completed by December 2020.