BENGALURU: Karnataka Government today expressed the state's inability to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu as it is "facing" the worst drought in over four decades and suggested that both the riparian states should go by the distress formula described in the final award by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.
"Karnataka is facing worst drought in 44 years, and therefore we will not be able to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu," Karnataka Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee told PTI here.
"However, the riparian states should adhere to the distress formula described in the final award of the tribunal," he added.
The Chief Secretary has sent a letter to his counterpart in Tamil Nadu, conveying the state's inability to release Cauvery water due to severe drought situation in the state.
The letter was in reply to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to ensure that the upper riparian state complied with the final order of the tribunal.
Jayalalitha had said as against the stipulated quantum of 94 tmc to be released by Karnataka in the last three months, "only a meagre" 66.443 tmc ft had been realised by Tamil Nadu as on August 31 last, leaving "a huge shortfall of 27.557 TMC ft."
"There was "wilful default" on part of Karnataka by "not adhering to the schedule of release of Cauvery water" as stipulated by the tribunal, she had said.
Karnataka Water Resources Minister M B Patil said the state has already released 64 tmcft of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu and at present, there was no water in KRS Dam at all.
"We have already released 64 tmcft water and there is no water in the KRS dam ... therefore Tamil Nadu should understand the plight of Karnataka," he said.
Patil said reservoirs across the state were not filled to their capacity and the state would certainly release water to the neighbouring state if the reservoirs are adequately full after receiving good rains.
"Our dams and other reservoirs across the state are not filled to their capacity. We are not against releasing water to Tamil Nadu, but will do so if the reservoirs are adequately full, if we receive good rains in days to come," he said.
Patil also said the central supervisory committee can visit and inspect the water availability at KRS.