BENGALURU: A severe water crisis, worse than the one the state endured last year, looms large over the Cauvery basin. The weak monsoon so far and poor storage in the four reservoirs of Cauvery basin have not only forced Karnataka to continue its embargo on releasing water for its own farmers, but also falter on releasing water for Tamil Nadu.
Karnataka Water Resources Minister M B Patil expressed state’s inability to release water to Tamil Nadu to the extent stipulated by the Cauvery Tribunal. The present storage in the four reservoirs of Cauvery basin—KRS, Kabini, Hemavathi, Harangi—is 26 tmcft as against 57.89 tmcft same time last year. According to the Tribunal award, Karnataka has to release 44 tmcft of water for the period June 1 to July 31. But Karnataka could so far release just 2.2 tmcft, Patil said.
“Right now a small quantum of water is being released to Tamil Nadu depending on the inflows into the reservoirs. We hope the situation will improve with copious rains in the coming days to enable the state to increase the discharge to Tamil Nadu,” he said.
The present cumulative inflow into the reservoirs is about 9,500 cusecs and about 30 per cent of which is being discharged. This includes discharge to Tamil Nadu and to meet the drinking water needs of Bengaluru, he added.
There is no hope of relief for state’s farmers either as the minister said that water would not be released for agriculture this year as well unless the storage in the reservoirs improves. The present storage would be utilised only for drinking water purpose.
The minister denied reports of Karnataka releasing water from Malaprabha river basin into Mahadayi to flow to neighbouring Goa. The reports to this effect in a section of the media are false and could lead to public unrest in the northern Karnataka region, Patil said.Patil also cited Karnataka’s undertaking before Mahadayi Dispute Tribunal that it would not divert water through Kalasa-Banduri nala till the tribunal adjudicates the inter-state dispute.
“We are ready for opening up talks with governments of Goa and Maharashtra any moment to explore out-of-court settlement of Mahadayi issue,” he said.Siddaramaiah has written to his Goa counterpart Manohar Parrikar asking him to agree to a joint meeting with the Maharashtra CM in order to find an “out of court” and amicable resolution, he said. He said even the tribunal had suggested out-of-court settlement.