BENGALURU/CHENNAI: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has turned down a request from his Tamil Nadu counterpart seeking release of Cauvery water saying it is not possible to do so as reservoirs in the state do not have sufficient water.
Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami on Saturday wrote to Siddaramaiah requesting release of at least 15 tmcft of water to save the standing crops in the delta districts. Of this, 7 tmcft could be released immediately and the remainder within a fortnight, he said. Explaining the plight of farmers in the delta districts, he said the storage in Mettur dam as on January 12 stood at just 21.27 tmcft (utilisable storage 16.27 tmcft), which will be grossly inadequate to meet the irrigation needs of the standing crops and drinking water needs during summer.
On the other hand, Palaniswami said the crop season in Karnataka was already over and there was a gross storage of about 49.82 tmcft as on January 12 in the State’s four major reservoirs in the Cauvery basin. “After reserving the minimum needs of drinking water supply and perennial crops, Karnataka can release at least 15 tmcft to Tamil Nadu to make up a part of the shortfall (68.224 tmcft), which is required to meet the crucial needs of the standing crops in the Cauvery delta,” he said.
Explaining the reason for the extended crop season in the delta districts this year, the TN CM said, “Though Samba cultivation commenced soon and the rainfall due to the Northeast monsoon was helpful in the beginning, the intensity of rainfall became heavy and destructive by the end of October 2017.”
According to the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, Tamil Nadu should get 192 tmcft of water in a year at Biligundlu. But as on January 9, only 111.647 tmcft had been realised against 179.871 tmcft, leaving a deficit of 68.224 tmcft.
However, Siddaramaiah told mediapersons in New Delhi, “We do not have sufficient water and it is not possible for us to release water to Tamil Nadu. The Cauvery verdict will come next month and we expect it to be in our favour.’’
On the Mahadayi river water sharing dispute between Karnataka and Goa, Siddaramaiah said he will soon convene an all-party meeting to discuss the state’s strategy. “The issue can be resolved if the Prime Minister intervenes. BJP leaders in Karnataka should convince the PM,’’ he added.