Even as reservoirs are drying up across the Cauvery basin and Bangalore and Mysore are on the verge of a serious water crisis, Karnataka has to release 10 tmcft of water in June to Tamil Nadu, in accordance with the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT).
According to CWDT’s final order dated February 5, 2007, the state has to release the 10 tmcft of water as part of 192 tmcft that has to be released during different months in a year.
At present, hardly three tmcft feet of live storage is available in all the five reservoirs - Yagachi, Harangi, Hemavathi, KRS and Kabini - across the Cauvery basin.
BJP Member of Legislative Council (MLC) Siddaraju told Express: ‘’There is need for urgent attention from CM Siddaramaiah towards the issue. Meeting demands of the riparian states in this situation could worsen it.’’
According to the inflow data over 29 years obtained from the water resources department, the average inflow into all the five reservoirs in June is 32.372 tmcft, out of a total 316 tmcft a year.
Officials said these averages hold good only for normal years. “When there is severe drought, even if there is normal rainfall in the following year, water flow into reservoirs will be less, as the ground absorbs a lot of water. So, if the rainfall this year gets affected for any reason, there might be a real crisis,’’ an official outlined.
Indian Meteorological Centre Director B Puttanna told Express: “Pre-monsoon showers were not normal this year due to the low pressure area that originated near Andaman Islands. As the low pressure area moved towards Bangladesh and eased off, the atmospheric pressure has become normal. We can expect good pre-monsoon showers within a week and the rainfall will be normal.’’
But former advocate general Uday Holla said, “If we do not get adequate rainfall, we cannot release water. The CWDT order is for normal years. When there is an acute shortage, how can the state release water? But if rainfall is normal, the state will have to adhere to the orders.’’