3-judge Supreme Court bench to hear Tamil Nadu plea today, Karnataka files affidavit

Tamil Nadu’s application is based on an erroneous assumption that this water year is normal and not a distressed one.
FILE - Image of the Supreme Court of India, used for representational purposes only. (Photo | PTI)
FILE - Image of the Supreme Court of India, used for representational purposes only. (Photo | PTI)

BENGALURU: The state government on Thursday filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court over the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. A three-judge bench will take up Tamil Nadu’s plea for hearing on Friday. Deputy Chief Minister and Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar said the state has made its stand clear in the affidavit. “The Centre should also step in to help the state. We will seek an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a meeting with an all-party delegation from the state,” he added.

“Tamil Nadu’s application seeking the release of 24,000 cusecs of water per day from the reservoirs in Karnataka is based on an assumption that it is a normal water year,” stated the affidavit filed on behalf of the government by Rakesh Singh, Additional Chief Secretary, Water Resources Department.
Tamil Nadu’s application is based on an erroneous assumption that this water year is normal and not a distressed one. At the same time, it stated that rainfall is lesser by 25 per cent. “On this score itself, the application is liable to be dismissed,” it said. 

Karnataka has filed a petition before the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) for reconsideration of its decision taken on August 11 as water available in the reservoirs and the inflow into them is insufficient to meet the reduced requirement of even 140tmcft. The affidavit claimed that Tamil Nadu is also unnecessarily opposing the Mekedatu Balancing Reservoir Project.

The quantum of water released from KRS and Kabini reservoirs to Tamil Nadu was 34.499 tmcft and the flow measured by CWC at the Biligundlu gauging station was 26.768 tmcft between June 1 and August 22, it pointed out.

Karnataka’s requirement in the water year 2023-24 from four reservoirs is 200.360 tmcft. However, till August 11, Karnataka used only 7.209 tmcft. The quantum of water that will be available at the disposal of Karnataka in the four reservoirs in the water year 2023-24 is about 132 tmcft, which includes the live storage of 83.03 tmcft.  The current storage and likely inflow is not sufficient for irrigation and drinking purposes in Karnataka’s towns and cities, including Bengaluru.  

TN urgency misleading

The urgency pleaded by Tamil Nadu to save its standing crops is misleading. The permissible Kuruvai paddy crop cultivated between June 12 and September end requires 32.27 tmcft of water as estimated by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal. So, the requirement upto August 23 was 22.44 tmcft. 

Tamil Nadu stated that it started Samba paddy sowing from July 15, but has not completed transplantation. At present, the live storage in Mettur reservoir is 21.655 tmcft. Karnataka has been ensuring 10,000 cusecs of water flow at the Biligundlu gauging station which is 0.864 tmcft per day. Therefore, Tamil Nadu has adequate water.

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