A view of Cauvery river in Tiruchy. Image used for representational purpose | M K Ashok Kumar
A view of Cauvery river in Tiruchy. Image used for representational purpose | M K Ashok Kumar

Karnataka may release 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu after CWMA order

Though both states refused to accept the order for different reasons at the meeting held in New Delhi, Karnataka late on Tuesday hinted that it may comply with the order.  

CHENNAI:  Much to the disappointment of Tamil Nadu farmers, the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) on Tuesday directed Karnataka to release just 5,000 cusecs of water for the next 15 days.

The direction was on the lines of the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee’s (CWRC) recommendation on Monday. Though both states refused to accept the order for different reasons at the meeting held in New Delhi, Karnataka late on Tuesday hinted that it may comply with the order. Tamil Nadu had demanded 24,000 cusecs of water for 10 days.

As Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy CM DK Shivakumar held consultations with senior officers from the water resources department and the state’s legal team, Shivakumar told reporters in Bengaluru, “Would you like to be pulled up by the Supreme Court? We don’t like to be pulled up by the court. We are holding discussions with the CM and legal team.” When asked if the Karnataka government would release water to Tamil Nadu from Tuesday, Shivakumar said the key is with the centre and not the state government. “We are taking advice from the advocate general. Farmers also know the reality. We will decide by tonight. CWMA has ordered the release of water from Tuesday night,” Shivakumar said. 

Security strengthened in and around KRS dam

"But we need to look into the pros and cons of this,” he said. To ensure that there are no untoward incidents, police security was being strengthened in and around KRS and across Mysuru and Mandya regions. Meanwhile, TN water resources minister Duraimurugan reiterated that the CWMA has failed to discharge its duty by not finalising the distress-sharing formula for sharing water during monsoon deficit. The authority has been functioning in a lethargic manner and we have put forth the charge before the SC, the minister said.

Sources said during the CWMA meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday, Karnataka declined to accept the CWMA order saying the state was not in a position to release any more water for various reasons, including poor storage level, deficit rainfall, and requirement of water for drinking and irrigation purposes. Tamil Nadu, on the other hand, refused to accept the order contending that 5,000 cusecs was too low and it won’t be enough to save the standing crops in delta districts. TN requested at least 10,000 cusecs for the next 15 days but the request was rejected by the authority.

During the meeting, TN officials urged Karnataka to release at least 25 tmcft of water against the shortfall of 49 tmcft and said this could be realised if Karnataka releases 24,000 cusecs for the next 10 days. But Karnataka officials rejected it and said due to deficit rainfall, the inflow into key reservoirs has dwindled and southwest monsoon has almost come to an end in the state. The Karnataka side also argued that they need water for drinking purposes till next May.

Sources said Tamil Nadu officials said as of Tuesday, the gross storage in the four reservoirs in Karnataka Cauvery basin was 72.120 tmcft against their full capacity of 114.571 tmcft, which is 63% of their total storage capacity. The net inflows into the four reservoirs from June 1 to August 28 was 98.77 tmcft against the 30-year average inflow of 196.338 tmcft, which is just an average deficit of 49.69 %. The rainfall deficit in the catchment upstream of Billigundulu was just 22 %, but the flow realised at Billigundulu was only 37.73%, the TN team pointed out.

TN officials also made it clear that they would not agree to the deficit percentage worked out by CWRC and CWMA based on the inflows recorded at the four major reservoirs of Karnataka. They pointed out that the standing crops that are in different stages of growth are water-stressed. Storage in the Mettur reservoir is only 19 tmcft and will last only for 10 days, they said.

The CWMA will be submitting a report to the Supreme Court within a few days on quantum of Cauvery water released by Karnataka so far and the levels in the state’s dams.

Mandya farmers stage protest near KRS
Mysuru: Farmers in Mandya staged a massive protest and even blocked the Mysuru-Bengaluru access controlled highway for a while after the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) passed an interim order directing Karnataka to release 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu for the next 15 days. The farmers by blindfolding themselves on Tuesday protested in front of the Cauvery Irrigation Corporation office near the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir in Mandya. A few farmers tried to block the highway. Sources said that officials are awaiting orders and may release water after they get the order from the irrigation authorities.

(With inputs from Bengaluru and Mysuru)

Related Stories

No stories found.
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com