Contending that a distress situation may arise any time in the Cauvery delta region, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to convene a meeting of the Cauvery River Authority immediately to decide the issues involved.
In a letter to Dr. Singh, the text of which was released to the media here on Saturday, the Chief Minister stated that Karnataka was not ensuring flows in the Cauvery as per the tribunal's final order of April 2007 in the crucial June to September period.
The Karnataka Government has been unjustly utilising the water for summer irrigation from February to May by depleting the storage in its four major reservoirs.
The combined gross storage in the four major reservoirs of Karnataka as on February 1 was 58.50 tmcft, but by May 14, it had come down to 28.176 tmc ft, she said, alleging that the neighbouring State had depleted storage of 30.33 tmcft, “besides utilising the flows of about 11 tmcft.” Thus, its total utilisation was about 41 tmcft.
Depletion of storage
Owing to the depletion of storage during summer, Karnataka impounded all the initial monsoon flows in its reservoirs and released water only when the reservoirs started surplussing, thus affecting inflows into the Mettur dam.
This affected the ‘kuruvai' (short term paddy) crop badly and delayed samba (long-term crop) cultivation, she said.
Ms. Jayalalithaa said that finalisation of the distress sharing formula evolved by the Central Water Commission was eluding a solution. This had deprived Tamil Nadu of adequate water, which should have been released by Karnataka either as per the interim order of the tribunal or by the formula evolved.
The Cauvery Monitoring Committee at its 24th meeting had decided to refer the formula to the authority for consideration when noticeable distress condition occurred in future. “Such a distress situation may arise at any time.”
Another issue requiring immediate consideration by the authority was that the tribunal's interim order which was in force specified that the Karnataka government should not increase its area under irrigation beyond 11.20 lakh acres. Karnataka was not furnishing year-wise details of the area under irrigation.
In the circumstances, she requested the Prime Minister to convene a meeting of the authority immediately to decide the issues.
An error has been corrected in this article on May 21, 2012.