Karnataka has released a record quantum of Cauvery waters in over a decade to the lower riparian State of Tamil Nadu in the first two months of the south-west monsoon, and given the present scenario, a meeting of the Cauvery Supervisory Committee is unlikely in the near future.
Sources in the State government said that the irrigation authorities here have released 121.66 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu from the Kabini and the Krishnarajasagar reservoirs exclusive of water accumulation from the catchment areas close to the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border.
A record 34.20 tmcft of water has been released in the first four days of this month.
It is said that the crest gates of the Krishnarajasagar reservoir, which were opened on July 22 after the reservoir filled to the brim, have been kept open for discharge of surplus waters. Water release from the KRS crossed the one lakh mark on Saturday.
While the combined release from the Kabini and the KRS reservoirs averaged around one lakh cusecs over the past 10 days, on Monday it was 1,27,552 cusecs with Kabini accounting for 34,000 cusecs and the KRS 93,552 cusecs.
As per the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, Karnataka has to release 10 tmcft of water in June, 34 tmcft in July and 50 tmcft in August.
Thus, while 94 tmcft of water has to be released in the first three months, the upper riparian State has released over 120 tmcft and this trend is expected to continue at least for another month given the copious rainfall in the Cauvery and the Kapila catchment areas in Karnataka and Kerala.
Flood warning issued to the people residing in low-lying areas adjoining the main course of the Cauvery has remained, and villagers and tourists visiting the banks of the Kapila have been asked to stay away. Entry to the Ranganathittu bird sanctuary has been barred and this is the first time in about a decade that the Krishnarajasagar reservoir has filled to the brim in July. The catchment areas of the KRS have been receiving copious rain for nearly a fortnight now.
At the last meeting of the Cauvery Supervisory Committee a month ago, an assurance was given to Tamil Nadu that the south-west monsoon was normal this year and that all efforts will be made to comply with the water releases and this has now been more than met.
The irrigation authorities here said that the water-level in the KRS reservoir is being maintained at 123.50 ft, while the full level is 124.80 ft and with the copious inflows, the authorities are expected to maintain the full reservoir level for several months similar to what was done in 2006 when the maximum level was sustained for nearly three months continuously.
At Biligundlu, the measuring station of the Central Water Commission, the flow recorded early on Monday was around 1,32,000 cusecs.