The history of conflict between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over the Cauvery waters dates back to pre-Independence when the Dewan of Mysore K. Seshadri Iyer suggested that Mysore should be allowed to intercept and utilise river waters flowing from Mysore into Madras, considering that a lot of “unused surplus” goes into the sea.

“As a result of the dominant political relationship enjoyed at that point by the British-controlled Madras Presidency relative to that of the indirectly ruled Mysore, an agreement was signed in 1892 making it the prerogative of the Madras Presidency to unilaterally determine when its interests were being compromised,” notes a book on the dispute by the National Institute of Advanced Studies, authored by S.S. Meenakshisundaram, Priya Raghavan and M. Amarjeet Singh.

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