The heavy rain in the upper reaches of the Cauvery and its tributary, the Kapila, over the past 48 hours is expected to provide much relief to Karnataka in sharing water with the lower riparian State of Tamil Nadu. On Wednesday, the gross outflow to Tamil Nadu was at the rate of nearly 14,000 cusecs.

Karnataka conveyed to the Supreme Court on Monday that it would release 10,000 cusecs from Wednesday and that it would stick to the quantum of release until the meeting of the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) scheduled on September 19 under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The apex court had suggested to the State’s counsel during a hearing on the matter on Thursday that the State should consider releasing at least 1 tmcft of water until the meeting of the CRA, while the Tamil Nadu government, the petitioner in the case, had sought the release of 2 tmcft of water.

Release of over 14,000 cusecs

Sources in the Department of Water Resources here told The Hindu that the combined release from the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) across the Cauvery and the Kabini dam across the Kapila was presently over 14,000 cusecs, with the Kabini dam almost filled to the brim resulting in the water release being higher than what had been assured. As per reports, the rainfall was good in the catchment areas in Kerala and in Kodagu.

Goodwill gesture

Karnataka had told the apex court that it would release water as a goodwill gesture although 40 of the revenue taluks in the Cauvery basin were reeling under drought and there was tremendous pressure on the authorities to dam the water for use by the farmers of the region.

The water-level in the KRS in Mandya district on Wednesday was over 110 ft and in terms of the water storage, that height is about nearly a half of the reservoir’s capacity.

The level in the Kabini dam was 2,282 ft against the full level of 2,284 ft.

Minister for Water Resources Basavaraj Bommai, who is closely monitoring the developments in the case before the Supreme Court, has since left for New Delhi apparently for another round of discussion with the State’s counsel — F.S. Nariman and others.

Discussions are also being held here with the leaders of various organisations to convey the ground realities and seek their views in handling the case which otherwise could have serious ramifications including law and order problems in the Cauvery basin region.

‘Distress formula’

At an all-party meeting called by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Tuesday, some of the leaders urged that a request should be made to the CRA to work out a new distress formula in the years when the monsoon fails.

Another all-party meeting is slated to be held in Bangalore on September 15 to finalise the State’s strategy for the CRA meeting which will be attended by the Chief Ministers of the four riparian States.

Mr. Bommai said Karnataka will seek a “distress formula based on ground realities”. After the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT), Karnataka has argued that neither the interim order nor the final order is under operation as the CWDT in its interim order had stated that the interim order will be in effect till the final order is pronounced and is also notified whereas the contention of Tamil Nadu is that the interim order of June 1991 is valid till all issues of the final order are settled.

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