Recent spell of rain comes as a blessing in disguise for Karnataka

Cyclone Nilam may have wreaked havoc on vast tracts of agriculture land after its landfall near Chennai on Wednesday, but it has also come as a blessing in disguise for Karnataka, having drastically reduced the pressure to release water from its Cauvery basin reservoirs to Tamil Nadu.

The Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC), after the second sitting in the recent weeks, directed Karnataka to release 3.93 tmcft of water, apart from a shortfall of around 2.10 tmcft (in the water release between October 15 and 31) totalling nearly 6.10 tmcft, before November 15. Karnataka has begun complying with the directions. Both the riparian States, which are party to the dispute, told the Supreme Court during the last hearing that they would comply with the directions of the CMC.

With the cyclone and the rain that it has brought having been factored in, sources in the State government told The Hindu that the flow of water from the catchment areas downstream of the Krishnaraja Sagar reservoir should suffice to comply with the directions of the CMC.

“At present, there is no need to release any water from our reservoirs. The flow at Biligundlu (inter-State border where the Central Water Commission has a measuring station) is at the rate of over 10,000 cusecs (as per the recording early on Friday).

Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath has written to the Chairman of the CMC that the decision of the CRA on water release is res judicata, and that there is no question of entertaining the demand of Tamil Nadu that the shortfall during the southwest monsoon season (48 tmcft) should be made good now. The CMC has suggested to Tamil Nadu to file a statement on the demand for making good the shortfall, and Karnataka has been asked to respond in two days. The storage in the four Cauvery basin reservoirs in the State is around 52 tmcft, while the storage in the Stanley reservoir in Mettur is about 29 tmcft. Interestingly, Tamil Nadu is stated to have shut the gates of the Mettur dam owing to heavy rain in the Cauvery delta.

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