Tamil Nadu’s move to seek a directive from the Supreme Court to Karnataka to release 12 tmcft of water came at a time when the storage level in the two major reservoirs of the Cauvery basin — Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) and Hemavati — is very low compared with last year’s storage levels.
The water level reached dead storage level in two other reservoirs of the Cauvery basin — Harangi and Kabini.
As on January 18, the storage in KRS stood at 11.48 tmcft as against its capacity of 49.45 tmcft. The storage level in the corresponding period in 2012 was 40.36 tmcft. The live above the minimum drawn down level (MDDL), which is live storage, in KRS is 3.10 tmcft against 31.98 tmcft during the corresponding period in 2012, according to officials in the Water Resources Department of the State. Inflow into KRS stood at 465 cusecs against the outflow of 298 cusecs.
Tamil Nadu on Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking the directive to Karnataka to release forthwith 12 tmcft of water so that it could save at least a portion of the standing crops in the Cauvery delta and meet its drinking water requirements.
The storage in Harangi reservoir is 0.73 tmcft against the capacity of 8.5 tmcft, while the storage level in the Hemavati reservoir is 7.31 tmcft against the capacity of 37.1 tmcft. The live above the MDDL is zero in Harangi and it is 2.93 tmcft in Hemaavati.
As on Friday, inflow into Harangi and Hemavati was 99 cusecs and 29 cusecs, respectively, while the outflow from Harangi is zero. Outflow from Hemavati was 125 cusecs.
Officials said the storage level in Kabini is 5.66 tmcft against the capacity of 19.51 tmcft. The water level was 12.74 tmcft during the corresponding period in 2012. Inflow at Kabini stood at 117 cusecs while outflow is 500 cusecs. The live above MDDL in Kabini is zero against 2.93 tmcft during the same period last year.
The total storage in all four reservoirs of the Cauvery basin is 25.19 tmcft against 62.42 tmcft during the same period in 2012. The live above MDDL in all four dams in the basin is 6.04 tmcft against 39 tmcft during the same period last year.
The official said “the picture is grim on the supply of drinking water from Cauvery basin dams” to Bangalore, owing to compulsions of releasing water to Tamil Nadu last month.
A few days ago, the Cauvery Neeravari Nigama Ltd (CNNL) stopped releasing of water to standing crops in Mandya district and other parts of the basin. Standing crops on a few hectares were damaged in Mandya district due to stoppage of releasing water into canals. The district administration has undertaken the task of assessing the extent of crop damage, Mandya Deputy Commissioner B.N. Krishnaiah told The Hindu. CNNL stopped releasing water into canals to ensure supply of drinking water to Mysore and Bangalore.