External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna on Friday asked Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to sit across the table and evolve an amicable formula on sharing of Cauvery waters.

“Evolving of such a formula by mutual consent is unlikely to be impeded by the ongoing legal battle between the two States and also the fresh legal suits that may arise in the wake of the fresh controversy over water sharing,” Mr. Krishna, a former Chief Minister of Karnataka, said in a statement issued here.

Mr. Krishna, who hails from the Cauvery heartland — Mandya district — where the Krishnaraja Sagar reservoir is located, suggested that Karnataka could ensure release of 4500 cusecs to Tamil Nadu at the Biligundlu gauging station till October 15. The remaining 4500 cusecs would automatically flow into the neighbouring State from seepage of water.

“Such a decision would be in the interest of both States,” he said.

Karnataka has refused to accept Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s suggestion, as Chairman of the Cauvery River Authority (CRA), to release 9,000 cusecs to Tamil Nadu till October 15, citing acute shortage in its reservoirs, a decision hailed by farmers and also Opposition parties, including the Congress to which Mr. Krishna belongs.

“I am committed to protecting the interest of farmers of the Cauvery basin. I express my concern to farmers and also share their anxiety as one of those who belong to Cauvery basin. My concern for farmers is placed above the pseudo sympathy expressed for them,” he said.

In the backdrop of the monsoon season ending in Karnataka and as it was set to begin in Tamil Nadu, it would be advisable to come to an understanding on the water-sharing issue, including the formula he suggested, Mr. Krishna said. He said Karnataka should challenge the CRA decision in the Supreme Court and he would support such a move.