Like many other States, Tamil Nadu too is deficient in terms of rainfall

The signs of the impact of the delayed onset of the south-west monsoon and subsequent poor rainfall are evident. As on date, all major irrigation reservoirs of the State have much less storage than what they had exactly a year ago.

The Mettur dam, which stores the Cauvery water, received about 2.6 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) since June 1. This was 21 tmcft less than what the State should have received under the interim order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.

Though the State receives only about 30 cm rainfall, accounting for one-third of its annual rainfall, during the south-west monsoon, the catchment of many reservoirs, irrigation and hydel is benefited immensely.

For instance, Kodagu in Karnataka, where the main catchment of the Cauvery is located, registered 39 cm rainfall until July 4, about 40 per cent less than normal.

Like many other States, Tamil Nadu too is deficient in terms of rainfall with a shortfall of about 50 per cent. It recorded about 2.6 cm as on Wednesday last.

Explaining the severity of the failed monsoon, a seasoned water expert says Karnataka’s four reservoirs across the Cauvery should have got a cumulative inflow of 56 tmcft (as per the 29 year old average) from June 1 to July 9 whereas they received only 16 tmcft. Had Karnataka accepted the distress sharing formula worked out by the Central Water Commission, Tamil Nadu would have been entitled to six tmcft.

CRA should meet

The position of Tamil Nadu is that the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) should meet at least now and adopt the distress sharing formula. Headed by Prime Minister, the CRA, comprising all Chief Ministers of States in the Cauvery basin, is a body to oversee the implementation of the interim award.

The receipt of poor rainfall is telling upon the cultivation of the kuruvai crop.

In the Cauvery delta, around 21,500 hectares have been covered. Under normal circumstances, the coverage would be over 80,000 hectares. To enable farmers having pump sets to draw groundwater for the cultivation, the three-phase power supply is being provided in the delta for 12 hours a day.

Deputy Director General of Meteorology Y. E. A. Raj points out that Tamil Nadu is not suffering from the problem of absolute deficiency. The shortfall can be offset in a couple of good rain spells.

The only district that may run into a serious problem is Kanyakumari, which receives a good amount of rainfall during the current monsoon, he adds. So far, this district has recorded 10 cm against the normal 21 cm.

An official in the Agriculture Department says one can still be hopeful of a few heavy rain spells, given the fact that there are many more weeks to go before the monsoon recedes.

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