State expresses inability to give last year’s arrear of 3 tmcft

The 94th Joint Water Regulatory Board (JWRB) official-level talks between Kerala and Tamil Nadu went off smoothly with Tamil Nadu agreeing to release the due share of water that Kerala is entitled to this year as per the Parambikulam – Aliyar Project (PAP) accord. However, Tamil Nadu expressed its inability to fulfil Kerala’s demand for three tmcft of water arrears belonging to the previous water year (July 1 to June 30).

Tamil Nadu team was led by K. Ranganathan, Chief Engineer of Water Resource Organisation of Public Works Department and Thangaraj, Superintending Engineer of Tangedco and Kerala was headed by Lethika, Chief Engineer of Irrigation Department and Viswanathan Nair, Chief Engineer of Kerala State Electricity Board.

Under the PAP accord, Tamil Nadu was entitled to 28 tmcft of water and Kerala was entitled to 19.55 tmcft. Tamil Nadu should give 12.30 tmcft from Sholayar and another 7.25 tmcft from Manacadavu weir.

Last year, owing to poor monsoon (both southwest and northeast), Tamil Nadu said that it could give only 16.5 tmcft as against the Kerala’s entitlement of 19.5 tmcft.

At the talks, Kerala wanted Tamil Nadu to provide the three tmcft water arrears. However, the Tamil Nadu officials said that the surplus water during any water year had to be shared the same year and similarly, there was no scope for arithmetically carrying over the backlog (water arrears) to the next year.

Tamil Nadu said that both south west and north east monsoons failed miserably last year and hence the State could not honour its commitment of assured quantity of water to Kerala. As against the projected yield of 47.55 tmcft, State realised only 56 per cent (26.62 tmcft) and this resulted in the shortfall, officials from Tamil Nadu said.

During the current water year from July 1, Tamil Nadu said that though the northeast monsoon proved to be very lean, the southwest monsoon had filled up all reservoirs under PAP. Hence, Tamil Nadu had, so far, released 9.30 tmcft of water from Sholayar (as against the 12.30 tmcft) and 3.50 tmcft from Manacadavu weir (as against the total of 7.25 tmcft). At the talks, Tamil Nadu agreed to release the remaining 3.75 tmcft from Manacadavu and the remaining three tmcft from Sholayar.

During this water year, the yield had been good so far and after having released 12.80 tmcft to Kerala as against the entitlement of 19.55 tmcft, Tamil Nadu is left with close to 17 tmcft storage in all its reservoirs.