“Karnataka has already drawn 29 tmcft of water”
The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Tamil Nadu government to ‘mention' on April 23 for early listing of its application in the ‘Cauvery case' to restrain Karnataka from resorting to irrigation or drawing water from the four main reservoirs – K.R.S., Kabini, Hemavathy and Harangi – during summer.
A Bench of Justices D.K. Jain and Anil R. Dave conveyed this to senior counsel for Tamil Nadu, C.S. Vaidyanathan, when he pleaded for urgent hearing of the matter.
He contended that Karnataka had already drawn 29 tmcft of water and, if it continued to do so during summer, no carryover storage would be left in its reservoirs.
Tamil Nadu's submission was contested by senior counsel Fali Nariman and counsel Mohan Katarki, appearing for Karnataka, who said that the only obligation arising from the final order of the tribunal was to make available 192 tmcft of water at Biligundlu in a normal year.
There was no restriction either on the area of irrigation or summer irrigation. Karnataka had all rights to utilise the entire water available in the basin after meeting 192 tmcft at Biligundlu in a normal year.
Justice Jain told Mr. Vaidyanathan: “Your contention appears to be fully contested by Mr. Nariman. You mention the matter again on April 23 for early listing.”
The Tamil Nadu government had approached the Supreme Court seeking urgent directions to restrain Karnataka from taking up summer irrigation and prevent consequent depletion of storage in the Karnataka reservoirs.
It said in the last few years, after the final award was passed, Karnataka had been increasing its summer cultivation and depleting its reservoirs by huge quantities during the summer months for irrigation, almost emptying the storage.
The application stated that as on March 15, the storage in the four reservoirs had depleted and only 20 to 30 tmcft would remain by May-end, as against the full storage of 114.5 tmcft. Since Karnataka was depleting the storage from February to May for building up its storage from June to September, Tamil Nadu could not meet its irrigation requirement from June to September because of shortfall in flow into the Mettur reservoir. Hence it wanted the court to pass a restraint order against Karnataka.
State contends no carryover storage will be left in Karnataka reservoirs
Tamil Nadu's submission contested by Karnataka counsel