Tamil Nadu on Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking a 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.

At its 32 meeting on January 10, the Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC) declined to grant any relief to Tamil Nadu.

The case comes up for hearing on February 4.

Tamil Nadu’s application said, “At its meeting, the CMC recorded that the deficit in flow during the current water year is 39.7 per cent and found that there is a shortfall of 31.4 tmcft which was to be received by Tamil Nadu as per the interim order of the Cauvery Tribunal and applying the pro-rata release on account of deficit in rainfall.”

The CMC, despite holding that there was a deficit of 31.4 tmcft and observing that Karnataka had not regulated the flows as per the award, did not direct the State to release any water from the available storage on account of an arbitrary decision that the available storage of 16 tmcft would be required for drinking water purposes of the State till May 31, 2013, it said.

“The CMC, without appreciating the dire need of Tamil Nadu and also considering the conduct of Karnataka, failed to give any direction to save the standing crops in Tamil Nadu in spite of the fact that during the southwest monsoon period from June to September, 2012, Karnataka did not make good the shortfall in flow due to Tamil Nadu and it had also increased the area in the four major reservoirs and also had withdrawn much more quantity than prescribed in the final order,” it noted.

Tamil Nadu said that out of about 15 lakh acres under the single samba paddy crop in Tamil Nadu, farmers had given up further activities on almost three lakh acres for want of water.

Of the remaining 12 lakh acres, water was required for about nine lakh acres for one irrigation cycle and in about three lakh acres for two irrigation cycles in January/ February, 2013.