Seeks remainder of what was originally demanded earlier this month

With the imminent closure of the Mettur dam for irrigation looming large, the State government has decided to move the Supreme Court, seeking around 20 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft).

The quantum is the remainder of what (30 tmc ft) was originally demanded by Tamil Nadu before the court early this month. Subsequently, the Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC) directed Karnataka to release 12 tmc ft. Since the beginning of this month, the State realised about seven tmc ft of the Cauvery water.

The demand is being made with the hope that the Centre will feel compelled to ask Karnataka to accede to it partially, if not fully, says a source.

On Thursday morning, the water level of the Mettur stood at about 36 ft (full level: 120 ft) with storage of around 10 tmc ft (capacity: 93.47 tmc ft). Inflow was 1,262 cubic feet per second (cusecs) while the discharge was 11,482 cusecs.

At the present rate of discharge and inflow, the closure of the dam can be postponed till December 25 or 26. Considering the requirements of farmers, the Water Resources Department is planning to continue with the release of water till the dam reaches dead storage. This means that five more tmc ft can be spared for irrigation.

Meanwhile, farmers in the Cauvery delta are hoping against hope that there will be at least one or two spells of rain over their region. Given the present condition of Samba crop, water is badly needed till the harvest of the crop — January end, S. Ranganathan, general secretary of the Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association, says. The crop needs wetting now as in some places, the crop is in boot leaf stage and in others, flowering stage (80 days). The next stage is the panicle initiation stage and in certain pockets, that stage has been reached.

Pointing out that the crop has been raised over nine lakh acres, he says that along with a couple of rain spells, the farmers require at least 10 tmc ft. A senior official of the Meteorological Department says there are chances of one spell of rainfall over the State’s southern coastal parts and parts of the delta.