The three-member expert team, which visited the Cauvery delta region on February 5, has informed the Supreme Court that the total water requirement for the standing crops in Tamil Nadu was only 2.44 tmcft as against 9 tmcft demanded by the State.
In its report submitted to the court, the team, comprising Chief Engineer of Central Water Commission, Coimbatore, A. Mahendran; Chief Engineer, CWC, Bangalore, K.S. Jacob and Deputy Commissioner (Crops) in the Agriculture Ministry Dr. Pradip Kumar, said “water requirement for one wetting for 45000 acres is 0.71 tmcft and for two wettings for 55,000 acres 1.73 tmcft.”
The team visited Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts as per the directions of the Supreme Court during the course of hearing of Tamil Nadu’s application seeking release of 12 tmcft. During arguments the quantum was restricted to 9 tmcft.
The report said the team conducted field visits in the districts to assess the extent and stage of the standing crop. The team along with State officials travelled about 375 km covering Tiruchirapalli, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts and visited 14 locations. At each location it interacted with farmers and discussed stage/condition of the crop and requirement of water.
According to the report, the farmers stated that they were getting very low yields due to inadequate supply. If adequate water was provided they could get better yields for standing crop. Women in villages were worried about requirements for cattle and domestic purposes. “The committee was also agreed to the views of the farmers and public.”
The team said “in one day visit to limited locations and by visible examination, it is not feasible to arrive at exact figures regarding the area harvested, withered and areas requiring one or two wettings. However, the Central team is of the view that large area (50 per cent) has already been harvested and about 40 per cent of the area is ready for harvest or harvesting process is on. This leaves about 10 per cent of the area, i.e. about one lakh acres need watering.” Accordingly the team recommended that the total requirement for wetting of the one lakh crops would be 2.74 tmcft, the report said.