The Tamil Nadu government has approached the Supreme Court seeking urgent directions to restrain Karnataka from taking up summer irrigation and consequent depletion of storages in the reservoirs in Karnataka, in contravention of the final order passed by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in February 2007.

In its application, Tamil Nadu said the tribunal in its final award on February 5, 2007 had allocated Kerala, 30 tmcft, Karnataka 270 tmcft, Tamil Nadu 419 tmcft and Puduchery 7 tmcft out of the total 740 tmcft available for allocation.

Summer cultivation

It said in the last few years after the final award was passed, Karnataka had been increasing its summer cultivation and had been depleting its reservoirs by huge quantities during the summer months for irrigation. They deliberately deplete their reservoirs during summer months (January to May) and keep the storages at a very low level so that they could impound more water from June onwards and use it for irrigation, thereby depriving Tamil Nadu of its due share of water to be released from June onwards when the water year would commence.

The application said that as on March 15, the storage of water in the four reservoirs had been depleted and only about 20 to 30 tmcft would remain by the end of May, as against the full storage of 114.5 tmcft.

Tamil Nadu contended that no depletion should take place from the Karnataka reservoirs during the summer months other than for reasonable needs of perennial crops and drinking water requirements. Hence it sought a direction to restrain Karnataka from taking up new irrigation projects that would affect release of water to Tamil Nadu from June.

Review

Tamil Nadu also moved an application before the tribunal that it should take up the petition seeking review of the final order. The tribunal has not taken up the application on the ground that appeals had been filed by Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala against the final award and till these appeals were disposed of the review could not be taken up for consideration.