The Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) at its meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday decided that Karnataka should release 3,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) to Tamil Nadu from September 28 to October 15.
The 15-day spell of 5,000 cusecs, determined by the CWRC during its previous meeting on September 12, is coming to an end on Wednesday (September 27). As in the past, the revised quantity of 3,000 cusecs has to be realised at Biligundulu on the inter-State border. The meeting of the CWRC, the assisting body for the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA), lasted nearly two hours and members of the panel, especially those from the States of the Cauvery basin, took part virtually.
On the CWRC’s decision, Saumitra Kumar Haldar, CWMA chairman, told The Hindu from New Delhi on Tuesday that the date of October 15 had been chosen as it would generally mark the end of the southwest monsoon and the commencement of the northeast monsoon. To a query whether the Authority would meet in the intervening period, Mr. Haldar replied that “we will be meeting shortly.”
At the Committee’s meeting, Karnataka pleaded its inability to continue release of water while Tamil Nadu wanted at least 12,500 cusecs to be released for the coming weeks.
Of 6.48 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) to be received by Tamil Nadu in the last fortnight, around 5.7 tmc ft had been realised, according to an official here. As on September 24, Tamil Nadu received cumulatively (since June 1) about 42 tmc ft. In a normal year, it should have got 115.79 tmc ft during the period. This morning, the State’s lifeline for the Cauvery delta, the Mettur dam, had a storage of barely 11 tmc ft, which was marginally higher than the sum of quantities earmarked for dead storage and the requirements of drinking water.
Expressing happiness over the Committee’s decision, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar, also the Minister for Water Resources, said the government officials had “effectively defended the State’s interest by flagging drought situation” in the Cauvery basin.
Generally, a quantity close to 2,000 cusecs would be there daily in the basin. “About 1,000 cusecs more would have to be released daily. The inflow is good following rains in Kanakapura and Bengaluru in the last few days,” Mr. Shivakumar said.
However, the Opposition BJP and the Janata Dal (Secular) expressed concern over the CWRC’s move and termed the present situation as an outcome of the Karnataka government’s “negligence.”
Meanwhile, farmers in Mandya blocked the Bengaluru-Mysuru Highway (bypass going through the town) to express their anger at the latest order to further release water to Tamil Nadu. They also burnt a handwritten copy of the CWRC directive
(With inputs from Nagesh Prabhu and Sharat S. Srivatsa in Bengaluru)