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Cauvery Authority asks Karnataka to offset T.N. water shortfall this month

Cauvery catchments recorded around 25% deficit in rainfall: CWMA chairman

August 31, 2021 11:49 pm | Updated September 01, 2021 10:24 am IST - Chennai

A file photo of Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) dam in Mandya district of Karnataka. M. A. Sriram

A file photo of Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) dam in Mandya district of Karnataka. M. A. Sriram

The Cauvery Water Managem ent Authority (CWMA), at its meeting on Tuesday, “requested” Karnataka to make good in September the shortfall in the realisation of Cauvery water by Tamil Nadu.

Disclosing this, CWMA chairman S.K Haldar, who is also the head of the Central Water Commission, told The Hindu over phone that the Cauvery catchments had recorded around 25% deficit in rainfall. “The realisation by four reservoirs of Karnataka (Krishnaraja Sagar, Kabini, Hemavati, and Harangi) was less by 23% to 24%. Accordingly, there was lower water release,” he said. In view of the Meteorological Department’s rainfall forecast for September, the CWMA has told Karnataka to compensate the shortfall, he added.

A release issued by the Tamil Nadu government said that as on August 30, the cumulativ e shortfall since June 1 was 27.86 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft). For the three months, Tamil Nadu should have got 86.38 tmc ft., but it received 57.04 tmc ft. Karnataka, according to the release, explained that its reservoirs should have re ceived 209 tmc ft by now, but they realised only 156 tmc ft.

At the beginning of the meeting, Tamil Nadu’s team leader and Additional Chief Secretary (Water Resources) Sandeep Saxena opposed any discussion on the Mekedatu dam project. Both the Mekedatu project and the Cauvery-Vaigai-Gundar link canal scheme had been deferred. The next meeting would take place on September 24.

When Tamil Nadu’s representatives wanted Karnataka to release water in accordance with the Supreme Court’s judgment for the ‘Kuruvai’ and ‘Samba’ crops, the latter responded that even a few days ago, 14,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) had been discharged into the Cauvery, the release pointed out.

According to one of the participants, the two principal riparian States were engaged in an argument about the pattern of rainfall during the current southwest monsoon. Asked whether there were heated moments during the discussion that lasted nearly one-and-a-half hours, Mr. Haldar replied that the entire meeting went off “very cordially”. “There was nothing to get heated up.”

Tamil Nadu’s contention was that this year’s monsoon could not be called “deficit” as only Kabini catchments had experienced a deficit rainfall. The rainfall pattern over the basin had to be viewed in its entirety. Besides, Karnataka’s two major reservoirs — KRS and Kabini — were almost full. So the neighbouring State was in a position to meet the CWMA’s stipulation, it said.

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