Karnataka to appeal against Cauvery panel order on water release

Karnataka cites poor quantum of storage in four reservoirs owing to a record deficit rainfall in August

Updated - September 14, 2023 08:00 am IST

Published - September 13, 2023 05:00 pm IST - Bengaluru

Karnataka Chief Minister  Siddaramaiah and Deputy CM D.K. Shivakumar during the all-party meeting on the Cauvery water row, in Bengaluru on September 13, 2023.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy CM D.K. Shivakumar during the all-party meeting on the Cauvery water row, in Bengaluru on September 13, 2023. | Photo Credit: ANI

A day after the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) recommended release of 5,000 cusecs of water daily to Tamil Nadu for 15 days, Karnataka decided to appeal against it, citing the poor quantum of storage in four reservoirs owing to a record deficit rainfall in August.

While Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has sought the Centre’s intervention, Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar, who holds the Water Resources portfolio, will meet the legal team in Delhi on September 13 night before the Karnataka government takes any decision on release of water.

“We will appeal against the September 12 order. The CWRC is only a recommendatory body. Let us see what happens. We will also approach the Supreme Court to convince them about the ground situation,” Mr. Siddaramaiah told presspersons after chairing an emergency all-party meeting in Bengaluru to inform the Opposition about the developments and elicit their feedback. In August 2023, the Cauvery basin in Karnataka recorded the least rainfall in the last 123 years, he said.

While the forecast for the requirement of Cauvery water in Karnataka till next monsoon was about 106 tmcft, the current availability is 53 tmcft.” “If we have to protect our standing crops, 70 tmcft of water is required. We are also not releasing the full quantum of water necessary for irrigation. While 33 tmcft is needed for drinking water, 3 tmcft is required for industrial use, taking the total to 106 tmcft.” As against 99 tmcft that had to be released to Tamil Nadu in a normal year, Karnataka has released 37.7 tmcft till September 11.

When asked if he would speak to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin over the issue since the DMK is part of the opposition INDIA bloc, Mr. Siddaramaiah said, “What is the use of talking to Mr. Stalin?”

Meeting of MPs

Among other options, the Chief Minister told presspersons that the government is planning to convene a meeting of members of Parliament from Karnataka before the special session starting on September 18. “The nine MPs who participated in the meeting today have assured that they will raise the issue and bring pressure on the Union government to understand the ground reality. We want the country to know about our problems. We simply do not have water.” He also said that the State government would again seek time to take the all-party delegation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Meanwhile, in a letter to Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, the Chief Minister said, “It is requested to move the Cauvery Water Management Authority [CWMA] to consider the pleadings of Karnataka and to review the decision of the CWRC so that Karnataka is relieved of the burden and to safeguard the interests of the farmers and people in the drought-affected year.”

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