Cauvery Authority ratifies panel’s move on environmental flows

Published - May 21, 2024 10:43 pm IST - Chennai

The Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) on Tuesday endorsed the decision of the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) to ask Karnataka to ensure environmental flows, as stipulated by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT), for the remainder of this month.

The decision was taken at the Authority’s last meeting for the current water year, 2023-24 (June-May). The CWRC held its deliberations four days ago, as a result of which approximately 1.25 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) would have to be realised at Biligundlu on the inter-State border. For the entire month, the stipulated quantity was 2.5 tmcft.

As on Sunday, the quantity received this month was about 1.15 tmcft. The Tribunal had prescribed a quantity of 2.5 tmcft a month during February-May.

In the last three months, Biligundlu recorded 2.04 tmcft, as against the cumulative figure of 7.5 tmcft.

When asked why the Authority did not ask Karnataka to meet the shortfall with regard to the environmental flows, S.K. Haldar, chairman of the Authority, who presided over the meeting, told The Hindu over the phone that the prescribed quantity was meant for a normal year. This year being a “distress year and historically, the overall flows [in the Cauvery river] being at the lowest level”, only the natural and residual flows, as available in the uncontrolled catchment of the river, could be considered, he said.

The regenerated flow was also not there. Besides, given the current season (summer), evaporation and percolation losses would be much higher than the quantity that was required to be realised. Wastage could be even 90%, he added.

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