Karnataka directed to release Cauvery water

T.N. told to clear deficit in receipt by U.T.

Published - September 28, 2021 01:24 am IST - Chennai

The Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) on Monday directed Karnataka to immediately release “some quantity” of water towards making good the shortfall in realisation of the latter’s share of Cauvery water.

The release should be as per the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’s decision of 2007, which was modified by the Supreme Court in 2018.

Disclosing this, S.K. Haldar, chairman of the Central Water Commission, who is also the head of CWMA, told The Hindu over phone that the situation would be reviewed at the next meeting, scheduled to be held early October. He added that Tamil Nadu too had been asked to clear the deficit in the receipt of water by Puducherry for irrigation in the Karaikal region.

The authority will meet again on October 7, said a member of the Tamil Nadu team of Water Resources Department officials, adding that the State had agreed to release half a thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) of water to Puducherry.

According to a release issued by the Tamil Nadu government later in the day, the present shortfall in realisation is 33.7 tmc ft. Till September 26, Karnataka has supplied 85.8 tmc ft, since June 1, against the prescribed quantity of 119.5 tmc ft. “Karnataka has not followed the judgment of the Supreme Court on water sharing for Tamil Nadu properly,” the release said. It said the neighbouring State, despite being told by the authority to release water at the previous meeting, did not “fully implement” it.

To persistent queries, Mr. Haldar refused to get drawn into specifying any quantity of water to be released by Karnataka. However, he indicated that “as on date, [the] Mettur [reservoir] has not got the storage it used to have. Going by the 30-year average, it used to have a good storage of 40-45 tmc ft. Compared with that, there is some deficiency, and at least that quantity should be made up. “

On Monday morning, Mettur’s storage was 35.774 tmc ft (capacity: 93.47 tmc ft), with the water level remaining at 73.49 ft (full level: 120 ft). Discharge through the river and canal was marginally higher than the inflow, which was about 7,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs).

The CWMA chairman said Karnataka had drawn to his attention the “deficient rainfall” in its part of the Cauvery basin. “We have conceded their point,” he said. The meeting, which lasted about two-and-a-half hours, was attended by officials of the Tamil Nadu government, physically, while representatives of other States, including Karnataka, took part virtually.

The Tamil Nadu team consisted of Sandeep Saxena, Additional Chief Secretary (ACS - Water Resources and Public Works); R. Subramanian, chairman of the Cauvery Technical Cell, and Pattabhiraman, member of the cell. Among others present were K. Jaiprakash, managing director, Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited of Karnataka; T.K. Jose, ACS (Water Resources) of Kerala, and A. Vikranth Raja, commisioner-cum-Secretary (Public Works) of Puducherry.

The Tamil Nadu government opposed any discussion on the Mekedatu dam project, as the matter was sub judice. The release quoted Mr. Haldar as saying that the matter was not taken up for discussion, as Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry had opposed it.

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