An alternative way to share Cauvery

Concerned over “escalating conflicts” and “deteriorating public discourse” over sharing of the Cauvery waters, a group of 46 researchers and activists from the riparian States of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have expressed, in a statement, their belief of an “alternative vision” to manage the river.

The approach, says the letter, is to manage the entire river basin, including visible flow and groundwater, while making decision making more participatory in nature.

The letter calls for an understanding of socio-hydrology, including consideration of the river as being surface as well as groundwater; focus must be on any changes or diversions to these; understanding variability across basin and across years through nuanced definitions of distressed years; and variability should be placed at 75 per cent at least. Participatory process for water sharing is needed, including from village-level leaders across the basin.