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Cauvery River Disputes: CWMA Files Report Regarding Water Discharge By Karnataka To Tamil Nadu Before Supreme Court

The Cauvery Water Management Authority notified the Supreme Court that it had ordered Karnataka to make sure that flows in Biligundulu be realised at a rate of 5,000 cusecs beginning on August 29 and continuing for the following 15 days. The CWMA said that from August 12 to August 26, Karnataka discharged 1,49,898 cusecs of water at Biligundulu.

The Supreme Court had already requested a report from the CWMA on the amount of release made by Karnataka because it claimed to lack knowledge on the subject. In the Cauvery water-sharing issue between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, it had requested the CWMA, which was meeting on August 28, to decide how much water would be released over the following two weeks. The State of Karnataka must ensure releases from the combined Krishna Raja Sagara and Kabini reservoirs so that flows are realised at Biligundulu at a rate of 10,000 cusec beginning on August 12 (8 am) and continuing for the following 15 days, according to the Authority’s affidavit.

It is respectfully submitted that the Member from Kamataka informed the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) in its 85th meeting on August 28 and the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) in its 23rd meeting on August 29 that the State of Karnataka had complied with the CWMA’s instructions by releasing a total of 149898 cusec of water at Biligu, as directed by the CWMA in its 22nd meeting on August 11, to ensure the realisation of flow of 10,000

Further, it was stated that in accordance with the decisions made at the 23rd meeting of the CWMA, which was held on August 29, the CWMA directed the member from Karnataka to ensure the realisation of flows at Biligundulu at a rate of 5000 cusecs, beginning on August 29 at 8 a.m. and lasting for the following 15 days.

The Supreme Court was requested by the Tamil Nadu government to order Karnataka to release 24,000 cusecs of water per day from its reservoirs. The Karnataka government had also submitted an affidavit last week in opposition to Tamil Nadu’s application, claiming that it was predicated on the notion that this year was a typical year for rainfall. The government claimed that Tamil Nadu’s request for Karnataka to guarantee the release of 36.76 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) stipulated for September 2023 lacked any legal support because the specified amount was set in a normal water year and was therefore inapplicable given that this water year is currently experiencing water shortages.

According to the Karnataka government’s affidavit, the application is based on the “erroneous assumption” that this year is a typical rainy one, despite the fact that rainfall has decreased by 25% and that up until August 9, the inflow into four Karnataka reservoirs had decreased by 42.5%. For many years, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have been at odds about who gets to share the water from the Cauvery River, which is a significant source of irrigation and drinking water for millions of people in the area.

On June 2, 1990, the Centre established the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) to resolve disagreements regarding the water-sharing capacities between Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Puducherry. The Karnataka government claimed in its affidavit that the urgency raised by Tamil Nadu on the grounds of saving standing crops is entirely misinterpreted because the permissible area of the Kuruvai rice crop, which began on June 12 and runs through the end of September, requires 32.27 TMC as determined by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal and has not been changed by the Supreme Court’s judgement in 2018 (which has not yet been implemented).

In a new application, Tamil Nadu requested that the State of Karnataka release 24,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) from its reservoirs immediately and ensure that the specified amount of water is available at Biligundlu on the interstate border for the remainder of the month in order to meet the urgent needs of the state.

Additionally, it requested that the Supreme Court instruct Karnataka to secure the release of the 36.76 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) allocated for September 2023 in accordance with the final judgement of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) from February 2007, which the Supreme Court revised in 2018.

According to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka is responsible for making up the shortfall of 28.849 TMC water during the period from June 1 to July 31 of the current irrigation year. Additionally, it pleaded with the Supreme Court to order the Cauvery Water Management Authority to see that the instructions given to Karnataka regarding the release of water to Tamil Nadu were “fully implemented and the stipulated monthly releases during the remaining period of the current water year are fully given effect by the State.”

“Unfortunately, the CWMA arbitrarily decreased even this amount of water to 10,000 cusecs at its 22nd meeting on August 11 at Karnataka’s request. Unfortunately, Karnataka has not complied with even this requirement 10,000 cusecs to be ensured at Billigundulu by releasing such a quantity of water from the KRS and Kabini reservoirs. The release of the specified amount of 10,000 cusecs (0.864 TMC per day), as instructed by CWRC, was not fully carried out by Karnataka, it claimed. According to the final order issued by the Tribunal, as amended by this Court, Karnataka is required to provide Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.

Ahir Mitra
Ahir Mitra
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