Cauvery issue: Centre asks TN, K'taka to 'cooperate' on water sharing

Cauvery issue: Centre asks TN, K'taka to 'cooperate' on water sharing

Cauvery issue: Centre asks TN, K'taka to 'cooperate' on water sharing
Centre today advised Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments to "cooperate" with each other on the sharing of Cauvery waters after the latter cried foul that the neighbouring state had failed to release water as per the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.

"Both the states were requested to co-operate and see how best they can handle the shortfall situation collectively," sources said after the meeting of Cauvery Supervisory Committee here.

Karnataka had earlier this month expressed an inability to release Cauvery waters to Tamil Nadu saying it was facing its "worst drought" in over four decades.

"We are trying to improve data collection and data management and analysis so that this kind of distress situation can be understood well and appropriate decisions can be taken," the sources added.

The Centre's advice came in the wake of Tamil Nadu asking the Committee to order Karnataka that it make good an alleged shortfall of 47.549 TMCft water as on September 24.

The shortfall, Tamil Nadu said, has been affecting ongoing cultivation of samba crop and, thus, the state's food security.

Tamil Nadu also demanded that the Committee ensure delivery of 48 TMCft of water due to the state at Billigundulu for the months of October-January as prescribed in the final order of the tribunal. It further charged that Karnataka overdrew 37 TMCft water above the 103 TMCft it was entitled to in 2014-15.

In its submission before the Committee, therefore, Tamil Nadu government demanded that a mechanism be set up to monitor inflows into major reservoirs along with the drawing of water by Karnataka and the extent of the area irrigated.

The Committee, Tamil Nadu insisted, should ensure that Karnataka does not draw water for summer irrigation and the balance storage is carried over for use in the next irrigation season.

"Such problems are surfacing mainly because Tamil Nadu gets water only when Karnataka releases it. Hence, to ensure impartial distribution of water in line with the tribunal's order, Tamil Nadu wants constitution of Cauvery Management Board and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee without delay with reference to assurances given by Centre to Supreme Court as on May 10," the sources said.

Karnataka for its part is understood to have reiterated that the non-release of water was mainly due to the 23 per cent deficit rainfall this season and low-levels of water across the reservoirs.

However, it claimed to have had supplied 82 TMCft water to its neighbouring state which, however, said it had received 78 TMCft in recent days.

Given the "worrying" situation, Karnataka is learnt to have sought the use of a distress formula for the sharing of water rather than the one used during normal times.

"Distress situation is prevailing in Karnataka. It has hence been demanding that the formula for sharing water during normal situation can't applied in the present circumstances. It said distress formula should apply here," sources said.

The meeting was attended by Committee chairman and Union Water Resources Ministry secretary Shashi Shekhar, Central Water Commission chairman AB Pandya and chief secretaries of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Kaushik Mukherjee and K Gnanadesikan, respectively.
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