State to explain inability to release Cauvery water

State to explain inability to release Cauvery water

State to explain inability to release Cauvery water

Karnataka will explain before the Supreme Court its inability to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu as deficient rainfall has resulted in low reservoir levels in the river basin.

“We are facing great distress. The present water availability in the four reservoirs of the Cauvery basin is barely sufficient to meet our drinking water needs,” Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told reporters after chairing a meeting of representatives of various political parties convened to discuss Tamil Nadu’s plea in the Supreme Court seeking release of Cauvery water. There was unanimity in the meeting, the chief minister said.

BJP’s K S Eshwarappa, JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy, Union ministers Ananth Kumar and D V Sadananda Gowda, MPs and district in-charge ministers of the regions coming under the Cauvery basin attended the meeting. Tamil Nadu had recently filed a petition before the apex court seeking a direction to Karnataka to release 50 tmcft of water.

Supreme Court lawyer and member of the state legal team, Mohan Katarki, explained at the meeting the contents of the petition filed by Tamil Nadu.

In the petition, Tamil Nadu has charged Karnataka with diverting water meant for farmers during distress years for undeclared projects. Officials of the water resources department made a presentation on the situation in the Cauvery basin.

Siddaramaiah said the total capacity of the four reservoirs in the Cauvery basin stood at 114 tmcft, but the availability was only 51 tmcft. The state required 40 tmcft to meet the drinking water needs of Bengaluru and Mysuru, he said.

Deficient rainfall had resulted in poor inflow into the reservoirs. The average inflow at this time of the year was 195.25 tmcft, but this year the inflow stood at 108 tmcft. “There has been 55% shortage in the inflow”, the chief minister said.

Siddaramaiah pointed out that Tamil Nadu had based its plea taking into consideration the over rainfall in South India and the petition does not mention the distress in the Cauvery basin. “Tamil Nadu has sought the release of water like in a normal year.

However, during a distress year, the norm is that both states should share the distress pro rata,” Siddaramaiah said. He said the state government had so far released 29 tmcft to the neighbouring state. Besides, 34 tmcft was available for Tamil Nadu in Mettur dam.

He claimed that there had been no advice from senior counsel Fali S Nariman, who heads the legal team on the Cauvery issue, to release water from the Cauvery basin to Tamil Nadu.

JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy is learnt to have taken a few officials to task for not coming prepared with facts and figures to the meeting.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox