Karnataka on Monday filed an original suit in the Supreme Court claiming right on 91 tmc surplus water annually on its side of Cauvery basin and also opposed the Cauvery-Vaigai-Gundar link project planned by Tamil Nadu for transferring excess or surplus water of 45 tmc annually.
In the plea, Karnataka said that the Supreme Court in its judgement on February 16, 2018 on Cauvery water dispute had directed Karnataka to ensure 177.25 tmc of flows at the inter State border, Biligundlu in a normal water year for Tamil Nadu. After giving Tamil Nadu's share and allowing Kerala to divert 21 tmc of flows in Kabini, the remaining water in its Cauvery basin belongs to Karnataka, which includes its share of 284.75 tmc and the surplus water of 91 tmc, the plea said.
Karnataka calculated the surplus water, based on availability of 483 tmc of water at 50 per cent dependability of the inter State border, Biligundlu, as the base flow based on 1934-35 to 1971-72 series.
The state also sought injunction to prevent the Ministry of Water Resources granting permission to Tamil Nadu for the proposed Cauvery-Vaigai-Gundar link project to transfer 45 tmc of surplus water from Cauvery.
If the Cauvery-Vaigai-Gundar link project is allowed, then it amounts to an advance commitment of the surplus water in Cauvery to the prejudice of Karnataka, the state said. “Such comment may give a handle to the State of Tamil Nadu to claim equity and prior appropriation,” says Karnataka.
The then Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami laid the foundation stone for the first phase of Cauvery-Vellaru-Vaigai-Gundar Link scheme in February this year, which will be built at Rs 6,900 crore to provide water to Southern region of Tamil Nadu by utilising surplus Cauvery water.
The entire 262-km river-linking project with the cost of Rs 14,000 crore, aims to divert 6,300 cubic feet of surplus Cauvery water during floods and increase the groundwater levels. The project is being implemented under the Centre's river linking scheme.
Karnataka apprehends that if Tamil Nadu's river linking project is allowed, the neighbouring state may put legal hurdles to its plan to utilise its share as well as excess water generated in Cauvery basin. Tamil Nadu is already strongly opposing Karnataka's plan to build a reservoir at Mekedatu near Kanakapura across Cauvery river.