CWMA defers discussion on Mekedatu project

Cauvery Water Management Authority defers discussion on Mekedatu project

A view of the Mekedatu spot. Credit: DH Photo

The Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) on Tuesday deferred discussion on Karnataka's proposal to build a reservoir at Mekedatu across the Cauvery river following objections from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

"The issue will now be taken up for discussion at an appropriate time," S K Haldar, Chairman of CWMA told reporters after the meeting.

Haldar, who is also chairman of the Central Water Commission, said that the meeting also deferred the discussion on Karnataka's objections to Tamil Nadu's proposed Cauvery-Vellaru-Vaigai-Gundar Link scheme.

In the meeting, Tamil Nadu alleged that the Mekedatu project proposal was a clear violation of the Supreme Court final judgement on the Cauvery water sharing dispute and should not be taken up for discussion.

“Mekedatu project falls on the inter-state river. For any major projects coming up on the inter-state river, the consent of the basin states is a must for taking up the project,” Haldar said after the meeting. 

He said since the Mekedatu project was on an inter-state river, the approval of CWMA was necessary.

“So we want to discuss the project in the Authority meeting and take the views from the member states,” he said.  

Release water to Tamil Nadu:

In the meeting, the Authority also asked Karnataka to release around 7 tmc ft of water to Tamil Nadu to make up for the shortage till August 31.

As per the Supreme Court final order on the Cauvery water sharing dispute, in a normal year, Karnataka has to release 86.83 tmc ft of water to Tamil Nadu from June to August end.

However, Karnataka has released 57.04 tmc ft of water to Tamil Nadu as of August 30 citing 25% low storage of water in its reservoirs due to deficit rainfall.

But, the state agreed to make up the shortfall if it received good rainfall in September. 

Tamil Nadu had demanded the release of its entire remaining quota of 27.86 tmc ft of water from Karnataka's reservoirs from the Cauvery basin till August 31, sources in the Central Water Commission said.

At present Kanataka's Cauvery basin reservoirs has storage of 156 tmc ft against 209 tmc ft during a normal monsoon. Since the deficit is to the tune of 25 %, the Authority asked Karnataka to release around 7 tmc ft of water to Tamil Nadu against the August quota instead of 27.86 tmc ft, sources said.

The meeting was attended by Karnataka Water Resources Department Additional Chief Secretary Rakesh Singh, Tamil Nadu PWD Additional Chief Secretary Sandeep Saxena while Kerala and Puducherry officials attended through video conference.

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