The Supreme Court has posted for September 6 matter relating to the Cauvery water-sharing dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
A bench of Justices BR Gavai and Prashant Kumar Mishra was informed on Friday that in pursuance to its August 25 direction, the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) has submitted its report relating to the compliance of the Authority’s August 11 direction by Karnataka to release water so that 10,000 cusecs of water is realised at Biligundulu, Tamil Nadu.
CWMA on Thursday filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court stating that a meeting was held and after that, Karnataka fulfilled the directions of CWMA by releasing a total of 149898 cusec of water at Biligundulu from August 12 to August 26.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had said that it doesn’t possess any expertise on this issue and sought a report from the CWMA on the quantum of release made by Karnataka.
It had asked CWMA, which was meeting on August 28, to decide the release of water for the next fortnight in the Cauvery water-sharing dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The Authority in its affidavit stated, “In the 22nd meeting held on August 11, it was decided that the State of Karnataka has to ensure releases from the Krishna Raja Sagara and Kabini reservoirs put together, so that the flows are realised at Biligundulu at the rate of 10000 cusec, starting from August 12 (8 am) for the next 15 days.”
“It is respectfully submitted that in the 85th meeting of the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) held on August 28 and thereafter in the 23rd meeting of CWMA held on August 29, the Member from Kamataka informed that as directed by CWMA in its 22nd meeting held on August 11 to ensure realisation of flow of 10000 cusec at Biligundulu, for next 15 days, the State of Karnataka has fulfilled the directions of CWMA by releasing a total of 149898 cusec of water at Biligundulu from August 12 to August 26,” the affidavit said.
It further said that as per the decisions taken in the 23rd meeting of CWMA held on August 29, the CWMA directed the member from Karnataka to ensure the realisation of flows at Biligundulu at the rate of 5000 cusecs, starting from August 29 (8 am) for the next 15 days.
Tamil Nadu government had approached the Supreme Court seeking direction to Karnataka to release 24,000 cusecs of water daily per day from the reservoirs in Karnataka.
Karnataka government had also filed an affidavit last week opposing Tamil Nadu’s application saying that application is based on an assumption that this year is the normal rain water year.
The government said that Tamil Nadu’s application that Karnataka to ensure the release of 36.76 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) stipulated for September 2023 has no legal basis since the said quantity is stipulated in a normal water year and this water year being a distressed water year so far, it is not applicable.
The application is based on an “erroneous assumption” that this year is the normal rainwater year, even though, rainfall is lesser by 25 per cent and inflow into four reservoirs in Karnataka was lesser by 42.5 per cent up to August 9 as recorded by the Cauvery Water Management Authority, Karnataka government stated in its affidavit.
The matter has been a controversial issue between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for decades and they have been locked in battle over the sharing of water from the Cauvery river, which is a major source of irrigation and drinking water for millions of people in the region.
The Centre formed the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) on June 2, 1990, to adjudicate disputes between Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Puducherry with respect to the water-sharing capacities.
In its affidavit, the Karnataka government said that the urgency pleaded by Tamil Nadu on the grounds of saving standing crops is wholly misreading because the permissible area of the Kuruvai rice crop which started on June 12 and goes up to the end of September requires 32.27 TMC as estimated by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal which has not been modified by the Supreme Court in its Judgment in 2018.
Tamil Nadu in its fresh application sought direction to the State of Karnataka to immediately release 24,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) from its reservoirs and ensure the availability of the specified quantity of water at Biligundlu on the inter-state border for the remainder of the month for meeting the pressing demands of the standing crops.
It also urged the Supreme Court to direct Karnataka to ensure the release of 36.76 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) stipulated for September 2023 as per the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT)’s final award of February 2007 that was modified by the Supreme Court in 2018.
Tamil Nadu said Karnataka should make good the shortfall of 28.849 TMC water during the current irrigation year for the period between June 1 to July 31.
It further asked the Supreme court to direct the Cauvery Water Management Authority to ensure that the directions issued to Karnataka to release 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 to by the State of Karnataka”.
The application said that a direction was given to Karnataka on August 10 to release from its reservoirs 15,000 cusecs at Billigundulu on August 11 for 15 days.
“Unfortunately, even this quantum of water was arbitrarily reduced to 10,000 cusecs by the CWMA in its 22nd meeting held on August 11 at the instance of Karnataka. Regretfully, even this amount of 10,000 cusecs to be ensured at Billigundulu by releasing such quantum of water from the KRS and Kabini reservoirs has not been complied with by Karnataka,” it added.
Karnataka failed to fully implement the directions for the release of the stipulated quantum of 10,000 cusecs (0.864 TMC per day) as directed by CWRC, it said.
Karnataka is duty-bound to release the Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu as per the final order passed by the Tribunal as modified by this Court, the application stated.
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