Supreme Court on Monday directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu for the next 10 days to ameliorate plight of the farmers there.
Noting that the samba crops in Tamil Nadu would be adversely affected, a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit directed Karnataka to ensure supply of water to Tamil Nadu.
The apex court also directed Tamil Nadu to approach the supervisory committee within three days for the release of Cauvery water as per the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’s (CWDT).
The Supreme Court also asked the supervisory committee to decide on Tamil Nadu’s plea in ten days from today.
“We think it’s appropriate to direct Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water per day for ten days,” the bench said, while also directing Tamil Nadu to release water to Puducherry appropriately as per its interim arrangement.
The court posted the matter for further hearing on September 16.
On September 2, the Supreme Court had made an emotional appeal to Karnataka saying ‘live and let live’, after Tamil Nadu brought to the notice of the court that the Karnataka CM has said that not a drop of water will be released to it.
In a recent plea, Tamil Nadu had sought a direction to Karnataka to release 50.52 tmc feet of Cauvery water to save 40,000 acres of samba crops this season.
In reply, Karnataka had said it has a deficit of about 80 tmc feet in its four reservoirs.
Senior lawyer F S Nariman, who appeared for Karanataka, said that there were “rain deficit months” in the recent past and it was difficult to release the water due to Tamil Nadu.
He said the Tribunal has not provided for an alternative for Karnataka on the point of release of water during distress months.
The apex court had earlier refused to give an urgent hearing to Tamil Nadu’s plea for setting up of Cauvery Management Board for implementation of the CWDT award.
At the directions of the apex court, the Centre, in 2013, had notified the final award of the CWDT on sharing of water of the Cauvery system among the basin states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala and union territory of Puducherry.
The CWDT had recommended the setting up of a Cauvery Management Board/Authority on the lines of the Bhakra Beas Management Board for implementation of the order.
The board, in turn, would constitute a Cauvery Water Regulation Committee for assistance.
The Tribunal, in a unanimous decision in 2007, had determined the total availability of water in the Cauvery basin at 740 thousand million cubic (tmc) feet at the Lower Coleroon Anicut site, including 14 tmcft for environmental protection and seepage into the sea.
The final award made an annual allocation of 419 tmcft to Tamil Nadu in the entire Cauvery basin, 270 tmcft to Karnataka, 30 tmcft to Kerala and 7 tmcft to Puducherry.