Overruling differences between the two states, the Cauvery Supervisory Committee today ordered Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs water per day to Tamil Nadu between September 21 and September 30. Despite day-long discussions, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu failed to reach an agreement on the quantum of water to be released.
Union Water Resources Secretary and Chairman of the committee Shashi Shekhar used his power asking Karnataka to release 3000 cusecs of water daily to Tamil Nadu from September 21 to 30. “They have not agreed. The two states are free to challenge this order in the Supreme Court when it takes up the matter tomorrow or they can agree with the order before the court,” Shekhar told reporters after the meeting.
The supervisory committee in its previous meeting on September 12 had failed to arrive on a decision on quantum of water release for want of adequate information which was to be made available by the river-basin states. It had asked them to provide the information by September 15. The Supreme Court had on September 5 asked Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water per day for 10 days to Tamil Nadu to ameliorate plight of farmers there. The interim order led to protests in parts of Karnataka, especially in Mandya district, considered the hotbed of politics over Cauvery issue.
Shekhar said he took the decision keeping in mind various factors such as need for drinking and irrigation water in Karnataka and summer crop in Tamil Nadu. He said while the panel will next meet sometime in October, it will take a call on the release of water to Tamil Nadu after September 30 as and when required. Though the two states failed to agree on the quantum of water release, they agreed that from February 2017 onwards, it should meet every month to take stock of the situation till the Cauvery Management Board comes into being.
The matter related to the proposed board is pending before the apex court. The committee also agreed to put in place a protocol for the proposed real-time transmission of river water flow data among the committee secretariat (in Delhi), Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry. The Central Water Commission is working on devices which will be placed at various points to provide real-time data. Lack of credible data makes it difficult for the various parties to arrive at a consensus. At the meeting, while Karnataka “vehemently” opposed release of any water, Tamil Nadu requested for release of water as ordered by the Cauvery water dispute tribunal.