The Karnataka government on Monday said it is not in a position to release Cauvery river water to neighbouring Tamil Nadu as the availability is just enough for the state’s drinking water needs. It also reiterated that the proposed Mekedatu dam project across the Cauvery was in the interest of both the states and there was “misconception” about it in Tamil Nadu. “There is not enough water. There is water exactly for drinking purposes until June 15…we do not have water for giving it to Tamil Nadu, we have water only for ourselves, that too for drinking purposes…”, Water Resources Minister M B Patil told reporters in Bengaluru.
He said, “We have have brought it to the notice of the Honourable Supreme Court also. We have told this to the team of officials (from Tamil Nadu) that visited here. At present we cannot give water.”
“If things improve tomorrow, if we have pre-monsoon showers, if we get some inflows, we will definitely consider, we are open to that,” he added. The Supreme Court had on April 7, dismissed a Karnataka government plea seeking review of its September 20, 2016 order asking it to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu till September 27, saying it has become “infructuous” as several subsequent orders were passed.
An official delegation from Tamil Nadu had also recently held meetings with Karnataka Chief Secretary Subhash Khuntia and other state officials in Bengaluru with a request to release 3 tmcft of Cauvery water on humanitarian grounds. To the officials too, Karnataka had expressed its inability in releasing water citing water levels in Cauvery reservoirs.
There is a total of 7.748 tmc water in four Cauvery reservoirs. It includes 4.438 tmc in KRS, 0.295 tmc in Kabini 1.228 in Harangi and 1.787 in Hemavathi.
Noting that the problem in sharing water arises only during distress years, Patil said that’s the reason why the state proposed Mekedatu dam. “Mekedatu dam will help during crisis…it is a misconception that Tamil Nadu’s water will be affected, in fact it will help regulated release during distress years,” he said. “Mekedatu dam is beneficial for both states. We have to convince Tamil Nadu that it is going to help you people,” he said.
The Karnataka Cabinet has decided to implement the Rs 5,912-crore Mekedatu Multipurpose (drinking and power) Project which involves building a balancing reservoir with a capacity of about 66 tmc ft, near Kanakapura in Ramanagaram district. The Tamil Nadu government has been protesting against the project and also sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in the matter.