In a major relief for Karnataka, the Cauvery Supervisory Committee on Wednesday rejected Tamil Nadu’s demand for its share of water saying it was not feasible due to deficit inflows and poor storage in reservoirs in Karnataka.
The committee headed by Union Water Resources Secretary S K Sarkar ruled that the next meeting in the first week of July would take up the issue of release of water from Karnataka’s Cauvery basin reservoirs to the lower riparian state.
“Due to deficit in inflows and very low storages in the reservoirs in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the request of Tamil Nadu for release of water by Karnataka was considered and found not feasible as of now. However, the position will be reviewed in the next meeting proposed to be held in the first week of July 2013,” the meeting decided.
“The position as on June 10 indicates very low storage, even lesser than that of last year.
The inflows in Karnataka show about 85 per cent short of the normal and the flow at Biligundlu (Tamil Nadu) is also 75.4 per cent deficient with respect to the normal flows. The two deficits are consistent,” said the proceedings of the meeting, released after two hours deliberation.
The live storage in all the four reservoirs of the Cauvery basin in Karnataka as on June 10 was 3.78 tmc feet, which is about 3.55 per cent of the total storage capacity of all the four reservoirs. The live storage of Mettur reservoir in Tamil Nadu was 3.58 tmc feet, which is about 3.80 per cent of the total storage capacity.
Though this year the monsoon is expected to be good, the present situation in both Karnataka and Mettur is very grim compared to a 10-year average.
At the meeting, Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Sheela Balakrishnan insisted that farmers back home had started preparations for sowing the Kuruvai crop, hoping water would be released from the Mettur reservoir, and demanded that Karnataka release 63 tmc feet of water (10 tmc feet from June quota and the remaining being the backlog from last year).
Rejecting the demand, Karnataka Chief Secretary S V Ranganath said as there was no storage, the state was not in a position to release any water. He also insisted that the water releases should be calculated at the end of December on the basis of rainfall and the total water yield.
He also urged that the Supreme Court mandated Supervisory Committee should not embrace the guidelines of the Cauvery Management Board, a body mandated by the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal in its final award.