Tamil Nadu approaches SC for release of 24,000 cusecs of Cauvery water from Karnataka

  • Lawbeat News Desk
  • 11:58 AM, 16 Aug 2023

Read Time: 08 minutes


The plea alleged Cauvery Water Management Authority has failed to implement the decision of the Tribunal as modified by the top court in letter and spirit.

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday filed a plea in the Supreme Court seeking direction to Karnataka to release 24,000 cusecs of Cauvery water daily in order to meet pressing needs of standing crops.

In an application, Tamil Nadu sought direction to Karnataka to release water from its reservoirs to ensure that 24,000 cusecs water were realised at Biligundlu, interstate water flowing measurement point, in the entire August 2023 commencing from August 14.

The plea alleged Cauvery Water Management Authority has failed to implement the decision of the Tribunal as modified by the top court in letter and spirit.

It also sought the top court's direction to Karnataka to ensure release of entire quota of water of September, 2023 (36.76 tmc feet) as per the final award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal as modified by the Supreme Court.

It prayed that Karnataka should be directed to make good the shortfall during the current irrigation year for the period 01.06.2023 to 31.07.2023 of 28.849 tmc feet of water. 

"Direct Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) to ensure that the directions issued to Karnataka to release of water to Tamil Nadu are 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," Tamil Nadu said in its plea.

Tamil Nadu approached the top court after its officials walked out from the CWMA meeting held at Delhi last week after Karnataka refused to release 15,000 cusecs of water daily as demanded by neighbouring state. Karnataka, on its part, cited low storage in its reservoirs in Cauvery basin due to failure of monsoon.

Tamil Nadu further said "the direction of CWRC (Cauvery Water Regulation Committee) to Karnataka in the meeting, held on 10.08.2023, to ensure flow realized at  Biligundlu was 15,000 cusecs commencing from 11.08.2023 for the next 15 days has not been complied with. The direction of CWMA to Karnataka in its meeting held on 11.08.2023, without considering the plea of Tamil Nadu, arbitrarily reducing the flows to 10,000 cusecs to be realized at  Biligundlu starting from 12.08.2023  for the next 15 days, is totally against the interest of Tamil Nadu. Even these directions to ensure releases from KRS & Kabini from 11.08.2023 to 13.08.2023 has not been complied with by Karnataka. The actual flow recorded at  Biligundlu on 11.08.2023; 12.08.2023; 13.08.2023 and 14.08.2023 was 6148, 4852, 4453 and about 4000 cusecs, respectively, Tamil Nadu said.

The plea said that about 14.913 lakh acres (net area) are dependent on Mettur reservoir for irrigation, which in turn depends on the flows realized at Billigundulu, based on the flows released by Karnataka from KRS and Kabini reservoirs, which gets major portion of inflows during South West Monsoon. 

"During this monsoon period, both Kuruvai and Samba crops are sown and transplanted in the Cauvery Delta. Hence, the release of water from Mettur during South West Monsoon is crucial. About 4 million farmers and about 10 million labourers both directly and indirectly depend on Mettur water for their livelihood. The agricultural operations in the Cauvery delta are suffering for want of adequate water and the crops are facing water stress, which would affect the agricultural production," it said.

The plea also stated that the Chief Minister of the applicant State by his August 4, 2023 letter to the Prime Minister of India apprised him of the growing concern amongst the farmers in the Cauvery Basin of Tamil Nadu by the failure of Karnataka in adhering to the directions of CWMA. It was brought to the notice that in the current water year 2023-24, Karnataka released only 11.6 TMC as against 40.4 TMC due at Billigundulu from 01.06.2023 to 31.07.2023 with a deficit of 28.8 TMC while Karnataka had a gross storage of 91 TMC in its 4 major reservoirs against the full capacity of 114.6 TMC, it said.

Case Title: State of Tamil Nadu v State of Karnataka & Ors.