With the water in the Mettur dam reaching staggeringly low levels, causing major disruption to the activities of farmers in the delta region, the Tamil Nadu government has decided to press Karnataka to release Cauvery water in a meeting between the Chief Ministers of both states.
On Sunday, the Mettur dam was closed by the Public Works Department following the fall in water levels. While the Cauvery river water is usually released between June 12 and January 28, this year saw a delayed release by Karnataka. The dam recorded its lowest inflow on January 22 with a paltry 37 cusecs of water in the Stanley reservoir.
In a statement, the Tamil Nadu government announced that a delegation led by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami will go to Bengaluru to meet Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and discuss the welfare of the farmers in the delta region as well as saving the samba crop.
The decision comes after a high-level meeting of the Tamil Nadu cabinet, led by the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister, O Panneerselvam. The meeting was also attended by Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan.
Despite the final verdict on the Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal being in favour of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka has refused to release the stateâ€™s share of the water, leading to a shortfall of 80 cusecs of water.
In response to a letter written by the TN CM on January 12 requesting to release 7 tmc ft of water, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah asked, "How can we release water when storage levels in our reservoirs in the Cauvery river basin are low?â€ť
The water is to make up for the shortfall in the Mettur reservoir, and will be used as drinking water and also for irrigating crops in the Cauvery delta in Tamil Nadu. The CM stated that the water from Karnataka was required at the critical crop growth maturity stage, namely milky and dough stage. The CM also made it clear that he was aware the crop season in the state is over and that adequate water (49.82 tmz ft) was still left in Karnatakaâ€™s four big reservoirs.
The Tamil Nadu government has sought a date and time for the meeting in a letter to the Chief Secretary of Karnataka as well as the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister.
At the beginning of the year, the Supreme Court said it would deliver its final verdict in the Cauvery dispute saying that â€śenough confusion had been created on it for over two decades.â€ť