On the occasion of Makara Sankranti, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy called for the immediate release of 7 tmc ft of water to the state, as per the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, in a letter to Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah.
Asking for a total of 15 tmc ft of water, the TN CM asked his counterpart to take the plight of farmers into consideration and release 7 tmc ft immediately and the rest, within a fortnight.
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 storage in the Mettur reservoir as on 12.1.2018 is a meagre 21.27 TMC ft. (utilizable storage 16.27 tmc ft.). This is grossly inadequate to meet the irrigation needs of the standing crops and drinking water needs during the summer months,” he said in the letter.
The Tamil Nadu CM also reminded the Karnataka CM that there was a deficit of 68.224 tcm ft of water that is to be released to TN from Karnataka, as per the 2007 final order of the Tribunal.
“Tamil Nadu has to get 192 tmc ft of water in a year at Billigundulu, as per the monthly schedule specified in the order. But on 9.1.2018, only 111.647 tmc ft of water has been realized at Billigundulu against the 179.871 tmc ft due by that date…,” the letter stated.
The CM stated that the water from Karnataka was required at the critical crop growth maturity stage, namely milky and dough stage.
He pointed out that farmers in the state had lost their crops last year due to insufficient inflow into the reservoir.
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 Karnataka’s four big reservoirs.
He asked Siddaramaiah to “reserve adequate drinking water for the need of perennial crops” and release water.
The long-standing dispute over Cauvery river water was settled by the Supreme Court with the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, which declared the final award on how the water must be shared between the three states of TN, Karnataka and Kerala.