Hearing Tamil Nadu’s plea on the Cauvery water issue, the Supreme Court on Friday told the Karnataka government to “live and let live” and consider releasing water to the neighbouring state.
The Court reportedly asked the state government to provide information by Monday on how much water it can release to Tamil Nadu.
The Tamil Nadu government had previously petitioned the Supreme Court asking for the release of 50 tmcft of water for irrigation. In its plea for an urgent hearing, Tamil Nadu had also charged Karnataka with diverting water for undeclared projects, in violation of the Cauvery Water Tribunal’s orders of 2007.
Following this, the Karnataka CM pointed out that the level of water in the Cauvery basin was at just 51 tmcft and refused to share water with the neighbouring state on the grounds that Karnataka was suffering a distress year.
Over 40 tmcft of it was required to meet the drinking needs of Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mandya and other areas, he said.
Farmers in both states have been protesting over the water sharing issue.
"When there is a deficit in the release of water some attempts have to be made by Karnataka so that Tamil Nadu can survive as an entity," said the judges.
To the Karnataka government’s defence that it does not have water in its reservoirs, the court asked, "You can't say you are not bothered about the Tribunal's (decision). If the tribunal determined the formula, how can you get away from it?"