Cauvery Waters: TN's share cut to 177 TMC, Karnataka to get 14.75 TMC more

16 February 2018

The Supreme Court today awarded a larger share of Cauvery waters to Karnataka and a reduced share to Tamil Nadu while keeping Kerala's share unchanged.

The Krishna Raja Sagara dam beside the Brindavan gardens in Karnataka, India.  

As per the landmark verdict pronounced by a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Mishra, Karnataka will now release 177.25 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of water from the Cauvey River to Tamil Nadu instead of 192 TMC at present while the state will be entitled to the remaining 14.75 TMC of water.

The bench is headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and includes Justices Amitava Roy and AM Khanwilkar.

The verdict comes just months before the Karnataka elections and is expected to be counted by the ruling Congress as a big win to take to voters.

Tamil Nadu says it's disappointed, but will study judgment and take 'appropriate steps'

Navneeth Krishnan, counsel for Tamil Nadu, said the Tamil Nadu government will study the judgment and take appropriate steps. He said they will respect the law, and that the government is "definitely" capable of handling the situation.

However, he said that he is disappointed with the reduction in water to the state.

Karnataka has called it a "balanced verdict" and said it's "very happy" with the allocation given to it by the Supreme Court. It said Bangalore's water crisis will be greatly eased due to the allocation.

Bengaluru will receive additional 4.7 TMC of water from the increased allocation to the state.

The city recently came second in a list of 11 cities that are facing the imminent threat of running out of water based on an UN-backed study.

"Our allocation has been substantially enhanced, and we will get an additional 14 TMC of water. Bengaluru city, which was facing water shortage, alone will get an additional 4.7 TMC water," says Brijesh Kalappa, Supreme Court advocate.

The Supreme Court while pronouncing its verdict on the Cauvery river water dispute, however, said no one state can claim ownership of a river.

Reports, meanwhile said, security has been beefed up in Mandya, with eight deputy superintendents of police, 25 circle inspectors, 150 assistant senior inspectors, 1,300 policemen being deployed. In addition, Section 144 has also been imposed in the town's KRS Dam, which has often seen violent clashes in the past.

The district superintendent of police, however, dismissed reports that Section 144 has been imposed in Mandya.

Mandya district superintendent of police G Radhika said the situation was under control in Mandya and they have not imposed Section 144. "We have put pickets and secured the area around premier educational institutions, central and state government offices," Radhika said, dismissing all media reports claiming Section 144 was imposed around KRS Dam.

The Tamil Nadu farmers' association, meanwhile, said failure to release water to the state has resulted in large-scale crop losses, in as much as 5,000 acres of land. They alleged that Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah didn't respond to Tamil Nadu's request for talks.

The row over the Cauvery river dispute has sidelined the one-year anniversary of E Palaniswamy as chief minister of Tamil Nadu.

Dispute over the Cauvery waters had raged from the British era, between the erstwhile Mysore and Madras provinces. The State of Mysore had planned to build a dam across the river way back in 1880, which the state of Madras objected to.

During the hearings that ended last year, Tamil Nadu had asked the apex court to make a "fundamental change" in the water sharing pact and set up a Cauvery Management Board. "The river is perennial, but the litigation should not be," Tamil Nadu's lawyer Shekhar Naphade told the court.

Karnataka has argued that it was unfair to require the state to release a fixed amount of water irrespective of the availability of water. "It is like the tribunal ordering God to send rain to the state," Fali Nariman, who appeared for Karnataka, said. The water tribunal, which delivered the 2007 award was set up in 1990 on the orders of the Supreme Court.

The 765-km long Cauvery river, also called the Ganga of the south, is considered the lifeline for Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The river originates in Kodagu district in southern Karnataka and flows into Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

This appeal was filed against the 2007 order of the Cauvery Water Tribunal that allocated, in a normal year, 270 TMC to Karnataka, 192 TMC to Tamil Nadu at its Mettur Dam, 30 TMC to Kerala and 6 TMC to Puducherry.

Karnataka wants Tamil Nadu's award to be slashed by half to 132 TMC. Tamil Nadu, on the other hand, demanded that it should get 325 TMC water.

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