Karnataka legislature to decide on Cauvery water release

Bengaluru: The Karnataka legislature will deliberate and decide on Friday whether to comply with the Supreme Court order to release more Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu or stop to ensure drinking water in the state’s southern region, said an official.

“Governor Vajubhai R. Vala has convened the special legislature session on Friday after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah met him at Raj Bhavan and conveyed the decision of the cabinet and of the all-party meeting on Wednesday here,” the official in the chief minister’s office told IANS.

Armed with an all-party consensus, the chief minister is likely to move a resolution after a day-long debate authorising the state government against releasing 6,000 cusecs daily for a week till September 27 from Thursday, as directed by the apex court on Tuesday.

“As we are in distress due to deficit monsoon rains and depleted reservoirs in the river basin, the state is not in a position to release any more water for cultivating the samba inter crop in the neighbouring state at the cost of supplying drinking water to Bengaluru, Mandya and Mysuru cities till next June,” said the official.

A division bench of the apex court on Tuesday ordered the state to release 6,000 cusecs per day from Wednesday for a week till September 27, doubling the quantum fixed by its appointed Cauvery Supervisory Committee on Monday for 10 days till September 30.

Karnataka has already released 12,000 cusecs daily till Tuesday as per the top court’s September 12 order, which was a modification of its September 5 directive to release 15,000 cusecs daily for 10 days from September 7.

In a related development, Siddaramaiah met Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti in New Delhi and apprised her of the state’s difficulty in giving more water to Tamil Nadu in compliance with the top court order.

“The chief minister has conveyed to Uma Bharti the grim situation in the state due to lower water levels in all the four reservoirs across the river basin and its struggle to meet the drinking water needs of the region till the onset of next monsoon,” said the official.

With only 24 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) water in the four reservoirs (Kabini, KRS, Harangi and Hemavathy), the state is already facing shortage for supplying drinking water, which requires 27 tmcft, he added.