Defying the Supreme Courtorder directing 6,000 cusecs of water every day to Tamil Nadu, the Karnataka legislature had passed a unanimous resolution against releasing Cauvery water for any purpose other than for drinking. Yet, Tamil Nadu has received more than 14,000 cusecs of the water in the last five to six days due to intermittent showers in the downstream of Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) dam. This has come as a blessing for Karnataka, which faces ‘contempt of court’ action from SC that takes up the matter for hearing on Tuesday.Contrary to the decision of Karnataka legislature which had decided not to release even a drop of Cauvery water for any other purpose than drinking, the water monitoring station at Biligundlu at the border has recorded, till Monday, an average close to 2,000 cusecs every day. Sources in the state government revealed that over 14,000 cusecs has flown into Tamil Nadu (Mettur) even though Karnataka did not released water from any of its four reservoirs across the Cauvery basin.
According to sources in the state government, the low pressure built-up over Bay of Bengal resulted in intermittent rainfall across south-interior Karnataka in the last one week. “This has resulted in the flow of considerable amount of water to Tamil Nadu without any dams being opened. The sudden showers, besides rekindling Karnataka’s hope that monsoon would bring in enough inflow into reservoirs of Tamil Nadu, are likely to favour Karnataka in its attempt to come out of contempt action on Tuesday,” said a senior officer from the state government.
As per the statistics made available to BM from the officials of irrigation department, Biligundlu recorded an average of 2,000 to 2,500 cusecs of water every day. The highest amount of water —5,882 cusecs had flown into Tamil Nadu on September 21 followed by 3,042 cusecs on September 22 and 2,496 cusecs on September 23.
Currently, the Cauvery basin in Karnataka (comprising 4 reservoirs) has a total of 29.68 TMC of water. “Of all the reservoirs, KRS has about 10.02 TMC, Kabini 8.02 TMC, Harangi 5.12 TMC and Hemavathi 6.33 TMC,” explained a senior engineer of Cauvery Neeravari Nigam.
Prompted by signs of a harsh forthcoming summer, the Karnataka government has already banned release of water for irrigation. “In all the reservoirs we have water only for drinking for people and livestock. Each reservoir caters to potable requirements of particular districts. Adjusting the water with requirements of other dams like KRS (to provide water to Bengaluru) is not possible this time as these districts will go dry,” the engineer revealed.
Currently, every day about 220 cusecs of water is released from KRS supplanted with another 500 cusecs from Kabini (Total of 720 cusecs) to provide water to
Bengaluru which will be stored at Shiva anecut—downstream of KRS for being pumped to the IT city. Previously, whenever there was a crisis at KRS, the government had ensured release of water either from Hemavathi or Kabini for the benefit of Bengaluru. But this year, a similar gesture has been ruled out due to limited storage in all reservoirs.
Officials of Cauvery Neeravari Nigam, according to sources, have already briefed the government that if water is not used judiciously in the coming months, the IT city will witness severe shortage of water starting from December.