More you douse, more it fumes


There is fire in the water, a huge fire. The whole world is feeling the heat of this fire. The more they try to douse it the more it fumes. The world is witnessing a water battle. Whether it is in-between the states or in between the countries.
The south china sea has turned into a battleground between the six countries. Five small countries are fighting against the giant china. But the rest five are also the claimants.

Now see the water battle between the two states of a country. That is the cauvery issue. Three states, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala are the party in this issue. Whenever the monsoon is weak the issue comes up from the river bed.

Let us see why cauvery is so important for three states, also about the tribunal set up and the interstate river disputes.
The Supreme Court on recently said that Karnataka will get additional 14.75 TMC of cauvery water, while Tamil Nadu will now get 177.25 instead of 192 TMC water.

The court said that Bengaluru will receive an additional 4.2 TMC of water. “The pre-independence agreement is valid. Karnataka gets additional water keeping in mind the water shortage that Bengaluru is facing. A Cauvery Water Management board will be set up and they will have control over water allocation, and not the states,” said the apex court. The Supreme Court has also decided to set up a Cauvery Water Board to look into the allocation and timely release of the water to all parties concerned.

In september 2016 violence spread in many parts of karnataka after the apex court verdict. In its verdict the supreme court ordered karnataka to release 12,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu till september 20. Buses were torched, stones were flung at public places and roads were blocked. Two people were killed in Bengaluru. Curfew was imposed in many parts of the state. Karnataka started releasing water from Krishna Raja Sagar Dam. Tamil Nadu was not happy at all. An official said we will get only 15 to 16 tmc ft water. This will not be sufficient for irrigation.

This has been an emotive issue for farmers on both sides for many years. This is how the 2007 order shared water between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu

Total water available in the Cauvery basin740 tmc (thousand million cubic feet)

Tamil Nadu share – 419 tmc

Karnataka’s share – 270 tmc
Kerala’s share – 30 tmc
Puducherry – 7 tmc
In a normal water year, Karnataka has to release at Biligundlu in the border – 192 tmc from June 1. In a distress year, allocated share to be proportionately reduced among the states.

SC orders for special tribunal

The matter first reached the courts when the Supreme Court ordered in 1990 that a special tribunal be set up to decide on the water share. That tribunal gave its final order in February 2007. But Karnataka was unhappy with this order and questioned it in a special leave petition in the SC again. It is this petition whose verdict is awaited now.

A tribunal was constituted

To resolve this issue Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal was constituted in 1990. It gave its final verdict after 17 years. Both tamil nadu and karnataka cry for lacking a distress formula.

In 2007 the final order of the tribunal was out. It directed karnataka to release 192 tmc to tamil nadu annually. It is measured at biligundlu on the border.
When there is good monsoon karnataka allows free flow of water. But things worsen when the monsoon fails
Know about the cauvery
Also known as the Dakshin Ganga the cauvery originates at talakaveri in kodagu. Karnataka. It runs for 765 kilometres through karnataka. Tamil nadu and pondicherry. Before emptying into the Bay of Bengal at poompuhar.
Cauvery basin covers 81,155 sq Km 55.5 % in Tamil Nadu, 41.2 % in Karnataka and 3.3% in kerala.

  1. Tributaries are- Shimsha, hemavathi, arkavathi, lakshmana Theertha and kabini in karnataka. Bhavani Noyil and Amravathi in Tamil Nadu.

It is important because

  1. Chennai, madurai and coimbatore depend on the cauvery for the drinking water.

  2. The rice bowl of Tamil Nadu 9,18,000 hectares in thanjavur depends on the cauvery.

  3. Hydro electric projects on the river lights several districts.

  4. The cauvery irrigates 4,53,400 hectares in mandya and mysore region.

Inter state rivers and disputes
most of the major rivers are inter-state rivers and their waters are shared by two or more than two states. For example –

(i) Cauvery water dispute between Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.

(ii) The Krishna water dispute between Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
(iii) The Tungabhadra water dispute between Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
(iv) The Aliyar and Bhivani river water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

(v) The Godavari river water dispute between Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Karnataka.

(vi) The Narmada water dispute between Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.(vii) The Mahi river dispute between Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

(viii) The Ravi and Beas river water dispute between Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi.

(ix) The Satluj-Yamuna Link canal dispute between Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
(x) The Yamuna river water dispute between Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi.(xi) The Karmanasa river water dispute between Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

(xii) The Barak river water dispute between Assam and Manipur.

Central government steps in

Efforts are made to resolve disputes through negotiations amongst the basin states with the assistance of the Central Government. Many of these interstate river water disputes have been settled on the basis of equitable apportionment which is the universally accepted principle. Adjudication through appointment of water disputes tribunals is also resorted to as and when require. So far, the following tribunals have been appointed to resolve inter-state water disputes:

(i) The Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal
(ii) The Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal
(iii) The Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal
(iv) The Ravi and Beas Water Disputes Tribunal
(v) The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal
(vi) New Krishna Water Disputes
The first three Tribunals have given their final reports.

( In mid 90’s this was a major issue between the three states. That time i was working for Rajasthan Patrika Bengaluru edition. Since then i have been keeping an eye on the proceedings and the happenings on this issue.)

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