Citing severity of the drought in the Cauvery basin, putting even the availability of drinking water into question, deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar said: “I’m making it clear that we don’t have water.The chief minister (Siddaramaiah) and I have discussed the matter and we have told our officials that we will not be able to release any more water.”
“We need to save water for drinking purposes, apart from addressing the farmers’ plight,” he added.
Cauvery water management panel to take final call in 2 days
Justifying Karnataka’s stance, DKS said: “Tonight and tomorrow morning, we will discuss this with our legal experts in Delhi… We will inform Cauvery Water Management Authority that it will be difficult for us (to comply with the directive).”
He said: “Tomorrow, the matter will be placed before the higher committee – the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA] – where our secretary will be present as one of its members.”
Karnataka reiterated that unless inflows into its reservoirs improved, it would not be able to release any more water to Tamil Nadu. The CWMA will take a final call on the CWRC’s latest recommendation during its next meeting, which is likely to happen in a day or two.
Tamil Nadu has already approached the Supreme Court with a plea to direct Karnataka to release Cauvery water for standing crops. According to sources, the case may come up for hearing before the apex court next week.
The CWRC, which met on Monday, made its recommendation after listening to arguments from both sides.
During Tuesday’s CWRC meeting, Tamil Nadu reportedly insisted on 12,500 cusecs of water daily for 15 days, including a backlog of 6,500 cusecs. On August 28, CWRC had made a similar recommendation to Karnataka to release 5,000 cusecs of water daily, following which, CWMA directed Karnataka to release the recommended volume until September 2. Karnataka’s compliance with the directive saw a series of farmer protests in Mandya and Mysuru.
Earlier on Monday, CM Siddaramaiah claimed that the Central government had not given its consent to the Mekedatu Project and that Tamil Nadu was creating disputes unnecessarily.
BJP has asked the government not to release water and said the party will stand by the government in its legal battle on the issue.