Cauvery Water Dispute

The Supreme Court directed the Karnataka government to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu  to make sure the samba crops in Tamil Nadu survive.

SC also directed the Tamil Nadu government to approach the supervisory committee for the release of Cauvery water as per the final order of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal.

Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal

The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) was constituted by the Government of India on 2nd June 1990 to adjudicate the water dispute regarding inter-state river Cauvery and the river valley thereof.

The Tribunal hereby orders that the waters of the river Cauvery be allocated in three States of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and U.T. of Pondicherry for their beneficial uses.

The Authority shall properly monitor the working of monthly schedule with the help of the concerned States and Central Water Commission for a period of five years and if any modification/adjustment is needed in the schedule thereafter, it may be worked out in consultation with the party States and help of Central Water Commission for future adoption without changing the annual allocation amongst the parties.

Reason for dispute

  1. The executive action taken by the Karnataka State in constructing Kabini, Hemavathi, Harangi, Swarnavathi and other projects and expanding the ayacut —
    • Which executive action has resulted in materially diminishing the supply of waters to Tamil Nadu,
    • Which executive action has materially affected the prescriptive rights of the ayacutdars already acquired and existing; and
    • Which executive action is also in violation of the 1892 and 1924 agreements;
  2. Failure of the Karnataka Government to implement the terms of the 1892 and the 1924 Agreements relating to the use, distribution and control of the Cauvery waters

The River Cauvery

The river Cauvery rises in the Brahmagiri range of the western ghats in the Coorg district of Karnataka at an elevation of about 1340 m. Harangi, Hemavathi, Shimsha, Arkavathi, Lakshmanathirtha and Swarnavathi are the major tributaries joining the river Cauvery in the Karnataka territory.

Kabini which drains the eastern slopes of the western ghats in the north Malabar district of Kerala State flows through Karnataka and joins the river Cauvery.

At the place where Cauvery enters the Tamil Nadu State limits the Mettur Reservoir has been formed. Bhavani, Amaravathi and Noyil are the tributaries to the river in the Tamil Nadu State.

Cauvery is thus an interstate river with an unique characteristic geographical layout in that its upper hilly catchment lying in the Karnataka and Kerala States is influenced by the dependable south-west monsoon during the months June to September, while its lower part lies in the plains of the Tamil Nadu State served by the not so dependable north-east monsoon during the months October to December.

The two parts of the catchment may be taken as meeting at the Hogenekal falls just above the Mettur Reservoir, where the river narrows down to form a single defined neck.

While the 1892 Agreement is a general agreement relating to a number of interstate rivers, the 1924 Agreement relates to the irrigation development in the basin of the interstate river Cauvery alone. Both the 1892 and 1924 Agreements are permanent.

The total catchment of the Cauvery is 81,155 Of which the catchment of the river in Karnataka is about 34,273 sq. km. that in Kerala is about 2,866 sq. km. and the remaining area of 44,016 in Tamil Nadu.

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