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Cauvery’s Crossroads: Diving Deep into Karnataka vs Tamilnadu ‘s Water Battle, What Lies Ahead?

Cauvery River Dispute: A Tale of Water Woes

Supreme Court’s Directive: On September 21, the Supreme Court ordered Karnataka to release 5,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) of water from the Cauvery river to Tamil Nadu for 15 days, aligning with the decisions of the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) and the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA).

Public Uproar: Karnataka residents reacted strongly, leading to arrests and protests. A bandh is planned in Bengaluru on September 26, coinciding with the CWRC’s meeting to assess water availability and release.

Allocation System: The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) and the Supreme Court’s 2018 judgment outlined water-sharing, with allocations as follows: Karnataka (284.75 tmc ft), Tamil Nadu (404.25 tmc ft), Kerala (30 tmc ft), and Puducherry (7 tme ft), with additional provisions for environmental protection.

Tamil Nadu’s Need: Tamil Nadu depends heavily on Karnataka’s water releases, especially during the southwest monsoon due to its rain shadow region. Despite the rainfall deficit, Tamil Nadu is in dire need of water for irrigation.

Karnataka’s Concerns: Karnataka argued that the 5,000 cusecs daily release was against its interests, citing a drinking water crisis, particularly in urban areas like Bengaluru.

The Way Forward: A distress-sharing formula should be developed by the CWMA and its stakeholders to address the ongoing crisis, although there are differences in determining the parameters for such a formula.

As tensions rise over Cauvery water-sharing, a cooperative solution is essential to alleviate the suffering of both states and ensure equitable distribution of this vital resource.