Stalin urges Modi to advise Karnataka to release pending Cauvery water share
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to advise Karnataka to immediately release Cauvery water due to the state as per schedule and clear the 28.8 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) shortfall.
In a letter to the prime minister sent on Friday (August 4), Stalin said the Karnataka government was not following the directive of the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) to release a Supreme Court-set share of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu at Billigundulu, on the inter-state border.
In the current 2023-2024 water year, Karnataka has released only 11.6 tmc ft of water, as against 40.4 tmc ft due at Billigundulu from 1 June to 31 July, 2023.
“Such a huge shortfall of 28.8 tmc ft has been thrust on Tamil Nadu, even while Karnataka has a gross storage of 91 tmc ft in its four major reservoirs, against their full storage capacity of 114.6 tmc ft,” Stalin said.
On the other hand, the storage position in the Mettur Reservoir of Tamil Nadu, the lifeline of Cauvery delta, had only 26.6 tmc ft as on August 2, 2023. Stalin said after catering to water for drinking and essential needs, the available amount in the reservoir can support the standing Kuruvai (short-term) crop for only 15 days more, whereas it needs water for another 45 days for maturity and optimum yield.
Considering this precarious situation, “we had taken up the issue with the Union Minister for Jal Shakti on 5 July 2023 and 19 July 2023, urging him to advise Karnataka to adhere to the schedule of delivery fixed by the Supreme Court and to instruct the CWMA to monitor the same.”
Karnataka, however, has not relented and except for the runoff from the fully-filled Kabini reservoir, no water has been released from its major reservoirs which are 80 per cent full and continue to receive good inflows.
Seeking Modi’s intervention, the chief minister pointed to the Centre banning the export of non-basmati rice due to emerging concerns of rice shortage, and said against this background it is all the more important to save the current Kuruvai paddy crop and the livelihood of farmers.
“I, therefore, urge you to advise Karnataka to immediately release the water due to us as per the schedule and to clear the shortfall in June and July. I also request you to instruct the Ministry of Jal Shakthi to take appropriate action for ensuring the same,” Stalin wrote.
Stalin underlined that the Cauvery delta is the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu and it meets the paddy requirement of the state to a very large extent.
(With inputs from agencies)