Debating India

Cauvery Panel to review water sharing

Tuesday 7 June 2005

Special Correspondent

The June 23 meeting will look at releases by Karnataka to Tamil Nadu. The Prime Minister is expected to state whether the CRA should be convened to discuss contentious issues

NEW DELHI: The Centre has convened a meeting of the Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC) here for June 23 to review the sharing of waters among the basin States of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Kerala. It has been scheduled at Tamil Nadu’s request. The water year started from June 1.The Centre has decided to extend the term of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal by one year. It was to end on August 6 as per the amended Inter-State Water Disputes Act.

The CMC meeting, to be chaired by Water Resources Secretary J. Hari Narayan, will look at water releases by Karnataka to Tamil Nadu. Karnataka has to release 205 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) in the Mettur reservoir in a water year as per the tribunal’s interim award given in 1991. In turn, Tamil Nadu has to release 6 tmcft to Pondicherry.

May-end storage

According to sources, the storage by May-end in the four Karnataka reservoirs was 13.62 tmcft and in Mettur, 19 tmcft. The deficiency in supplies during 2004-05 was said to be around 41 tmcft.

According to a schedule worked out by the tribunal in its interim award, Karnataka must ensure a supply of 10.16 tmcft in weekly releases during June to Tamil Nadu.

For a rainfall deficient year, the CMC discussed a pro rata distress-sharing formula worked out by the Centre.

Official sources said after the last meeting of the CMC in September 2004 it was decided to refer the distress-sharing formula to the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) chaired by the Prime Minister.

Karnataka’s objection

Karnataka then raised objections to the pro rata distress-sharing formula and the jurisdiction of the CMC or the CRA to discuss it.

The other three States accepted the formula at an earlier CMC meeting.

There was no meeting of either the CMC or the CRA in the interim period.

The Prime Minister is expected to state whether a CRA meeting should be convened to discuss contentious issues.

The Chief Ministers of the States concerned are CRA members.

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