Ongoing Cauvery Water Sharing Dispute Between Karnataka, Tamil Nadu
The Cauvery water row is a long-standing dispute between the Indian states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over sharing the water from the Cauvery River.
You might be surprised to know that this problem has been around since the British era. Back in 1924, an agreement allowed Mysore to build a dam to store water from the Cauvery River.
You must be aware that Mysore is now called ‘Karnataka.’ However, the agreement had a review clause after 50 years, and that’s when disputes began.
The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) was set up in 1990 to resolve this conflict between Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry. It temporarily ordered Karnataka to release a certain amount of water to Tamil Nadu each month or week.
Now, the recent issue is that the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) has directed Karnataka to release 5,000 cusecs (a unit of water flow) of water to Tamil Nadu for 15 days. But Karnataka says it doesn’t have enough water to spare.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help settle the dispute, suggesting that the Prime Minister bring both states together to discuss the matter.
The Supreme Court has also been involved, but it recently declined to get involved further in the dispute, saying that CWMA and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee should consider factors like drought and rainfall before making decisions.
In Karnataka, the situation is particularly critical because of a lack of rainfall. The state relies heavily on reservoirs like Krishnaraja Sagara, Harangi, Hemavathi, and Kabini for water supply, and their water levels are dangerously low. This has raised concerns of a water crisis, especially in cities like Bengaluru.
Bengaluru, in particular, needs a significant amount of water, around 1.6 TMC per month, and this demand may not be met due to the water shortage.
Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are both our own states, and all the Indian states and their citizens are important to us. However, the allocation of water from one state (Karnataka) to another (Tamil Nadu) was initially on a temporary basis to provide assistance to other regions or states.
But looking at the current situation, Karnataka is struggling with its own water scarcity issues. In such a scenario, if this state gives its water to someone else, what will it do for itself?
This issue predates independence and has escalated since the 1990s. Over the years, Tamil Nadu or other state governments should have explored alternative sources for their water needs.
Now, they are requesting the central government to resolve the issue. Let’s see what solution emerges from all of this!