Cauvery Water Disputes


    In News 

    • Recently, the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) has ordered the Karnataka government to release the Cauvery water due for September forthwith.

    More In News 

    • The CWMA gave the direction after the Tamil Nadu government complained that the Karnataka government did not release the due share of water as per the order of the Supreme Court.
    • Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government also raised strong objections at the proposed construction of the dam across the Cauvery river at Mekedatu in Karnataka, at the meeting.

    Key Points of order

    • The release should be as per the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’s decision of 2007, which was modified by the Supreme Court in 2018.
    • Tamil Nadu too had been asked to clear the deficit in the receipt of water by Puducherry for irrigation in the Karaikal region.

                                              Image Courtesy: IE

    What is Cauvery Water Dispute?

    • The river Cauvery originates in Karnataka’s Kodagu district, flows into Tamil Nadu and reaches the Bay of Bengal.
    • In 1892: The dispute started between the Madras Presidency (under British rule) and the Princely state of Mysore. 
      • Madras disagrees with the Mysore administration’s proposal to build irrigation systems, arguing that it would impede water flow into Tamil Nadu.
    • 1924: The dispute comes close to being resolved when Mysore and Madras reach an agreement under which Mysore is allowed to build a dam at Kannambadi village. 
      • The agreement is to be valid for 50 years and reviewed thereafter. Based on this agreement, Karnataka builds the Krishnaraja Sagar dam.
    • 1974:  The 1924 water-sharing agreement between the then Madras Presidency and Princely State of Mysore (now Tamil Nadu and Karnataka) lapses after the expiration of its term of 50 years.
    • In 1990, Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal was set up to adjudicate upon the water dispute regarding the Inter-State river Cauvery and the river valley thereof among the States of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Union territory of Puducherry.
    • In 2007, the tribunal declared its final award, in which it said Tamil Nadu should receive 419 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of water more than double the amount mentioned in the interim order of 1991.
    • In 2016, the Tamil Nadu government said that there was a deficit of 50.0052 tmcft of water released from Karnataka. The Karnataka government said it wouldn’t be able to release any more Cauvery water due to low rainfall. 
      • Tamil Nadu then sought the Supreme Court’s intervention.
    • In 2017 the SC ordered the Karnataka government to release 15,000 cusecs of water a day for 10 days, to Tamil Nadu. This led to widespread protests and bandhs in Karnataka. 
      • After several modifications of the order, the Karnataka government has been directed by SC to release 2,000 cusecs of water per day to Tamil Nadu till further orders.
    • In 2018, The apex court gave its final verdict saying that Karnataka will get an additional 14.75 TMC of the river water and Tamil Nadu will get 177.25 instead of 192 TMC water. 
      • The court considered the water scarcity in Bengaluru while delivering the final judgment and also said no deviance shall be shown by any state to the order.

    Constitutional Provisions related to Interstate water dispute 

    • Article 262 of the Constitution deals with the adjudication of water disputes. The provisions in this regard are:
      • Article 262 (1) Parliament may, by law, provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter-State river or river valley.
      • Article 262 (2) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, Parliament may, by law, provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint as is referred to in clause (1).

    Kaveri(Cauvery )

    • The Cauvery (also spelt as ‘Kaveri’), known as ‘Ponni’ in Tamil.
    • It rises in the Brahmagri range of the Western Ghats and it reaches the Bay of Bengal in the south of Cuddalore, in Tamil Nadu. Its main tributaries are Amravati, Bhavani, Hemavati and Kabini. 
    • The Cauvery basin is spread in the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

    Way Forward

    • The river should not be the possession of any one state. It is a common public trust. People are the owners and the state is merely a custodian but the states have become dogmatic about their custodianship. They have started using their rights as territorial rights.
    •  We should be more responsible in terms of how we use our water for agriculture and urbanization in the Cauvery Basin.
    • The planning must be done at the basin level to make the solution sustainable and ecologically viable.

    Source: TH