Bengaluru: The expert team, deputed by the Union government to assess the ground realities across the Cauvery river basin, on Friday favoured judicious sharing of the scarce resource by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu following deficit monsoon rains this year.
“Our aim is to ensure judicious distribution of the river water between the two states,” said Central Water Commission (CWC) Chairman G.S. Jha, heading the central team, which is on a two-day visit to the two states.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Union Water Resources Ministry to depute an expert team for assessing the availability of water in the reservoirs of both the neighbouring states submit a report to it on October 17.
The three-member team, comprising Jha, CWC member S Masood Hussain and Krishna and Godavari basin organisation Chief Engineer R.K. Gupta, visited the command area in the Karnataka’s southern region spanning Hassan, Mysuru and Kodagu districts where its four reservoirs are located.
One representative each of the four riparian states also accompanied the team in two helicopters on an aerial survey of the Hemavathy, KRS, Kabini and Harangi dams and met the affected people, including farmers.
The 765-km-long Cauvery originates at Talakaveri in Karnataka’s Kodagu district and flows through Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry before draining into the Bay of Bengal.
The team will visit the reservoirs in the delta region of Tamil Nadu on Saturday.
“We will submit a report to the Supreme Court with data on the live storage levels, inflows and outflows of water in the reservoirs in both the states for fair distribution,” Jha told reporters here.
Earlier, state Water Resources Minister M.B. Patil made a presentation on the distress situation in the river basin to the team at meeting in the state’s secretariat, where representatives of the other three states were also present.
“In view of the distress situation, the state is not in a position to release more water to Tamil Nadu for irrigation as the same is required for drinking purpose in the region till the onset of next monsoon in June 2017,” Patil said.
Jha said that the minister submitted a memo with information on the rainfall, damage to standing crops, drought-like situation and the drinking water needs of the cities, towns and villages in the region.
In a related development, the state resumed releasing 2,000 cusecs of the river water per day from Friday to October 17 to Tamil Nadu as directed by the top court on October 4 after releasing 6,000 cusecs per day from October 3-6.