Bengaluru: Ending the impasse, Karnataka on Monday decided to release Cauvery river water for irrigation to help its farmers save their standing crop — with some of the water intended to flow to Tamil Nadu as a result.
“The joint session of the state legislature unanimously passed a resolution to release Cauvery water for irrigation purpose, modifying its September 23 resolution to preserve the water for only drinking purpose,” said state Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T.B. Jayachandra.
The decision to release the water for irrigation was in view of the increased inflows into the four reservoirs of the river basin during the last 10 days, rising their collective storage level to 34.13 tmc (thousand million cubic) feet on October 2 from 27.6 tmc ft on September 22.
Tabling the new resolution in the state assembly, Jayachandra said water can be released for irrigation to protect the interest of the farmers.
According to technical experts, when water is released from the reservoirs of the river basin, a substantial quantity of it will also flow to Biligundlu at the border point between the two states where the flow into Tamil Nadu is measured.
“The flow of the river water from the reservoirs to Biligundlu will be about 5,000-6,000 cusecs per day due to additional supply from downstream, ground resources and gravity, measuring up to the amount the apex court ordered on September 30 to release daily from October 1-6,” said an expert.
Admitting that the increasing inflows into Kabini, KRS, Harani and Hemavathy reservoirs across the river basin over the last 10 days was a great relief, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told the lawmakers that the state was now in a position to release some water for irrigation and drinking purpose in the region.
“As 27 tmc ft of water is required to meet the drinking needs of the people in Bengaluru, Mandya and Mysuru in the region till the onset of the next monsoon in June 2017, we are in a position to release the remaining (7 tmc) feet for irrigation of our farmers to save their standing crops,” said Siddaramaiah.
The opposition parties, including the BJP and the JD-S supported the resolution after agreeing to spare the additional water for irrigation purpose.
This comes in the wake of the Supreme Court rapping the Karnataka government for not following its orders on release of water.
“Have you released some water? There can be a part compliance of our order. We can understand your difficulty,” it said on Monday when senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, said Karnataka has not released any water as directed by the apex court.