While, expressing concern over the ongoing Cauvery water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court on Monday directed the Karnataka government to reply by Tuesday on its annual drinking water usage since 2007. Karnataka uses Cauvery waters to feed Bangalore (19 tmc), Mysore (2 tmc), Mandya and smaller towns along the river basin.
However, the court also said that there was a need to maintain a balance between the usage of water for drinking and irrigation purposes.
The apex court made this observation while hearing a petition filed by the Tamil Nadu government on Jan 22 seeking compensation for the damages to the crops caused by Karnataka's failure to release water as per the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award.
The Tamil Nadu government claimed that the failure to release water by the neighbouring state had resulted in damage to crops in the state's rice belt. It said that the failure on the part of Karnataka to release water from its four reservoirs hit cultivation of the short-term kuruvai and long- term samba crop this year, besides thermal power generation.
The matter will again come up in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
The Cauvery Monitoring Committee, which met on Jan 10, upon directions from the court noted in its minutes that Karnataka had failed to release 31.4 tmcft of water as per the distress sharing formula evolved by the Central Water Commission for the period between Jun and Dec last year.
Meanwhile, the final award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal is likely to be published in the Gazette by the Union government in the second week of Feb, according to Union Minister for Shipping GK Vasan. "The Union government is likely to publish the final award of the Cauvery River Water Dispute Tribunal in the Gazette by the second week of February," he told reporters late last night after attending a function in Erode.