Bengaluru, Sept 7: As Karnataka began release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu amid snowballing protests by farmers, the government today said it was "inevitable" for it to comply with the Supreme Court order even though the state itself was facing "serious distress".
The Supreme Court would be moved seeking modification of its order to spare 15,000 cusecs of water for 10 days because of the difficulties in implementing it given that the live storage in four reservoirs in the Cauvery basin now was 46.7 TMC ft against their capacity of 104 TMC ft, the government said.
"It is inevitable for Karnataka to comply with the Supreme Court order in the interest of the state," top government sources said, adding, "constitutionally, it is not possible to defy it".
Officials confirmed that water was being let out since midnight last night, shortly after the all party meeting called by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who said the decision to obey the Supreme Court order has been taken with "a heavy heart" even though the state itself faced "severe distress".
The present live storage is 45 per cent against the live storage of 104 TMCFT in the Krishnaraja Sagar, Harangi, Hemavathi and Kabini reservoirs, the sources pointed out.
The legal and technical teams of Karnataka would work out the extent of change that the state should seek in the quantum of water release stipulated in the Supreme Court direction which asked Karnataka to provide 15,000 cusecs for 10 days.
The Cauvery Supervisory Committee, which has replaced the Cauvery River Authority to implement the order of the tribunal, would also be apprised of the difficulties.
Sources said the Supervisory Committee would visit both the riparian states to assess the "ground realities" and can adjust the current release of water against future releases. Fending off the criticism of the legal team headed by Fali Nariman, the sources defended it, stating their advice on release was made so that the state succeeds when the main petition comes up for hearing before the court on October 18.
"It (main petition) is very important for the state. We have to succeed. The Supreme Court also asked Karnataka to live and let live. We cannot say no to it," the sources said.