Cauvery row: Situation grim in Karnataka, TN; Mandya worst hit, says committee
Bengaluru, Oct 17: The Cauvery Technical Committee on Monday submitted its report to the Supreme Court. The committee said that the Government of Karnataka has declared 42 out of the 48 talukas under the Cauvery basin as drought affected based on the guidelines of the Central government.
Plight of the farmers in both the states has been witnessed by the Committee. In the absence of required water, the labour employment for farming and fishing is also limited thus creating a scenario of unemployment and financial hardship to them, the committee also stated in its report.
Further the committee said that the standing crops in both states are badly affected. "Sugarcane farming in both states needs to be discouraged. The situation is grim in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Mandya district is the worst affected. It has witnessed many suicides," the report also stated.
Both states need to appreciate the interest of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in protecting their established irrigation and Karnataka's aspirations for development respectively and should educate their people accordingly, the report also states.
The deficit impact on account of water allocation at 50 per cent dependability can be neutralized to some extent by optimal, dynamic and resilient planning of the cropped area, considering the flow pattern and forecast.
This can address the issue of unemployment and hardship, the committee says.
"The water application techniques are outdated and unscientific and the value of water is not realised. The water applied to the field is on the concept of flooding from one field to the adjacent field. Due to this, the water consumption is higher and during the distress period this becomes very significant depending on the soil condition. The infrastructure to deliver water to farmers is centuries old and this needs to be modernized for optimal use of scarce water," the report states.
The conveyance efficiency can be improved by piped distribution network and application efficiency by micro irrigation. In places near the coast, the ground water is saline due to ingress from sea water. The only source of irrigation in such areas is surface water from Mettur dam, the committee added.
Drinking water demand needs to be optimized and an efficient delivery mechanism must be put in place, the committee also suggested.