Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar said on Monday that the state does not have any water to release for Tamil Nadu, reported The Hindu.
The statement came hours after the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee recommended Karnataka to release 2,600 cusecs of water per day for 15 days from November 1 to Tamil Nadu.
Earlier, Karnataka had told the Cauvery panel that there is no water inflow into its four reservoirs in the Cauvery basin. Tamil Nadu has sought 13,000 cusecs for 15 days.
“The inflow into Krishnaraja Sagar [one of the reservoirs] is nil,” Shivakumar told reporters on Monday. “We do not have enough water to release to Tamil Nadu. We do not have the strength to release the water.”
He added that the natural release from Krishnaraja Sagar and Kabini reservoirs is 815 cusecs a day. “There is just about 51 thousand million cubic feet of water in the Cauvery basin [reservoirs],” he said. “Let us pray to God. We are hoping for rainfall so that the water can flow. At present, we do not have water.”
In September, the committee had directed Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs of water till October 15. Tamil Nadu had sought 12,000 cusecs of water but its request was denied. In September, Karnataka had told the panel that 161 talukas in the state were severely drought-affected and 34 talukas were moderately drought-affected.
The state later filed a review petition in the Supreme Court and the Cauvery Water Management Authority.
In the next meeting on October 11, the Cauvery panel maintained the same limit asking Karnataka to continue releasing 3,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu daily from October 16 to October 31.
The Cauvery dispute
The distribution of Cauvery water has been a long-standing dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. It dates back to two agreements in 1892 and 1924 between the erstwhile Madras Presidency and the Princely State of Mysore.
The Union government set up the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in 1990, which delivered its verdict in 2007. The tribunal allocated 419 thousand million cubic feet of water per year to Tamil Nadu and 270 thousand million cubic feet of water to Karnataka.
However, this did not settle the dispute as both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka filed petitions to review the decision.
The Supreme Court in February 2018 asked the Centre to set up the Cauvery Water Management Authority within a month to implement the tribunal’s verdict.