The Karnataka government said on Thursday the state was facing an acute water crisis and can no longer release water to Tamil Nadu for irrigation. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who met a delegation of farmers from the neighbouring state, said there was a shortage in the River Cauvery basin and only enough for drinking as Karnataka had faced a "deficit year", The Times of India reported. The farmers met Siddaramaiah to seek release of water to irrigate their samba (variety of rice) crop.
Karnataka Water Resources Minister MB Patil also said they cannot meet Tamil Nadu's demand because both the Kabini Reservoir and Krishna Raja Sagara Reservoir were facing acute shortage of water. "As of Wednesday evening, 26 TMC [one thousand million cubic feet] of water has been released to Tamil Nadu. However, the state is seeking the release of 50 TMC of water...it is a distress year for Karnataka, and we only have storage levels that can meet our drinking water needs," Patil explained.
Data from the state's water resources department says that the Krishna Raja Sagara Reservoir is facing a 35% shortage in the inflow of water, and the Kabini Reservoir, 60%. The department has completed a detailed project report for its Mekedatu balancing reservoir project, Patil said, adding that that the draft will be presenting at the next state Cabinet meeting. The Mekedatu project will generate 300 megawatts of power and serve as a drinking water reservoir for Bengaluru, according to the plan.