The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Karnataka government to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, ANI reported. This comes a day after the Siddaramaiah government told the court it cannot release water to Tamil Nadu till the end of 2016.

The top court also directed the Centre to arrange for a meeting between the chief ministers of the two states, Siddaramaiah and J Jayalalithaa, before Friday, according to NDTV. The next hearing in the matter is scheduled for Friday, September 29.

Tamil Nadu did not mention at the hearing that Karnataka was in contempt of court for refusing to comply with an earlier Supreme Court order. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who was recently hospitalised for a minor illness, convened a meeting on Tuesday and nominated three officials to attend a discussion in Delhi regarding the crisis.

The Karnataka government had filed a petition in the court on Monday, seeking a modification to its order from September 20, when it directed the state to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu till September 27. The state's legislature passed a resolution on September 23 saying said they cannot release water from the river for anything but drinking water purposes in Bengaluru and other towns and villages that fall in the Cauvery basin. According to the mandate, they cannot release water to Tamil Nadu until their reservoirs have enough in storage.

On September 5, the Supreme Court had asked Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water from the Cauvery river to Tamil Nadu, but it later reduced the quantity to 12,000 cusecs. The court verdict had led to widespread protests carried out by farmers in Karnataka, who argued that the state needed the water more that its neighbour. Tamil Nadu had also held a bandh on September 16, with farmers' and traders' bodies saying Tamilians had been targeted by Kannadiga protestors. On September 20, the court arrived at a new figure – 6,000 cusecs – but the Karnataka government refused to comply with the order.