The Karnataka government said on Thursday that it was not possible to comply with a Supreme Court directive to release Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu. The top court has asked the state to release at least 2 thousand million cubic feet of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, and warned of consequences if it did not do so.

Karnataka Water Resources Minister MB Patil said the state could not release water as the storage level in all the four reservoirs in the Cauvery basin was just nine tmcft, which was not enough even to fulfil the needs of the state. “We will direct the legal team to communicate about the poor water storage situation in our dams to the Supreme Court,” he said, according to The New Indian Express.

Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party President BS Yeddyurappa, who is the party’s candidate for the chief minister’s post in the upcoming Assembly elections, also said water cannot be released to Tamil Nadu, the Deccan Herald reported. “We don’t even have water to drink. From where do we give them water?” he asked. “Sugarcane, paddy and other crops are drying for want of water.”

The Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it had failed to meet the deadline for framing the draft of the Cauvery water-sharing scheme because Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers were busy with the May 12 Assembly elections, earning a rebuke from the court. The court had earlier asked the Narendra Modi-led government to prepare a draft by May 3.