Agencies, New Delhi
The Supreme Court on Friday issued a direction to the Karnataka Government to release 177.25 tmcft of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from its inter-state Biligundlu dam.
Cauvery, 802 km long, originating in Talacauvery in Kodagu district of Karnataka, is the largest river in southern India and flows through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Its basin also covers parts of Kerala. Karnataka is the upper riparian state. Cauvery water was originally divided according to British-era agreements but over the years the two states have fought with each other over water to be used for irrigation.
In 2007, Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal unanimously decided the dispute after determining the total availability in the river basin at 740 thousand million cubic feet at the Lower Coleroon Anicut site, including 14 tmc ft, for environmental protection.
CWDT directed yearly allocation of 419 thousand million cubic feet of water in the entire Cauvery basin to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka (270 tmc), Kerala (30 tmc) and the Union Territory of Puducherry 7 tmc.
As per the CWDT award, Karnataka had a share of 270 tmcft of Cauvery water which the apex court now increased to 284.75 tmcft.The appeals were filed by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu against the 2007 award.A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud had heard the submissions.
The apex court had clarified that Karnataka will now have an enhanced share of 14.75 tmcft water per year while Tamil Nadu will get 404.25 tmcft, which will be 14.75 tmcft less than what was allotted by the CWDT. It has also allowed Tamil Nadu to draw an additional 10 tmcft ‘groundwater’ from a total of 20 tmcft beneath the Cauvery basin.
Allocation for Kerala and Puducherry, the Supreme Court decreed, will remain unchanged.