Karnataka resolves to save Cauvery water for drinking

Bengaluru: Karnataka lawmakers on Friday unanimously passed a resolution in the state legislature to save the Cauvery river water for drinking purposes only due to an acute crisis arising out of deficit monsoon rains.
The resolution implies that the state government is not in a position to comply with the Supreme Court order to release 6,000 cusecs of water daily to Tamil Nadu for a week, starting September 21.

In a joint resolution, moved in both Houses of the state legislature at a special session here, the ruling and opposition lawmakers resolved to store the remaining water in the four reservoirs across the river basin to meet the drinking needs of the people in the region, especially Bengaluru, Mandya and Mysuru.

"This resolution is unanimously passed after carefully considering the needs of the inhabitants of the State of Karnataka, whose interests are likely to be gravely jeopardised if water in the four reservoirs is in any way reduced other than for meeting the drinking water requirements of inhabitants in the Cauvery basin, including Bengaluru," said the motion.

The resolution, jointly moved by opposition BJP leader Jagadish Shettar and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) lawmaker Y.S.V Datta in the Assembly and BJP lawmaker C.T. Ravi in the Council, has no mention of Tuesday's order of the Supreme Court to the state for releasing 6,000 cusecs of water daily for a week -- September 21-27 -- to Tamil Nadu.

"It is resolved that in this state of acute distress, it is imperative that the government ensures that no water from the present storage be drawn, save and except for meeting (the) drinking water requirements of the villages and towns in the Cauvery basin and Bengaluru," asserted the resolution.

The resolution also noted that in 2016-17, there has been a situation of acute distress, but the shortfall in the (river) basin would become known only at the end of the season on January 31, 2017.

"The House seriously notes that the combined storage in the four reservoirs, viz., Krishna Raja Sagara (KRS), Hemavathy, Harangi and Kabini, have reached alarmingly low levels with only 27.6 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of water," the motion pointed out.

The special legislative session was convened to decide on the apex court's latest order after the state cabinet on Wednesday deferred the release of water.

The decision to defer the release of water was taken by the state cabinet on September 21 after an all-party meeting authorised the state government not to release more water to Tamil Nadu, as the state required it to meet the drinking needs of its people.

The Cauvery Supervisory Committee on September 19 asked Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs per day from September 21 to 30, but the apex court on September 20 doubled the quantum to 6,000 cusecs from September 21 to 27 after Tamil Nadu pressed for more water to save its samba paddy crop.