Karnataka on Tuesday said it would seek from the Cauvery River Authority headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a new formula to share the river's water with Tamil Nadu and other states when monsoon fails, like this year.
The decision to seek "fresh distress formula based on ground realities" was taken an all-party meeting held in Bangalore ahead of the Sep 19 meeting of the Cauvery River Authority at New Delhi
Chief minister Jagadish Shettar, who convened the meeting, told reporters that the state would apprise the CRA meeting of the drought situation in Karnataka and the problems the state would face if water is released to Tamil Nadu and other riparian states that are sharing the water on a formula decided in 2007.
Karnataka on Monday agreed to release 10,000 cusecs of water daily to Tamil Nadu till Sep 20 on orders of the Supreme Court.
Farmers in Mandya and neighbouring Mysore have been holding demonstrations since Monday evening opposing release of water. In Bangalore also, Kannada organizations staged a demonstration.
Karnataka government has declared over 150 of the state 176 taluks (revenue subdivisions) as drought hit as monsoon, that started June first week and lasts till this month end, has failed this year.
The water level in Krishnaraja Sagar reservoir (KRS) in Mandya district, about 80km from Bangalore from where most of the water is released to Tamil Nadu, stood on Sept 11 at 110 feet as against the full level of 124.8 feet, according to official figures.
Shettar said he would hold another meeting Sep 15 with leaders of all political parties in the state and invite MPs from the state to attend it also.
Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai said Karnataka had been seeking since 2002 a "distress formula based on ground realities".
The distress formula is so called as it entails sharing the distress as well as the available water between the two state when monsoon fails.
Leader of Opposition assembly Siddaramaiah, of Congress, said after the meeting that the chief minister had been urged to inform the CRA that Karnataka could not release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu in view of the severe drought and consequent drinking water problems.
Siddaramaiah said 30 TMC of water was available in Mettur Dam (in Tamil Nadu) and this amount was sufficient for it as that state would start receiving north east monsoon rains.
The sharing of waters of the Cauvery river has been the source of a serious conflict between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The genesis of this conflict rests in two controversial agreements - one signed in 1892 and another in 1924 - between the erstwhile Madras Presidency and the princely state of Mysore.
Karnataka claims that these agreements were skewed heavily in favour of the Madras Presidency, and has demanded a settlement based on "equitable sharing of the waters".
Tamil Nadu, on the other hand, pleads that it has already developed almost 3,000,000 acres of land and as a result has come to depend very heavily on the existing pattern of usage.
Any change in this pattern, it says, will adversely affect the livelihood of millions of farmers in the state.