From 1924 to 2018: The twists and turns in the Cauvery water dispute case
In a much awaited verdict, the Supreme Court reduced Tamil Nadu’s share of Cauvery water and increased Karnataka’s. Here are the twists and turns the decades-old case has taken over the years.Updated: Feb 16, 2018 12:51 IST
The Supreme Court on Friday reduced Tamil Nadu’s share of Cauvery water and increased Karnataka’s share. In the much awaited verdict, the top court ruled that Karnataka be given an enhanced 14.75 TMC of the river water while 177.25 TMC of water be released for Tamil Nadu.
Here is a look at the twists and turns in the case:
The history of the dispute
The geographic location of Tamil Nadu means that historically it has been dependent on other states for its water needs. And Cauvery is one of its lifelines from Karnataka. The dispute between the two states over sharing of waters dates back to the British era.
1924: The British brokered an agreement, to be operative for 50 years. The Madras Presidency and Mysore signed an agreement where the rules regarding the water usage. The agreement gave Madras Presidency and the Mysore state the right to use surplus water from river Cauvery.
As per the agreement, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry would get 75% of the surplus water, while Karnataka would get 23%. The remaining would go to Kerala. There were also restrictions on how much land could be irrigated.
1970: The Cauvery Fact Finding Committee found that Tamil Nadu’s irrigated lands had grown from 1,440,000 acres to 2,580,000 acres while Karnataka’s irrigated area stood at 680,000 acres, resulting in an increased need of water for Tamil Nadu. Karnataka opposed this proposal..
Since then, the dispute has flared up time and again with the occasional failure of monsoon adding to the problem. Sparse rains forced Karnataka to block water supply to Tamil Nadu, which retaliated disrupting power supply from Neyveli. This continued till 2016
Post-tribunal award of February 2017
Feb. 5, 2007: The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal holds as valid the two agreements of 1892 and 1924 executed between the Governments of Madras and Mysore on the apportionment of water to Tamil Nadu.
The final award makes an annual allocation of 419 tmcft to Tamil Nadu in the entire Cauvery basin, 270 tmcft to Karnataka, 30 tmcft to Kerala and 7 tmcft to Puducherry out of the total 740 TMC available in the Cauvery basin in a normal year.
All states file clarificatory petitions in SC seeking greater clarity on tribunal award.
Sept. 19, 2012: At the seventh meeting of the Cauvery River Authority (CRA), then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh directs Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu at Biligundlu. Both the CMs — Jayalalithaa and Jagadish Shettar — term it “unacceptable”.
Sept. 28, 2012: Supreme Court slams the Karnataka government for not complying with PM’s direction at the CRA.
Feb. 29, 2013: Centre notifies the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT). The Central government was mandated to constitute the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) simultaneously with the gazette notification of the final award of the tribunal dated February 19.
March 10, 2013: Tamil Nadu chief minister says that she will strive for the formation of Cauvery Water Board during a felicitation ceremony organised in Thanjavur for her efforts to get the final award notified in the Union gazette.
March 19, 2013: Tamil Nadu moves the Supreme Court to give directions to the water ministry for the constitution of the Cauvery Management Board.
May 28, 2013: Tamil Nadu moves the Supreme Court, seeks Rs. 2,480-cr damages from Karnataka for not following orders of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal
June 1, 2013: The water resources secretary chairs the first meeting of the supervisory committee where Tamil Nadu demands its share of water for June as stipulated in the award.
June 2, 2013: Water cannot be released as and when TN demands, says Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah.
June 6, 2013: Karnataka says it cannot release 134 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu between June and September.
June 12, 2013: The Cauvery supervisory committee terms the Tamil Nadu’s plea for directions to Karnataka for release of Cauvery waters as per the award of the CWDT as not “feasible”.
June 14, 2013: Tamil Nadu decides to file contempt plea against Karnataka for its stand on the Cauvery Supervisory Committee.
June 15, 2013: Chief minister Jayalaithaa says the Tamil Nadu government will approach the Supreme Court for the formation of the Cauvery Management Board and Cauvery Water Regulatory Authority.
June 26, 2013: Contending that the setting up of a supervisory committee had become a futile exercise, Tamil Nadu moves SC for constitution of Cauvery Management Board.
June 28, 2013: Tamil Nadu files contempt petition in the Supreme Court against Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah for his a defiant stand before the Supervisory Committee.
July 15, 2013: Karnataka and Tamil Nadu clash during the third meeting of the Cauvery Supervisory Committee over latter’s share of the river waters. While Tamil Nadu sought 34 tmcft in July and 50 tmcft for August to save the Samba crop, Karnataka says that it had already released 34 tmcft between June and July 13.
August 2016: Tamil Nadu asks the Supreme Court to direct Karnataka to release water to Tamil Nadu after Siddaramiah says there is no water in the reservoirs.
Sept 3, 2016: SC directs Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs a day till Sept 15. Protests break out in Karnataka.
September 7, 2016: Karnataka begins releasing Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from as per the Supreme Court order.
September 11, 2016: The Karnataka government files a plea to modify a Supreme Court order directing it to share Cauvery water with Tamil Nadu.
September 12, 2016: One person dies and four are injured in police firing. Tamilians come under attack in Karnataka.
July 14, 2017: Karnataka seeks a reduction in the quantum of Cauvery water it should release to Tamil Nadu from 192 tmcft to 132 tmcft.
September 20, 2017: The Supreme Court reserved its judgment on the appeals filed by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.
February 16, 2018: The Supreme Court reduces Tamil Nadu’s share of Cauvery river water to 177.25 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) down from 192 tmcft allocated by a Tribunal in 2007.
First Published: Feb 16, 2018 12:50 IST