What is Cauvery water row? Latest updates on Karnataka-Tamil Nadu dispute | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

What is Cauvery water row? Latest updates on Karnataka-Tamil Nadu dispute

Sep 22, 2023 10:41 AM IST

The Cauvery water dispute spewed a fresh row after the CWMA order directed Karnataka to release 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu for 15 days.

Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah and deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar held an important meeting on the Cauvery water-sharing dispute with Tamil Nadu at the Karnataka Bhavan in Delhi on Thursday.

Cauvery river(HT File Photo)
Cauvery river(HT File Photo)

Siddaramaiah called for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention in resolving the tussle between the two states over the Cauvery issue. “The prime minister has the authority to summon the two states and hear their arguments. Given this context, we have appealed for the Prime Minister’s intervention,” he said.

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The meeting concluded with the announcement that Karnataka will seek a stay on the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) order in the Supreme Court.

What is the CWMA order?

The Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) order directed Karnataka to continue releasing 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu for another 15 days. However, the officials said that there was “no water” available to release.

History of the Cauvery water dispute

Both, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have been at each other's throats for sharing Cauvery river's water since the British era. A resolution was acquired when the Mysore princely state and the Madras presidency arrived at a consensus in 1924.

Mysore was allowed to build a dam at Kannambadi village to store 44.8 thousand million cubic feet of water. This agreement was to be valid upto 50 years following a review. However, both the states took the dispute to the Supreme Court after Independence several times, but to no avail.

Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal

The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) was constituted by the government in 1990 to resolve the water disputes between the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry. The CWDT passed an interim order to Karnataka for releasing 205 million cubic feet of water to Tamil Nadu--monthly or weekly.

Present row

Following the CWMA order to release water to Tamil Nadu, top Congress leaders of Karnataka maintain that there is no surplus water available to be released. “Let’s set aside party politics and stand united in protecting our state, language, water, land, and culture. The situation has become critical, and there is no distress formula in place,” said Siddaramaiah.

The Karnataka CM added, "Our rainfall ceases after August, whereas Tamil Nadu continues to receive rain after that. Their groundwater table is also higher, which worsens our situation.”

Deputy CM Shivakumar holds the water resources portfolio. He said that they only have one-third of the required water. “We don’t even have water for drinking. We have discussed (this) with all parliament members, who assured us that they are going to support our fight. We are pressing it before the Supreme Court to give us justice. I hope justice will be given to us,” Shivakumar added.

Supreme Court refuses to interfere

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to interfere with CWMA's order directing the government to release 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu. A three-judge bench said that it is not inclined to entertain the plea of Tamil Nadu challenging the decision of the CWMA.

The bench said CWMA and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) have to take all key aspects into consideration-- like drought and deficit rainfall before passing the order. Therefore SC maintained that it is not inclined to interfere with the order directing Karnataka to release 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu


Senior DMK leader of Tamil Nadu Durai Murugan said Karnataka has never agreed to any proposals made by Tamil Nadu in the Cauvery water-sharing dispute and that whatever rights it has gained, it is because they have approached the Supreme Court over the matter.

Former prime minister HD Deve Gowda said the “quarrel” among Karnataka and Tamil Nadu will not be solved “legally” and that a solution will come out only after both sides sit together.

In the wake of the Cauvery water-sharing slugfest, Kannada actors Darshan Thoogudeepa and Kichcha Sudeep, too, voiced their concerns for a resolution on the matter.

Taking to X (formerly Twitter), Sudeep wrote, “Our Cauvery is our right. I believe that the government which has won with so much consensus will not abandon the people who believe in Kaveri. I demand that the experts formulate a strategy immediately and give justice. I also have my voice in the land-water-language struggle. May Mother Kaveri protect Karunad.”

Darshan Thoogudeepa also took to X and wrote, “There has been a continuous attempt to get more water by cutting the Kaveri water from Karnataka's share. This year there is a lot of water scarcity in the state. At this time, there is a lot of damage to the irrigated area, so let's consider all the statistics and get justice as soon as possible.”

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    Neha Yadav is a journalist at Hindustan Times, Delhi. She covers news across various beats.

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