Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have been nurturing the rivalry on Cauvery river water-sharing for the last 125 odd years.
While Karnataka claims it does not have sufficient water in the Cauvery reservoirs to meet the drinking and irrigation needs of its people, Tamil Nadu says unless enough water is released, it will face crop failures.
To this, Karnataka maintains that Tamil Nadu has “enough” water in the Mettur Dam and that it also gets good rainfall from the north-east monsoon.
It was on Sept 5 that the Supreme Court directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water per day to Tamil Nadu.
However, on Sept 12, giving in to the plea by the Karnataka government, the apex court changed its order and asked the state to release 12,000 cusecs of water per day to TN till the next hearing on Sept 20.
Meanwhile, protests erupted following the order with buses with TN number plates being torched in Karnataka capital Bangalore.
At least one person was killed in the violence, while several, including India Today TV’s deputy editor Rohini Swamy and her video journalist, were injured in the ruckus.
Back in Tamil Nadu capital Chennai, Udupi hotels and Karnataka bank branches were ransacked.
Protests were reported in Mysore city of Karnataka as well.
On September 16 Tamil Nadu observed a dawn-to-dask shutdown over the raging Cauvery dispute.
Even Opposition partied, including Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Tamil Nadu Congress, Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), Left parties and Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), supported the bandh called by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).
Though Karnataka complied to the Supreme Court order, it stopped the flow on September 18 stating a total of 1,68,000 cusecs of water, as mentioned in the order, has already been given to its neighbouring state.
Here are 10 facts about the Cauvery river:
1. The Cauvery river, that originates in Kodagu district of Karnataka, flows through Tamil Nadu to reach the Bay of Bengal at Poompuhar town in Nagapattinam district.
2. The 802-km Cauvery river has 44,000 km and 32,000 km basin areas in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka respectively.
3. The Union Territory of Puducherry is also a part of the Cauvery basin.
4. The origin of the Cauvery water-sharing conflict rests in two agreements signed in 1892 and 1924 between the erstwhile Madras Presidency and Princely State of Mysore.
5. It was in 1990 that the Government of India constituted the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) to sort the dispute.
6. After hearing the case for 17 years, it was on Feb 5, 2007 that the tribunal, giving its verdict, allotted 419 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) water per year to Tamil Nadu, 270 tmcft to Karnataka, 30 tmcft to Kerala and 7 tmcft to Puducherry.
7. Karnataka was additionally ordered to release 192 tmcft of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from June to May every year.
8. The notification was made public in 2013 after getting the nod from the Supreme Court.
9. Before the tribunal’s verdict in 2007, Tamil Nadu had claimed 562 tmcft (almost three-fourth) of Cauvery water, while Karnataka had sought for 465 tmcft (almost two-third) of the available river water.
10. In August 2016, the Tamil Nadu government showed a deficit of 50.0052 tmcft of water by Karnataka. However, the latter said it will not be able to release any more water due to shortage of rainfall.
It was then, the TN government sought the apex court’s intervention in the matter which resulted in the Sept 5, followed by the Sept 12 verdict.
(Sources: NDTV, Firstpost, The Indian Express, TOI)
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.