It is going to be a huge Friday for both the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as the long-standing and much-debated dispute of Cauvery river water sharing between them might be put to rest for once and all. The dispute will be heard in Supreme Court and the verdict will be pronounced in the case on February 16, 2018. The two states are being extremely cautious and circumspect ahead of the hearing and have beefed up security in the prone areas.
Both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka heavily rely on Cauvery river water which has been a bone of contention between them for more than a century. To be precise, it has been 124 years since the first agreement was reached over the river water and a string of judgements have followed over the years but, still, to no avail. Let us look at what is Cauvery water dispute and how it affects the lives of people.
- The very first dispute was recorded in the year 1881 when Madras Presidency objected to Kingdom of Mysore’s plan of building a dam over Cauvery river. After 11 years of disagreement, an accord was hit between the two states in 1892 and was later replaced in 1924.
- Independence of India, burgeoning population, massive migration, agricultural needs and several other factors changed the water requirements of the states over the years, which kept the pot of dissent boiling.
- In 1990, the Centre formed Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) which announced its award in 2007. However, the award was issued by the central government in 2013 after receiving a green light from the Supreme Court.
- CWDT awarded 419 tmcft water to Tamil Nadu, 270 tmcft to Karnataka, 30 tmcft and 7 tcmft to Kerala and Puducherry respectively.
- The tribunal later figured that Cauvery river has 740 tmcft water at 50% dependability and ordered the state of Karnataka to release 192 tmcft of water every year to other water-sharing states.
- The dispute further escalated after the Cauvery tribunal announced that the states would share water distress in equal proportions in the case of calamity.
- Now, the inconsistent monsoon seasons in the past few years have resulted in acute shortage of water in Karnataka and consequently, the state has been reiterating from a while now that it doesn’t have enough water to release for Tamil Nadu.
- In 2016, the state of Tamil Nadu moved to Supreme Court slamming the award of the Cauvery tribunal. Tamil Nadu has been saying that its farmers need more water for huge agricultural needs.
- Retaliating to Tamil Nadu’s move, Karnataka approached the Supreme Court too seeking additional water for the state while claiming that releasing more water will not be possible due to low rainfall and high demand of water among public, especially Bengaluru.
- Later in September 2016, violent protests erupted across several districts of Karnataka after the Supreme Court ordered the state to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu every day for 10 days.