Karnataka: Water levels in dams down, crucial Cauvery meet today
BENGALURU: The Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) is set to meet on Tuesday amid a weak monsoon aggravating the storage situation in the reservoirs in the river basin and a severe water crisis gripping Tamil Nadu.

The CWMA had in May directed Karnataka to release 9.19tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of water to Tamil

Nadu for the month of June, subject to inflow in its reservoirs. However, only 1.72tmcft has flown from Biligundlu reservoir to Mettur dam.

“The rain gods are to be blamed. The reservoirs in Cauvery basin are near-empty and we are in no position to release water for cultivation even in Karnataka. We can just manage the drinking water requirement with the available storage,” said MK Venkataram, technical adviser on irrigation to chief minister HD Kumaraswamy.

The four reservoirs — Krishnaraja Sagara (KRS), Harangi, Kabini and Hemavathi — cumulatively received only 1.59tmcft of water between June 1 and 23, compared to 60tmcft of inflow in the same period last year. The live storage of these reservoirs, put together, is just 13.24tmcft at present; last year, it was 59tmcft.

K’taka should release water: TN

Certainly, this is the hour of distress. We hope farmers from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu understand this,” said Rakesh Singh, irrigation principal secretary, who will represent Karnataka in the CWMA meeting. He pointed out that the inflow to the reservoirs has been the lowest in the past 40 years.

Representatives from Tamil Nadu said their state is entitled to its due share and Karnataka should ensure the release of water. “There should be no reason for holding back the share,” said R Subramanian, chairman of Tamil Nadu Cauvery Technical Cell. Tamil Nadu was entitled to 9.19 tmcft in June, and 31.24tmcft in July. With the present storage condition and prediction that monsoon will weaken further in the coming days, officials see little chance of Karnataka complying with schedule of water release.

“Cauvery basin has received 50% deficit rain so far.

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