Cauvery water dispute



There are Three Things involved in the Cauvery issue.

  1. Livelihood, 2. Ethnic Dominance , 3. Politics


Each state blaming the other on water issue

Karnataka ViewPoint

  1. Tamil nadu got higher share of water in the 2007 tribunal award, which is based on agreement between madras state and mysore state at 1892 and 1924, it is skewed to support Tamil nadu.
  2. Tamil nadu has bigger farmland than karnataka, wherein Tamil nadu farmers grow three crops a year (samba, Kuruvai, Thaladi)
  3. Karnataka needs drinking water for its people in Mysore, Bangalore, Mandya..etc
  4. Tamil nadu has unsustainable agriculture practice
  5. Tamil nadu wastes lots of water in the sea
  6. Mandya , Hassan, Mysore, Chamrajnagar, Ramnagara, Chikmagalur..etc farmers need cauvery water.
  7. Karnataka can’t release water to Tamil nadu till its water needs are met
  8. From 1950–72 Tamil nadu increased its farm area by more than 6lakh acre
  9. Center should not setup cauvery management board that creates an independent authority to manage the cauvery river water as mentioned in tribunal award 2007
  10. Present cauvery tribunal award is not reflecting the actual ground requirements of the state, since it has not considered the industrialization and ground water levels.
  11. During a good monsoon season, Karnataka will release the tribunal award of 190 TMC to Tamil nadu. Karnataka has full authority to use the remaining water (on and above the 270 TMC allotted to it).
  12. During deficit monsoon year, Karnataka will give a priority to its drinking water requirements and basic farm needs of its farmers. Tamil nadu should not expect much water from karnataka (since we are in distress). There is no distress formula given in cauvery tribunal award.
  13. Most of the regions in Karnataka (except south east and some portion of North east karnataka) only receive south west monsoon, which ends in september, but tamil nadu will receives its rain in the North east monsoon which starts in september end. So there is a possibility of tamil nadu getting more water.

Tamil Nadu View point

  1. Historically Tamilnadu is using cauvery water for its agriculture and drinking water needs, so newfound use of cauvery in karnataka shouldn’t reduce the water for Tamil nadu
  2. Cauvery only forms delta in tamil nadu (east of trichy), so it has really rich soil. Historically before British period it always had three crops.
  3. For last twenty years, Tamil nadu farmers are struggling to even have two crops. Historically mettur dam used to open on June 12, but since the last sixteen years it has been postponed to July, due to blockage of cauvery by Karnataka
  4. Karnataka constructed many check dams in cauvery without getting consent from tamil nadu, which reduces the river flow significantly. There’s no transparency in the water level in these check dams
  5. Cauvery is the only major river in Tamil nadu, Karnataka has krishna and untapped west flowing rivers which can be tapped for drinking water
  6. Karnataka has to see Tamil nadu as equal partner and not just as a place to dump flood water
  7. Drinking and Agricultural heart of Tamil nadu is dependent on the cauvery river; it can’t give away historical rights of water utilization (since in the international water sharing ruling, historical rights are considered higher priority ). One of the oldest working structure in the world “kallanai Dam” was built by Chola’s (2 century AD) on cauvery. Our cauvery farming is 2000+ year old. Tamil nadu has civilization rights in cauvery.
  8. Karnataka is diverting water to many industries illegally in the name of drinking water and irrigation
  9. Karnataka is not releasing to Tamil nadu, its share of water on time as per the tribunal award
  10. Karnataka is taking decisions of building structures in cauvery arrogantly without the consent of lower riparian state
  11. Implement cauvery management board as suggested in cauvery tribunal award 2007.
  12. Cauvery tribunal award reduced Tamil nadu share from 487 TMC (in 1991) to 419 TMC, which was not inline with the state requirement.
  13. More than 14 districts in Tamil nadu depends on cauvery; we have more people and basin area than Karnataka
  14. During distress (deficit monsoon) year, Karnataka has to share water with Tamil nadu. Karnataka should not wait until fulfillment of their requirement. Proportional sharing in tribunal has to followed during distress monsoon.
  15. Our crops have to planted before July end to face the north east monsoon, otherwise we will lose our harvest.
  16. Extra water in cauvery to be shared based on Tribunal proportion
  17. Thrity years before, Early June Tamil nadu used to open the dam for farming, due to increased requirement of karnataka, it went to july, last few years it postponed to Auguest now even in september our dams are not having enough capacity above drining water need.

Water Potential of Tamil nadu and Karnataka

Lets see the water potential of each state to understand the importance of cauvery for each state.

Karnataka River Basin map

Cauvery drains 17% of karnataka, Krishna river drains around 59% of Karnataka (RIVER SYSTEMS OF KARNATAKA), Pennar, palar and west flowing rivers do the remaining job.

India has avg annual rainfall of 1200 mm with an area of 3,287,263

Karnataka has average rainfall of 1152 mm (approx) over the area of 191791 with a population of around 6.4Cr, Udupi district has maximum of 4180 mm rainfall, Chitradurga district has minimum of with 570 mm rainfall. North Interior Karnataka has lowest rainfall, coastal region has highest (so more water for Arabian sea).

Tamil nadu has average rainfall of around 958 mm, with an area of over 130060 has population of around 7.7 Cr people. The Nilgiris district has maximum of 1695 mm rainfall, Thoothukudi district with 655.7 mm rainfall.

South central (Virudhunagar, Thoothukudi, ramanathapuram , Sivaganga, ..etc) and north central TN are the driest regions (Vellore, Thiruvannamalai..etc)

Cauvery Basin – As per expert committee, cauvery has around 700 TMC water (based on 50% availability) , it is less than the tributary of Godavari -Pranhita , Krishna river has 2100TMC. So Cauvery is not that large a river , compared to Krishna and Huge Godavari

TOP 11 Dams in terms of capacity in Karnataka and Tamil nadu


Top 11 Dams in Tamil Nadu (Just want to include Amaravathi)

This above picture show the water problem of Tamil nadu, but Karnataka as a separate entity should not be responsible for population and lower water resources in tamil nadu, but Karnataka has to ensure Cauvery basin in tamil nadu gets its due share. As per tribunal, it should release 190 TMC water from its dam to tamil nadu (419 TMC tamil nadu share – 190 TMC from Karnataka and 229 TMC from rain water from tamil nadu basin area). Cauvery is lifeline for Southern Karnataka but cauvery is lifeline for entire Tamil nadu. Karnataka is 1.5 times bigger than tamil nadu in area but has 80% population of tamil nadu. Tamil nadu is in the rain shadow region, so it can’t afford to lose rights on any water. More population with lesser rainfall will make tamil nadu fight harder for its rights

Karnataka’s Problem

Karnataka has second highest desertification in India after Rajasthan, though it has Krishna, Cauvery, Nethravathi, Pennar, Shravathi, Kali nadhi, Mahadayi..etc some of its districts are very dry; it is not able to use its water to improve their lives.

Somehow karnataka is not getting its share .. Karnataka has been given lesser share than its basin area due to historical use, since Andhra was historically doing agriculture in Krishna basin, it been given higher share than karnataka, Karnataka has 44% of krishna’s catchment area, but as per krishna award it only gets 34% of Krishna water. Karnataka hosts around 42% of cauvery basin area, but it gets around 37-38% of cauvery water. Tamil nadu contains around 54% of cauvery catchment area and gets 57% of cauvery water share. Though many river pass through Karnataka, they are not helping the state.

Krishna River Basin Area

Water Award
Maharashtra-560 TMC
Karnataka-700 TMC
Andhra Pradesh (united)-800 TMC

Although Karnataka been given lesser water in Krishna as compared to cauvery, then why is only cauvery issue getting that much hype whereas Krishna is not posing any problem (lets discuss this in the political section)

There is shift in agricultural practices in both the states, in the last five years area under sugercane in Karnataka increased five times, from 91ooo Ha in 1971 to 410000 Ha to 620000 Ha at 2015. Mandya is also called sugarcane belt of Karnataka (which is based on cauvery river), sugarcane is very water intensive crop. Unfortunately Karnataka and Tamil nadu are third and fourth largest producer of sugarcane in India. Karnataka and Tamil nadu are top two drought prone states of India. Both states has unsustainable agricultural crops. Goa also accuses Karnataka of giving 4 lakh litres water from malaprabha river to Pepsico unit in Dharwad. Tamil nadu is no better, it provides 15 lakhs litre of water to Pepsi plant per day from Tambirabarani river. Both states lags in water recycling , water management and both has poor agricultural insight (like evry other states in india).

Season and Crop Report of Tamil Nadu

The Bangalore problem

The Answer —-> Karnataka had/has southward development and most of the development happened in and around the Bangalore-Mysore belt (which is in the Cauvery basin). So there is need for more water for industries and people in Bangalore urban and rural areas. Bangalore population increased from 41 lakhs in 1991 to 96 lakhs in 2011.

Table 1

Analyzing Bangalore’s Growth

Tamil nadu and Karnataka had an agreement – 1998 Pact on Bangalore & Hogenakal Projects was based on the premise that both states won’t obstruct drinking water schemes from Cauvery as long as the water drawn for such a project was sourced from the respective state’s share of Cauvery water. But Karnataka had a very high water requirement for its southward development which hurt mandya, ramnagara and Mysore farmers, since they got water from KRS dam, which was the irrigation dam for these districts. So Karnataka is in deep requirement of water for its new uses. Karnataka felt Tamil nadu farming is not as important when compared to its own drinking water requirement. There is a genuine problem in South karnataka regarding water resources, but how can it be solved without hurting Tamil nadu is a big question. You need very high investment on getting other resources to these regions.

Big question – Is karnataka’s claim on priority in using water falling on its boundary without giving to Tamil nadu or .. can Karnataka have another water saving plan to supply its people the water.. ???

This is the big question facing every developing country in the world, no one has the answer, everyone was talking about different rainwater harvesting and water saving techniques, river linking. Israel can teach every Indian how to use water efficiently. As per international ruling it can’t be done, historical water uses get priority while new found uses do not; hence Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, bangladesh..etc have to get their share of water irrespective of water requirement in upper riparian state.

Is Tamil nadu using its water responsibly

The answer is Yes and No, Cauvery is the major river in Tamil nadu and even TN is diverting Cauvery water to chennai (around 10–20% of chennai’s water requirement). But Tamil nadu is not doing enough to maintain its own ponds, lakes and dams, which are all silted and polluted. Noyyal river- A tributary of cauvery is fully polluted. Vaigai dam – which is the lifeline of madurai region silted heavily without government taking any action.

How a river in Tamil Nadu turned into a sewage canal

Orthathupalyam dam across the river Noyyal is the only dam in the world where farmers will protest to not open the dam, as it is full of chemical waste (it will degrade their farm land)

Tamil nadu government’s water resources dept(better than karnataka’s in some extent, but worse in general) has to protect its water resources and improve their water saving techniques. Jaya spent around 35000 cr in five years on freebies out of which around Rs.15000 Cr were unnecessary. Had she spent the same on water resources, it would have saved Tamil nadu.

Bangalore water crisis → All lakes in Bangalore are heavily polluted and are beyond use (worse than Chennai – which is supposed to be a worst)

This is not Kashmir, it is Bangalore’s largest lake – Bellandur Lake..

Do you know, where this water goes? Don’t be surprised, this water goes to Then Pennar River, which is then used as drinking water for more than 30 lakh people in tamil nadu. (if you are from Krishnagiri and Thiruvannamalai district, you may be drinking this water)

Lakes are burning in Bangalore- Chennai is not better (just visit Adyar and Coovum). It is not due to industrial waste but mainly due to domestic waste (your detergent powder, Soap, Urine, Shampoo..etc)

The Solution

Many people asked me , how to solve this problem. If you read above paragraph, you will know by yourself. For the real solution , the problem have to be decoupled into two separate issues .

  1. Cauvery Water Sharing
  2. Solving the water crisis in Karnataka and Tamil nadu.

Cauvery Water Sharing

This problem already been solved by Cauvery water tribunal award at 2007. Tribunal spend almost 17 years , analyzing all the ground facts, consulting people from both the states, including Prime Ministers, Chief ministers, farmers and various experts. Even reputed lawyer Fali Nariman (who represent Karnataka in cauvery dispute) consent to the court that Tribunal award is neutral and binding to all the states. Now central government have to setup the independent authority to implement the award given by the Tribunal (central government have to think beyond politics). Most of the neutral experts accept the tribunal award, even Tamil nadu knows, it can’t get more than this (TN share reduced from 487 TMC to 419 TMC). Karnataka knows, it can’t ask for more than 270 TMC (its share significantly improved from 1991 number). Cauvery Management board, an independent authority if set up, will work only based on tribunal award, without worrying about Karnataka or Tamil nadu requirements (you get what is given in the BOOK (tribunal award),nothing more, nothing less). No politician can over-ride their authority. So cauvery problem already been solved.

Solving water crisis.

Karnataka and Tamil nadu government have to solve this problem by themselves with the help of local population. Many solution been discussed by many experts. Customized solution can be found for every sub region. The most commonsense solutions are – Ground water recharge, Road side water management, linking peninsular river (Mahanadhi-Godavari-Krishna-Cauvery-Vaigai-Vaippar), Sustainable farming, Drip irrigation, integrated farming, Water recycling , desalination, de-silting and effective management of present water bodies, Individual water responsibility, Fighting river pollution-cleaning local water bodies, Ecological balance management etc. This is not just the responsibility of the government, it also responsibility of every single individual.

People should force their politicians for effective water management. This should be the poll issue (not caste, religion, language, fanaticism) in your state elections. I saw many intellectuals losing assembly election without proper party domination. Karnataka and Tamil nadu occupy top 5 slots in corruption in the country, Karnataka has one of the richest assembly members, 200 out of 224 MLA in Karnataka are crorepathi’s. Average officially declared asset of a Karnataka MLA is Rs. 23 Cr, situation is same in Tamil nadu (which occupy respectable first position in electoral corruption, even Indian election commission shocked by the extent of electoral corruption in the TN state). Do you expect these politicians( who got elected because of their money wealth) to solve your problem. This is the responsibility of all the people and government from both the states, you can’t force all these responsibility on poor people and farmers living in the cauvery basin. Bangalore water responsibility should not be in the hands of farmers in the cauvery basin, Responsibility should lie on the hands of Bangalorean’s and their local government, which failed to find multiple water sources and polluted all the lakes.

End of the day, People get what they deserve, as of now, we Indian’s don’t deserve better governance.

So we have already solution to the cauvery problem, but we don’t have or we don’t want to have solution to the water scarcity and management.

People link the cauvery water sharing issue with the water scarcity issue, which sets the stage for Fanatics, Chauvinist, Jingoist , politicians and idiots to dance around and Fool around.,