Everything you need to know about the Cauvery Crisis

The Karnataka-Tamil Nadu dispute over water usage of the river Cauvery has grown to alarming peaks. From families in both States being beaten up by the locals, to the Karnataka CM pleading to the Supreme Court that the “agony claimed by Tamil Nadu on water crisis not there”, there is a serious situation arising down South.

Here are the key points that you need to know about this whole crisis:

1. The Cauvery River originates in Karnataka’s Kodagu district, flows into Tamil Nadu and reaches the Bay of Bengal. Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka benefit from the route taken by this river.

2. The legal dispute over the waters of the Cauvery started in the early 1920’s following which the Supreme Court ordered for the constitution of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) to resolve the dispute. The tribunal gave Tamil Nadu 205  thousand million cubic feet (tmcft,) in an interim order in 1991.

3. In 2007, the tribunal declared its final award wherein Tamil Nadu would be eligible to receive 419 tmcft of water, but Karnataka wasn’t too keen about it. The Centre made the notification of the award public only in 2013, after the Supreme Court ordered it to do so.

4. But in August this year, the Tamil Nadu government said there was a deficit of 50.0052 tmcft of water released from Karnataka reservoirs compared to the minimum declared award by the CDWT. The Karnataka government defended its position, stating low rainfall during the monsoon had left its reservoirs half empty.

5. On September 5, the Supreme Court ordered the Karnataka government to release 15,000 cusecs of water a day for 10 days, to Tamil Nadu. This led to widespread protests and bandhs in Karnataka. Farmers there said they didn’t have enough water for their own farms. Properties in Tamil Nadu were also damaged in turn as farmers needed the water to cultivate sambha crops.

6. The Karnataka government requested the Supreme Court to suspend its order directing it to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, because the latter isn’t having a water crisis. Though the apex court declined to suspend its order, it did decrease the amount of water to be released from 15,000 cusecs a day to 12,000 cusecs.

7. But the announcement started mass violence across both the states with citizens engaging in fights, property burnings, CM shamings, etc.. A panicking public even started rumours of Section 144 being implemented but it hasn’t been done so.

Civil life is being affected in both the states and the only solution out to this distressing situation is for both the CMs– Siddharamaiah and Jayalalitha and the centre to commune together and reach a consensus.


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