Cauvery Water Dispute: The decades-old Cauvery water dispute between the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala finally got a verdict today. The apex court directed Karnataka to release 177.25 tmcft of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from its inter-state Biligundlu dam in an order that has brought an end to the storm over the distribution of water. The order entitles Karnataka to an additional 14.75 tmcft of water over and above the 270 tmcft Cauvery water it receives as per the 2007 tribunal award. As per the SC order, there is no change in allocation for Goa and Puducherry which receive 30 and 7 tmcft of water, respectively.
Here is what the dispute been over the years before the Supreme Court’s order so far:
1. The Cauvery water dispute has a long history, mainly between the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The furore dates back to 1881 between the princely states of Mysore and Madras, as the former had planned a dam across the river. This was objected by the State of Madras.
2. As the dispute simmered between the two states over the distribution of the Cauvery water, an agreement was signed between the State of Mysore and the Madras Presidency in 1924. But, the agreement lapsed in 1974.
3. The Centre formed the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) in 1990 to solve the dispute. On 5 February 2007, the Tribunal announced its first award regarding the allocation of water. However, the relevant notification of the award was issued by the Centre in 2013 after a Supreme Court order.
4. According to the CWDT, the 740 thousand million cubic (TMC) feet of Cauvery water available for distribution, was allocated to four states namely Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Puducherry.
5. The CWDT allocated 419 thousand million cubic to Tamil Nadu, 270 thousand million cubic to Karnataka, 30 thousand million cubic to Kerala and 7 to Kerala. 14 thousand million cubic feet of water was kept for environmental protection.
6. The CWDT order also stated that Karnataka must release 192 thousand million cubic feet to Tamil Nadu during the monsoon months between June and May.
7. Karnataka opposed the Tribunal’s order and filed a petition in the Supreme Court claiming 312 TMC of Cauvery water. The apex court reserved its order in September 2017.
8. Just like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu too wasn’t happy with the CWDT order. In August 2016, Tamil Nadu said that the tribunal’s award only took one cropping season into consideration. Tamil Nadu claimed that its farmers needed more water as they cultivated two crops a year.
9. Tamil Nadu’s take on Cauvery water prompted Karnataka to approach the apex court and it made a plea seeking additional water for the state.
10. On September 30, 2016, the Supreme Court pulled up Karnataka for flouting its orders in releasing Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. The apex court ordered Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu for 10 days. However, the order resulted in violent protests across Karnataka.