Importance for Exams
- Mains : Understand the issue, why is it not resolved yet. Steps taken this year. why they are expected to yield better results compared to the past.
- Prelims : Make a note of the institutional framework(composition, functions,etc) involved : Provisions of Art. 262, ISWD Act, CRA, CMC, CSC and the newly proposed CRMB.
The Kaveri River water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu(TN) has been lingering on for decades. It crops up whenever there is scanty rainfall leading to shortage of water in Kaveri.
This year, Kaveri has seen lesser monsoon rains leading to four main reservoirs in its Karnataka basin being partially full. The situation forced Karnataka to turn on it’s commitment of water sharing leading to resentment from TN.
25 August : Citing a bad monsoon, Karnataka govt announced, it was not in a position to release the TN share of water forcing TN to approach the supreme court.
5 September : Supreme Court directs Tamil Nadu to approach the Cauvery Supervisory Committee(CSC). CSC asks for data, delays ruling.
19 September : Cauvery Supervisory Committee asked Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs per day from September 21 to 30.
20 September : SC doubled the quantum to 6,000 cusecs from September 21 to 27. directed the centre to constitute within four weeks the Cauvery Water Management Board(CWMB) as directed by Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal(CWDT) in its 2007 award.
Historical water use : Since the ancient times, TN had been an agrarian state with more area under agriculture than karnataka. Hence it has depended more on Kaveri. This is the reason why TN has always pushed for a lion’s share and has been awarded one by various tribunals. Karnataka is opposed to this line of thought.
Present dependence : Karnataka farmers are unhappy because their share of water allows them to grow 1 paddy crop + 2nd less water-intensive crop while their counterparts in TN grow 3 crops a year. Karnataka finds it grossly unfair to release water for Tamil Nadu farmers who want to sow their 2nd crop while its own farmers struggle with the first.
The reasons for the deadlock are as follows
1. Institutional failure
– This issue raises the larger question of the effectiveness of the constitutional provisions of Art 262 relating to Inter-state river water disputes and the Inter-state Water Disputes Act, 1956. River water disputes across India suffer from deadlock.
– CRA and CMC. CRA is political body with no experts. CMC plays a supportive role to the CRA. Neither Karnataka nor Tamil Nadu has endorsed the role and function of these bodies.
2. Politicization of the issue
The issue has been blown out of proportion for political gains in respective states. It’s very important that the role of politicians and courts come down in deciding technical issues like these and the advice rendered by technocrats is given more importance.
The proposed Cauvery River Management Board (CRMB) tries to address this issue by having technocrats at decisions making level.
Cauvery River Management Board (CRMB)
– The Board will take decisions on water usage and distribution.
– The Board will also see to it that states ensure proper hydraulic structures at relevant sites.
– It will determine the amount of water to be received by the states
The idea is to cut down the dependence on monsoon. The board will ensure adequate storage in the reservoirs before the monsoons till the end of May each year. in case monsoons are delayed, the stored water can help minimize distress.
In case of consecutive bad years, the Board will handle the issue appropriately by distributing water in a planned manner with minimum distress.
Only to help you understand the current issue better. Depth not required.
1892 : Agreement between Madras Presidency and Mysore.
1924 : 2nd Agreement under the supervision of GoI.
1970 : fact-finding committee appointed.
1990 : Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT)is set-up under under the Inter-state Water Disputes Act, 1956.
Interim orders passed in 1991, 1992 and 1995.
1998 : Kaveri River Water Scheme notified by the govt. consisting of Cauvery River Authority (CRA) and Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC).
2007 : After 16 years, it announces its award.
Its distribution is as follows
– Tamil Nadu -419 tmc ft
– Karnataka – 270 tmc ft
– Kerala – 30 tmc ft
– Puducherry – 7 tmc ft
This award is challenged by the states. Special Leave Petitions were filed and the Court granted leave.
2013 : On the direction of the Supreme Court, Govt notified the final reward as proposed by the Tribunal in 2007.