Cauvery River

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Cauvery River

  • Kaveri is an Indian river flowing through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • The Kaveri river rises at Talakaveri on the Brahmagiri range in the Western Ghats, Kodagu district of the state of Karnataka, at an elevation of 1341m above mean sea level and flows for about 800 km before its outfall into the Bay of Bengal.
  • It is the third largest river after Godavari and Krishna – in South India and the largest in Tamil Nadu which, on its course, bisects the state into North and South.
  • Kaveri has many tributaries including Harangi, Hemavati, Kabini, Bhavani, Lakshmana Tirtha, Noyyal and Arkavati.
  • The river basin covers three states and a Union Territory as follows:
  1. Tamil Nadu, 43,868 KM2
  2. Karnataka, 34,273 KM2
  3. Kerala, 2,866 KM2
  4. Puducherry, 148 KM2
  • In Chamarajanagar district it forms the island of Shivanasamudra, on either side of which are the scenic Shivanasamudra Falls that descend about 100 metres (330 ft).
  • It was profusely described in the Tamil Sangam literature and is held in great reverence in Hinduism.
Cauvery River

Briefing of Cauvery Water Dispute

  • In 1924, Tamil Nadu built the Mettur dam across the Cauvery River.
  • Subsequently, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu signed an agreement effective for 50 years.
  • On completing 50 years, the accord lapsed in 1974, in these years Cauvery River primarily served the needs of farmers in Tamil Nadu.
  • To make up the lost ground, Karnataka attempted to expand farming activities in the Cauvery basin, it started building reservoirs.
  • With this, the Cauvery river water sharing issue emerged, It is now a major water sharing dispute among Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry and Kerala.
  • By Tamil Nadu’s demand, the Union government formed the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) in 1990, the dispute was adjudicated by the CWDT in 2007.
  • According to the tribunal’s order, the total availability of water in the 802-km long Cauvery basin is 740 tmc in a normal year.
  • Of the total 740 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of water available for utilization –
  1. 419 TMC was awarded to Tamil Nadu
  2. 270 TMC to Karnataka
  3. 30 TMC to Kerala
  4. 7 TMC to Puducherry
  5. The remaining 14 TMC was reserved for environmental protection.
  • To achieve this sharing, the order stated that Karnataka must release 192 TMC of water from Biligundlu Station (inter-state dam) in normal monsoon years, this should be at the rates specified by the tribunal for each month.
  • The tribunal also noted that in case the yield was less in a distress year, the allocated shares shall be proportionately reduced.
  • Both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka challenged the tribunal‟s order.
  • Karnataka claimed 312 TMC of water as against the 270 TMC ordered by the tribunal, the court reserved its order in September 2017.
  • In 2017 SC verdict -The Court declared Cauvery a “national asset”, It upheld the principle of equitable apportionment of inter-State river water among riparian States.
  • In 2018 verdict, the Supreme Court has thus reduced the allocation of Cauvery water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu.
  • The final allocation for a total of 740 TMC is – Karnataka: 284.75 (270 + 14.75) TMC, Tamil Nadu : 404.25 (419 – 14.75) TMC.
  • SC has also directed the formation of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB).
  • The water allocation arrangement will stand unchanged for the next 15 years.

Cauvery Management Board (CMB)

  • Under Inter-State River Water Dispute Act, 1956, the CWDT (Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal) referred to the mechanism as ‘Cauvery Management Board’.
  • It recommended that the CMB be constituted on the lines of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB).
  • CWDT further recommended that CMB be entrusted with the function of supervision of the operation of reservoirs and the regulation of water released therefrom with the assistance of the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC).
  • The CWRC is to be constituted by the Board.
  • CMB will be an inter-state forum which will work to ensure the implementation of orders of the CWDT, monitor the storage position in the Cauvery basin and the trend of rainfall and assess the likely inflows for distribution among the States.
  • The CMB will have three full-time members including a chairman.
  • It will also consist of six part-time members, four of them will be from the riparian States of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
  • The Board shall be under the control of the Ministry of Water Resources.
  • The expenses of the Board will be borne by the state governments.

Cauvery Water Regulation Committee

  • Cauvery Water Regulation Committee will assist the Cauvery Management Authority, which was also constituted by the Centre, to implement the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award as modified by the SC.
  • The nine-member committee is designed to have representatives from four states of the Cauvery basin – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry.
  • Chief Engineer of the Central Water Commission will head the committee.
  • While the Authority will be headquartered in New Delhi, the Committee will have its headquarters in Bengaluru and will be formed without a representative from Karnataka.
  • The Karnataka government refused to nominate a representative to the committee until its grievances are heard.
  • The Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) is to ensure that the Tribunal’s order is carried out in due spirit.

Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA)

  • Central Government, in exercise of the powers conferred by the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 (33 of 1956) had constituted the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (Autonomous) .
  • It aims to adjudicate upon the water dispute regarding the Inter-State river Cauvery and the river valley thereof among the States of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Union territory of Puducherry.
  • The Tribunal investigated the matters referred to it and forwarded to the Central Government.
  • The Central Government notified the Cauvery Water Management Scheme on June, 2018, inter alia, constituting the ‘Cauvery Water Management Authority’ and the ‘Cauvery Water Regulation Committee’ to give effect to the decision of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal as modified by Supreme Court’s order, dated 16th February, 2018 on Cauvery dispute.
  • Recently union government decided to bring the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) under the Ministry of Jal Shakti.

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