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Cauvery for state's drinking water supply only, says Karnataka

  • The Legislative Assembly Speaker KB Koliwad approved the motion
  • Water from Cauvery River not to be used for any other purpose including agriculture
Cauvery for states drinking water supply only says Karnataka
Bengaluru, First Published Sep 23, 2016, 3:12 PM IST

Signalling its inability to spare Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu as per the Supreme Court direction, a special session of the Karnataka legislature today adopted an unanimous resolution to use the water only to meet drinking water needs and not to provide it for any other purpose.

Maintaining that the state was in "severe distress" and struggling to meet even the drinking water needs in the Cauvery basin, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, "an impossible situation wherein it is not possible to comply with a court (order) has been created."

The resolution did not refer to the apex Court direction to the state to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu from September 21 to 27 but is expected to put Karnataka on a collision course with the judiciary. 

"Discussions taken up in the Assembly are part of the democratic process...I don't think it is constitutionally wrong...You cannot give which you don't have...If it is not, there is a problem," party spokesman Tom Vadakkan told reporters when asked about the issue.


The Legislative Assembly Speaker KB Koliwad approved the motion that stated: “The Karnataka state is in a difficult situation, so the Cauvery water should be used for state’s need for drinking water.”


What the motion said:


The Assembly has observed with concern that the state is facing a crisis in the 2016-17 water year. But the clear picture on the deficit quantity of water will be known only at the end of the season i.e in January, next year.


Observations have also been made on the fact that water levels in four reservoirs of the Cauvery basin in Karnataka – KRS, Hemavathi, Harangi and Kabini are at a minimum, totalling to 27.6 TMC only.


This is a situation to be taken seriously. Thus the Assembly has decided to use the water in these reservoirs for drinking purpose only to Bengaluru and towns and villages in the Cauvery Basin.


Thus, keeping the interest of people of Karnataka, the unanimous decision has been taken to retain water in the four reservoirs and will not be used for any other activities including agriculture.


The argument was also made during the discussion that the Indian Water Policy says, drinking water should be given priority over all other activities.


So when the water is not being used for agriculture in the Cauvery basin in Karnataka itself, there was little possibility of releasing water to Tamil Nadu for their Samba paddy cultivation.


Watch the video of Speaker Koliwad approving the motion


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