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Cauvery River Water Dispute pdf Download for UPSC Mains Exam

Cauvery River Water Dispute pdf Download for UPSC Mains Exam

Main issue – Cauvery Water dispute

States – Tamil nadu And Karnataka

The sharing of waters of the cauvery river has been the source of a serious conflict between the two Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.Sharing of water dispute draws their history since british era.

In the late nineteenth century the Mysore Government purporting to restore their old irrigation works wanted to build a number of irrigation works for the benefit of new areas.

These constructions were to be made on the rivers and streams emanating and passing through their State.Apprehending that such constructions by the Government of Mysore will diminish the water flowing into the State of Madras, the State of Madras took up the matter with the Government of India.

Two agreements in 1892 and 1924 between the erstwhile Madras Presidency and Princely State of Mysore were taken place in order to solve the dispute regarding sharing of water.

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Cauvery River Water Dispute pdf Download for UPSC Mains Exam

Geographical location of river Cauvery:Cauvery River Water Dispute pdf Download for UPSC Mains Exam

  • The 765-km. long river Cauvery cuts across two Indian states, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • It originates at Talacauvery in Kodagu district in Karnataka.
  • While it flows mainly through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, a lot of its basin area is covered by Kerala and the Karaikal area of Puducherry.

What is the background of this issue?

1. The Cauvery dispute started in the year 1892, between the Madras Presidency (under the British Raj) and the Princely state of Mysore when they had to come to terms with dividing the river water between the two states. According to the 1892 and the 1924 agreements the river water isdistributed as, 75% with Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, 23% to Karnataka, remaining to go to Kerala.

2. In the year 1910, both states started planning the construction of dams on the river. Further, in 1924, Britisher’s presided an agreement was signed between the two states where the rules of regulation of the Krishnarajsagar dam. Hence, the 1924 agreement gave both the Madras presidency and the Mysore state rights to use the surplus waters of the Cauvery. Madras had objected to the construction of the Krishnasagar dam and hence the agreement gave them the liberty to build the Mettur dam. However, the agreement also put restrictions on the extent of area irrigated by Madras and Mysore using the river water.

3. The clause 11 of the agreement provided ” for such modifications and additions as may be mutually agreed upon as the result of reconsideration” after a passage of 5 decades, this revision clause was only applicable to projects other than KRS. Conditions governing the construction and operation of KRS and that could not be subject to any review.

4. The late 20th century, Tamil Nadu opposed the construction of dams on the river by Karnataka, and the state in turn wanted to discontinue the water supply to Tamil Nadu moreover, pointed that, 1924 agreement had lapsed when its 50 years were up in 1974 and considering that the river originated in Karnataka, they had better claim over the river. They argued that they were not bound by the agreement struck between the British Empire and the Maharaja of Mysore.

However, the dispute over distribution of Cauvery water continued and it was only in 1990 that the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal was set up. The tribunal announced its award in 2007.

What is the main reason for dispute?

  1. Tamil Nadu contended that even if it was to accept the Karnataka stand that due to deficient rainfall in the current year, the inflow of water into four major reservoirs in the State is less, the same (shortfall in inflow of water into the reservoirs) could not have been more than 28%.
  2. The pro- rate formula as per the final order of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal, the state was entitled to 68 tmcft of water at Billigundulu from 1 June to 31 August.

What is SC’s water sharing principle?

  • The Supreme Court declares an inter-State river like Cauvery as a ‘national asset’.
  • It is for the common benefit of the community as a whole.
  • It has emphasized the principle of equitable apportionment or the principle of equality among riparian States.
  • Importantly, it does not imply equal division of water.
  • It is rather a fair and equitable share of the water according to the needs.
  • In other words, an equal consideration and equal economic opportunity of the co-basin States.
  • Accordingly, no State can claim exclusive ownership of its waters.
  • None can either deprive other States of their equitable share.

What is the validity?

  • The water allocation arrangement will stand unchanged for the next 15 years.
  • The court also warned the States to not deviate from the judgment.
  • They are also not to use the allotted water for other than the designated purposes.

What are the implementation mechanisms?

  • The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal had prescribed two machineries to monitor the implementation of its order.

These are:

  1. Cauvery Management Board (CMB)
  2. Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC)

The CMB would monitor the storage position in the Cauvery basin and the trend of rainfall.

  • This is to 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 CWRC is to ensure that the Tribunal’s order is carried out in due spirit.

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