Karnataka loses… Bengaluru will be worst hit

BLOW AFTER BLOW SC asks State to release 6,000 cusecs per day till September 27; orders constitution of Cauvery Management Board which means that state govt will have no control over the water stored in dams, reservoirs in Cauvery Basin.

Bengaluru will be worst hit
The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Centre to constitute the Cauvery Water Management Board (CWMB) within four weeks and to release 6,000 cusecs of water every day to Tamil Nadu till September 27. While the order has come under severe criticism from the state, experts have also raised concerns that the formation of the board would deprive Bengaluru of its share of Cauvery water, as the 2007 verdict by the tribunal never even considered the city a part of the Cauvery basin.

The Cauvery Water Tribunal, in its final verdict in 2007, had allocated 270 TMC of water to Karnataka. However, the tribunal did not make specific allocation for Bengaluru as it never considered the city a part of the Cauvery basin. However, the state government decided to draw from the state’s share and began supplying it to Bengaluru to meet the city’s growing demands.

Giving an insight into the problem, MN Thippeswamy, former chief engineer of BWSSB, acknowledged that the 2007 tribunal order was indeed a blunder, considering Bengaluru‘s requirement of Cauvery water. “It has not been possible till date to set that right. It was shown that a total of 8 TMC of water was to be used for potable purposes. Of this, Bengaluru got less than 2 TMC. But with the city’s growing demands, the government later began to supply water from the state’s share,” he said.

Another retired engineer from the BWSSB, who didn’t want to be named, said: “The board will function and discharge its duties based on the guidelines of the 2007 tribunal order. Hence, the state government may have to submit a fresh petition seeking allocation of water for Bengaluru city every year. Depending on the situation, the board may either approve or reject the proposal. Given the growth of Bengaluru, domestically as well as in industries, there will be a huge requirement of water in the coming days and the board, if constituted, is unlikely to honour state’s request for water for Bengaluru.”

Sources in BWSSB explained that Bengaluru alone requires 19 TMC of water annually. (Cauvery first stage-2 TMC feet, second stage-2 TMC feet, third stage-4 TMC feet, fourth stage (phase one)-4 TMC feet and phase two-7 TMC feet.) The Shiva anecut (near TK Halli) is the nodal point for intake of water for all stages of Cauvery.

The water at anecut is mainly dependent on the water availability in the upstream reservoirs. If there is no adequate water at anecuts, then supply of water to Bengaluru may be severely hit. In fact, it is not just drinking water but power generation will also be hit as the water at Shiva anecut will be used by KPTCL as well for power generation at Shiva and Shimsha stations.

Now, BWSSB officials are planning to meet shortly to build a road map till next June.

Sources in the water resources department revealed to media that currently KRS has only 13 TMC of water. “Out of the 13 TMC, the usable water is only 4.5 TMC. If the government decides to release 42,000 cusecs in the next seven days, it would drain out 3.82 TMC, leaving only a minimum of 0.68 TMC, which is like a drop in the ocean given the requirement of Bengaluru till next monsoon,” a senior official explained.

All about the water panel
With the Supreme Court asking the Centre to constitute Cauvery Water Management Board within four weeks, here is a list of FAQs and all that you need to know about the body

Q) What is the purpose of the Cauvery board?
The Cauvery River Management Board shall be established for the purpose of securing compliance and implementation of the final decision and directions of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal. The Board shall have perpetual succession and a common seal and shall by the name sue and be sued. The Board shall be under the control of the Government of India, Ministry of Water Resources. The Board is to set up a well-designed communication network in the Cauvery basin for transmission of data and a computer-based control room for data processing to determine the hydrological conditions including distress, if any. For this purpose, it may utilize the latest technology. For operational purposes, this work may be entrusted by the Board to Central Water Commission (CWC) or any other Central/State Government organization.

In case of deficiency in water availability during any month as reported by the regulation committee, the Board will consider reduction in the indent of the parties in proportion to the quantities allocated to each State by the Tribunal for the designated crops.

Q) What are the functions of the board?
The CWC shall establish additional gauging stations as required at feasible sites at/near the border of Kerala and Karnataka, where Kabini and its tributaries enter Karnataka so as to monitor inflows from Kerala. The Cauvery Management Board/Regulatory Authority shall also set-up its machinery and devise methods to determine the quantum of unutilised water to be received from Kerala by Tamil Nadu through Kabini and its tributaries, and ensure delivery thereof in Tamil Nadu at the common border. The Regulatory Authority shall also monitor flows from the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir as also from Kabini and other tributaries meeting the Cauvery below the KRS up to Billigundulu site. Cauvery Management Board/

Regulatory Authority will monitor the situation with the help of the Cauvery Regulation Committee and the concerned State Authorities. The area of focus will be the available storage position in the Cauvery basin along with the trend of rainfall and will make an assessment about the likely inflows which may be available for distribution amongst the party states within the overall schedule of water deliveries.

Q) What will be the board’s formula be in distress years?
The month of June would be crucial because the irrigation season starts from June 1, as also the normal date of the onset of the southwest monsoon in Kerala. As such, any delay in the onset of southwest monsoon would affect the inflows, and consequently schedule of releases from Krishnarajasagara and Kabini reservoirs. It would, therefore, be advisable that at the end of May each year, as much storage as is possible during a good year, should be consciously conserved, as that will help in adhering to the schedule of monthly deliveries. However, if there are two consecutive bad years, it would cause distress which shall have to be appropriately tackled by the Cauvery Management Board/Regulatory Authority by relaxing the schedule of deliveries and getting the reservoirs operated in an integrated manner through the States concerned to minimise any harsh effect of a bad monsoon year. In view of such practical difficulties, the Cauvery Management Board/Regulatory Authority shall have the liberty to alter monthly and/or ten-daily schedule of releases while making effort to meet the seasonal allocations for the crop as far as possible, in consultation with the party States.

Q) Who will all be part of the Board?
1) The Cauvery Management Board shall consist of a whole-time Chairman and two whole-time Members to be appointed by the Central Government. The post of whole-time Chairman shall be held by an Irrigation Engineer of the rank of Chief Engineer having not less than 20 years’ experience in the field of water resources management.

2) One whole-time Member shall be an Irrigation Engineer not below the rank of Chief Engineer having sufficient field experience in the operation of reservoirs and management, maintenance and operation of large irrigation projects for a period not less than 15-years.

3) The second whole-time Member shall be an agricultural expert of repute especially in Agronomy with a field experience of not less than 15 years. The tenure of the Chairman and the two whole-time members shall be for a period of three years extendable to five years.

4) Two representatives of the Central Government shall be of the rank of Chief Engineer/Commissioner to be nominated by the Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Agriculture respectively. They shall be part-time Members of the Board.

5) A representative each of the State Governments of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Union Territory of Pondicherry shall be nominated by the respective governments; they shall be part-time members of the Board. The State representative shall again be an Irrigation Engineer of the rank of Chief Engineer, Irrigation/Water resources/Public Works Department as the case may be, nominated by the respective State Governments.

6) Secretary: An Irrigation Engineer not belonging to any party State and not below the rank of a Director/Superintending Engineer shall be appointed by the Board.

Q) Who will have voting rights in the board?
Six members shall form a quorum and the concurrence of the majority shall be necessary for the transaction of the business of the board except such business as the Board may from time to time prescribe as routine. The Members shall have equal powers. The next meeting will be held within three days if the meeting is postponed for want of quorum and for that meeting quorum will not be necessary.

The Board shall determine the place of its headquarters after consultation with party States and with the approval of the Government of India. Chairman of the Board can invite representatives from the Central Water Commission, National Institute of Hydrology, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) and/or any other agency including universities as special invitees to attend the Board meeting or otherwise in carrying out the functions specified under this scheme.

Q) Who will bear the expenses?
Board shall frame its own rules for the conduct of its business. All expenses of the Board (including salary and other expenses of the Chairman and independent Members) shall be borne by the State Governments of Kerala – 15%; Karnataka – 40%, Tamil Nadu – 40%; and Union Territory of Pondicherry – 5%. The expenses pertaining to Member representing a State shall be borne by the State concerned. The cost of maintaining, operation and controlling of gauging and other hydrological systems for communicating the data shall be borne by the State concerned. The cost of construction and maintenance of the storages, power installations, diversion works, head-works and canal networks shall be borne wholly by the State Government in whose territory the works are located.

Q) What are the guidelines of the board?
As it will not be possible for the Board to forecast the nature of the monsoon, the Board at the beginning of the water year i.e. first June each year, would determine the total residual storage in the specified reservoirs. Again, it is not possible to know the amount of season-wise river flows which will be available during a season; it will be assumed that the inflows will be according to 50 pc dependable year (yield 740 TMC). The share of each State will be determined on the basis of the flows so assumed together with the available carry over storage in the reservoirs. The withdrawals will be allowed during the first time interval of ten days of the season on the basis of the share worked out for each party State limited to the water requirements during the same period indicated by each State by placing an indent of water demand with Cauvery Water Regulation Committee.

Q) Who will operate the reservoirs?
The following important reservoirs in the basin namely: Banasurasagar in Kerala; Hemavathy, Harangi, Kabini and Krishnarajasagara in Karnataka; and Lower Bhavani, Amaravathy and Mettur in Tamil Nadu shall be operated in an integrated manner by the concerned State under the overall guidance of the Cauvery Management Board for each ten day period throughout the year to meet the seasonal water requirements of the various States for irrigation, hydro-power generation, domestic and industrial uses etc and the remaining quantities of the surplus water conserved as far as possible and spillage of water reduced to the minimum.

Q) What will be the powers of the board?
The Board has to ensure that the state construct proper Hydraulic structures at all important anicut sites in the basin with provision of appropriate regulation mechanism, besides regular monitoring of the withdrawals at such diversion structures on the part of the State. The Board may direct party States to furnish data in respect of carry-over storage in reservoirs, including inflows and outflows, rainfall data, the area irrigated and water utilised. The Board shall arrange collection of data for important rain gauge stations maintained by IMD/CWC/States in the Cauvery basin; as also inflow data measured at important nodal points on the Cauvery river system through the Cauvery Regulation Committee which will suitably compile the rainfall data for different monsoon seasons along with the inflows measured at different sites.

Q) Can board members enter the reservoirs?
The Board or any Member or any representative thereof shall have the power to enter upon any land or property upon which any hydraulic structure or any work of gauging or measuring device has been or is being constructed, operated or maintained by any agency in the Cauvery basin for the purpose of implementing the decision of the Tribunal, or to construct or make direction to construct additional gauging stations to the States concerned with the assistance of the Central and Central Water Commission for implementing the decision of the Tribunal.

If the Board finds that either government of the party States namely Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Union Territory of Puducherry do not co-operate in implementing the decision/direction of the Tribunal, it can seek the help of the Central.

If any delay/shortfall is caused in release of water on account of default of any party State, the Board shall take appropriate action to make good the deficiency by subsequently deducting indented releases of that party State.

WHAT HAPPENED ON TUESDAY
* SC directs Karnataka to release 6,000 cusecs of water daily till September 27
* Instant protests and rasta roko in Mandya and other areas
* Home Minister Parameshwara says Karnataka hurt by decision
* CM Siddaramaiah says Karnataka not in a position to release water and will decide at Wednesday’s cabinet meet
* Farmers demand govt release crop relief fund
* Tech firms send employees back early; allow work from home

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT ON WEDNESDAY
* Schools/colleges to function as usual; no holiday declared
* Crucial meeting of Siddaramaiah cabinet members in the morning; all-party meeting to be held in the evening
* Peaceful protests over Supreme Court judgement
* Buses/metro/cabs are likely to continue their services
* More than 18,000 security personnel deployed in city
* Mandya to observe bandh in protest against ‘injustice’
* Ban orders under section 144 CrPC across Bengaluru till Sept 25

SOURCE: THE REPORT OF THE CAUVERY WATER DISPUTES TRIBUNAL

Credits Bangalore Mirror

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