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Q. Cauvery river water dispute and solution: In the backdrop on going tension between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu on Cauvery river water sharing, discuss the issue and also outline how issues related to water sharing can be solved.
Sep 08, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

Introduction-

The Cauvery water dispute, which has became a bone of contention between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for more than decades. The recent Supreme Court order to release 15000 cusecs water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu has led to violent reaction in Karnataka.

Cauvery river water dispute-

  • Cauvery river basin covers a large expanse of land including major chunks in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and also smaller areas in Kerala and Puducherry.
  • Many times central government tried to resolve the issues of water sharing through negotiation, or by forming committee both in pre independence and post independence times.
  • When issues was resolved through dialogues,  the central government has formed The Cauvery Waters Tribunal on the request of Tamil Nadu government.
  • After 16 years of hearing and an interim order, the Tribunal announced its final order in 2007 allocating 419 tmc ft water to Tamil Nadu and 270 tmc ft to Karnataka. Kerala was given 30 tmc ft and Puducherry got 7 tmc ft.
  • The Tribunal had come to a conclusion that total availability of water in Cauvery basin stood at 740 tmc ft. However, both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka filed a review petition before the Tribunal.
  • The recent order was with reference to in abnormal conditions the sharing should be reduced proportionally. Hence Court has directed Karnataka to release 15000 cusecs water to save samba crops and this order has led to violent protest in Karnataka, as it is also suffering from lack of water.

How to solve such water disputes-

  • First of all politician should refrain from making it an emotive issue by inciting people towards violent reactions. By creating regional strife over water they are making disservice to the nation, hence they should refrain from such acts.
  • As ever river basin state insists on growing water intensive crops like sugarcane. As water is scarce resource the solution should be to change the crop mix to reduce water consumption.
  • Tribunals and central government must have clarity on the per-capita water entitlement in the river basin, for particular levels of rainfall in the catchment area. Water management bodies must be created to enforce these entitlements using price and quantity restrictions.
  • New water cannot be created with commencement of new economic activity. Hence water entitlements have to be reapportioned and there must be mechanisms to make this happen.

Conclusion-

Due to scarcity of water and vested interest of politicians, the river water sharing has became emotive issue throughout the country, Cauvery river water dispute is best example of this.  Hence there must be proper mechanism to solve these water sharing issues, else these may convert into violent reactions. Government should spread awareness campaign for proper utilisation as well as harvesting of water resources.


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