Highlights of the ‘Final Order’ of the ‘Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’ (CWDT)

The ‘Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’ (CWDT),  formed in the year 1990 by the Union Government of India, which had been issuing ‘Interim Orders’ related to the sharing of ‘Cauvery Water’ among the ‘party states’  announced its ‘Final Order’ on 5th February 2007.

Highlights of the ‘Final Order’ of the ‘Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’ (CWDT)

The Order  of the ‘Tribunal would  come into operation on the ‘Date of the Publication in the Official Gazette’ under ‘Section 6 of the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956’, as amended from time to time.

The 2 ‘Agreements’ made between the ‘Princely State of Mysore’ and the ‘Madras Presidency’ in the years 1892 & 1924, though are more than 110 and 80 years old, cannot be treated as invalid. The Tribunal framed its Order based on the 2 Agreements, with the necessary changes, with reference to the present situations. The ‘Order’ would supersede the above 2 Agreements of 1892 & 1924.

The ‘Cauvery River’ includes the ‘Main Stream’ of the river, all its tributaries and all other streams contributing water, directly or indirectly to the ‘Cauvery River’.

The waters of the ‘Cauvery River’ must be shared by the 4 States of: Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry (the then Union Territory of Pondichery ), the ‘Party States’, according to the guidelines of the ‘Tribunal’s Award’.

The ‘Water Year’ means, the year commencing on 1st June and ending on 31st May.  The “irrigation Season” is from 1st June to 31st January of the next year.

The Tribunal has determined the ‘Utilisable Quantum of Water’ per year of the Cauvery River, on the basis of 50% dependability as 740 TMC

One TMC is ‘One Thousand Million Cubic Feet’, which is equal to 28,316,846,592 litres / 2831.68 Crores litres.

The ‘Utilisable Quantum of Water’ during a water year will include the water carried over from the previous water year as assessed on the 1st of June on the basis of stored waters available on that date in all the reservoirs with effective storage capacity of 3 TMC and above.

The years when the ‘Utilisable Quantum of Water’ from the Cauvery River is 740 TMC are the ‘Normal Years’.

In the ‘Distress Years’, when the water from the river is less, the allocated shares must be proportionately reduced among the party States.

In the ‘Normal Years’, the total quantity of water of 740 TMC per year must be shared as given below:-

  • Tamil Nadu: 419 TMC,
  • Karnataka: 270 TMC,
  • Kerala: 30 TMC ( 21 TMC from the ‘Kabini Sub-Basin’, 6 TMC from the ‘Bhavani Sub-Basin’ and 3 TMC from the ‘Pambar Sub-Basin’),
  • Reserved for the ‘Environmental Protection’: 10 TMC and
  • For the inevitable ‘escapage’ into the sea: 4 TMC.

The following ‘Inter-State Contact Points’ have been identified for ‘Monitoring the Water Deliveries’:

  • ‘Between Kerala and Karnataka :’The Kabini Reservoir Site.
  •  Between Kerala and Tamil Nadu: The Chavadiyoor G.D.Site for the Bhavani Sub-Basin (which has been reported to be operated by Kerala, and which can be revived for ‘Inter-State’ observations) &  Amaravathy Reservoir Site for Pambar Sub-Basin,
  •  Between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu: ‘The Billigundulu G.D.Site’ / Any other site on the common border, and
  • Between Tamil Nadu and Puducherry :The 7 Contact Points which are already in operation.

The ‘Tribunal’ has ordered that ‘Tentative Monthly Deliveries’ must be made available, during a ‘Normal Year’ to the State of Tamil Nadu, by the State of Karnataka at the ‘Inter-State’ Contact Point of the 2 major shareholders of the ‘Cauvery River Water’, presently identified as ‘Billigundulu Gauge’ and at the ‘Discharge Station’/s on the common border of the 2 States.

Tentatively, out of its share, Tamil Nadu State must get 192 TMC (172 TMC plus 20 TMC allocated for the ‘Environmental Purposes’) by the Monthly Schedule of Discharge as given below, broken in 10 Daily Intervals by the Regulatory Authority:

June- 8 TMC, July- 34 TMC, August-50 TMC, September- 40 TMC, October- 22 TMC, November- 15 TMC, December-8 TMC, January- 3 TMC, February- 2.5 TMC, March- 2.5 TMC, April- 2.5 TMC and May- 2.5 TMC.

The Regulating Authority must properly monitor the ‘Monthly Discharge’ as per the Schedule for a period of 5 years with the help of the concerned States and any modification / adjustment in the Schedule, if and when needed must be worked out in consultation with the ‘Party States’ and with the help of the ‘Central Water Commission’ for future adoption, without changing the ‘Annual Allocation’ among the party states.

According to the Tribunal, any use of underground waters by the ‘Party States’ will not be considered as the ‘Use of the Cauvery River Water’.

The pattern of ‘Down Stream Release’ of water for the ‘Hydro-Power Projects’ in the ‘Party States’ must be consistent with the ‘Tribunal’s Award’, so that the ‘Irrigation Requirements’ are not jeopardized.

The use of water in the ‘Party States’ must be measured by the depletion of water of the river and its tributaries in any manner, including evaporation from the reservoirs. The diversion of water from the river, its tributaries, any storage, reservoir and canals, for irrigation and ‘Municipal Drinking Water Supply’ purposes will be taken as use of the ‘Cauvery River Water’ in the ‘Water Year’.

The ‘Tribunal’s Order’ will not impair the rights, powers and authority of any of the ‘Party States’ to regulate the use of water in its boundaries and use of water within the state in any manner consistent with the order.

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