Cauvery River Current Affairs
Following directions from Supreme Court, the Central Government has constituted the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CMA) to address the dispute over sharing of river water among Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry.
In February, 2018 judgement, the Supreme Court had directed centre to form the CMA within six weeks. In the same verdict, the court had also increased Karnataka’s share in Cauvery Water marginally.
Cauvery Water Management Authority (CMA)
The newly constituted Cauvery Water Management Authority (CMA) has been created as per the Cauvery Management Scheme earlier framed by Centre and approved by Supreme Court.
Composition and Powers of CMA
· The authority will comprise a chairman, a secretary and eight members. Out of the eight members, two will be full time, while two will be part time members from centre’s side.
· Rest four will be part time members from states. The main mandate of the CMA will be to secure implementation and compliance of the Supreme Court’s order in relation to “storage, apportionment, regulation and control of Cauvery waters”.
· CMA will also advise the states to take suitable measures to improve water use efficiency. It will do so by promoting use of micro-irrigation, change in cropping patterns, improved farm practices and development of command areas.
· The CMA will also prepare an annual report covering its activities during the preceding year.
Role of Central Government
The central government will provide help in implementation of the modified award in case of any of the state /UT parties (Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Puducherry) do not cooperate in implementing the decision or direction of the tribunal. Initially, centre will contribute Rs. 2 crore for the functioning of the authority.
Cauvery Water Regulation Committee
Along with CMA, the government has also established Cauvery Water Regulation Committee that shall give effect to the decision of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal as modified by the Supreme Court order. This committee will meet every 10 days during months of June and October when the south-west and north-east monsoon set in and again after the monsoon has set in.
Supreme Court has approved Centre’s draft Cauvery Management Scheme for smooth distribution of water among four southern riparian states/UT viz. Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. It ordered Central Government to notify the scheme before the monsoons.
The apex court also modified Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) award of 2007 and made it clear that it will not be extending time for its implementation on any ground. It also raised Karnataka’s share of Cauvery water by 14.75 tmcft saying that issue of drinking water of Southern Karnataka region has to be placed on a higher pedestal. At the same time, it reduced Tamil Nadu’s share, while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from river basin.
Cauvery Management Scheme
The scheme deals with release of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. It will be implemented by Cauvery Management Authority (CMA). CMA will be sole body to implement CWDT award as modified by Supreme Court. The Central Government will have no say in implementing of the scheme except for issuing administrative advisories to it.
Cauvery River rises on Brahmagiri Hill of Western Ghats in south-western Karnataka. It flows in south-easterly direction through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu before emptying into Bay of Bengal. At its mouth near Bay of Bengal it forms wide delta called garden of southern India. Kaveri’s main tributaries are Kabani (Kabbani), Noyil, Amaravati, Hemavati, Lakshmantirtha and Bhavani rivers. The river is important for its irrigation canal projects in southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.