The Cauvery water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu along with lingual and immigration conflict has been raging on since several years. I never bothered much about this dispute because I was of the opinion that this was a dispute created artificially by politicians to create and consolidate vote banks, create a lingual frenzy and gain popularity.
When the dispute was raging during the early 1990s my late maternal grandfather (may his soul rest in peace) used to euologize on his own formula of compromise and justice between the two states. His logic was simple “Maintain the same water level in the largest reservoirs in both states, Mettur’s Stanley reservoir in Tamil Nadu and Krishnaraja Sagar in Karnataka, and let the rest of the water flow freely.” At that point in time I tended to agree with him.
But after my recently acquired knowledge which I accidentally came across during my research on river Cauvery for a radio show my opinion has dramatically changed, and now I feel that Tamil Nadu’s demand for water is atrociously unjust and selfish. Tamil people by demanding water from Karnataka are in reality baying for the blood of our people.
I don’t want to get emotional and write volumes about the dispute. I would just like to state some facts and let you decide on who is right and who is wrong.
Total Land Area
Karnataka: 191,791 sq. km
Tamil Nadu: 130,058 sq. km
Total Land used for Agriculture:
Karnataka: 12.31 million hectares
Tamil Nadu: 6.28 million hectares
Karnataka: 52,850,562 (52.8 million)
Population: 62,405,679 (62.4 million)
Percentage of total population dependent on agriculture
Karnataka: 71% (37.48 million)
Tamil Nadu: 56% (34.94 million)
Length of River Cauvery
Total: 765 km
Karnataka: 320 km
Tamil Nadu: -Data Not available-
Area of Cauvery Basin
Total: 81,155 sq km
Karnataka: 34,273 sq km (42.23 %)
Tamil Nadu: 44,016 sq km (54.23 %)
Kerala: 2,866 sq km
Pondicherry: 148 sq km
Draught area in the Cauvery Basin
Karnataka: 21,870 sq km
Tamil Nadu: 12,790 sq km
Contribution of water to the river from the states areas (Karnataka Claim)
Karnataka: 425 tmc ft
Tamil Nadu: 252 tmc ft
Kerala: 113 tmc ft
Contribution of water to the river from the states areas (Tamil Nadu Claim)
Karnataka: 392 tmc ft
Tamil Nadu: 222 tmc ft
Kerala: 126 tmc ft
Quantity of water demanded
Karnataka: 465 tmc ft
Tamil Nadu: 566 tmc ft
Kerala: 100 tmc ft
Pondicherry: 9.3 tmc ft
Quantity of water to be allocated according to Tamil Nadu
Karnataka: 177 tmc ft
Tamil Nadu: 566 tmc ft
Kerala: 5 tmc ft
Pondicherry: 0.0 tmc ft
Major Tributaries which feed into River Cauvery
Karnataka: Shimsha, Arkavathy, Hemavathy, Harangi, Suvarnavati, Honnuhole, Lakshmanathirtha, Lokapavani,
Tamil Nadu: Bhavani, Noyyil, Amaravathy
Capacity of large dams built across Cauvery River
Karnataka: Krishnaraja Sagar – 49 tmc ft
Tamil Nadu: Mettur Dam aka Stanley Reservoir: 93.4 tmc ft
Utilization of Cauvery Water (1972)
Karnataka: 277 tmc ft
Tamil Nadu: 489 tmc ft
Kaveri Tribunal Award (2007)
Karnataka: 270 tmc ft
Tamil Nadu: 419 tmc ft
Kerala: 50 tmc ft
Pondicherry: 7 tmc ft
The above statistics clearly prove that Tamil Nadu is seeking an unfair share of water of river Cauvery. According to the state’s claim Tamil Nadu contributes only 222 tmc ft (30 %) of water to the river, but the state wants 75 percent of the rivers water, so what if all other states involved were to die of thirst.
While considering the population of the state dependent on Agriculture Karnataka is head and shoulders above the number in TN, but still they feel that they should get more water than our farmers. I wonder whose logic this is? It is ok if Karnataka farmers commit suicide because of crop failure but Tamil Nadu famers should reap harvest after harvest without any hindrances.
In terms of the tributaries which feed the Cauvery river, Karnataka contributes much more. Only in terms of gross population and land area in Cauvery basin does Tamil Nadu score above Karnataka…And of course in its unjustifiable demand for water. In all other aspects Karnataka stands head and shoulders above Tamil Nadu.
Even though Karnataka contributes (according to Tamil Nadu’s claim) 52.9 percent or 392 tmc ft of water to Cauvery river, Tamil Nadu feels that Kannadigas should receive only 177 tmc ft or 23 percent of the river’s water. I wonder whose screwed up logic this is, probably someone who has lost all his rockers or someone who is completely selfish and cruel much like the white people who murdered millions of native-Americans in the US and aborigines in Australia to establish their “New World”.
In my opinion Karnataka and Tamil Nadu’s political leaders have muddled up and created the conflict between the states. Of course the unjustifiable demand of Tamil Nadu is definitely not done… their people… at least those who are not chauvinistic, educated and have a sense of justice should look into these statistics and attempt to educate the people and stop this chaos which is causing devastation in both states… particularly in Karnataka.