Mettur water release unlikely on June 12

CHENNAI: Opening of the Mettur reservoir on June 12 for kuruvai cultivation in Cauvery delta districts may not be possible this year in view of poor storage.

On Tuesday, the storage was 38 thousand million cubic (tmc) ft as against the capacity of 93.4 tmcft. Only if the level on June 12 is at least 50 tmcft or more can water be released.

Every year, the reservoir is opened on June 12 for kuruvai cultivation on about 1.2 lakh hectares in the delta districts.

Last year too, the reservoir could not be opened on the scheduled date as the storage was only 23 tmcft. Kuruvai crop was raised on about 55,000 hectares with the help of filter-point wells.

Hopes on monsoon

Public Works Department officials here say though the south-west monsoon has set in, the reservoir may not get sufficient water before June 12.

At present the combined storage in Karnataka reservoirs is 26 tmcft as against the capacity of 114 tmcft in Kabini and Krishna Raja Sagar and its suppliers Harangi and Hemavathi.

It has been the practice of Karnataka to release water for Tamil Nadu only after its reservoirs are full.

As of now there is no possibility of the State getting water from Karnataka, which will build up storage in its reservoirs to the extent possible.

Tamil Nadu can, at best, get water from the Kabini reservoir in the immediate future as its storage is somewhat better at 6.6 tmc ft compared to the capacity of 19 tmcft.

Tribunal order

As per the interim order of the Cauvery Water Distress Tribunal, all reservoirs in the Cauvery system should be closed for irrigation on January 31 and there should not be any water release till June 1. But, Karnataka continues to violate the order and has been drawing water from its reservoirs for summer crops.

In the current year too, the Karnataka reservoirs had a combined storage of 68 tmc ft and the storage at Kabini was 13 tmcft. But, in the last four months, Karnataka withdrew about 42 tmcft of water for the summer crop.

S. Vydhianathan From THE HINDU

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