Last irrigation year was good for delta farmers

CHENNAI: The last irrigation year – June 1, 2009 to May 31, 2010 – was, comparatively, a better one for Cauvery delta farmers with the State receiving more than the annual quantum fixed by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in its interim order.

As per the interim order, Karnataka has to release 205 thousand million cubic (tmc) ft of water to Tamil Nadu during an irrigation year. The State received 219.44 tmcft, a surplus of 14.44 tmcft. Karnataka let out only the surplus water from its reservoirs and did not release water into the river as and when flow was received.

During the south-west monsoon from June to September, the tribunal has prescribed 137 tmcft, nearly 66.82 per cent of the total quantum, considering the fact that Karnataka gets copious rain during this period.

Last year, the State received 135.94 tmcft, a shortfall of about 1.06 tmc ft. But, the month-wise release of water during the season was not as per the schedule prescribed by the tribunal.

In June Karnataka released 6.071 tmcft as against 10.16 tmc ft, in July 39.899 tmc ft against 42.76 tmcft and in August, 34.625 tmcft as against 54.72 tmcft.

In September Tamil Nadu received 55.34 tmc ft, when the prescribed quantum was only 29.36 tmcft. Since Karnataka failed to release the required quantity during the first three months of the irrigation year, the opening of the Mettur reservoir got delayed, forcing the farmers to skip the kuruvai crop.

Again, during the north-east monsoon from October to December, as against the prescribed 56.59 tmcft, the State realised 60.13 tmcft, an excess of 3.45 tmc ft.

During this period, the State got sufficient rain, especially in the delta districts, thereby reducing the pressure on the Mettur reservoir.

From January to May, the realisation was 11.961 tmcft more than the prescribed quantity of 11.41 tmcft.

As the reservoir was closed for irrigation from January 31 to May 31, the excess inflow was used to build up the storage to a certain extent. Wednesday’s storage in the reservoir was 38.473 tmcft and inflow, 3,164 cusecs.


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