Kannada, Kannadiga, Kannadigaru, Karnataka,

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Cauvery Verdict- Gross Failure Of Judiciary & GOI

Cauvery Verdict- Gross Failure Of Judiciary & GOI

“Mischief In Tribunal Order”


Urgent PIL, February05, 2007

Honorable President Of India Sh. APJ Abdul Kalam,

Honorable Prime Minister Of India,

Honorable Chief Justice Of India.


Cauvery Verdict- Gross Failure Of Judiciary & GOI

“Mischief In Tribunal Order”


Ravinder Singh, Inventor & Consultant, Y-77, Hauz Khas, New Delhi-16

Respected Sir,

Cauvery verdict has yet again shamed people of India in not addressing our problems in humanitarian and just manner. This reflects poorly on the caliber of our constitutional heads in not addressing the interstate issue of sharing of Cauvery water wisely and judicially in 60 years and war like situation has been created. Even reasonably good orders are scandalized by “Mischief” in judicial verdicts.

Critical Observation;

1. For sixty years riparian people of Karnataka and Kerala were prevented from using the waters generated in their rivers by TN even as their population has gone up by nearly 3.5 times. But TN government all along demanded even more waters of Ganga than consumed by Ganga Basin people unmindful of the huge cost of $150b and inefficiency/non-viability.

2. It must be emphasized that TN farmers in Cauvery basin get over 1000 mm rains compared to 500 mm for Karnataka farmers. Rain god in showering good rains already twice blesses TN. There is no obstruction and hindrance in this and efficiency is 100%. Though rains are not predicted but farmers can adjust to rains and with the assistance of tube-wells get optimum crop yield. The Tribunal award announced today is;-

[New Delhi, Feb. 5: The Cauvery Water Diputes Tribunal has announced its verdict today. As per the verdict Tamil Nadu will get 419 tmcft water and Karnataka 270 tmcft. Kerala and Puducherry will get 30 tmcft and 9 tmcft water respectively. Actual release by Karnataka to Tamil Nadu to be 192 tmcft annually. http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/000200702051401.htm ]

3. Petitioner inventor who has studied all important documents and even studied some latest files of water use in TN, has firm belief “Mischief” of “Actual release by Karnataka to Tamil Nadu to be 192 tmcft annually” has scandalized this judgment completely. The wording of Tribunal ought to be “Entitlements Of TN  and Karnataka are 419 tmcf and 270 tmcf in Cauvery River and both states should co-operate in maximizing their entitlement under the guidance of a team of independent experts.”

4. It is important for constitution heads to remember that TN in run up to this judgment was using far more waters of Cauvery than allocated presently but food production from 3% of river waters of India diverted in to Cauvery delta region is just 0.4%, a sixth of Indian food production.

It is shocking that rice production in Cauvery delta area getting most of Cauvery waters in three districts (18,19,20) Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagappattinam is only 0.8 million tons less than a tenth of Punjab. Importantly TMC of water is released from Mettur Dam alone and huge inflows from intermediate basin, the food productivity is absolutely pathetic in the world considering MS Swaminathan belongs to the region that has conned India for 50 years as farming expert. Average Cauveri basin flows are 20 maf and Karnataka is able to use 4-5 maf only and water available for Cauveri Delta is more than Indus waters allocated to Punjab that produces 25 million tons of wheat and rice. It is also important to mention that these three districts get 50% of canal irrigation.


5. Cauvery dispute has restricted development of agriculture in Karnataka over 60 years and TN that has substantial access to most of Cauvery waters produces too little food in using Cauvery waters. Food production of only 0.8 million tones in using Caveri Waters against average TN requirement of 12 million tones and by global average 24 million tones approximately.

6. There is total absence of statesmanship of the parties and wisdom in humanly addressing the issue. Everything our constitutional heads need to know in resolving the cauvery issue was taught to the petitioner at age five by his grand father.

[Petitioner asked his wise grand father in 1960 during visit to his ancestral village in post wheat harvest in month of May “Why You Have Put Under Cultivation Only 20%? – He Explained In Detail The Water Resources In Persian Wheels Are Just Enough To Irrigate And Raise Crops On 20% Area In May June months Of Dry Summer, Crops On Will Be Raised On Rest Of Area Coinciding With Monsoon Rains ”. He also explained on persistent questioning how water dries up in the well and losses of water in canals go on increasing with length.”]

7. But this judgment has come at a time when global warming concerns are real and petroleum prices have shot past vegetable oil prices. Developed countries have diverted food products like corn and wheat for ethanol production and using soybean, canola and palm oil as diesel substitute. Therefore for food security it is absolutely for desirable to optimize food production and water used linked to food production.

8. Mischief in the Order like in Narmada Award where in 9 maf water is allocate to Gujarat but in other clauses Gujarat was actually allowed to use over 20 maf of water. Such kind of mischief by corrupt or incompetent judges leads to over designing waste of resources, future conflicts and eventually wastes of resources, conflicts and mismanagement.

Interim Remedy;

Based On My Understanding Of The Cauvery Dispute modifying just two line will substantially correct the deficiencies in present Tribunal Award;

A. “Actual release by Karnataka to Tamil Nadu to be 192 tmcft annually” be replaced by

— “Actual release by Karnataka to Tamil Nadu to be 192 tmcft in normal year, lesser when TN gets more than 419 tmcf of water in above average rainy season and more when Karnataka has excess to spare in above average rainy season.”  

B. Both states are situated on Indian coastline therefore get substantial rains many times in a short period and in many years get up to 150% of normal rain but not enough storages to capture most of this water.

— “All Cauvery Basin states are permitted to raise storages to 60% of the inflows in the catchments of the future dams.”


C. Productivity linked water use policy is essential to double the food production to achieve world average food production. (Food-grains consumption of 300 gms/day) It will not be long before more responsible government in near future may introduce improved water policy.

D. The Cauvery Tribunal has wrongly restrained upper basin states from optimally using their riparian waters.

E. Function of Judiciary under the constitution is to ensure equitable, productive and judicial use of river waters, which is partly addressed by modifying just one line deleting the mischief.

F. Though the figure of water release mandated for Karnataka is 192 tmcf against 205 tmcf previously but average releases at Stanley reservoir were 330 tmcf. Thus by the time new policy is introduced Karnataka will use 138 tmcf more water and TN shall get 13 tmcf less.

G. TN is overjoyed in getting 192 tmcf and Karnataka should be able to do that.


Thank you,

(Ravinder Singh)



February 6, 2007 - Posted by | Bangalore, Karnataka and Kannada, Nanjundappa Report


  1. as per my visit in person to Kaveri river sarrounding areas the most irresponsible people specilly, southeren part of Karnataka, because only people of Mandya fighting for their water non other people of Mysorens or Bangalorens never mind at all and not protest against the voilation of their rights, in this view ur usefull information really healpfull and i have a hape this information will be cosidered by the suprem court as well as thous who want know any thing about award passed by the Kaveri tribunal and its mistake.

    Comment by Prashanth Mirle | February 6, 2007 | Reply

  2. Why the Cauvery award is flawed

    February 06, 2007

    The verdict by the three-member Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal headed by Justice N P Singh on February 5 fails on some crucial tests of equity, efficiency, technology and science.

    The award is bound to be challenged by Karnataka and Kerala, even as Tamil Nadu and Puduchery seem satisfied at this stage. Moreover the ambiguity in the award about sharing the water during distress years is likely to create problems in future.

    The Cauvery award fails on the test of science as it does not consider groundwater availability in the Cauvery basin area. It has only decided on the distribution of the surface water among the claimants. Tamil Nadu, being the lower riparian, has significant availability of groundwater, while Karnataka and Kerala, being the upper riparian, have relatively little of it. Groundwater, in reality, is the water lifeline of this country, with over two-thirds of irrigated foodgrains production, over 90 per cent of rural water supply and over 50 per cent of urban water supply dependent on groundwater.

    It’s also well known that groundwater and surface water are in dynamic equilibrium. To illustrate, the utilisable surface water in Cauvery basin is 19 BCM (billion cubic metres; 670.89 tmc ft), and replenishable groundwater resource in the basin is 12.3 BCM (434.31 tmc ft), which shows that the groundwater available in the basin is about 67 per cent of the utilisable surface water. To allow unrestricted groundwater use and not include groundwater in calculating water availability and allocation is unscientific, to put it rather charitably.

    The award fails the test of efficiency as the tribunal does not reward efficient use of water. It is well known that the farmers in Cauvery delta utilise larger amounts of water from the river. The cropping pattern in the delta includes a double crop of water-intensive paddy. The award, instead of promoting and rewarding more efficient cropping patterns and use of water, seems to be rewarding extravagant water.

    The award fails the test of technology as it did not consider the new water efficient method of cultivating rice, called the System of Rice Intensification. This technique has proved effective over thousands of hectares in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and elsewhere over the last 3-4 years. SRI can reduce water requirements by over 50 per cent and increase yields by 50 per cent or more. If SRI is indeed practiced in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the perceived water distress in the Cauvery basin could be almost eliminated.

    The award also fails the test of equity, as it did not consider the resources and needs of people at the micro level, but looked at the aggregate demands at the macro (state level). When you aggregate the demands in this way, the issues of equity and appropriateness at the micro level is lost entirely. This in fact has the potential of negating the potential water solutions for vast numbers of people in the catchment that contributes to the water in the river. In the Cauvery basin this threat of losing sight of micro issues is very much real, as was seen when the tank desilting project in Karnataka was opposed by Tamil Nadu on the pretext that it will reduce water available in the Mettur dam!

    Indeed, as the well-known commentator S Guhan noted, the Cauvery dispute is somewhat different than other water disputes like the Narmada and Godavari in the sense that Cauvery is already an overdeveloped basin, where the dispute is because of the seeming distress caused due to over-development. It is precisely for this reason that the issues of efficiency, technology, equity and science should be even more relevant for the Cauvery case.

    Ambiguity: The tribunal is also less than clear about the crucial question of sharing at the times of distress, when the real problems surface. It would have helped if the tribunal had clarified the exact manner of sharing the distress in each month of the year. The fact that the tribunal has used 50 per cent dependable hydrology for adjudication heightens this issue, since this means that the distress will be felt in about 50 per cent of the years. Here it may be added that the climate change due to global warming is only likely to increase the problems of dependability of flows in river. The review period available now before the award becomes final should be used to help clarify such issues.

    In fact, past experience of implementing tribunal awards has been far from happy. The number of lingering inter-state water disputes are increasing by the day. The Ravi-Beas dispute between Punjab and Haryana, the Krishna water dispute between Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, the Godavari dispute between Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa continue to linger. In the Narmada Valley, the disputes between the state and the people, a direct product of the Narmada Tribunal Award, continue, as the award (like all others) had heard only the state, not the people of the valley.

    Upper riparian state’s case: Karnataka state officials have given an indication of feeling aggrieved. If we look at the table below, we can see that Karnataka is the only state that has got less share in water than its share in the catchment of the Cauvery basin. When we add the fact that Karnataka basin has less groundwater availability, we see that there is some justification this feeling.

    Area in Cauvery basin, sq km (%)
    Water allocated, tmc ft (%)

    36240 (41.23)
    270 (36.49)

    Tamil Nadu
    48581 (55.27)
    419 (56.62)

    2930 (3.33)
    30 (4.05)

    149 (0.17)
    7 (0.95)

    Cauvery basin

    The interim order of the tribunal had directed Karnataka to release 205 tmc ft water and the final order requires Karnataka to release 192 tmc ft. Karnataka has been able to release more than the stipulated amount in 11 of the last 15 years. If that was possible for 205 tmc ft, it should certainly be possible for 192 tmc. Some problems could arise as the award now stipulates monthly release figures.

    Karnataka’s options: Section 5(1) of the Inter-State Water Disputes Act provides an opportunity for all concerned states to file clarification petitions (basically seeking explanation or guidance) before the tribunal over the next three months. Even after the final award is notified, the states can go to the Supreme Court. Karnataka and Kerala are likely to explore these avenues. The Centre has no option but to notify the tribunal’s final award. Participant states can delay the formation and implementation of the regulatory body mandated in the award, but it is too premature to discuss such possibilities at this stage.

    The Cauvery Family: Fortunately in the Cauvery basin, some useful work has already been done by a collective called the Cauvery Family, of farmers, technical experts and academics from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, over their nine sittings. This collective will have an important role to play in days to come to ensure that appropriate solutions are brought into the picture missing in the tribunal award and to ensure that people’s real needs are taken care of. If this family is allowed and enabled to perform such a role, it can surely bring about significant improvements in the Cauvery basin.

    Amicable solutions to river water disputes are possible only when there is greater democracy in water resources planning and decision-making, something that is totally missing today.

    The author is the founder of the NGO — South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People

    Comment by ellakavi | February 9, 2007 | Reply

  3. i am anxious to know the following
    i. details of dams constructed
    2.monthly yield in dams
    3.other relevant details if any

    Comment by b vadiraaja | March 14, 2007 | Reply

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