The Cauvery water Dispute : A brief

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The Cauvery water dispute is a quarrel between the two states Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. This conflict between the two states dates back to the year 1892 & 1924 when two agreements were signed between “The Madras Presidency and Princely State of Mysore”. The state of Karnataka “termed”pre-independence once agreements as “invalid” as the state found them to be bias towards “Madras Presidency.”

PAST EFFORTS BY THE GOVERNMENTFollowing heavy disagreement and a cold war which worsened with time the Government of India, constituted a tribunal back in the year 1990 to look into the matter. After hearing the two parties for more than 16 years the tribunal came up with a final verdict on 5 January 2007. The verdict allocated 419 (tmc) to Tamil Nadu and 270 (tmc) to Karnataka and 30 (tmc) to Kerala.[i]


On August 22 2016 the government of Tamil Nadu approached the Supreme Court requesting the court to issue directions to the State of Karnataka to release 50.052 (tmct) of Cauvery water to the State of Tamil Nadu.

Recommending, the Supreme Court told the state of Karnataka to practice the principal of “live and let live” the Honorable court also suggested the state to release water to allow Tamil Nadu to help them “exist like an entity”. The bench was headed by Honorable justice Deepak Misra. [ii]


Violence broke out in southern part of Karnataka on 9th of September 2016 after the supreme court directed the state government to release 12000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu. This violence led to death of two individuals .[iii]



Special session of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly was held on 23rd September, 2016 passed a resolution defying the Supreme Court orders to release 6000 cusecs water to Tamil Nadu.[iv] The state did not take into account and the order was was not Carried out.[v]


The current scenario, debates, politicizing and violence will not solve the matter. For both the state it is important to sit down on one table and get ready for healthy discussions and negotiations that would benefit both the states . As both states are suffering from water crises it is important for them to motivate alternative farming methods where the use of water is less.

Strict actions against sand mafias should be taken as the river beds are wrecked by the way these mafias exploit the river beds .Exploitation leads to rivers being less able to hold water which leads to both flood and drought.

[i] From : Wikipedia : Kaveri River water dispute for ref: (accessed on 21/10/2016)

[ii] Hindu :Rajagopal krishandas Live and let live, SC tells Karnataka for ref : (accessed on :21october 2016)

[iii] From : Times of India Rohith B R & RakeshPrakash Cauvery row: Violence breaks out in Bengaluru, Mysuru; Metro services suspended for ref: (accessed on : 21/10/2016)

[iv] India Today. 27 September 2016. Retrieved 2 October 2016 “Supreme Court to Karnataka: Release Cauvery water for 3 more days”. For ref ( accessed on : 21/10/2016)

[v] NDTV. 28 September 2016. 2 October 2016.”Karnataka Defies Supreme Court, Does Not Release Cauvery Water”. For ref : (accessed on :21/10/2016)

Mritunjay Tripathi is a student activist and he loves to write. He is co-convenor Think Thank India (Delhi State). He is also presently parliamentary fellow research at Public policy research centre.

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