Cauvery Basin – Cautious Optimism Needed

After two bad years Cauvery Basin has seen a strong start this year on the back of an early Monsoon Onset over Peninsular India. As a matter of fact the current year’s storage levels are the highest this decade for this time of the year. At nearly 60 TMC the storage at Karnataka dams has already crossed 55% of the overall storage capacity. The early monsoon surge has certainly helped the storage levels in Hemavathi Gorur dam which is inching close to 20 TMC.

Yes the strong start has ensured the storage levels are the highest in many years which should be good news for the farming community. But Cautious Optimism rather than Exuberance should be the guiding principle for the next 2 / 3 fortnights. Historical trends say the difference between good & average years over the Cauvery Basin is decided by the month of July & the first fortnight of August. The Karnataka dams normally reach FRL around end July / 1st fortnight of August. While 2013 & 2014 saw dams like Krishnaraja Sagara reach FRL or near FRL levels thanks to sustained active monsoon conditions during July while 2015 despite touching 105 ft by end June never managed to cross 115 ft subsequently as erratic monsoon in the catchment areas played spoilsport.

Keeping this in mind the next few weeks should focus on Pragmatic Water Management instead of Political Posturing by both Karnataka & Tamil Nadu. In this context it becomes very important to remember the stipulated quota of 9 TMC in the Cauvery Judgement will be received by Tamil Nadu for the month of June with the outflow from Kabini so far already crossing 10 TMC so far. The next few weeks should be used for building storage in order to ensure the Cauvery Basin recovers from poor last 2 years. This would bring much better long term benefits rather than short term political maneuvering by all the Riparian states. ChennaiRains would like to place its appreciation on record for KSNDMC which has made data available on public domain for bloggers like us to present our views.