River Cauvery is Changing Long Term. Are We Ready?

The last week saw Supreme Court pronounce judgement on the Cauvery Dispute which brought possibly will be the start of a formal process to bring an end to a dispute that has been running for many decades.  With the river being a passionate subject not only among the farming community but also the common people of both Tamil Nadu & Karnataka there are always diverging views on how the Supreme Court judgement needs to be viewed.

We at Chennai Rains have been highlighting how things have been evolving in the Cauvery Basin over the past year or so with regular updates on the storage levels and the need for Practical Water Management and the need to move towards efficient agricultural practices.  Today we have used the Inflow into Karnataka Dams (Net Inflow into KRS & Inflow into Kabini) during Southwest Monsoon to once again present our case of River Cauvery Changing Long Term.  Are We Ready for It?

 Since the turn of 2000 we have seen every second year being a bad year (below 90% Inflow of Long Term Average) indicating the stress the river is undergoing in trying to live up to the expectations.  While the 1980s’ certainly was the watershed decade as a low point in terms of storage we should not ignore the inflows from the turn of the millennium which is possibly indicating a long term change towards a reduced water availability

The Average Inflow during Southwest Monsoon Season since 2010 is the lowest in the last 40 years nearly 50 TMC down from the high of 1970s’ decade.  This reiterates the long term change happening with the water availability in River Cauvery and the need for looking at improving our water management efficiencies than spending times in the courts of law trying to argue who deserves more.

Without a Distress year Formula a long term solution to this dispute is a futile exercise.  The inflows into Bilgundla during bad years indicate distress is not possibly shared equally.  If one takes into account large parts of Tamil Nadu is a rain shadow region during Southwest Monsoon curtailed inflow during bad years possibly defies principal of natural justice.