Bengaluru: Locked in confrontation with Tamil Nadu over utilisation of Cauvery waters, Karnataka heaved a sigh of relief on Tuesday with the Central Water Commission (CWC) approving the Rs.5,912 crore Mekedatu Multi-purpose Project across the Cauvery that envisages supply of drinking water to Bengaluru and Ramanagaram districts, besides generation of power. The CWC has now asked the State Government in-principle to prepare and submit a Detailed Project Report (DPR).
While the project was conceived in 2013, the State Government decided to implement the project in Feb. 2017. The project involves building of a balancing reservoir across the Cauvery with a storage capacity of 66 tmcft at Mekedatu in Kanakapura taluk of Ramanagaram district.
The project will also have a provision to generate about 400 MW of power apart from meeting the drinking water needs of Bengaluru, Ramanagaram and other towns in the vicinity. The reservoir will store only excess water after release of Tamil Nadu’s share during copious rains, which otherwise will drain into Bay of Bengal.
Tamil Nadu’s objection
Soon as the CWC cleared Karnataka’s report on Mekedatu Project, Tamil Nadu has opposed it on the grounds that the project violates the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking to instruct the CWC to withdraw the permission given to Karnataka as it was in violation of the Cauvery Tribunal final award.
Claiming that the proposal for the reservoir was not just for drinking water but also to increase the extent of irrigation, which is in violation of the award, Palaniswami also contended that the project will deny Tamil Nadu of its share of water from Cauvery river.
Reacting to TN’s objection, Karnataka Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar said that the project is meant for only drinking water purpose and there will not be any impact on the water to be released to Tamil Nadu.