Only the western part of Bengaluru comes under the Cauvery river basin. This is the area around Arkavathi river, a tributary of the Cauvery. Tamil Nadu, on Tuesday, submitted to the Supreme Court that Karnataka’s argument for drinking water for Bengaluru was unfounded as only one-third of the city was in the river’s basin. In reply, Karnataka’s advocate Fali S Nariman pointed out how Chen-nai benefited from Krishna water, a river that didn’t even flow through the state.
Under the Telugu Ganga Project, Chennai gets its drinking water from the Krishna, which is over 400 km away and flows through Maharashtra, Karnataka and AP/Telangana. Though Chennai or even Tamil Nadu is far away from the Krishna basin, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra contribute drinking water to Chennai from their share.
Now the fight is for Cauvery water for Bengaluru. The Supreme Court’s direction to the Union government to constitute the Cauvery Water Management Board within four weeks could cause a major drinking water crisis in Bengaluru if Tamil Nadu continues to insist that the award by Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal be adhered to, fully.
The CWMB can only implement what the tribunal had awarded. The tribunal had specified that only one-third of Bengaluru was in the Cauvery basin. So, technically, except the western edge of the city, Cauvery water should not be supplied to other parts of Bengaluru.
In the Telugu Ganga Project, all the three states with Krishna water agreed to give water to a city (Chennai) from a fourth state (Tamil Nadu). But if TN decides to extract every drop of Cauvery from Bengaluru, the city may be headed for some serious trouble.