New Delhi: In a much awaited verdict on the 126-year-old Cauvery water dispute, the Supreme Court on Friday directed Karnataka to release 177.25 tmc of water to Tamil Nadu from its inter-state Biligundlu dam, thereby increasing the share of Karnataka by 14.75 tmc.
The judgement clarified Tamil Nadu will now get 404.25 tmc water, which will be 14.75 tmc less than what was allotted by the tribunal in 2007.
Karnataka, which earlier had a share of 270 tmc of Cauvery water, in accordance with the 2007 award of the Cauvery water dispute tribunal will now get 284.75 tmc.
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The Supreme also allowed Tamil Nadu to draw an additional 10 tmc 'groundwater' from a total of 20 tmc beneath the Cauvery basin.
The apex court made it clear that increase in share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmc is because of the 10 tmc groundwater and 4.75 tmc drinking water requirements for Bengaluru residents.
The SC said that its order on Cauvery water allocation would continue for next 15 years.
The apex court further said the 2007 tribunal award of 30 tmc to Kerala and seven tmc water to Puducherry will remain unchanged.
A three-judge Bench of Chief Justices Dipak Misra and Justices Amitav Roy and AM Khanwilkar had reserved judgment on September 20, 2017 on appeals against the Cauvery Disputes Tribunal's final award of February 2007 on allocation of water for Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala and Union Territory of Puducherry.
Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had approached the Supreme Court after the Cauvery River Water Dispute Tribunal, in 2007, awarded yearly allocation of 419 tmc to Tamil Nadu in the entire Cauvery basin, 270 tmc to Karnataka, 30 tmc to Kerala and 7 tmc to Puducherry.
While it took nearly two decades for the Tribunal to render its final decision in 2007, it has taken a decade for the case to conclude in the cross appeals against the award filed by the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.
Karnataka welcomed the verdict terming it as a "balanced" one which protects the interest of both the states.
"This is a good judgement which will go long way in ensuring peace in both the states," Mohan V Katarki, counsel for the state of Karnataka said.
On the other hand, Tamil Nadu expressed its unhappiness over the verdict.
"We believe in the verdict of the court and respect it. Surely, this is not enough. We have raised the shortfall of water with Union Minister Nitin Gadkari who have two plans to address the issue, one of which is linking river Godavari with Kallanai," lawyer for Tamil Nadu, A Navaneethakrishnan said.
(With inputs from PTI)