Asian news International (ANI), reported on Friday, that farmers from southern Indian state Karnataka protested against an order to divide water from the Cauvery river with the neighboring State of Tamil Nadu. The protests in both states have been going on for more than a week. Bangalore, the city that is home to many technology companies, closed schools and public areas for a full day of protest. The lack of rain in both states has caused distress among farmers. Karnataka says that the farmers in the state are already under stress due to the drought. The 500-mile long river runs through Karnataka and supplies water to Karnataka as well as the lower agrarian states of Tamil Nadu and the Bay of Bengal. The Cauvery River is the primary source of water for Karnataka’s farmlands, as well as Bangalore. The flow of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu is blocked by several dams. The dispute dates back to 1974, when Karnataka declared that a 1924 treaty on water sharing was null and void. In 1990, the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) was formed and a distribution scheme was developed in accordance with Inter-State Water Disputes Act 1956. Karnataka had to release 205 millions cubic feet of water to Tamil Nadu every month or week. Violent protests ensued in Karnataka in 1991, forcing thousands of Tamil families to flee from Bangalore.
The Tribunal’s final decision was rendered in 2007 and modified by the Supreme Court of India in 2018. The Cauvery Water Management Authority and the Cauvery Water Management Committee were constituted in 2018 to give effect to the award of the Tribunal.
Violent protests over the issue also erupted in 2016 against a similar order by the Supreme Court, directing the release of water to Tamil Nadu. Karnataka’s Chief Minister announced that the state will file a review request with the Supreme Court to challenge the order.