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Supreme Court Upholds Cauvery Water Management Authority’s Decision Amidst Dispute Over Water Allocation

Last Updated on September 21, 2023 by News Desk


  1. The Supreme Court’s refusal to interfere with the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) order directing Karnataka to release 5000 cusecs of water for 15 days from 13th to 27th September.
  2. The reduction of the water release amount from 7200 cusecs to 5000 cusecs by the CWMA.
  3. The argument by Tamil Nadu that the reduction is causing distress to their agricultural needs.
  4. Karnataka’s claim that the order is against its interests, especially considering its limited access to the North East Monsoons.


The Supreme Court made its decision based on the following reasoning:

  • The CWMA and CMRC consist of water resource management and agriculture experts, making them qualified to make decisions regarding water allocation in the Cauvery basin.
  • The CWMA considered various factors, including the current water shortfall and the worsening conditions in the Cauvery basin in the last 15 days, when issuing the order.
  • The situation is being continuously monitored by the relevant authorities every 15 days.


  • Tamil Nadu, represented by Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, argued that although they were eligible for a release of 7200 cusecs, it was reduced to 5000 cusecs, causing distress to the state’s agriculture.
  • Rohatgi pointed out that this is a distress year, and in a regular year, Tamil Nadu would have been eligible for a significantly larger allocation.
  • Karnataka, represented by Senior Advocate Shyam Divan, acknowledged the compliance with the CWMA’s order but expressed that it is against the state’s interests. Karnataka also highlighted its limited access to the North East Monsoons.
  • Both states had conflicting claims, with Tamil Nadu seeking 7200 cusecs and Karnataka proposing only 2000 cusecs.


The Supreme Court refused to interfere with the CWMA’s order, citing the expertise of the authority and the continuous monitoring of the situation. The court considered the distress conditions and acknowledged the conflicting claims of the two states but ultimately upheld the CWMA’s decision to release 5000 cusecs of water for 15 days, considering the current circumstances in the Cauvery basin.

Written — Athi Venkatesh

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