A Good Beginning: On The Cauvery Water Management Authority

That the first meeting of the Cauvery Water Management Authority took place in a cordial atmosphere augurs well for a sustained phase of constructive cooperation among the States concerned. The CWMA has been formed by the Centre to implement the water-sharing award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal as modified by the Supreme Court earlier this year. At its meeting on Monday, it asked Karnataka to release 31.24 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of water in July. The quantum is based on the monthly schedule drawn up by the Tribunal, and excludes the surplus realised on the Tamil Nadu side in June. For the Authority to successfully perform its role, it needs the cooperation of the States in gathering data on rainfall, inflows and outflows, cropping patterns and periodic withdrawals from reservoirs. The CWMA is expected to meet once every 10 days during the monsoon months. The south-west monsoon has been active for nearly a month, and is forecast to be normal this year. Therefore, the CWMA may not face any major problem in overseeing the release of water to Tamil Nadu. As long as the inflows into Karnataka’s major reservoirs are substantial, it has had no problem releasing its surplus water into the lower riparian areas of the basin. It is only in a distress year that the CWMA will face a significant challenge, as determining the extent of distress, and dividing the shortfall among the States on a pro rata basis can be tricky exercises. Karnataka is planning to challenge in the Supreme Court the Centre’s notification constituting the Authority. It will be unfortunate if this dispute gets into another round of litigation. The provisions of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, make it clear that it is the Centre’s duty to notify a scheme to implement the award of a Tribunal. Parliament has the power to modify the scheme, or leave it as it stands, but Karnataka’s claim that the scheme requires parliamentary approval before it is implemented is questionable. Further, the Supreme Court approved the draft scheme only after finding it to be “in consonance with the dictum and directions in the Award as modified by this Court and also in conformity with Section 6A of the 1956 Act”. Now that the CWMA has become functional, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry should approach the issue of sharing the waters of the inter-State river in a spirit of cooperation and help the Authority in implementing the verdict. The parties concerned should leave behind the era of litigation. There is now a non-political mechanism available to make sound professional decisions on water availability and sharing of distress, if any, after discussing the issues threadbare. After having been locked in a contentious legal dispute for so long, all parties concerned must embark on a new era of mutually beneficial water-sharing.



1) Cordial

Meaning: Warm and friendly.

Example: “the atmosphere was cordial and relaxed”

Synonyms: Friendly, Genial

Antonyms: Unfrinendly

2) Augurs

Meaning: (of an event or circumstance) portend a good or bad outcome.

Example: “the end of the cold war seemed to augur well”

Synonyms: Portend, Bode

3) Sustained

Meaning: Continuing for an extended period or without interruption.

Example: “several years of sustained economic growth”

4) Overseeing

Meaning: Supervise (a person or their work), especially in an official capacity.

Example: “the Home Secretary oversees the police service”

Synonyms: Supervise, Superintend

5) Riparian

Meaning: Relating to wetlands adjacent to rivers and streams.

Example: “the ranch’s most expansive riparian habitat”

6) Pro rata

Meaning: Proportional.

Example: “as the pound has fallen costs have risen on a pro rata basis”

7) Constituting

Meaning: Give legal or constitutional form to (an institution); establish by law.

Example: “the superior courts were constituted by the Judicature Acts 1873–5”

Synonyms: Inaugurate, Establish

8) Litigation

Meaning: The process of taking legal action.

Example: “the company wishes to avoid litigation”

Synonyms: Legal action, Lawsuit

9) Consonance

Meaning: Agreement or compatibility between opinions or actions.

Example: “consonance between conservation measures and existing agricultural practice”

Synonyms: Agreement, Concord

10) Dictum

Meaning: A short statement that expresses a general truth or principle.

Example: “the old dictum ‘might is right’”

Synonyms: Saying, Proverb

11) Conformity

Meaning: Compliance with standards, rules, or laws.

Example: “conformity with the law”

12) Era

Meaning: A long and distinct period of history.

Example: “his death marked the end of an era”

Synonyms: Epoch, Period

13) Threadbare

Meaning: (of an argument, excuse, idea, etc.) used so often that it is no longer effective.

Example: “the song was a tissue of threadbare clichés”

14) Contentious

Meaning: Causing or likely to cause an argument; controversial.

Example: “a contentious issue”

Synonyms: Controversial, Debatable

15) Embark

Meaning: Begin (a course of action).

Example: “she embarked on a new career”

Synonyms: Begin, Commence