The Supreme Court on Friday approved the Centre’s draft Cauvery Management Scheme for smooth distribution of water among four southern riparian states.
The apex court approved the Cauvery Management Authority (CMA) for the implementation of the 2007 Cauvery Award, as modified and reaffirmed by the top court by its 16 February judgment.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said the government would notify it before the monsoon season sets in in June.
It said the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’s award, which was modified by the apex court, has to be taken to the logical conclusion by the Cauvery Management Scheme.
Headquartered in Delhi, the CMA will be the sole body to implement the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal Award as modified by the apex court. The Centre would have no say in it except for issuing administrative advisories to it.
The CMA will be assisted in the discharge of its functions by a Regulatory Committee located in Bengaluru.
On 14 May, the Centre submitted in the Supreme Court the draft of the Cauvery management scheme, following which the court had said it will examine whether the scheme conformed to its 16 February judgment.
In that verdict, the apex court had asked the Centre to frame the Cauvery management scheme, including creation of the Cauvery Managament Board, for release of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
The scheme, once finalised, would deal with the issue of water share of the four states in different circumstances like normal and deficient water years in the Cauvery river basin.
The top court had modified the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) award of 2007 and made it clear that it will not be extending time for this on any ground.
It had raised the 270 tmcft share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu’s share, while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the river basin, saying the issue of drinking water has to be placed on a “higher pedestal”.