Letter of the Honble Chief Minister addressed to the Honble Chief Minister of Karnataka requesting not to pursue the Mekedatu project

P.R.No:378 Date: 04.07.2021
Text of the D.O. Letter No.940/CMO/2021, Dated 4-7-2021 of Thiru M.K. Stalin, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu addressed to the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Karnataka,
requesting not to pursue the Mekedatu project: 
I thank you for the congratulatory message and good wishes conveyed in your letter and also appreciate your intent to strengthen the relationship between our States.

On the issue of the Mekedatu balancing reservoir, I wish to state the comparison of that project intended for storing of 67.16 TMC water, with the two hydro power projects of Tamil Nadu would not be correct. Let me clarify at the very outset that there is no consumption of water in these two hydro power projects, with the available water being just re-circulated by pumping to meet peak power demand. Since there is no additional usage created, both the projects do not affect the availability of water for irrigation or drinking usage in Tamil Nadu. Hence, I wish to again emphasize that the comparison of such qualitatively different projects is not appropriate.

In the Final Order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, which has been modified by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, the three components contributing to the annual quantum of water to be delivered by the State of Karnataka at the inter-State contact point have been clearly identified. The proposed Mekedatu project would impound and divert the first component of uncontrolled flows due to Tamil Nadu, i.e. the flows coming in river Cauvery from the uncontrolled catchment of Kabini sub-basin downstream of Kabini reservoir, the catchment of mainstream of Cauvery river below Krishnarajasahara, uncontrolled flows from Simsha, Arkavathy and Suvernavathy sub-basins and various other small streams. Therefore, the view that the implementation of Mekedatu project would not affect the interests of Tamil Nadu’s farming community cannot be agreed to by us.

While the drawl of water from the river for drinking water usage in Bengaluru Metropolitan City has been permitted by the Hon’ble Court, citing that as the reason for constructing such a major reservoir at Mekedatu, which is too far away from Bengaluru Metropolitan area does not sound valid. Further, when Karnataka already has adequate infrastructure for drawing drinking water to meet the demand of Bengaluru Metropolitan area even now, the justification of the need for a reservoir with a storage capacity of 67.16 TMC to utilize 4.75 TMC as drinking water is not at all acceptable. This would definitely jeopardize the availability of water to Tamil Nadu.

Now that the share of Tamil Nadu has been fixed by the Hon’ble Court, the optimal utilization of our share hinges only on efficient water use. But unfortunately, the efficiency of irrigation in Cauvery system in Tamil Nadu could not be improved much since litigation was on for long. Many old structures need modernization and improvements to increase the water use efficiency. Unless these works are carried out, it would be impossible for us to meet the water demand at the rate of supply stipulated in the order of the Hon’ble Court.

I request you to consider the above facts and the sensitivity of these issues and strongly urge you not to pursue the Mekedatu project. I wish to convey my good wishes to the people of State of Karnataka and earnestly hope that good co-operation and relationship would prevail between the two States.
Issued By: – DIPR, Secretariat, Chennai – 9.