Cauvery Water Dispute


Chief Justice of India assured Tamil Nadu that he would constitute a bench to hear the state’s plea for the release of its allotment of Cauvery River water for August.


The Cauvery River water dispute is a long-standing and complex water-sharing conflict between the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The Cauvery River originates in Karnataka and flows through both states before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.

The dispute primarily revolves around the allocation of water from the Cauvery River to these two states.

Points of contention

Water Sharing: Tamil Nadu asserts historical usage of the river's water for agriculture and demands its due share, while Karnataka emphasizes its need for water for its own agricultural and industrial requirements.

Irrigation Needs: Both states heavily rely on the Cauvery River water for irrigation purposes, as agriculture is a crucial sector for their economies.

Any alteration in the water-sharing arrangement directly impacts the agricultural output and livelihoods of farmers in both states.

Drought and Monsoon Variability: The Cauvery basin experiences fluctuations in rainfall due to monsoon variability.

Periods of drought exacerbate the water scarcity issue and intensify the dispute.

Legal Battles: The dispute has gone through various stages of mediation, legal proceedings, and negotiations.

The issue reached the Supreme Court of India, which has issued multiple judgments and interim orders over the years to determine the quantum of water to be shared by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Tributary States: Apart from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the dispute also involves the interests of other states in the Cauvery basin, like Kerala and Puducherry, which receive a share of the river's water.

Dispute Resolution:

The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) was constituted in 1990 by the Government of India to address the matter and determine the sharing of water among the riparian states.

The tribunal's final award was issued in 2007, which allocated specific quantities of water to each state during different months of the year.

However, despite the tribunal's award, disagreements persisted between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The issue has led to protests, violence, and tensions between the two states and their people.


Water disputes in India are often complex and sensitive, involving economic, social, and political considerations.

The Cauvery River water dispute is no exception and highlights the challenges of managing shared water resources in a densely populated and agriculturally dependent country.

Efforts to resolve such disputes require a balanced approach that considers the needs of all stakeholders and strives to find equitable solutions.

Posted by on 22nd Aug 2023