Prelims level : Institutional Reforms Mains level : GS-II Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
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Why in News?

  • Recently, the CWMA dropped the discussion on Karnataka’s application due to the strong objection made by Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

What is Mekedatu Project?

  • It is a multi-purpose reservoir project over Mekedatu, was aimed at solving the drinking water problems of Bengaluru and Ramnagar district. It was also touted as one that could generate hydroelectricity to meet the power demand in the state.

Why does Karnataka want this?

  • Karnataka has been contending that there is a need to augment capacity to store excess water in monsoon surplus years.
  • The recent heavy rain and floods resulted in Karnataka releasing excess water from the Cauvery to Tamil Nadu, which led to the State intensifying its efforts to build the Mekedatu reservoir.
  • The excess water is of no use even to Tamil Nadu as it would run off into the sea.
  • Water minister of Karnataka maintained that the project would not affect water release to Tamil Nadu, nor would it be used for irrigation.

Why is Tamil Nadu opposing it?

  • The state contended that, “the proposed reservoir would affect the natural flows of the river Cauvery. It argued that Cauvery was already a deficit basin and the construction of the project, or any other project, “would drastically affect the lower riparian State in getting their due share of waters.
  • The state fears that Karnataka’s move will affect the lifeline for agriculture in delta districts, besides being a major drinking water source for several districts.
  • Farmers’ organizations fear this could turn the fertile Cauvery delta into a desert.

About CWMA:

  • It has been created as per the Cauvery Water Management Scheme earlier framed by Centre and approved by Supreme Court.

Composition and Powers of CWMA:

  • It will comprise a chairman, a secretary and eight members. Out of the eight members, two will be full time, while two will be part time members from centre’s side. Rest four will be part time members from states.

Functions of CWMA:

  • The main mandate of the CWMA will be to secure implementation and compliance of the Supreme Court’s order in relation to “storage, apportionment, regulation and control of Cauvery waters”.
  • It will also advise the states to take suitable measures to improve water use efficiency.
  • It will do so by promoting use of micro-irrigation, change in cropping patterns, improved farm practices and development of command areas.
  • It will also prepare an annual report covering its activities during the preceding year.

Participation of Central Government in CWMA:

  • The central government will provide help in implementation of the modified award in case of any of the states (Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka) or UT (Puducherry) parties do not cooperate in implementing the decision or direction of the tribunal. Centre initially contribute Rs. 2 crores for the functioning of the authority.
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