Delta farmers are jubilant over the Cauvery Authority’s order on water release. Though Karnataka has sought Supreme Court’s intervention on the authority, they hope that things have moved ahead and they could possibly expect regular release of water supporting farming in Tamil Nadu.
At the authority meeting today in New Delhi that took stock of the levels in reservoir and so on, it was decided that Karnataka shall release 31.24 tmcft of water as opposed to the 34 tmcft scheduled for August since Karnataka had released more than the requirement in June.
The Mettur level stands at 60 feet and its full height is 120 feet. Water is typically released if the level crosses 90 feet. “The June 12 release has lost its relevance since it has not happened in seven years. If Karnataka releases water as per the order, we will get water for kuruvai but it won’t be enough for the tail end. Only Thanjavur, Kumbakonam regions will benefit, says R Baskaran, a Kumbakonam farmer.
If there is an assurance that water will be released as mandated for August, too, then prospects for samba are bright, he says, adding that farmers, on the basis of the assurance, will go for nursery planting. “If we get northeast monsoon rains as well, then the 140-150 day samba will be a bumper crop,” says Baskaran.
“If samba is successful, then the land will have moisture to support a kar paddy crop. The moisture in the air during the winter will help too,” — Baskaran
Here’s how Baskaran explains delta can get back to the three-crop year that it was known for in the past, despite some areas not having kuruvai. He says once samba is over, then farmers can go for a 60-90 day kar crop. “If samba is successful, then the land will have moisture to support a kar paddy crop. The moisture in the air during the winter will help too,” he says.
After kar, other grains such as millets can be taken up. This would mean a three-crop year, he adds. “The key is Karnataka acting as per Cauvery Authority orders,” he says. Farmers across delta and everyone across Tamil Nadu are hoping it would.