Bengaluru: Karnataka today said there is no question of releasing Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu in line with the Supreme Court's directive as the state itself is facing a shortage of drinking water.
"There is no water for drinking purposes. If we had water we could have released. We have 3-4 tmc ft shortage to provide drinking water to Bengaluru, Mysuru and surrounding villages. Therefore, there is no question of releasing water," Water Resources Minister M B Patil told PTI.
He was replying to a question on whether the state will release water to Tamil Nadu in the backdrop of the apex court directive.
Patil said the Karnataka government had also mentioned this before the apex court and that the state's legal team was working on the matter. "There will not be any meeting (with the legal team) per se as of now," he said.
This is the second time in a year that Karnataka is defying the top court.
In October, the Karnataka government, backed by a state assembly resolution, refused to release water to Tamil Nadu in compliance with the Supreme Court directives to release 6000 cusecs of water for 6 days. But the state government gave in after the court rebuked the authorities and the state's lawyers advised it not to push it luck.
Karnataka is facing an acute water crisis, with its reservoirs 37 per cent short of capacity. But Tamil Nadu has a much more severe problem, with reservoirs in the state 80 per cent deficient.
Despite strong objections from senior counsel Fali Nariman, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Karnataka to continue the release of 2,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu till final orders are passed in the batch of appeals challenging the award of the Cauvery River Water Tribunal.