New Delhi : A day before the crucial hearing on Cauvery dispute in the Supreme Court, a high level panel on Monday suggested doing away with “outdated and unscientific water application techniques” to resolve the wrangle, saying both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were facing water shortage, creating unemployment and financial hardship for the people.

The apex court-appointed Supervisory Committee, formed to inspect the Cauvery basin to assess the ground realities in the region, said the neighbouring riparian states needed to appreciate interest of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to protect their established irrigation and Karnataka’s aspirations for development and educate their people accordingly.

The 9-member committee’s report will come up for perusal before a three-judge bench of justices Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar which will hear a long pending appeal against the award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal and other related contentious issues arising out of the dispute.

The panel in its 40-page report has noted that farmers in both states were in severe distress and adequate crop compensation must be provided to them. “There has been large number of suicides reported in Karnataka’s Mandya district,” the report said in its assessment of the social aspects of the situation in the Cauvery basin. However, the technical assessment of the ground reality stated that “the water application techniques are outdated and unscientific and the value of water is not realised. The water applied to the field is on the concept of flooding from one field to another adjacent field and as such the water consumption is on the higher side and during period of distress, this becomes very significant depending upon the soil condition”.

“The infrastructure to deliver water to the farmers is century old and has very low conveyance efficiency. This needs to be modernised for optimal use of scarce water. The conveyance efficiency can be further improved by piped distribution network and application efficiency by micro irrigation and precision irrigation.

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Free Press Journal