krishna raja sagara dam
krishna raja sagara damWikimedia Commons

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Karnataka government to release 15,000 cusecs of water per day to Tamil Nadu for 10 days. The court last week asked the Karnataka government to "live and let live" as the state tussled with the Tamil Nadu government over access to water for farmers in their states.

The Tamil Nadu government was ordered to approach the supervisory committee for the release of Cauvery water as per the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal's order, while the committee was directed to decide Tamil Nadu's plea in 10 days from today.

"Tamil Nadu's situation is 'water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink'. Some steps have to be taken by Karnataka so that the other State [Tamil Nadu] can exist as an entity. The principle of 'live and let live' has to be applied to this dispute," a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and UU Lalit earlier said.

The Tamil Nadu government wanted its neighbouring state to release 50.52 tmc feet of Cauvery water as 40,000 acres of samba crops were in danger of perishing. Karnataka had replied to the plea saying it has a deficit of about 80 tmc feet in its four reservoirs. 

The apex court had given Karnataka time till Monday to decide how much water can be released to the neighbouring state. However, Karnataka had refused to release water for Tamil Nadu farmers. Farmers in Tamil Nadu had staged protests against Karnataka for being immovable on the matter despite the Tribunal's orders that 192 thousand million cubic feet water has to be given to Tamil Nadu every year. 

In August, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that Karnataka was going through water crisis as well and can't release water to Tamil Nadu anymore. The state witnessed one of the highest rates of farmer suicides in 2015 when at least 1,002 farmers committed. Karnataka also faced one of the worst droughts this year.