13 Oct 2012

State ordered to release water to neighbour

11:31 am on 13 October 2012

Karnataka state in India has been told to release water from a disputed river to Tamil Nadu state.

An agency which monitors the sharing of water from the Cauvery river directed Karnataka to release water between 16 - 31 October.

Last week Karnataka stopped releasing water from the river to Tamil Nadu, defying a court directive.

The BBC reports both states say they need the water for millions of farmers. The dispute has been running for years.

The Supreme Court earlier upheld an order from the Cauvery river authority - which is headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - stipulating that Karnataka must release 9000 cubic feet per second of water to Tamil Nadu each day until 15 October.

But Karnataka defied the order, telling the Supreme Court that it could not release water as its reservoirs did not have enough supplies.

Tamil Nadu has filed a contempt of court petition against Karnataka.

On Thursday, the Cauvery Monitoring Committee ordered Karnataka to release water. The decision was based on findings of a monitoring team that visited both states last week.

The Cauvery originates in Karnataka and flows into Tamil Nadu. The BBC reports the dispute over sharing its waters dates from the 19th Century during British rule.