India’s highest court ordered [order, PDF] the state of Karnataka to share water with the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu on Monday. The two states have disputed rights to the Cauvery River for decades. Last week the court ruled that Karnataka must share 15,000 cubic feet per second for 10 days, but Karnataka appealed that decision. Karnataka officials argued [AP report] that the state does not have enough water to share and that Tamil Nadu is not suffering hardship [The Indian Express report] over the water. The court ordered Karnataka to release 12,000 cubic feet per second instead of 15,000. After the decision violent protests erupted which led to attacks on hotels, shops, and buses. In response, police deployed [BBC report] 15,000 officers to the area and are prohibiting large public gatherings.
Water rights have been a major concern over the last year, particularly water contamination. In March Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan was served with a class action lawsuit [JURIST report] over the water contamination in Flint, Michigan. In February BP supervisors were found not guilty [JURIST report] of a Clean Water Act violation after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Also in February the Supreme Court blocked [JURIST report] the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which meant to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In December a federal appeals court preserved [JURIST report] the EPA’s Mercury regulations that limit mercury and other hazardous pollutants from coal-fired power plants. In October the Sixth Circuit temporarily stayed the EPA’s new Clean Water Rule [JURIST report] for the Clean Water Act.