The debate over sharing Cauvery water predates to the late British era (1890s), wherein the Mysore princely state and the Chennai presidency (which was under the British Raj) had to come into terms with agreeing on a divide. The contention really arose when, in 1910, both states started devising plans for construction of dams. The British arbitrated the issue and defined the respective shares of water, and as to what area of farming lands are to be supported by these. A highly controversial agreement was arrived at, in 1924, and was designed to continue for the following 50 years.
From Karnataka's perspective, the ruling government was unfavorable to them. From Tamilnadu's perspective, their farmers had established extensive farms heavily relying on the pattern of supply of this water source. Despite repeated efforts from the Supreme Court to arbitrate the situation, the most complex situations have been around years with 'monsoon failures', when the pattern of sharing has at times, been undefined and often highly sensitive and contentious.
Tamilnadu vs Karnataka cauvery river dispute memes in social media, including Facebook and Twitter, came up, mass forwards also began via Whatsapp. The memes primarily targetted Tamil Nadu government. The retaliatory posts also started coming in from Tamil Nadu.
The memes spread by a section of Facebook pages from Karnataka includes a beggar in traffic symbolised as Tamil Nadu seeking money (symbolized as Cauvery water) from a commuter on car who was symbolised as Karnataka.
Meanwhile, reacting to the anti Tamil Nadu memes from pro Karnataka pages, a section of meme makers in the state went on to counter argue the memes and posts targeting Tamilians for seeking Cauvery water.
Several memes claiming that Karnataka is dependent on Tamil Nadu for electricity generated from Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) were circulated in retaliation to the anti Tamil Nadu posts in social media pages.