Ending a protracted water dispute, the Mahadayi River Water Tribunal today ordered that Karnataka will get 13.4 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of water from the river, while Goa and Maharashtra will be allowed to use 24 TMC and 1.33 TMC of water respectively.
The order of the Tribunal, set up in 2010, comes after the three states -- Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra -- demanded 36.71 TMC, 122 TMC and 6.5 TMC of water, respectively, from the Mahadayi river.
In a 12-volume judgement, the Tribunal said the equitable distribution of Mahadayi waters among three states is "neither necessary nor feasible" at this stage.
"In the absence of any apportionment of water amongst the party states, the activities related to water resources development for the benefit of the society must not stop and people of the party state must not suffer," the tribunal observed while passing the order.
In a partial relief to Karnataka, the Tribunal has allowed to it to utilise 13.4 TMC of water, out of which the state has been permitted to divert 2.18 TMC of Mahadayi water at proposed Bhanduri dam and 1.72 TMC of water at proposed Kalasa dam subject to certain conditions.
The Kalasa-Bhandura projects aims to supply drinking water to four parched districts of north Karnataka. Goa had raised concern over the potential ecological disaster that would be likely created if water was diverted.
As per the order, Karnataka will also get 1.5 TMC of water for in-basin use for irrigation and water supply and 8.02 TMC for generating power at the Mahadayi Hydro Electrictity Project.
The Tribunal, however, rejected Karnataka's demand for deverision of 5.53 TMC of water of Mahadayi river to the Supa reservior of the Kali Hydro Electric Power Project and diversion of 7 TMC of surplus water from the proposed Kotni reservoir of the Mahadayi Hydro Electric Power (MHEP) Project.
In case of Goa, the Tribunal said the state will get 24 TMC of water against its demand of 122 TMC. This would be over and above the existing utilization of 9.395 TMC by the state.
The state has been allowed to use 24 TMC water for 59 identified projects after getting necessary clearances by the competent authorities, the order said.
For Maharasthra, the Tribunal ruled that the state will get 1.33 TMC of water from Mahadayi river against the demand of 6.5 TMC. Out of this, the state has been asked to revise features of the Virdi Large MI Project and prepare a modified detailed project report (DPR) to utilize a maximum 0.56 TMC of water for various purposes within the basin.
The Tribunal has permitted 0.77 TMC of water for four minor irrigation projects namely Moachi Rai, Virdi B, Dhangarwadi and Ambadgaon.
The Tribunal also directed the central government to constitute the Mahadayi Water Management Authority' to implement its decision.
Reacting to the development, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said: "I am happy that the Mhadei (Mahadayi) Tribunal with its final verdict has done justice to Goa." "I thank the legal team and everyone who have fought relentlessly for protecting our lifeline Mhadei," said Parrikar who is in the US for medical treatment.
Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said: "The final award recommendation of the Tribunal is about 12 volumes and (government) will take appropriate decision only after studying it in detail and consulting with all concerned." He said in a statement that he has already discussed the issue with officers of the Water Resources Department and legal experts.
His brother and PWD Minister H D Revanna described the verdict as "shocking" and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene to meet Karnataka's demand of additional 7.54 tmcft water.
The Congress, the ruling coalition partner of Kumaraswamy's Janata Dal (Secular), said Karnataka had not been given "full justice", while the opposition BJP welcomed the tribunal recommendations, saying it was a victory for farmers.
Noting that Karnataka has succeeded partly, advocate for the state Mohan Katarki said: "The Tribunal should have considered allocation of more water to Karnataka." After studying the voluminous judgement, the state will take the next course of action of either appealing before the Supreme Court or filing reference for explanation or guidance before the Tribunal, he said.
The present level of utilization of waters of Mahadayi river basin is not more than 5 per cent of the water availability at 75 per cent dependability.
The Tribunal mentioned that the projection of future requirements of waters of Mahadayi river basin by the respective states for various purposes is not fully justified as the estimates are not based on adequate and consistent data/information or scientific research and studies, and are without proper evaluation and consideration of social, economic and ecological issues.
The Mahadayi river basin drains an area of 2032 sq km, out of which an area of 375 sq km lies in Karnataka, 77 sq km in Maharashtra and rest in Goa.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)