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Goa Govt Welcomes, Activists Dejected

Panaji: Delivering its verdict on the over four-decade-old water dispute between the states of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, the Mhadei Water Dispute Tribunal on Tuesday ruled that Karnataka will get 13.4 thousand million cubic feet (TMC feet) of water from the river, while Goa and Maharashtra will be allowed to use 24 TMC and 1.33 TMC of water respectively.

The Centre had constituted the Tribunal in 2010 to resolve the dispute over the Mhadei river water sharing among the three states.

The Tribunal headed by Justice J M Panchal allowed Karnataka to utilise a total of 13.4 TMC feet of water which includes diversion of 2.18 TCM feet of Mhadei water at proposed Bhandura dam and 1.72 TMC feet of water at the proposed Kalsa dam subject to certain conditions, which comes to 3.90 TMC feet of water against the demand of 7.56 TMC feet.

It has also granted permission to Karnataka to utilise 8.02 TMC feet of water for the Mahadayi Hydroelectric Project.

Karnataka will also get 1.5 TMC feet of water for in-basin use for irrigation and water supply and 8.02 TMC feet for generating power at the Mahadayi Hydro Electricity Project, it added.

Karnataka’s demand was for 36.558 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of water from Mahadayi.

In a 12-volume judgment, 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 states must not suffer,” the Tribunal observed while passing the order.

The Tribunal said that Goa will get 24 TMC feet of water against its demand of 122 TMC feet which would be over and above the existing utilisation of 9.395 TMC feet by the state.

For Maharashtra, the Tribunal ruled that the state will get 1.33 TMC feet of water from Mahadayi River against the demand of 6.5 TMC feet. The state has been asked to revise features of the Virdi Large MI Project and prepare a modified detailed project report (DPR) to utilise a maximum 0.56 TMC of water for various purposes within the basin.

The Tribunal has permitted Maharashtra 0.77 TMC feet of water for four minor irrigation projects namely Moachi Rai, Virdi B, Dhangarwadi and Ambadgaon.

As far as Tillari outside the basin diversion is concerned, the same has been rejected by the Tribunal. Furthermore, the contention of the state of Maharashtra which insisted that 10 TMC feet of water of the Tillari project should also be included in the yield of the Mhadei basin has also been rejected by the Tribunal.

MWDT has further put a condition on Karnataka not to divert any water without taking necessary permission from all concerned authorities.

The Tribunal, in its order, has categorically said that the order of injunction passed by it on April 17, 2014 filed by the state of Goa will continue to be operative and stand vacated revoked only after the state of Karnataka prepares revised detailed project report (DPR) for consumptive uses within the basin and/ or diversion of water outside the basin including the reservoir losses etc for not more than 1.72 TMC feet at the proposed Kalsa dam site as permitted under Clause IX.

“The Tribunal has also directed Karnataka not to go ahead with the project unless Karnataka prepares a modified DPR for the same,” said Additional Solicitor General Atmaram Nadkarni, who was representing Goa in the matter.

Karnataka is also expected to submit the revised DPR of Diversion Scheme at Kalasa Dam site duly appraised and cleared by the central agencies including the Union Ministry of Water Resources.

Nadkarni said that for the diversion of water for the Mahadayi hydro electric power project at Kali (5.27 TMC feet) and Kotni reservoir (7 TMC feet), the Tribunal has found that the claims of the state of Karnataka are not justified and rejected.

The present level of utilisation of waters of Mahadayi river basin is not more than 5 per cent of the water availability at 75 per cent dependability.

The Tribunal also underlined 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. [NT]

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