Major water disputes in India

by SVS

The dispute relating to the sharing of the Cauvery river waters between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka is well-known. But it is worth recollecting that it is not the only one in our country. There are a couple of other disputes that evoke strong sentiments among the people.

Krishna water dispute:


This dispute is between the states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana. The Krishna is the second biggest river in peninsular India. It originates near Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra from the statue of a cow in a temple. It flows for 303 km in Maharashtra, 480 km through north Karnataka and traverses through Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for the rest of its 1,300 km journey before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.

The Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT) was set up by the government of India in 1969 under the Interstate River Water Disputes Act of 1956 to resolve the dispute. The KWDT I was headed by R.S. Bachawat, a former judge of the Supreme Court.

Godavari water dispute:


This too is a well-known issue relating to the sharing of Godavari water between Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Godavari flows through the States of Telangana, Maharashtra, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Before the reorganization of States in 1956, the Planning Commission on July 27, 1951, conducted a meeting of the then Godavari basin States, namely Bombay, Hyderabad, Madras and Madhya Pradesh, excluding Odisha (then Orissa) to discuss and finalize water utilization. The Government of India formed the Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal on April 10, 1969.

Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh insisted on a quick verdict from the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal as it had become more expedient for the construction of irrigation projects in Krishna basin. So the proceedings of the Godavari Tribunal could not start till the KWDT final verdict was submitted to the Centre on on May 27, 1976.

Mahadayi river dispute:


Among the lesser known disputes is the Mahadayi dispute that involves water sharing between the states of Goa and Karnataka. Mahadayi or Mhadei river is described as the lifeline of Goa. It has a length of 77 km, 29 of which is in Karnataka and 52 in Goa. The river has a 2,032 sq. km. catchment area in Karnataka and a 1,580 sq. km. catchment area in Goa.

Karnataka proposes to divert some water from the Mahadayi to the Malaprabha river basin as part of the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project, as approximately 200 tmc feet of water flows into the Arabian Sea without being utilised. There is a need to build a dam in old Goa and subsequently allot water to the two states.

Palar issue:

ma03204aPalar is a river in southern India. It rises in the Nandi Hills, in the Kolar district of Karnataka and flows 93 km in Karnataka, 33 km in Andhra Pradesh and 222 km in Tamil Nadu before emptying into the the Bay of Bengal at Vayalur, about 100 km south of Chennai. The Andhra Pradesh
government planned to construct an irrigation dam across the Palar at Ganeshpuram, near Kuppam in Andhra Pradesh, which led to an agitation by the people of the five northern districts of Tamil Nadu, namely Vellore, Kancheepuram, Tiruvannamalai, Thiruvallur and Chennai, who are the main beneficiaries of the river.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa voiced her opposition to the proposal, saying Palar is an inter-state river and also one mentioned in Schedule A annexed to the 1892 agreement, which is in force as per the Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956. As per a clause of the agreement, the upstream State should not build any new dam or any structure to obstruct, divert, or store waters of the river without the consent of the downstream State.

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