Bengaluru: Elated over the notification of the Mhadei inter-state water dispute tribunal award by the central government, Karnataka decided to speed up the drinking water project in the state’s western region, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa said on Friday.
“The notification by the Union water resources ministry on Thursday will enable us to complete the project for supplying drinking water in the state’s 4 drought-prone northwest districts,” Yediyurappa told reporters here.
Thanking the ministry for the notification following the Supreme Court’s February 20 interim order to the central government in the case, the chief minister said he would allot funds in the 2020-21 state budget to resume the project on the river’s Kalasa-Banduri tributaries in Uttar Kannada district.
“Though the notification is subject to the apex court’s final order on the tribunal award after hearings in July, we will resume the project work, halted after the adjacent state (Goa) challenged it (award), as we are confident of getting our share of the water for drinking and irrigation,” asserted Yediyurappa.
As Yediyurappa also holds the finance portfolio, he will present the state budget for the ensuing fiscal in the state assembly on March 5, with funds to the project, held up for years due to the legal battle with Goa over the sharing of the river water among the coastal states.
A division bench of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta on last Thursday passed an interim order on the Tribunal award, allowing the central water resources ministry to notify it for implementation and posted the case for final hearing in July.
The tribunal on August 14, 2018 allocated 13.42 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of the river water to the southern state for irrigation and drinking water supply in towns and villages across Bagalkot, Belagavi, Dharwad and Gadag districts, which are in the arid region of the Deccan plateau.
The four districts are about 400-550km northwest of Bengaluru in the southern state.
Of the 13.42 tmcft water, 5.5 tmcft will be used in the river basin and for diversion into the depleted Malaprabha reservoir while the balance 7.92 tmcft will be utilized for hydel power generation instead of allowing the water to go into the Arabian Sea on the state’s west coast through Goa.
Goa, which opposed Karnataka’s demand for 36.66 tmcft, was allocated 24 tmcft, while Maharashtra got 1.3 tmcft.
The Tribunal assessed that 188.06 tmc feet water is available at 75 per cent dependability.
The three-member Tribunal was headed by Chairman Justice J.M. Panchal, Justice Viney Mittal and Justice P.S. Narayana.
The Union government had set up the inter-state Tribunal on November 16, 2010 for the adjudication of the Mhadei basin water allocation among the three riparian and contiguous states.
Goa and Maharashtra claimed 122.6 tmc feet and 6.35 tmc feet of the river water respectively.
The tribunal, which commenced sittings on September 6, 2012, held 1,209 sittings for over 6 years.
The tribunal’s chairman and two members inspected the river basin area across the three coastal states from December 12-24, 2013.
The 77km-long Mahadayi or Mandovi river originates at Bhimgad in the Western Ghats in Belagavi district and flows into the neighbouring Goa through Maharashtra and joins the Arabian Sea off the west coast.
Though the river flows 29km in Karnataka and 52km in Goa, its catchment area is spread over 2,032km in the southern state as against 1,580km in the western state (Goa).