Tribunal awards 13.42 tmcft Mahadayi water to Karnataka

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New Delhi/Bengaluru : The Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal on Tuesday awarded 13.42 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of the river water to Karnataka as against its demand for 36.66 tmcft, said an official statement.

"The tribunal has allocated Karnataka 13.42 tmcft, Goa 24 tmcft and Maharashtra 1.3 tmcft in its final decision," said the statement from the Chief Minister's Office in Bengaluru.

The Tribunal has assessed that 188.06 tmcft water is available at 75 per cent dependability.

Of the 13.42 tmcft water for Karnataka, 5.5 tmcft is meant for use within the river basin (1.5 tmcft) and for diversion to Malaprabha reservoir (4 tmcft).

"The state has also been allowed to generate power at Mahadayi hydro-electric project using 8.02 tmcft," said an official.

The three-member Tribunal, headed by Chairman Justice J.M. Panchal, Justice Viney Mittal and Justice P.S. Narayana, submitted its final recommendation to Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The Union government had set up the inter-state Tribunal on November 16, 2010 for the adjudication of the Mahadayi basin water allocation among Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra.

"Karnataka claimed 36.558 tmcft, including 7.56 tmcft for the Kalasa-Banduri canal project to supply drinking water to the four drought-prone districts in the state's northwest region," noted the statement.

The four districts are Bagalkote, Belagavi, Dharwad and Gadag, about 400-550km from Bengaluru.

The neighbouring states of Goa and Maharashtra claimed 122.6 tmcft and 6.35 tmcft of the river water, respectively.

The Tribunal, which commenced sittings on September 6, 2012, held 1,209 sittings over the last 6 years.

Supreme Court senior counsel F.S.Nariman represented the state before the Tribunal.

The Tribunal's Chairman and two members inspected the river basin area across the three coastal states from December 12 to 24, 2013.

The 77km Mahadayi or Mandovi river originates at Bhimgad in the Western Ghats in Belagavi district and flows into the neighbouring Goa 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).

Karnataka has been asking Goa since 2001 to release 7.6 tmcft of the river water to meet the drinking and irrigation needs of its people in the drought-prone districts.

Karnataka plans to build two canals across Kalasa and Banduri tributaries of the river in the state, to divert and supply the water to the four districts.

The Tribunal, headed by J.N. Panchal, on July 28, 2016 rejected the state's petition for releasing the water, citing various grounds, including ecological damage the twin canal projects may cause.