New Delhi/Bangalore: Taking a final decision on a 43-year-old water dispute, a government-appointed tribunal on Thursday allocated the maximum share of surplus water from the Krishna river to Andhra Pradesh (AP) and enhanced distribution to Karnataka and Maharashtra.
The Krishna water dispute tribunal has allocated 1,001 thousand million cu. ft (TMC) of water from the river to AP, up from 811 TMC earlier. Karnataka’s share of the water has increased to 911 TMC from 734 TMC, and Maharashtra’s to 666 TMC, from 585 TMC.
The tribunal, headed by justice Brijesh Kumar, a retired Supreme Court (SC) judge, also agreed to a long-pending demand of Karnataka to raise the height of Almatti dam in Bijapur district to 524m from 519m, which would allow it to store more water from the Krishna river.
The tribunal has permitted an additional storage of 303 TMC in the dam.
“About 600,000 ha more will benefit from the additional water for irrigation purpose in the state,” Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa said.
The Union government will set up a Krishna water implementation board after three months to implement the award. “The states who want to file a review or seek explanation on the award can do so within the next three months,” Kumar told PTI.
As the tribunal, constituted on 2 April 2004, has the force and decree of the SC, an appeal against the award cannot be filed in any court other than the tribunal itself. The award is valid till 31 May 2050.
Karnataka law minister S. Suresh Kumar said the state will have no difficulty in honouring the tribunal’s order to release 8-10 TMC to AP every June-July.
The Krishna river flows from the Western Ghats in Maharashtra and passes through Karnataka and AP before going into the Bay of Bengal.
Of the Krishna basin’s total area of 258,948 sq. km, 26.81% lies in Maharashtra, 43.74% in Karnataka and 29.45% in Andhra Pradesh.
Mint’s Bhargavi Kerur contributed to this story.