Bengaluru: The Mahadayi Water Tribunal Thursday suggested that chief ministers of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka meet and resolve their water dispute amicably.
The development comes as a relief to Karnataka, which is staring at its second successive drought year with low rain forecast, especially around catchment areas and low water levels at most of its major dams.
Chief minister Siddaramaiah said he would write to his counterparts in Goa and Maharashtra on the issue.
The state had observed a bandh on 30 July after the tribunal rejected its petition seeking 7.56 tmc of water for the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project.
“We have also been seeking an amicable solution outside the tribunal and we welcome this suggestion,” Siddaramaiah said on Thursday.
He said the state would also write to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek his intervention.
The Mahadayi river (called Mandovi in Goa) flows around 30 km in Karnataka and Maharashtra. Karnataka wants to build canals to link its tributaries—Kalasa and Banduri—to divert water to the Malaprabha river basin. Goa has opposed this on the basis that it would be harmful to the ecology in Western Ghats.
But the northern regions of Karnataka—one of the most arid in the country—need water to survive another year of deficient rains and a possible drought.
The state government has already asked farmers to regulate use of water for agriculture, especially for water-intensive crops like paddy and sugarcane as there has been a 40-50% deficiency in rainfall.
Karnataka has even refused any release of Cauvery water to neighbouring Tamil Nadu due to deficient rainfall. Karnataka was the first state to declare drought last year.