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Indian Polity

Water Dispute Between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh

  • 10 Jun 2020
  • 8 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Union government has decided to take the stock of water utilisation from the Krishna and Godavari rivers following the filing of complaints against each other by Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments.

Key Points

  • Water Dispute:
    • Telangana and Andhra Pradesh share stretches of the Krishna and the Godavari and own their tributaries.
    • Both states have proposed several new projects without getting clearance from the river boards, the Central Water Commission and the Apex Council, as mandated by the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.
      • The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 mandates for constitution of an Apex Council by Central Government for the supervision of the functioning of the Godavari River Management Board and Krishna River Management Board.
      • The Apex Council comprises the Union Water Resources Minister and the Chief Ministers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
    • The Andhra Pradesh government’s proposal to increase the utilisation of the Krishna water from a section of the river above the Srisailam Reservoir led to the Telangana government filing a complaint against Andhra Pradesh.
      • The Srisailam reservoir is constructed across the Krishna River in Andhra Pradesh. It is located in the Nallamala hills.
    • The Andhra Pradesh government retaliated with its own complaints saying that Palamuru-Rangareddy, Dindi Lift Irrigation Schemes on the Krishna river and Kaleshwaram, Tupakulagudem schemes and a few barrages proposed across the Godavari are all new projects.
  • Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal:
    • Two tribunals have been constituted to resolve the disputes of the Krishna water.
    • Andhra Pradesh has countered the second Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal (KWDT) order issued by Justice Brijesh Kumar in 2010.
      • The Brijesh Kumar Tribunal has allocated 81 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of surplus water to Maharashtra, 177 tmcft to Karnataka and only 196 tmcft to Andhra Pradesh.
    • After the creation of Telangana as a separate state in 2014, Andhra Pradesh is asking to include Telangana as a separate party at the KWDT and that the allocation of Krishna waters be reworked among four states, instead of three.
      • It has challenged the order of the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal in the Supreme Court.
  • Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal:
    • The Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal headed by Justice Bachawat was constituted by the Government in April, 1969.
      • The tribunal was tasked to look after the dispute over Godavari river between Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Karnataka over the sharing of the Godavari river water.
      • The Bachawat Tribunal gave its final award in 1980.
      • Accordingly, each State was free to utilise the flow in Godavari and its tributaries up to a certain level.
      • Thus, Andhra Pradesh decided to divert 80 tmcft of Godavari water from Polavaram to Krishna river, upstream of Vijayawada, so that it could be shared with Karnataka and Maharashtra.
    • Once Telangana came into existence in 2014, the Godavari water and, more specifically, the Polavaram project became the bone of contention between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
      • While the project will take care of the irrigation needs of the Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana fears it would submerge many villages in its Khammam district.
      • Odisha too has expressed its reservations over the Polavaram dam's design.
  • Union Government’s Move:
    • It has asked the Krishna and Godavari River Management Boards to procure the details of the irrigation projects on these rivers, including from Maharashtra and Karnataka and submit them to the Centre in a month.
    • The main objective of the exercise appears to be to assess whether surplus water will be available for the new projects in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, in the light of the disputes.

Inter-State Water Disputes

  • Article 262 of the Constitution provides for the adjudication of inter-state water disputes.
    • Under this, Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution and control of waters of any inter-state river and river valley.
    • Parliament may also provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court is to exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint.
  • The Parliament has enacted the two laws, the River Boards Act (1956) and the Inter-State Water Disputes Act (1956).
    • The River Boards Act provides for the establishment of river boards by the Central government for the regulation and development of inter-state river and river valleys.
      • A River Board is established on the request of state governments concerned to advise them.
    • The Inter-State Water Disputes Act empowers the Central government to set up an ad hoc tribunal for the adjudication of a dispute between two or more states in relation to the waters of an inter-state river or river valley.
      • The decision of the tribunal is final and binding on the parties to the dispute.
      • Neither the Supreme Court nor any other court is to have jurisdiction in respect of any water dispute which may be referred to such a tribunal under this Act.

Godavari River

  • Source: Godavari river rises from Trimbakeshwar near Nasik in Maharashtra and flows for a length of about 1465 km before outfalling into the Bay of Bengal.
  • Drainage Basin: The Godavari basin extends over states of Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha in addition to smaller parts in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Union territory of Puducherry.
  • Tributaries: Pravara, Purna, Manjra, Penganga, Wardha, Wainganga, Pranhita (combined flow of Wainganga, Penganga, Wardha), Indravati, Maner and the Sabri

Krishna River

  • Source: It originates near Mahabaleshwar (Satara) in Maharashtra. It is the second biggest river in peninsular India after the Godavari River.
  • Drainage: It runs from four states Maharashtra (303 km), North Karnataka (480 km) and the rest of its 1300 km journey in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh before it empties into the Bay of Bengal.
  • Tributaries: Tungabhadra, Mallaprabha, Koyna, Bhima, Ghataprabha, Yerla, Warna, Dindi, Musi and Dudhganga.

Source: TH

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