State gets a good deal

Tribunal gives nod to raise height of Almatti dam to 524.25 metres

State gets a good deal

In its verdict on Monday, the tribunal has also allocated 911 tmc ft of Krishna river water to the State as against 1001 to Andhra Pradesh and 666 to Maharashtra.

Delivering the verdict, KWDT-II chairman Justice Brijesh Kumar announced that this quantity would be inclusive of the 734 tmc ft allotted by the KWDT-I to Karnataka, 811 to Andhra Pradesh and 585 to Maharashtra.

This means Karnataka has secured 177 tmc, AP 190 tmc and Maharashtra 81 tmc in addition to the earlier allocation.  In other words, the tribunal has distributed 43 per cent of the surplus water of the Krishna river to AP, 40 to Karnataka and 17 to Maharashtra, out of 2293 tmc at 65 per cent dependability.

Justice Kumar, flanked by panel members Justice D K Seth and Justice S P Srivastava, read out the 18-page order at the court hall.  The tribunal has come out with a four volume-830 page award which contains observations and orders on all the 30 issues framed by it.

Giving its judgment on the 43-year-old fight for surplus water, the tribunal said that its order was valid till May 31, 2050, beyond which it can be reviewed by any competent authority.

Overseeing authority

It also ordered setting up of the Krishna Water Decision Implementation Board (KIB) to oversee allocations to the riparian states. It directed the party states to utilise water strictly in accordance with the allocations since they have been made at different dependabilities. It said water should be released as per  “10 daily working tables”, copies of which should be furnished to the KIB.

The Almatti dam issue remained contentious for Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The dam, in Bijapur district, currently has a height of 519 metres. Increasing its height would enhance the dam’s utilisation from the present 173 tmc to 303 tmc when the reservoir is fully built.

Limits

While noting that Karnataka should not utilise more than 198 tmc from the Upper Krishna Project (UKP) in a 65 per cent dependable water year and not more than 303 tmc in an average water year, the tribunal said the quantity included allocation of 130 tmc for UKP Stage II “with reservoir level of Almatti dam at 524.256 metres.”

Karnataka has been directed to release eight to 10 tmc of water to AP from Almatti in June and July as regulated releases.

Water usage

On the water usage by Karnataka, the tribunal said it should not utilise more than 360 tmc from Tungabhadra sub-basin with 65 per cent dependability (this applies to allocation of 40 tmc for Upper Tunga, Upper Bhadra and Singatlur projects).

“Karnataka shall not utilise more than 799 tmc in a 65 per cent dependable water year and not more than 904 tmc in an average water year,” the verdict noted, as it went on to detail similar restrictions on the other two party states.

While contribution from all the three states to the drinking water supply of Chennai will continue, all of them should release a total of 16 tmc to maintain minimum instream flow and for environment and ecology.  This will help the Bheema river in north Karnataka as it often goes dry in summer.
 

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