Karnataka's claim for drinking water exposes falsehood: Goa govt

Karnataka's claim for drinking water exposes falsehood: Goa govt

The Goa government has told a tribunal that the Mahadayi river water demand by neighbouring Karnataka is actually for irrigating its sugarcane crop areas.

Notably, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had last week said his state could share the river water with Karnataka for drinking purposes and expressed his willingness for bilateral talks.

Senior counsel Atmaram Nadkarni, representing Goa, in his 531-page submission before the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal yesterday, pleaded against allowing the diversion of the Mahadayi river water by the governments of Karnataka and Maharashtra.

"The requirement of Karnataka in the Malaprabha reservoir as also the drinking water requirement in the twin cities of Hubli and Dharwad is a bogey of completely incorrect statements...," Nadkarni alleged in his submission.

"... The whole exercise, proposed by Karnataka, is aimed at sustaining the manifold increase as well as further increasing and encouraging the cultivation of the water- guzzling sugarcane crop area," he said.

The tribunal is expected to hear the final arguments in the matter in the first week of next month.

The coastal state also submitted before the tribunal that the case of drinking water, pleaded and sought to be proved by Karnataka, is completely at variance with each other, self- contradictory and exposes complete falsehood.

Supporting its contention, Goa said that Karnataka is claiming 7.56 TMC of water for drinking to be supplied to Hubli-Dharward areas.

"This demand is made based on the purported calculation of an estimated population claimed to be around 28 lakh (in Hubli-Dharwad areas) in 2051, whereas the present population is 9,43,857, as per the 2011 census," it said.

"Therefore, the claim is that the population would grow three times more in the period from 2014 to 2051," reads the submission of Nadkarni before the tribunal.

Goa has said that in a period of 40 years, the population never triples as the increase is normally on an average 10 per cent per decade.

"This can also be contrasted with the figures in Hubli- Dharward areas for the last three decades. The population in 1981 was 5,27,108 and in 2011 it was 9,43,857. This means there was an increase of hardly around three lakh which comes to around 26 per cent per decade," the state said.

The Goa government also said that Karnataka has only sought to make a mockery of its entire claim by pleading such unjust unreliable, casual claims and facts which are non-existent.

Nadkarni said Goa's case was essentially to challenge the construction of 12 dams by Karnataka on the Mahadayi river and also oppose Karnataka's proposal to divert its water to the Malaprabha reservoir.

He said Goa opposed these moves as it would result in a complete aquatic, marine and terrestrial ecology disaster and also deprive the state of water for drinking, irrigation and industrial needs.

The counsel also said that Karnataka and Maharashtra do not have any right, authority or power to divert water of the Mahadayi outside the river basin, without the concurrence of Goa.

Mahadayi river riparian states Karnataka and Goa, besides Maharashtra, have been locked in a bitter dispute over sharing of the water.

The Mahadayi (called Mandovi in Goa) originates in Karnataka and flows to Goa and Maharashtra.

The water sharing issue is politically sensitive one, especially in five north Karnataka districts.  

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