Krishna Water Dispute

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Krishna Basin

Mains level : Krishna water dispute


  • The Krishna river dispute took a new turn this week, when Maharashtra and Karnataka agreed to jointly oppose AP’s application seeking a relook at the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal’s 2010 order on water distribution between the riparian states.

The Krishna river dispute

  • The Krishna is an east-flowing river that originates at Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra and merges with the Bay of Bengal, flowing through Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and AP.
  • Together with its tributaries, it forms a vast basin that covers 33% of the total area of the four states.
  • A dispute over the sharing of Krishna waters has been ongoing for many decades, beginning with the erstwhile Hyderabad and Mysore states, and later continuing between successors.

Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal

  • In 1969, the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT) was set up under the Inter-State River Water Dispute Act, 1956, and presented its report in 1973.
  • The report, which was published in 1976, divided the 2060 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of Krishna water at 75 per cent dependability into three parts.
  • It was 560 TMC for Maharashtra, 700 TMC for Karnataka and 800 TMC for Andhra Pradesh.
  • At the same time, it was stipulated that the KWDT order may be reviewed or revised by a competent authority or tribunal any time after May 31, 2000.
  • Afterward, as new grievances arose between the states, the second KWDT was instituted in 2004.
  • It delivered its report in 2010, which made allocations of the Krishna water at 65 per cent dependability and for surplus flows as follows: 81 TMC for Maharashtra, 177 TMC for Karnataka, and 190 TMC for Andhra Pradesh.

After the KWDT’s 2010 report

  • Soon after the 2010 report was presented, AP challenged it through a Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court in 2011.
  • In an order in the same year, the apex court stopped the Centre from publishing it in the official Gazette.
  • In 2013, the KWDT issued a ‘further report’, which was again challenged by Andhra Pradesh in the Supreme Court in 2014.
  • After the creation of Telangana from AP in 2014, the Water Resources Ministry has been extending the duration of the KWDT.

Row over share

  • Andhra Pradesh has since asked that Telangana be included as a separate party at the KWDT and that the allocation of Krishna waters be reworked among four states, instead of three.
  • Maharashtra and Karnataka are now resisting this move. On September 3, the two states said: Telangana was created following bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
  • Therefore, allocation of water should be from Andhra Pradesh’s share which was approved by the tribunal.

Duo’s stance

  • It is relying on Section 89 of The Andhra Pradesh State Reorganization Act, 2014, which reads:
  • The term of the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal shall be extended with the following terms of reference, namely:
  1. shall make project-wise specific allocation, if such allocation has not been made by a Tribunal constituted under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956;
  2. shall determine an operational protocol for project-wise release of water in the event of deficit flows.
  • For the purposes of this section, it is clarified that the project-specific awards already made by the Tribunal on or before the appointed day shall be binding on the successor States.
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