Interstate River Water Dispute

Interstate River Water Dispute

[pib] Status of Mahanadi Tribunal

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Inter-state water dispute

Mains level : Inter-state water dispute

At present, the Mahanadi dispute is under adjudication in the Tribunal under Section 5 (2) of Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956

Note the interrelation between the Article 262 and 253.They contain provisions related to international and interstate water sharing.

Mahanadi Tribunal

  • The Central Government has constituted Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal in 2018 under Section 4 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956.
  • It is set to adjudicate on water disputes between the riparian States of Odisha and Chhattisgarh
  • The tribunal is expected to give its verdict within a period of three years.
  • Provided that if the decision cannot be given for an unavoidable reason, within a period of three years, the Central Government may extend the period for a further period not exceeding two years.

What is the dispute about?

  • Chhattisgarh has been constructing dams and weirs (small dams) upstream the Mahanadi. This is being allegedly carried on without consulting Odisha.
  • It would affect the flow of the river downstream and affect drinking water supply. Also, it would impact the irrigation facilities in Odisha and adversely affect the interests of the farmers.
  • Moreover, the weirs and other projects would impact the flow of water in the Hirakud reservoir, a multipurpose river valley project, which is a lifeline for many in the state.

Back2Basics: Water Disputes Resolution in India

  • The Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956 (IRWD Act) is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted under Article 262 of Constitution of India on the eve of the reorganization of states on the linguistic basis to resolve the water disputes that would arise in the use, control and distribution of an interstate river[1] or river valley.
  • Article 262 of the Indian Constitution provides a role for the Central government in adjudicating conflicts surrounding inter-state rivers that arise among the state/regional governments.
  • This Act further has undergone amendments subsequently and its most recent amendment took place in the year 2002.
  • A/c to art 262, the Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter-State river or river valley.
  • Parliament may by law provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint.

Note: Any river water sharing treaty made with other countries, has to be ratified by the Parliament as per Article 253 after deciding the share of the Indian riparian states per Article 262 to make the treaty constitutionally valid or enforceable by the judiciary. The government has signed Indus Waters Treaty with Pakistan, Ganga water-sharing treaty with Bangladesh, etc. without the ratification by the Parliament and the consent of concerned riparian states per Article 252.

Interstate River Water Dispute

Kalasa-Banduri Dam Project

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kalasa-Banduri Dam Project

Mains level : Inter-state water disputes

India is on the brink of an acute water crisis, which has, to an extent, fabricated a looming threat of trans-boundary water conflicts. The conflict on the Mandovi / Mahadayi River— flowing through Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra— is one such example.

Try this PYQ:

What is common to the places known as Aliyar, Isapur and Kangsabati?

(a) Recently discovered uranium deposits

(b) Tropical rain forests

(c) Underground cave systems

(d) Water reservoirs

Kalasa-Banduri Project

  • The project undertaken by the Karnataka government proposes to divert Mandovi river water from Kalasa and Banduri canals into the Malaprabha river in the state.
  • The project received clearance from the Centre in 2002. It aims to construct a total of 11 dams on the river Mandovi.
  • The diversion of water from Kalasa and Banduri nullahs, however, has been the point of contention between Karnataka and Goa, with the latter claiming it would strip the state of its flora and fauna.

The conflict

  • The Mandovi originates from Karnataka’s Belgaum district.
  • The Mandovi river basin falls into the states of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
  • The river is 81 kilometres (km) in length; 35 km of which flows in Karnataka, 1 km in Maharashtra and 45 km in Goa.
  • The seeds of the conflict were sowed over 40 years ago: In 1985Karnataka initially explored a 350 megawatt-hydro-electric project to divert 50 per cent of the Mandovi river water in Karnataka for irrigation.
  • The plan was also to allow a steady flow of water from the power project’s storage dam after using the water for irrigation purposes in Karnataka.
  • This would have served to drinking water and irrigation purposes in Goa as well.

Interstate River Water Dispute

Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal Project

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sutlej Yamuna Link

Mains level : Inter-state water disputes

Opposing the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal project and staking claim to Yamuna’s waters, Punjab CM warned about the repercussions. Here is a look at the decades-old issue and why it has come up again now.

Try this PYQ:

Q. Which one of the following pairs is not correctly matched? (CSP 2017)

Dam/Lake River

(a) Govind Sagar: Satluj

(b) Kolleru Lake: Krishna

(c) Ukai Reservoir: Tapi

(d) Wular Lake: Jhelum

What is the SYL canal issue?

  • At the time of reorganization of Punjab in 1966, the issue of sharing of river waters between both the states emerged.
  • Punjab refused to share waters of Ravi and Beas with Haryana stating it was against the riparian principle.
  • Before the reorganization, in 1955, out of 15.85 MAF of Ravi and Beas, the Centre had allocated 8 MAF to Rajasthan, 7.20 MAF to undivided Punjab, 0.65MAF to Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Out of 7.20 MAF allocated, Punjab did not want to share any water with Haryana.
  • In March 1976, when the Punjab Reorganization Act was implemented, the Centre notified fresh allocations, providing 3.5 MAF To Haryana.

Inception of the canal project

  • Later, in 1981, the water flowing down Beas and Ravi was revised and pegged at 17.17 MAF, out of which 4.22 MAF was allocated to Punjab, 3.5 MAF to Haryana, and 8.6 MAF to Rajasthan.
  • Finally, to provide this allocated share of water to southern parts of Haryana, a canal linking the Sutlej with the Yamuna, cutting across the state, was planned.
  • Finally, the construction of 214-km SYL was started in April 1982, 122 km of which was to run through Punjab and the rest through Haryana.
  • Haryana has completed its side of the canal, but work in Punjab has been hanging fire for over three decades.

Why has the SYL canal come up again now?

  • The issue is back on centre stage after the Supreme Court directed the CMs of Punjab and Haryana to negotiate and settle the SYL canal issue.
  • The apex court asked for a meeting at the highest political level to be mediated by the Centre so that the states reach a consensus over the completion of the SYL canal.
  • The meeting remained inconclusive with the Centre expressing the view that the construction of the SYL canal should be completed. But Punjab CM refused categorically.

Punjab’s resentment with the project

  • The dispute is based on the bloody history around the SYL canal. The trouble-torn days of terrorism in Punjab started in the early 1980s when work on the SYL started.
  • Punjab feels it utilized its precious groundwater resources to grow the crop for the entire country and should not be forced to share its waters as it faces desertification.
  • It is feared that once the construction of the canal restarts, the youth may start feeling that the state has been discriminated against.
  • The Punjab CM fears Pakistan and secessionist organisations could exploit this and foment trouble in the state.

Water crisis in Punjab

  • Punjab is facing severe water crisis due to over-exploitation of its underground aquifers for the wheat/paddy monocycle.
  • According to the Central Underground Water Authority’s report, its underground water is over-exploited to meet the agriculture requirements in about 79 per cent area of the state.
  • Out of 138 blocks, 109 are “over-exploited”, two are “critical” five are “semi-critical” and only 22 blocks are in “safe” category.

Punjab expects a new tribunal

  • The state wants a tribunal seeking a fresh time-bound assessment of the water availability.
  • The state has been saying that till date there has been no adjudication or scientific assessment of Punjab river waters.

Interstate River Water Dispute

Vamsadhara River Water Dispute

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Vamsadhara River, Inter-state water dispute

Mains level : Inter-state water dispute

Andhra Pradesh  and Odisha CM recently held talks to iron out all differences with regard to the sharing of Vamsadhara River waters.

Note all major rivers over which inter-state disputes exist say Narmada, Mahadayi, Cauvery, Krishna, etc. Observe their flow and the area swept.

Also, refer your atlas to check the complicated border sharings between Chhatisgarh, AP/Telangana and Odisha.

Vamsadhara River

  • River Vamsadhara is an important east-flowing river between Rushikulya and Godavari, in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
  • The river originates in the border of Thuamul Rampur in the Kalahandi district and Kalyansinghpur in Rayagada district of Odisha.
  • It runs for a distance of about 254 kilometres, where it joins the Bay of Bengal at Kalingapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
  • The total catchment area of the river basin is about 10,830 square kilometres.

The dispute

  • Andhra Pradesh wants to build the Neradi bridge across the river which will be possible only after Odisha’s consent.
  • Odisha argues that the flood flow canal would result in drying up the existing river bed and consequent shifting of the river affecting the groundwater table.
  • Odisha also raised the issue of scientific assessment of available water in Vamsadhara at Katragada and Gotta Barrage, Andhra Pradesh and the basis for sharing the available water.

Back2Basics: Interstate River Water Disputes

  • River waters use/harnessing is included in states jurisdiction. However, 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.
  • The President of India may also establish an interstate council as per Article 263 to inquire and recommend on the dispute that has arisen between the states
  • The Parliament has enacted the two laws, the River Boards Act (1956) and the Inter-State Water Disputes Act (1956).
  • 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.
  • 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 award 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.

Interstate River Water Dispute

Kalasa-Banduri Nala Project

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kalasa-Banduri Nala Project

Mains level : Mahadayei Water Dispute

 

The cost of Kalasa-Banduri Nala Project on the Mahadayi River skyrockets by 1,674% since inception. It rose from about ₹94 crores (2000) to ₹1,677.30 crores (2020) due to the ongoing inter-State river water dispute.

Kalasa-Banduri Nala Project

  • The project is undertaken by the Government of Karnataka to improve drinking water supply to the three districts of Belagavi, Dharwad, and Gadag.
  • It was planned in 1989; Goa raised an objection to it.
  • It involves building across Kalasa and Banduri, two tributaries of the Mahadayi river to divert water to the Malaprabha, a tributary of Krishna River.
  • Malaprabha river supplies the drinking water to Dharwad, Belgaum, and Gadag districts.

About Mahadayi Water Dispute

  • The Mahadayi river basin drains an area of 2032 square kilometres of which 375 square km lies in Karnataka, 77 sq km in Maharashtra and the remaining in Goa.
  • It originates in the Belagavi district of Karnataka, briefly passes through Maharashtra and flows through Goa (where its known as Mandovi), and drains to the Arabian Sea.
  • Since the eighties, Karnataka has been was contemplating linking of Mahadayi with Malaprabha river, a tributary of Krishna.
  • In 2002, Karnataka gave the idea a shape in the form of the Kalasa-Bhanduri project.
  • Goa strongly opposed it as Mahadayi is one of the two rivers the State is dependent on and thus Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal was set up in 2010.

Read more about the Mahadayi Dispute and award of the tribunal at:

Verdict of Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal Comes

Interstate River Water Dispute

Verdict of Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal Comes

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Functions & responsibilities of the Union & the States, issues & challenges pertaining to the federal structure

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Verdict on Water Sharing

Mains level: River water disputes in India


News

Award of the Tribunal

  1. The Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal which has been hearing the tussle over sharing of the Mahadayi or Mandovi river between Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, delivered its final verdict.
  2. Ending a 50-year-old dispute, the tribunal allowed Karnataka access to 13.4 tmc of water for its consumptive use (5.4 tmc) and power generation (8.02 tmc).
  3. The share of Goa was pegged at 24 tmc with the Tribunal allowing it for the state’s municipal water needs, irrigation water requirements and industrial water demands.
  4. Maharashtra got the lowest share of 1.33 tmc for meeting its in-basin needs with respect to five projects.
  5. The tribunal also directed the Centre to set up the Mahadayi Water Management Authority to implement its report and final decision.

Quick recap of the issue

  1. The Mahadayi river basin drains an area of 2032 square kilometres of which 375 square km lies in Karnataka, 77 sq km in Maharashtra and the remaining in Goa.
  2. It originates in the Belagavi district of Karnataka, briefly passes through Maharashtra and flows through Goa (where its known as Mandovi), and drains to the Arabian Sea
  3. Since the eighties, Karnataka has been was contemplating linking of Mahadayi with Malaprabha river, a tributary of Krishna
  4. In 2002, Karnataka gave the idea a shape in the form of the Kalasa-Bhanduri project
  5. Goa strongly opposed it as Mahadayi is one of the two rivers the State is dependent on and thus Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal was set up in 2010

Back2Basics

Interstate River Water Disputes Act

  1. The Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956 (IRWD Act) is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted under Article 262 of Constitution of India.
  2. It sets basis to resolve the water disputes that would arise in the use, control and distribution of an interstate river or river valley.
  3. Article 262 of the Indian Constitution provides a role for the Central government in adjudicating conflicts surrounding inter-state rivers that arise among the state/regional governments.
  4. River waters use / harnessing is included in states jurisdiction (entry 17 of state list, Schedule 7 of Indian Constitution).
  5. However, union government can make laws on regulation and development of inter-State rivers and river valleys when expedient in the public interest (entry 56 of union list, Schedule 7 of Indian Constitution).
  6. When public interest is served, President may also establish an interstate council as per Article 263 to inquire and recommend on the dispute that has arisen between the states of India.
  7. This act is confined to states of India and not applicable to union territories.
  8. Any river water sharing treaty made with other countries has to be ratified by the Parliament per Article 253 and all the riparian states of India per Article 252 to make the treaty constitutionally valid.

Tribunals under IRWD Act

  1. Whenever the riparian states are not able to reach amicable agreements on their own in sharing of an interstate river waters, Section 4 of IRWD Act provides dispute resolution process in the form of Tribunal.
  2. As per Section 5.2 of the Act, the tribunal shall not only adjudicate but also investigate the matters referred to it by the central government and forward a report setting out the facts with its decisions.
  3. Under Section 6A of this Act, central government may frame a scheme or schemes to give effect to the decision of a tribunal. Each scheme has provision to establish an authority for implementation of a tribunal verdict.
  4. When a tribunal verdict, after formally gazetted by the union government shall be complied by the union government as the tribunal verdict is equal to Supreme Court verdict.

Interstate River Water Dispute

After Cauvery: A look at other inter-state water tussles

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Functions & responsibilities of the Union & the States, issues & challenges pertaining to the federal structure

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Mentioned rivers and their tributaries, Indus Water Treaty

Mains level: River water disputes in India


SC verdict on Cauvery river water sharing

  1. The Supreme Court on February 16 delivered its verdict on Cauvery river water sharing between Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Puducherry, bringing an end to a decade-old case
  2. SC has upheld the Cauvery tribunal’s verdict with modifications

Other inter-state river disputes in India

  1. The first-ever Tribunal for a river dispute was formed in 1969 after Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh failed to come up with a formula to share the Krishna water
  2. Along with the Krishna Tribunal, this tribunal was asked 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
  3. The Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal was also constituted around the same time as the Krishna and Godavari tribunals

Inter-country dispute

  1. Ravi and Beas flow through Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan before merging with Indus in Pakistan
  2. According to the Indus Water Treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, the two rivers along with Sutlej are to be controlled by India
  3. The Ravi & Beas Waters Tribunal was constituted in 1986

Flood control mechanism lead to river dispute

  1. Vamsadhara originates from the Eastern Ghats near Lanjigarh of Kalahandi district in Odisha and reaches the Bay of Bengal at Kalingapatnam in Andhra Pradesh
  2. The dispute arose Andhra Pradesh began constructing a flood flow canal at Katragada after
  3. A tribunal was set up in 2010 to review the river water sharing

River interlinking

  1. The Mahadayi is a relatively small river with a total length of 80.8km
  2. It originates in the Belagavi district of Karnataka, briefly passes through Maharashtra and flows through Goa (where its known as Mandovi), and drains to the Arabian Sea
  3. Since the eighties, Karnataka has been was contemplating linking of Mahadayi with Malaprabha river, a tributary of Krishna
  4. In 2002, Karnataka gave the idea a shape in the form of the Kalasa-Bhanduri project
  5. Goa strongly opposed it as Mahadayi is one of the two rivers the State is dependent on and thus Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal was set up in 2010

Latest dispute: Mahanadi water sharing

  1. Mahanadi originates in the Chhattisgarh plains and flows through northern Odisha to reach the Bay of Bengal by forming several distributaries
  2. Odisha and Chhattisgarh are at loggerheads over the sharing of Mahanadi water
  3. Union Cabinet on February 20 approved setting up a tribunal to resolve the Mahanadi dispute

Interstate River Water Dispute

Cabinet approves tribunal to settle Mahanadi water dispute

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Functions & responsibilities of the Union & the States, issues & challenges pertaining to the federal structure

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Mahanadi river (geographical features), River water tribunals, Inter-State River Disputes (Amendment) Bill

Mains level: River water disputes and their resolution


Tribunal to settle Mahanadi water dispute

  1. The Union Cabinet has approved the setting up of a tribunal to settle a row between Odisha and Chhattisgarh on sharing the waters of the river Mahanadi
  2. Supreme Court had directed the Centre to set up a tribunal
  3. This was in response to a plea by the Odisha government to stop the Chhattisgarh government from constructing several weirs on the river

New bill in the offing

  1. The government plans to introduce a new bill that would have a single tribunal to replace all existing water tribunals
  2. The bill, called the Inter-State River Disputes (Amendment) Bill, was introduced in the Lok Sabha in March 2017 but is yet to be debated
  3. After becoming law, it could affect the composition of the members of various tribunals

Current system of appointment

  1. Currently, all tribunals are staffed by members of the judiciary, nominated by the Chief Justice
  2. The proposed Bill has provisions for members, even a Chairperson, outside the judiciary

Back2Basics

Inter-State River Disputes (Amendment) Bill

  1. The Bill seeks to amend the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956
  2. Under the 1956 Act, when a complaint is received from a state government regarding a water dispute, the central government may ask the affected states to undertake negotiations to settle the dispute
  3. If the dispute cannot be settled through negotiations, the central government has to set up a Water Disputes Tribunal within a year of receiving such a complaint
  4. The Bill replaces this provision and requires the central government to set up a Disputes Resolution Committee (DRC), for resolving any inter-state water dispute amicably
  5. The DRC will get a period of one year, extendable by six months, to submit its report to the central government
  6. Members of the DRC will be from relevant fields, as deemed fit by the central government
  7. The Bill proposes to set up an Inter-State River Water Disputes Tribunal, for adjudication of water disputes, if a dispute is not resolved through the DRC. This tribunal can have multiple benches
  8. All existing tribunals will be dissolved and the water disputes pending adjudication before such existing tribunals will be transferred to this newly formed tribunal
  9. The tribunal shall consist of a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, and not more than six nominated members (judges of the Supreme Court or of a High Court), nominated by the Chief Justice of India

Interstate River Water Dispute

Cauvery a national asset, no exclusive ownership, says Supreme Court

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Functions & responsibilities of the Union & the States, issues & challenges pertaining to the federal structure

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Helsinki Rules of 1966, Campione Rules

Mains level: River water disputes in India


Inter-state river a national asset

  1. The Supreme Court said n inter-State river like Cauvery is a ‘national asset’
  2. Being in a state of flow, no State can claim exclusive ownership of its waters or assert a prescriptive right so as to deprive other States of their equitable share
  3. Principle of equality among riparian States does not imply an equal division of water
  4. Equality here means “equal consideration and equal economic opportunity of the co-basin States

Supporting  just and reasonable use

  1. As one of the beneficial gifts of Nature, each beneficiary has a right to just and reasonable use of river water
  2. The precious right should be equally and reasonable shared by all States concerned

Practices of sharing of international rivers among nations

  1. The principle of equitable apportionment predicates that every riparian State is entitled to a fair share of the water according to its need,
  2. It is imbued with the philosophy that a river has been provided by nature for the common benefit of the community as a whole through whose territory it flows even though those territories may be divided by frontiers as postulated in law
  3. The Supreme Court referred to the Helsinki Rules of 1966, which recognize equitable use of water by each basin State taking into consideration the geography and hydrology of the basin, the climate, past utilization of waters, economic and social needs, dependent population and availability of resources
  4. The judgment also refers to the Campione Rules in the context of the Cauvery dispute
  5. These Rules hold that basin States would in their respective territories manage the waters of an international drainage basin in an equitable and reasonable manner

Back2Basics

Helsinki Rules of 1966

  1. The Helsinki Rules on the Uses of the Waters of International Rivers is an international guideline regulating how rivers and their connected groundwaters that cross national boundaries may be used
  2. It was adopted by the International Law Association (ILA) in Helsinki, Finland in August 1966
  3. It led to the creation of the United Nations’ Convention on the Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses
  4. It is applicable to all drainage basins that cross national boundaries, except where other agreement between bordering nations exists
  5. In spite of its adoption by the ILA, there is no mechanism in place that enforces the rules
  6. In 2004, it was superseded by the Berlin Rules on Water Resources

Interstate River Water Dispute

Cauvery issue – a timeline

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms & institutions

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, Cauvery River Authority, samba crops

Mains level: Various river water disputes in India


History of dispute

  1. The Cauvery river water dispute, primarily between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, dates back to the 19th century
  2. An agreement was signed between Madras Presidency and the princely State of Mysore in 1924 regarding water sharing that lapsed in 1974

SC intervention

  1. In May 1990, Supreme Court directed Centre to constitute Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal
  2. This demand was being made by Tamil Nadu since 1970

Constitution of Cauvery Tribunal

  1. On June 2, 1990, Centre notified Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT)
  2. In June 1991, the CWDT announced an interim award and ordered Karnataka to release 205 tmcft of water
  3. In a move to nullify the interim awards, Karnataka government passed an Ordinance
  4. Supreme Court intervened, struck down Karnataka’s ordinance and upheld the interim award of the CWDT
  5. Karnataka refused to oblige

Deepening of crisis and measures by government

  1. In August 1998, Centre constituted Cauvery River Authority chaired by Prime Minister to ensure the implementation of the interim award of CWDT
  2. On Feb. 5, 2007, Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal gave final award
  3. Tribunal held as valid the two agreements of 1892 and 1924 executed between the Governments of Madras and Mysore on the apportionment of water to Tamil Nadu

Recent development

  1. On September 5, 2016, the Supreme Court directed the Karnataka government to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu for the next 10 days to ameliorate the plight of farmers
  2. Noting that the samba crops in Tamil Nadu will be adversely affected SC directed Karnataka to ensure supply of water to Tamil Nadu

Interstate River Water Dispute

Continue release of 2,000 cusecs to TN till further orders, SC tells Karnataka

  1. A three-judge Bench, extended its October 4, 2016 order, directing Karnataka to release 2000 cusecs a day to Tamil Nadu
  2. This interim arrangement would continue till the court gives further orders
  3. Centre view: The Attorney-General submitted that the SC had no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals
  4. This is because the 2007 tribunal award was final under Article 262 of the Constitution and provisions of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956
  5. Karnataka view: Parliament cannot curtail the Supreme Court’s powers to render justice

Interstate River Water Dispute

Cauvery panel tells Supreme Court of drought, debt II

  1. More findings: Many of them have been pushed to committing suicide due to financial burden.
  2. Farmers are suffering for drinking water and irrigation water since available ground water is not suitable
  3. In Karnataka, the team found that a large number of suicides were reported from Mandya district
  4. In Tamil Nadu: Farmers have sought the constitution of the Cauvery Management Board
  5. In Karnataka: The government had declared 42 out of 48 talukas under Cauvery basin as drought affected based on Central Government guidelines

Interstate River Water Dispute

Cauvery panel tells Supreme Court of drought, debt I

  1. Source: A SC-appointed High Level Technical Team report to the SC
  2. Findings: The parched Cauvery basin is a big reason for farmers’ suicides and mass migrations in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka,.
  3. The ground realities of the Cauvery delta region include drought and rising unemployment
  4. The bore wells are dug to a 1000-feet deep and there is withering of acres of crops in both States
  5. Agriculture laborers have been migrating from delta districts of Tamil Nadu

Interstate River Water Dispute

Draft Water Bill suggests basin-level management- II

  1. Right: Every person has a ‘right to sufficient quantity of safe water for life’ within easy reach of the household
  2. This is regardless of caste, creed, religion, age, community, class, gender, disability, economic status, land ownership and place of residence
  3. States should ensure that water is conserved
  4. Also stresses on Centre and States working in partnership for managing water
  5. Insti: Proposes establishing institutional arrangements at all levels within a State and beyond up to an inter-State river basin level
  6. Aim: To ‘obviate’ disputes through negotiations, conciliation or mediation before they become acute
  7. Challenge: Water being a State subject, the Bill will not be binding on States for adoption

Interstate River Water Dispute

Draft Water Bill suggests basin-level management- I

  1. Context: Several inter-State disputes over river water sharing
  2. Bill: Centre has brought final draft of the National Water Framework Bill, 2016
  3. Provisions: It stresses managing water at basin-level and right measurement of State’s contribution to river system to resolve conflicts
  4. Pitches for establishing River Basin Authority for each inter-State basin to ensure optimum and sustainable development of rivers and valleys
  5. Public trustees: It suggests States to recognise the principle that the rivers are not owned by the basin-States but are public trustees
  6. All basin States have equitable rights over a river water ‘provided such use does not violate the right to water for life’ of any person in the river basin

Interstate River Water Dispute

Cauvery board formation put off, SC gives nod for ‘technical team’

  1. SC put on hold its order to constitute the Cauvery Management Board (CMB)
  2. It finally settled for the Centre’s suggestion to appoint a technical team to visit the Cauvery basin and report back on the ground reality there
  3. Meanwhile, as an interim arrangement, a Bench ordered Karnataka to release 2,000 cusecs of water from October 7 to 18

Interstate River Water Dispute

SC cannot order setting up CMB

  1. The Supreme Court had ordered that the Cauvery Management Board to be set up on October 4, inspect the 80,000 sq km Cauvery basin and submit a report by October 6
  2. However, Centre submitted that the order to constitute the CMB cannot be complied with
  3. Why? While the CMB was recommended by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in its final order in 2007, the tribunal award itself was under challenge in the Supreme Court

Interstate River Water Dispute

Karnataka starts release of water, ends defiance of SC

  1. Following a unanimous resolution in the State legislature, Karnataka ended its defiance of the Supreme Court’s orders
  2. It started the release of 6,800 cusecs of water for irrigation purposes from the Krishna Raj Sagar dam & a large portion of this water is expected to reach Tamil Nadu
  3. The move comes in the wake of the SC’s observation, warning Karnataka not to invite the wrath of the court and asking it to release 6,000 cusecs a day from October 1 to 6

Interstate River Water Dispute

Supreme Court gives last chance to Karnataka to release Cauvery water

  1. SC has given Karnataka a last chance to release 6000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu between October 1, 2016 and October 6, 2016 before the ‘wrath of law falls on the State’
  2. KWMB: It simultaneous asked the Centre to set up the Cauvery Water Management Board by October 4
  3. Purpose: So that the Board can visit the Cauvery sites to check the ground realities
  4. It slammed Karnataka for flouting its orders and creating a situation by which the majesty of law is dented
  5. Invoked its limitless powers under Article 144 of the Indian Constitution to enforce its orders
  6. A144: All authorities in the territory of India are bound to obey the orders of the Supreme Court and render assistance and aid for the implementation of the orders of this court

Interstate River Water Dispute

Karnataka Assembly resolution on Cauvery dispute has no value: former SC judges

  1. Context: The resolution passed by the two Houses of Karnataka on September 23 to deny Tamil Nadu Cauvery water
  2. Former SC judges: It is merely an ill-advised misadventure
  3. The resolution is no match for the constitutional might of the Supreme Court as the final and sole arbiter of Inter-State and Inter-State water disputes
  4. Background: Earlier, SC had ordered Karnataka to release 6000 cusecs of water per day
  5. But then Karnataka assembly passed resolution to deny water to Tamil Nadu
  6. Later SC had even refused to entertain Karnataka’s objections against releasing 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu for three days

Interstate River Water Dispute

What judges say does not become law: Siddaramaiah

  1. Striking a defiant note, Karnataka CM that he was yet to read the Supreme Court order on releasing Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu
  2. Also that the priority is for drinking water according to our national water policy (2012), so the SC verdict to release water does not become a law or an order immediately

Interstate River Water Dispute

Solving water dispute- a water security perspective

  1. According to Central Water Commission Chair, we must emphasize on water storage and its conservation for resolving such crisis
  2. We cannot think of bringing water security unless we are able to create enough capacity for its storage and release it as per requirement

Interstate River Water Dispute

Management board an ideal option to end Cauvery impasse: CWC chief

  1. Context: Cauvery river water dispute- The Supreme Court order and consequences
  2. SC has directed the Centre to constitute within four weeks a Cauvery water management board as directed by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in its award
  3. It will have representatives from both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
  4. SC also directed the Karnataka government to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water a day to Tamil Nadu till September 27

Which of the following are tributaries of River Cauvery?

1- Hemavati
2- Noyyal
3- Amaravati River

A) 1 & 2 only B) 1 & 3 only C) All of the above D) None of the above

Interstate River Water Dispute

Plea in SC seeks action against fringe elements

  1. Context: The SC order to Karnataka release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu and subsequent violence and incitement of regional parochial sentiments
  2. What? Supreme Court agreed to urgently hear a petition seeking a judicial direction to the governments of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to control and act against the fringe elements which orchestrated violence in both States
  3. Infringement of rights: Widespread destruction of public and private properties had led to the infringement of fundamental rights to life and movement in the two States
  4. Discuss: What are the Constitutional and statutory devices available in India to solve water disputes? Also critically evaluate the successes of tribunals in resolving river water disputes in India.

Importance for Exams

  • Mains : Understand the issue, why is it not resolved yet. Steps taken this year. why they are expected to yield better results compared to the past.
  • Prelims : Make a note of the institutional framework(composition, functions,etc) involved : Provisions of Art. 262, ISWD Act, CRA, CMC, CSC and the newly proposed CRMB.

In News

The Kaveri River water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu(TN) has been lingering on for decades. It crops up whenever there is scanty rainfall leading to shortage of water in Kaveri.
This year, Kaveri has seen lesser monsoon rains leading to four main reservoirs in its Karnataka basin being partially full. The situation forced Karnataka to turn on it’s commitment of water sharing leading to resentment from TN.

Timeline

25 August : Citing a bad monsoon, Karnataka govt announced, it was not in a position to release the TN share of water forcing TN to approach the supreme court.
5 September : Supreme Court directs Tamil Nadu to approach the Cauvery Supervisory Committee(CSC). CSC asks for data, delays ruling.
19 September : Cauvery Supervisory Committee asked Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs per day from September 21 to 30.
20 September : SC doubled the quantum to 6,000 cusecs from September 21 to 27. directed the centre to constitute within four weeks the Cauvery Water Management Board(CWMB) as directed by Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal(CWDT) in its 2007 award.
Riots follow.

Core Issues

Historical water use : Since the ancient times, TN had been an agrarian state with more area under agriculture than karnataka. Hence it has depended more on Kaveri. This is the reason why TN has always pushed for a lion’s share and has been awarded one by various tribunals. Karnataka is opposed to this line of thought.
Present dependence : Karnataka farmers are unhappy because their share of water allows them to grow 1 paddy crop + 2nd less water-intensive crop while their counterparts in TN grow 3 crops a year. Karnataka finds it grossly unfair to release water for Tamil Nadu farmers who want to sow their 2nd crop while its own farmers struggle with the first.

Ref : http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/cauvery-water-dispute-karnataka-tamil-nadu-supreme-court-3019228/

The Deadlock

The reasons for the deadlock are as follows
1. Institutional failure
– This issue raises the larger question of the effectiveness of the constitutional provisions of Art 262 relating to Inter-state river water disputes and the Inter-state Water Disputes Act, 1956. River water disputes across India suffer from deadlock.
– CRA and CMC. CRA is political body with no experts. CMC plays a supportive role to the CRA. Neither Karnataka nor Tamil Nadu has endorsed the role and function of these bodies.

Ref : http://www.frontline.in/static/html/fl1919/19190090.htm

2. Politicization of the issue
The issue has been blown out of proportion for political gains in respective states. It’s very important that the role of politicians and courts come down in deciding technical issues like these and the advice rendered by technocrats is given more importance.
The proposed Cauvery River Management Board (CRMB) tries to address this issue by having technocrats at decisions making level.

CM Karnataka Interview

Way forward

Cauvery River Management Board (CRMB)
– The Board will take decisions on water usage and distribution.
– The Board will also see to it that states ensure proper hydraulic structures at relevant sites.
– It will determine the amount of water to be received by the states

The idea is to cut down the dependence on monsoon. The board will ensure adequate storage in the reservoirs before the monsoons till the end of May each year. in case monsoons are delayed, the stored water can help minimize distress.
In case of consecutive bad years, the Board will handle the issue appropriately by distributing water in a planned manner with minimum distress.

Ref : http://www.oneindia.com/india/explained-how-will-cauvery-management-board-work-2214962.html

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cauvery-management-board-will-have-representatives-from-karnataka-tn-cwc/article9132098.ece

Historical Developments

Only to help you understand the current issue better. Depth not required.

1892 : Agreement between Madras Presidency and Mysore.
1924 : 2nd Agreement under the supervision of GoI.
1970 : fact-finding committee appointed.
1990 : Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT)is set-up under under the Inter-state Water Disputes Act, 1956.
Interim orders passed in 1991, 1992 and 1995.
1998 : Kaveri River Water Scheme notified by the govt. consisting of Cauvery River Authority (CRA) and Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC).
2007 : After 16 years, it announces its award.
Its distribution is as follows
– Tamil Nadu -419 tmc ft
– Karnataka – 270 tmc ft
– Kerala – 30 tmc ft
– Puducherry – 7 tmc ft
This award is challenged by the states. Special Leave Petitions were filed and the Court granted leave.
2013 : On the direction of the Supreme Court, Govt notified the final reward as proposed by the Tribunal in 2007.

 


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