Thursday, July 23, 2009

Battles over water turn bitter

Battles over water turn bitter
Battles over water turn bitter
Team DNA / DNA
Monday, July 20, 2009 2:59 IST

New Delhi: Godavari river Andhra Pradeshvs Maharashtra
Dispute: The dispute began after Maharashtra began constructing the Babhali barrage on the Godavari river in Nanded district, just before the river enters AP.
What AP says: There is no formal allocation of the Godavari water. Estimates show that AP normally gets about 1,480 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of Godavari waters. However, Maharashtra has been working on a string of barrages and dams on the river. The Babhali project on the border of AP and Maharashtra has emerged as a flashpoint.
AP approached the Supreme Court saying the project would damage prospects of AP due to a reduction in water flow. In 2007, the apex court allowed Maharashtra to continue with the project but made it clear that the project approval would be subject to a final verdict and that the state should build any gates to block the water flow. The AP government is now claiming that the Maharashtra government has not begun building the gates, contrary to the court's orders.
What Maharashtra says: Maharashtra says it is making a barrage, not a dam, as per the guidelines of the Central Water Commission, with the aim of providing drinking water to an area of 20 square kilometres in Nanded. The Maharashtra government says it has not built the lower gates, as claimed by AP. It says the barrage will affect only up to 5% of water supply to AP.
Current status: On July 21, the Supreme Court will begin hearing the case. With elections looming in Maharashtra, the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance government is keen to finish the project to showcase it as an achievement.

Palar river, Tamil Nadu vsAndhra Pradesh
Dispute: Unlike the Krishna and Godavari disputes, here Andhra Pradesh stands charged of attempting to cut water flow. Tamil Nadu wants Andhra Pradesh to stop its work on the check dam at Ganeshpuram in Kuppam, saying it will reduce water flow on the Palar.
What TN says: The construction of the Rs55 crore check dam by Andhra near Ganeshpuram across the Palar river will seriously affect drinking water flow to Vellore, Kancheepuram, Tiruvannamalai, Thiruvallur and Chennai districts. Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi has sought the intervention of the central government to prevent AP from taking up any construction activity across Palar.
What AP says: Andhra Pradesh has strongly refuted allegations levelled by Tamil Nadu, saying no such work is currently going on at the site. Andhra Pradesh's major irrigation minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah said that only certain designs related to the dam were prepared so far.
"We have shared the designs with the Tamil Nadu government. We are aware of the inter-state problems involved over the project, but we can say there will not be any loss to Tamil Nadu because of the project," he said.
Current status: The Supreme Court in January 2008 directed the Centre to settle the dispute between the two states amicably. Two months later, the Central Water Commission Chairman convened a meeting of officials from both the states and asked Andhra Pradesh not to implement the project till the issue was settled. On June 24, 2009, at another meeting, the two states were asked to furnish hydrological details. According to TN CM Karunanidhi, Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh clarified therewas no proposal to clear the project.

Krishna river, Andhra Pradesh vs Karnataka
Dispute: Barrages on the river built in Karnataka. The dependable water in the Krishna is about 2,060 tmcft. Karnataka's share is 734 tmcft, Maharashtra's 585 tmcft, and Andhra Pradesh's share is 811 tmcft, under Scheme A, which has been fixed at 75% dependability of water available in tge Krishna basin.
What AP says:Senior AP government officials say the Krishna river in Andhra Pradesh has been facing the problem of less flow, and blame the barrages built on the river in Karnataka for the reduced water flow. Interestingly, the tribunals that had awarded the water shares hadthat Karnataka would get its share of 760 tmcft before releasing any water to Andhra Pradesh. According to a survey by the AP government, there are about 56 such small projects taken up by Karnataka, all without formal approval and contrary to the water sharing agreement. AP has asked the Centre to stop Karnataka from executing Kavalur Barrage, Yadagir Barrage and Sannati Barrage on the Krishna.
What Karnataka says: The Krishna water dispute started because Andhra Pradesh is eager to draw the excess water while Karnataka is yet to build infrastructure to fully utilise its share of the water. Karnataka has also objected against 11 projects by Andhra Pradesh, including the Telugu Ganga, Srisailam Left Bank Canal, Srisailam Right Bank Canal, Bhima Lift Irrigation Project, Pulichintala Irrigation Project, etc, saying these projects allow AP to utilise the extra water. Current status: The states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh are awaiting the setting up of a tribunal to award the water under Scheme B.

Reports from KV Ramana (Hyderabad), Hemanth Kumar (Bangalore), D Ram Raj (Chennai), and Surendra Gangan (Mumbai).

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