Saturday, 9 July 2016

TS and AP demands fresh allocations of Krishna river water.

KWDT II (Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal) II headed by Justice Brijesh Kumar in its award of 2010 allocated, over and above assured waters at 65% dependability allocated by KWDT I by Justice RS Bachavat during 1973, at 75% dependability and entire average availability of 2578 TMC as against 2060 TMC allocated by KWDT I without setting up any mechanism to ensure lower riparian states get their rightful share of waters at all times. This was contested in Supreme Court by AP and TS by an SLP (Special Leave Petition). In India, rivers being a state subject upper riparian states have natural advantages and lower riparian states suffer as reflected by 2015 Krishna river inflows into AP & TS at meager 80 TMC against usual 1000-1500 TMC in a good year. While Maharashtra and Karnataka dams were full AP & TS dams were empty with no crop in Krishna delta unheard over the past 150 years and unable to even meet drinking water needs.

While Bachavat tribunal was considerate towards lower riparian state of AP (including TS) by allowing unallocated and surplus waters to them with the contention they would suffer floods as well as lean year less inflows. While AP and TS were entangled in bifurcation issues, Maharashtra & Karnataka were able to convince Brijesh Kumar tribunal and get entire waters allocated depriving AP and TS (2578-2060=528-201) to the tune of 327 TMC of water. This has dealt deadly blow to several projects under construction to lift Srisailam waters to drought prone Rayalaseema and Mahboobnagar & Nalgonda districts dependent on unallocated surplus waters (while allocated waters are hardly sufficient for Krishna delta and NS Dam command area users).

The objective of Tribunal and River Water Management Board is to regulate upper riparian state(s) and ensure lower riparian state(s) gets their rightful shares of waters at all times.

Riparian rights, briefly are:
1. The right of a riparian owner to appropriate the water is limited to its use for such purpose, to such an extent and in such a way as will not be inconsistent with a similar use by the lower owners.
2. River waters shall be used with in the basin only.
3. The reasonable use of the water by a riparian owner is subject to the downstream riparian owners 'riparian right' to receive waters undiminished in flow and quality.
4. The doctrine of equitable apportionment alone, however, establishes only the equal right of each riparian to an equitable share in the benefits of the river.
5. Whenever new state were to come into existence will be on an "equal footing" with the original states.

Hence TS and AP's contention that consequent to formation of Telangana State during 2014, Krishna waters allocation must start afresh listening to all states contentions afresh including new state of Telangana is consistent with the general principles of riparian rights.However, central government submitting its view as the matter should be apportioned between AP and TS is not only contrary to general principles of riparian rights but also devoid of any merit.

Finally Pattiseema waters diversion can't be shared with Krishna water allottees for the following reasons:-
1. Pattiseema LI scheme diverts Godavari flood waste waters, not allocated waters.
2. Pattiseema is not a gravity flow project but an Lift Irrigation project involving huge capital & operational expenses.
3. Pattiseema is a purely AP state's temporary project and would get closed once Polavaram project becomes operational at a later date.
4. Pattiseema LI scheme was neither funded by Centre nor by Planning Commission.
5. As and when Polavaram becomes operational, quantity of Godavari waters diverted to Krishna basin, will definitely be shared with Krishna riparian rights owners i.e. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

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