The Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal has been hearing the tussle over sharing of the Mahadayi or Mandovi river between Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
About Mahadayi river:
- The Mahadayi River also known as Mandovi or Mhadei river, is described as the lifeline of the Indian state of Goa.
- The river has a length of 77 km, 29 km in Karnataka and 52 km in Goa.
- It originates from a cluster of 30 springs at Bhimgad in the Western Ghats in the Belgaum district of Karnataka.
- Mahadayi (Mandovi) is a water deficit basin and water diversion could impact the environment.
What is the dispute?
- The three states are locked in a protracted dispute over sharing its water for the last 30 years. Attempts at negotiations among the states were initiated by the central government way back in 1985.
- In order to divert 7.56 tmcft of water to the Malaprabha river basin, Karnataka government proposed to build canals to link Kalasa and Banduri, the tributaries of Mahadayi.
- However, objecting the move, Goa government argued that if Karnataka implemented the Kalasa- Banduri project, it would prove disastrous for the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats as the proposed project was deep inside the forest.
- Karnataka had petitioned the tribunal seeking release of 7.56 tmcft of water for Kalasa-Banduri Nala project.
- The tribunal, which gave its interim order after hearing arguments from both Karnataka and Goa, had rejected the state’s plea citing various grounds including ecological damage that the project may cause.
What is the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project?
- The Kalasa-Banduri Nala is a canal project undertaken by the Government of Karnataka to divert water from the Mahadayi river to the Malaprabha.
- The project aimed to improve drinking water supply to the Districts of Belagavi, Dharwad and Gadag.
- It involves building across Kalasa and Banduri, two tributaries of the Mahadayi river to divert 7.56 TMC of water to the Malaprabha river, which supplies the drinking water needs of the said 3 districts, i.e., Dharwad, Belagavi and Gadag.
- The region is part of Karnataka’s arid area, which is second only to Rajasthan in water scarcity.
The project has been delayed for over a decade during which the state has seen two of the worst droughts in 40 years.