The Centre has issued a notification on sharing the waters of inter-state Mahadayi among Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra.
In 2018, the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal had allocated 13.42 tmcft of water from Mahadayi to Karnataka. It had allowed Karnataka to use 5.5 tmcft of water from Mahadayi within the river basin and for diversion to the Malaprabha reservoir and another 8.02 per cent of water for hydroelectricity generation in the state.
Last week, the Supreme Court had allowed Karnataka’s plea for implementing the final award by the tribunal.
Speaking to the reporters, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday said, “The notification will enable us to complete the project for supplying drinking water in the four drought-prone northwest districts of Karnataka. Adequate funds will be allocated in the upcoming Budget to utilise the about 13.5 TMC of water.”
Mahadayi rises in the Western Ghats in Khanapur taluk of Karnataka’s Belagavi district and enters Goa in the Sattari taluk of North Goa. Several streams join it along its course, and the river grows in volume to become the Mandovi, one of Goa’s two major rivers, before flowing into the Arabian Sea at Panaji.
Two-thirds (76 km) of the 111-km Mahadayi flows in Goa (where it is called Mandovi). Since Goa’s other 11 rivers hold saltwater, the sweet-water Mandovi is crucial to water security and ecology, and an important source of fish. The Mahadayi/Mandovi basin, along with its tributaries and distributaries, nourishes Goa and contiguous areas of Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Tensions over sharing the Mahadayi’s water started in the 1980s and escalated through the early 1990s as Karnataka designed several dams and canals to channel water to the Malaprabha basin to address endemic water shortages in its northern districts of Belagavi, Dharwad, Gadag, and Bagalkot.
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