He expressed readiness for dialogue to find a solution to the long-lasting water sharing dispute.

Ktaka CM Siddaramaiah writes to counterpart in Goa for Mahadayi water talks
news Mahadayi Water Dispute Sunday, May 28, 2017 - 10:17

With the drought across Karnataka getting worse, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is making an effort to find an amicable solution to the Mahadayi water dispute.

Siddaramaiah, on Friday wrote to his Goa counterpart, Manohar Parrikar for talks regarding the dispute.

The Karnataka CM, in his letter, expressed readiness for dialogue with Parrikar and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis on a suitable date in June, to find a solution to the long-lasting water sharing dispute between Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, TNIE reported.

Siddaramaiah also drew the former Defence Minister’s attention to his earlier letter in September 2016 to his predecessor Lakshmikant Parsekar.

However, Parsekar had found it difficult to attend the meeting due to the Goa Assembly Election at the time, and accordingly it was decided to postpone the meeting for some other convenient date. 

What is the Mahadayi water dispute?

The Mahadayi river, also called Mandovi in Goa is essentially a rain-fed river that is shared between Karnataka and Goa for their water needs.

The river flows 35 km through Karnataka and then 52 km through Goa, before flowing into the Arabian Sea. Goa, considering its geographical location, has an upper hand on its water.

The river is a mere cluster of spring at its origin, Bhimgad in Karnataka. It forms into a river at Degaon village in Khanapur taluk of Belagavi district. The regions of northern Karnataka, along with the bordering areas of Maharashtra and Goa, have been depending on the Mahadayi river basin for all its water needs. 

The Mahadayi water diversion was first planned in 1970 by engineer SG Balekundri. The plan was to feed Malaprabha river and store the water in Navilatirtha dam in Dharwad district.

This dam, built in the 1970s, has not been filled to its capacity, barring three or four times. Hence the Karnataka government was keen on diverting the water from Mahadayi to be stored there. Thanks to the increasing water scarcity during the summer months followed by unpredictable monsoon year after year, the water needs of people in north Karnataka could no longer be met with the water the state is currently getting. That is when Karnataka started demanding diversion of the river. 

The present controversy around the Mahadayi river has Karnataka wanting to divert 7.56 tmcft water from its contribution to the Mahadayi basin to Malaprabha dam to take care of the acute water shortage of Hubballi and Dharwad and about 180 villages near the dam. After necessary approval from the water resources ministry in 2002, Karnataka announced its plans to build two barrages on Mahadayi’s tributaries, Kalasa and Banduri. Goa, however, objected to the plan and approached the Supreme Court in the same year to put a stop to it. Goa believes the proposed water diversion would not only affect the water needs of the people, it would also affect the sensitive ecology of the Western Ghats. Mahadevi Water Dispute Tribunal was set up in 2010 to look into the issue. 

 

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