Mandovi/ Mahadayi, river

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River dispute

States involved: Goa and Karnataka

The Times of India, August 28, 2015

Mahadayi river dispute: Karnataka and Goa headed for a major clash

Aravind Gowda

Karnataka and Goa are headed for a major showdown with the former seeking diversion of water from the Mahadayi river, which flows into the lower riparian state as Mandovi, to meet the drinking water needs of the parched towns of northwestern districts.

The sharing of river water dispute is before the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal.

Karnataka wants to divert 7.6 tmc ft of water annually from Mahadayi to the Mallaprabha River to meet the drinking water requirements of the dry districts. However, Goa has objected to the same contending that it was detrimental to the interests of its people.

Every year, more than 200 tmc ft of water is being drained into the Arabian Sea from Mahadayi river. We have been trying our best to convince Goa that the diversion of 7.6 tmc ft of water from the river will not affect the inflow into their territory in any way. But the dispute has not been resolved.

When Karnataka tried to implement the project, Goa approached the Supreme Court in 2006 and subsequently the Union government set up the water disputes tribunal in 2010. However, neither of the states has made any progress in ending the dispute. This year, the issue is back in contention because Karnataka is facing one of the worst droughts. As many as 27 out of the 30 districts have been declared drought-hit with the state experiencing 28 per cent deficient rainfall this monsoon. The severity of the drought is very high in the 12 districts of North Interior Karnataka - Ballari, Raichur, Koppala, Kalaburagi, Yadgir, Bidar, Belagavi, Bagalkot, Vijayapura, Gadag, Haveri and Dharwad, according to data released by the government.

"We will continue to set up road blocks and shut down commercial establishments across all the 8 districts where Mahadayi river water can be a boon. It is up to the state to negotiate with the Centre," said Basavanna Rajguru, one of those leading the campaigns for the diversion of the river water. On Wednesday, people of Hubballi and Dharwad picketed the homes of former CM Jagadish Shettar and BJP state President Prahlad Joshi, who are from the affected districts. "These two senior BJP leaders should convince their Goa counterparts to be lenient towards Karnataka. They are watching us suffer," remarked Vivek Lingappa from Hubballi.

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