Current Affairs

Krishna water row heats up

  • Posted By
  • Categories
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    5th Jul, 2021
  • Context

    Amid the ongoing Krishna river water dispute between the Telugu states, the Telangana government declared that the state will henceforth draw 50% of the water from the Krishna river water.

  • Background

    • A dispute over the sharing of Krishna waters has been ongoing for many decades, beginning with the erstwhile Hyderabad and Mysore states, and later continuing between successors Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
    • Since bifurcation in 2014, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have been sharing Krishna river water in 66:34 ratio.
  • Analysis

    Brief timeline of the dispute

    • First KWDT: In 1969, the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT) was set up under the Inter-State River Water Dispute Act, 1956, and presented its report in 1973.
      • The report, which was published in 1976, divided the 2060 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of Krishna water at 75 per cent dependability into three parts:
        • 560 TMC for Maharashtra
        • 700 TMC for Karnataka
        • 800 TMC for Andhra Pradesh
      • Second KWDT: In 2010, the second KWDT made allocations of the Krishna water at 65 per cent dependability and for surplus flows as follows:
        • 81 TMC for Maharashtra
        • 177 TMC for Karnataka
        • 190 TMC for Andhra Pradesh
  • The source of dispute

    • The Krishna river flows along the border of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and the water is distributed between the two states through two main projects —
      • the Nagarjuna Sagar dam downstream
      • the Srisailam dam upstream

    Important facts on Krishna river

    • The Krishna is an east-flowing river.
    • It originates at Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra and merges with the Bay of Bengal, flowing through Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
    • Together with its tributaries, it forms a vast basin that covers 33% of the total area of the four states.
  • What is the current dispute all about?

    • Srisailam, Nagarjuna Sagar and Pulichintala projects:
      • The crux of the water dispute between the two States is the allegation by the Andhra Pradesh government that Telangana is drawing Krishna river water from the Srisailam, Nagarjuna Sagar and Pulichintala projects for hydel power generation without obtaining clearances from the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB).
      • The Andhra Pradesh government says the operation and maintenance of the Srisailam and Pulichintala projects, and the Prakasam barrage, are in its purview, whereas the Nagarjuna Sagar and Jurala projects are under the control of Telangana.
    • Rayalaseema lift irrigation project (RLIP):
      • Telangana argues that the RLIP will badly affect its interests.
      • AP government maintains that it is not using even a single drop of water more than what was allocated to it by the Krishna water dispute tribunals.

    Water in the Constitution

    • Water is a State subject as per entry 17 of State List and thus states are empowered to enact legislation on water.
      • Entry 17 of State List deals with water i.e. water supply, irrigation, canal, drainage, embankments, water storage and water power.
      • Entry 56 of Union List gives power to the Union Government for the regulation and development of inter-state rivers and river valleys to the extent declared by Parliament to be expedient in the public interest.
    • Within India’s federal political structure, inter-state disputes require the involvement of the Union government for a federal solution at two levels:
      • between the states involved
      • between the Centre and the states
    • Article 262 in the constitution which empowers the President to establish Inter-State water Disputes Tribunal being and also states.
      • Under this provision an Inter-State Water Dispute Act, 1956 and River Boards Act, 1956 was created.
  • Recent developments in the dispute

    • Apart from new water drawing limits, the State of Telangana (a high-level meeting headed by CM KCR) also resolved that Telangana would not recognise the works taken up by Andhra Pradesh under the Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme (RLIS), terming the projects ‘illegal’.
    • Earlier in May, the Andhra Pradesh government sanctioned a few works under the Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme (RLIS).
      • This included the upgradation of Pothireddypadu head regulator canal system and other projects worth over Rs 7,000 crore.
      • The projects would result in Andhra drawing an additional quantity of six to eight TMCs (thousand million cubic feet) of water per day from the Srisailam reservoir on the Krishna river.
  • Why Krishna is a matter of grave discussion?

    • Exploitative extraction of resources: Progressive agricultural and water development, coupled with uncoordinated short term management decisions (at the basin, state or irrigated command area level) and unconstrained private initiative (groundwater exploitation), have ignored resource limitations and led to a progressive over-commitment of water resources of the Krishna basin.
    • Increased groundwater abstraction: The increasing groundwater abstraction negatively affects the surface water balance by decreasing base flows, and the discharge to the ocean continues to decrease.
    • Unsustainable developmental activities: However, despite evidence of basin closure leading to sectoral and regional interdependence, the three states that share the Krishna waters continue to strongly promote their own agriculture and irrigation development as the basis for their broader economic take-off.
    • Human consumption: Surface water resources are now almost entirely committed to human consumptive uses.
      • The lower Krishna is a deficit basin. It depends highly on inflow from the upper basin and on upstream water uses. It is the first part of the Krishna basin to face the adverse consequences of any hydrological changes.
      • It is also the region where most of the available water is depleted by human consumptive uses.
  • River Basins of India

    • India has 25 major river basins, with most rivers flowing across states.
    • As river basins are shared resources, inter-state disputes are common things.
  • Water Disputes Tribunals


    States Concerned

    Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal

    Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa

    Krishna Water
    Disputes Tribunal – I

    Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka,

    Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal

    Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra

    Ravi & Beas
    Water Tribunal

    Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan

    Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal

    Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry

    Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal -II

    Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana

    Vansadhara Water Disputes

    Andhra Pradesh, Odisha

    Mahadayi Water Disputes

    Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra

    Mahanadi Water
    Disputes Tribunal

    Chhattisgarh, Odisha

  • Conclusion

    At present, both states are playing the blame game. Solution lies in cooperative talks between the two states, with the focus on sustainable use of the waters.