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Krishna River Water Dispute

Context: With no resolution over sharing of the Krishna River water between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh after the bifurcation, the deadlock is set to continue in the next water year, beginning June 1.

More on the News

  • Telangana has taken a firm stance regarding the sharing of Krishna River water and is refusing to accept the current allocation ratio of 34:66 (Telangana: Andhra Pradesh) imposed since the bifurcation of the states.
  • Telangana argues that it is entitled to a larger share of the water based on the parameters set by the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-I (KWDT-I) Award, which allocated 70% of the 811 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) of water to the combined Andhra Pradesh.
  • Telangana claims that the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh unilaterally divided the water allocation in a ratio of 512:299 tmc ft (Andhra Pradesh: Telangana) without considering the in-basin requirements of Telangana, particularly in areas affected by fluoride and drought.
  • Additionally, Telangana accuses Andhra Pradesh of diverting approximately 300 tmc ft of water outside the Krishna Basin, which they consider a violation of the KWDT-I Award.
  • As Telangana refuses to comply with the orders issued by the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) without its consent, the matter is now being referred to the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
    • This implies that the issue will be escalated to the central government for further consideration and resolution.

Background and Chronology of Krishna Water Dispute

The Krishna river water dispute between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana has undergone several stages and developments over the years.

  • Setting up of Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal (KWDT) in 1969:
    • The KWDT was established under the Inter-State River Water Dispute Act, 1956.
    • Headed by Justice R.S. Bachawat, it was tasked with adjudicating the inter-state water dispute over the sharing of Krishna river waters.
    • The tribunal presented its report in 1973, which was published in 1976.
    • It allocated the 2060 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of Krishna water at 75% dependability into three parts: 560 TMC for Maharashtra, 700 TMC for Karnataka, and 800 TMC for Andhra Pradesh.
    • The KWDT order stated that it could be reviewed or revised by a competent authority or tribunal after May 31, 2000.
  • Second KWDT formed in 2004:
    • As new grievances arose between the states, the second KWDT was constituted in 2004.
    • It delivered its report in 2010, allocating Krishna water at 65% dependability and surplus flows as follows: 81 TMC for Maharashtra, 177 TMC for Karnataka, and 190 TMC for Andhra Pradesh.
    • Andhra Pradesh challenged this order in the Supreme Court through a Special Leave Petition (SLP).
  • KWDT further report and challenges:
    • In 2013, the KWDT issued a “further report,” which was again challenged by Andhra Pradesh in the Supreme Court in 2014.
  • Changed allocation after bifurcation in 2014:
    • Following the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in 2014, the water allocation arrangements were changed.
    • An agreement known as the “2015 Agreement” was reached between the two states, wherein the 811 TMC allocation made by KWDT-I would be apportioned with Telangana receiving 299 TMC and Andhra Pradesh receiving 512 TMC.
    • The Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) was established to monitor and administer the agreement.
  • Present dispute and latest developments:
    • The recent dispute arose when Telangana ordered the generation of hydel power up to 100% installed capacity, leading to concerns about water availability for Andhra Pradesh’s drinking and irrigation purposes.
    • The Ministry of Jal Shakti communicated with TSGENCO, urging them to follow the water release orders issued by the KRMB. However, Telangana continued to generate hydel power, leading to further tensions.

About River Krishna

  • The Krishna is an east-flowing river.
  • Originates at Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra and merges with the Bay of Bengal
  • Flows 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.
  • The principal tributaries joining Krishna are the Ghataprabha, the Malaprabha, the Bhima, the Tungabhadra and the Musi.
  • Most of this basin comprises rolling and undulating country, except for the western border, which is formed by an unbroken line of the Western Ghats.
  • The important soil types found in the basin are black soils, red soils, laterite and lateritic soils, alluvium, mixed soils, red and black soils and saline and alkaline soils.
  • Right bankVenna, Koyna, Panchganga, Dudhganga, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha and Tungabhadra are the major right-bank tributaries.
  • Left BankBhima, Dindi, Peddavagu, Halia, Musi, Paleru, and Munneru are the major left-bank tributaries.
  • Almatti Dam, Srisailam Dam, Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, and Prakasham Barrage are some of the major dams constructed on the river.
About River Krishna
About River Krishna

Mechanism for Inter-State River Water Disputes Resolution

Constitutional Provisions

  • Entry 17 of State List: deals with water i.e., water supply, irrigation, canal, drainage, embankments, and water storage and waterpower.
  • Entry 56 of Union List: empowers the Union Government for the regulation and development of inter-state rivers and river valleys.
  • Article 262:
    • Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter-State River or river valley.
    • Parliament may, by law provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint as mentioned above.

Laws Enacted by the Parliament under Article 262

  • River Board Act, 1956:
    • Purpose: To enable the Union Government to create Boards for Interstate Rivers and river valleys in consultation with State Governments.
    • The objective of Boards is to advise on the inter-state basin to prepare development scheme and to prevent the emergence of conflicts.
    • Till date, no river board as per above Act has been created.
  • Inter-State Water Dispute Act, 1956:
    • When a State Government makes a request regarding a water dispute and the Central Government is of the opinion that it cannot be resolved by negotiation, a Water Disputes Tribunal is constituted to adjudicate the dispute.
    • The act was amended in 2002, to include the major recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission. The amendments mandated a one year time frame to setup the water disputes tribunal and also a 3 year time frame to give a decision.

Krishna River Water Dispute_5.1

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