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River Water

*Water is arguably one of the most important basic human rights.
*Disputes over water have been there and will continue.
*Our planet is in the increasing phase of global warming.
*If not handled with precaution river disputes can soon turn into civil wars.
*The river we are discussing today is aka Mhadei or Mahadeyi or Mandovi.

Blue Planet

 Geographical Location

*Origination place: Western Ghats
*Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary i.e. is in Karnataka’s Belagavi district
*World’s eight ‘Hottest Biodiversity Hotspots’ of biological diversity
*7,402 species of flowering plants
*1814 species of non-flowering plants
*139 mammal species
*508 bird species
*179 amphibian species
*6000 insects species
*290 freshwater fish species
*And many are still to be discovered

 
*Stretches: 80.8km
*Goa: 52km
*Karnataka: 28.8km
*Type: Rain fed, so it is at its peak during monsoon
*Flows westward: Flows to Goa and Maharashtra.
*Enters Goa from Sattari taluk of North Goa districts.
*A number of streams join the flow of the river to form the Mandovi which
is one of two major rivers that flow through Goa.
*It joins the Arabian Sea at Panaji.

History: Timeline

*1980s: Took birth and grew stronger in the subsequent decades.
*1985: Central Govt. led negotiations started.
*1989: Rane-Bommai Pact
*Then CM of Karnataka S.R.Bommai reached an understanding with his Goa counterpart Pratap Singh Rane to share Mahadayi water.
*Implementation failed after the collapse of S.R.Bommai Government.
*Subsequently, Goa Government refused to endorse the pact.
*2000: S.M. Krishna Government of Karnataka took the initiative to
implement Kalasa-Banduri project.
*2001: Karnataka sought permission from the Centre to divert water.
*2002: Centre gave an in-principle clearance but kept in abeyance
following an objection from Goa.
*2006: Goa files petition in Supreme Court. It prayed for stay on project.
*2010: Centre constitutes Tribunal headed by Justice J M Panchalt to sort
out inter-state river dispute.
*2016: Tribunal in its interim order rejected Karnataka’s plea citing
various ecological damage that the project may cause.

How it works

*The inter-state river water dispute is governed by the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956.
*The act came under further amendments in 2002 to include the major recommendations given by ‘The Sarkaria Commission’.
*Amendments proposed: 1 year time period to set-up the water dispute tribunal and also fixed a 3 year time period to arrive at a decision.
*When a state government makes a request in relation to a water dispute and if the Central Government cannot make any provision to settle it through negotiations then a tribunal is formed.
*A Water Dispute Tribunal is then formed to look into the matter.
*Under the present Act, a separate Tribunal has to be established for each dispute.
*Final hearing in February 2018.

Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017

*Introduced in Lok Sabha by water resources minister Uma Bharati.
*Single standing tribunal (with multiple benches) instead of multiple tribunals that exist at present.
*The total time period for adjudication of dispute has been fixed at maximum of 4.5 years.
*The decision of the Tribunal shall be final and binding with no requirement of publication in the official Gazette.
*Tribunal shall have 1 chairperson, 1 vice-chairperson and not more than 6 other members.
*It limits the tenure of the chairperson to 5 years or till they attain the age of 70, whichever is earlier.
*A mechanisms to resolve disputes amicably by negotiations through a Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) to be established by the central government consisting of experts, before a dispute is referred to the tribunal.
*It also provides for a transparent data collection system at the national level for each river basin and for the appointment of assessors to provide technical support to the tribunal.
*For this purpose, an agency to maintain data-bank and information system shall be appointed or authorized by central government.
*They (assessors) shall be appointed from amongst experts serving in the Central Water engineering Service not below the rank of chief engineer.

Current Events

*The dispute over Mahadayi river has resurfaced over the past few weeks and tensions have
been rife between Goa and Karnataka.
* People have always fought over water. The word “rival” comes from the Latin rivalis, or someone using the same stream as another.
*20-Dec-2017: Karnataka BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa and other leaders had met Parrikar in the
presence of party chief Amit Shah in Delhi over the river water sharing issue.
*Parrikar had written a letter to Yeddyurappa, saying Goa will not oppose giving water to
Karnataka for its drinking needs.
*Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in the state has accused the BJP’s state unit of not
doing enough to help bring water to North Karnataka.
*Karnataka is one of the most parched area of our country.
*Normal life was hit in five north Karnataka districts due to a bandh called by farmer groups over getting Mahadayi river water from Goa to meet the drinking water needs of droughtprone
areas of the region.
*Ahead of the assembly elections in the state, it is expected the protests would further intensify in coming days.
*The protestors have also called on the Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), urging him not to hold Assembly elections in the state due in early 2018 until an amicable solution to the Mahadayi water dispute is found.

Goa’s stand

*The Mandovi is important for Goa also because it is one of the few sweet-water sources at the state’s disposal.
*Most of Goa’s 11 rivers contain salt water and Mandovi ensures water security as well as being an important place to source fish for the state.
*Goa contends that its population is dependent on the river’s natural path and any move to divert it would affect its fragile ecosystem.
*It claimed that the ingress of saltwater in the river, which is dependent on monsoons, will ultimately end up killing the state’s mangroves and green belt, disturb the relationship between the people and the land, as well as the ecological balance.

Karnataka’s stand

*Karnataka claims that the surplus from Mahadayi drains into the sea and that it should be diverted into the deficit basin in Malaprabha to meet the state’s drinking, irrigation, agriculture and power generation needs.
*Goa has, meanwhile, denied Karnataka’s claims saying it is a water deficient state and limiting the water supply would adversely impact its agriculture production.
*Karnataka claims it requires 7.56 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of water from Mahadayi to meet the requirement of farmers of North Karnataka.
*Goa, nonetheless, has expressed reservations claiming Karnataka may stock excess water in its reservoirs so that it can be used for irrigation in other parts of the state.
*The bordering areas of Maharashtra and Goa along with the regions of northern Karnataka have always depended on the monsoon rain.
*Very little investments made towards developing rain-fed catchment dams to cater to the irrigation and drinking needs of people of the area.

Severity of the problem

*Fresh water has no substitute, and its availability has been declining sharply around the globe. Fresh water is essential to human existence.
*United Nations warns that demand for fresh water is on track to outstrip supply by as much as 40% within 16 years.
*According to the Global Water Partnership (GWP), an organization founded by the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program, “The increasing pressures of climate change, population growth, urbanization, and evolving energy needs are together putting unprecedented pressure on our finite freshwater resources. We’ve got to do something about it now.”

Solutions

*All these means co-operation between parties (States/Countries) sharing the same river is likely to become even more imperative.
*To make sure supply stays ahead of demand, we need to talk about
Where we get water?
How we use it?
What happens to it afterwards
We need methods for procuring usable water, not just from lakes and rivers and rain, but also from the sea and our own waste.
*Solutions will come only from changing the way we find and use water

Global Water Use

*We need farming methods that use much less water, and better ways to
prevent leakage and contamination.
*We need policies that encourage all of these things without undercutting
economic growth and our way of life.
*Fully effective solutions to the water crisis have already been found.
*They only need to be implemented.
*Simcha Blass:
*A tiny amount of water in the right place could make a plant grow a lot bigger and faster than
a large amount thrown at it by rain or floods or sprinklers.
*“If Norman Borlaug can get the Nobel Prize for discovering miracle wheat in the 1970s,
Simcha Blass should be a household name for what was a much bigger discovery.”
*Water efficiency + crop yields =70% saving for any given crop “The biggest source of pollution today in the U.S. isn’t chemicals in the air,” Siegel points out, “it’s runoff from farms contaminating the water supply.”

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