Local Goa News

Monday, June 6, 2016

Goa exposes K’taka’s water resource mismanagement

PANAJI: Goa, in its formidable and strong reply to the Interlocutory Application (IA) of Karnataka before the Mhadei Water Dispute Tribunal seeking diversion of 7 TMC of water from Mhadei River, has exposed how Karnataka has mismanaged its water resources, pointing out how, in order to get higher share from Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal – I, Karnataka deliberately overestimated the yield of Malaprabha basin as 47.255 TMC, when it was hardly 27 TMC.
The reply, presenting its argument against the submission of the Karnataka government that the full live storage of the Malaprabha reservoir is 34.346 TMC out of which 2.5 per cent is available for utilisation, states that the dead storage capacity of Malaprabha reservoir is 7.13 TMC and in this situation, Karnataka can very well pump a fraction out of the said dead storage and the 2.5 per cent of the live storage, to meet any of its disaster management reserves, which it does not seem to intend to do. “The claim of Karnataka that the districts of Hubli-Dharwad area are reeling under water scarcity is difficult to be accepted for the simple reason that the Pepsico unit in Dharwad is being supplied with 4 lakh litres of Malaprabha water every day by the Karnataka Water Board,” the reply prepared by the acting state Advocate General, Atmaram Nadkarni further argues, pointing out, “Indeed, there is an agreement between the Karnataka Water Board wherein it was to supply 2 lakh litres of water every day to Pepsico’s Dharwad unit; however the unit now receives 4 lakh litres of water every day that too for a paltry sum.”
“There were agitations, complaints about supply of water to multinationals, which indeed has caused the so called alleged scarcity of water,” the reply maintains, stating that the said 4 lakh litres per day would satisfy the household domestic requirement of 16,000 people.
“In many places in India, the soft drink plants are being shutdown to provide water to rural areas, the most well known example is that of Plachimada in Kerala where a soft drink bottling plant of a multinational company was shut down after protest of the local people and there are instances of plants being similarly shutdown elsewhere also,” the reply notes, adding that however, Karnataka does not seem to have giving this a thought in the Malaprabha reservoir command and on the contrary, it seems that supply to Pepsico has been increasing from 2 lakh litres per day to presently 4 lakh litres per day despite deficient rainfall in the year 2015-2016.
“It cannot be forgotten nor lost sight of the fact that initial demand of Karnataka was for 7.56 TMC of water for the purpose of providing drinking water only in Hubli-Dharwad area,” it points out
“Furthermore, as per a newspaper report, a large quantity of Malaprabha water is being supplied by the Karnataka Water Board to Pepsi’s Dharwad plant at throw away prices, and all this is being done when Karnataka has been crying aloud about alleged scarcity of water,” the reply argues, maintaining that the Karnataka Water Board has entered into an agreement with the Pepsi plant to ensure a daily supply of water at Rs 23 per 1,000 litres whilst Pepsi was thereafter treating the water and selling the same at Rs 20 per litre.
The reply running into 131 paragraphs on 210 pages, besides several annexure, also states that either there is sufficient ground water available, which is not scientifically managed and utilised in the Hubli-Dharwad region, and Karnataka is deliberately refraining from using it in order to substantiate their claim of a severe drought, or the information provided in response to the interrogatories asked by Goa seems to be incorrect.
“Either way there appears to be a lot of internal contradiction to what Karnataka portrays with respect to water availability (surface and ground water taken together) and vis-à-vis alleged drought,” the reply states, adding that Karnataka is deliberately refraining from using the ground water in a scientific and proper manner, and if it uses the ground water then the alleged water scarcity situation will be remedied, and there will not be any requirement to claim waters from the Mhadei river.
It may be recalled that the state of Maharashtra in its recent response to the Mhadei Water Dispute Tribunal had lent support to Karnataka’s claim for diversion of 7 TMC from the Mhadei basin. In an affidavit filed before the tribunal, Maharashtra sided with Karnataka in providing interim relief by diverting 7 TMC of water from the Mhadei water basin into the Malaprabha basin. Goa has strongly objected to the act of Maharashtra.

NT Network Goa News

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