Local Goa News

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Goa wins battle for Mother Mhadei from jaws of defeat

Tribunal rejects Karnataka plea to divert 7.56 TMC of water from Mhadei basin to Malaprabha river; points out to several discrepancies in Karnataka’s application

PANJIM: The Mhadei Water Dispute Tribunal on Wednesday rejected Karnataka’s interim application to allow them to divert 7.56 TMC of water from the Mhadei basin to Malaprabha River.

In its 120-page order, the Tribunal listed several discrepancies in Karnataka’s IA. Pointing to Karnataka’s prayer for diversion of 7 TMC as a temporary measure to meet deficiency in Malprabha reservoir for irrigation requirement of 2 TMC and drinking water requirement of 2.9 TMC in downstream areas, the tribunal found that such a course cannot be permitted to be adopted.
“Such averments are not only contradictory in terms to what has been stated earlier or prayed for but they have also serious implications which are not taken into consideration by Karnataka. Thus no prayer can be granted on the basis of averments,” the order reads.
On Karnataka’s contention that the Mhadei water is wasted into the Arabian Sea, the Tribunal says, “Rivers are important for many reasons. One of the most important things they do is to carry large quantity of water from land to the Ocean. There sea water constantly evaporates. The resulting water vapour forms clouds. Clouds carry moisture over land and release it in precipitation. This fresh water, feeds river and smaller streams. The movement of water between land ocean and air is called the water cycle. The water cycle constantly replenishes Earth’s supply of freshwater which is essential for almost all living things. Except for few rivers, all rivers ultimately flow into the sea. Before merging into the sea the water is available for consumptive or non-consumptive uses by the States concerned.”
“Therefore, merging of Mhadei water into the Arabian Sea irrespective of its uses, cannot be considered to be wastage of water. The plea of wastage of water may be relevant only if surplus water is available,” the order states.
Further, it says, “The tribunal has come to a conclusion that Karnataka has failed to establish at this stage that surplus water is available at the three points from which water is sought to be transferred to the Malaprabha basin where water available is 108.72 TMC at 75% dependability in the Mhadei basin. For this reason it is difficult for the tribunal to accept the case of Karnataka that water goes into the sea as wastage.”
On the CWC relied upon by Karnataka, the tribunal felt, it is being seriously contested by Goa and hence it does not find it prudent to place reliance on the CWC report at this stage.
“The State of Karnataka has prepared a preliminary report in respect of the present proposal. However Karnataka has neither prepared nor submitted any DPR or technical feasibility study of the present proposal,” the tribunal observed.
Further the tribunal observed that Karnataka relies on inflow as an index of drought distress situation in Malaprabha reservoir catchment, because the rainfall by itself cannot and does not give an accurate picture.
The tribunal found that ‘inflow’ to the reservoir has not been identified as one of the key indicators/indices for drought declaration.
“The State of Karnataka has not placed on record any document which mentions about the policy or approved practice of the State or the Union Government relating to use of inflow as an index of drought. In view of this, the statement of the State of Karnataka regarding use of inflow as the index of drought is not found to be convincing at all and cannot be acted upon,” the order says.
Additional Solicitor General of India Atmaram Nadkarni said that the tribunal has upheld the contention of Goa that the Mhadei water cannot be diverted.
Karnataka has been vigorously trying to divert the Mhadei water (Mandovi) to Malprabha basin by constructing canals between both the rivers.

Herald Goa News

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