Centre comes out with clear cut procedures to avoid disputes

The Centre has identified three major challenges that need to be addressed with regard to sharing of Krishna and Godavari rivers between Telangana and the residuary State of Andhra Pradesh.

The first is the allocation and protocol of sharing of surplus water of the Krishna, including inter-basin transfer through Polavaram and the Dummugudem-Nagarjunasagar tail pond project.

The second is an institutional mechanism to ensure availability of water as per the award given by tribunals.

The third concern is completion of projects, where land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement and execution of works may fall in both the States.

In a five-page note on river water sharing issues, the Centre has come out with clear laid down procedures to avoid disputes over sharing of river water.

Acknowledging that a number of projects based on surplus water were coming up on the Krishna, benefiting both Telangana and Seemandhra, it pointed out that some were taken up in anticipation of inter-state river basin transfers to the Krishna with the completion of the Polavaram project and the Dummugudem project.

After bifurcation, there would be serious problem for release of water for various projects in the event of deficit flows in the Krishna.

At present, there are no protocols for release of water to projects as all are located within one State and the decision to release water is taken by the Chief Minister.

The report expressed fears that it would not be possible for the newly-formed State of Telangana and residuary State of AP to meaningfully adjudicate these issues on a season to season basis.

Therefore, the Union Ministry of Water Resources is advised to commission a technical study, freeze all allocations to each project based on surplus water and evolve an operational schedule or protocol for release of water in the event of deficit flows.

It specifically mentioned that the exercise should be completed and notified before the reorganisation of the State.

The note identified 11 irrigation projects, whose administration, maintenance and operation of the head works would be under the supervision of the proposed board.