The Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-II on Thursday allocated the highest share of Krishna river waters to Andhra Pradesh but distributed the surplus waters, which was hitherto flowing into the State.
The shares of other basin States — Karnataka and Maharashtra — were also raised.
The three-member tribunal, headed by Justice Brijesh Kumar, permitted Karnataka to raise the storage level in the Almatti dam to 524.256 metres from 519.6 metres, a measure seen by Andhra Pradesh as depriving its lower Krishna delta region of water supply. The tribunal, however, directed Karnataka to make regulated releases of 8 to 10 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) from the dam to Andhra Pradesh in June and July.
The tribunal asked the Centre to set up a `Krishna Water Decision-Implementation Board' with representation from all the three States.
The tribunal directed the three States to contribute for Chennai city drinking water supply 3.30 tmcft distributed in equal quantity in July, August, September and October, and 1.70 tmcft in four equal instalments in January, February, March and April.
In its order, announced in an open court, the tribunal allocated a total share of of 1,001 tmcft to Andhra Pradesh, 911 tmcft to Karnataka and 666 tmcft to Maharashtra with certain restrictions imposed on each State in keeping with the dependable flows of the rivers on which the allocations have been made.
KWDT-II freshly assessed the yearly yields in the Krishna and determined the award on the basis of the yearly yield at 65 per cent dependability which was assessed at a total of 2,293 tmcft.
The total allocation under the award includes the allocations made by KWDT-I at 75 per cent dependable yields plus return flows assessed at 2,130 tmcft. The allocation under the first award was 734 tmcft for Karnataka, 585 tmcft for Maharashtra and 811 tmcft for Andhra Pradesh.
Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Ramrajya Nimbalkar said, “Certain things may be against us but overall we are happy.” Karnataka counsel Mohan Kartike said: “The tribunal has done a great job but areas of specific concern, particularly quantification of surplus waters, remain. We'll look into the award and decide our course of action.” Andhra Pradesh lawyers said they would study the order before expressing a view.
Review after May 31, 2050
“The States can seek clarifications or explanations on the award from the tribunal within three months and can file for review,” Justice Brijesh Kumar told The Hindu.
Since the decision of the tribunal has the force and decree of the Supreme Court, no appeal against the award can be filed in any court except before the tribunal itself. The order of the tribunal can be reviewed or revised after May 31, 2050.
States which came up with projects that do not fall within the purview of the tribunal's order may have to modify them. KWDT-II was constituted in 2004.