In a great relief to the people in the northern parts of Karnataka, the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-II has upheld its award of 2010 and raising the height of the Almatti reservoir from 519.60 metres to 524.26 metres. It had asked the Centre to appoint a Krishna Water Decision Implementation Board, giving representation to Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh as well as the Centre.
Chairman Justice Brijesh Kumar, heading the three-member tribunal, announced the 480-page award on Friday. The tribunal, in its ‘further report’ on the clarification sought by the riparian States, allowed Karnataka to claim the remaining water and make a suitable application before the competent authority. The award would not come into effect immediately as a case pertaining to the Krishna water dispute was pending before the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T.B. Jayachandra and State Water Resources Minister M.B. Patil made statements in Belgaum on Friday welcoming the final award, but said that the government would discuss the allocation of four tmc of water to Andhra Pradesh from the Tungabhadra dam in the State.
According to sources in the Department of Water Resources, Karnataka could irrigate an additional area of 5.40 lakh hectares. The order was in response to the petitions by Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh seeking clarification on some aspects of its 2010 award.
The ‘further report’ termed the argument of Andhra Pradesh that the flows into it would be reduced to nil, if the height of the Almatti dam was raised to 524.25 metres, totally incorrect. The A.P. government had argued that the dam height was disproportionate to its requirement and would adversely affect the interest of farmers.
Tribunal said that A.P. was unable to indicate the injury to it and the extent of the injury, which may be caused on account of raising the height of the dam, as it did not have in its possession of any relevant documents and material necessary for the purpose.
The award had allocated 911 tmc ft, 1,001 tmc ft and 666 tmc ft respectively to the three States.