Barrage had the effect of depleting AP’s entitlement to the flow of water into its project: counsel

The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict on the suit filed by Andhra Pradesh challenging the construction of the Babli barrage by Maharashtra in the Pochampad project.

A three-judge Bench of Justices R.M. Lodha, T.S. Thakur and Anil R. Dave, after a marathon hearing from senior counsel K. Parasaran for Andhra Pradesh and senior counsel T.R. Andhyarujina for Maharashtra, reserved the verdict.

Mr. Parasaran maintained that the barrage had the effect of depleting AP’s entitlement to the flow of water into its project.

He said there could not be a project of one State within the project of another State. He asserted that the purpose of Maharasthra to construct the Babli barrage within foreshore of Pochhampad “is to use more water whenever there are non-monsoon flows available in excess of 2.74 tmcft and use water from Pochampad project whenever there are less non-monsoon flows”.

65 tmcft

He said under the barrage, Maharashtra would draw 65 tmcft which would be over and above the State’s entitlement of 60 tmcft.

Mr. Parasaran also made it clear that even if water was to be provided to Maharashtra, the court might direct Andhra Pradesh to ensure water supply to Maharashtra which could not insist on its encroaching into Sri Ram Sagar project and utilise water therefrom.

Senior counsel T.R. Andhyarujina, however, maintained that Maharashtra was entitled to use 60 tmcft of water under the Tribunal award and it would not use more than that.

However Mr. Parasaran argued that Maharashtra would utilise about 8.75 tmcft by continuously drawing water and stopping it once the level reached 2.74 tmcft. He argued that the construction of the barrage would result in considerable amount of water flowing back from the reservoir storage area to barrage storage area and Maharashtra might get about 65 tmcft, thereby affecting the rights of Andhra Pradesh. Mr. Andhyarujina submitted that the State would utilise only 0.6 tmcft of water from the water spread in the area.