The Centre has accepted the detailed project report (DPR) for implementation of the decades-old Kalasa-Bhanduri drinking water project in the inter-State Mahadayi river basin. While the Central Water Commission (CWC) has approved the DPR, the implementation is now subject to other mandatory approvals, including forest clearances.
While acceptance from hydrology and inter-State aspects, as per the guidelines of CWC, have been accepted, they are subject to the decision of the Supreme Court on a special leave petitions of riparian States — Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa. Karnataka had approached the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Union Government to publish gazetted notification of the award following which the Centre published it in 2020.
The Mahadayi River Water Disputes Tribunal has already permitted diversion of 2.18 tmc ft. of Mahadayi water at Bhandura dam and 1.72 tmc ft of water at the proposed Kalasa dam in its final award in 2018, and the matter is pending before the apex court.
“Based on the technical appraisal by CWC, DPRs of Kala Nala diversion scheme and Bhandura Nala diversion scheme — both lift schemes — are found to be acceptable from hydrology and inter-State aspects,” according to a memorandum of the CWC Project Appraisal (South) Directorate.
Karnataka had submitted the revised DPRs complying with the tribunal’s direction in respect of inter-State matters, hydrology and design aspects in November 2022.
However, the note said that the approval is subject to strict compliance of project authority getting mandatory approval and clearances from technical agencies concerned as required by the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal (MWDT) award and the law mentioned in the award. It has said that the final designs should be such that they are in full consonance with MWDT award as applicable.
The implementing authority has been told to communicate information related to daily withdrawal of Mahadayi water on a regular basis to basin States, including Goa. Once the Mahadayi Water Management Authority, as mandated by the award, is constituted, regulation of diversion would be done in consultation with the authority. Besides, it has also specified efficient sediment management.