Karnataka set to choke Krishna flows into TS, AP

As the two Telugu States — Telangana and Andhra Pradesh — are grappling with the issues in Krishna water sharing among themselves and continue their arguments before the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal to finalise their share, neighbouring Karnataka is quietly getting ready to deal a deadly blow by choking the river flows further.

The upper riparian State in the Krishna Basin has recently secured environmental clearance (EC) for increasing the Almatti dam height from the existing 519 meters to 524 meters as part of Upper Krishna Project-III. The clearance enables Karnataka to utilise another 130 tmc ft Krishna water denying the flow of the same to the lower riparian States.

Surplus flows

Karnataka has succeeded in convincing the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) that Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-II (Brijesh Kumar Tribunal) has allocated 130 tmc ft water to UKP-III in its 2010 report.

The two Telugu States have not taken much interest in opposing the Karnataka’s move, environmental clearance proposal, before the MoEF particularly after the tribunal set aside their contention for taking up water sharing among the four riparian States afresh after bifurcation of combined Andhra Pradesh, a senior engineer in the Irrigation Department (Telangana) said requesting not to be quoted.

Pending dispute

“The Telugu States could have opposed the Karnataka’s move irrespective of Brijesh Kumar Tribunal’s refusal to take up water sharing afresh among all riparian States since the KWDT-II is yet to be implemented or yet to come into force and a case is also pending in the Supreme Court,” the irrigation engineer felt. Explaining that of the 130 tmc ft allocated for UKP-III, only 25 tmc ft is dependable water and the remaining 105 tmc is surplus flow, he contended that the surplus flow, which otherwise would flow down to lower riparian States would be held back by Karnataka, “without any distress-sharing mechanism in place”.

Even the 25 tmc ft water, out of 130 tmc ft allocated for UKP-III, is under 65% dependability.

With 75% dependability, which is in force as per KWDT-I award, the dependable quantity for UKP-III would be much lower.

With the UKP-III, utilisation of water in the upper Krishna Basin by Karnataka would be 303 tmc ft including 173 tmc ft already being availed for the first two stages of UKP.

Flows to be hit

Curtailment of flow to the effect of availing another 130 tmc ft water would have severe impact on Jurala (Telangana), which receives water from both Krishna and its tributary Bheema, and also Srisailam, which is the source of many irrigation projects in Telangana and AP and gets water from Krishna and its another tributary Tungabhadra, irrigation officials said.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 9:47:31 AM |

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