PANAJI: The Goa government on Thursday said that as per the order of the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal (MWDT) which was pronounced on August 14, 2018, the proposed projects in Karnataka and Maharashtra will be owned and operated by the Mahadayi Water Management Authority and not by the states concerned as was the practice so far.
Further, the government said that the particular order has given teeth to the Authority. Thus the upstream states will not be able to play any mischief and deny water to the downstream state that is Goa.
Addressing a joint press conference with Minister for Water Resources Vinod Palyekar and senior officials of the department, hydrology expert and Goa’s witness in the Mhadei water dispute case Chetan Pandit said that it is for the first time that any tribunal has given powers to a water management authority to own and operate the projects on water dispute matter.
Palyekar said that the state of Goa has got much more share of water from River Mhadei. Thus no question arises on part of the state government to move the Supreme Court on the MWDT verdict.
Further, he said that there is no limit on Goa’s use of Mhadei water for non-consumptive purposes such as hydropower, inland navigation etc, as the state has received additional 24 TMC (thousand million cubic) feet of water through the order of the Tribunal in addition to the existing use of 9.395 TMC feet.
Chief Engineer of WRD S T Nadkarni said that the order of MWDT allowing Karnataka to divert 3.9 TMC feet of water from the Mhadei basin to the Kalsa and Bhandura projects is conditional, as it has to prepare a revised detailed project report besides obtaining the necessary clearances from the statutory authorities before taking up the work of the projects. He said that the Tribunal has itself worked out the 75 per cent dependable yield as 188.06 TMC feet.
Further, it was informed in the press conference that water availability report by the Central Water Commission in March 2003, which was objected to by Goa right from the beginning, and which the states of Karnataka and Maharashtra were relying upon, has been rejected by the Tribunal.
As far as violations of court orders by Karnataka are concerned, the ban on diversion of Mhadei water to Malaprabha river continues and Goa has already filed a contempt petition on diversion before the Supreme Court on August 8, 2018. Goa has also filed an interlocutory application of disobedience before the Tribunal on August 20, 2018.
It was informed that the verdict of the MWDT consists of 12 volumes with 2,711 pages and is totally a techno-legal document, which is being studied by the technical and legal teams.
“The government will take a decision after a thorough study of the voluminous document. We have 90 days to finalise all references, which will be filed, if any, before the Tribunal,” Nadkarni said. He also said that Goa is utilising only 5 to 8 per cent of the water out of 9.395 TMC feet of the existing use.
Further, the WRD chief engineer stated that Goa needs storage projects for Mhadei water in the future, adding that out of 61 identified projects in master plan prepared in 1999, the state has completed the work of two projects – Anjunem major project and Amthane minor irrigation project.