In what is seen as a major setback for Andhra Pradesh, the Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal has allowed Karnataka to raise the height of the Almatti Dam to 524 metres from the present 519 metres, while ruling that the state will get the biggest share of waters from the River Krishna.
The verdict will affect the fate of major irrigation projects in the state which were launched as part of the ‘Jalayagnam’ Irrigation project at a cost of more than Rs 50,000 crore.
The state will get 1,001 Thousand Million Cubic feet (TMC), while Karnataka and Maharashtra will have to be satisfied with 911 TMC and 666 TMC of the waters from river Krishna as per the verdict of the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal which was delivered on Thursday.
The verdict, running into 2,000 pages was delivered on the contentious issue of sharing of the waters from the River Krishna.
Out of total water available the state will get 1,001 TMC, Karnataka 911 TMC and Maharashtra 666 TMC. The Tribunal further said that out of surplus river water, Andhra Pradesh will get 190 TMC, Karnataka 177 TMC and Maharashtra will have to be satisfied with 81 TMC.
The Tribunal, constituted by the NDA government under Justice Brijesh Kumar on April 2, 2004 to find a solution to the dispute over the sharing of Krishna waters between three states, allowed Karnataka to raise the height of Almatti Dam from 519 metre to 524 metre.
The Tribunal also asked all the three states not to divert water for any other purpose other than the purpose decided by the tribunal.
The Tribunal further said that the Centre will set up the Krishna Water Implementation Board after three months for implementation of the award. It added that those states which are not satisfied with the award can file for a review of the decision within the next three months.
Any appeal should have to be filed before the Tribunal itself, since it has the decree of the Supreme Court.
The ruling added that Karnataka should release 8 to 9 thousand million cubic TMC water to Andhra Pradesh during the Kharif season and directed the three states to supply drinking water to the city of Chennai equally.
The River Krishna passes through Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra and the three states had been fighting over sharing of the water for 43 years.
The three-member tribunal was headed by retired Supreme Court judge Justice Brijesh Kumar. The other members of the tribunal were retired Allahabad High Court judge Justice and SP Srivastava and retired Kolkata High Court judge Justice DK Seth.
The tribunal verdict can be reviewed only after May 2050.