Krishna River Water Dispute


    In News 

    • Recently, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh informed the Supreme Court that there is no information forthcoming from Karnataka for the past 14 years about how much Krishna river water it has diverted.

    Recent Response of Karnataka

    • Karnataka has argued that its dam and irrigation projects worth thousands of crores to provide water to its parched northern areas have been stalled for all these years because of the 2011 order of the Supreme Court to not publish the KWDT decisions pronounced in December 2010, in the Official Gazette under Section 6(1) of the Inter-State Water Disputes Act of 1956.
      • The publication of the order of the Tribunal is a necessary pre-condition for its implementation.
    • The life of the KWDT award is 40 years, out of which 10 years have already lapsed and 10 years are required to complete the work.
      • As a result, Karnataka will not be in a position to utilise water for 20 out of 40 years.
    • Karnataka has argued that the dispute raised by Andhra Pradesh and Telangana was between them and did not concern it.
      • It also states that a lot of water is going to waste —“flowing down into the ocean” and there is a need to harness it for irrigation and to replenish dry regions.

    Background of Krishna River water dispute

    • Set up of Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal(KWDT ): 
      • In 1969, KWDT was set up under the Inter-State River Water Dispute Act, 1956, 
      • It was headed by Justice R.S. Bachawat
      • It was constituted for adjudication of inter-state water disputes regarding the sharing of Krishna waters.
      • It presented its report in 1973 which was published in 1976.
        • It divided the 2060 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of Krishna water at 75 per cent dependability into three parts: 560 TMC for Maharashtra, 700 TMC for Karnataka and 800 TMC for Andhra Pradesh. 
      • At the same time, it was stipulated that the KWDT order may be reviewed or revised by a competent authority or tribunal any time after May 31, 2000.
      • The KWDT addressed three issues:
        • the extent to which the existing uses should be protected as opposed to future or contemplated uses;
        • diversion of water to another watershed; and
        • rules governing the preferential uses of water. The tribunal relied on the principle of equitable apportionment for the allocation of water.
    • Setting up of KWDT 2: 
      • Afterwards, as new grievances arose between the states, the second KWDT was instituted in 2004. 
      • It delivered its report in 2010, which made allocations of the Krishna water at 65 per cent dependability and for surplus flows as follows: 
        • 81 TMC for Maharashtra
        • 177 TMC for Karnataka, 
        • 190 TMC for Andhra Pradesh.
      • In 2010, Andhra Pradesh challenged the order in the Supreme Court through a Special Leave Petition (SLP).
    • Modification of KWDT’s order :
      • The KWDT had further modified its final order and report in November 2013 to allow surplus water to Karnataka, Maharashtra and the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh while preserving the allocation of 2130 TMC already made amongst them.
      • However, following the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, its successors Telangana and Andhra Pradesh had moved the Supreme Court challenging the KWDT’s allocation of shares.
    • Changed Allocation: 
      • After the bifurcation of the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh in 2014 arrangements were changed.
        • It was agreed between the two states that the 811 TMC allocation made by the KWDT-I would be apportioned in a manner wherein the State of Telangana will have 299 TMC while the State of Andhra Pradesh will get 512 TMC.
      • This agreement (2015 Agreement) was entered before and is monitored by KRMB.
    • Krishna River Management Board(KRMB):
      • In exercise of the powers conferred under section 85 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014, the Central Government constituted KRMB for 
        • the administration, 
        • regulation, 
        • maintenance and 
        • operation of such projects, 

    as may be notified by the Central Government from time to time.


    • The Centre has not notified the exact jurisdiction of KRMB.
    • The time limit should be fixed for adjudication by a Tribunal.
    • The upper age limit for the chairman of KRMB must be fixed to favour an independent working mechanism of the Board.
    • Orders of the Tribunal should be made binding and stringent punishment should be there for Contempt.
    • The powers of the Disputes Resolution Commission should be clearly defined

    Way Ahead

    • The river should not be the possession of any one state. It is a common public trust. People are the owners and the state is merely a custodian but the states have become dogmatic about their custodianship. They have started using their rights as territorial rights.
    •  We should be more responsible in terms of how we use our water for agriculture and urbanization in the Cauvery Basin.
    • The planning must be done at the basin level to make the solution sustainable and ecologically viable.

    Constitutional Provisions related to Interstate water dispute 

    • Article 262 of the Constitution deals with the adjudication of water disputes. The provisions in this regard are:
    • Article 262 (1) Parliament may, by law, provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter-State river or river valley.
    • Article 262 (2) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, Parliament may, by law, provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint as is referred to in clause (1).

    Krishna River

    • The Krishna is an east-flowing river.
    • Originates at Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra and merges with the Bay of Bengal 
    • Flows through Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. 
    • Together with its tributaries, it forms a vast basin that covers 33% of the total area of the four states.
    • The principal tributaries joining Krishna are the Ghataprabha, the Malaprabha, the Bhima, the Tungabhadra and the Musi. 
    • Most of this basin comprises a rolling and undulating country, except for the western border, which is formed by an unbroken line of the Western Ghats. 
    • The important soil types found in the basin are black soils, red soils, laterite and lateritic soils, alluvium, mixed soils, red and black soils and saline and alkaline soils

    Source: TH