River Disputes Current Affairs - 2019
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Supreme Court has approved Centre’s draft Cauvery Management Scheme for smooth distribution of water among four southern riparian states/UT viz. Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. It ordered Central Government to notify the scheme before the monsoons.
The apex court also modified Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) award of 2007 and made it clear that it will not be extending time for its implementation on any ground. It also raised Karnataka’s share of Cauvery water by 14.75 tmcft saying that issue of drinking water of Southern Karnataka region has to be placed on a higher pedestal. At the same time, it reduced Tamil Nadu’s share, while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from river basin.
Cauvery Management Scheme
The scheme deals with release of water from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. It will be implemented by Cauvery Management Authority (CMA). CMA will be sole body to implement CWDT award as modified by Supreme Court. The Central Government will have no say in implementing of the scheme except for issuing administrative advisories to it.
Cauvery River rises on Brahmagiri Hill of Western Ghats in south-western Karnataka. It flows in south-easterly direction through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu before emptying into Bay of Bengal. At its mouth near Bay of Bengal it forms wide delta called garden of southern India. Kaveri’s main tributaries are Kabani (Kabbani), Noyil, Amaravati, Hemavati, Lakshmantirtha and Bhavani rivers. The river is important for its irrigation canal projects in southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
The Union Water Resources Ministry has reconstituted a committee that was tasked with assisting the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB).
The new committee will be headed by A.K. Bajaj, former chairman of the Central Water Commission (CWC). Besides, Gopala Krishnan, R.P. Pandey, Pradeep Kumar Shukla and N.N. Rai will be its members.
Terms and reference of Committee
- Assist KRMB to prepare a manual on how projects, common to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, ought to be handled.
- Decide how the Godavari waters ought to be transferred to the Krishna Basin in accordance with the Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal Award.
The committee was reconstituted based on the demand of Telangana government after it had opposed the earlier Mohile committee’s recommendation considering it as one-sided and biased against Telangana. The earlier committee was constituted in September 2016 to suggest a mechanism for facilitating the effective functioning of the KRMB as per the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.