KARNATAKA DIVERTS MHADEI WATERS

EXPOSED: The surprise inspection completely exposed Karnataka’s nefarious plans to subvert justice and make a mockery of their own assurances. This shows that Goa needs to be vigilant if it wants to avoid drastic ecological damage

 

A surprise inspection by a team of MLAs from Goa led by a speaker Promod Sawant found that Karnataka has already blocked the Kalsa tributary which has resulted in the trying up of the Surla river. The water falls gushing at Surla have stopped. The Goa team, which included Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo, former Environmental Minister Alina Saldhana and Mhadei Bachao Member Nirmala Sawant and Rajendra Kerkar, after a visit to the site of Sunday has confirmed that the flow of the Kalsa river has been stopped. Now the flow of the Mhadei river is towards the Malaprabha river. This diversion of Mhadei river is expected to seriously affect the Ganje and Oppa water plants which supply drinking water to the whole of North Goa. We reproduce excerpts from the 501 page affidavit filed by Goa former Advocate General ATAMARAM NADKARNI which conclusively proves that Karnataka is stealing the Mhadei water not for the drinking purposes but for water guzzling irrigation. The diversion of the Kalsa tributary is in violation of the assurance given by Karnataka both to the Supreme Court and the Mhadei Water Tribunal.

THE case, pleaded and sought to be proved by the State of Karnataka, is completely at variance with each other, self-contradictory and exposes complete falsehood, in entirety.

Population claims

IN the first place the State of Karnataka is claiming 7.56 TMC of water for drinking, to be supplied to Hubli-Dharwad areas. This demand of 7.56 TMC is made based on the purported calculation of an estimated population claimed to be around 28 lakhs in the year 2051, whereas the present population is 9,43,857 as per 2011 census. Therefore, the claim is that the population would grow three times more within the period of 2014 to 2051.

In a period of hardly 40 years, the population figure can never triple. In the case of the State of Goa for almost approximately the same period, the growth of population is shown as about 6,30,347 in the Mahadayi Basin at as per the census, 2011 to 8,77,443 for the same period which shows the increase in growth by hardly 10% per decade. This is a realistic, practical and pragmatic figure. The growth of population cannot be enhanced by a certain percentage. The increase of population is normally on an average 10 % per decade.

This can also be contrasted with the figures in Hubli-Dharwad areas for the last 3 decades. The population in the year 1981 was 5,27,108, and in the year 2011 it was 9,43,857. This means there was an increase of hardly around 3 lakhs which comes to around 26% per decade.

The present projection by the State of Karnataka is around 200% without any basis whatsoever. If this figure, of 28 lakhs is literally taken, even for the sake of argument, the increase comes to around 50% per decade and around 5% per year, which phenomenal increase, has not been seen anywhere in the world.

Therefore, the requirement of 7.56 TMC of water for drinking is wholly unjustified and based on the so called inflated figures leading to an inflated demand. The pleadings of the State of Karnataka are therefore required to be ignored completely and discarded.

2002 & 2009 FIGURES

THIS apart, when the Malaprabha Revised Project Report (Vol.33B) was prepared in the year 1970, the requirement of drinking water was not at all shown in other words it means that there was no shortage at all.

On account of the inflated yield in the Malaprabha reservoir by sheer overestimation to 47 TMC, which was very soon discovered to be a highly inflated yield, and was therefore, revised to 27 TMC in the 2009 DPR’s.

If at all there was any drinking water requirement, the factual drinking water requirement would not only have been shown in the revised project report but it would have lead to a consequential higher allotment of water for drinking purposes. This was not at all the case, and the water allocated for a revised DPR prepared in the year 2009, that is hardly 8 years back, which showed, that the requirement for Industrial and drinking purpose to be as 0.216 TMC together.

The further contradiction on the part of State of Karnataka is that when a letter was written on March 30, 2002, and thereafter April 16, 2002, pursuant to which the so called in-principle clearance dated April 30, 2002, (which was subsequently kept in abeyance) the State of Karnataka at the relevant time in order to secure the said clearance had pleaded an imminent need of 7.56 TMC of water for their immediate drinking needs and pursuant to this sought the said in-principle clearance which of course upon prompt objections raised by the State of Goa came to be held in abeyance.

It is therefore clear, that in the year 2002 the State of Karnataka had pleaded immediate and imminent need of 7.56 TMC for drinking. Whereas in the year 2009, when the revised DPR was prepared for Malaprabha reservoir, the allocation of drinking water along with industrial purposes was shown to be 0.216 TMC. And further, in the  Statement of Case filed before this Hon’ble Tribunal, the very same claim of 7.56 TMC is raised on the purported grounds of a population projection at 28 lakhs which is way beyond comprehension, imagination and even a reasonable estimation. Such an increase of 50% per decade as claimed by the State of Karnataka has never been seen.

Therefore, the bogey of requirement of drinking water apart from being false, misplaced and impossible to accept on the ground of population increase, exposes the case of the State of Karnataka completely.

SUGARCANE

IT IS also important to note that the State of Goa has consistently pleaded that under the guise of taking drinking water from the River Mahadayi, the actual plan of the State of Karnataka is to utilize the Mahadayi River waters for sugarcane cultivation which has grown from 224 Ha in the year 1979 to 2756 Ha in the year 2012-2013. It is submitted that the water requirement for sugarcane has itself not been shown in the cropping pattern in the Modified DPR of Malaprabha Project (Vol.33B).

The crop of sugarcane is a water guzzling crop and the State of Goa has already made its submission on the same. However, it is necessary to emphasis here that the total sugarcane area under cultivation of sugarcane is found to have increased from 224 ha to 2756 ha i.e an increase of more than 12 times.

The State of Goa has made a reference to the Report of the Directorate of Sugar Development, Government of India, (Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Department of Agriculture Corporation and Farmers Welfare) which states that the sugarcane plantation in the Districts of Belgaum and Dharwad, for the year 2011–12 is reported to be 1,78,000 ha and 3470 ha respectively which amounts to a total area of 1,81,470 ha, and therefore, in order to cater to the water required for sugarcane plantation in the Belgaum and Dharward area, the total water requirement for sugarcane cultivation for the said area would come to nearly 160 TMC and water in such large quantities is not likely to be available from surface sources.

As a result of this excessive sugarcane cultivation, and also subsequent processing is being sustained by indiscriminate pumping of ground water, which has left the aquifers dry resulting in over exploitation of the ground water that has resulted in water scarcity in the Hubli-Dharwad region.

The State of Goa had also earlier referred before this Hon’ble Tribunal to a study carried out by the Norwegian Institute of Water Research which is an institute in the environmental research titled as “Hydrology and Water Location in Malaprabha” and states that 50% of the severity of the drought can be reduced by reducing the area under sugarcane cultivation by 56%.

All these above has been referred to and is part of the Order dated 27th July 2016 passed by this Hon’ble Tribunal, while disposing of I.A No. 60 of 2015 with I.A No. 66 of 2016 in In I.A No. 60 of 2015 in the present reference and during the course of proceedings of the present on which the State of Goa wishes to refer and rely upon at the time of hearing of this matter. (Vol No. 5 Order dated 27.07.2016 In I.A No. 60/2015)

WATER MANAGEMENT

THE State of Karnataka had a duty to plead and prove before this Hon’ble Tribunal the shortage of water if any as alleged by them, by pleading that the State of Karnataka has been practicing optimum water management and by further showing that the alleged crisis or alleged shortage is not on account of the mismanagement of the water resources by the State of Karnataka.

This was essential for the State of Karnataka to prove in as much as the State of Goa has pleaded mismanagement of water resources by State of Karnataka for which reason there was complete artificially created bogus shortage of water.

This Hon’ble Tribunal after considering the pleading of the parties and having regard to issue numbers 27, 28, 29 as also issue 39, 45, 46, it was essential and absolutely required on the part of State of Karnataka to prove the aspect relating to water management and further absence of any mismanagement of water by the State of Karnataka including and in respect of the Malaprabha Basin.

The State of Goa has specifically averred and proved

Complete mismanagement of water by the State of Karnataka in respect of the Malaprabha River Basin,

Faulty planning of the Malaprabha reservoir project,

Faulty planning and mismanagement of water resources by the State of Karnataka,

Diversion of water by the State of  Karnataka under the guise of supplying drinking water for being utilized for sugarcane cultivation and

Instances of mismanagement of water by the State of Karnataka including its faulty distribution system in the twin cities of Hubli-Dharwad.

Having regard to the aforesaid background and the specific challenges by the State of Goa, it was incumbent upon the State of Karnataka to lead specific evidence and prove any absence of mismanagement, faulty planning, proper water management utilization, proper water management and utilization of the water resources. None of this has been done by the State of Karnataka.

WITNESSES

THE State of Karnataka has examined in all, 4 witnesses. Dr. A. K Gossain and Shri. A.K Bajaj on the issues of Hydrology, and Shri. S.M Jamdar, and G.M Madegowda on the issues of Hubli-Dharwad region and requirements for irrigation.

At the outset it may be mentioned that, the case pleaded by the State of Karnataka in their Statement of Case is only as regards to, water requirement for drinking purposes and hydroelectric purposes. The State of Karnataka has now in the evidence brought out that the irrigation water that was being diverted for drinking water requirement would be restored back to irrigation. This further confirms the case pleaded by the State of Goa namely that the requirement of the State of Karnataka is for irrigation purposes — a case which has never been pleaded by the State of Karnataka.  

The true purpose and intent for diversion under the pretext of drinking water is actually for the purpose of augmenting the irrigation supply. There is not even a denial to this effect. The evidence of Shri. S. M. Jamdar fully supports the case of the State of Goa, as Mr. Jamdar has admitted in his evidence when he says that the water will be taken to restore the water for irrigation purposes.
The same are evidenced from the answers by the witness Shri. S. M. Jamdar to questions 1 and 2 posed by this Hon’ble Tribunal which are reproduced below:

Q.No.1. At Para 8, page 8 of your Affidavit dated 9.11.2017 (Vol. 206), you have stated as under.

“Malaprabha project is designed to provide irrigation largely to the drought prone areas as explained above. But the actual yield of water into the Malaprabha reservoir has been deficit by 17 TMC: as against designed intake of 44 TMC on an average about 27 TMC of water is actually reaching the reservoir. Thus it is necessary to augment the water availability by diverting Mahadayi water to Malaprabha Project. …”  

Apparently, the Malaprabha Project was not planned with due care resulting a gap of 17 tmc in the planned water availability and the actual water availability. In this regard, please answer the following.

How could you arrive at the conclusion that “it is necessary to augment the water availability by diverting Mahadayi water to Malaprabha Project” before examining  all issues, particularly reliability of the assessment of water availability of river Mahadayi at different locations and its tributaries vis-à-vis water requirements for various purposes in Mahadayi basin?

From the above statement of yours, it is apparent that the Malaprabha Project is designed to provide irrigation to the drought prone areas and your suggestion for augmenting the water availability by diverting Mahadayi water is aimed to overcome the shortfall in irrigation to drought prone area. Have you examined all other possible alternatives for overcoming the shortfall in irrigation water needs in drought prone areas, viz. the possibility of demand side management, such as, use of micro-irrigation, appropriate choice of cropping pattern, etc.?

Ans. I cannot comment on the reliability of assessment of water availability in the river Mahadayi at different locations and  its tributaries, vis-à-vis water requirements for various purposes since I am not technically competent to do so. However, I presume the technical experts have done the assessment using their due diligence and basing their conclusions on the relevant technical parameters.  Accordingly, I believe the aforesaid assessment to be correct.  

On other aspects I am to say that the State of Karnataka has made huge investments in the development of irrigation command such as canals, distributaries, FIC, land levelling, etc which is going waste in view of the deficiency observed in later years. This factor may also be taken into account.

Further, the M&G CADA did make efforts to salvage the situation by way of resorting to water saving measures such as drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigation, re-cycling of the drainage water and the like and yet the deficient situation does continue to a considerable extent. Other than diverting from the upper basin like Mahadayi there does not seem to be any more viable way of augmenting water.

More over, Mahadayi basin water to the extent of the quantity of water that is generated within the boundary of Karnataka, not only flowing into the State of Goa, but also is not being at the present harnessed by the basin States.  Under these circumstances, I felt it is necessary to augment the deficiency found in the  Malaprabha basin by way of diverting some quantity of water that may be available from Mahadayi basin to salvage the situation as much as possible.

Q.No.2. At Para 11, page 12 of your Affidavit dated 9.11.2017 (Vol. 206), you have stated as under.

“The plea of the State of Karnataka for transfer of 7 tmc of water to Malaprabha reservoir from surplus water at Kotni Dam for providing protective irrigation, drinking water needs etc. (as mentioned in the amended Statement of Claims dated 15.04.2015, page 122) will go a long way in mitigating the hardship caused to the inhabitants in drought prone areas in Malaprabha basin.”

In this regard, please answer the following.

  1. We understand that drinking water supply must be planned from highly reliable sources, which have availability of water at 100% dependability. How can the 100% dependability be ensured through the surplus water at Kotni dam which would generally be available only in those years when actual rainfall is more than the average rainfall?
  2. Surplus water cannot be considered to be available in each year and particularly during the drought years when there would be no surplus, at all. Therefore, it may not be appropriate to assume that the plan to transfer such surplus water will help in mitigating hardship to the inhabitants during drought periods. As a matter of fact, such measures would only create false hopes. Have you examined all these aspects carefully? How such measures would help providing protective irrigation in mitigating the hardship of the inhabitants of drought prone areas during the drought period?

Ans. I wish to answer the question in two parts:

  1. I am to state that the diversion of Kotni Dam water was not intended  for drinking water supply.  It was basically for power generation and protective irrigation in the drought prone areas. The word appearing in my Affidavit ‘drinking water’ is a mistake and I apologise for the same.
  2. On question b I would say that during drought years, definitely there may be deficiency in the flow at Kotni Dam and consequently, deficiency in the quantity of water to be diverted for protective irrigation in the Malaprabha project. But that kind of risk has to be taken at least in the years whatever quantity of water is available will be useful.”

 

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