In News: Second meeting of the Apex Council held on 06.10.2020 under the Chairmanship of Hon’ble Minister (Jal Shakti) with Hon’ble Chief Ministers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
What is the Issue ?
- Both states share stretches of the Krishna and the Godavari and own their tributaries.
- Both states have proposed several new projects without getting clearance from the river boards, the Central Water Commission and the Apex Council, as mandated by the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.
- The AP Reorganisation Act, 2014 mandates for constitution of an Apex Council by the Central Government.
- Apex Council For the supervision of the functioning of the Godavari River Management Board and Krishna River Management Board.
- The Apex Council comprises the Union Water Resources Minister and the Chief Ministers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
- The Andhra Pradesh government’s proposal to increase the utilisation of the Krishna water from a section of the river above the Srisailam Reservoir.
- Led to the Telangana government filing a complaint against Andhra Pradesh.
Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal (GWDT)
- The Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal constituted by the Government in April, 1969.
- Tasked to look after the dispute over Godavari river between Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Karnataka over the sharing of the Godavari river water.
- Tribunal gave its final award in 1980. Accordingly, each State was free to utilise the flow in Godavari and its tributaries up to a certain level.
- Once Telangana came into existence in 2014, Polavaram project became the bone of contention between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Odisha too has expressed its reservations over the Polavaram dam’s design.
Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal (KWDT)
- As of now, two tribunals have been constituted to resolve the disputes of the Krishna water. Andhra Pradesh has countered the second Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal (KWDT) order issued by the 2nd tribunal in 2010.
- The Tribunal has allocated 81 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of surplus water to Maharashtra, 177 tmcft to Karnataka and only 196 tmcft to Andhra Pradesh.
- After the creation of Telangana as a separate state in 2014, Andhra Pradesh is asking to include Telangana as a separate party at the KWDT.
- It has challenged the order of the Tribunal in the Supreme Court.
Following decisions on second meeting of the Apex Council held on 06.10.2020 in respect of resolving water sharing disputes between AP and Telangana were taken:
- On request of Telangana for a Tribunal under section-3 of Inter-State River Water Dispute (ISRWD) Act, 1956, Telangana has to withdraw the case it has filed in the Supreme Court on the subject.
- Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India will seek legal opinion on whether a new Tribunal has to be appointed or new Terms of Reference can be issued to the existing KWDT-II to hear the matter.
- Both the States agreed for setting up of a Godavari Tribunal for adjudicating on the sharing of the waters of Godavari river between AP and Telangana.
- Hon’ble Union Minister (Jal Shakti) requested both the States to send their proposal for the same.
The Inter-State Water Disputes Act (1956)
- The Inter-State Water Disputes Act empowers the Central government to set up an ad hoc tribunal for the adjudication of a dispute between two or more states in relation to the waters of an inter-state river or river valley.
- The decision of the tribunal is final and binding on the parties to the dispute.
- Neither the Supreme Court nor any other court is to have jurisdiction in respect of any water dispute which may be referred to such a tribunal under this Act.