Karnataka has won a crucial legal battle against Andhra Pradesh and can now raise the height of the Almatti reservoir across the Krishna river according to its original plan.
The second Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal on Friday dismissed Andhra Pradesh’s objections to Karnataka raising the dam height to 524.26 metres. The objections had forced Karnataka to store water at 519.6 metres.
The tribunal, headed by Justice Brijesh Kumar, delivered the order in response to petitions by Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra, seeking clarifications on some aspects of its December 31, 2010 final award.
D N Desai, former chief engineer and chairman of the expert committee advising Karnataka, told Express the order would enable the state to irrigate 5.25 lakh more hectares.
The final award had fixed Andhra Pradesh’s share in the Krishna basin at 1,001 tmc ft, while awarding Karnataka 911 tmc ft and Maharashtra 666 tmc ft at 65 pc dependability. (In engineering terms, ‘dependability’ is a measure of availability).
In its Friday order, the tribunal also asked Karnataka to release 4 tmc ft from Tungabhadra to Rajolibanda canal in Andhra Pradesh.
Karnataka Water Resources Minister M B Patil welcomed the order and said the state would expedite works to use its full quota in the Upper Krishna Project.
If Karnataka raises the height of the dam to 524 metres, 22 more villages would be fully submerged and 192 partially submerged. According to Almatti dam chief engineer Anantaram, the government will have to acquire 1.20 lakh acres of additional land. Villages facing submersion have been identified but steps to acquire land or provide rehabilitation are yet to be taken.
What it means
Karnataka can raise the height of the dam by 5m
It can irrigate 5.4 lakh hectares more
Twenty-two villages will be fully submerged, and 192 partly submerged
Over one lakh people will have to be rehabilitated
Award can’t be
implemented till the SC clears another Krishna water dispute case