Kalasa-Banduri dam project 

#GS3 #WaterResources #Dams 

The Kalasa-Banduri Project undertaken by the Karnataka government proposes to divert Mandovi river water from Kalasa and Banduri canals into the Malaprabha river in the state to facilitate drinking water to 13 towns of Dharwad, Belagavi, Bagalkote and Gadag. 

The project 

  • Goa and Karnataka are dependent on each other for their water needs. For the last few years, however, the states have been in a logjam over the sharing of water from the Mahadayi river. 
  • The Kalasa-Banduri canal — part of the 11-dam project — aims to improve drinking water supply to the districts of Belagavi, Bagalkot, Dharwad and Gadag. It involves building across Kalasa and Banduri, two tributaries of the Mahadayi river, to initially divert 7.56 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of water to the Malaprabha river, which supplies drinking water needs of the said four districts. 
  • The project received clearance from the Centre in 2002. It, however, soon ran into trouble when the then Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of Goa headed by Manohar Parrikar raised objections, claiming that the project would be an ecological disaster for the state. 

The conflict 

  • The Mandovi originates from Karnataka’s Belagaum district. The Mandovi river basin falls into the states of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra. The river is 81 kilometres (km) in length; 35 km of which flows in Karnataka, 1 km in Maharashtra and 45 km in Goa. 
  • The seeds of the conflict were sowed over 40 years ago: In 1985, Karnataka initially explored a 350 megawatt-hydro-electric project to divert 50 per cent of the Mandovi river water in Karnataka for irrigation. 

The tribunal action 

  • The Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal was set up in 2010 to look into the issue. In 2018, it allowed Karnataka to divert 3.45 TMC to the Malaprabha dam instead of 7.56 TMC as initially decided. 
  • Karnataka was allowed to withdraw 1.18 TMC from the Kalasa nala and 2.27 TMC from the Banduri nala from their original 3.56 and 4 TMC claims respectively. 
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