To resolve the disagreement over water allocation between the riparian States of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh (before to bifurcation), the Bachawat Tribunal was established in 1969. Andhra Pradhesh received 811 tmcft of consistent water from the Tribunal. Later, the A.P. government divided it between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in a ratio of 512:299 tmcft.
Telangana repeatedly emphasised how it had experienced unfairness in Andhra Pradesh when it came to the division of water resources.
Without attempting to address the matter, the Centre called two meetings of the Apex Council in 2016 and 2020, which included the Chief Ministers of Telangana and AP in addition to the Union Minister.
Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT)
Under the leadership of R.S. Bachawat, the Central Government of India formed the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT) in 1969. Under the Interstate River Water Disputes Act of 1956, it was the first tribunal ever established.
The Krishna River water-sharing disputes between Karnataka, Maharashtra, and the then-undivided Andhra Pradesh led to the establishment of the KWDT.
The KWDT announced its award in 1973, allocating the three states a combined total of 2060 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of water:
Karnataka: 700 TMC
Andhra Pradesh:800 TMC
A clause calling for a review of water allocations made after May 31, 2000 was part of the first KWDT award. The evaluation, however, was postponed for over three years.
A second KWDT was established in April 2004 under the leadership of Brajesh Kumar in response to demands from the three concerned states.
The water allocations among the three states were amended as follows by the second KWDT, also known as KWDT II:
1001 TMC in Andhra Pradesh
907 TMC in Karnataka
666 TMC in Maharashtra
A further recommendation made by KWDT II was to create the Krishna Basin Authority in order to safeguard the basin, particularly in light of the discovery of extensive groundwater extraction.
After the year 2050, the water allocations will be reviewed again.
Both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana filed a petition to allocate water among all four riparian states following the restructuring of Andhra Pradesh.
The tribunal found that only Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were covered by Section 89 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, and not the other three riparian states.
As a result, the tribunal came to the conclusion that it was unnecessary to divide the water from the Krishna River among the four states. Instead, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were to get a new distribution of water based on their respective shares of the previous, undivided Andhra Pradesh.
Points to Ponder:
The 1956 creation of Andhra Pradesh is thought to be the cause of the Krishna water conflict between Andhra Pradesh (A.P.) and Telangana.
A Gentlemen’s Agreement that was signed prior to the creation of Andhra Pradesh had clauses for the fair allocation of water resources and the defence of Telangana’s interests.
In order to resolve the water-sharing conflict between Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh (before to bifurcation), the Bachawat Tribunal (KWDT-I) was established in 1969. Andhra Pradesh received 811 tmcft of consistent water from this allocation.
Based on the constructed command area or the established utilisation system, the A.P. government divided this allotment between Andhra and Telangana in a 512:299 tmcft ratio.
Despite the Tribunal’s recommendation, water from the Tungabhadra Dam was not diverted to Telangana’s drought-prone Mahabubnagar region.
The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act did not specifically specify water shares after the state was split in two in 2014.
The two states agreed to share water in a 34:66 ratio (Telangana:A.P.) at a meeting called by the Ministry of Water Resources in 2015, subject to yearly review.
Telangana has been pushing for an equal water distribution and opposing the maintenance of the current system. Based on basin features and global water-sharing norms, it makes the case for a 70% share.
Additionally, Telangana accuses Andhra Pradesh of diverting about 300 tmcft of water from the Krishna basin to locations outside the basin, which has an impact on Telangana’s drought-prone districts.
To safeguard the interests of the developed command areas, Andhra Pradesh asserts a larger share of the water.
Meetings of the Apex Council were called by the central government in 2016 and 2020, but no real progress has been achieved in settling the conflict.
Telangana withdrew its Supreme Court petition after the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) advised submitting the issue of water shares to a tribunal. The federal government hasn’t done much more about the problem, though.