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World Rivers Day: 5 river water disputes in India you should know

While the world is celebrating the World Rivers Day, know about these 5 river water disputes


World Rivers Day is celebrated on every fourth Sunday of September. World Rivers Day is a celebration of waterways across the world. This year the fourth Sunday is on September 27, so the special day will be celebrated on 27th September. Rivers are facing threats these days and the time calls for the active involvement of people to maintain the health of the rivers. Our states are not divided as per the rivers (it was not possible also), a dispute between two states for the water is bound to happen. Here are some of the river disputes in India.

1. Cauvery Water Dispute

This water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka is more than a century old. After the Independence, the Karnataka government complained about more share of the water in their state. It also said the present arrangement was highly skewed in Tamil Nadu’s favour. Later the VP Singh government set up a Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) to look into the inter-state dispute over water from the river. Out of the total 740 TMC (thousand million cubic feet), the tribunal gave 270 TMC to Karnataka and 419 TMC to Tamil Nadu in 2007. Karnataka was not satisfied with the order and moved to the Supreme Court and claimed 312 TMC of water. As per the latest judgement, Karnataka gets 284.75 TMC, Tamil Nadu gets 404.25 TMC and rest are divided into Kerala, Puducherry and more.

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Satluj Yamuna Link Canal

2. Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal

This dispute started after the formation of Haryana in 1966. States involved in the disputes are Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. To enable Haryana to use waters of Beas and Satluj, a canal linking the Satluj to the Yamuna was planned. Haryana approached the Supreme Court in 2002, for the construction of SYL (Satluj-Yamuna Link) canal. In 2004, the Punjab Assembly passed Punjab Termination of Agreements Act scrapping water-sharing agreements with other states. This jeopardized the construction of the canal. The apex court then declared the act unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has asked both Haryana and  Punjab to maintain status quo in the SYL dispute. The recent hearing in the matter has offered a mediator between Haryana and Punjab.

3. Krishna Water Dispute

The Krishna river is an east-flowing river that originates at Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra and merges with the Bay of Bengal, flowing through Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Together with its tributaries, the river forms a vast basin that covers 33 percent of the total area of the 4 states. A dispute over the sharing of water of Krishna river has been going on for decades. It started with Hyderabad and Mysore states and now is continuing between the successors Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

4. Vamsadhara River

The Vamsadhara river is an important east-flowing river between Godavari and Rushikulya in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. The river originates in Odisha and runs for a distance of 254 kilometres to join the Bay of Bengal in Andhra Pradesh. Andhra Pradesh wants to build the Neradi bridge across the river which is only possible if Odisha says yes. Odisha says that the flood flow canal will dry up the existing river bed and the consequent shifting of the river will affect the groundwater table.

5. Mahadayi River Dispute

Karnataka’s move to design a number of dams, canals, barrage to route the river water of Mahadayi  to Malaprabha basin, triggered the dispute on the river. Karnataka wants to channel the water into the basin of Malaprabha, a tributary of Krishan to meet the requirements of water-scarcity in the districts of Gadag, Bagalkot, Belagavi and Dharwad. Goa says that its population is dependent on the natural path of the river and the move to divert it, will affect the fragile ecosystem. The state claims that the ingress of saltwater in the river will ultimately kill the green belt and mangroves of Goa. It will also disturb the relationship of people with the land and also the ecological balance. The Supreme Court has put a stay on the construction of dams and canals by Karnataka on the Mahadayi river for now.

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