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Mahadayi River Water Sharing Dispute: Karnataka Seeks to Divert Water towards Malaprabha River Basin

Mahadayi River water sharing dispute among Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra states is almost four decade-old. Goa, one of the three stakeholders on Monday 16 January 2018 filed its arguments before the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal maintaining that it could not share water with Karnataka due to diversions of river water violating court orders, and potential damage to marine ecology, environment and wildlife. Goa was opposed to the proposed projects by Karnataka and Maharashtra around the Mahadayi River as they would harm the environment and deprive the coastal state of drinking and irrigation water. The tribunal has suggested that the chief ministers of the three states resolve the matter amicably.

  • Mahadayi called Mandovi in Goa is 80-km-long River that originates in Karnataka and flows to Goa and Maharashtra. River rises from the forests of the Western Ghats at Devgaon in northern Karnataka. It enters Goa where it is a lifeline, both for the people and the rich flora and fauna of its forests.
  • Karnataka seeks56 tmcft of water from the Mahadayi to supply to 13 towns in four districts of Dharwad, Belagavi, Bagalkot and Gadag in north Karnataka, one of the most arid regions in the country. The River flows for around 35km in the Karnataka.
  • Karnataka seeks to divert water from tributaries of the River through the Kalasa-Bhanduri Nala project towards the parched Malaprabha river basin, a tributary of River Krishna, which is being strongly opposed by Goa. This has led to a long-drawn farmers’ agitation in Karnataka, which has been revitalised as the State goes to the polls in 2018.
  • On Wednesday 27 December 2017 normal life was hit in five north Karnataka districts and neighbouring areas due to a bandh called by farmer groups over getting Mahadayi river water from Goa to meet the drinking water needs of drought-prone areas of the region.
  • Goa’s main contention is that Karnataka cannot divert water from an already-deficit Mahadayi basin to the Malaprabha river basin: 115 tmcft was available in the basin, while the requirement for the three States is 145 tmcft. It has said that any attempt to divert water from one river basin to the other will cause irreparable environmental damage. Karnataka claims 199.6 tmcft is available and the river is water-surplus. Of this, Karnataka wants 24.15 tmcft.

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