GODAVARI RIVER WATER SHARING ACCORD
N. Sasidhar Synopsis: This paper highlights the acute water scarcity problems faced by Sriramsagar and Nizamsagar irrigation projects located in Andhra Pradesh state for not implementing the Godavari water disputes tribunal verdict in true spirit. The water availability in these projects has diminished to 33% dependability from the designed dependability of 75% in last nine years. Due to meager inflows, the river water quality is becoming unsafe for human and cattle consumption. It also suggests the remedial action to overcome the problem in future. INTRODUCTION: Godavari water disputes tribunal (GWDT) gave the final verdict in the year 1980. This verdict is the compilation of agreements arrived by the riparian states of Godavari River without examining the dependable water availability at various project sites unlike in Krishna river water disputes tribunal. It has not recorded the existing, sanctioned/cleared projects and their water utilization. GWDT verdict lacks actual water use monitoring mechanism to implement the agreements in true spirit. This has encouraged upstream states to utilize the upper Godavari river water in excess of their water use entitlement. This in turn created severe water shortage to the downstream state projects converting them in to unproductive projects. For the water utilization up to Sriramsagar (SS) dam, the riparian states Maharashtra (MR), Karnataka (K) and Andhra Pradesh (AP) concluded the water sharing agreements which were made part of GWDT verdict. Nearly 30% of total Godavari River’s catchment area lies upstream of SS dam. The water utilization in the upstream of SS dam has reached such a high level that dependable water availability has come down to 33% against the norm of 75% in AP in last 9 years. The Godavari river basin map is available at http://www.kgbo-cwc.ap.nic.in/About%20Basins/Godavari.pdf GWDT SALIENT STIPULATIONS FOR SHARING WATER UP TO SS DAM: The Upper Godavari river basin area above the SS dam site is divided in to four parts for the water use allocation purpose among the riparian states MR, K & AP. 1. Catchment area above the Paithan dam on Godavari. 2. Catchment area above the Siddheswar dam on Purna tributary. 3. Catchment area above the Nizamsagar dam on Manjira Tributory. 4. Catchment area above the SS dam but below Nizamsagar, Siddheswar and Paithan dams The water use entitlements: The water used under the existing / completed major, medium & minor irrigation projects up to 6/10/1975 is protected in all the states. The water use sanctioned / cleared up to 6/10/1975 for the major, medium & minor irrigation projects is also protected in all the states. 1) Above the Paithan dam catchment inflows: All the water available up to Paithan dam is allotted to MR for its beneficial use. 2) Above the Siddheswar dam catchment inflows: All the water available up to Siddheswar dam is allotted to MR for its beneficial use.
1 of 6
3) Above the Nizamsagar catchment inflows: Karnataka can use 13.10 thousand million cubic feet (tmc) under Karanja Project and 1.17tmc under Chukinala Project (Page 86 of original GWDT) MR can use 22 tmc up to Nizamsagar dam on Manjira River (Page 90 of original GWDT) AP can draw 4 tmc for drinking water of Hyderabad city. 58 TMC is agreed water use under the existing Nizamsagar project. (Page 90 of original GWDT) One tmc water lifting from the Manjira river is allowed by Karnataka. (Page 133 of original GWDT) Thus the total water commitment is 99.27 tmc plus any utilization under existing (excluding Nizamsagar project), sanctioned/ cleared projects above the Nizamsagar dam. 4) Catchment inflows above the SS dam but below Nizamsagar, Siddheswar and Paithan dams: MR should not use more than 60 tmc in a water year, K should not use more than 2.5 tmc in a water year (Page 133 of original GWDT) and AP is at liberty to use remaining waters available at SS dam site (required water by AP is 227 tmc). Thus the total committed water use entitlement is nearly 389 tmc (MR 82 tmc, K 17.77 tmc & AP 289.23 tmc) plus any utilization under existing, sanctioned and cleared projects above SS dam but below Paithan and Siddheswar dams. As per clause III B of final order (Page 76 of original GWDT), any water use as listed in clause II is taking place (ex: pisciculture, wild life, navigation, recreational, etc), water use shall take in to account any loss of water due to natural causes from manmade reservoirs and other works. Seepage from the manmade reservoirs is part of natural causes. Seepage losses in all major, medium & minor reservoirs shall be included while calculating the total water use since every reservoir’s water is also invariably used for pisciculture, wild life, navigation, recreational, etc though main water use is for irrigation or domestic or industrial requirements. THE SRIRAMSAGAR DAM PROJECT: This project is also locally known as Pochampad or Khustapuram dam. The Khustapuram project proposal was first mooted/investigated by erstwhile Hyderabad state under Nizam rule to utilize 227 tmc of upper Godavari river water (page 19 of Volume-II of original GWDT). This dam site is located in the Nizamabad district of AP after the confluence of Manjira river with Godavari. Planning commission approval was accorded to SS project (Page 10 of original volume I GWDT) and the project works were in advanced stage of construction by 1975. Under stage I of this project nearly one million acres irrigation facility is created to utilize140 tmc water. Stage II of this project is under advanced stage of construction to irrigate 4.4 lakh acres using 25 tmc water. The flood flow canal project is also under implementation to irrigate 2.0 lakh acres using 20 tmc water available at Pochampad dam site. Thus the present planned water requirement is more than 200 tmc including reservoir evaporation losses. The storage capacity of SS dam is limited to 90 tmc to reduce submergence area in MR up to FRL level 1091 feet above mean sea level as per the agreement between MR & AP.
2 of 6
NIZAMSAGAR & SINGUR PROJECTS: Nizamsagar dam was constructed in the year 1931 across Manjira river. This dam is located in Nizamabad district of AP. It is planned to irrigate 2,75,000 acres utilizing 58 tmc water of Manjira river. Manjira river has total catchment area of nearly 22,000 square km spreading in MR, K & AP. Over the long period of time, the dam lost its storage capacity by siltation and present capacity is 18 tmc only. To overcome the shortfall in the required water storage for Nizamsagar project, another dam called Singur dam is constructed across Manjira river in the upstream of Nizamsagar dam with 30 tmc storage capacity. This dam is located in Medak district of AP. Singur dam also partly supplies drinking water to the nearby Hyderabad city. THE PROGNOSTICATED WATER AVAILABILITY: The SS dam site has nearly 92,000 square km catchment area. The Siddheswar and Paithan dam sites together have nearly 30,000 square km catchment area. The rest of catchment area (nearly 62,000 square km) receives average rainfall of the order of 80 cm annually out of which at least 25 cm rain water collects in the river as inflows. The water yield corresponds to nearly 550 tmc in an average rainfall year. The average yearly rain fall generally corresponds to average annual yield in the river. Average yield in the river corresponds to 58% dependable water year by taking analogy to adjacent Krishna river basin since both Krishna and Godavari basins receive substantial rain fall during the south west monsoon period only. The total water use entitlements to the riparian states are approximately 440 tmc which includes 227tmc under SS project and 58 tmc under Nizamsagar project. This water use entitlement is including return flows from the irrigation use (Page 76 of original GWDT). As per the national of wet lands atlas, Maharashtra and Karnataka created manmade reservoirs covering nearly 2500 square km surface area in the catchment area of upper Godavari by the year 2010. This is equal to 530 tmc water storage at 6 meters average depth. National register of dams -2009 published by Central Water Commission (CWC) states that there are 1136 dams in MR with storage capacity more than 60 million cubic meters (above 2.1 tmc) per dam. This works out to at least 2400 tmc (67 billion cubic meters) aggregate capacity with average capacity of 60 million cubic meters per dam only. If 20% of these dams are located in upper Godavari and Manjira river basins of MR, the gross storage capacity created is of the order of 480 tmc which is adequate to use nearly 700 tmc of the river water. There are nearly 150 medium / major dams and barrages in Maharashtra alone located downstream of Siddheswar, Paithan and Nizamsagar dams up to SS dam site as per the CWC released map. (refer: http://indiawris.nrsc.gov.in/wrpapp.html?show=JI00410/ ) which are adequate to use more than 300 tmc by surface irrigation. THE ACTUAL WATER AVAILABILITY: The Singur dam (30 tmc), Nizamsagar dam (18 tmc) and SS dam (90 tmc) are the major water storage projects aggregating to 138 tmc gross storage. 289 tmc water usage is planned under these projects at 75% dependability. In the last nine years (2002 to 2010) these projects have filled up only thrice. This works out to meager 33% water dependability/success rate from these projects (refer ‘reservoir levels’ in http://www.irrigation.ap.gov.in/ ). MR & K have developed water use potential many times more than their water use entitlements under minor and medium irrigation projects and are not allowing inflows in to AP during the monsoon months. Substantial 3 of 6
part of inflows at 33% dependability in to SS reservoir is also from the monsoon floods originating from the upstream area of Paithan and Siddheswar dams during heavy floods and not from the identified catchment area. MR has first right to use the flood waters released from Paithan and Siddheswar dams as per interstate agreement. This is nothing but dishonoring the interstate water sharing agreements which relied on mutual trust for their implementation. Also continuously increasing ground water irrigation in entire catchment area is reducing the available inflows and water quality in downstream AP projects. This acute water scarcity problem would aggravate further if the present situation is allowed to continue. SALINITY PROBLEM: When rain water comes in contact with the soil/earth surface, water picks up some salts in dissolved form. The dissolved salt content in water is called salinity or total dissolved salts (TDS). Soil is leached by the rain water and ultimately unwanted salts from the river basin are transported to the sea. This process is called ‘salt export’. When a river water is fully utilized in most of the years and rarely water is flowing downstream of a dam/barrage, it is called ‘river basin closure’. If the river water is unable to reach the sea permanently, it is called absolute river basin closure. If adequate salt export is not accomplished, the unwanted salts would accumulate gradually reducing fertility of the soil in the lower reaches of the catchment lands. This would also turn the ground water unfit for irrigation and human/cattle consumption. The present water use is more than 75% of the average yearly flows in the catchment area of SS dam. This would create water quality problems for use by humans, cattle and agriculture. When river water TDS exceeds 500 ppm, it is unsafe for drinking purpose. Already the water TDS in SS dam is 450 ppm during floods and exceed 700 ppm during dry season. When water utilization is in excess of 75%, the TDS would be 4 times of upstream river basin water. The total annual average yield in the catchment area up to SS dam is 900 tmc approximately. At least 225 tmc water is required at SS dam for keeping the water salinity below 500 ppm. When this water is used in the downstream catchment area, it would accomplish the needed salt export from the basin area. Thus it is inevitable requirement that the terminal irrigation project (in this case SS project) should receive minimum 25% of the total inflows to keep the water quality within limits. It is pertinent to refer to Colorado River water dispute between USA and Mexico regarding water salinity norms. The 1944 “United States-Mexico Treaty for utilization of waters of the Colorado” allots to Mexico a guaranteed annual quantity of water from the river. The treaty does not provide specifically for water quality but this did not constitute a problem until the late 1950's. Rapid economic development and increased agricultural water use in the United States spurred degradation of water quality received by Mexico. With a view to resolve the problem, Mexico protested and entered into bilateral negotiations with the United States. In 1974, these negotiations resulted in an international agreement, interpreting the 1944 Treaty, which guaranteed Mexico water of the same quality as that being used in the United States. MR is also diverting upper Penganga river water from Isapur dam to upper Godavari river basin for providing irrigation facilities up to Baabli barrage area. This is achieved by constructing nearly 250 km long right bank canal from Isapur dam. Also MR is planning to divert water from Bhima river to Manjira basin and west flowing rivers to upper Godavari basin. Importing other river waters to upper Godavari basin would increase the salt load further and make the water salinity in Sriramsagar reservoir further worse. 4 of 6
IDEAL WATER SHARING MECHANISM: The tribunal verdict states (Page 21 of original GWDT) that the main aim of the tribunal is to achieve equitable distribution among the riparian states with respect to benefits of river water and efficient use of river water. The entire purpose of the tribunal verdict is lost if these cardinal concepts are not implemented by resorting to excessive water utilization in the upstream state areas and keeping the downstream state projects idle. Also excessive creation of carryover storage capacity should be minimized for avoiding very high evaporation losses which is not efficient use of water. It has to be investigated first that the reasons for not receiving the AP share of water is either due to upstream states excessive water utilization over and above the entitlements or due to diminishing overall water availability in the specified river catchment area caused by natural phenomenon. Also qualified or unqualified projects list with their water utilization shall be prepared to adhere to the interstate agreements and to pin point the excessive water use by the riparian states. There should be continuous monitoring mechanism to implement the water sharing agreements such as “Upper Godavari water disputes verdict implementation board” to ensure prevention of excessive water use by the upstream states on annual basis. In case the actual water availability in the river is less than the utilization capacity of sanctioned/qualified projects, the available limited water should be proportionately shared in every water year by all the qualified projects in equitable manner in terms of dependability, time of water availability and water quality. The available inflows in the identified catchment area should be shared among the states as and when available with 10% later adjustment possibility for efficient use of the water resources. Also new tribunal may deliberate on how the water use entitlements of AP can be safe guarded by minimizing the effects in upstream states. RECOMMENDATIONS: AP being the major sufferer due to excessive water utilization by upstream states, it should approach either Supreme Court or GoI to constitute a fresh tribunal to give further directions for the strict implementation of the water sharing agreements which are made part of GWDT verdict. There is no time stipulation for the review of GWDT verdict. However legal provision is available under “Interstate water disputes act, 1956” to approach the GoI demanding a new tribunal to implement strictly the water use agreements with Karnataka and Maharashtra by Andhra Pradesh. Section 3 clauses b & c of this Act are very much applicable demanding redress of water disputes or constitution of fresh tribunal to enforce the upstream states to implement the existing interstate agreements in true spirit. Till now three river water disputes tribunals verdicts have been enacted under “Interstate water disputes act, 1956”. These are Krishna, Godavari and Narmada river water dispute tribunals. In Krishna tribunal verdict the earlier agreements entered among the riparian states were abrogated. Where as in Narmada case, there was no prior agreement among the riparian states. In case of Godavari, new agreements (1975 agreements) are signed by the riparian states before the actual proceedings of GWDT (page 22 of original Volume I GWDT). This is due to the intention of states to take up the various projects construction without waiting for the tribunal verdict and also earlier agreement on 28/7/1951 (page 34 of Volume II of original GWDT) was to expire after 25 years validity. GWDT accepted these agreements later and made them part of its verdict. 5 of 6
It is very clear that the valid agreements among the riparian states are extant prior to the final GWDT verdict. ------------------------REFERENCES: Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal final report www.irrigation.ap.gov.in/GWDTAward.pdf Colorado River Water Dispute (Colorado Case) http://www1.american.edu/TED/colorado.htm http://www.scribd.com/doc/59267652/Review-of-KWDT-II-Report Review of Justice Brijesh Kumar Tribunal (Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal - 2) report. http://www.cwc.gov.in/main/downloads/1956.pdf "Interstate river water disputes act 1956 including 2002 amendment" River basin development phases and implications of closure http://www.vlirrigation.org/cms/fileadmin/content/zfb/1998_02/keller_keller_davids_1998_river_basin_develo pment_phases_implications_closure.pdf Shifting Waterscapes: Explaining Basin Closure in the Lower Krishna River basin http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/publications/IWMI_Research_Reports/PDF/PUB121/RR121.pdf http://india-wris.nrsc.gov.in/wrpapp.html?show=JI00410/ “Major and medium dams & barrages location map in India, Central Water Commission, GoI.” National register of dams – 2009 http://www.cwc.nic.in/main/downloads/National%20Register %20of%20Large%20Dams%202009.pdf Wet lands atlas of India 2011: http://www.indiawaterportal.org/node/18315 http://www.scribd.com/doc/66801452/Interstate-River-Water-Disputes-Act “Interstate river water disputes act - 1956 and its legal provisions” http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/Publications/IWMI_Research_Reports/PDF/pub083/RR83.pdf “Spatial variation in water supply and demand across river basins of India”
6 of 6