‘Out basin use of water not reasonable’

Witness appearing for Telangana before the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT-II) Ghanshyam Jha has stated that functional dynamics of water sector have to be kept in mind for equitable distribution of water among the riparian States.

During his cross-examination by senior advocate of Andhra Pradesh R. Venkataramani before the tribunal chaired by Justice Brijesh Kumar in New Delhi for the second day on Tuesday, he reiterated that reasonable use of a river water out of the basin was needed to be reassessed along with the new realities — formation of Telangana State out of combined AP.

Both the KWDT-I and KWDT-II had permitted out-basin diversions as reasonable use when Telangana was not in existence.

He was responding to the repeated queries by the AP’s counsel suggesting that out basin diversions were permitted by both the two tribunals implying that such diversions could be treated as reasonable use and that formation of Telangana had no bearing on it.

The Telangana’s witness, a former chairman of the Central Water Commission, stated that he did not come across any policy or vision document in the study on out-basin projects developed by AP and Telangana wherein enormity of over 20 lakh hectares out of 36.45 lakh ha of cultivable area not getting irrigation for single crop season was highlighted.

Earlier tribunals

Mr. Jha explained and submitted before the tribunal that any utilisation outside the basin leaving the utilisation within the basin to its fate could not be considered reasonable in any terms.

He denied that AP counsel’s suggestion that reasonable use outside the basin found to be valid by two tribunals against the current demand following formation of Telangana was misconceived.

To a query on allocation of 39.9 tmc ft to KC Canal, Mr. Jha said the project was taken up to irrigate 35,000 hectares with 10 tmc ft water and the conclusion drawn by KWDT-I to increased the allocation to irrigate 1,11,200 hectares was statement with the relevance of time but it could not remain the same for all time to come. Further, he stated that 20.4 tmc ft under Tungabhadra Right High Level Canal and 99.67 tmc ft under Nagarjunsagar were allocation out of the basin.

On the suggestion that utilisation outside the basin was contributing to the economy of the State (AP) and it would always get consideration as protected and reasonable use, he said there were critical studies available on the emerging challenges of Telangana and they need to be addressed.


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