Sharing during scarcity

  • IASbaba
  • July 21, 2021
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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  • GS-2: Issues relating to development and management of Water
  • GS-2: Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure 

Sharing during scarcity

Context: The Union Ministry of Jal Shakti’s gazette notification on the jurisdiction of the Krishna and Godavari River Management Boards over projects and assets in the fields of irrigation and hydropower.

Key Takeaways

  • The two river boards can now administer, regulate, operate and maintain 36 projects in the Krishna Basin and 71 in the Godavari to ensure judicious water use in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. 
  • The arrangement is expected to leave the working of Water Resources or Irrigation Department in the States intact.

Critical Analysis

  1. Welcome Development
  • There was a seven-year delay to get the notification from Union government which reflects the tense equations between the two States over river water sharing. 
  • A gazette notification is a step in long term solution to the problem
  1. Avoids Competitive Water Projects:
  • The States have been locked in a battle of sorts over the utilisation of Krishna water, with AP proposing a few projects, including a lift irrigation scheme for Rayalaseema, and Telangana coming up with half-a-dozen projects of its own. 
  • Empowering Krishna & Godavari River Board will ensure that such activities take place with approval of Board.
  1. Telangana’s Objection Addressed:
  • Telangana had held the view that the notification should flow from finalisation by Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal (KWDT)-II through expanding the scope of reference. 
  • Telangana had even moved the Supreme Court but the Centre said it would consider Telangana’s request only if it withdrew its petition which it did. 
  • In the process, Telangana wanted its complaint to be referred to the current Tribunal to avoid duplication of inquiry.

Way Ahead

  • Fair Functioning of Boards: The Centre must now see to it that the empowered Boards function in a fair manner, as the Union government’s decision will be final with regard to matters concerning jurisdiction of the two bodies
  • Water Conservation: At the same time, the two States should instead focus on water and energy conservation and improving the efficiency of irrigation schemes and hydel reservoirs. 
  • River Basin Organisations: After studying the experiences of the revamped Boards, the Centre should look at turning the much talked-about concept of river basin organisations into a reality.

Connecting the dots:

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