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Mahadayi River Dispute


Karnataka’s decision to go ahead with a water diversion project on river Mahadayi has escalated its long-standing dispute on the issue with neighbouring Goa.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Details
  2. About Mahadayi(Mandovi) river
  3. What is the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project?
  4. Why is the Dispute?
  5. What did the Tribunal say?


  • Karnataka had received clearance from the Centre for two Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) on the Kalasa-Banduri Nala on the Mahadayi.
  • The state government has decided to go ahead with the project, after securing a go-ahead from the Central Water Commission (CWC).
  • But, a clearance from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) is still awaited.
  • Goa immediately announced that it would take an all-party delegation to Prime Minister and meet other Union ministers to block the project.

About Mahadayi(Mandovi) river

  • It is the Lifeline of the Indian state of Goa
  • The Mandovi and the Zuari are the two primary rivers in the state of Goa.
  • Mandovi joins with the Zuari at a common creek at Cabo Aguada, forming the Mormugao harbour
  • It rises in the Western Ghats, from the Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary in Belagavi district of Karnataka.
  • Flowing westward, it enters Goa. Over two-thirds of the river’s stretch lies in Goa (76km).
  • River Mahadayi joins the Arabian Sea at Panaji, Goa.

What is the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project?

  • The Kalasa Banduri Nala project aims to divert water from Mahadayi to satisfy the drinking water needs of Belagavi, Dharwad, Bagalkot and Gadag districts.
  • Though the project was first proposed in the early 1980s, it has remained on paper owing to a dispute between Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra.
  • As per plans, barrages are to be built against Kalasa and Banduri streams — tributaries of Mahadayi — and water diverted towards Karnataka’s parched districts.

Why is the Dispute?

  • In 2002, two-and-a-half decades since the proposal, the Karnataka government decided to implement the project, after the Centre cleared it.
  • Goa, under its then CM , approached the Centre, urging it to assess the available resources in the river and allocate water to the three basin states — Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
  • Due to the protests in Goa and also due to concerns over ecological damage, the project was put on hold by the then NDA government.
  • The dispute gained steam in 2006, when the JD(S)-BJP coalition government in Karnataka decided to start work on the project.
  • Goa then approached the Supreme Court, seeking the creation of a Tribunal to settle the water sharing dispute.
  •  A Tribunal was finally set up by the UPA government in November 2010.

What did the Tribunal say?

  • The Tribunal in 2018 awarded 13.42 TMC water from Mahadayi river basin to Karnataka, 1.33 TMC to Maharashtra and 24 TMC to Goa.
  •  In Karnataka’s share, 5.5 TMC was to meet drinking water needs and 8.02 TMC was for hydro-electricity generation.
  • Of the 5.5 TMC, 3.8 TMC was to be diverted to Malaprabha basin through Kalasa and Banduri Nalas (canals).
  • This was notified by the Central government in February 2020.

What happened after the notification?

  • After the Tribunal award, Goa filed a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court in July 2019, challenging the quantum of allocation.
  • Subsequently, in October 2020, it filed a contempt petition before the SC, accusing Karnataka of illegally diverting water from the Mahadayi basin.
  • Civil appeals were also filed by Maharashtra over the dispute.
  • The project has been a long-standing demand of Karnataka residents set to benefit from it.

-Source:  Indian Express

July 2024