Karnataka, Maharashtra setting up panel to manage monsoon floods
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Karnataka, Maharashtra setting up panel to manage monsoon floods

Editor Water Today

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Karnataka and Maharashtra would set up a joint committee to manage floods in the Krishna river basin during the monsoon when heavy rains lash both states, an official said on Thursday.

"The joint committee will monitor and control floods if heavy rain water overflows in the Krishna river basin across the twin states to protect lives and property," the official told IANS after state water resources minister Ramesh Jarkiholi met his Maharashtra counterpart Jayant Patil in Mumbai on Wednesday.

The committee will have the state-run Neeravari Nigam chief engineer and its superintendent as members from Karnataka and their counterparts from Maharashtra.

Heavy and widespread monsoon rains in August 2019 resulted in Krishna and Bheema rivers overflowing from Maharashtra and flooding Bagalkot, Vijapura and Belagavi districts, resulting in death and damage in the state's northwest region.

"The committee will also ensure coordination between the two states to avoid flooding if the rivers and their tributaries turn spate due to heavy rains in their catchment areas," said the official.

The two ministers also discussed the sharing of the Krishna water during summer and notifications of the Krishna Tribunal award for both the states.

"The states will urge the central government to notify the Krishna Tribunal Award at the earliest for using the upstream river water allocated to them along with Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in the downstream," added the official.

Both the states will lead a joint delegation to the Centre after the Covid-19 crisis for gazette notification of the tribunal award.

Bagalakot, Belagavi, Kalaburagi, Raichur, Vijayapura and Yadigiri districts in the state's Deccan plateau face acute shortage of drinking water as they are in the country's second most arid region after Rajasthan.

As one of the largest dams in Maharashtra's south-west region, Koyana reservoir is located across its river at Mahabaleshwar in Satara district, while Ujjani dam is across Bhima, a tributary of Krishna river in Solapur district.

Though the 3-member tribunal, set up in April 1969 under the chairmanship of R.S. Bachawat to adjudicate the Krishna river water utilization among its basin states, gave its final verdict in May 1976, it was challenged by then undivided Andhra Pradesh for more allocation of the water.

As the second biggest river in peninsular India, the 1,300 km Krishna river originates near Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra and enters Karnataka after covering 303 km and travels 480 km in the southern state to cross into Telangana and Andhra Pradesh before joining the Bay of Bengal in the east.

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