Mumbai: For once, relations between Maharashtra and Karnataka are not in deep water. In a major breakthrough, the two neighbouring states on Saturday decided on better coordination and communication regarding flood management and water supply in their drought-hit regions.
A three-tier interstate flood coordination committee at the ministry level, secretary level and field level would soon be in place with standard operating procedure and preparedness to share real-time data and ensure early warning on release from dams. The secretaries of both states will ensure 24/7 smooth operation of the committee.
Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil, who met Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa, told the Free Press Journal, “Maharashtra already has a real-time data monitoring system; we will extend it up to Narayanpur dam.” He said if the two states dynamically manage the flow of water in Almatti dam, flood situations can be overcome effectively.
The Karnataka government has also been requested to optimise the levels in Almatti dam, synchronising it with the inflow to ensure there’s no danger of flooding in Maharashtra.
Patil called the discussions “fruitful”. He said, “Last year, we managed to avert and mitigate the impact of floods due to coordinated efforts and monitoring between the two states.” He remarked that fresh coordination will give much better results.
Yediyurappa said various issues regarding flood management in Krishna and Bhima river basins have also been discussed. Patil said heavy rainfall in the two sub-basins creates a real problem. The states have therefore decided on a twopronged strategy for the Bhima sub-basin. “First, monitoring rainfall in the dam catchment of Ujani and judiciously deciding on incremental releases to give sufficient warning to Karnataka. Secondly, monitoring rainfall in free catchment areas and endeavour to share information as quickly as possible,” he added.
Maharashtra and Karnataka also agreed to complete the Dudhganga dam project at the earliest, with the former agreeing to also fund it. “Maharashtra will also supply enough funds for the completion of Dudhganga dam,” Patil confirmed.
Yediyurappa said it was resolved that a technical team will work towards getting four TMC (thousand million cubic feet) from Maharashtra, and, in return, release water to droughthit areas of the western state.
Pointing to acute water shortage during April and May in the Krishna basin, Karnataka home minister Basavaraj Bommai said Maharashtra has been charging money for the release of water to the state since 2013. However, it has been agreed upon that Karnataka will not pay but will supply water to drought-hit Jath taluka during the rainy season.
For the past three years, the state has been witnessing floods in Krishna and Bhima rivers following heavy downpour in catchment areas in Maharashtra.