The Telangana- Andhra Pradesh water dispute
Polity & Governance
26th May, 2023
- Even nine years after the bifurcation of the combined State, the lingering disagreement over the Krishna River’s water distribution between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana remains unsolved.
Origin of the Krishna water dispute:
- The dispute dates back to the formation of Andhra Pradesh in November, 1956.
- Four senior leaders from different regions of Andhra, including the Rayalaseema Region and the Telangana region, signed a Gentlemen’s Agreement on February 20, 1956.
- However, the focus of the combined dispensation with respect to irrigation facilities was on Andhra, which already had systems developed by the British at the cost of in-basin drought-prone areas in Telangana.
- KWDT-I: In 1969, the Bachawat Tribunal (KWDT-I) was constituted to settle the dispute around water share among the riparian States of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
- The Tribunal allocated 811 tmcft dependable water to Andhra Pradesh and the Andhra Pradesh government later apportioned it in the 512:299 tmcft ratio between Andhra and Telangana.
- However, this was not followed through, leading to discontent among the people.
- Telangana had repeatedly reiterated how it had been meted out with injustice in Andhra Pradesh when it came to the matter of distributing water resources.
Water sharing after the bifurcation:
- The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 had no mention of water shares.
- At a meeting convened by the then Ministry of Water Resources in 2015, the two States agreed to share water in the 34:66 (Telangana:A.P.) ratio.
- However, the KRMB continued the same ratio year after year in spite of Telangana's opposition.
- In October 2020, Telangana raised its voice for an equal share and refused to continue the existing arrangement. The river Board has referred the matter to the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS).
- Telangana has been asking the Centre to finalise water shares, citing treaties and agreements.
- It is entitled for at least a 70% share in the allocation of 811 tmcft, while Andhra Pradesh has been diverting 300 tmcft water to areas outside the basin.
- Andhra Pradesh is also claiming a higher share of water to protect command areas.
Stand of the Centre
- The Centre has convened two meetings of the Apex Council of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in 2016 and 2020 without making any attempt to resolve the issue.
Telangana has withdrawn i