The Supreme Court granted an interim relief of the Karnataka government, allowing it to implement the final order of the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal (MWDT), which has been challenged by Goa and Maharashtra. The development could help the calamity-prone state and its parched northern districts. The bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, however, said the final order of the apex court will be issued after hearing the petitions filed by all the three states, which have raised objections to the tribunal’s order. In its order on 14 August 2018, the MWDT had allocated 13.42 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of water from the Mahadayi, or Mandovi, river to Karnataka. The tribunal was set up to settle the nearly four-decade-old dispute between the three states. Ramesh Jarkiholi, Karnataka’s water resources minister, in a statement, said the court’s order had given much-needed relief to the northern districts.
Of the 13.42 tmcft water for Karnataka, 5.5 tmcft is meant for use within the river basin and for diversion to the Malaprabha reservoir, and around 8 tmcft for power generation. Goa, which had opposed Karnataka’s demand for over 36tmcft of water, was allocated 24 tmcft, while Maharashtra was given 1.3 tmcft. Karnataka has sought 7.56 tmcft so that it could supply water to 13 towns across Dharwad, Belagavi, Bagalkot and Gadag districts in north Karnataka, which is one of the aridest regions in the country after Rajasthan.