GOI Gazette notification of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal Award on Feb 19, 2013: Clear Partisan attitude: Proof lack of any interest in water, people or environment?

GOI Gazette notification of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal Award on Feb 19, 2013:

Clear Partisan attitude: Proof lack of any interest in water, people or environment?

The belated gazette notification of the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, over six years after the Tribunal declared its award clearly signifies that the Union Government in general and its water resources ministry has no sensitivity or possibly sense for water, people or environment. The fact that it has been notified only under the deadline given by the Supreme Court of India more than once, as admitted by the Ministry in its Press Release, substantiates this point.

However, it also speaks a lot that the Supreme Court which has been sitting on the petitions from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu challenging the final award for all this years, and has been entertaining the petition on this issue all these years, has not found it fit to either dispose or dismiss those petitions, nor asked for this notification earlier. The direction for notification that the SC now gave could and should have been given earlier.

Also in this entire din, neither the concerned states nor the centre has given necessary encouragement and space to the Cauvery Family experiment that tried to bring the farmers from across the states together to understand, appreciate and resolve the issues through dialogue. This is particularly pertinent since people, the users of the water, river and the connected ecology were not a party before the tribunal. The people have not been heard by the tribunal, only the states have been, assuming that states represent the interests of the people, which is far from correct assumption. Nor do the people have any place in the regulatory system put forward by the Tribunal.

Some of the noteworthy features of Final CWDT award are:

– Meagre allocation of 10 TMC for environment flows in this major river system, which comes to just 1.35% of the assessed annual flow of 740 TMC (Thousand Million Cubic Feet or Billion Cubic feet) at 50% dependability (much lower than the usual 75% dependability assessment for other rivers).

– No calculation of groundwater use in inter state water allocation when ground water is increasingly the mainstay of our water use.

– No clear priority for drinking water and livelihood supporting irrigation water.

– No stipulation that environment flow should not be reduced in any lean season.

– Water storages below 3 TMC is not brought into calculation, so the whole assessment is biased in favour of BIG projects.

– No clear encouragement for System of Rice Intensification and water efficient cropping pattern across the basin.

For further comments see: https://sandrp.in/rivers/Article_Cauvery_Tribunal_Verdict_0207.pdf

Significantly, the SC order of Feb 4, 2013 is clear that this notification is without prejudice to the ongoing proceedings in the apex court. So there is no sense of finality as yet. The gazette notification in any case comes into force in 90 days, so sometime in May 2013, by which time Karnataka would have had its state assembly elections. So there is a lot of electoral and power politics that this issue will see.


1. PIB PR: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=0

Ministry of Water Resources notifies the Final Award of CWDT

On January 4, 2013, Hon’ble Supreme Court noted that party States did not have any objection to the final decision of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) being notified. Accordingly, Hon’ble Supreme Court in its decision dated February 4, 2013 directed the Central Government to publish in official Gazette the final decision given by the CWDT dated February 5, 2007 by February 20, 2013.  Accordingly, Ministry of Water Resources has notified the Final Award of CWDT dated February 5, 2007 on 19th February, 2013.  Details of the notification may be seen at http://www.wrmin.nic.in.

2. MWR Notification on CWDT: http://www.wrmin.nic.in/writereaddata/linkimages/CWDT_Gazette7023249620.pdf

3. Feb 2007 Article by Himanshu Thakkar on Cauvery Award was titled Cauvery Tribunal Award 2007: Why it fails the tests of science, efficiency and equity?: https://sandrp.in/rivers/Article_Cauvery_Tribunal_Verdict_0207.pdf (this article was published then at: http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/feb/06guest.htm)

4. Full CWDT award is available at: http://mowr.gov.in/index3.asp?subsublinkid=376&langid=1&sslid=393


Hague Court gives ONE ALL verdict in Kishenganga dispute between India and Pakistan

The Permanent Court of Arbitration at Hague has given its partial (final and binding on the issues on which it has decided) award on the India Pakistan dispute on the 330 MW Kishenganga hydropower project in Kashmir. Out of two references filed by Pakistan against the project in India, the PCA ruling is in favour of India for one (whether India can divert the waters of Kishenganga for hydropower project) and in favour of Pakistan for the other (whether India can reduce the level in the reservoir below minimum draw down level for sediment flushing). The PCA is yet to decide about the environment flows that India must release downstream from the diversion site. It would be interesting to see how PCA decides this and also about the manner of release of the flows, ideally the releases should be through a properly designed and well researched fish ladder. We will have to wait for this till the end of the year 2013. See details below.

Court of Arbitration Issues Partial Award
in First Arbitration under the Indus Waters Treaty 1960

THE HAGUE, February 19, 2013.

The Court of Arbitration constituted in the matter of the Indus Waters Kishenganga Arbitration (Pakistan v. India) has rendered a Partial Award in respect of the dispute between Pakistan and India under the Indus Waters Treaty concerning (1) the legality of the construction and operation of an Indian hydro-electric project located in India-administered Jammu and Kashmir; and (2) the permissibility under the Treaty of the depletion of the reservoirs of certain Indian hydro-electric plants below “Dead Storage Level.”1

In its Partial Award, which is final with respect to the matters decided therein, without appeal and binding on the Parties, the Court of Arbitration unanimously decided:
1. that the Kishenganga Hydro-Electric Project (KHEP) constitutes a Run-of-River Plant under the Treaty, and India may accordingly divert water from the Kishenganga/Neelum River for power generation by the KHEP in the manner envisaged.

However, when operating the KHEP, India is under an obligation to maintain a minimum flow of water in the Kishenganga/Neelum River, at a rate to be determined by the Court in a Final Award.

2. Except in the case of an unforeseen emergency, the Treaty does not permit India’s reduction below “Dead Storage Level” of the water level in the reservoirs of Run-of-River Plants located on the rivers allocated to Pakistan under the Treaty. This ruling does not
apply to Plants already in operation or under construction (whose designs have been communicated by India and not objected to by Pakistan) The Court expects to be able to render its Final Award determining the minimum flow of water India would be required to release in the Kishenganga/Neelum River by the end of 2013.

For full Partial Award of PCA dated Feb 18, 2013 and Press Release of PCA on this dated Feb 19, 2013, See: http://www.pca-cpa.org/shownews.asp?nws_id=351&pag_id=1261&ac=view


Jan 2013 issue of “Dams, Rivers & People”

Highlights of  the Jan 2013 issue
Jan-Feb Issue of Dams, Rivers and People
As “Dams, Rivers & People” completes ten years, we are happy to bring it to you in brand new format. Please do let us know how you like it.

Analysis of MOEF’s EAC on RVP: The Expert ApprovalCommittee

The Ministry of Environment & forest (MoEF) has constituted different Expert Appraisal Committees (EAC) for the appraisal of various developmental projects including River Valley & Hydroelectric projects. The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests’ (MoEF) Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) on River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects (RVP) has not rejected a single one of the 262 hydropower and irrigation projects considered by it. This is one of the clues that EAC has strong pro project and anti people bias

Nyamjang Chu

MoEF’s EAC on River Valley Projects:Project wise details (April 2007 to Dec 2012)

This document presents decisions of meetings of the EAC during the period from Apr 2007 to Dec 2012. The document is organized region wise, then statewise, and finally as per project. This list provides evidence for the information provided in the lead article about the functioning of the EAC.

Man holding a Mahseer

Freshwater Biodiversity Conservation finds place in Indian Biodiversity Congress!

Indian Biodiversity Congress lays stress on Freshwater Biodiversity conservation. Looking at the huge and at time irreversible impact of dams and hydropower projects on aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity, Indian Biodiversity Congress has made some specific recommendations to the MoEF

People protesting against Luhri HEP

Reject Environment Clearance for the proposed 775 MW Luhri hydropower project

This letter to the MOEF draws attention to the many inconsistencies in the EAC’s approval of this project on the Sutlej River. It points out that the EIA is ‘inadequate, full of contradictions and misrepresentations’ and recommends blacklisting of the agency involved

Photo of plants in a wetland

Include rivers in India’s definition of Wetlands, follow the Ramsar Convention

The Ramsar Definition of wetlands includes permanent, seasonal, and intermittent Rivers.Despite this, Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules 2010 EXCLUDE Rivers from the definition of Wetlands, thus ensuring that no riverine stretches will be nominated for protection.

South Asia Network on Dams Rivers and People

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