Dams

Rivers Profile of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana States 

This is about two states, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (the latter being 29th Indian state formed in 2013 after a protracted struggle). Since the discussion is on the state of rivers, it may be noted that these are two states whose historical trajectory is intrinsically linked to the history of, mainly, two major rivers—Krishna and Godavari, although the two states have many other rivers.

In fact, Telangana, was created after many years of struggle and out of one basic river-water discourse: over the utilisation of Godavari river and unequal development of the Godavari delta region vis-à-vis Telangana on account of the numerous irrigation projects and hydro-power projects commissioned and implemented in the coastal Andhra region.

In the wake of the recent contention between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and the resolution over utilisation of the other river, Krishna, the state of rivers in Andhra Pradesh cannot be seen without addressing the same in Telangana, which have a historical trajectory that necessitates an understanding of the two states together while discussing rivers.

To some extent, this report looks at the politics over rivers and the contemporary development paradigm, involving construction of hydro-electric projects and several subsidiary projects using rivers, as one of the major threats to the life of rivers. These projects also add to pollution, displacement, protracted battles, sometimes involving violence, such as the one we are witnessing over Cauvery river between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, where even Tribunals seem to have failed.

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Karnataka Rivers Profile

Karnataka is one of the four southern states of Peninsular India (Figure 1a), came into existence with the passage of the States Reorganisation Act (1956, Nov 1) and is located 11°30′ North and 18°30′ North latitudes and 74° East and 78°30′ East longitude (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Karnataka). The state covers an area of 191,976 km² (5.83% of India‘s geographical area). Karnataka is the eighth largest Indian  state by area, the ninth largest by population and comprises 30 districts (figure 1b) divided in to 4 administrative divisions, 270 towns and 29406 villages (http://ssakarnataka.gov.in/). The state is situated on a table land where the Western and Eastern Ghats ranges converge into the complex, in the western part of the Deccan Peninsular region of India. Karnataka is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Goa to the northwest, Maharashtra to the north, Andhra Pradesh to the east, Tamilnadu to the southeast, and Kerala to the southwest.

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Maharashtra Rivers Profile

Above: Major River Basins of Maharashtra Source: MWRRA

Major Issues faced by Rivers of Maharashtra include complete lack of governance geared towards protecting rivers as ecological systems, unjustifiable dam projects blocking most of the rivers of the state without even comparable benefits, increasing water conflicts, depleting groundwater levels which affect base flow of the rivers, catchment degradation, climate change induced changes in river hydrology, repeated droughts and increasing levels of pollution.

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Dams · Godavari

Godavari Basin in Maharashtra: A Profile

The river Godavari is the largest of the peninsular rivers of India. Maharashtra is home for its early flows and Godavari for Maharashtra is no less than Ganga. Referred to as Dakshin Ganga the river holds immense spiritual and cultural significance. Several places at its origin are said to be abode of Rama during the exile. These places are worshipped even today.

One of the unique aspects of this river is that it drains nearly entire East to West length of Maharashtra. And while running ceaselessly towards the Bay of Bengal the river encompasses nearly all the geographically diverse regions of the state. Originating in Western Ghats this river later traverses through the arid and dry region of Marathwada and then emerges in high rainfall region of Vidarbha. While the Upper Godavari sub basin is a part of prosperous sugar cane growing belt of Western Maharashtra; its tributaries like Manjara and Wardha-Wainganga flow through the region where there is still significant potential of local water systems.

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