Maharashtra seeks details from Karnataka on plan to raise height of Almatti dam
After the announcement of raising the height of Almatti dam on Krishna river by the Karnataka government, the Maharashtra government has communicated with Karnataka for more details. The state government has apprehension that the rise in the water level in the dam could cause damage to the few villages in Sangli and Kolhapur that get affected by the backwater.
Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai recently said that he was committed to raising the height of the dam by 5 ft and the notification will soon be issued. He said that he will soon visit Delhi for necessary legal formalities and he has held talks with leaders in the stakeholder states. This triggered the reaction in other stakeholder states including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
The swelling in the water stock in Almatti may cause a rise in the backwater in Krishna, Panchganga river in Sangli and Kolhapur causing losses to lives and properties.
“We have got in touch with the additional chief secretary, water resources department of Karnataka, seeking details of the plan. No concrete decision has been taken by them and it’s just an announcement. Before any intervention related to inter-state rivers by any of the stakeholders the permission from the technical approval committee, Central Water Commission is mandatory,” said Vijay Kumar Gautam, officer on special duty, water resources department, Maharashtra.
“The Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal award in 2013 has decided on the share of water between four states, now our worry is over the rise in water level in Krishna and potential threat to areas in a few districts here,” he added.
“There is no need to react in a haste. After all, it is important to see, how much water is discharged from Almatti. We got very good cooperation this year during monsoon. We will decide our stand after due discussion with Karnataka,” said water resources minister Jayant Patil.
According to the officers in the WRD, there is no concrete conclusion if the rise in height will cause damage in Maharashtra. “The Karnataka government has been very cooperative with us during flooding in Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur in 2019 and this year. The water was discharged from Almatti despite the level being below the parameter fixed under Reservoir Operation System. It helped us in reducing the water level in Krishan and Panchganga. Secondly, it has not been concluded scientifically if the raising of the height of Almatti could cause damages in Sangli, Kolhapur. As a stakeholder, we will anyway have the right to move court being a stakeholder, if the damage is expected to cause,” said another official on condition of anonymity.
Built in 2005, the Almatti dam has a current height of 519 ft, which is proposed to be increased to 524 ft. This would help Karnataka increase its capacity to 160 TM from the current 135 TMC of water, resulting in bringing 6.22 lakh hectares under irrigation.