Water is an essential resource for life, and disputes over its control can be extremely heated. In India, water has become a major source of conflict between states, as each one tries to secure its own water supplies.
Major Interstate water dispute in India
The Cauvery water dispute is one of the most long-standing and intractable water disputes in India. The dispute is between the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, over the sharing of the Cauvery river water. The Cauvery river originates in Karnataka and flows through Tamil Nadu before emptying into the Bay of Bengal. The river is the lifeline for both states, but especially for Tamil Nadu, which is predominantly an agricultural state.
Here are some major interstate waster disputed rivers and the states in India:
|Disputed River (s)||States|
|Ravi and Beas||Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan|
|Narmada||Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan|
|Krishna||Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana|
|Vamsadhara||Andhra Pradesh & Odisha|
|Cauvery||Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry|
|Godavari||Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha|
|Mahadayi||Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka|
|Periyar||Tamil Nadu, Kerala|
The mechanism for Inter-State River Water Disputes Resolution
Inter-State River Water Disputes in India are resolved through a variety of mechanisms. The most common mechanism is arbitration, which is provided for under the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956.
Other mechanisms for resolving Inter-State River Water Disputes include mediation, conciliation, and negotiation. In recent years, the Government of India has been keen on using mediation to resolve such disputes.
- The main advantage of mediation is that it is a voluntary process and parties are free to choose whether to participate in it or not. Mediation is also relatively faster and cheaper than arbitration or litigation.
- The main disadvantage of mediation is that it does not have the same legal force as a court judgment or arbitration award.
The Government of India has set up a National Water Resources Council to resolve Inter-State River Water Disputes. The Council is chaired by the Prime Minister and includes all Chief Ministers of the States concerned. The Council is empowered to recommend measures for the prevention and settlement of Inter-State River Water Disputes. It can also set up a tribunal to adjudicate a particular dispute.
How to resolve the Inter-State River Water Disputes?
The inter-state river water disputes in India have been a matter of concern for a long time now. With the fast depleting water resources and the ever-increasing demand, the disputes have only intensified in recent years.
Here are the top 5 ways to resolve inter-state river water disputes:
1. Improve water resource management – This is the need of the hour and should be the top priority. Better water resource management will help in efficient utilization of the available water resources and will also help in resolving disputes to a large extent.
2. Formed an Inter-State River Water Disputes Tribunal – This will help in adjudicating the disputes between the states and will provide a forum for discussion and resolution.
3. Constitute a water regulator – A water regulator will help in evolving a water-sharing arrangement between the states and will also oversee the implementation of the same.
4. Set up a water disputes settlement commission – This will help in mediating and settling the disputes between the states.
5. Amending the inter-state river water dispute settlement act – This will help in providing a legal framework for the resolution of the disputes.