Cauvery River Water Dispute: Advocating a modern approach to Basin Water Allocation

Must Read

An Insight into Custodial Death in India

“The occurrence of Custodial deaths in the world’s greatest democracy has raised the eyebrows of every citizen and shaken...

Implications in Travel Insurance in Light of the COVID-19 Crisis

As the world, today is crippled by this once in a century pandemic and as of date more than...

Second-Round Effects of Rent Control Laws: The Argentine Case

Introduction In colonial India, a city had an issue with its cobra population, which was a problem clearly in need...

Why Are the Big Techs of Silicon Valley Accused of Anti-Competitive Behaviours?

The big tech giants of the Silicon Valley are facing major challenges with relation to their monopolistic powers after...

KSK announces Sanjay Kumar as a Partner for Pharma & Life Sciences Practice

New Partner for KSK's Pharma & Life Sciences Practice King Stubb & Kasiva recently announced that Mr Sanjay Kumar has...

The Debate Between IPR and Competition Law Explained

There are various market processes or structures that govern market scenario. For simplicity, this paper focuses on two mechanisms:...

Follow us

“Water is a fugitive resource that cannot be easily contained by political boundaries or property rights.” Water being such an inseparable part of human existence has led to international and intra-national conflicts over the years and has beleaguered the areas of Middle East, Eastern Europe and South East Asia. Individuals, societies and nations; in their bid to maximize profit out of this increasingly scarce resource have ran into conflicts over rivers that flow across boundaries. One such major source of conflict is the River Cauvery, a peninsular rain-fed river that largely flows through the States of Karnataka (formerly the Princely State of Mysore) and Tamil Nadu (formerly the Province of Madras) and discharges into the Bay of Bengal.

Some of the main causes of a river water dispute are contested property rights, changes in established rights or use patterns, the degree of asymmetry, and the scope for collective action. (Water and Identity: An Analysis of the Cauvery River Water Dispute, P.B. Anand, Bradford Centre for International Development) The interplay of power politics, upstream and downstream demographics, the seasonal nature of the river; in other words the dependency of the river on monsoon, the question of issue-linkage between regions pertaining to other transactions, et al. call for a more broadened approach to the issue of water allocation mechanism in areas that are fraught with river dispute. In any major river water dispute, the bone of contention is about rights over resources. In most cases, the riparian rights are customary rights based on prior use rather than statutory rights and these are based on agreements made several decades ago, for historical, social and political rather than economic reasons.  In the Cauvery dispute, this goes back to an agreement between the then states of Mysore and Madras in 1892. (Ibid.) But as the political situation and dynamics change, it becomes the need of the hour to change the approach towards dispute-settlement mechanism. In the light of the interim and the final award by the Inter-States Water Disputes Tribunal and the subsequent order of the Supreme Court, it can be argued that a more modern approach to basin water allocation rather than a mere set of guidelines to release a fixed amount of water from the upstream to the downstream. The solution should involve a thorough reading into the social, political, economical and historical dynamics of the competing parties.

In ‘Basin Water Allocation Planning: Principles, Procedures and Approaches for Basin Water Allocation Planning’, authors have put forth the ‘Ten golden rules of basin water allocation,’ which says, “The appropriate approach to basin allocation planning will be determined by the local context, history, natural conditions, economy and institutions: there is no single correct approach.” However, there are certain principles that need to be borne in mind to ensure more dynamic results:

  • In basins where water is becoming stressed, it is important to link allocation planning to broader social, environmental and economic development planning
  • Successful basin allocation processes depend on the existence of adequate institutional capacity
  • The degree of complexity in an allocation plan should reflect the complexity and challenges in the basin
  • Considerable care is required in defining the amount of water available for allocation
  • Environmental water needs provide a foundation on which basin allocation planning should be built
  • The water needs of certain priority purposes should be met before water is allocated among other users
  • In stressed basins, water efficiency assessments and objectives should be developed in or alongside the allocation plan
  • Allocation plans need to have a clear and equitable approach for addressing variability between years
  • Allocation plans need to incorporate flexibility in recognition of uncertainty over the medium to long term
  • A clear process is required for converting regional water shares into local and individual water entitlements, and for clearly defining annual allocations

The underlying principle that emphasizes the importance of equitable distribution wherein the changing trends, needs and priorities are appreciated and taken into consideration and rights and liabilities are determined on the basis of expediency deserves national attention in the wake of the Cauvery row. India will, in the long run, need to consider such an approach to dispute-settlement to put the internal tensions at rest.

Latest News

Delhi HC: Mens Rea Essential Before Passing an Order U/S 14b of EPF Act

  In the matter of M/s Durable Doors and Windows v APFC, Gurugram, the bench allowed the Petitioner's appeal holding that mens rea is an...

Delhi HC: Language of Statement and Testimony of Complainant Need Not Be Identical

A single-judge bench of J. Vibhu Bakhru of the Delhi High Court upheld the accused's conviction in Kailash @ Balli v State. The bench...

COVID Results Shall Be Conveyed To the Person Within 24 Hours: Delhi High Court

The order has come in a writ petition moved by Rakesh Malhotra. The Petitioner herein seeks to ramp up testing facilities in Delhi.   Facts of...

Delhi High Court Sets Aside the Order of the Trial Court in the Chief Secretary Assault Case

In the case of Mr. Arvind Kejriwal & Anr. V. State NCT of Delhi, Mr.Justice Suresh Kumar Kait has set aside the 24.07.2019 Order...

Delhi High Court Temporarily Restrains Vintage Moments’ Alcohol Sale in Case of Trademark Infringement

The manufacturers of the Alcohol Brand Magic Moments had filed a suit. The Delhi High Court has passed an order restraining the manufacturing, marketing,...

NGT Red-Flags Kaleshwaram Project: Green Clearance Violated the Law, Halt Work

Excerpt The National Green Tribunal (NGT), Principal Bench, dated 20th October 2020, directed the Telangana government to stop all work, except the drinking water component...

There Can Be No Leniency Shown To Appellant Who Pleaded To Reduce Sentence: Delhi High Court

Facts On 25.2.2016 the victim’s sister who was 13 years old was present with her sister who was 2 years old (victim) at their home....

Violation of Executive Instructions Cannot Be Sole Ground to Invalidate Transfer Orders: Tripura High Court

In Dr Bithika Choudhury vs the State of Tripura & Ors., a Division Bench consisting of Hon’ble Justice S. Talapatra and Hon’ble Justice S.G. Chattopadhyay...

Case Regarding Anticipatory Bail, Applicant May Be Released Imposing Suitable Conditions: Gujarat High Court

A Single-Judge Bench of Gujarat High Court consisting of Honourable Dr Justice A.P. Thakur had been hearing submissions of the Applicant to release him...

Proof of Infliction of Fatal Injury Not Mandatory for Conviction Under Section 307, IPC: Tripura High Court

In the case of Mamin Miah vs the State of Tripura, a Division Bench consisting of Hon’ble Justice S. Talapatra and Hon’ble Justice S....

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -