BENGALURU’S GLOBAL STATUS EARNS KARNATAKA 4.75 TMCFT CAUVERY WATER
The SC bench presiding over the dispute said that they did not agree with the findings of the 2007 CWDT which recommended the reduction of share of water to Karnataka.
New Delhi. Bengaluru’s global status as a flourishing seat for intellectual excellence” and a “nerve centre of contemporaneous significance”, whose demand for civic amenities is growing daily, has earned Karnataka 4.75 tmcft of Cauvery water to meet its requirements, the Supreme Court said today.
The top court did not agree with the findings in 2007 award of Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT) and said it had drastically reduced the share of Karnataka towards domestic and industrial purpose on the ground that only one-third of the city of Bengaluru fell within the river basin and also on the presumption that 50 percent of the drinking water requirement would be met from groundwater supply.
“The said view taken by the tribunal ignores the basic principle pertaining to drinking water and is, thus, unsustainable. Keeping in mind the global status that the city has attained, an addition of 4.75 tmc is awarded to Karnataka,” a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said.
With the today’s verdict, the apex court raised Karnataka’s current share of 270 tmcft Cauvery water by another 14.75 tmcft, including 4.75 tmcft water for drinking and domestic requirement of Bengaluru residents and 10 tmcft on account of availability of groundwater in Tamil Nadu.
The bench said that territorial or geographical demarcation for extension of beneficial uses of an inter-state river basin cannot always be strictly construed.
“We are inclined to think so as the perception of a basin state inheres in it a degree of flexibility in approach in a unique fact situation to justify a warrantable flexibility and departure from such rigoristic approach.
“We are disposed to think (that) for the city of Bengaluru, as an evident phenomenon, has burgeoned over the years and has grown today into a progressively sophisticated, sprawling, vibrant and a much-aspired seat of intellectual excellence particularly in information technology and commercial flourish.
“It has transformed into a nerve centre of contemporaneous significance and its population is daily on the rise, thus, registering an ever enhancing demand for all civic amenities,” the bench, also comprising Justice Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar, said.
The bench said it will be inconceivable to have an artificial boundary and deny the population the primary need of drinking water. “We hold so in the special features of the case, keeping in view the global status the city has attained and further appreciating the doctrine of equitable proportionality on the bedrock of pressing human needs,” it said.
The bench said it cannot approve the tribunal’s approach and opined that the allocation of water for drinking and domestic purposes for the entire city of Bengaluru has to be accounted for.
It rejected the tribunal’s assumption that 50 per cent of the drinking water requirement would be met from groundwater, the bench said 33 tmc would be a safe and acceptable figure qua drinking and domestic water requirement of the State of Karnataka for its urban and rural population.
The tribunal had quantified the total drinking water requirement for the urban and rural population to be 17.22 TMC.
Karnataka government had contended that while quantifying the allocation of water for domestic purposes, the tribunal had accounted for only one-third of the city of Bengaluru to be falling within the river basin and drastically cut down its overall share under this head.