Inter State Water Disputes


From the time of independence some states are having disputes for the water rivers . These issues or disputes between states arises because of low water levels and more usage because of more population .These disputes happen because India is a very populated country but has only 4% of renewable water resources which arises to conflict in water because not every state is able to receive water properly. The expert examines the safeguarded and lawful courses of action in India for overseeing such inquiries. What makes such inquiries tangled is the way that water resources are under the State List, while the Parliament can make guidelines concerning between state streams under the Union List.

What are river basin-

It  is an area of land depleted by a stream and its feeders. Waterway bowls have average elements, these include:

  1. Feeder – a more modest waterway or stream streaming into a bigger waterway.
  2. An intersection – where a stream joins another river.
  3. A Watershed – an area of good country encompassing the waterway bowl.
  4. Source – the beginning of a waterway.
  5. Mouth – Where a waterway meets a lake, the ocean or a sea.

Inter -state water disputes and states which are part of it

  1. Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal- Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa[1].
  2. Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal – Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka.
  3. Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal- Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra.
  4. Ravi & Beas Water Tribunal- Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan.
  5. Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal- Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry.
  6. Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal –II- Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana.[2]
  7. Vansadhara Water Disputes Tribunal- Andhra Pradesh, Orissa.[3]
  8. Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal- Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra.
  9. Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal- Chhattisgarh, Odisha.

Why does water disputes arises?

Impacted concerns : These disputes arises when the activities of a state threatens the interest of any other different state

Unreasonable utilization of water: Economic elements like undervaluing of water system waters, advancement of water-polishing off crops through help evaluating, and so on, frequently lead to impractical utilization of water during lean seasons in this manner heightening struggles.

More demand , contamination and diminishing accessibility: The disputes of sharing of water in  nation over (and even past) are simply going to raise with expanding requests, and furthermore with expanding contamination and misfortunes lessening the accessible water.

Environmental change is probably going to demolish what is happening as storm designs change, water requests going up with expanding temperatures, melting of glaciers and rising of ocean levels.

Dispute of Mahanadi Water Dispute

The dispute of mahandi water river is a good example leading to many such water disputes which considers a lot of state which are fighting from a long time in courts for right to water from a specific river.  Mahandi river is the biggest river in east side of India that move through Chhattisgarh and Orissa The problem between these states is from mid 80 for the sharing of water from river.

Orissa has claimed that Chhattisgarh government has been building dams upstream, which is affecting the movement of water downstream. This causes a lot of problems such as proper supply of drinking water, irrigation, less water is state. There is another claim from Orissa govt that Chhattisgarh is consuming far more water that was agreed in the agreement made earlier. But Chhattisgarh govt is denying the claim and has said that the agreement was made between Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh as it was craved fro MP in 2000.

Actions taken by union govt on this

As per the Inter-State Water Dispute Act of 1956, there is an arrangement for a state to take its case straightforwardly to the Union government[4]. A tribunal will be set up for this by the act and the panel will be held to give a judgement to solve the water dispute.  The Union Cabinet endorsed the foundation of a tribunal after it got orders from the Supreme Court to determine the issue. As per authorities, this board will investigate the division of the water in light of its accessibility, the monetary commitments of the elaborate states and the flow usage of the water assets.

Constitutional and statutory provision

(A)Article 246- The Constitution contains a few arrangements on water and related issues. In the Constitution of India, ‘ water’ is a state subject and the national government is permitted exclusively to mediate on account of between state waters to the degree that it is proclaimed by the Parliament to be a circumstance in the public premium.

Article 246  of the Constitution deals with the subject of guidelines to be made by Parliament and by the Legislatures of the States. The assignment of commitments between the Center and the States in respect of guidelines to be made fall into three characterizations:

The Union List (List I)

The State List (List II)

The Concurrent List (List III)

(B) Article 262-Adjudication of inquiries interfacing with waters of cover State streams or stream valleys

1. Parliament may by guideline oblige the settlement of any inquiry or protest with respect to the usage, flow or control of the waters of, or in, any bury State stream or stream valley.

2. Despite anything in this Constitution, Parliament may by guideline give that neither the Supreme Court nor some other court will rehearse domain in respect of any such inquiry or complaint as is implied in stipulation ( 1 ) Co arrangement between States

(C)Article 131 and 136 –

Some situations had arrived  where nation have involved Articles 131 and 136 of the Constitution in inter- state water disputes. For example, Tamil Nadu filed a major complaint in 2001 of Article 131, in which it communicated that break measures were not effectively made due. The States of kerala, Tamilnadu and Karnataka are not okay with the choice of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal in 2007, have applied for an exceptional permit according to Article 136. The Supreme Court acknowledges them.

(D)  Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956

As per the arrangements, assuming the govt of a state makes a solicitation in regards to river water debate and the Central Government is of assessment that the water question can’t be resolved by exchanges, then, at that point, a Water Disputes Tribunal is comprised for the settlement of the water debate. The demonstration was corrected in 2002, to incorporate the significant proposals of the Sarkaria Commission. The changes ordered a one year time period to arrangement the water questions council and furthermore a long term time span to give a choice. The act was amended in 2017 and there were some changes made and new things were introduced – Whenever instituted, it would make it obligatory for the Center to comprise a court on states’ solicitation or suo motu.

It ties the Center to set up the DRC to determine the issue by exchanges in a single year genially. On the off chance that the DRC can’t resolve the debate, the Center should allude it to the highway council in three months or less.

(E) River boards act 1956

This act was passed in 1956 but still there were no river basin made under this act Regardless, it makes a big difference to focus on this guideline to look at the particular employment of the Center in the request between streams between states, as set out in this Act. As exhibited by Section 2 of the Act, the Center ought to control the new turn of events and progress of transnational streams and stream valleys. In line with a territorial government, the Center might lay out a waterway committee. The term utilized thus is “may”, and that implies that the stream rate relies upon the tact of the focal government. The Agency might get ready, revise or reject waterway or stream improvement projects between nations. While the primary parties in the dispute are the particular public state run administrations, how the dispute with the central government happens is up. The instruments spread out for the settlement of such inquiries are capable to the Central government and owe their very presence to the Central government. Thus, to say that water and Inter-State water questions falls inside the space of State lawmaking bodies due to its presence in the State List is a blunder. The Central government plays a likewise, while maybe not more huge in the middle between state stream water discusses.


The Center’s proposition to set up a solitary, super durable court to mediate on between state stream water debates could be a significant stage towards smoothing out the question redressal system. Between state stream water questions frustrate the agreeable federalism of our country and give parochial outlook making territorial issues better than public issues. One ought to understand that our country is a family wherein all states are its individuals. To sustain the pleasing federalism, parochial disposition improving regional issues than public issues should not be allowed. So questions ought to be settled by talk and talks and the political benefit ought to be avoided.


3River boards act 1956

4 Inter-State water Dispute Act, 1956




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