Mhadei water disputes tribunal allowing Karnataka out of basin use of Mhadei tributaries waters will prove detrimental to Goa’s environment and ecology, said environmentalists and wildlifers of Goa, who have persistently opposed proposals to and divert the tributaries of the Mhadei into other basins.

The verdict, when put into effect, will jeopardise the interest of Goans who are almost entirely dependent on the Mhadei and its basin for drinking water needs, navigation, tourism and fishing, among other thing, they said.

“Reduction in fresh water flow in the Mhadei as a result of abstraction of water from the river, whether for transbasin or inter-basin diversion or for within basin use by Karnataka and Maharashtra will have devastating and detrimental effect on the Goa’s entire ecosystem unique mangroves, agriculture and fisheries,” leader of opposition said.

Goa may be one of the smallest states, yet it shows an astonishing diversity of endemic species, habitats and ecosystems. Goa is under the influence of two global biomes — the marine of the and the terrestrial forest biome of the Western Ghats. The river in its upper reaches plays an important role in adding nutrients into the food chain.

If the waters are diverted to Karnataka, it will result in changing the hydraulic characteristics of the Mhadei and reduce water flow thereby disturbing the delicate balance required for sustenance and growth of habitat in the region, sources said.

President of the Vivekanand Environment Awareness Brigade, Chandrakant Shinde, said, “We have a 15 lakh population and almost 50 lakh tourists visit the state every year. From where are we supposed to manage the everincreasing water needs. Goa was declared a water deficit state in 2002. We can’t afford to allow even a single tmc of water to be diverted.”

Stating that Karnataka has maintained a record of being untruthful and untrustworthy when it comes to water-sharing, Shinde cited the recent example of the Cauvery water dispute. “Goa will virtually lose the Mhadei the day the dam takes shape,” Shinde said, questioning who would monitor the diversion.

“Who will stop Karnataka from diverting more water than the actual sharing decided on,” Shinde asked, adding that Karnataka just wanted permission to enter, which it has now legally got.

“Goa should stop Karnataka from getting permissions to build the dam,” he said.

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