Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said that the Centre has decided to transfer surplus water from Andhra’s Godavari river to the Cauvery, which flows through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, PTI reported.

He said that the Ministry of Water Resources was working on two-river linking projects to help parched states. The Centre has taken up interlinking of rivers in “right earnest”, he added.

“My ministry has decided to transfer surplus water from Godavari river to Krishna, to Pennar river [in Karnataka] and finally to Cauvery,” Gadkari said at a press conference in Chennai. “I am going to call a meeting of chief ministers of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and with their approval, we will finalise the plan.”

Gadkari said that around 3,000 TMC of water from the Godavari is wasted as it goes into the sea. Explaining how the project would work, he said that 300 TMC of water would initially be transferred from the Godavari to the Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh through the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, and then to the Krishna river.

It will then be taken to the Somasila dam on river Pennar, and thereon to the Grand Anaicut on the Cauvery river. “We will be taking the water through steel pipes and not by canal,” the minister said, adding that around 100 TMC can be carried to the Cauvery through this, which would help both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Around 90% of the cost will be borne by the Centre, and the rest by the state. “We will treat these projects as national projects because this is a river connectivity project,” he said. “This can be a game-changer.”

If Karnataka objects, Gadkari said, the water will be sourced from Indravati river in Central India. It will reach the Cauvery river via the Nagarjuna Sagar dam and the Somasila project without the Karnataka connectivity, he said.