Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said his state was ready to share a “reasonable and justified” amount of water from the Mahadayi river with Karnataka for its drinking water needs, PTI reported.

Parrikar made the decision after meeting Bharatiya Janata Party leaders from Karnataka, including state party President BS Yeddyurappa and BJP National President Amit Shah, in Delhi on Wednesday.

For decades, Goa and Karnataka have been fighting over the waters of the Mahadayi river, which originates in Karnataka.

Parrikar wrote to Yeddyurappa on Thursday, saying Goa will not oppose giving water to Karnataka for its drinking needs, but he asserted that the terms of the deal must be “discussed bilaterally, as suggested by the Honourable Tribunal (Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal)”.

The chief minister said that even though the tribunal has not made a decision on the water-sharing dispute yet, Goa “understands that access to drinking water is a basic human need”. He said the state was willing to consider a settlement “strictly restricted to drinking water to drought-prone areas”.

On Wednesday, Parrikar told The Hindu the leaders from Karnataka had submitted a petition, with a request to share the Mahadayi river for drinking water. “I listened to them and told them our response will be sent to them in writing,” he told the newspaper.

The dispute

The Mahadayi river, called Mandovi in Goa, flows 35 km through Karnataka and 52 km through Goa, before draining into the Arabian Sea. In Karnataka, the river is just a cluster of springs at its origin in Bhimgad. Northern Karnataka, the bordering areas of Maharashtra and Goa depend on the Mahadayi river basin for all their water needs.

For years, the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal has been handling the dispute between Goa and Karnataka over the southern state’s plan to build the Kalsa-Bhandura dam across the river.