Dams

DRP NB 150822: CWC accepts faulty operation of dams can lead to floods

(Feature Image:- Cauvery water flows to the brim at the Amma Mandapam padithurai in Srirangam, after discharge of waters from the Mettur dam at Tiruchi on Friday Aug. 05, 2022. Photos: M. Moorthy/@THChennai)

In a major development, the Union Jal Shakti Minister and Central Water Commission (CWC) has accepted that faulty operation of dams can lead to floods. SANDRP has been at the forefront of pointing this reality for more than a decade and a half and authorities were in denial till recently. So this acknowledgement that came through a statement in Parliament by Union Minister of state for Jal Shakti on Aug 8, 2022, as reported by PIB (Press Information Bureau) Press Release. One hopes this is only the first step that will ultimately ensure that dams are operated in a optimal, completely transparent way to reduce the flood risks in the downstream area to the maximum possible extent and where this does not happen, there is accountability.

Unfortunately, as the same PR noted, no data on flooding caused by faulty operations of reservoirs are maintained centrally. In fact such data is not available with any official agencies anywhere in India. This needs to be corrected urgently. It is also necessary to define the norms of safe operation of dams and to ensure that all the relevant information in this regard is put up in public domain on daily basis for each dam in India. Similarly for each dam, rule curves should be updated and put in public domain so that everyone can see if the dam is operating according to rule curve or not. At the end of each monsoon, a credible independent review should be undertaken to see where we have faltered, who are responsible and what corrective measures are required.

Continue reading DRP NB 150822: CWC accepts faulty operation of dams can lead to floods
Dam Disaster · Madhya Pradesh

Bharudpura Dam in MP faces disaster after first filling in Aug 2022

Bharudpura dam (also called Karam dam) on Karam river, a tributary of Narmada river, near Gujari village in Dharampuri Tehsil of Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh faced major disaster after the very first filling in August 2022 when there was seepage from and massive erosion of the dam wall starting from Aug 11, 2022. The disaster at the Rs 304.44 crore project whose construction started in 2018 created a major turbulence in Madhya Pradesh with allegations of sub-standard work, corruption and attempts to hush up the safety issues. As a precaution, the administration has on Aug 12, 2022 vacated 12 downstream villages in Dhar district and 6 in Khargone district[i] and stopped traffic on roads close to the dam[ii]. Dhar Collector also said that the efforts to stop the seepage were not successful and that possible reason for erosion is the use of black rather than red soil in the construction of the earthn dam.

Continue reading Bharudpura Dam in MP faces disaster after first filling in Aug 2022
Monsoon · Rainfall

High Rainfall days in India’s districts in July 2022

For July 2022, an analysis of the daily district wise rainfall data from India Meteorological Department (IMD) shows that there were 809 (717 in July 2021) instances when district rainfall of a day was above 50 mm. [Considering that the normal monthly rainfall of India July is 285.3 mm, the average daily rainfall in this month is about 9.2 mm.] Such high rainfall instances included 663 (595 in July 2021) instances when rainfall was 50-100 mm, 107 (98 in July 2021) instances when it was 100-150 mm, 28 (17 in July 2021) times it was 150-200 mm and 16 (7 in July 2021) times above 200 mm. Interestingly, in June 2022[i] there were twenty seven instances when rainfall was above 200 mm, when the rainfall is supposed to be much below July rainfall. As noted in detailed article[ii], the July 2022 rainfall all over India was 16.8% above normal.

Continue reading High Rainfall days in India’s districts in July 2022
Groundwater · Photoblog · Rivers and Culture · Urban Rivers · Urban Water Sector · USA

Celebrating 30 years of protecting a Spring in a City

On the August 7 2022, more than 1500 Punekars made their way to the Hills of the city and came together to protect “Tekdi” from multiple shortsighted developmental pressures. Hills of Pune are the last bastions for urban wild spaces and are also the watersheds for several streams flowing in the city, now bundled under the misnomer of Nallas or drains.

Continue reading “Celebrating 30 years of protecting a Spring in a City”
DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 080822: Why is Centre not taking action against violations, defects of Kaleshwaram Project of Telangana?

(Feature image source: Pratidin News)

Union Water Resources or what is now called Jal Shakti minister Shri Gajendra Shekhawat made a rare and rather interesting statement this week about Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project of Telangana, supposed to be the world’s biggest lift irrigation project, India’s most expensive ever irrigation project. The Union Minister publicly said that the Kaleshwaram project did not have all the clearances, project thus involved violations, and had defects, leading to submergence of three barrages and a massive power house last month. It is not clear if the Union Minister has also written to this effect to the Telangana state government and also taken action against the project. This is because the allegations made by the Union Minister are about such a huge project and are serious in nature.

If the Union Minister has done neither, as seems to be the case, he hope he is doing something on these lines soon. We do not expect a responsible Union Minister not take any action on such an important matter and is only making such statements for public consumption (incidentally, he seems to have made these statements in Karnataka, not in Telangana). Questions will be raised if the Union Minister fails to take such an action.

Continue reading DRP NB 080822: Why is Centre not taking action against violations, defects of Kaleshwaram Project of Telangana?
Art, Literature, Culture · Groundwater

Sacred Springs and Kites: Groundwater reaches the skies

Groundwater management is an area where almost all of the world seems to be faltering right now. Like in India, in Texas too groundwater is private property, and its use, regulation and conservation is a complex and often an unsuccessful task. Groundwater is a major source of water in Texas, providing about 60 percent of the 16.1 million acre-feet of water used in the state[i]. Cities like Amarillo, Bryan-College Station, El Paso, Lubbock, Houston and San Antonio use groundwater to supply water for homes and industry.[ii] This year, Texas has seen record hot months and lowering water tables with 99% of the state facing drought right now, and  21% area facing exceptional drought. Jacob’s Well, an iconic artesian spring, has officially ceased flowing for the fourth time in recorded history as a result of the ongoing drought and increased levels of groundwater pumping.

Continue reading “Sacred Springs and Kites: Groundwater reaches the skies”
CWC - Central Water Commission

2022: Overview of CWC’s Flood Monitoring Sites in North East India

During monsoon CWC (Central Water Commission) monitors water level at several hundred sites in the county and publishes this information on its Flood Forecast website[I]. The website has three ways to get this information: Data Flow Map, List Based Exploration, and Hydrograph view. The Hydrograph view provides information for past 72 hours, supposed to be updated every hour. This is in addition to the list of current forecasts listed on the website.

Since 2018, SANDRP has been analyzing CWC’s flood forecast website in zone wise manner. After examining status of flood forecast and monitoring sites in North Indian[II] states, this overview is for North East India region covering Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram and Sikkim states. This also includes part of North West Bengal that is in Brahmaputra basin. Our 2018 and 2019 analysis on the North East region can be seen here[III] and here[IV].  .

Continue reading 2022: Overview of CWC’s Flood Monitoring Sites in North East India
Monsoon · Rainfall

June July 2022: District wise rainfall in India’s SW Monsoon

In the just concluded month of July 2022, the second month of India’s South West 2022 monsoon, India received 327.7 mm rainfall, 16.8% above the normal July rainfall of 280.5 mm as per India Meteorological department. In July 2021, the rainfall was 266.1 mm[i], about 6.7% below normal and  in July 2020, the rainfall was 257.1 mm[ii], or about 9.9% below normal.

Continue reading “June July 2022: District wise rainfall in India’s SW Monsoon”
CWC - Central Water Commission · Dams

2022: CWC Flood Monitoring Sites in North India

(Feature image: Bar Chart showing number of Level Forecast/Monitoring, Inflow Forecast sites in North Indian States & UTs)

Continuing analysis of Central Water Commission’s flood forecast website, SANDRP presents the details of flood monitoring sites in North Indian states comprising Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Chandigarh, Delhi and states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Before this, we have prepared similar critical reports and highlighted problematic issues in flood monitoring sites in North India in 2018, 2019 and 2020.   

Continue reading 2022: CWC Flood Monitoring Sites in North India
Book Review · Fish, Fisheries, Fisherfolk · Rivers

BOOK REVIEW: Rare book on Rivers and fisherfolks of North India

Guest Article by Dr. Ruchi Shree

BOOK: Ramashankar Singh (2022), Nadi-Putra: Uttar Bharat me Nishad aur Nadi, Setu Prakashan, New Delhi.

The arrival of books viz. Dipesh Chakravarty’s The Climate of History in Planetary Age (2021), Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (2016), A Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis (2021), Sunil Amruth’s The Unruly Waters: How Mountain Rivers and Monsoons have shaped South Asia’s History (2019) and numerous others has blurred the disciplinary divide between literature, politics and environment. These books have brought attention to the worsening environmental crisis worldwide and how developing countries or the global south is facing its severe brunt. As a consequence, one may notice an upsurge in literature in hindi and other regional languages around environmental issues in India. Last year, Shekhar Pathak’s book Hari Bhari Ummeed (2021) narrated the complexities of Chipko Movement at its 40 years and now this book here for review joins the club of interdisciplinary texts on environmental issues in India.

Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Rare book on Rivers and fisherfolks of North India”