Guest Blog by: Manoj Misra, Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan
Rivers are often seen merely as carriers of utilizable water and little more. Such utilization could be for supply of water to meet human domestic, commercial, irrigation or industrial needs or as a motive force to produce electricity. That there could be far more to a river than water flowing in it is rarely appreciated far less investigated. The reason also is that in case of perennial rivers water flowing in them tends to hide from public view a lot residing in their interiors, including their living and non living components. So a drought, notwithstanding its adverse impacts on water dependent people and their commensals[i], is an opportunity nevertheless to easily see what is otherwise normally hidden. Continue reading “River Ken, as I saw it” →
What separated Maheshwar Ghats on the mighty Narmada from most other rivers I have seen was the sheer gaiety and joy which people were experiencing, jumping in the Narmada. The beautiful, jutting steps of the ghats were designed (and used) like diving boards by men, boys and women. For someone who had just seen a dry Godavari and drier rivers of Marathwada, this mirth was therapeutic. Ferry Boats and laidback ferrymen were relaxing on the river, bobbing up and down rhythmically. In the distance was a tiny sailboat, held together by white fluttering sails, zipping through the waters at a startling speed without the din of a diesel engine. A fisherman and his daughter were returning to their village, taking stock of their catch.. Occasional fish rose above the waters and glistened in the evening sun. Continue reading “नदी के बदले नदी दे सकते है? ..on Maheshwar, Narmada and fishing communities of India” →
Guest Blog by: Chicu Lokgariwar (firstname.lastname@example.org), Usha Dewani (email@example.com)
‘Majhi jo nau dubaaye, to usey kaun bachaaye’ laments a popular song[i]. It literally translates as: ‘If an oarsman sinks his boat, who can save it?’
This is a question that concerned citizens of Kolkata are asking themselves today in connection with the famed East Kolkata Wetlands. A notified Ramsar site, this extensive wetland spread over 12,500 Ha has been protected for decades by the communities who live within it and by The East Kolkata Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Act, 2006. Today, it is the Environment Minister of West Bengal who has taken it upon himself to destroy the wetlands. Continue reading “Threats to East Kolkata Wetlands are threats to Kolkata: Majhi jo nau dubaaye…” →
Guest Blog by Nachiket Kelkar (firstname.lastname@example.org)
When human beings fall into manholes or die in traffic accidents on a highway they are all over the news. We pity and fear such news, and feel sad for the deceased, just because the whole event is so unfortunate. We are angered by the condition of traffic – that continues to remain appalling despite having six-lane highways that look deceptively magnificent. We wonder if these cases could have been avoided. It is therefore even more disturbing that not a single news item has covered a series of major accidents that have happened right in the middle of the Ganga River National ‘Waterway’ (India’s National Waterway No. 1; see Dams, Rivers & People: Feb-March 2016 issue: p. 1-7, 2016 for details[i]) in the last six months.
Over twenty people have died by drowning at the Barari Ghat (Image 1) at Bhagalpur in Bihar in this period. Offering prayers, taking dips, or lunging in for a calm swim, these people have slipped away as their feet have lost the ground all of a sudden. The river, scouring off the silt from under the concrete, has been catapulting their bodies into the deepening abyss on the fringes of the ghats. Many bodies have not even been found. Family members of many, whose bodies were found, must have never suspected that they would have to carry back their kin’s corpses. What made the same Barari Ghat, which people traditionally visited for years, so dangerous suddenly?
Continue reading “In the Pits: the Ganga River, dredged to death” →
Jawaharlal Nehru who famously celebrated large dams as “temples of modern India” later termed them as “disease of giganticism”.[i] The fascination wore out after witnessing the huge sacrifice of the vulnerable and unfulfilled promises. Government of India however has continued with the worship of giant structures such as big dams, ports, hydropower projects etc. Even after nearly seven decades of independence, ‘engineering approach’ still dominates the idea of river planning which views river as an entity to be engineered and planned for irrigation, hydropower, industrial and urban water use rather than as a living eco-system. 17 study models that were displayed at Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS) open house day at Khadakwasla near Pune on June 14, 2016, its completion of 100 years of existence, stood testimony to this. Continue reading “CWPRS: A 100-year-old institute remains uni-dimensional; has no achievement to show” →
Centre Suggestions invited on Draft National Water Framework Bill and Draft Model Bill for Conservation, Protection, Regulation and Management of Ground Water Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has uploaded the draft national water framework bill and draft model bill for conservation, protection, regulation and management of ground water on its website (http://mowr.gov.in). The Draft National Water Framework Bill provides an overarching national legal framework based on principles for protection, conservation, regulation and management of water as a vital and stressed natural resource, under which legislation and executive action on water at all levels of governance can take place. The comments/suggestions/views from all Individuals/Experts /Organizations/Institutions on the above bill may be sent to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org latest by June 25, 2016. The Draft Ground Water Model Bill is based on the principles of subsidarity, equitable distribution in an integrated approach. The State should act as a public trustee of ground water, which should be treated as a common pool resource to make sure that groundwater is protected, conserved, regulated and managed. The comments/suggestions/views from all Individuals/Experts/Organizations/Institutions on the above bill may be sent to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org latest by June 25, 2016.
Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 20 June 2016 (MoWR invites suggestions on National Water Framework & Model Ground Water Bill)” →
A couple of years ago, we were travelling from Dehradun to Delhi and on my left was the massive Bhimgouda barrage which diverted the Ganga through Upper Ganga Canal at Haridwar. The barrage diverted the entire river, so that the downstream of the barrage, Ganga River was bone dry. Even for an agnostic like me, it was disturbing to see the mighty Ganga dried out like this so close to her origin. But just a couple of hundred meters ahead on the right were Har ki Pauri Ghats where Pilgrims were religiously performing Ganga Arati. There was a highly colored cement statue of Ganga precariously balancing on her gharial, in the middle of the canal. Continue reading “Borewell water in a concretized Ramkund: Has religion helped Rivers at all?” →
Uma threatens stir over delay in Ken-Betwa interlinking Water Minister Uma Bharti on June 07 threatened an agitation if there were further delays to the wildlife clearances necessary for the storied Ken-Betwa river-interlinking project. This is TOO Much! Union Minister threatening to go on Fast, demanding environment clearance to Ken Betwa link! Calling it a national crime to stop clearance to Ken Betwa link. Saying if the project is not cleared in next meeting, she will go on fast! Claiming that the link will help Marathwada!! It wont help even Bundelkhand, but the Union Minister seems to be setting completely wrong, precedent, which also ultra legal. On the other hand The Hindu has been consistently underplaying the impacts of the Ken Betwa project and over playing the official lines. Very strange to see this from THE HINDU. Before this in its June 02 meeting the expert appraisal committee (EAC) of environment ministry has deferred environment clearance for the ambitious Rs.10,000cr Ken-Betwa river linking project in its last meeting on June 2, and has sought more clarity on its wildlife & hydrological impact. The meeting could not come to a conclusion as the members of the EAC had several doubts regarding the project’s hydrological feasibility, its impact on hydrology and wildlife too and found that many serious issues related to the project are yet to resolved. In the last week of May 2016, SANDRP in a letter to EAC has written about Ken-Betwa project & why EAC should not clear this. Please help us spread the word and urgently write to EAC if you agree. Himanshu Thakkar coordinator SANDRP points out that the Ken-Betwa link, in essence, Ken-Betwa link will facilitate transfer of water from the Ken River Basin (Bundelkhand) to Upper Betwa Basin (outside Bundelkhand), so it is actually exporting water out of Bundelkhand.
Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 13 June 2016(Uma Bharati Threatens Stir Over Delay In Ken-Betwa Clearances)” →
India’s hydropower generation dropped by upto close to 20% compared to previous year in some of the months this year even as installed capacity of hydropower projects keeps climbing relentlessly. According to monthly generation figures from Central Electricity Authority, even as installed capacity of hydropower projects went up by 1516 MW in last one year, the power generation from hydropower projects dropped by 10.82%, 19.19%, 17.7% and 15.92% during February, March, April and May 2016 respectively at all India level, compared to the figures in the same months in 2015. Continue reading “Drought hits hydropower: Shows how unreliable is hydro in changing climate” →
In 2016, India has been witnessing one of the severest droughts after independence. The phenomena has led to a ‘never before’ kind of water crisis across the country. As a result the surface water sources are under severe stress and aquifers beneath ground have been over drafted. An already depressed agrarian community is worst hit. Thousands of parched villages have been dotting the rural landscape. Many somewhat immune urban centers are also facing the wrath of heat.
However there is no dearth of inspiring tales in the field of water conservation pan nation presenting a ray of hope amid gloomy scenario. The exemplary works being done by several villages, people and organizations across the country offer some lasting solutions to growing water scarcity. So here is an attempt to present a State wise account of drought hit areas which have been wading through the water crisis sound and safe by reinventing the community driven and local water harvesting practices.
Continue reading “Community Driven Water Conservation Initiatives In 2016 Drought” →