Drought

Experimental Drought Monitor For India

Guest Blog by Prof Vimal Mishra (IIT Gandhinagar)

Introduction: Real-time drought monitoring and forecast in India is essential to support a large agricultural community. Prof. Vimal Mishra and his group (Water and Climate Lab) developed a real-time drought monitoring platform for India. The system provides conditions based on meteorological (rainfall based), hydrological (runoff based), and agricultural (soil moisture based) droughts and updates everyday. The products are based on real-time satellite rainfall, which was corrected using the long-term climatology from the India meteorological department (IMD). Runoff and root zone soil moisture are simulated using a well evaluated hydrologic model. All the drought products are extensively verified against other drought indicators such as satellite based drought severity index. Further information on monitor can be obtained in Shah and Mishra (2015). Continue reading “Experimental Drought Monitor For India”

Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 06 June 2016 (India to be power surplus for next 3 yrs, then why govt continue to pursue hydro projects)

India will not have power deficit situation in FY17 India won’t need any new power plants for the next three years as it is flush with generation capacity, according to a government assessment. The country can manage for the next three years with existing plants that are currently under-utilised, and those that are under construction and upcoming renewable energy projects, assessment made by the power ministry for reviewing  the National Electricity Policy shows. Govt declares for the first time in history that India is POWER SURPLUS in 2016-17 with 3.1% power surplus in peak hours and 1.1% power surplus in off peak hours, both figures in 2015-16 were -3.2% during peak hours and -2.1% in peak hours. The western and Southern regions will be power surplus, but Northern, Eastern and Northeastern regions will have deficits. At the same time Power Minister Piyush Goyal says that Big hydro power units may come under renewable energy According to Minister the Centre has begun studies to decide whether to include big hydro power plants under the ambit of renewable energy. When India will be energy surplus for next three years why then Govt. of India is continue to pursue disastrous hydro projects on ground.  Where ASSOCHAM is asking Arunachal govt.  to do away with adverse tax policies on Hydro power to boost construction of hydro projects in the State. NHPC has also   raised relief amount for Kishanganga HEP around Rs 60 lakh and Rs 70 lakh to each family for the land acquired. And despite Delhi Govt. openly rejecting water from Renuka dam NGT panel has visited the area to look into the rehabilitation issue. 

Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 06 June 2016 (India to be power surplus for next 3 yrs, then why govt continue to pursue hydro projects)”

Ganga

WHY TWO YEARS OF GANGA REJUVENATION HAS BEEN LITTLE MORE THAN NOISE?

Guest blog by ManojMisra

Two years is not a lot of time. Yet it is good enough to know if the right path has been taken or not?

Prime Minister Modi during his campaign and immediately on taking charge of the new government in May, 2014 raised huge expectations with his proactive call to rejuvenate river Ganga. Seemingly like a personal mission, he put Ms Uma Bharti, a well known Ganga Bhakta in charge of the renamed Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR,RD&GR). Continue reading “WHY TWO YEARS OF GANGA REJUVENATION HAS BEEN LITTLE MORE THAN NOISE?”

Dams · Urban Water Sector

Consume more, Pollute more, Pay less, Ask for more Dams: Pune City’s water policy

Above: Dying rivers, as they leave Pune Photo: Parineeta Dandekar

In May, decision of Pune’s Guardian Minister and head of canal committee of releasing 1 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) water from Khadakwasla Dam to downstream regions of Daund and Indapur saw huge protests from the city’s political parties and civic administration. Ensuring that Pune suffers no further water cut, even when downstream regions face historic drought, seems to have become the Mayor’s crusade. Keeping urban areas insulated and away from a terrible water crisis has its own major equity issues.

Pune is a water surplus city in upper riparian region of Krishna Basin. In a report “Reimagining Pune: Mission Smart City” submitted to Urban Development Department by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), it is admitted that Pune has water availability of 219 lpcd (liters per capita per day).[1] Even so, the city has been much reluctant to share its water with downstream villages. it has seen barely 20% water cuts since last October.

While discussions and debates about drought revolve around sugarcane, industries, rural water use, irrigation management etc, etc., the growing, unjustified footprint of urban areas generally is left scot free and Pune is a classic example if this.

Here, we take a brief look at PMC’s water supply approach with its monomaniacal supply-side focus. While sourcing much more water than allocated from four upstream dams, PMC has been shirking from its responsibility of treating waste water before releasing it for the downstream. PMC has taken the upstream dams for granted and is planning for expansion of water supply system with 24×7 water supply in near future, relying on more water from these dams. Continue reading “Consume more, Pollute more, Pay less, Ask for more Dams: Pune City’s water policy”

Wetlands

An undiscovered wetland thriving under looming threats

In April 2016, the Central Government presented Wetland (Conservation and Management) Draft 2016 for comments which has been vigorously contested by leading experts as deliberate attempt to weaken key steps of Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rule 2010. Various organizations, community groups, NGOs including SANDRP has objected to the dilution of key norms and urged the government to discard Draft 2016 Rules and fully implement the 2010 Rules till new effective wetland protection rules are formed.  

Now, highlighting the neglected state of our wetlands, SANDRP again urges the responsible authorities to come forward and take steps to protect a thriving wetland which is facing threats from none other than Government itself.

Naya Bans Wetland The Holambi Kalan and Khera Khurd are among several villages dotting North West Delhi’s agriculturally dominated landscape. Between the Railway Station of these two villages lies a flourishing wetland spread on the either side of the railway track which has intercepted two local storm water drains passing though the area.

Whether the area was originally a wetland or the interception of rain water carried during laying down of railway lines has resulted in accumulation of waste water is unknown. Yayati Bhardwaj a resident of nearby Alipur village recalls his childhood days when he used to frequent the area to have a glimpse of Lotus like flowers blooming in the wetland which now has disappeared. The 32 years old youth raising voice for local environmental issues still remembers his father talking of the marshland on few occasions. So the marshy land may or may not be artificial but over the time it has evolved into a living wetland in concretized capital providing refuge to large numbers of flora and fauna.

Continue reading “An undiscovered wetland thriving under looming threats”

CAG Report · Meghalaya

CAG REPORT: Water Woes in Meghalaya

Guest Blog by Himanshu Upadhyaya

An audit report by Comptroller and Auditor General of India that got tabled in Meghalaya assembly on 23rd March 2016 reveals sorry state of affairs on water supply schemes. It brings under scanner the corrupt practices of Public Health and Engineering Department (PHED), presents before us the real causes of the delays in completion of these schemes. This performance review shows that PHED has failed to learn any lesson from similar indictment from constitutional auditor in past and continued its business as usual with impunity. The audit also shows in unambiguous manner how PHED officials failed to supply information and documents in support of their claims. CAG auditors have also presented photographic evidence of the undue favours granted to contractors and thus has shown that works that are shown as executed and paid for on records don’t exist on site. Will this performance audit of drinking water schemes in Meghalaya initiate a phase of more credible public audit, CAG try to ensure that performance audit leads to actual change on ground? I hope that citizens’ groups in Meghalaya will be able to use this. Continue reading “CAG REPORT: Water Woes in Meghalaya”

Dams · Maharashtra

Concerns about unplanned River Widening, Deepening and Straightening Works being undertaken under Jal Yukta Shivar and other projects

 

(This Note is followed by a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Marathi, which is endorsed by several organisations)

In the past two years, Jal Yukta Shivar Abhiyan has been implemented in many districts of the State. A Government Resolution was issued on the 5th December 2014 to implement Jal Yukta Shivar Abhiyan (JYS from hereon) to make “Maharashtra Drought Free by 2019”. The GR lists out a 13-point program to be implemented, which lays stress on watershed works, deepening and widening of canals, cement nalla bunds, reinstating old water structures, tree plantation, well recharge, etc. The Chief Minister has supported the small scale water harvesting through JYS strongly, as one of the main solutions to water security for farm and villages. Continue reading “Concerns about unplanned River Widening, Deepening and Straightening Works being undertaken under Jal Yukta Shivar and other projects”

Dams

Ken Betwa Project will facilitate water export out of Bundelkhand, It will destroy Panna Tiger Reserve: Letter to EAC

June 1, 2016

To

Chairman and Members of EAC on River Valley Projects, MoEF, New Delhi

Urgent: Concerns about Ken Betwa Project on EAC agenda for Environment Clearance for meeting on June 2-3, 2016

Respected Chairman and Members,

  1. No documents since Feb EAC meeting: In continuation of our earlier submissions of Aug 21, 2015, Oct 24, 2015, Feb 6, 2016 and April 15, 2016, we are writing to you again since the Ken Betwa Link is again on the EAC agenda for the meeting on June 2-3, 2016. It may be noted that after the project was earlier considered by the EAC latest in the meeting on Feb 8-9, 2016, no new documents are available on the EC website. This itself is a serious lacuna since this means that all concerned are in dark as to why the project is being reconsidered by the EAC, what progress has been achieved since the last meeting. This is also in violation of the orders of the Central Information Commission that required all such documents be available in public domain at least ten days in advance of the meeting.

Continue reading “Ken Betwa Project will facilitate water export out of Bundelkhand, It will destroy Panna Tiger Reserve: Letter to EAC”

Dams, Rivers & People

DRP Magazine: April May 2016 issue

The April May 2016 issue of our magazine “Dams, Rivers & People” are now available online at following links:

DRP Apr May 2016: Image of the cover page, including index is given below.
DRP Apr May 2016

April May 2016 DRP Magazine Cover Page

 

The issue is focused on the unprecedented drought that about 400 million people are facing this year. The six articles  in this issue with separate links to each are given below:

  1. Marathwada Drought
  2. Karnataka Drought
  3. Telangana Drought
  4. Andhra Pradesh Drought
  5. Odisha Drought
  6. Supreme Court order on failure of government in tackling drought

We are also publishing weekly DRP news bulletins, the latest issues can be seen at following links:

https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2016/05/30/drp-news-bulletin-30-may-2016-centres-new-wetland-protection-rules-reinforces-the-stereotype-that-govt-see-wetlands-as-wastelands/

AND https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2016/05/23/drp-news-bulletin-23-may-2016-why-large-hydro-is-not-justified/

 

 

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SANDRP Twitter handle: https://twitter.com/Indian_Rivers

 

Feedback is welcome.

SANDRP: ht.sandrp@gmail.com