India Rivers Week 2016 to be organised at WWF-India during Nov 28-30 is just a week away. The theme of the event this year is STATE OF INDIA’s RIVERS. Groups from all the different states have put together reports about the status of rivers in their states with a view of classify rivers as Healthy (blue), Threatened (Pink) and Destroyed (Red) after assessing their health based on a large number of parameters, including Dams, Pollution, biodiversity, encroachment, mining, among others. This is the first ever attempt at such an exercise. The Event will also feature announcement of Bhagirath Prayas Samman Awards for exemplary work in river conservation, River Lecture Preview of a feature film and prominent speakers in inaugural and valedictory functions. Individuals and groups working for better future of our rivers will be travelling to the event from all over India.
INTER-STATE WATER DISPUTES
SANDRP Blog Satluj Yamuna Link Row: Chronology of events The SYL Row has been going on inconclusively for over last about 50 years. The matter also has been languishing in SC for last 40 years without any resolution. The seemingly unending disputes have been raising questions in the mind of many as to why the issue remains undecided and for how long the controversy will go on. To have better understanding of the issue we have put together a chronology of the events around the SYL dispute.
एसवाइएल विवाद: जल संरक्षण में पिछडे़ पंजाब ओर हरियाणा Guest Blog by Manoj Thakur सतलुज यमुना नहर) पर हरियाणा के पक्ष में निर्णय आते हीए पंजाब ओर हरियाणा में राजनीति तेज हो गई। पंजाब का कहना है वें अपनी जान दे देंगेए लेकिन पानी नहीं देंगे। इधर हरियाणा का कहना है कि उन्हें पानी चाहिए क्यांकि यह पानी उनका हक है। अब सवाल यह उठ रहा है कि दोनों राज्यों में से कोई एक राज्य तो गलत बोल रहा है। लेकिन हकीकत यह है कि एसवाइएल पर दोना ही राज्य झूठ बोल रहे हैं।
Also see, Caught in the act Asit Jolly says the narrative in Punjab elections may have changed in the context of SC judgement on SYL, but he asks a pertinent questions if this is all make believe: “But there’s a small but significant truth that both Parkash Singh Badal and Capt. Amarinder Singh may be missing-blocking the construction of the SYL canal by enacting the 2004 law failed to win Amarinder the polls in 2007. Will the canal sway voters this time?”
Cauvery Row Navigating Cauvery One of the key points: The Cauvery tribunal award restricts itself to sharing only stream (surface) flows. According to geo-hydrologist Sekhar Muddu of Indian Institute of Science, stream flow cannot be the indicator of total available water. Only a fraction of rainfall, around 10 to 20 per cent, ends up as stream flows. Nearly 60 to 70 per cent of the rainfall is taken up by vegetation from soil and evapotranspired to the atmosphere.
INTER-LINKING OF RIVERS
KBL NTCA to monitor Ken-Betwa river linking project The National Tiger Conservation Authority has suggested constitution of a committee to monitor the pre and post construction works related to Ken-Betwa river linking project, fearing loss of 90 sq km area of MP’s Panna Tiger Reserve. It suggested three sanctuaries MP’s Nauradehi and Rani Durgawati wildlife sanctuaries and UP’s Ranipur wildlife sanctuary are brought under Project Tiger. So it seems from this report that NTCA has issued wildlife clearance letter for Ken Betwa project? Earlier this week, according to The Hindu report wrote that Ken-Betwa river-interlinking project, may be delayed after a key Environment Ministry body tasked with giving it forest clearance has deferred it at least until Jan 16.
Centre Cabinet approves status-cum-progress report The Union Cabinet on Nov 16 has given its approval to the Status-cum-Progress Report and constitution of “Special Committee for Inter-Linking of Rivers” in compliance of SC judgment dated 27.2.2012. The approval will help in monitoring of the precious Inter-linking of River Projects to be carried out under National Perspective Plan 1980 of Govt of India. The report will be submitted bi-annually for information of Cabinet, which will facilitate faster and appropriate decisions in the interest of the country as expeditiously as possible.
MAHARASHTRA DAMS, IRRIGATION, AGRICULTURE & CLIMATE CHANGE
Maharashtra Many dams were built first & designed later Maharashtra Dams Scam is still coming out with new revelations. Now it seems the dams were designed much latter after the contracts were given, the contracts were given based on copy paste of designs of other dams! This is simply unbelievable, and Maharashtra govt wants to go ahead with all these dams.
Work on Gargai dam to takes off The Gargai Dam to be built for MUMBAI water supply will destroy at least 750 ha of Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary. An un-named consultant has said only Forest Owlet will be affected, but not clear who is the consultant and why the report is not in public domain. The Dam is in any case not needed for Mumbai, it already has a lot of water at its displosal.
Temghar dam repairs to start in Dec The dam stock has been halved from 100% to 50% as suggested by Govt appointed committee. The work would be done in 3 phases costing around of Rs 95 cr. About 25 to 30 types of repairs have been proposed which will begin in Dec and may go upto next monsoon. The work would begin soon after the formalities are completed. Water has been leaking from the dam’s wall at various points because of cracks. People have expressed fear of further damage to its wall if the leakages are not plugged.
Fewer fences to jump for nod to irrigation projects State govt seems to be trying to perpetuate the irrigation scam. So it has decided that no need for Revised Admin Approval when cost escalations are below 15% and this does not include costs increase for land acquisition and rehabilitation, increase in storage capacity or command area.
Govt to bring sugarcane area under drip irrigation India’s sugar production is expected to grow at 3% per annum and to increase productivity from restricted area and to save water in the light of frequent droughts, the industry has been looking at technological solutions like micro irrigation and improved cane varieties.
All agriculture pumps to run on solar energy According to energy ministry to save 1000 Mw energy a comprehensive Energy Saving policy will be prepared within 8 days and within next 3 years, all agricultural pumps will be run on solar power. He further told that Govt has decided to ensure 40 lakh agricultural pumps run on solar energy in State. While Solar Pump is a good idea, if there is no regulation for groundwater use, it can lead to disastrous consequences.
Climate-proof’ farm project in 1000 villages of Vidarbha The State Govt has set up a 7-member committee under the chairmanship of principal secretary (agriculture) to identify 3000 villages in Marathwada and 1,000 in Vidarbha that will be the focus of the project. The programme aims to reduce farmers’ dependence on unpredictable weather cycles and enhance resilience of agriculture to climate change and vulnerability through research and use of technology.” A World Bank funded Rs 4000 Cr 6 yr Project.
Speaking up for dry-land farmers The discourse in the state treats all farmers—small, medium, big, irrigated and rain-fed—as a homogeneous entity, ignoring differences in the severity of their problems Milind Murugkar raises a very interesting question here: It seems ironical that more than 80% of the parched land in the state hasn’t thrown up any ‘farmers’ leader’. What explains this paradoxical situation? Can a politician acquire this stature without using the irrigation plank? His conclusion: Maharashtra badly needs a political voice that will speak for the majority of farmers neglected for so long.
Around 900 farmer suicides in drought-hit Marathwada this year Compare this with 2013 and 2014, when a total of 600 suicides were reported in Marathwada. And between 2006 and 2012, less than 400 farmer suicides were reported on a yearly basis.
NORTH EAST MONSOON 2016
South India Drought-like conditions in Southern Peninsula The Northeast Monsoon commenced late and most of the October almost remained dry. During that time, two weather systems developed over Northeast Bay of Bengal however, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and Telangana remained almost dry with little rains. Most of the South Indian states either witnessed rain deficiency or scanty rainfall. In a nutshell, it can be concluded that drought-like conditions are expected to continue over entire south India due to weak Northeast Monsoon.
Tamil Nadu Water crisis looming large as rain fails Going by official data the state have a combined storage of only 15% of its total capacity, which continues to dwindle. The northeast monsoon has been deficient in most districts with the meteorological department recording a 66% deficiency.
Karnataka N-E monsoon brings no cheer, farmers worried Since Oct 1, the state received 33.5 mm average rainfall as against the normal 161.3 mm. The normal rainfall from June to Sep end is 735 mm, while the state got only 599 mm. With North East rainfall too being less, there will be dry days ahead. Preparing itself to deal with the water crisis the Mandya district administration has established water help lines in all 7 taluks as a temporary drought-mitigation measures. Drought-hit taluks in Karnataka
Kerala Wayanad faces severe drought The area that was once flush with rainfall faced 59% rain deficit this year. According to the rain data the district received an average rainfall of just 1,200 mm till the first week of Nov. Last year, the average rainfall for this period was 1,503 mm, which too was a significant decline from the previous years’ range of 1,900 mm 2,700 mm. Prior to the 2000s, the district used to receive more than 3,000 mm of rainfall. This rainfall deficit has threatened the agrarian economy of the region and many farmers have been complaining about the dip in production. The signs of the crisis are unmistakable in the border towns of the district. This shows how Wayanad district in Kerala, mostly in Kabini basin (a tributary of Cauvery) is affected by drought this year, whole of Kerala has been declared drought hit by the state govt.
Andhra Drought conditions hit tobacco production he delay in the arrival of the north-east monsoon and drought conditions in Nellore and Prakasam districts have affected Virginia tobacco plantation as a result, there may not be any surplus production in the State in 2016-17. Also see, Farming needs to be community-managed This interview tries to explain the great work done by G V Ramanjaneyulu of Centre for Sustainable Agriculture in the state and elsewhere.
Tamil Nadu Flood-hit hamlets yet to recover from tragedy A year after the deluge, impoverished families in Cuddalore district are still struggling to rebuild their lives. Affected by tsunami in 2004, cyclone Thane in 2011 and floods in December 2015, the villages have not recovered to normalcy. Besides, they fear another disaster for which they are still unprepared. On the other hand, Buckingham canal in Chennai plays a crucial role in flood mitigation is rapidly deteriorating & and needs immediate attention to avoid a repeat of last year’s flood. It’s comprehensive piece on state of the Buckingham Canal in Chennai and its disastrous consequences.
Industry Slow progress in commissioning hydro projects According to sources as many as 120 hydro power projects with a total capacity of 38039 Mw were conceived by the private sector but unfortunately 3269 Mw could be made operational by Nov 2016. As per the CEA data, 19 private sector hydro power projects having a total capacity of 4555 Mw are under construction while there are 22 projects with 15058 Mw capacity whose DPR were approved by the authority. At present, the CEA is examining DPR of 6 hydro power projects having capacity of 3317 Mw while reports of 16 such projects of 5338 Mw capacity were returned to private players for resubmission. According to official also said that private players are still preparing DPR of 31 hydro power projects having a total capacity of 6,502 MW.
Center Inclusion of large Hydro under the ambit of renewable As per energy minister Piyush Goyal, statement in Lok Sabha on Nov 17, the Ministry is examining the prospects of including all hydro power projects under Renewable Energy Sector. Govt has set the target to reach 175 GW of Renewable Energy capacity by the year 2022 which includes 5 GW from Small Hydro (up to 25 MW station capacity). So far larger hydro plants are not considered as Renewable Energy. This is happening when many latest research work are proving that hydro projects and dams world over are significantly contributing to climate change as they generate 25% more methane gas than previously thought. Read this report against the backdrop of hydropower boom in the North East India, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Himachal.
National Relaxed rules leading to fast clearance for all linear projects Need to take note of the REC (Regional Empowered Committee) on Forest Clearances: “RECs have been constituted at each of the 10 regional offices of the MoEFCC, under a regional head. The panels have two officials of the regional office and three non-official experts in forestry and allied disciplines as members. An REC is competent to either agree in-principle or reject proposals involving diversion of forest area above 5 hectares and up to 40 hectares, except proposals for regularization of encroachments, mining (including renewal of mining leases), and hydel projects.
Himachal संकट में पहाड़: जल विद्युत् परियोजनाओं से प्रभावित क्षेत्रों के लिए मार्गदर्शिका हिमधरा पर्यावरण समूह ने जल विद्युत् परियोजनाओं से जुड़े मुद्दों और हिमाचल की जनता के इन परियोजनाओं को ले कर अनुभवों पर ‘संकट में पहाड़’ नामक दस्तावेज़ प्रकाशित किया है। कानूनी और नीतिगत जानकारी के अभाव में परियोजना प्रभावित जनता के सामने अपनी समस्याओं के हल निकालने के बहुत कम रास्ते रह जाते हैं। “यह मार्गदर्शिका साधारण भाषा में जल विद्युत् परियोजनाओं को ले कर कुछ ढांचागत सवाल उठाती है और साथ ही साथ कानूनी जानकारी की कमी को कुछ हद तक पूरा करने की कोशिश है। साथ ही हिमाचल में जल विद्युत् परियोजनाओं के जनता के अनुभवों को बांटने का एक प्रयास है। पुस्तिका की कॉपी के लिए हमसे संपर्क करें email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org #91-9459021415
Arunachal NHPC briefs about status of Subansiri Lower Project Regarding reports in certain section of media claiming that NHPC has restarted the construction activities at Subansiri Lower Project, the NHPC clarified that only periodic and routine repair and maintenance works of machinery, equipments, buildings and roads of the project have been taken up. The power developers further said that certain protection work in the dam and adjoining areas is being carried since last year to protect the partially constructed structures from wear and tear of the monsoons which has been allowed by the NGT. The agitation against Lower Subansiri HEP restarted in Assam.
Dikshi HEP foundation stone laid Although the foundation stone of 24 MW Dikshi HEP undertaken by Devi Energy Private Ltd was laid on Nov 11, the work on the project is already in full swing and is slated to be completed by last part of 2017. If the project is commissioned as per schedule, it will be the first HEP developed by a private developer in the state. On request for developing another project in the downstream for 18 MW by Devi Energy, CM agreed to consider the proposal as a special case. He also assured to look into few other issues raised by the developer. The CM in same breath reiterated that hydro power development will not be imposed on the people. Also see, State is losing its forest cover to wood extraction
Uttarakhand HC asks govt to impose ‘glacier tax’ In a bid to keep a check on climate change, the Uttarakhand high court on Nov 14 asked the state govt to impose a ‘glacier tax’ on tourists visiting the Himalayas. Hearing a PIL, the court observed that there was large-scale degradation of the ecology in the Himalayas and glaciers were “rapidly depleting”. Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Alok Singh said the rapid depletion of glaciers may lead to drying up of rivers like the Ganga and the Yamuna and can affect people across the nation.
J&K Several projects defunct, proposals pending for years For the past 28 months J&K govt has failed to resume work on 850-MW Rattle power project in Kishtwar district after the company executing it left the construction midway. Similarly according to another report, ever since the Chenab Valley Power Project Private Limited came into being, nothing on the ground has been found tangible which could boost the economic condition of the state in general and locals of Chenab valley in particular. These reports exposes the shoddy planning and long-standing unresolved issues plaguing hydropower projects in Kashmir: whether large or small.
GODAVARI River loses out to pollution The modern day Godavari is much less than a river. With population around it increasing day by day, the river has not only lost its charm but is losing its life as well. As part of the proceedings the Pollution Control Board reported that ‘the water of Godavari in Nashik is unfit for human consumption and dangerous to health’. The uninterrupted overflow of drainage chambers into the Godavari River has only added to the problem of river pollution. All drainage chambers along the river broke during the floods in August earlier this year, leading to mixing of drainage water into the river.
Telangana Musi river now a factory of drug-resistant germs The Musi river is becoming a serious environmental and health hazard as drugs from pharmaceutical companies, located in and around Hyderabad, are polluting the river water. The contaminated Musi river joins the Krishna river which supplies water to 1.6 crore people in the districts of Nalgonda in Telangana and Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam and West Godavari in Andhra Pradesh. The drug-contaminated water results in antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the environment and humans, which is a major health concern the world over. It also affects the aquatic ecosystem.
Yettinahole Row Reviving 4600 tanks only answer to water scarcity Mr. Ramachandra, a renowned scientist has repeatedly questioned the govt’s decision to spend Rs. 13000 cr on the Yettinahole project, which would yield only 0.85 tmcft of water for diversion. The scientist also questioned some statements that about 500 tmcft of water would be available in the Netravati for diversion to parched districts. He suggested decentralised water harvesting through tanks, ponds, lakes, restoration of water sources, increasing the green cover and recharging the groundwater table as solutions to mitigate water scarcity. He said about 15 tmcft of water could be tapped from rain for supply to Bengaluru areas, and hence Netravati water will not be required.
NARMADA MP Cops pick up Narmada dam oustees in wee hours In a bizarre incident in Nisarpur village of Kukshi block in Dhar district, Kanhaiya Prajapati, one of the thousands of poor farmers displaced by the high-profile Narmada dam in Gujarat, was “picked up” early in the morning 5:00 am last week by the local police for allegedly signing up a fake registry for “receiving” cash instead of land as part of the resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) package of the state government. Villagers say, Prajapati is not the only one to be picked up for his “involvement”. Not just men, tens of womenfolk in the absence of their husbands, were taken to the police station for their a crime which they say they never committed.
GANGA NGT Stop wasting money on Ganga cleaning The Green Tribunal has directed the Centre not to “spend a single penny more” on cleaning up operations of the Ganga between Haridwar and Unnao (in UP) till their next order. The tribunal said that a substantial amount of Rs 20K cr has been spent so far by govt officials who knew nothing about the subject. NGT got infuriated when officials of various departments who deposed before the tribunal gave repetitive and incorrect data related to various queries. The green panel also pulled up both the MoEF & MoWR saying they cannot play a “blame game” in discharging their duties. According CPCB in its report has found 33 new drains filthing the river. Ganga tributary Ban Ganga situated at Shukartal in Bijnor district was in worst condition. Similarly many tributaries have almost met the same fate due to liberal dumping of all sorts of waste into them. So true about the govt officials having no clue about the rivers.
CPCB Heavy metals, pesticides in Ganga Water sample tested by the CPCB has found that 33 drains release effluents into Ganga on the Haridwar-Kanpur stretch, of which 21 carry domestic sewage and 12 carry industrial and domestic sewage. At Chhoiya drain, water samples tested by CPCB contained arsenic, DDT, chromium and other pesticides. A total of 14 heavy metals including arsenic, cadmium, lead, nickel, chromium, cobalt and selenium were found in Ganga water on Haridwar-Kanpur stretch. On the other hand, A city-based NGO, Jagar Jan Kalyan Samiti, has lodged a complaint with the district administration and regional office of UP Pollution Control Board on Nov 20 regarding the heaps of garbage present on the banks of Ramganga. Pradeep Kumar, secretary of the NGO, sent a written complaint on November 20, along with pictures of the spot to the regional office of UPPCB, district administration, Bareilly Municipal Corporation and registrar of NGT.
Bihar Longest bridge over Ganga The ADB & GoI on Nov 16 have a $500 million loan to build a 9.8 km long road bridge across River Ganga for better link between the state capital Patna and the surrounding areas. The longest river bridge a first of its kind will be build using state-of-the-art engineering techniques. The height & length have been designed to minimize impacts on the river itself and to ensure the bridge will be able to withstand climate-related stresses such as a rise in the water level. Along with ADB’s loan and $900,000 in technical assistance to improve bridge operation and management, the state govt of Bihar will provide support equivalent to $215 million. The project is expected to be completed by the end of Dec 2020.
YAMUNA Delhi YAP-III failed to take off Private management consultants have been hired, who have engaged the retired chief engineers and senior staff of Govt agencies. Possibly, it was far more cost effective and efficient for Govt agencies to execute the projects themselves by giving the retired experts a fair remuneration. This is pertinent because it has been alleged that the contract documents of private consultants are sometimes manipulated during the course of the project. Experts who are officially on the rolls do not report for work at all, but are marked as present. It appears that their names and qualifications are used solely to win the bids. At times, whistleblowers are replaced by staff with no experience of sewage sector interventions.
NGT Why should farmers grow vegetables on polluted Yamuna The farmers’ body had contended that they do not use polluted water from Yamuna for cultivation of crops and instead use fresh water extracted out of borewells for irrigation purposes. It had also averred that there was no specific report submitted before the Tribunal that any particular pollutant was found in the samples collected from crops cultivated by the members of the society. May be NGT can take a more pro farmer view of this and ask for organic farming on the river bed and also ensure that toxic wastewater does not get used.
Report Can Bio-toilets solve Yamuna problems Combined with the renewal of wastewater treatment plants, and a reduction of commercial and industrial inputs, the water quality could be improved via the expanded use of bio-toilets. The systematic overhaul of urban water and waste management infrastructures will go a long way towards giving the Yamuna a new lease on life and meeting the government’s goal to clean and revive India’s precious rivers. Also see, Yamuna revival a sink hole of big ideas This provides a chronology of events about Yamuna River Front Development Plans.
WETLANDS & WATER BODIES
Maharashtra 500 vehicles parked within wetlands The district collectorate has initiated investigation into an alleged destruction of mangroves, reclamation and levelling of wetlands to make way for a private parking area for nearly 500 vehicles at Madh, Malad (West). If confirmed, this will be the third such violation this year, where wetlands are being converted into parking lots. The move was implemented after city-based environmentalists highlighted it. As per latest report on Nov 17 FIR has been filed against the landowner of the area for alleged destruction of mangroves. Officials also asked the officials to remove all the vehicles from the site.
Tamil Nadu Threatened water bodies of Mysuru-Nanjangud belt Of the 106 water bodies studied in Mysuru and Nanjangud areas , 69 are encroached and polluted. These water bodies are affected by encroachment, inflow of sewage water and dumping of solid waste, as per a study by Environmental Management and Police Research Institute. Also see, inspiring story of how a woman single handedly started the efforts to clean up water bodies in Chennai and surrounding areas.
Kerala Simple but unique idea revives a pond Pallichal panchayat in Thiruvananthapuram district has turned a neglected pond into a clean and beautiful space that is also helping alleviate drought. Positive story about how community efforts revived a pond in Kerala.
J&K Can mistake that ruined majestic Wular lake be fixed? EXCELLENT detailed articles with some great photos about Wular lake in Kashmir and how efforts to restore its glory has not succeeded so far.
National Water levels fall in 65% wells in a decade Behind the trend of falling water levels is India’s 251 cubic kilometer (cu km) annual groundwater extraction rate–equivalent to 26 times the water stored in the Bhakra Dam–making India the world’s biggest consumer of groundwater, according to a 2012 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization report.
Gujarat Industries in Mundra polluting groundwater A report titled “How effective are environmental regulations to address impacts of industrial and infrastructure projects in India”, points out that the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 1991, was the first to acknowledge that industrialization would impact groundwater drawl, the report says, “Ground water aquifers become even more pertinent for districts like Kutch in Gujarat, which lies in the semi-arid climatic zone with an average annual rainfall of less than 75cm.” This shows how groundwater is illegally exploited by industries in Mundra, Kutch.
Study Kolkata tap water is healthier than packaged A study conducted by Jadavpur University’s School of Water Resources Engineering has even recommended that residents should opt for the piped water that the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) supplies for drinking purposes if it is sourced directly from the tap as this is more beneficial than mineral water.
Rajasthan Jal Swavlamban 2.0 to be launched on Dec. 10 The State govt will launch the second phase of the ambitious Jal Swavlamban scheme on Dec 10. The total estimated cost of the project is pegged at Rs 2,000 crore. In the first phase of the scheme, 96,709 projects were planned with the authorities completing 94,386 of them. The public contribution in the first phase was Rs 53 crore and the govt expects a bigger contribution from the people for the second phase as it is an issue that concerns all sections of people. All together 11 departments will join hands to execute the works. works.
Video Wastewater Bazaar Indian cities generate more than 40,000 million liters of wastewater everyday; enough to irrigate more than 2 mha of farmland each year. This ITP-PiC video captures an institutional innovation in wastewater management. Wastewater Irrigation in Maharashtra
Report Crop change for better yield? Crop patterns in India are changing without consideration for local agro-climatic conditions. This puts a burden on environment, incurring huge long-term losses. The need, hence, is to learn from the past and shift to those crops which can withstand the local environment. Short-term financial gains can’t be a justification for long-term impacts on the environment and the farmer.
National Demonetization to affect Rabi crop sowing Abhijit Sen explains how monetisation would affect farmers.
National Solar tariff dips to all-time low of Rs 4 a unit The solar power tariff dropped to an all-time low of Rs 4 per unit in bidding for a 750 MW solar power project at Bhadla solar park in Rajasthan. Earlier in January, the solar power tariff had touched a record low with Finland-based energy firm Fortum Finnsurya Energy quoting Rs 4.34 a unit to bag the mandate to set up a 70 MW solar plant under NTPC’s Bhadla solar park tender. Previously, in Nov last year the solar power tariff had dipped to a low of Rs 4.63 per unit following aggressive bidding by the US-based SunEdison, the world’s biggest developer of renewable energy power plants. On the other hand, a milestone achieved as India crossed 10000 MW (10 GW) of Solar installed capacity this month, about 10% of that from rooftop. Meanwhile wind energy projects are slowing down in MP, as govt is not signing any fresh PPAs this year.
Germany Building first wind turbines with built-in hydroelectric batteries Engineers in Germany are storing water for hydroelectricity inside wind turbines allowing the towers act like massive batteries once the wind stops blowing. It’s the first major example of the two technologies being physically integrated to supply reliable renewable energy. The four-turbine project, announced by General Electric this month, stores energy from the spinning blades by pumping water about 100 feet up inside the turbine structure itself. Basins around each base will store another 9 million gallons. When the wind stops, water flows downhill to generate hydroelectric power. Sounds very interesting.
Global IEA under forecasting renewable energy growth This is very interesting that International Energy Agency (IEA) has been consistently under forecasting growth in renewable capacity over the last 20 years. So who benefits from this bias?
Nepal Hydro projects continue to invite opposition Khimti Dhalkebar power plant in Nepal’s impassable mountains. Khimti Dhalkebar will be able to provide up to 17 percent of the country’s electricity needs, but it is currently four years behind schedule because of a battle over power cables and the eviction of more than one thousand villagers.
Bhutan Distribution of fish in 3 Major River Basin Some highlights of 3 year long fisheries based survey in Bhutan: Fishery resource of Bhutan’s three major river basins. Completed two season sampling in 74 fishing stations spreading across 11 Dzongkhags (Amo chu, Punastang chu & Wang chu)
- A total of 104 species belonging to 16 families and 47 genera recorded
- 11 exotic and 93 indigenous species
- 21 new records (not discoveries) to add to the existing list of fish
SOUTH EAST ASIA
Viet Nam 471 hydropower plant projects won’t be continued The Ministry of Industry and Trade removed 471 hydropower plant projects which required huge area of land, were difficult to connect to the national grid and failed to attract investors. Relevant authorities were asked to carefully examine and assess hydropower project proposals to reject unqualified ones, particularly those that failed to meet environmental and social requirements. The ministry also asked localities to tighten overseeing the construction of hydro power plants, so that roads that were supposed to serve construction would not be used to transport illegally-logged timber.
Myanmar Vast destruction in Tatkon flooding after dam overflows According to local officials, thousands of acres of farmland in Nay Pyi Taw’s Tatkon township were destroyed after water flooded over the Nan Won dam on Nov 11. Myanmar is considered one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate disasters, with long-term flood-proofing badly needed. According to water experts surveying Myanmar’s dams and dykes, climate change means the original designs of many dams are now obsolete and other factors like sedimentation and earthquake damage may add to the risks downstream.
Laos Mekong dam projects put entire region at risk Critical to the Mekong region, which faces grave threats from climate change, research points to the fundamental importance of maintaining healthy river basins and freshwater ecosystems for climate adaptation. and resilience. In an era of unprecedented environmental change, decisions over the development of important shared water resources loom large. The implications of dams on the Mekong mainstream reach far beyond any one country.
REST OF THE WORLD
Study An ecosystem’s lifeblood, flowing through gravel A study by F. Richard Hauer, finds that mountain river systems are among the most ecologically important habitats on the continent. The new study also demonstrates that altering this complex biological machinery with dams and diversions has far-reaching effects, leading to long-term decline of the ecosystem. AMAZING insights about mountain rivers.
COP Blog Big dams must not be allowed to sink GCF Channels While little discussed at the COP, the channeling and use of climate finance must now take centre stage as the board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) prepares to meet next month in Samoa. The GCF has just begun its early operational phase and important policies remain to be developed or substantially revised.
Research Cocktail of drugs is polluting our rivers In a research paper on pharmaceutical pollution in the rivers Aire and Calder in West Yorkshire, published in the journal Environmental Pollution, the University of Leeds scientists highlight the lack of legislation to regulate the presence of drugs in rivers. A similar report mentions that after barely surviving decades of pollution during the communist era, the Danube, Europe second largest river is facing new threats from microplastics, pesticides and pharma waste.
Israel May be the next Flint Desalinated water low on magnesium is creating a stealthy public health crisis in Israel and the govt is settling for a committee.
New Zealand Earthquake Geonet commentary on landslides triggered by the Kaikoura Earthquake This sounds incredible: The New Zealand earthquake led to some 80 000 to 100 000 landslides and At Least EIGHT landslide DAMS as per this latest David Petley blog, it includes map of the landslide Dams and also the photo of the Hapaku River Landslide. There are some more photos of Landslide dam on Hapuku River in New Zealand in David Petley blog. It seems that landslide dam in New Zealand poses a threat at more than one location. One landslide is reported to have blocked temporarily the Dart River, although water is now flowing once more. Here is a report about this particular landslide dam. It seems there are many more landslide dams according to this report.
Report Drought, floods & water stress cost companies $14bn Key message: Droughts, water scarcity and stricter environmental regulations cost businesses a reported $14bn this year, up from $2.6bn in 2015. Yet companies still aren’t doing enough to protect themselves from water risks, according to a new report.
National African catfish battle to stay in India The African catfish a banned variety of fish in India as it has been posing a threat to indigenous varieties, appears to be making its way across the country. Though the Indian govt prohibited its culture in ponds and tanks in 2000, several state govts allegedly are not enforcing the ban, leading to illegal farming of the species. Scientists have termed the species a major menace, and have said it disturbs the natural tropic status of the ecosystem and deprives other native species of their food and breeding space. While the invasive fish species grows fast, it proliferates easily in all ecosystems due to its high fecundity and survival rate.