Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 20 November 2017 (GLOBAL SLOW DOWN IN HYDRO POWER PROJECTS)

It is getting increasingly clear that days of large hydro power projects are coming to an end. While in India large numbers of big hydro power projects are stalled, this week there was news from Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and rest of North East India of cancellation or stoppage of hydro power projects. http://www.sentinelassam.com/story/main-news/0/subansiri-project-not-to-see-light-for-4-years/2017-11-12/1/325720#.WgpysVuCzIV

https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2017/11/19/meghalaya-govt-cancels-power-project-pacts-with-pvt-firms/

https://www.kashmirmonitor.in/Details/136960/government-fails-to-make-mohra-power-house-operational

Pancheshwar project on India Nepal border continues to face opposition. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/traders-oppose-pancheshwar-dam/articleshow/61705308.cms  

Nepal this week cancelled the agreement for 1200 MW Budhi Gandaki hydropower project. In Bhutan, the Prime Minister declared that they are in no hurry to go ahead with new hydropower projects. http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2017-11-13/govt-scraps-budhigandaki-project-with-chinese-company.html  

In Pakistan, the agreement for the massive 4500 MW Diamer Bhasha hydropower company with China has fallen through. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/chinas-strict-conditions-force-pakistan-not-to-include-diamer-bhasha-dam-in-cpec-officials/articleshow/61660935.cms

In Mynmar, too the agreement with China for massive hydropower project stands cancelled. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-myanmar-energy/china-says-will-keep-talking-to-myanmar-over-stalled-dam-scheme-idUSKBN1D80X4?il=0

This is further reinforced by study by Dr. Luke Gibson, Honorary Assistant Professor of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Hong Kong, which concludes that among so called green energy sources, hydropower is most dangerous. https://phys.org/news/2017-10-green-energy-hydropower-dangerous.html#jCp

HYDRO POWER

Arunachal Pradesh Local resistance, fund crunch halts hydro projects in North East As per a top official of the Union Ministry of Power, the 2000 Mw Lower Subansiri Hydro Electric Project (HEP) will take at least 4 more years for commissioning after construction work resumes on it again. It is worth to mention that in one of the successful resistance movement against dams, local people have stopped the Subansiri project work since Dec 2011. They fear adverse impact of the dam on their environment and their social lives, l

The ministry official also told that work on the 144 Mw Gongri Dirang HEP in Arunachal, 500 Mw Teesta VI Lanco Teesta, 120 Mw Rangit-IV Jal, 300 Mw Panan Himagiri and 66 Mw Rangit-II HEP in Sikkim has remained stalled for the past several years now due to fund crunch. As per the officials, currently, 44 HEP with a total installed capacity of 11,993.5 Mw are under various stages of construction across India. But 21 HEPs aggregating to 6429 Mw are either stalled or stressed due to various reasons. http://www.sentinelassam.com/story/main-news/0/subansiri-project-not-to-see-light-for-4-years/2017-11-12/1/325720#.WgpysVuCzIV

Meghalaya Govt cancels power project pacts with pvt firms YET another indication of DOWN WARD trends in Hydropower projects. After a 4 hours long meeting on Nov 17 CM Mukul Sangma stated that the cabinet has sanctioned the cancellation of the agreements signed with ETA star Infrastructure Ltd for Umduna and Umjaod hydro project. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2017/11/19/meghalaya-govt-cancels-power-project-pacts-with-pvt-firms/

Jammu & Kashmir Mohra HEP lying defunct since 1992 As per the report, 9 MW Mohra HEP on Jhelum river in Kashmir, damaged in 1992 floods, remains un-repaired 25 years later. NHPC has failed to revive it. https://www.kashmirmonitor.in/Details/136960/government-fails-to-make-mohra-power-house-operational

Uttarakhand Govt pressing for clearances to 10 hydro power projects The State govt is pushing hydro power projects in Eco Sensitive Zone in Bhagirathi basin. Invitation to big disaster if this is allowed to go ahead.

During a recent visit by Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar to Dehradun, power secretary Radhika Jha gave a detailed presentation to him in which she raised the issue of the stalled hydro projects in the state as a result of which investments to the tune of Rs 41,000 crore, she said, are on hold in Uttarakhand.

A few of these projects are Lata Tapovan (171 MW) in Dholiganga river as well as Loharinag Pala (600 MW) and Pala Maneri (480 MW), both of which are on the Bhagirathi river.

However, conservationists are not pleased with the fresh interest of the Uttarakhand govt in the hydropower projects. According to Himanshu Thakkar, SANDRP instead of completely scrapping the hydropower projects, govt’s move to revive them would be a big mistake. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/ukhand-govt-pressing-for-clearances-to-10-hydro-power-projects-in-state/articleshow/61715022.cms

DAMS

rivers of pithoragarh

Pancheshwar Dam Traders oppose Pancheshwar dam On Nov 18, the fifth day of the ongoing Jauljibi fair, traders protested against the proposed Pancheshwar dam by wearing caps and erecting flags at their shops with the message ‘Pancheshwar baandh ko rehne do’ (don’t construct Pancheshwar dam). The traders said that they are worried that if the dam is built, the area where the annual fair is organized will be submerged. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/traders-oppose-pancheshwar-dam/articleshow/61705308.cms

On same day, Pithoragarh district where the dam is coming is jolted by medium intensity earthquakes measuring 3.3 on the Richter scale, at 1832 hrs. There were no immediate reports of loss of life and property. In fact the region is natural disaster prone including quakes, GOLFs, landslides and cloud bursts. Earlier in the day, a strong quake jolted Tibet, tremors of which were felt in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. The earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale jolted the Nyingchi city and surrounding areas in Tibet in the early hours. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/quake-in-rajasthan-uttarakhand/499921.html

Polavaram Dam Row Fresh tenders called for Polavaram Since the term of the agreement had already expired, it was the prerogative of the govet to terminate the contract under Section 60 C. The govt, however, decided to descope (divide into smaller bits) and give it to other contractors on the same terms. A decision was taken to call for fresh tenders on Nov 15 at the weekly review meeting. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/fresh-tenders-called-for-polavaram/article20493434.ece

In another news report, State Water Resources Minister Devineni Uma Maheshwara Rao has said that Polavaram coffer dam work would be started within a week. He also said the Vamsadhara project phase 2 works would be started in February 2018 and the work would be finished by June 2018 by spending around `1,000 crore. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/vijayawada/2017/nov/20/in-a-first-naidu-government-to-conduct-water-audit-in-state-1705822.html

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Ken, Betwa linking will hurt fishing economy Criticizing the controversial Ken Betwa linking, Dr Anish Andheria, president of the Wildlife Conservation Trust,  says that the govt’s river-linking proposal is a no-go project. According to Dr Andheria, the diversion of surplus water from the Ken basin to the dry Betwa basin will have several repercussions. “There is no such thing as surplus water. It is important for fresh water to flow into the sea as it reduces salinity at the mouth of the river” says the city based conservationist. He added that the govt has not accounted for the large number of trees that will be lost in the project. It is true that Impact of fisheries in fact is never seriously considered in any project  http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/ken-betwa-river-linking-will-hurt-fishing-economy-in-the-region-dr-anish-andheria-president-of-the-wildlife-conservation-trust-4944119/

INTERASTATE WATER DISPUTES  

Telangana water diversioin from NSP to SRS google earth image

Telangana Farmers oppose diversion of Manjeera water The diversion of water released from Nizamsagar Project (NSP) on Majira river to Sriramsagar Project on Godavari river through Lower Maneru Dam (LMD) in Karimnagar has turned controversial. As of now, there is no clarity as to how much water would be given to LMD, but the SRSP authorities said that it could be between 10 tmcft to 15 tmcft and this amount of water would be released through the main Kakatiya canal at the rate of 1 tmcft to 1.5 tmcft daily by the month-end. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/farmers-oppose-diversion-of-manjeera-water/article20398687.ece

As per farmers it had never happened earlier in the history of NSP in the last 88 years. Their contention is that only people of the erstwhile Nizamabad and Medak districts have an exclusive right over the Manjeera river waters stored in Singur balancing reservoir and the NSP.  They also reported that NSP ayacut had shrunk from 2.75 lakh acres to just over one lakh acres with the silt in reservoir and diversion of water for drinking water purposes.  http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/ryots-warn-of-clashes-on-singur-water/article20446559.ece

SYL Row Political bickering sees no end Though the matter is sub judice, ruling & political parties in Haryana and Punjab continue to level allegations on each other. http://zeenews.india.com/punjab/amarinder-singh-rubbishes-secret-pact-with-haryana-on-sutlej-yamuna-link-issue-2057158.html  

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS

Abhijit Prabhudesai in a fantastic, short video explains the threats of nationalisation of 182 km of six Goa rivers for navigation. Please listen, share and send feedback. 

Goa 4 villages reiterate opposition to river nationalisation In a meeting in Salcete on Nov 12, 4 Gram Sabhas of Raia, Guirdolim, Cavelossim and Navelim have unanimously opposed the nationalisation of 6 rivers from Goa and also the proposed development of Mormugao Port as the coal hub of Goa and all infrastructure development associated with that. https://www.heraldgoa.in/Goa/4-villages-reiterate-opposition-to-river-nationalisation-/122519.html

In another important development, Goa CM tries to wash off his Govt and Central Govt hands on allegation of link between coal mining companies and BJP govt leading to pollution of rivers. In attempt to escape growing public anger, Manohar Parikkar says that his govt has already opposed expansion of existing coal handling facilities at the MPT and written to the Centre way back in August.

“The coal licences were approved and MoU was signed before 2012, before I became CM,” Mr. Parrikar said. Mr. Parrikar also said that the MPT was a Central govt agency and coal handling deal was signed much before PM Modi took charge.

His statement seems partial victory to river protection campaigns but it is sad that like other politicians he also labels experts and environmentalist as outsiders and people with vested interests. http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/goa-has-said-no-to-expansion-of-coal-handling-facility-manohar-parrikar/article20461220.ece

Meanwhile a group under the banner, ‘Our Rivers Our Rights’ has petitioned PM Modi seeking his immediate intervention to remove all six Goan rivers from the National Waterways Act, 2016, thereby dropping the plan of river nationalisation. https://www.heraldgoa.in/Goa/Group-petitions-PM-to-keep-Goa-out-of-river-nationalisation-project/122426.html

Center Govt pushes for early completion NW-1 project The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has awarded a contract to a consultant for technical support services for the Multi-Modal Terminal at Haldia and new Navigation Lock at Farakka. These projects are part of the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) on National Waterway -I on River Ganga, being implemented with technical and financial assistance of the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs. 5369 Crore. The JMVP seeks to facilitate plying of vessels with capacity of 1500-2000 tons in the Haldia-Varanasi. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=173443

RIVERS

drp 4

Dr. Latha Anantha a river crusader passes away With deep sadness and heavy heart, this is to inform that river warrior Dr Latha Anantha is no more. She had been fighting serious illness for some years and like her unending fight to save the Chalakudy river from the Athirapally Dam, we thought she will win this battle too, but unfortunately, she breathed her last around 8 today (Nov 16, 2017) morning.

I have been in touch with her since almost two decades and had the privilege to work with her all these years. As my colleague Parineeta Dandekar wrote this morning, Chalakudy river and Athirapally waterfalls would be feeling lonely this morning without her. They, like us, have lost a dear friend.

When some of the organisations came together three years back to celebrate INDIA RIVERS WEEK in 2014, and also institute BHAGIRATH PRAYAS SAMMAN to honour river warriers, she was natural choice in the very first year.

Latha then was part of the Jury for the BPS awards. Two weeks back when the Jury met for selection of awards this year, she could not come due to her illness, but she joined over conference call, and we could see she was in deep pain. But it was amazing to hear when she told one of us that she hopes to be at the Jury meeting next meeting.

SHE WILL ALWAYS BE WITH US. Here is what Parineeta wrote about then:  https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/dr-latha-anantha-cpss-and-river-research-centre-for-the-rivers-to-flow/

India Water Portal http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/chalakudy-river-system-winsand International Rivers also pay tributes to the leading Rivers conservationist https://www.internationalrivers.org/blogs/433/remembering-latha-anantha

Sirsa River Map

SANDRP Blog Failing CETP In Himachal’s Pharma Hub, Poisons River Sirsa & Villagers’ Lives The Sirsa river in the Shiwalik foothills of Himachal, which flows into the Satluj, has been reduced to a drain carrying toxic industrial effluents of the Baddi Barotiwala Nalgarh Industrial hub, over the last ten years. The river has several villages located along its banks that have been impacted as a result of untreated effluents and toxic water being drained into it by more than 2000 industrial units in the region. The worst affected were the Gujjars, a pastoral community dependent on rearing cattle and buffaloes. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/failing-cetp-in-himachals-pharma-hub-poisons-river-sirsa-villagers-lives-non-stop/

This report was originally published on HIMDHARA website http://www.himdhara.org/2017/11/12/common-effluent-ill-treatment-in-worlds-third-largest-pharma-hub/

Centre Nitin Gadakari Interview “LEAVE RIVERS TO ME” is the amazing statement by Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadakari in this interview. He is full of bluster here. There is no dearth of funds. Big Dams, River Linking, Ganga, Navigation, Floods, Drought, Farmer Suicides, all will be tackled and you will see results by 2019, including in Ganga, improving BOD and COD. http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/nov/19/nitin-gadkari-just-leave-the-rivers-to-me-1705025.html

Maharashtra River Pollution SC fined Govt Rs 100 cr for Ulhas, Waldhuni pollution without delay In a LANDMARK DECISION SC imposes Rs 100 crore one of highest compensation to be paid by a govt against environmental violations. for the restoration of Ulhas and Waldhuni rivers. The verdict came on the PIL filed by Vanashakti. http://www.livelaw.in/will-pay-rs-100-cr-restore-ulhas-walduni-rivers-maharashtra-govt-tells-sc-2-years-ngt-order-read-orders/

The SC bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta also directed the State Chief Secretary Sumit Mullick to make a decision on the payment then and there in the court without any further delay, after which he agreed, and it was decided that the entire sum will be paid within two months with the first tranche of Rs 50 crore paid within four weeks. http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-maharashtra-must-pay-rs-100-cr-to-restore-ulhas-without-delay-2560061 

As per another report, the money will be used to set up a sewerage network and effluent treatment plants in Ulhasnagar, Ambernath, Badlapur and Kalyan-Dombivli, all areas that release untreated domestic and industrial waste into the river. Also see the timeline of the Ulhas, Waldhuni pollution case. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/cleaning-of-ulhas-waldhuni-rivers-in-mumbai-sewerage-network-treatment-plants-to-be-set-up/story-wit1BoHrA6q5Ax9ke7AhnO.html

Meanwhile, RTI reply has revealed that pollution levels in Mithi in Mumbai, Mula in Pune and Kundalika in Roha, Raigad district has gone up 9 times higher than acceptable limits.

As per report, Mumbai generates 2500 MLD sewage of which 600 to 700 MLD enters Mithi without treatment.  Pune generates 700 MLD of sewage, of which 600 MLD is being treated and 100 MLD is discharged directly into the Mula Mutha rivers.  Less than 100 MLD of sewage is generated by small towns along the Kundalika River. 2-3 MLD sewage enters the river without being treated. Most of its pollution comes from industrial wastes.

It is worth to mention that Maharashtra has 49 polluted river stretches, highest in the country, which including Mithi, Ulhas, Vaitarna, Godavari, Bhima, Krishna, Tapi, Kundalika, Panchganga, Mula-Mutha, Pelhar and Penganga. 3,000 MLD of untreated sewage and industrial effluents are discharged into the state’s water bodies daily.-http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/pollution-in-three-maharashtra-rivers-is-nine-times-permissible-limit/story-RCuTrl8zi8tmFoOvgKR2zI.html

In another significant development, 6 days after the visit of Environment Minister, 10 members including Board of Directors of the Taloja CETP have been booked on Nov 14 over release of untreated industrial waste into Kasadi River near Navi Mumbai. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/maharashtra-govt-blames-effluent-treatment-plant-for-kasadi-river-pollution-books-10-members/story-9GVVGSV3ATDPDVraGHyniM.html

According to MPCB, the area has nearly 1,000 pharmaceutical, food and engineering factories spread across 2,157 acres at the Taloja industrial area in Navi Mumbai. Of these, 347 small and medium-scale industries, mostly comprising chemical, pharmaceutical and food processing, are polluting industries with one CETP treating effluents. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/maharashtra-raps-state-pollution-control-board-for-failing-to-act-against-industries-in-taloja/story-unS6L42fZihLyBYyeceLHO.html

The State Govt is planning to ban plastic carry bags after the Gudi Padwa (Maharashtrian New Year) next year. The issue of plastic waste was in the news during the recent floods in Mumbai. Several fact-finding reports on the July 26, 2005 deluge had blamed plastic bags for blocking storm-water drains in the city http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/sep/13/maharashtra-govt-planning-to-ban-plastic-carry-bags-from-next-year-environment-minister-1656276.html

Report Slow death of rivers is real threat to Hinduisms In the thought provoking report Gauri Noolkar rightly argues that Hindu religion and culture, without South Asian rivers, would never be the same. https://thediplomat.com/2017/11/the-real-threat-to-hinduism-the-slow-death-of-indias-rivers/

Jammu & Kashmir Pollution continue to kill Jhelum River The Jhelum River which is the prime water source for Kashmiri people, has been neglected for any concrete policy on drainage and sewage treatment. A famous saying about the river “all roads lead to Jhelum” has been altered to “all drains lead to Jhelum”. The pollution to river Jhelum is mainly in the form of sewage from various domestic, commercial and industrial sources. Wastewater treatment is not given the obligatory importance in our state as it deserves and, therefore, sewage is being discharged into Jhelum without any treatment and ultimately elevates the organic matter load in the river. http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/opinion/valuing-the-environment/266424.html

Andhra Pradesh NGT refuses to set aside green clearance for Amaravati capital This is unfortunate NGT decision. The project would certainly adversely affect the Krishna flood plain.

– In the conditions it stipulated, the Tribunal directed the AP govt to not alter the course of the Krishna river, its flow pattern or natural storm water morphology and also restrained them from altering the pre-existing embankments. The NGT constituted two-committees, one supervisory and one for implementation to enforce these conditions.

– The Capital city area is located on the border of Guntur and Krishna districts and will be spread over 217.33 square kilometers of area. It will consist of 24 revenue villages and part of Tadepalli Municipality falling in Guntur district, covering Thulluru, Manglagiri and Tadepalli mandals.

– The state govt has notified an area of about 7068 sq. km for capital region and 122 sq. km as Andhra Pradesh capital city.

– In other conditions, the Tribunal said that the project proponent shall conduct a comprehensive study on hydro-geomorphology for effective management of water retention ponds, reservoirs, storm water drains and overall water conservation.

– It also directed the state govt and concerned authorities to include rain water harvesting, use of solar energy and treated grey water for non-potable purposes as part of its building bye-laws. It has also specifically asked the state govt to prepare a climate change mitigation plan to achieve carbon neutrality, as stated in the EC, within six months.

– The capital city’s forest cover of about 251 acres has to be preserved as its green lungs and it cannot be used for making a park or for recreational activities, the Tribunal added. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-ngt-refuses-to-set-aside-green-clearance-for-amaravati-capital-2560996

GANGA Uttarakhand Sparsh Ganga activist held for smuggling turtles in Haridwar Forest department has rescued 4 turtles which are listed as an endangered species on Nov 18 in Haridwar and arrested two accused, including an activist of Sparsh Ganga movement run by former CM and Haridwar Lok Sabha MP Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/sparsh-ganga-activist-held-for-smuggling-turtles-in-haridwar/articleshow/61705499.cms

Meanwhile religious bodies in Haridwar have criticised the state  govt for delay in nullifying the erstwhile Congress govt’s notification, declaring the Ganga as a canal from Bhoopatwala to Shri Daksheswar Mahadev temple — a stretch within which lay Har ki Pauri. The notification was seen as an attempt to “avoid” problems for development works close to the Ganga bank. http://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/why-delay-on-scrapping-canal-tag-to-ganga-stretch-asks-priests/story-o6D78lHtKfqVpMRPFC8CSI.html

SAND MINING

Rajasthan SC bans sand mining by 82 lease holders Supreme Court (SC) on Nov 16 restrained 82 large sand mine lease holders in the state from carrying out mining of sand and bajri in the state with immediate effect unless a scientific replenishment study is completed and the matter is fully and dispassionately considered by the MoEF and an environmental clearance is granted or rejected.

The apex court also directed the chief secretary to file an affidavit over the allegation that the state of Rajasthan is complicit with the miners/quarry holders and sand and bajri is being mined with impunity. The reply had to be filed within four weeks. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/sc-bans-sand-mining-by-82-lease-holders-in-state/articleshow/61679406.cms

Madhya Pradesh Govt brings new sand mining policy It seems Govt has allowed open loot of sand in the name of common man as being unfamiliar with digital technology they would not be able to go through the online processes.  There seems no concern shown for rivers which have already been ravaged of illegal mining. According to another news report, the sand mining and sale policy 2017′, is reportedly prepared with recommendations from IIT Kharagpur experts.  Experts from IIT Kharagpur are studying effect of sand mining on rivers in the state. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/madhya-pradesh-govt-opens-sand-mines-for-all/articleshow/61648255.cms https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/cabinet-nod-to-new-sand-mining-policy-in-mp-on-the-cards/articleshow/61632838.cms

Maharashtra Illegal sand mining responsible for damaged of Palghar bridge The public works department (PWD) in Palghar has said that illegal sand mining by sand mafia from Vasai,Virar, Navi Mumbai and Thane is what caused cracks in the bridge over Vaitarna river in Palghar. The bridge was constructed in 1988 to link tribal hamlets in the area and was shut down for heavy vehicles in Dec 2014, after it developed cracks in its foundation. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/illegal-sand-mining-is-to-blame-for-damaged-palghar-bridge/story-Na5OJZ0ygMzw2tFHldZm5H.html

Jammu & Kashmir Ravi river dying because of illegal mining The video shows that illegal mining in Ravi river in Kathua district is posing threat to environment and heavy loss to state exchequer. Under the nose of state government, the Punjab based stone crushers are mining the river bed beyond the legal mark causing severe damage to the river. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICGOx2sKsiA

Tamil Nadu PIL seeks closure of sand quarries A PIL filed in the Madras High Court by Anbumani Ramadoss, the sitting MP, has sought  a direction for State govt to close down permanently all sand quarries situated across the State and consequently begin promoting the use of alternatives to river sand for constructing govt as well as private buildings. According to petition, ever since the Govt has taken over sand quarrying through the PWD, there has been reckless mining of sand in all important river basins in Tamil Nadu. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/anbumani-seeks-closure-of-sand-quarries-in-state/article20448389.ece

Telangana Karim Nagar police uses drone camera to checks illegal mining As per the report, Karim Nagar police has successfully uses drone technology to check illegal sand mining operations in Khajipur and Elgandal villages, the Karimnagar. During the aerial survey, the police identified 7 sand dumps, which were covered with hay in various locations. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/now-drone-camera-checks-illegal-sand-mining/article20493591.ece

WETLANDS

Haryana MCG outsources pond revival work Very strange instead of community participation Gurgram Corporation outsourcing pond revival work but not many has shown interest despite repeated tendering for Sukhrali and Basai ponds. IT SEEMS GROUNDWATER WILL BE PUMPED INTO THE WATER BODIES along with beautification of surrounding areas. Out of 120 water bodies in Gurugram only 16 shorted listed as revive-able. State Govt wish to set up a Pond Management Authority for the rejuvenation and development of more than 14,000 ponds. 50-60 new water bodies would be developed in the national capital region. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/mcg-to-revive-16-water-bodies-four-in-first-phase/articleshow/61679539.cms   

Kerala Residents halt wetland conversion Though the local people did not allow the work to be completed, a major portion of the site had already been filled for business ventures in Lakkidi and surrounding areas in Kunnathidavaka village, a hotspot on the Western Ghats and major catchment area of the Kabani river, in Wayanad district. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/residents-halt-wetland-conversion/article20446178.ece

Meanwhile Kerala Bird Atlas survey finds that groves of the midland in Kannur district support a metapopulation of forest birds & 24% of species in the district subsist on unprotected wetlands http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-kerala/bird-atlas-puts-focus-on-wetlands/article20423481.ece

Jammu & Kashmir  Pollution of water bodies resulting in vanishing fish, turtle doves, migratory birds Kashmir’s fish are dying because of eutrophication (excess of nutrients leading to oxygen depletion), turtle doves have almost stopped visiting paddy fields to pick grain and, alarmingly, lesser numbers of migratory birds have so far come to the Valley this year. http://indianewengland.com/2017/11/environmental-doomsday-kashmirs-vanishing-fish-turtle-doves-migratory-birds/

Tamil Nadu Documentary on water bodies ‘Coimbatore’s Last Drop,’ a 20-min documentary aims at creating an awareness about the city’s much abused lakes  Selvachintamani, Muthannan, Singanallur, and Ukkadam, and the Noyyal River. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/documentary-on-water-bodies/article20464045.ece, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FevBELOk-eE  

GROUND WATER

Uttar Pradesh Sprinkling to impact water supply later Despite facing a daily shortage of about 130 million litres govt departments like LMC, Jal Sansthan, Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) and fire police are drawing more than 1 lakh litre of groundwater daily to provide relief from pollution. This is despite the fact that Lucknow has been facing severe dip in the groundwater level for the past many years. Water is even being drawn from those localities which are worst-hit by the depleting groundwater level, like Aliganj and Alambagh. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/sprinkling-to-impact-water-supply-later/articleshow/61697715.cms

Punjab MC fails to check illegal groundwater extraction RTI reply reveals Mohali Corporation (MC) being ineffective on taking actions against violation of ground water use. Report also mentions political interference has made their work more difficult. It had issued only 568 challans for water wastage, but recovery was made from only 211 residents. Intriguingly, no challan was issued in Zone A where 5 & 6 were issued in Zone B & C in last six months.  There are more than 1,000 tubewells in the city. MC officials claimed water is available at 110 feet, but potable water is only after 600-650 feet under the ground. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/water-wastage-mc-issued-only-568-challans-in-9-months/articleshow/61620729.cms

Telangana NGT fail to punish big pharma for water pollution EXCELLENT, FORTHRIGHT, CRITICAL analysis of how judiciary has treated the water pollution issue in Patancheru over the last 18 years, including The Supreme Court, High Court and now NGT.

– While it is the govt’s responsibility to ensure that public assets such as water bodies are not polluted by industries, the responsibility of the judiciary should be more than calling out the government on its omissions. It should be the responsibility of the judiciary to ascribe highest punitive liquidated damages in such a case, whereby human health and the health of an entire ecosystem have been treated with an insensate fashion by those benefiting from it. Sadly, this is not reflected in the Patancheru judgment. http://www.firstpost.com/india/ngts-reluctance-to-hold-big-pharma-accountable-for-polluting-telangana-waters-unfortunate-body-is-simply-passing-the-buck-4214063.html

Chhattisgarh  एक ज़रूरी बहस, भूजल प्रतिबंध अरुण तिवारी  05 नवम्बर को एक एजेंसी के हवाले से छपी एक खबर के मुताबिक, राज्य सरकार ने रबी की फसलों के लिए भूमिगत जल के उपयोग पर प्रतिबंध लगा दिया है। सरकार ने धान की खेती पर प्रतिबंध का भी आदेश जारी कर दिया गया है पर किसान सभा इसका कड़ा विरोध कर रही है।  http://www.internationalnewsandviews.com/chhattisgarh-groundwater-restrictions/

WATER

Punjab Govt alleges discrimination in allocation of funds Sources in the Punjab govt said that for the fiscal 2017-18, tentative allocation of Rs 38.30 crore was approved for the state, whereas neighbouring Haryana will get Rs 54.84 crore 43% more under National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP). As per report due to area in Haryana bordering Rajasthan, an additional allocation of Rs 49.21 crore was being made to it. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ludhiana/parts-of-punjab-parched-still-gets-less-funds-for-rural-drinking-water/articleshow/61637819.cms

Andhra Pradesh Govt to conduct water audit The State, the Andhra Water Resources Department is going to conduct water audit in the first week of January 2018. Water Resources Minister Devineni Uma Maheshwara Rao has said that the water levels in dams and all other water bodies in the State have been increased during the rainy season. State level water audit in Andhra is an interesting initiative, provided, it is a decentralised effort starting from lower management units. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/vijayawada/2017/nov/20/in-a-first-naidu-government-to-conduct-water-audit-in-state-1705822.html

DELHI WATER

NGT had asked Delhi govt to identify one of the most polluted areas in the city and spray water from a height there (Sonu Mehta, HT FILE)
The NGT had on Tuesday asked Delhi government to identify one of the most polluted areas in the city and spray water from a height there.(Sonu Mehta/HT FILE)

75,000-litre water sprinkled at ITO fails to make a difference Sprinkling 75,000 litres of water for nearly an hour has failed to bring down pollution levels at ITO as per. CPCB’s air quality monitoring station. The apparent ineffectiveness of exercise raised questions about the efficacy of the Delhi govt’s proposal to spray water from helicopters to bring down pollution levels in the city.  http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/delhi-pollution-75-000-litres-of-water-sprinkled-at-ito-fails-to-make-a-difference/story-D9zxF9GYXVZwucNydVzi1M.html

FLOOD 2017

Jammu & Kashmir Flood Channel, Invitation To Disaster! A report on SRINAGAR FLOODS by Mohammad Ashraf, I.A.S. (Retired), Former Director General Tourism.

“A typical example of apathy and total neglect is the condition of the flood spill-over channel. It has been specifically made to by-pass the flood waters so as to save Srinagar from any disaster. It was constructed in 1904. Many times, this channel has saved the city from inundation. At present the channel is fully silted up. In fact, in some places trees are growing inside it. At many spots its bottom is hardly ten feet lower than its banks. Because of encroachments and the silting, in 2014 the channel failed to save the city. But if excavated and deepened properly it could prevent inundation of the capital city during future floods!” http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/11/16/flood-channel-invitation-to-disaster/

AGRICULTURE

A farmer fills a compost pit with sugarcane leaves to make fertilizer in Meerut (Photo Credit Parvez Khan)
A farmer fills a compost pit with sugarcane leaves to make fertilizer in Meerut.   | Photo Credit: Parvez Khan

Solution to Stubble Burning Meerut farmers offer solution to stubble burning In a positive attempt over 50 villages in Meerut have started an environment-friendly initiative. They have stopped burning crop residue, paddy waste and sugarcane leaves; instead, their farmers have started making organic manure from the remains http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/meerut-farmers-dont-burn-crop-stubble-they-make-manure-out-of-it/article20392428.ece

There is one more article making some suggestions to reduce and avoid burning of paddy straw by Punjab farmers. https://theprint.in/2017/11/07/terrorise-stubble-burning-problem/

SOUTH ASIA

Bhutan Landmark statement by PM The govt is not in a rush to build new hydropower projects, PM Tshering Tobgay said in the National Assembly on Nov 18, 2017. Few relevant facts from the report

– 83 percent of the works on Punatshangchhu I and 72 percent on Punatsangchhu II have been completed to date. He said that 90 percent of the works on Mangdechhu project, which did not encounter many problems, have been completed

– Nikachhu hydropower project has started

– Detailed project report for the Nyera Amari hydroelectric project is ongoing.

– since the Kholongchhu project was a Joint Venture between SJVN (India) and Druk Green (Bhutan), a concessional agreement has to be signed. However, the signing had to be halted when the Indian government released its Guidelines on Cross Border Trade of Electricity in December 2016. He said the two sides are in discussion to resolve issues that have emerged with the guidelines. http://www.kuenselonline.com/govt-failed-to-start-even-one-hydropower-project-ol/

Pakistan Govt rejects China aid to Diamer Bhasha dam The US 14 Billion Diamer Bhasha in POK not to be funded by China as Pak finds the Chinese conditions unacceptable. The 4500 MW, 6 MAF storage project would now be funded by Pak from its own resources.

-Currently, about 15 prioritised energy projects valuing at $22.4 billion and having 11,110-megawatt generation capacity are part of the CPEC framework. Among these, only two are hydroelectric power projects with cumulative capacity of 1,590MW. Most of the CPEC energy projects are based on coal.

-Ground-breaking of the Diamer-Bhasha Dam has been performed five times in the past 15 years.

-Sources in Pakistan said international lenders were linking serious conditions with the provision of funding, and the project cost had reached $14 billion against the original estimates of $5 billion.

-Construction work on the dam site would begin next year and the govt would complete it in nine years, he said. Work on the power generation site will begin two and a half years after the start of work on the dam.

-The Wapda chairman said 969MW Neelum-Jhelum and 1,410MW Tarbela extension projects would be commissioned in February next year. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/chinas-strict-conditions-force-pakistan-not-to-include-diamer-bhasha-dam-in-cpec-officials/articleshow/61660935.cms

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-walks-out-of-chinese-project-for-pok-dam/articleshow/61662966.cms https://tribune.com.pk/story/1558475/2-pakistan-stops-bid-include-diamer-bhasha-dam-cpec/

In recent past Myanmar too has scrapped hydro dam construction agreement with China http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-myanmar-energy/china-says-will-keep-talking-to-myanmar-over-stalled-dam-scheme-idUSKBN1D80X4?il=0

p1-anchor-29102017081153-1000x0

Nepal Govt scraps Budhigandaki project with Chinese company On Nov 13, in an important development, Nepal cabinet has decided to scrap the agreement signed with the Chinese company, Gezhouba Group, for the construction of Budhigandaki Hydroelectric project  following the directives of various parliamentary committees.The govt has allocated a budget of Rs5.33 billion for the project’s development for this fiscal year. http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2017-11-13/govt-scraps-budhigandaki-project-with-chinese-company.html

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2119725/nepal-cancels-hydro-dam-deal-chinese-state-firm

There is speculation here that the 1200 MW Budhi Gandaki project may be allotted to India’s NHPC. It was earlier allotted to a Chinese company and allotment cancelled last week. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/nepal-scraps-hydro-project-with-china-company-indian-co-to-get-it/articleshow/61650423.cms

As per another news report Nepal will export electricity to India. That may be a reality as soon as next year, if the 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi HEP gets commissioned next year as this news report says. The question, is what will be terms of such export when India is already power surplus country? http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2017-11-20/upper-tamakoshi-hydro-project-achieves-major-milestone.html

In another significant development Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC) have signed the joint venture (JV) pact for the construction of 750-MW West Seti Hydropower Project on Nov 16, 2017.

– The preliminary JV pact was signed between NEA and CTGC for the construction of West Seti Hydropower Project on Jaunary 16, 2017.

– Earlier, NEA had turned down CTGC’s proposal to revise down the installed capacity of West Seti Hydropower Project to 600MW from 750MW, citing the drop in water level in the river.

– In August 2012, the government and CWE Investment Corporation, subsidiary of CTGC, signed an MoU to construct the hydropower project. As per the MoU, the Chinese company will have a 75 percent stake in the joint venture company, while the NEA will hold the rest.

– Of the 75 percent equity, CWE will allot 10 percent to locals residing around the project site. CWE also holds the right to float shares to the public in Nepal. However, it must keep at least 51 percent of the company’s shares, according to the joint venture agreement. http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2017-11-16/nea-ctgc-sign-jv-pact-for-construction-of-west-seti-hydropower-project.html

Meanwhile two NGOs of Nepal and India have proposed revising Koshi and Gandak treaties. Speaking at a workshop entitled ‘The Shared Watercourses Summit’ organized jointly in Kathmandu by Pro Public of Nepal and Indian Environment Law Organization (IELO), Shawhiq Siddiqui, a legal expert of IELO, said that the two treaties can be updated for addressing problems that communities in both Koshi and Gandaki river basins are facing. Siddiqui also said that most of the clauses in both the treaties include project development which has already been completed. http://www.myrepublica.com/news/31053/

Bangladesh Govt drawing up a Delta Plan 2100 with Netherlands Some interesting statistics: –The world’s largest dynamic delta, Bangladesh, lies in the confluence of three mighty rivers — the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Meghna.

-The country is crisscrossed by around 700 rivers of which 57 are trans-boundary ones — 54 with India and the rest with Myanmar.

– The rivers cover around 4.7 million hectares area. Nearly 6,000km inland river transport route is the easiest, environment-friendly and cheapest mode of transportation.

-With only 7 percent of the river catchment areas within its territory, Bangladesh receives 1 to 1.4 billion tonnes of river sediment annually.

– Land-starved Bangladesh loses 5,000 hectares of land to river erosion annually rendering 50,000 families landless or homeless, and 70 percent of them end up in the capital for livelihood.” http://www.thedailystar.net/city/rivers-must-flow-freely-1489063

Meanwhile, engineers of the Water Development Board (WDB) at a public consultation on revision of Dhaka’s detailed area plan (DAP) reveal complete failure of previous plans in checking encroachment and damage of wetlands and floodplains by influential real estate sector.

-With the vital recommendations on wetland and flood flow zone conservation in the present DAP remaining unimplemented in the face of opposition from influential realtors, the govt is drawing up yet another 20-year plan at a cost of Tk 33 crore for the period from 2016 to 2035 for a “planned Dhaka city”.

-According to leading urban planners, an estimated 83 percent of the conservable flood flow zones and wetlands have already been destroyed and grabbed by influential realtors and businessmen. Engineers of the Water Development Board (WDB) at a public consultation on revision of Dhaka’s detailed area plan (DAP) on Nov 14 http://www.thedailystar.net/city/wetlands-must-flood-control-1490926

One more news report says that dozens of new islands have emerged from the waters around Bangladesh over the last decade, providing a possible solution to the existential threat that rising sea levels pose to the low-lying coastal nation.

Every year Himalayan rivers carry an estimated one billion tonnes of silts and deposit them in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Bangladesh, forming islands in the shallow waters.

Many of these islands, known as chars in Bangladesh, are already inhabited. Dhaka research centre had shown a net gain of territory of around 12-14 sq kms.

Most of the new land is near the estuary of the Meghna river, which is the confluence of the main tributaries of the two main Himalayan rivers of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra.” http://www.india.com/news/agencies/new-islands-could-solve-bangladesh-land-crisis-experts-2633379/

Tibet Demonstration to raise awareness on rivers Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) and Central Tibetan Women’s Association (CTWA) staged a demonstration at Mcleodganj to raise awareness about the deteriorating state of Tibet’s rivers. This collaborative event was a call for action to save Tibet’s rivers and to be heard at the UNFCCC COP 23 which is being held in Bonn, Germany from 6-17 Nov, 2017. One of the major concerns voiced by the protesters was to say a vehement no to the building of dams by China. The continuous building and exploitation of dams in the peninsula is having an adverse effect on Tibet’s natural resources. http://www.thetibetpost.com/en/news/exile/5804-tibets-rivers-asias-lifeline-sft-and-ctwa-to-give-voice-to-tibets-climate-at-un

WEST ASIA

Iran-Iraq quake damages Iraq’s Diyala River dam Engineers in northern Iraq are carrying out repairs on a vital dam built on Diyala river near the town of Darbandikhan in Iraq’s Sulaimaniyah province. It damaged by powerful magnitude 7.3 earthquake that struck the Iraq-Iran borer area on Nov 12 night. The dam which provides water and electricity to about two million people risks breaking and unleashing disastrous flooding. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/iran-iraq-quake-damages-iraqs-diyala-river-dam-171115191734665.html

As per dam’s director, Rahman Hani, the dam, completed in 1961, is “the strongest built in the last one hundred years” but that there is now “very clear damage to the top of the dam. It wasn’t immediately clear how the damage would impact power production. The last time the dam was renovated was in 2013. http://www.timescolonist.com/the-latest-iran-s-death-toll-from-earthquake-rises-to-445-1.23092137

The Diyala River, is a river and tributary of the Tigris. It is formed by the confluence of Sirwan river and Tanjero river in Darbandikhan Dam in the Sulaymaniyah Governorate of Northern Iraq. It covers a total distance of 445 km. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diyala_River   

Imminent Danger of Turkish Dam for Iran, Iraq According to an official from Department of Environment, Turkey’s plan to construct Ilisu Dam over Tigris River can pose a serious environmental threat to Iraq and eventually Iran by reducing the entry of Tigris water to Iraqi territory by 56%. Ilisu Dam is under construction. Once IIisu Dam is built over Tigris River, Hour al-Azim Wetland will eventually dry up, triggering a major environmental catastrophe in Iran. The project has drawn widespread criticism from environmental groups in Turkey and abroad, which are concerned that it will threaten endangered species and cause ecological damage to the Tigris River.

Tigris flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq. Before flowing into the Persian Gulf, the river joins the Euphrates to form the Arvandroud (aka Shatt-al-Arab) whose water stream along with that of Karkheh River in Khuzestan Province feed Hour al-Azim Wetland on the Iran-Iraq border. 

Ilisu Dam is part of Turkey’s large-scale project known as GAP (Guneydogu Anadolu Projesi) or the Southeastern Anatolia Project that involves the construction of 22 dams on the Euphrates and Tigris, as well as 19 hydropower stations. It was estimated to be completed in 2017. https://financialtribune.com/articles/environment/76236/imminent-danger-of-turkish-dam-for-iran-iraq

THE REST OF WORLD

USA SANDRP video comment on Waller Creek Restoration Parineeta Dandekar of SANDRP shares a video comment (in MARATHI) on Waller Creek Restoration Project in Austin, Texas in USA. It illustrates how restoration of a small stream is possible and how it is celebrated and how it brings together and connects thousands of citizens with the city’s natural water system. Please do listen and share. https://www.facebook.com/parineeta.dandekar/videos/10155102871168061/

Meanwhile a beaver dam smashed from falling trees inundated Mill Creek neighbourhood A beaver dam smashed apart by falling trees in recent windy weather sent water rushing from a Mill Creek wetland into a neighborhood on Nov 15y, flooding and closing streets. Eventually, crews figured out a retention pond, swollen from recent heavy rains, overflowed when a beaver dam was struck by two trees that had snapped off during this week’s windstorms. http://komonews.com/news/local/significant-flooding-inundates-mill-creek-neighborhood-closes-street http://www.king5.com/news/local/mill-creek-neighborhood-floods-as-retention-pond-overflows/492076280

Also see positive impact of rainwater harvesting in Rio Grande River catchment in US by High Desert Native Plants, an El Paso-based environmental and ecological restoration company. https://elpasoheraldpost.com/local-biologist-taps-rainwater-restore-river-fight-drought/

Study Among ‘green’ energy, hydropower is the most dangerous In a latest study scientists have highlighted some of the ecological dangers of ‘green’ energy poses. As per Dr. Luke Gibson, Honorary Assistant Professor of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Hong Kong, the global proliferation of solar panels, wind turbines, and hydroelectric dams is posing newer threats to the environment. In the study, the scientists compared the environmental impacts of hydro, solar, and wind energy and found that hydropower does the most damage. Hydropower has degraded some of the most biologically rich habitats on our planet,” said Professor William Laurance from James Cook University in Australia. He further added that hydro projects are such a disaster for tropical rainforests that he does not consider them ‘green’ energy at all. https://phys.org/news/2017-10-green-energy-hydropower-dangerous.html#jCp

As per another news report, renewable energy which has witnessed rapid capacity addition in the last three years has started lagging when it comes to electricity generation; this source of power now comprises a little less than 7% of the total electricity generated in the country. This is not good news that capacity addition from renewable power sources slows down. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-renewable-sources-lag-in-energy-production-total-electricity-generated-by-them-in-country-less-than-7-2560454

DRP 1

WWF Canada Identification and protection of Canada’s wild rivers WWF Canada has identified 10 Wild Rivers of Canada and made several recommendations for their protestation.

  1. No dams be built on the 10 wild rivers identified in this report. These rivers must be kept free-flowing.
  2. Any other development proposal on one of Canada’s 10 longest wild rivers should automatically trigger an environmental assessment.
  3. Adequate monitoring programs must be established along Canada’s 10 longest wild rivers to ensure that development decisions are informed by science.

UN Better protections needed from mining dam disasters The UN Environment Program report tallied 40 significant mine waste accidents in the past decade. Most involved dams or other storage areas that failed, releasing torrents of polluted water. The UNEP recommended govts and mining companies adopt a “zero-failure” goal for mining impoundments known as tailings dams and impose stronger regulations. There are an estimated 30,000 industrial mines worldwide and hundreds of thousands of abandoned mines that continue spewing pollution for decades after they’ve closed. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/pollution/un-says-better-protections-needed-from-mine-water-disasters/articleshow/61655603.cms

Study Dam building, deforestation threatening the diversity of Amazon fish species A paper published in the Journal of Applied Ecology by two Texas A&M University scientists warns of impacts to fisheries and fish diversity, stemming from continued deforestation of the Amazon River.  The paper, “Relationships between forest cover and fish diversity in the Amazon River floodplain,” can be read in its entirety here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2664.12967/abstract.

The paper reports findings on relationships between forest cover and fish diversity in the Amazon River floodplains. As per study Amazon, like most major tropical forest areas of the world, is being systematically cleared for agriculture, human habitation and hydropower development. https://today.agrilife.org/2017/11/11/experts-deforestation-threatening-diversity-amazon-fish-species/

Europe 31 dams planned on Ujosa the last wild river of Greece Widely regarded as Europe’s last wild river, the Vjosa is fed by dozens of mountain tributaries, running 169 miles from the Pindus Mountains of northern Greece to the Adriatic Sea. So far, it remains undammed, but a total of 31 dams are projected to be built along the river and its tributaries in coming years.  https://undark.org/article/hydropower-dams-albania-vjosa/

Research Higher biodiversity due to river-expanding measures Multiple groups of endangered and protected species are returning to river areas in the Netherlands, reveal researchers of Utrecht University and Radboud University in Science Advances. The govt project ‘Space for the River’ (Ruimte voor de Rivier) was a reaction to the high tides of 1993 and 1995. The main objective was better flood protection, but the measures were also expected to improve spatial quality and enable nature recovery. https://phys.org/news/2017-11-higher-biodiversity-due-river-expanding.html

Greece Unplanned construction reason behind Athens floods Greece declares a day national mourning https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/greece-declares-day-of-national-mourning-after-floods-kill-at-least-14/article36995987/ after ‘biblical’ flood hits Athens https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/15/deadly-flash-floods-cause-biblical-damage-in-athens Geologists however say that ‘ill-conceived construction’ made it a disaster waiting to happen. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/16/disaster-biblical-athens-floods-kill-15-unprecedented-storm/

CLIMATE CHANGE

A view of the Himalayas (Source IWP Flickr photos, photo for representation purpose only)
A view of the Himalayas. (Source: IWP Flickr photos–photo for representation purpose only)

Study Small Himalayan glaciers more sensitive to climate change This study fills an important gap.

– Researchers have now used a new technique to estimate the mass of glaciers and a new model to estimate the volume loss over a long period.

– The study, which covered 146 glaciers in the Chandra basin in the western Himalayas, shows that these glaciers as a whole have lost 19 percent of the total basin volume during the period from 1984 to 2012. However, the loss of volume for small and low-altitude glaciers in the basin is as high as 67 percent in the same period.

– The total surface area of the selected glaciers is about 660 square kilometres. The total ice volume estimated for these glaciers is 62 gigatonnes (with a margin of ± 16 gigatonnes). In total, the Chandra basin has experienced a water loss of 11.1 gigatonnes (with a margin of ± 8 gigatonnes) from 1984 to 2012, which is about one-fifth of the total estimated volume.

– “This is the first time, not only in India but globally, that we have an estimate of how much volume and mass of glaciers have been lost over a period of time in a large basin. This is the first reliable estimate of both how much water is stored and how much has been lost in the past 30 years,” Anil V. Kulkarni, the professor at the Divecha Centre for Climate Change, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, who led the research team, told India Science Wire. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/small-himalayan-glaciers-more-sensitive-climate-change

Research Sea level rise and glacier melting in changing climate “The NASA research draws on a curious and counter-intuitive insight that sea level researchers have emphasized in recent years: As ocean levels rise around the globe, they will not do so evenly. Rather, because of the enormous scale of the ice masses that are melting and feeding the oceans, there will be gravitational effects and even subtle effects on the crust and rotation of the Earth. This, in turn, will leave behind a particular “fingerprint” of sea level rise, depending on when and precisely which parts of Greenland or Antarctica collapse.”

– This is the case because sea level actually decreases near a large ice body that loses mass, because that mass no longer exerts the same gravitational pull on the ocean, which accordingly shifts farther away. This means that from a sea level rise perspective, one of the safest things is to live close to a large ice mass that is melting.

– The current research does not take into account all aspects of sea level rise. Shifting ocean currents can redistribute the mass of the oceans and change sea level, for instance, and as global warming progresses, it causes seawater to expand, and thus a steady rise in seas.

– Overall, though, the new study underscores a common theme of recent climate developments: We are now altering the Earth on such a massive scale that it puts us at the mercy of fundamental laws of physics as they mete out the consequences. https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/these-melting-glaciers-may-someday-drown-your-city-nasa-1776207?pfrom=home-topstories

The study also says that Mangalore is more at risk of flooding due to sea level rise in changing climate compared to Mumbai or New York. http://www.hindustantimes.com/science/nasa-s-new-tool-predicts-which-city-will-flood-first-from-global-warming/story-mLiq4IBqZgIC3tCZ65vBhL.html

Study Groundwater depletion causing rise in CO2 in atmosphere A new study, accepted for publication in the American Geophysical Union’s journal Earth’s Future, for the first time showed that groundwater depletion releases a significant amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere — a fact so far overlooked by scientists who tabulate carbon sources.

– Rain falling from the sky contains the same amount of carbon dioxide as is present in the atmosphere. But soil carbon dioxide levels are up to 100 times greater than carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, because soil microbes degrade organic carbon into carbon dioxide. When rainwater hits the ground and percolates through Earth’s rocks and sediments, the water dissolves extra carbon produced by these microbes.

– If left to its own devices, this carbon-rich water remains below ground for hundreds to thousands of years before surfacing in oceans or freshwater bodies. But humans are now extracting groundwater at an unprecedented pace to sustain a growing population. The US alone sucks up nearly 303 billion litres of water from the earth every day to supply drinking water and irrigate crops. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/science/groundwater-depletion-may-be-contributing-to-carbon-mess-study/article9965333.ece https://phys.org/news/2017-11-groundwater-depletion-significant-source-atmospheric.html

ENVIRONMENT

NGT completed seven years this November 2017

– For Ritwick Dutta though, the biggest problem with the NGT is that it has so far not taken on the government. “Contrary to the myth that the NGT strangulates growth, there are very few instances where the NGT has quashed a decision taken by the MoEF. It has in fact rarely questioned the government’s decision,” he says.

– A joint study by Vidhi, a legal NGO based in Delhi, and WWF India, found that the highest environmental compensation awarded by the NGT, between 2014 and 2016, was against illegal mining along the Yamuna in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The owners of the mining companies were asked to cough up Rs 252.5 crore on February 2016; they have since paid.

– Another high damage Case: Illegal construction abutting Agara Lake in Karnataka; Compensation: Rs 130.85 crore in May 2016; Against: Forward Foundation

– “Those who violate the law will have to pay but authorities cannot permit such an activity by saying ‘go ahead and do it, and then pay for the damages.” http://indianexpress.com/article/india/ngt-national-green-tribunal-delhi-smog-pollution-swatanter-kumar-inside-the-ngt-as-it-turns-seven-4943859/    

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 13 November 2017 &   DRP News Bulletin  06 November 2017

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