Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 27 November 2017 (India Rivers Day 2017: There Is Hope For Restoring Urban Rivers)

From left Arti Kumar Rao, winner of first ever Anupam Misra Memorial Award, Mahavir Singh Sukarlai, of Prayavaran Kisan Sanghrash Samiti, Pali; Winner of BPS 2017 in individual category and S. Ramachandran and Eby Emmaunuel of Meenachil Nadee Samrakshana Samithi, Kerala; Winner of BPS 2017 in organization category. 

The eventful India Rivers Day (IRD) has just concluded. It was held on 25 November 2017 at INTACH Delhi office. The theme for this year was ‘Rivers in the Urban Context’. An exhibition on the issue is open till December 01, 2017. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/11/26/exhibition-on-indias-urban-rivers-at-india-rivers-day-2017/

The program started with the welcome address by Manoj Misra. It was followed by an introductory speech on the theme by Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP in which he described the deteriorating relationships between urban rivers and citizens and how urban areas are treating their rivers as parasite.

In the key note address by Dr. Ravi Chopra of PSI threw light on the lost, ignored and abused rivers in Delhi, Mumbai, Dehradun and Chennai.

Thereafter Manu Bhatnagar of INTACH presented a detail and comprehensive case study on Hindon river showing how the river is succumbing to urban and industrial pressures.  The guiding document is outcome of extensive field and research work done over a year.

While Dr. Faiyaz Khudsar shared the outstanding work in transforming a ruined Yamuna floodplain patch in form of Yamuna Biodiversity Park thus restoring nearly extinct flora and fauna amid towering threats from fast urbanizing Delhi.

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Release of State of India Rivers 2016 report 

After the inspiring presentation the Chief Guest Sri Shashi Shekhar, Former Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources inaugurated the exhibition on urban rivers. He also launched the India Rivers Forum website. https://indiariversforum.org/

On the occasion the panellist released Reviving Hindon River book by INTACH, State of India Rivers another book as outcome of IRW 2016, a booklet containing river poems by INTACH and a calendar on Ken River by PSI.

In his address, the Chief Gust explained the importance of rivers. He shared many old and new, good and bad personal experiences he earned as a govt servant while dealing with river conservation.

After vote of thanks by Jayesh Bhatia Ji of PEACE, the brainstorming session on the issue of urban rivers by Dr. Brij Gopal, D. Bharat Jhunjhunwala, Prof V. Tare, Prof. CR Babu the leading river scientist and academician not only enlightened but also encouraged the participants to come forward for protection of rivers in the face of growing threats.

Post open house resolution () moderated by Ravi Agrawal Ji of Toxics Link, there was screening of A Road To No Where a motivating documentary film by INTACH on successful struggle against Metro rail corridor along Mutha river.

After lunch break Suresh Babu of WWF India explained the objective and purpose of Anupam Mishra Memorial Award (AMMA) and Bhagirath Prayaas Samman (BPS).  

Then amid uncertain but pleasant atmosphere, Hon,ble Justice Madan B Lokur awarded the first ever AMMA to Arti Kumar Rao (https://www.aratikumarrao.com/) a multifaceted and creative photo journalist for remarkably highlighting the issue impacting riverine ecologies of Sundarbans and North East India rivers.   

Similarly Mahavir Singh Sukarlai of Prayavarn Kisan Sanghrash Samiti, Jaipur was awarded BPS in individual category for spearheading ongoing and commendable efforts to make Pali river free of industrial pollution.

In organization category, Meenachil Nadee Samrakshana Samithi, Kerala was selected for BPS 2017 for raising overwhelming public movement to protect the Meenachil River from sand mining, dam, deforestation and pollution.

The winners shared their encouraging experiences with the participants though an interactive session moderated by Abhilash Khandekar of Nature’s Volunteers.

Through his educative and informative address Justice Madan B Lokur, the chief guest motivated everyone for multiplication of river conservation efforts and amplification of public outreach to make it a mass movement.

Post vote of thanks by Manu Bhatnagar Ji of INTACH a remembrance meeting in the memory of Late Sri Anupam Misra and Late Smt Latha Anantha was held. Remembering the legacy of departed souls, many of the friends and followers fondly and with moist eyes narrated the memories they have lived with the water and river legend.

Since 2014 India Rivers Week (IRW) and IRD alternatively are being organized on annual basis. Leading river scientists, academicians, experts, activists and concerned organizations registered their presence in the program. INTACH, PSI, PEACE, SANDRP, Toxic Links and WWF India and YJA are the key organization behind the annual endeavour.

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Ongoing Urban Rivers Exhibition at INTACH

5 days long exhibition on India’s Urban Rivers As part of the India Rivers Day (IRD) 2017 celebrations, an exhibition based on the event theme has also been set up. It displays photos related to various issues related to urban rivers. The exhibition is open from  25th November to 1st December (10 am to 6 pm), 2017 at INTACH Delhi, 71 Lodi Estate, KK Birla Marg. Please share the word about the exhibition, invite others to come visit and help us take this message and exhibition to wider audience. Write to us at: indiariversweek2014@gmail.com and ht.sandrp@gmail.com if you would want to also display this exhibition in your city or institution. We’d love for media houses to come experience the exhibit and then write about it. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/11/26/exhibition-on-indias-urban-rivers-at-india-rivers-day-2017/

RIVERS

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Yamuna Fishermen at Ramghat Palla (Image Credit: Nancy Fromming)

SANDRP Blog Explore A Living Stretch Of Dying Yamuna At The Threshold Of Delhi Yamuna River is infamous as one of the most polluted rivers of the country. A mere thought of Yamuna, brings the picture of a stinking black water course, in the mind of most of the concerned. But the initial 26 km of the River in Delhi from Palla upto Wazirabad Barrage presents a totally different Yamuna. Unlike the city part, the river here has clean flowing water. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/11/24/explore-a-living-stretch-of-dying-yamuna-at-the-threshold-of-delhi/

Meanwhile DDA on Nov 22 has  told the NGT that development of biodiversity parks along the banks of the Yamuna will be carried out in a phased manner to prevent encroachment.  http://www.dailypioneer.com/city/preventing-encroachment-biodiversity-parks-along-yamuna-to-be-developed.html

Another report covers the ordeal of Yamuna floodplain farmers’ victimized by ongoing air and perennial river pollution https://scroll.in/article/857992/farming-is-a-waste-of-labour-in-delhis-foul-air-crops-wilt-and-turn-black

GANGA Uttarakhand Stone crusher owner booked for obstructing CPCB inspection team The Pathri police has registered a case against Gaurav Aggarwal, owner of Ganesh Stone Crusher in Katarpur and 103 villagers and unknown people for stopping the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) team and members of the Matra Sadan Ashram from inspecting the impact of stone quarrying in the area on Nov 9. http://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/stone-crusher-owner-others-in-uttarakhand-booked-for-obstructing-cpcb-inspection-team/story-pHYPyPqFJ6eRC8zJxiQFdN.html

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Uttar Pradesh Gomati flow goes down by 40% According to Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), Gomti’s flow has reduced by 35 to 40 per cent over the years. The river is at its filthiest in Lucknow; it has been declared one of the most polluted river stretches in the country by the CPCB.

Experts have confirmed a number of harmful heavy metals in the river, which is the lifeline of the state capital. For the first time, arsenic has also been found in the 13 km stretch passing through Lucknow, setting alarm bells ringing for the city to make concerted efforts to save the river. http://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2017/nov/25/going-down-the-drain-polluted-river-gomti-gasps-for-breath-1711071.html

As per another news report, poor sanitation conditions, including lack of treatment of sewage, dumping of garbage into river Devha and in the open besides choked drains are the among the major issues that people of both Pilibhit city and other areas in the district want their elected members to urban local bodies to address them. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bareilly/stinking-garbage-polluted-river-poll-issues-for-pilibhit-voters/articleshow/61800211.cms

Book Review In River of Life, River of Death, Victor Mallet largely interrogates the core question as to why devout Indians, who revere the Ganga, are so comfortable with the river’s terrible pollution. https://thewire.in/199825/a-river-runs-through-it/

A tribute to Dr Latha Anantha by a friend Rivers school best legacy created by Latha Dr.Latha Anantha who spearheaded the campaign to protect the Chalakudy river (in Thrissur district of Kerala) epitomized the right and sustainable balance between pragmatic science and esoteric deep ecological thought.  Through her studies along with the strong team created in the River Research Centre, Latha was able to build an undeniable and convincing body of data that proved the fallacy and ineffectiveness of the dam. The best legacy she left behind was the School of Rivers which reaches out to many schools and brings children close to the river. https://www.countercurrents.org/2017/11/23/view-from-the-eastern-verandah-with-latha-anantha/

Madhya Pradesh Celebration of songs of the rivers

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WORLD FISHERIES DAY 21 NOV. 2017

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SANDRP Guest Blog Fishermen demand cancellation of Bhadbhut Dam by MSH Sheikh On World Fisheries day on Nov 21, 2017, fish workers dependent on Narmada River have appealed to the Gujarat and central govt to:

  • Cancel the Bhadbhut dam,
  • Ensure sufficient flow in Narmada river downstream of Sardar Sarovar and proposed Garudeshwar dam all round the year to not only ensure stoppage of salinity ingress and dilution for pollution, but also survival of fisheries livelihood for the thousands of fisher people
  • Compensate the fisher folk that have already suffered due to the reduced flow of water in Narmada river downstream of Sardar Sarovar Dam since the reduction of flow.

They hope the authorities will listen to the just demands of the over 25 000 fish workers dependent on Narmada river, but also listen to the need of the river and biodiversity of the river. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/11/21/on-world-fisheries-day-gujarat-fish-workers-dependent-on-narmada-river-demand-cancellation-of-bhadbhut-dam-rejuvenation-of-river/

SANDRP Year End Round-Up  World Fisheries Day 2017: Dams, Rivers & Fisheries in India  In an attempt to understand the significance of the issue, SANDRP with the help of selective media report, presents an overview of key developments and problems affecting fisheries and fisher folks at India and South Asia level. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/11/24/world-fisheries-day-2017-dams-rivers-fisheries-in-india/

Also see SANDRP blog published on World Fisheries Day 2015 https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/celebrating-indias-riverine-fisheries-on-the-world-fisheries-day/

Karnataka Delay in raising fish hits fishing community The delay in raising fish in the Hemavati Reservoir has hit the 300 families residing in villages on the banks of the Hemavati backwaters fishing community in and around Goruru in Hassan taluk very hard. Many fishermen, who are dependent on the dam for their earning, are now contemplating moving to other places for jobs. The delay in letting the fishlings into the dam has prompted the fishing community to doubt if the govt is trying to privatise fishing in dams, as it was prevailing earlier. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-karnataka/delay-in-raising-fish-hits-fishing-community/article20608684.ece

HYDRO POWER

Centre Gold platting rampant in hydro projects, needs investigation In his first interview after assuming the charge, power minister Raj Kumar Singh has stated that as part of its effort to address the problem of stressed assets in the power sector, the govt will investigate whether private developers ‘gold-plated’ project costs to increase the debt component, thereby reducing their equity contribution. According to the second volume of the Economic Survey 2016-17, released in August, non-performing assets in electricity generation accounted for around 5.9% of the total outstanding advances of Rs4.73 trillion. http://www.livemint.com/Politics/gRYT8gGWZs5ZZWgpOgbw1H/Govt-to-probe-if-private-developers-gold-plated-stressed-p.html

Manipur Fund crunch stops Thoubal Dam, Dolaithabi project work As per the report the construction works of Thoubal Dam and Dolaithabi Project have come to a grinding halt as the agencies concerned of the two projects have suspended work for the past three days to protest the failure to release the sanctioned funds to the work agencies. An official source on being contacted said that there is no fund at all at the moment to pay the agencies and added that the total liability for the two projects is about Rs 132 crore. http://kanglaonline.com/2017/11/thoubal-dam-dolaithabi-project-run-into-stormy-water/

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Jammu & Kashmir Over 600 Kishen Ganga project affected families still await compensation As per the report around 600 families whose land has been acquired for the project in Gurez and Bandipora are yet to be compensated while the 330 Mw project is nearing completion. http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/kashmir/kishen-ganga-power-project-affected-families-still-await-compensation/267128.html

DAMS

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Sardar Sarovar Dam SSP failed to improve skewed water distribution Sardar Sarovar Project was supposed to help improve skewed regional water distribution, in favour of Saurashtra and Kutch but that has not happened. As per the report there is a skew in Gujarat’s water resource distribution. Saurashtra covers 31 per cent of the State’s landmass but gets only 9 per cent of the water resources, while it is even worse for Kutch at 2 per cent of the eater share for a geographical spread of 31 per cent. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/the-permanent-debt-trap-of-gujarat/article9968786.ece

Also see photo feature on SSP impacts. Its true that in the absence of proper resettlement and rehabilitation measures, thousands continue to live dangerously close to the rising backwaters of the Sardar Sarovar Dam http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/blink/shoot/article9970770.ece#im-image-1

Pancheshwar Dam State lacks land to carry compensatory plantation In a RTI replied filed by Vimal Bhai, it has been revealed that trees from 3000 hectares of forest land spreading across Almora, Pithoragarh and Champawat would be cut and the State is left with no land for plantation to compensate the loss. As per the report, instead Uttarakhand compensatory plantation is proposed in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu states. http://parvatjan.com/pancheswar-dam-uttarakhand-india

Meanwhile, state forest minister Harak Singh Rawat has announced five new eco-tourism circuits, namely Dehradun-Rishikesh, Kotdwar, Ramnagar-Nainital, Yamuna-Tons Valley and Nandhour-Champawat circuits. It is worth to mention The Lakhwar and Pancheshwar dam are proposed in Yamuna Tons Valley and Nandhour Champawat circuit.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/uttarakhand-government-announces-five-new-eco-tourism-circuits/articleshow/61743298.cms

According to CM Trivendra Singh Rawat 38 light tremors were reported in the hill state in the last two years and past 25 years witnessed an increase in the frequency of natural disasters occurring in the mountain state. http://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/uttarakhand-cm-bats-for-traditional-architecture-to-curb-losses-from-tremors/story-ZRS6hMYLYzdPkgfKjZkFyJ.html

Report India power  surplus and needs no dam  The report is full of inaccuracies even though the reporter has done a lot of hard work before writing this.  https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/infrastructure/energy-hungry-india-can-neither-abandon-dams-nor-embrace-the-chinese-policy-of-building-many-large-ones/articleshow/61800944.cms

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Maharashtra Tragedy at Neera Bhima rivers link under construction site As many as nine workers died in an accident Nov 20, evening at the construction site for an underground tunnel linking Neera and Bhima rivers in Indapur taluka of Pune district.  The project aims to link rivers from water-rich areas to those in the chronically dry regions such as a few talukas in Osmanabad and Beed districts in Marathwada region.  In the first phase, work for which is currently on in Indapur taluka, a 24-km-long tunnel is being constructed that will link the Neera river with the Ujani Watershed Project on Bhima river. The plan is to lift the water further to dry areas such as Bhoom and Paranda in Osamanabad and Ashti in Beed district. Nearly 300 workers are employed and they are working in three shifts. The work was supposed to start in 2012 but got delayed due to lack of funds and finally started last year.  http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/pune-9-labourers-die-after-elevator-carrying-them-collapses-at-tunnel-construction-site-4946760/

INTER STATE WATER DISPUTES

Cauvery Dispute SC refuses Tamil Nadu’s plea for immediate release of 30 tmc of Cauvery water The Supreme Court on Nov 21 refused Tamil Nadu’s plea to direct Karnataka to forthwith release Cauvery river water from its reservoirs to make good a shortfall of 63 TMC ft at Billigundulu. However, the court asked senior advocate Fali Nariman, counsel for Karnataka, to enquire with the State as to the ground situation. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-refuses-tns-plea-for-immediate-release-of-30-tmc-of-cauvery-water/article20620942.ece

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS

Namami Barak Inaugurating Namami Barak event in Silchur, Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal said that river navigation from Silchar to the Bay of Bengal via Bangladesh would be started to boost the trade and business activities in the region.  http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/assam-cm-inaugurates-namami-barak-festival/1/1092514.html

The CM also said that the govt would soon begin dredging the Barak river in order to make it more navigable and useful for trans-boundary river transport between India and Bangladesh. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/guwahati/assam-cm-sarbananda-sonowal-announces-3-new-bridges-on-barak-river-4943646/

Barak River is one of major rivers of South Assam. It measures about 900 km from its source (in Manipur) to the mouth (in Bangladesh), of which 532 km is in India. The river is part of Surma-Meghna River System. The sixth national waterway stretch is on this river. https://currentaffairs.gktoday.in/namami-barak-festival-held-assam-11201750043.html

The 3-day river festival aimed to pay tribute to River Barak and to showcase of Barak’s potential & possibilities to emerge as hub of trade and commerce. The event culminated on Nov. 21. http://www.dailypioneer.com/trending-news/namami-barak-concludes-with-presidents-visit.html

Also see, Namami Barak theme song 

 

SAND MINING

Manipur Forest Dept bans sand mining in Thoubal River Observing severe impact of sand mining on Thoubal River as well as its environment, forest department officials put immediate ban on the sand mining as well as excavation at hills of the surroundings. The dept has also ordered ban transportation of red sand in Thoubal and Kakching district with immediate effect.  http://kanglaonline.com/2017/11/dfo-thoubal-swings-into-action-bans-sand-mining-at-thoubal-river/

Arunachal Pradesh Mining threatens scared Crane habitats The ongoing sand-mining threatens the wintering habitat of the Black-necked Crane as the season for wintering of the Black-necked crane has now begun. The mining is happening right when the Wildlife Institute of India is currently conducting a study at the site on the crane as per the order of the NGT. As per forest dept sand mining is under the Department of Minerals and Mining and not under Forest Dept. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2017/11/23/unabated-mining-threatens-black-necked-crane-habitat-in-zemithang/

Meghalaya Mining goes unregulated in Garo hills As per Centre for Environment Protection and Rural Development (CEPARD), a Tura-based NGO “excessive” sand mining was one of the reasons for erosion and rivers like Ganol changing its course. CEPARD said that illegal sand mining in Garo Hills has been posing a serious challenge for the environment and hence threatening the low-lying areas with frequent erosion and submergence of villages particular in the plain belt areas of West Garo Hills and in neighbouring Assam’s South Salmara – Mancachar district. https://www.northeasttoday.in/sand-mining-goes-unregulated-in-garo-hills/

Maharashtra NGT quashes EC for sand ghats in Gondia NGT has quashed environmental clearances (ECs) for sand mining in Gondia district. It also directed a stay on sand mining activity in the area and asked tehsildars of the concerned areas to file fresh applications. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/ngt-quashes-env-clearances-for-sand-ghats-in-gondia/articleshow/61759612.cms

WETLANDS

Industrial effluents from in and around the city have turned the Musi river, seen here at Peerzadiguda, on the city’s outskirts, frothy and toxic.jpg
Industrial effluents from in and around the city have turned the Musi river, seen here at Peerzadiguda, on the city’s outskirts, frothy and toxic.

Telangana Hussainsagar spews froth first time Several research studies have revealed that the Hussainsagar had turned into a biological laboratory producing bacteria that have become resistant to a broad spectrum of antibiotics. Even third generation antibiotics are not responding to the bacteria that thrive in Hussainsagar. Already the lake, built about 450 years ago, is dead for all practical purposes and with pollutants of all description entering the lake unchecked, it has started frothing.  

Experts point out that since Hussainsagar is connected to the Musi, which in turn empties into the river Krishna, any sort of pollution in the historic lake is bound to affect the quality of water in other water bodies not only in Telangana but also AP. A team from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), which carried out research on the quality of water in the lake, had warned of mutation of bacteria in the water body due to high levels of pollution. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/hussainsagar-spews-froth-first-time-toxic-alarm-rings/articleshow/61697780.cms

Also see a very detailed report on how effluents from pharmaceutical companies containing high concentrations of antibiotics are turning the city’s lakes and sewers into breeding grounds of drug-resistant superbugs that could hasten the end of the antibiotic era. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-superbugs-of-hyderabad/article20536685.ece

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Karnataka Polluted but Bengaluru lakes support 333 types of biota Despite the severe pollution that is choking the lakes a draft report by Environmental Management & Policy Research Institute (EMPRI) shows that over 333 types of flora and fauna depend on the eco-system provided by the lake. The report, which is in the final stages of completion, is a two-year comprehensive inventory of 1,518 water bodies. For the first time ever, almost every water body in the city has been studied rather comprehensively. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/lake-eco-system-comprises-flora-and-fauna-in-addition-to-water/article20606702.ece

The study has also suggested that no Bengaluru lake can be classified under category A (Drinking) or category B (Bathing) of the Water Quality Index (WQI), while about 85% of water bodies come under the ‘severely polluted’ category with an astounding 98% of lakes falling under the ‘unsatisfactory’ category of WQI. The study inventorized 1,518 water bodies in the city, which included lakes (keres) of over 3 acres, gokattes (between 1 to 3 acres) and kuntes (less than 1 acre) to find only 681 actually existed. http://www.news18.com/news/india/water-in-bengaluru-lakes-not-fit-for-drinking-or-even-bathing-environment-research-body-1583457.html

Kerala Restoring wetlands for climate resilience The Rs. 25-crore project taken up by the Agency for Development of Aquaculture (ADAK) under the Department of Fisheries seeks to restore and manage a total of 600 hectares of coastal wetlands for carbon sequestration and production of paddy and fish. It is the only project in Kerala to have been approved for assistance from the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC). http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-kerala/restoring-wetlands-for-climate-resilience/article20608548.ece

GROUND WATER

Tamil Nadu Water bodies help prevent flooding, recharge groundwater Volunteers of the Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI) in three months worked with urban local bodies and restored 32 water bodies across the state and increased the water holding capacity by 18% to 22%.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/water-bodies-restored-before-monsoon-help-prevent-flooding-recharge-groundwater/articleshow/61718453.cms

National Swachh Bharat Abhiyan causing ground water pollution A study in Bengaluru’s Nelamangala town found that poor sanitation structures being built to meet Swachh Bharat Abhiyan target are leading to faecal contaminants leach into the groundwater. http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/govt-s-swachh-mission-contaminating-indias-groundwater-due-unsafe-sanitation-71927

Similarly flush toilet in Ladakh to cater growing tourism need has aggravated water scarcity and pollution. But as per this report, local as well visitors are now preferring the use of dry toilet. https://www.thebetterindia.com/122341/ladakhs-dry-toilets/

Rajasthan State meets 92% of its demand through groundwater At a meeting with Union secretary for drinking water, CM Vashundhra Raje is learnt to have demanded Rs 60,000 crore for supplying potable water to 10,000 village panchayats. She said currently the state’s dependence on groundwater is 92% and surface water is only 8% and it wants to reserve the figure in the coming years reducing its dependence on groundwater. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/raje-demands-rs-60k-crore-for-potable-water-to-10000-villages/articleshow/61801225.cms

WATER

Survey 73% of Kerala’s water sources polluted Adding to the anxieties, a survey by Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority has found that an alarming 73% of water sources in the state is contaminated. Of the 3,606 water sources including rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and wells covered by the survey, 26.9% were found to be totally polluted. According to the report, houses and hotels are the main sources of pollutants (55.2%) followed by washing of vehicles (20%) and industrial establishments (11%). https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/thiruvananthapuram/73-of-keralas-water-sources-polluted-survey/articleshow/61718938.cms

Gujarat Coastal pollution at four beaches under NGT scanner NGT Pune bench, has ordered the Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) to carry out close monitoring of the entire sea coast stretching from Tadgam beach to Tithal beach in Valsad as well as from Jampore beach to Devka in Daman. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/seawater-pollution-at-four-beaches-under-ngt-scanner/articleshow/61761702.cms

FLOOD 2017

Report 10% rise in flood affected area in 36 year As per a study India’s flood-prone area has increased from 40 million hectares to 50 million hectares by 2016. The report also says that India’s total geographical area is 329 million hectares and in a year, on an average, 75 lakh hectares are affected, 1,600 lives are lost and the damage caused to crops, houses and public utilities is Rs.1,805 crore. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-in-school/understanding-floods/article20607594.ece

AGRICULTURE

Report SRI method extended to other crops The ideas and methods of the system of rice intensification (SRI) which is improving irrigated rice production are now being extended/adapted to many other crops: wheat, maize, finger millet, sugarcane, tef, mustard, legumes, vegetables, and even spices. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14735903.2017.1402504

Nature Conservancy Technology can help end stubble burning Few facts:- Crop residue burning contributes to nearly a quarter of Delhi’s air pollution in winter. In northwest India alone, rice residue amounts to nearly 33.9 million tonnes, and sustainably disposing it in the short window of two weeks before the next crop is a daunting task that requires labour, time and capital. The farmer’s quick fix for some time now has been to light a match and clear their fields. Less than 15% of the total rice residue in northwest India is being utilised through electricity generation, production of bio-oil and on-farm use such as incorporation and composting options, clearly indicating a need to find more viable, affordable and scalable solutions. https://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-edit-page/stop-the-air-assault-on-north-india-end-to-crop-burning-is-achievable-and-farmers-can-lead-the-way/

RENEWABLE ENERGY

Report Lack of PPAs slowing down solar power projects According to the survey by Mercom Capital, with the addition of 2,247 MW, the cumulative installed capacity between January-Spetember 2017 stands at 7,149 MW. But solar power projects are stranded for lack of evacuation grids or PPAs, leading to slow down in capacity addition from solar power. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/india-added-2247-mw-solar-power-capacity-in-jul-sep-2017-report/61756343

SOUTH ASIA

The cabinet recently decided to annul the 1200-MW Budhi Gandaki Hydro project contract awarded to the Chinese firm Gejuwa, citing lack of transparency in the deal made by the Pushpa Kama
The cabinet recently decided to annul the 1200-MW Budhi Gandaki Hydro project contract awarded to the Chinese firm Gejuwa, citing lack of transparency in the deal made by the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government in May.

Op-Ed Nepal hydro projects mired by politics and corruption In this Very candid article Yubaraj Ghimire is making several revelations

  • -Speculation in sections of the Indian media that the cancelled project may now go to an Indian company adds an element of mystery to the development.
  • India’s past failures in completing hydropower projects on time has discredited its image as a reliable partner in Kathmandu.
  • -During his second visit to Nepal as PM, Modi promised that projects taken up by India will be completed on time. The promise was never translated into action.
  • -The much-talked about Mahakali project that was signed between Nepal and India way back in 1996 has not moved an inch as the two sides are still to finalise the detailed project report.
  • -On the day the Gejuwa deal was scrapped, the investment board of the govt extended the deadline for “financial closure” of two other major hydro projects undertaken by Indian companies — the 900MW Upper Karnali undertaken by GMR and Arun Three undertaken by Sutlej Jal Vidhyut Ltd.
  • -As most projects remain in limbo, power brokers and commission agents lobby on behalf of competing firms for the termination or transfer of contracts.
  • Less than a week after cancellation of the Budhi Gandaki deal, China’s Three Gorges International Corporation signed a deal with the Nepal Electricity Authority to form a joint venture company to develop the 750MW West Seti Project in a time-bound manner.
  • -The vision of development of some projects as National Pride by a section of policy makers and some politicians has entered national planning and govt policies. The impact is visible in the planning and building of highways, but it has not percolated to the hydropower sector.
  • The fact also remains that projects are delayed because of corruption in the award of contracts, the blame for which lies with politicians.
  • Interestingly, none of the major parties have raised the issue of corruption or the lack of transparency and accountability in govt decisions in their manifestos, indicating a convergence of interest and method.
  • -As most projects remain in limbo, power brokers and commission agents lobby on behalf of competing firms for the termination or transfer of contracts.
  • The country’s rich hydropower resource has, of late, attracted the Chinese, as much as the Indians, who had wanted a monopoly over it. Clearly, the competing interests of its giant neighbours will continue to cast their shadow over Nepal’s future politics and development. In the current scenario of default, one country’s failure becomes a success for another while Nepal reels in the dark. http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/nepal-government-budhi-gandaki-hydro-project-pushpa-kamal-dahal-4945340/

In another Op-Ed author says that Nepal has become hostage to the power rivalry between India and China.

  • On India-Nepal Relationship- Despite the close relationship between India and Nepal, both countries have had many rounds of bitter disputes relating to various dam projects. The water sharing of the major rivers originating in Nepal and flowing into India has severely strained their bilateral relations in recent years.
  • Nepalese feel that they have not been treated equitably under the various water project agreements they have signed in the past with India. Negotiations regarding new projects on the shared river systems have been dominated by controversies due to fast decreasing mutual trust.
  • On Indian companies in Nepal- India’s GMR has received the contract to build Upper Karnali Dam while SJVN Ltd to build the Arun III. Despite PM Modi’s promise in 2015 to his counterpart in Nepal, Indian companies have not been able to start these projects till now.
  • On Budhi Gandaki Project- China does not even need to renegotiate the deal, the possible change of govt in Nepal in the coming election in few days might give back the project to Gezhouba Group. The leader of the opposition alliance, KP Sharma Oli has already declared that his govt will overturn the decision after coming back to power.
  • On China investment in Nepal- China is already the dominant investor in Nepal, from the total foreign direct investment in Nepal’s of $US 653 million in 2016, China’s share is whopping $US 291.9 million. China intends to build several large dams in Nepal. Its Three Gorges Corporation has also got the contract to build 750 MW West Seti Dam. https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/nepal-scraps-dam-deal-with-china-but-nothing-in-it-for-india-to-celebrate/304625
  • In a significant development Nepal’s Butwal Power Company Limited (BPC) has partnered with three major Chinese companies to develop hydropower projects in Nepal with an investment of up to $3 billion. It was launched on Nov 22.
  • The three major Chinese companies are Sichuan Provincial Investment Group (SCIG), Chengdu Xingcheng Investment Group (CXIG) and Qing Yuan Consulting Co (QYEC). The joint venture between BPC and its Chinese partners will begin with the Lower Manang Marsyangdi Hydroelectric Project located in Western Nepal. The project will generate over 100 MW.
  • The joint venture is aiming to develop hydro projects that will add up to 1,000 MW to Nepal’s electricity grid in the next five years with an investment of up to $3 billion.
  • The three Chinese firms are based in Sichuan Province in Western China. Like Nepal, Sichuan is rich in hydropower and has successfully developed its hydropower capability, generating over 75,000 MW.
  • Of the 3 Chinese firms, SCIG and CXIG are state owned companies while QYEC is a private firm. http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2017-11-24/bpc-chinese-firms-to-launch-1000-mw-hydro-projects-in-nepal.html

Meanwhile, SJVN has hired JP Associates for civil works of the 900 MW Arun 3 HEP in Nepal. http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2017-11-23/construction-of-arun-3-hydro-project-to-begin-soon.html

And a Nepal has decided to develop the 1200 MW Budhi Gandaki HEP on its own, through NEA. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nepal-china-hydropower/nepal-state-firm-to-build-2-5-billion-power-project-after-china-deal-scrapped-idUSKBN1DQ089

CHINA

Brahmaputra’s troubled waters As per the report there are more than 20 dams at various stages of construction at Tibetan plateau to generate hydroelectricity for China and it is feared that they will reduce the flow of water in Brahmaputra River. It will compound the already tenuous water situation in the downstream region directly affect the agricultural activities of Assam’s plain in India and most of the parts of Bangladesh. https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/national/brahmaputras-troubled-waters

Contrary to this another news report says that China, which is constructing many hydropower projects in Tibet, plans to focus on dam building on rivers close to its provinces and not on the Brahmaputra which sparked concerns in India. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/world/china-for-more-dams-on-tibetan-rivers-instead-of-brahmaputra/article9970509.ece

Similarly a strange report from China’s Global times announced construction of the 1200 MW Suwalong on Jinsha river in Tibet, costing $2.77 B. Jinsha river does not flow to India, but the report still talks about India’s concerns. It also makes unwarranted, irrelevant statement in the context of this project and this basin: “This doesn’t necessarily mean hydropower stations in transboundary rivers flowing from China to India, such as the Yarlung Zangbo River (which is known as the Brahmaputra after it flows into India), will be isolated from the plan to transfer Tibet’s electricity out, but they may be not the first choice.” http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1076729.shtml

There is another strange report in the same paper, on the same project, again unnecessarily needling India. http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1076696.shtml

One more news report says that 112-meter-high dam will be built to form a reservoir that can store about 674 million cubic meters of water. Generators are expected to start operations in 2021. http://www.firstpost.com/world/china-plans-to-focus-on-more-dams-for-hydropower-projects-on-tibetan-rivers-instead-of-brahmaputra-4224295.html

THE REST OF WORLD

Europe France launches largest dam removal project on the continent With thousands of proposed dams threatening Europe’s few remaining free flowing rivers, France’s decision to remove two large dams could signal the start of a new era on the continent – with countries focussing on reviving their rivers and on large scale dam destruction rather than construction.

With France leading the way, countries from Spain to Finland have taken down many small and obsolete dams in recent years, but freeing up the Selune represents the largest dam removal project so far in Europe – and a major step towards bringing life back to the river, including wild salmon and eel whose migrations have been blocked by the dams for decades. http://www.eubusiness.com/focus/17-11-212

Report Restoring floodplains, wetlands offer value-for-money solution to river flooding This is the conclusion of a new European Environment Agency (EEA) report, which assesses the green options available in building climate resilience in wake of the increased risk posed by river flooding. https://www.eea.europa.eu/highlights/restoring-floodplains-and-wetlands-offer

Reporters visit the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on April 14, 2017, in northeastern Japan. The disaster there has increased anxiety about such large projects among investors
Reporters visit the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on April 14, 2017, in northeastern Japan. The disaster there has increased anxiety about such large projects among investors and the public. PHOTOGRAPH BY KYODO VIA AP

Global Massive infrastructure projects failing at unprecedented rates This shows there is global trend in large infrastructure, mining, energy, dams and related projects stalled or cancelled. https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/11/mega-projects-fail-infrastructure-energy-dams-nuclear/

Report Upsurge in big earthquakes predicted for 2018 as Earth rotation slows In a major wakeup call scientists have warned there could be a big increase in numbers of devastating earthquakes around the world next year. They believe variations in the speed of Earth’s rotation could trigger intense seismic activity, particularly in heavily populated tropical regions. Some excerpts

– “Increasing numbers of devastating earthquakes” likely in 2018 in “heavily populated tropical countries”.

– “variations in the speed of Earth’s rotation could trigger intense seismic activity”

– The link between Earth’s rotation and seismic activity was highlighted last month in a paper by Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado in Boulder and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana in Missoula presented at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America.

– In their study, Bilham and Bendick looked at earthquakes of magnitude 7 and greater that had occurred since 1900.

– They found five periods when there had been significantly higher numbers of large earthquakes compared with other times. “In these periods, there were between 25 to 30 intense earthquakes a year,” said Bilham. “The rest of the time the average figure was around 15 major earthquakes a year.”

– They discovered that when Earth’s rotation decreased slightly it was followed by periods of increased numbers of intense earthquakes. “The rotation of the Earth does change slightly – by a millisecond a day sometimes – and that can be measured very accurately by atomic clocks,” said Bilham.

– This happened several times in last century and half. Each time there was a gap of five years between slow down in earth’s rotation and increased frequency of intense earthquakes.

– This link is particularly important because Earth’s rotation began one of its periodic slowdowns more than four years ago. “The inference is clear,” said Bilham. “Next year we should see a significant increase in numbers of severe earthquakes. We have had it easy this year. So far we have only had about six severe earthquakes. We could easily have 20 a year starting in 2018.”

– In addition, it is difficult to predict where these extra earthquakes will occur – although Bilham said they found that most of the intense earthquakes that responded to changes in day length seemed to occur near the equator. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/18/2018-set-to-be-year-of-big-earthquakes

Here is on more excellent article on Earthquakes, also predicting a BIG ONE is expected in Pacific North West Region of USA. https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/9/21/16339522/8-things-to-know-about-earthquakes-iraq-iran

Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety map shows the detection of Ruthenium-106 in Europe (AP, INRS)

Russia Authority admits spike in radioactivity over Ural mountain The Russian Meteorological Service said in a statement on Nov 21 it recorded the release of ruthenium-106 in the southern Urals in late September and classified it as “extremely high contamination”. But the suspected source of the leak, a nuclear fuel processing plant, denied it was the source of contamination. France’s nuclear safety agency earlier this month said it recorded radioactivity in the area between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains from a suspected accident involving nuclear fuel or the production of radioactive material. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-22/russia-admits-ruthenium-106-spike-near-ural-mountains/9178446  

CLIMATE CHANGE

Kerala Restoring wetlands for climate resilience The Rs. 25-crore project taken up by the Agency for Development of Aquaculture (ADAK) under the Department of Fisheries seeks to restore and manage a total of 600 hectares of coastal wetlands for carbon sequestration and production of paddy and fish. It is the only project in Kerala to have been approved for assistance from the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC). http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-kerala/restoring-wetlands-for-climate-resilience/article20608548.ece

ENVIRONMENT

CA

CPR-Namati Environment Justice Program Compensatory Afforestation schemes are a charade In the comprehensive report Kanchi Kohli and Manju Menon writes that the law that is ostensible to protect forests from such projects has become a scheme for legitimising forest approvals involving vast sums of money and allowing the CA scheme to continue despite its failures, the state, central govts, and project investors are engaged in a conservation charade. http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/column-compensatory-afforestation-schemes-are-a-charade-2562119

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 20 November 2017 & DRP News Bulletin 13 November 2017

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