Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 04 December 2017 (Protests Against Pancheshwar Dam in Champawat, Pithoragarh, Almora, Delhi)

Protests and controversies around Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project (PMP) are only growing louder and wider. While Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) Rivers Valley Project in unnecessary hurry considering the project tomorrow (05 Dec. 2017)  http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Agenda/2811201745T4GD5I10thAgendaEACHydro05122017.pdf

Villagers and local groups people also continue raising their concerns and objections against 5040 Mw dam project. Today, scores of villagers, environmental groups including regional political party have protested at Jhulaghat in Champawat, Pithoragarh, Almora and in Delhi demanding EAC to listen to the voices of local people and groups.

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Protest by Mahakali Lok Sangthan outside Paryavaran Bhawan, Delhi

Uttrakhand Parivartan Party submitting their petition to DM, Almora (Image Credit: Mahakali Lok Sangthan)

Highlighting the ambiguity over compensation and resettlement, of late, many affected villages have been questioning the credibility of the survey process and DRP report. Similarly citing multiple violations committed during the public hearing conducted amid monsoon, local groups have also been repeatedly asking for cancelation of these hearings and conduction of fresh one.

Video clip of protest by Mahakali Lok Sangthan out Prayavaran Bhawan, Delhi

Here is petition by experts and SANDRP drawing EAC attention and placing on record, some serious concerns related to the Environmental Clearance of the proposed dam. The concerns are both, on Points of Order, as well as observations on and serious flaws in the Environmental Impact Assessment report submitted by WAPCOS. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/12/04/new-grounds-why-pancheshwar-dam-is-unviable-project/

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There are a lot of irregularities in the EIA report prepared for this project. And, there is no credibility in the assessment because of conflict of interest. WAPCOS is a company of the ministry of water resources that has prepared the EIA, and, therefore, even if the project is not viable and against the environment, the company might not prepare any EIA which the ministry doesn’t want. The EIA of this project should be prepared by an independent institution, in order to properly assess the environmental impact the project will have. Please read and share.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/environmentalists-question-public-hearings-pancheshwar-dam/articleshow/61854134.cms

Opposing the mammoth project Mahakali Lok Sangathan has sought re-conduct of the public hearing alleging that such hearing should only be done after the local villagers are given adequate information about EIA, EMP and SIA reports in local languages. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/uttarakhand/lok-sangathan-opposes-hydro-power-project/506189.html

The group also seeks more studies for Rupali Dam. As per press release EAC panel has visited the valley but had no meeting with villagers going to affected form the project. https://www.facebook.com/sandrp.in/posts/1867616416599356

Media clips of recent protest by local people (Image Credit: Mahakali Lok Sangthan)

People at Jhulaghat town a key market at the border which is facing submergence from the dam continue their protest. http://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/in-pancheshwar-dam-waters-uttarakhand-s-jhulaghat-town-faces-tehri-s-fate/story-3klvH557reL6TKvyfeu3AJ.html

A new study has reconfirmed the possibility that large earthquakes could be imminent in the Himalayas. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/large-earthquakes-imminent-himalayas

On Nov 18, Pithoragarh district where the dam is coming is jolted by medium intensity earthquakes measuring 3.3 on the Richter scale, at 1832 hrs. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/quake-in-rajasthan-uttarakhand/499921.html

Even in Oct 2016, several places in Pithoragarh district were hit by another slight intensity earthquake of 4 magnitude on Richter scale, 3 days after a 3.7 magnitude tremor struck the region. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/Pithoragarh-jolted-by-another-mild-earthquake/articleshow/54899320.cms

As per another report, 38 light tremors have hit the 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

Surprisingly, State Tourism Development Board has identified Kali, Sharda, Saryu, Tons, Kosi, Bhagirathi, Yamuna, Gori, Pinder and Ramaganga West and East to promote water sports such as rafting, kayaking, canoeing etc by holding at least one big event on each of this river every year. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/new-destinations-for-adventure-sports-being-opened-across-uttarakhand/articleshow/61823271.cms

Similarly forest Dept has announced eco-tourism circuits in Yamuna & Saryu valley where Lakwar and Pancheshwar dams are proposed.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/five-new-eco-tourism-circuits-introduced-in-state/articleshow/61743912.cms

HYDRO POWER

Centre New hydro policy may go to cabinet in ten days As per the draft hydro-power policy, it will aim to provide Rs 16,709 crore support for 40 stalled hydel projects with 11,639 MW capacity, and to classify all such ventures as renewable energy. To hope that this will resolve the deep viability issues plaguing the hydropower sector is clearly without basis. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/cabinet-nod-soon-for-hydro-power-policy-r-k-singh/61858047

Arunachal Pradesh People seeks rollback 2000 Mw Lower Subansiri HEP In a representation to the state Chief Secretary on Nov 30, the Pro-Dam Movement of Arunachal Pradesh (PDMAP) has sought immediate rollback of the 2000 MW Lower Subansiri Hydro Electric project from the Kolaptukur under Dollungmukh circle claiming that the project will create Inner Line Permit and boundary issue between Arunachal and Assam. Several important issues has been raised here, though one does not agree with launching another project within Arunachal as it states. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2017/12/02/rollback-2000-mw-lower-subansiri-hep-from-the-kolaptukur-pdmap/

DAMS

Pennaiyar Basin

SANDRP Blog Krishnagiri dam breach a wake call for dam safety in country Going through the account it appears to be a clear case of negligence exercised by all concern state level departments and central level agencies including PWD, Tamil Nadu and CWC.It is also oblivious that corruption in the repairing work under DRIP has taken place. The contractor awarded the work has no website and is out of contacts. Dam Safety Directorate’s website list the name of contractor but not the name which dam the contractor has repaired. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/12/01/krishnagiri-dam-breach-is-wake-call-for-dam-safety-in-tamil-nadu-and-elsewhere/

Meanwhile, forecast of more rains in dam catchment has escalated the fear damage in downstream areas. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/shutter-breach-in-krishnagiri-dam-ponnaiyar-river-must-be-monitored-for-next-one-week-cwc-says/articleshow/61879953.cms

Surprisingly, CWC report on dam breach excludes negligence and corruption in repairing work in 2016. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=174033

Meanwhile, after breach water level in Sathanaur a downstream dam has increased to 118.35 feet against the total height of 119 feet. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/sathanur-dam-filling-up-water-released/article21246870.ece

Similarly, ongoing rain has delayed repair work and water level in Kelavarapalli Dam upstream, Sathanur dam downstream rising up http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/rain-delays-krp-dam-shutter-work/article21251315.ece

In another dam breach incident, 1 of the 18 shutters of Nerinjipettai barrage on Cauvery river near Edappadi too breached on Dec 01, 2017 evening.

Surprisingly 5 old shutters of the barrage were replaced in 2016 at a cost of Rs 5 crore. At that time the 13th shutter was found good in good condition left with just minor fabrication work then.

The barrage had 0.5tmc water when its 13th shutter breached. PWD officials have to down the emergency shutter set up atop the barrage to stop the breach.

There are 7 barrages between Mettur and Karur across the Cauvery river, each having a capacity to store about 0.5tmc water. Each barrage has 18 shutters, which weigh about 50 tonnes.

The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) produces 30mw of electricity from each barrage. Following the breach, Tangedco officials also stopped power production for a few hours and resumed it next day.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/salem/nerinjipettai-barrage-shutter-breached/articleshow/61899341.cms

Meanwhile, due to ongoing rain in the catchment area many dams are filling up fast, many have reached their capacity in Tamil Nadu. Papanasam dam level has touched 123 feet against its maximum capacity of 143 feet. Similarly, Manimuthar dam level has crossed the 100 feet mark against the maximum capacity of 118 feet.

Water level Servalar dam has risen to 148 feet against the maximum capacity of 156 feet. Gadana and Karuppanadhi dams reached the maximum capacity of 85 feet and 72 feet respectively on Nov 30. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/water-level-goes-up-in-dams-following-rain-ramanathapuram/article21235282.ece

Similarly the wall of the Sholavaram reservoir in Chennai, that collapsed more than a month ago, is yet to be repaired posing a threat to the lives of people living in nearby areas. The 150-year-old reservoir has been damaged at a time when the facility is being spruced up under the DRPIN at an outlay of nearly Rs 2.5 crore. Locals expressed concern that Nallur village would be flooded if the reservoir overflows as the bund would be breached in the light of the partially collapsed retaining wall. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/collapsed-dam-wall-yet-to-be-repaired/articleshow/61897694.cms

The collapse of compound wall of Lingampally dam in Hydrabad is a clear case of negligence in maintenance of dams. The 10 feet wall near Hafeezpet railway station collapsed on August 18, 2017 injuring 6 commuters and damaging 4 vehicles.

Even during last year’s monsoon season, a portion of the compound wall had collapsed, but it fell towards the inside of the compound. That portion of the wall was then repaired. Lingampally dam has 2 nine-million gallon tanks and 1 five-million gallon tank within its campus.  http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/180817/6-hurt-in-lingampally-reservoir-wall-collapse.html

In September 2017, one day before its inauguration, canal of Rs 389.31 crore Ganga pump scheme collapsed during a trial run at Bateshwarsthan in Bhagalpur district and inundated areas of a township. https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/a-day-after-canal-wall-collapse-inauguration-of-rs-389-crore-dam-cancelled-in-bi/301945

Gujarat Elections Farmers expose Govt Narmada water promises Despite the completion of the main dam, in the three main districts of Saurashtra supposed to benefit from it — Bhavnagar, Botad and Surendrangar — villagers complain of broken promises, flawed design and lack of accountability. According to the latest SSNNL report from October 2017, 20% of the minor and 40% of the sub-minor network is incomplete.

Sagar Rabari of the Gujarat Khedut Samaj, one of the largest farmers’ body in the state, says that the govt has been lying to the farmers over the Narmada irrigation issue for years now. Either the work is incomplete, what was completed is lying in ruins and the plan has been changed several times to give water to industry.” http://www.hindustantimes.com/assembly-elections/gujarat-elections-bjp-battles-farmer-ire-over-narmada-waters/story-ag9LJhSWL8j0SElWM1Z4TM.html

Similarly, Gujarat tribals near Narmada dam say that water for irrigation is an issue. But what they were getting from Narmada Dam and the statue is a pure marketing gimmick for BJP. Poor tribals have had to give up their land for this. They feel that Acche din aane waale the, nahi aaye (the good times promised to us never came). https://theprint.in/2017/11/29/gujarats-statue-unity-district-divided-much-benefit-sardar-sarovar-dam/

As per another report, the water issue of Saurashtra continue to remain unresolved after 22 years of BJP rule in Gujarat. http://www.firstpost.com/politics/gujarat-assembly-election-2017-parched-saurashtra-may-cost-bjp-due-to-persistent-water-woes-4230257.html

One more report on similar line says that despite all its sheen, the Sardar Sarovar project, and many other dams, have failed on their fundamental promise of delivering respite.  https://www.buzzfeed.com/snehavakharia/the-price-of-development-built-to-help-the-farmers-gujarats?utm_term=.jhleryVwb#.lmVEky9Y7

Villagers are opposed to Par Tapi Narmada link but Congress and BJP are playing games. http://www.thehindu.com/elections/gujarat-2017/dam-fears-rise-amid-dang-campaign/article20943653.ece 

Macchu dam disaster that hit MORBI in 1979 remains the worst ever dam disaster of India. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1979_Machchhu_dam_failure

The controversy whether or not Modi ji volunteered follpwing the diaster or not is avoidable. In fact many people who were involved in the Macchu dam issue were also later on involved in Sardar Sarovar. http://www.counterview.net/2017/11/did-modi-lie-that-he-served-people-in.html

Polavaram Dam CM urges Center to ask Andhra stop dam work State Govt seems to be performing these rituals of opposition very few months, without wanting to hurt AP and protect its people. http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/stop-polavaram-project-till-pending-issues-ap-are-resolved-odisha-urges-centre-72380

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS

Centre CRZ clearance given to Rs 516 cr Haldia terminal The clearance, however, is subject to specific conditions regarding protection of Gangetic dolphins and marine biodiversity. MoEF has directed the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) to spend Rs 10.32 crore for marine and coastal biodiversity protection and conservation measures while the West Bengal Coastal Zone Management Authority has been directed to monitor the implementation of these measures every six months. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-inland-waterway-terminal-at-haldia-gets-green-nod-2562160

Contentious Ganga dredging issue will be sent to law min To resolve their differences over the question of environmental clearance for dredging River Ganga as part of National Waterway-I (NW-I), MoEF and Shipping Ministry have decided to refer the matter to Law Ministry. MoEF in its letter to IWAI in June 2017 has said that maintenance of dredging for inland waterway navigation is not exempt from environmental clearance. The ministry had also said that as per recommendations of an expert committee, the EIA notification should be amended to include inland waterways, jetties and multi-modal terminals under the activities that need a prior EC. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-contentious-ganga-dredging-issue-will-be-sent-to-law-min-2563541

RIVERS

BPS winners a
AMM winner Arati Rao and BPS 2017 winners on IRD 2017

SANDRP Blog About India Rivers Day 2017 & winners of BPS & AMM The 2017 Bhagirath Prayas Samman (BPS) awards and the inaugural Anupam Mishra Medal for the exemplary media work on rivers were announced at a packed hall at INTACH on Nov 25, 2017, the India Rivers Day 2017, and given away by Supreme Court Judge, Honourable Justice Madan Lokur. The BPS award in organisation category has been awarded to Meenachil Nadee Samrakshana Samithi of Kerala and in individual category to Mahavir Singh of Rajasthan. Arati Rao so deservedly got the inaugural Anupam Mishra Memorial Award. Read on for detals. Plz read, share and send feedback. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/2017-bps-awards-to-meenachal-samiti-in-kerala-mahaveer-singh-in-rajasthan-inaugural-anupam-mishra-medal-for-river-focussed-media-work-to-arati-rao/

Interesting to know that on same day, there was another river festival at the Bharat Bhavan in Madhya Pradesh. https://www.patrika.com/bhopal-news/first-river-festival-sadaneera-at-bharat-bhawan-from-november-25-2027897/

BRAHMAPUTRA Understanding Brahmaputra annual flood In this detailed and informative report, author Debasree Purkayastha adds new dimension in annual flood phenomena of Brahmaputra river. Few excerpts

– As line in a famous Assamese song goes: “Luitar parore ami deka lora; moribole bhoi nai (We are the youths from the banks of the Luit [Brahmaputra]; we are not afraid of death),” people in the Valley seems to be living by the same spirit.

– It begins touchingly: “The river was swollen the morning after the earthquake, which seemed to last for an eternity. We saw fallen trees in it, people and animals flailing, dead bodies of people and animals that were carried on the strong current.”

Krishna Chawla (née Das) was 13 when a strong earthquake that lasted about eight minutes jolted Assam and adjacent areas on the evening of August 15, 1950.

The Brahmaputra River, which was always “eating away at parts of the state,” looked terrifying, she recollects. “All of us students went to help build embankments the next day, and while I was passing a bag full of sand to a fellow student, I saw the river take away the house I was born in. The house collapsed, and I stood there paralysed,” said Ms. Chawla

– The riverbed area of the Brahmaputra has increased by more than 50 per cent through erosion since the quake… erosion has destroyed more than 3,800 square kilometres of farmland, which is nearly half the size of Sikkim, since 1954. Due to erosion, the riverbed area has expanded from around 3,870 sq km estimated between 1916 and 1928 to 6,080 sq.km. in 2006. Based on the civil engineering report, between 1954 and 2008 about 4,27,000 hectares has been eroded at the rate of 8,000 hectares per year.

– Sanjoy Hazarika, director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative is unconvinced. He is for an engineering assessment, along with environment assessment, as dredging “might change the course of river.” http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/in-the-hands-of-the-brahmaputra-understanding-the-annual-flooding-in-assam/article20948196.ece?homepage=true

There is one more article highlighting the hardships of villagers being displaced by continuous erosion of the river. Indeed, the erosion affected along Brahmaputra need to be considered disaster affected and also their rehabilitation should be part of the disaster management policy and plans. This article also gives details of processes that affect such people. http://www.huffingtonpost.in/village-square/riverbank-erosion-has-rendered-thousands-homeless-in-assam-and-yet-its-not-treated-as-an-emergency_a_23198290/

Arunachal Pradesh Siang River turns muddy Siang waters turn turbid, China suspected for the cause, Indian govt need to write to China asking for the reasons. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/siang-river-turns-muddy-but-arunachal-pradesh-is-happy-with-diversion/story-8NhSbUsG9oNKkz7npqGOpJ.html

It is surprising as to why is India not using GIR and satellite images to ascertain the reality of these questions? Of course, India should also ask China, but, why not using its own knowledge sources? http://10thousandcouples.com/2017/11/siang-blackens-is-china-diverting-arunachal-brahmaputra/

Meanwhile, Global Times has cited slag as a reason for the black colour of the river. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/no-question-of-china-polluting-siang-river-chinese-media/articleshow/61893633.cms

In a latest report Union water minister Arjun Ram Meghwal referring to a CWC study has revealed that the Siang river is turning black due to a recent earthquake in the region, has said. As per the report, the path of the river was temporarily obstructed after an earthquake in Tibet on Nov 17. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/brahmaputra-water-could-be-turning-black-due-to-recent-quake-minister/story-32rlMHlb42lHSt1NdOV4gL.html

Study Sutlej played bigger role in Indus Civilisation than thought A new geological investigation has found that the Harappan sites of Banawali and Kalibangan occupied a valley in which the river Sutlej used to flow before it shifted course 8,000 years ago. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-01643-9, https://thewire.in/200038/study-says-sutlej-bigger-role-play-indus-civilisation-hampers-saraswati-theory/

SAND MINING

Uttarakhand Special squad to check illegal quarrying in Haridwar The step taken only after illegal mining surpassed legal mining in Haridwar. Concerned say who will check polic-mafia nexus. http://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/new-squad-to-check-illegal-quarrying-in-haridwar/story-vYPJtEr040leX6OGqOSwrN.html

Meanwhile following complaint of illegal mining in the Ganga in Haridwar from Matri Sadan, the MoEF has sent a team to assess the impact of mining activity in river’s ecosystem. The team will submit its report after its return to Delhi. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/moef-team-reaches-haridwar-to-assess-impact-of-mining-on-ganga/articleshow/61839182.cms

Punjab Illegal mining free as sand through fingers The detail investigative report highlights illegal sand mining going on unabated in Ravi, Sutlaj, Byas, Ghaggar river in the state. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/illegal-mining-free-as-sand-through-fingers/504761.html

India Water Portal Detail of legal procedures to follow for coastal areas mining Understanding the legal status of sand mining is important before pursuing any remedy or seeking a regulatory response from concerned authorities. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/sand-mining-coastal-areas-legal-procedures-follow

WETLANDS

Jammu & Kashmir Warrior of Wular The hero of the film Saving the Saviour is a 15-year-old ragpicker called Bilal Ahmed Dar. His source of livelihood is Asia’s second biggest fresh water lake, Wular. Saving the Saviour won the Special Environment Award by the United Nations on the 22nd World Water Day in the US this year. http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/art-and-culture/warrior-of-wular-lake-srinagar-4962371/

FISH & FISHERIES

Tamil Nadu 1000s of dead fish washed ashore at Adyar THOUSANDS OF DEAD FISH found on Nov 28, at Adyar estuary. Many more lying in riverbed. Scores of dead fish had washed ashore at the same spot in January 2015. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chen-society/scores-of-dead-fish-washed-ashore/article6742668.ece

The site has become a graveyard for turtle too. https://medium.com/acj-daily/327-olive-ridley-turtles-found-dead-947bb9275a06

Lab test hints pollution to be culprit but govt thinks otherwise. But the two incidents in the space of three years have left fishermen in the village worried about the impact on their livelihoods. https://scroll.in/article/859685/this-water-has-poison-in-chennai-thousands-of-dead-fish-wash-up-on-shore-of-adyar-estuary   https://www.newstodaynet.com/index.php/2017/11/28/1000s-of-dead-fish-washed-ashore-at-adyar/

As per local fishermen high influx of raw sewage from upstream residential localities, industries and hospitals have led to the incident. Locals also allege that some of the industries in SIPOT at Irungattukottai, Pallipattu, Somangalam, Amarambedu and Chembarambakkam release untreated effluents into the neighbouring water streams during monsoon period, which eventually flow into the Adyar estuary. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2017/nov/29/twice-in-two-years-dead-fish-wash-ashore-in-chennai-sewage-influx-blamed-1713472.html

Similarly on Nov 30, thousands of fish have died in the Doodhganga river at Karadaga village, Chikkodi taluk, Karnataka in the past week due to the release of chemical effluents by Maharashtra-based sugar factories, Jawahar Cooperative Sugars and Shahu Cooperative Sugars in Kolhapur district.. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hubballi/fish-kill-after-sugar-factories-release-chemical-effluents-to-doodhganga-river/articleshow/61870745.cms

In July 2017 also hundreds of dead fish were found dead in the Ganga near the temple town of Shukratal, in Muzzafarnagar, due to toxic industrial effluents in the river discharged by industries in upstream Uttarakhand. http://www.hindustantimes.com/environment/hundreds-of-fish-found-dead-in-ganga-near-up-temple-town/story-YGmXasnEVQNQXrkxNm7RpL.html

GROUND WATER

Maharashtra Pune’s ICC Towers wasting 600 tankers every day The JW Marriott hotel on Senapati Bapat road has turned blind eye to notices sent by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) for groundwater seepage, resulting in wastage of water as well as depletion of groundwater table in the surrounding areas. In its notice served on November 23 and October 10, the building and construction department of PMC asked Atul Chordia, who has constructed JW Marriott, to fix the seepage and ensure water does not flow and go waste. http://www.hindustantimes.com/pune-news/groundwater-seepage-from-pune-s-icc-towers-resident-claims-600-tankers-wasted-every-day-since-two-years/story-Ncfv48Fhl0bZZrUefRUG7N.html

Nagaland Groundwater overexploited in Dmu valley In a seminar experts have held heavy withdrawal for agriculture purpose, poor recharging, low rainfalls and pollution from industrial effluents and rapid urbanization leading to overexploitation of groundwater. https://www.nagalandpost.com/ChannelNews/State/StateNews.aspx?news=TkVXUzEwMDEyNDU4OA%3D%3D

Bihar Meet on groundwater challenges A 3-day international seminar on ‘Groundwater quality management in developing countries: The emerging challenge’, was organized by Patna University (PU) geology department as a part of the university’s centenary celebrations. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/meet-on-groundwater-challenges-from-today/articleshow/61810485.cms

WATER

Centre UP Singh becomes new Union Water Resources Secretary Upendra Prasad Singh, IAS (OR:85) presently holding the charge of Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga has been appointed as Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. He has succeeded Dr. Amarjit Singh, IAS (GJ:82) who superannuated on Nov 30. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=173917

Tamil Nadu Chennai Metro to set up water treatment plant In a attempt to explore the possibility of better water management to reduce the dependence on Metrowater, Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) will soon install a water treatment plant with a capacity of 80 Kilo Litres per Day (KLD). The installation and commissioning of the plant will cost about ₹38 lakh, and the operational cost for the plant will be ₹10 lakh a year. While the administrative building uses about 40,000 litres of water a day, the elevated and underground stations need about 25,000 and 15,000 litres of water respectively. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/metros-new-mantrasave-precious-water/article21014212.ece

Study New toilets in trains no better than septic tanks According to a 2 year long study by the IIT Madras, the biodigesters installed in Indian trains over four years at a cost of Rs 1,305 crore are no better than a septic tank. Biodigesters are a new kind of toilets that use bacteria to break down human excreta. However, various studies and sanitation experts have pointed out that these toilets are ineffective or ill-maintained and the water discharged from them are no better than raw sewage. Despite criticism, the Railways plan to spend another Rs 1,200 crore on bio toilets. http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/new-toilets-in-indian-trains-no-better-than-septic-tanks-reveals-iit-study-117112300153_1.html

Chhattisgarh Rs 250cr plan to build water bodies in forests Forest dept has given its nod for the Rs 250-crore plan to take up water conservation works on a large scale in forest areas. According to the plan, nearly 1,306 water conservation structures, including stop dams, canals, small ponds and waterholes, would be built in state’s forests under the jurisdiction of the forest management committees. The aim of the project is to reduce human-elephant conflict by providing water sources to the animals. At the same time, these water bodies will also act as a source of irrigation for farmers. http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/rs-250cr-plan-to-build-water-bodies-in-chhattisgarh-forests/1/1097185.html

Madhav Chitale

Maharashtra Chitale proposes statehood for Marthawada Leading water expert Madhav Chitale, who headed a special investigation team to probe irrigation scam during the Congress-NCP govt, has strongly made a case for separate Marathwada state spread over 64,818 sq km saying that one size fits all formula may not help boost development of the region. However, Chitale’s suggestions were opposed by political parties including BJP and Congress who insisted that Marathwada will have to be part of unified Maharashtra to take its development to a new high. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-statehood-for-marathwada-water-expert-chitale-proposes-political-parties-oppose-2563313

FLOOD 2017

Urban Flood After the floods On the second anniversary of Chennai Floods, IT sector professionals have come up with a book titled After the Floods which records the experiences, ordeals of flood affected citizens particularly from IT sector. We should not forget that many of the IT corridors hit by 2015 floods were developed on lakes catchment area. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/a-flood-of-stories/article20967553.ece

Also see some iconic images chronicling the devastation. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/revisiting-the-2015-floods-in-chennai-images-from-the-hindu/article21248895.ece

AGRICULTURE

Odisha Unseasonal rains affect farmers  At least 3,84,018 hectare crop area under cultivation have suffered damage above 33 per cent due to rains. About 12.49 lakh farmers have faced loss inflicted by the cyclonic rains earlier this month.http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2017/nov/28/half-of-odisha-villages-hit-by-natures-scourge-1712562.html

A depression over the Bay of Bengal has triggered heavy unseasonal rain between 15-20 Nov causing damage to crops standing on an area of 4.07 lakh hectares in 14720 villages in 19 southern Odisha districts. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/odisha-releases-rs-364-crore-for-farmers-affected-by-unseasonal-rain/articleshow/61853085.cms

Centre Degital map developed showing best areas for organic farming in India The ICAR-National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning (NBSS&LUP), along with ICAR-Indian Institute of Soil Science, Bhopal, and Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) have prepared a digital map identifying areas holding high potential for organic farming in the country. The study has revealed that the entire northeast India and the region falling under the Western Ghats are ideal for organic farming, while Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have a low potential for organic farming due to intensive cultivation. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/city-inst-maps-out-best-regions-for-organic-farming-in-india/articleshow/61730911.cms

ENERGY OPTIONS

Centre Trajectory to achieve RE targets by 2022 announced PIB release elaborating how Govt is going to achieve 100 Gw renewable energy targets by 2002.  http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=173830

SOUTH ASIA

PoK Pakistan alleges India of completing Kishenganga hydro project with faulty design New information here:

– Pakistan and India last held talks in Washington at secretary level talks on 14-15 September 2017 which ended with no headway. World Bank wanted both the countries to develop consensus either on mechanism of Neutral Expert or of Court of Arbitration mentioned in the Treaty for the resolution of the issues pertaining to the said projects. And in case of failure, both the countries need to develop agreement on the middle way to resolve the issues. Both the countries held many talks at secretary level in Washington in the presence of the top official of the World Bank, but the meaningful meeting could not take place and since then the World Bank is in the process of persuading India to come on the table for talks on how to proceed on the resolution of the disputed projects.

– Though World Bank is in process of mediation between the two nuclear states on how to advance and develop consensus in the light of Indus Waters Treaty 1960 on the mechanism for resolution of ‘faulty designs’ of 300 MW Kishenganga and 850 MW Ratle hydro power projects and there is still a statement even after the lapse of 11 months since the Bank announced the pause on December 12, 2016, but India on the other hand has managed to complete its controversial project against what Pakistan has moved World Bank, a top senior official said

– India has also begun electricity projects including the 1,000 MW Pakal Dul, 120 MW Miyar and 48 MW Lower Kalnai projects on River Chenab’s tributaries. Pakistan planned to raise its reservations over these projects too. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/249963-india-completes-kishenganga-project-with-faulty-design

Sri Lanka Govt to start reservoirs, lagoons restoration project  Sri Lanka Govt has decided to spend Rs 1 Billion in 2018 in restoration of reservoirs/ lagoons to increase their storage capacity and help fisheries. http://www.colombopage.com/archive_17B/Nov27_1511768286CH.php

Rohingya refugees are resorting to increasingly desperate measures such as makeshift rafts to cross the Naf River to Bangladesh (Photo, UNHCR, Andrew McConnell)

Bangladesh Govt to House Rohingya in flood-prone Island On November 28, Govt has approved a plan to temporarily house 100,000 Rohingya Muslims on Bhashan Char, an island in the Bay of Bengal that floods frequently. The govt plans to develop the island by 2019, despite criticism from humanitarian workers alleging that the island is nearly uninhabitable. A plan to develop the island and use it to house refugees was first proposed in 2015. The island regularly floods between the months of June and September which is monsoon season. https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/bangladesh-to-house-rohingya-in-flood-prone-island/4140360.html

CHINA

Report China cannot rob us of Brahmaputra flow

-Amidst the clamour about Chinese projects on Brahmaputra, there has hardly been an objective data-based analysis of the popular “Brahma hypothesis”. These contentions deserve to be examined through data, hydrological regimes, upstream interventions and their downstream implications.

-Data shows that the Brahmaputra gets fatter and mightier as it flows further downstream. This is more so because of the flow contribution of the various tributaries like Dibang, Luhit, Subansiri, Manas, Sankosh, Teesta to name a few. This can be noted from the fact that at Guwahati (Pandu), the percentage annual yield of the main river course from Pasighat is barely 34 per cent, while the tributaries like Dibang, Luhit, Subansiri, as also the tributaries joining between Pasighat and Guwahati contribute the remaining 66 per cent. Further downstream, the mainstream contribution diminishes further.

-Another concern relates to the impact of the projects on the sediment flow. Can water diversion affect sediment flow? The flow volume and discharge in the Yarlung River is not sufficient to generate and transport carry the very large sediment load as in prevalent in the downstream Brahmaputra.

-The annual suspended sediment load near Nuxia in Tibet is around 30 million metric tonnes, (as suggested in a 2016 volume titled River Morphodynamics and Stream Ecology of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau by Wang and colleagues), which is miniscule as compared to same load measured as 735 million metric tonnes at Bahadurabad.

Therefore, the large amount of suspended sediment load that gets deposited in the downstream to form a fertile Jamuna floodplain cannot be carried by the Yarlung-Tsangpo stretch. It is created further downstream in India, where precipitation is almost 12 times higher than the rain shadow Tibet.” http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/brahmaputra-river-india-china-water-dispute-people/article9974000.ece

THE REST OF WORLD

USA What does a ‘500-year flood’ really mean? Since 2015, the Southeast Texas region has been through at least three significant floods – Memorial Day in 2015, Tax Day in 2016 and Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Officials said the Memorial Day and Tax Day floods, when the region picked up more than 20 inches of rain, represented a 500-year flood event.

Contrary to popular belief, the intervals do not mean that type of flood, for example, only happens once every 100 years. So, a region can experience, for example, multiple 100-year floods in any year.

According to the USGS, water levels that constitute a flood interval can fluctuate based on changing climate. https://www.click2houston.com/weather/what-does-a-500-year-flood-really-mean-

CLIMATE CHANGE

National Floods & droughts in uncertain climate A very detailed report on increasing urban flood incidents and climate change events becoming more complex and affecting farming sector. https://thediplomat.com/2017/11/floods-droughts-and-indias-uncertain-climate-future/

Himachal Pradesh Challenge of climate change Snow cover ranges declining between 5%-37% in 2010-14 period as compared to 20-16 while the number of lakes formed with water melted from glaciers and also due to landslides is going up with 116 lakes in 2013 to 192 in 2015 in the Chenab basin. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/hp-faces-challenge-of-climate-change/articleshow/61856255.cms

ENVIRONMENT

DRP 2

National Problems of Thermal Power sector will persist Transformations at work mean that the problems of thermal power projects (lower PLFs, lower demand, increased capacities, lower prices and competition from renewables) will persist.

As per the report, despite the steady growth in coal-based electricity generation, the fortunes of the producers haven’t seen a noticeable improvement. In fact, rather contrarily, the business environment for some of the participants has worsened. So much so that two companies have publicly said that they are no longer interested in new investments in thermal power plants.

It also says that despite larger transformations at work and going by the current indications, the challenges will persist for some time.

– “While the ongoing central govt-led reforms are expected to lift demand, recent stakeholders’ interactions show demand is not seeing a major a boost as envisaged by many. “MP, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Andhra have started supplying power round the clock. However, this has not boosted overall demand. Peak load has declined in MP after feeder separation,” Motilal Oswal Securities Ltd said in a note after attending a conference on the power distribution sector.”

– “We maintain our view that electricity demand growth is unlikely to exceed ~7% over the medium term and new long-term PPAs are unlikely, as the states have already signed enough PPAs,” added Motilal Oswal. http://www.livemint.com/Money/G8jYtKWWEZkQ7ZYaUAHmFM/Why-the-paininthermal-power-may-be-enduring.html 

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 27 November 2017 & DRP News Bulletin 20 November 2017

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