Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 11 December 2017 (Shoddy EIA, People’s Opposition & Unviable Pancheshwar Project Highlighted In Brilliant NDTV Documentary)

A brilliant coverage by NDTV INDIA at PRIME TIME (08 Dec 2017) on so many issues related to the proposed controversial Pancheshwar Dam, World’s tallest dam in the Himalayas that has neither credible impact assessment nor proper public hearings. Please watch and share.

Meanwhile, residents and various political organizations at Almora, Pithoragarh and Jhulaghat staged a protest against public hearings held for environmental clearance of Pancheshwar projec, saying that the sessions were unfair and flouted procedure. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/pancheshwar-row-residents-protest-against-public-hearings/articleshow/61946615.cms

The wrong process of dam clearance for the Pancheshwar and Rupaligad Dams have been strongly condemned by Mahakali Lok Sangathan, Uttarakhand Parivartan Party, Uttarakhand Kranti Dal, the National Alliance of People’s Movements: Uttarakhand Akta Manch, Delhi Solidarity Group and others. https://www.facebook.com/sandrp.in/posts/1874936619200669

Despite this, CM Trivendra Singh Rawat on Nov 29 has asked 3 key Union ministries (Water, Power, Forest) to issue a joint affidavit to be submitted before the SC for clearance of 33 power projects proposed in the Ganga river basin. He also sought Centre’s nod to 10 small hydro power projects of upto 25 Mw each proposed in the Bhagirathi Eco Sensitive Zone (BESZ). http://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/uttarakhand-seeks-centre-help-to-get-33-hydel-power-projects-going-in-ganga-basin/story-3tdY8GftJmXtCkKl6004yJ.html

The Govt has also been ignoring growing earthquake warning in the state. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/large-earthquakes-imminent-himalayas

On Dec 06, there was an earthquake of magnitude of 5.5, with its epicentre in Rudraprayag. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/earthquake-with-55-magnitude-felt-at-uttarakhand/article21284410.ece

Before this, last month on Nov 19, a 3.3 magnitude quake has hit Pithoragarh where Pancheshwar dam is proposed. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/quake-in-rajasthan-uttarakhand/499921.html

Even last year in Oct, the district was struck by slight intensity earthquake of 4 magnitude just 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 reports 38 light tremors has hit the state in last 2 yrs.  http://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/uttarakhand-cm-bats-for-traditional-architecture-to-curb-losses-from-tremors/story-ZRS6hMYLYzdPkgfKjZkFyJ.html

HYDRO POWER

Centre More subsidies being planned to flog the sick and dead horses called hydropower projects Extend capital repayment and depreciation period, among others. Who are being subsidised and who are paying the costs? https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/power/government-mulls-longer-fixed-cost-recovery-period-for-hydro-power/articleshow/61919201.cms

Arunachal Pradesh Possible impacts and risks of a 3 Mw Pacha HEP  A fact-finding constituted by East Kameng Deputy Commissioner and led by East Kameng Social Welfare & Cultural Organisation (EKSWCO) has observed that

– Only one of the two turbines installed at the power house is functional, thereby generating only half of the project’s capacity. The defunct turbine had operated for only 20 days in last two years and it is still awaiting repair.

– The entire stretch of the power channel has its bed worn out, and its reinforcement is exposed, leading to leakages at several points. Seepage holes were found at both sides of the channel’s walls at various locations, and at certain locations, the wall on the valley side tilted precariously at the joints.

– The team also found that the power channel’s height has been fiddled with at Pabua by the PMGSY road contractor during construction of a culvert, creating a risk of flooding of the nearby habitation.

– The villagers of Donigoan and Pabua in a meeting also put forth their grievances, like erection of fencing along the channel to prevent falling of cattle, and slabs at certain points for ease of crossing the channel. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2017/12/08/org-calls-for-maintenance-of-hydropower-channel/

Punjab BBMB commissions Units of Ganguwal and Kotla Power Houses Unit 2 of Ganguwal power house and Unit 3 of Kotal Power house at Bhakra project under BBMB has been commissioned, each with 24.2 MW capacity. These were under repair, renovation and modernisation since Aug 2013. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/bbmb-commissions-units-of-ganguwal-and-kotla-power-houses/61924366

DAMS

Polavaram Dam Row A rare, fantastic report on Polavaram dam

– Transstroy was awarded the bid to construct the Zenit Arena – a premier football stadium in the city of St Petersburg. The stadium was supposed to have been constructed by 2017 for the FIFA Confederations Cup so that the tournament would serve as a trial run for the biggest tournament of them all – the FIFA 2018 Football World Cup. Except, so poor was the company’s construction activity that PM Dimitry Medvedyev publicly called it “disgraceful”. Over 39 million dollars has reportedly been unaccounted for. And then it arrived in Polavaram!

– Transstroy (India), an “associate” of the Russian conglomerate, won the contract to start the headwork (apparatus that controls the flow of a river) for the Polavaram dam in 2013. In an estimated total cost of Rs 16,000 crore, the winning bid for the initial phase went to Transstroy (India) for Rs 4,054 crore.

– As per the latest reports, Transstroy has barely constructed 27% of estimated target

– A Russian conglomerate that failed to build a stadium in its home country and faced allegations of corruption, its Indian associate that owes thousands of crores to banks and an MP with a finger in many pies are the ones deciding the fate of what could be the country’s largest infrastructure project.

– The Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, for instance, has resulted in large-scale soil erosion of the fluorine rich rocks into the natural water supply of the surrounding district of Nalgonda. That the bone structure of many young children, who have been raised drinking this contaminated water, has become chalk-like in its strength is a heavily underreported crime.

– None of the battles that Polavaram faces are new, none of the arguments are unexpected, even the human tragedies are all too “clichéd”. And yet somewhere between corruption, desire for epic legacy and poor historical precedents, the dam has not received the heated debate that it deserves beyond its vernacular space. https://thewire.in/203084/polavaram-dam-displacement-andhra-pradesh/

DRP 19

Another report shows growing confrontation between Centre and State Govt regarding the Rs 58,000-crore project.  State Govt has reportedly spent Rs 12,000 crore on it in the past 12 years.

Billed to be second biggest dam after the Sardar Sarovar dam, the Polavaram project on Godavari will result in the submergence of 276 villages in Andhra Pradesh, 100 villages in Odisha and 202 hectares of forest land in Chhattisgarh. In all, some 0.18 million people are expected to be displaced.

The project is mired with corruption and violations of norms hence one wishes the national media would go deeper than just scratching surface. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/chandrababu-naidu-s-polavaram-blues-why-andhra-pradesh-cm-is-upset-with-centre/story-HEE8cs21YzWbqUGJl28UjI.html

Centre has also asked Andhra to bear the additional expenses due to new tenders. http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/politics/061217/nitin-gadkari-says-objections-to-tenders-to-go.html

Meanwhile, a 6 member expert team from the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) has visited the Polavaram dam site on Dec 05, to study the possibility of integrating the cofferdam with the project. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/6-member-nhpc-team-for-polavaram-dam-site-today/article21262397.ece

In an important development, Telangana govt has raised concerns over Polavaram project.

– As per irrigation department officials, ff the flood discharge is 35 lakh cusecs, the villages to be submerged in TS are estimated at 100 villages. But, with 50 lakh cusecs discharge around 270 villages will submerge.

– With heavy discharge of water, the full reservoir level (FRL) of Polavaram too will increase from the earlier 150 feet to 170 feet.

– The state govt had already filed an affidavit in the SC in July 2017 against the Polavaram multi-purpose irrigation project. The TS had requested the Polavaram Project Authority to assess the Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) afresh with latest data along with comprehensive backwater studies with PMF of 50 lakh cusecs. TS, in its affidavit filed in the apex court, wanted to direct the project authorities for fresh impact assessment studies to be done as per the latest Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2017/dec/01/telangana-raises-concerns-over-polavaram-project-1715381.html

Similarly, possibly first time, the Telangana Govt supports Odisha in opposition to Polavaram dam. Chhattisgarh also needs to join this opposition. http://www.newindianexpress.com/pti-news/2017/dec/01/telangana-supports-odisha-on-polavaram-1716285.html http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=174101 

jamka-check-dams
There are many inspirational stories like Jamka (in photo) in pockets where independent NGOs like Suvagiya’s coupled with people’s participation have managed to bring about change.                 (Image procured by author)

Dams, Rivers, Water in Gujarat Elections Govt shunned check dams, started expensive dam projects Gujarat govt’s SAUNI scheme would’ve been roaring success if coupled with check dams EXCELLENT piece that shows how Modi coming to power in Gujarat in 2001 led to abandonment of check dams program of Gujarat Govt and instead launching of EXPENSIVE & corruption ridden Sujalam Sufalam and SAUNI projects.

– The tremendous response ensured the government built 1.80 lakh check dams by 2002 in merely Rs 50 crore. According to a news report in 2003, the water table in the wells of Saurashtra increased by 2.50 m to 17 m, along with land under irrigation and, thereby, agriculture growth.

– Observers believe that it goes well with Modi’s personality to launch a fancy, expansive & expensive scheme, as opposed to focussing on something as low profile as check dams, which cost nowhere near what SAUNI does.  http://www.firstpost.com/politics/water-woes-in-gujarats-saurashtra-narendra-modis-sauni-scheme-wouldve-been-roaring-success-if-coupled-with-check-dams-4244459.html

There is such a fantastic and yet tragic story at so many levels. It shows the reality of Gujarat model, ruled by one party for 22 years for whom the dam and the statue are the signs of growth, not justice, education or health of the people. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/in-the-shadow-of-statue-of-unity-looking-for-a-school-hospital-4971612/

– In a poignant example of Gujarat’s ‘model’ of inequality and discrimination, while Ghogha village in Bhavnagar district will host the Rs.614 crore Ro-Ro ferry service at its Saurashtra end, the village right next to it gets drinking water once a month, that too for just one hour.

– Ghogha is a fishing and salt mining village, situated on the mid-western bank of the Gulf of Khambhat. Machchiwada, an adjacent village, with only Muslim residents, does not even have water to drink.

– The residents Machchiwada, majority of whom are in the business of fishing, complained that they get water from municipality “once in a month and that too for an hour”.

Locals got no employment in RORO service: “We should have been the first beneficiary of the project, but it did not happen. Only outsiders were given jobs,” said Usman Ghani, an AC mechanic who works in Dubai. https://www.newsclick.in/gujarat-polls-despite-roro-ferry-bhavnagar-village-gets-drinking-water-once-month

While the BJP govt may claim that Narmada water has reached Saurashtra and Kutch districts because of its Sujalam Sufalam scheme, the sad reality is that villages under Bharuch and Narmada districts which are so close to Narmada river and Sardar Sarovar dam are not getting water for farming.

As per Dhaval Kanojiya, RTI activist based in Bharuch, the riverbed which was 1,600 metre long has shrunk to 400 metre after the erection of Sardar Sarovar dam. Due to high water storage capacity, water in river has dried up. There are many villages which are running out of water after a few months of monsoon. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-gujarat-elections-2017-farmers-in-narmada-bharuch-await-water-2564389

Another report shows the real economics of Narmada water to farmers in Saurashtra, even where it is reaching. It’s so costly that farmers are becoming more debt ridden now than before. No wonder, the water will mostly go to the industries and urban areas. No clue how many it is reaching to. http://indianexpress.com/elections/gujarat-assembly-elections-2017/gujarat-elections-narmada-waters-more-in-canals-than-in-farms-4973225/

Botad city, 92 km from from Bhavnagar and 133 km from Ahmedabad, is certainly a bad example of Brand Modi’s claim of development in ‘Model’ Gujarat. Despite electing ruling party BJP representatives, the area has been struggling for basic amenities like sanitation, roads, drinking water, education and better health facilities.

– The small creek filled with wastes is actually Utavali river that flows right through the middle of the town. Interestingly, the district headquarters of the saffron party stands tall on the bank of the river with big hoarding atop showing PM Modi, who has been the face of Swachch Bharat Abhiyan, along with BJP President Amit Shah and CM Vijay Rupani. https://www.newsclick.in/gujarat-elections-why-botad-bad-publicity-modis-claim-development

This is an interesting article on Sardar Sarovar Dam with lot of official information. For example is says the irrigation in 2012-13 was 209057 ha and was expected to go up to only 330160 ha by 2018-19. Planned canal length has been reduced from 90389 km to 71748 km, and yet, claim is to increase irrigated area by 7.5 lakh ha! so far, at least 22677 km of canals remains to be completed and only 3856 km is planned to be completed in 2017-18. Expenditure was already Rs 56286 crores by Oct 2016 and likely to increase mani fold. http://www.counterview.in/2017/12/narmada-tactic-of-encashing-radial.html

Narmada River and Estuary fisherfolk are opposing BJP for proposing Bhadbhut dam. http://www.dnaindia.com/ahmedabad/report-gujarat-elections-2017-bharuch-fishermen-unhappy-with-bjp-2564680

There is one more report with a lot of useful details, about the current and recent floods and dams, but it is very ill informed about the history of Sardar Sarovar Project. https://www.buzzfeed.com/snehavakharia/the-price-of-development-built-to-help-the-farmers-gujarats?utm_term=.rlnEVbqZk#.vge5Y6mxv

According this article (in Hindi) there are three key aspects of Gujarat model, Big corporates getting protection from govt, Corporate social responsibility in place of compliance with laws and privatisation of natural resources. https://www.outlookhindi.com/view/general/three-aspects-of-a-model-22155

Sandeep Pandey writes about the defective Gujarat model, symbolised by the non delivering tea kettle and mirage of clean Sabarmati river. https://thewire.in/203797/defective-tea-kettle-dead-sabarmati/

Meanwhile, Madhavnagar, Amreli, Valsad, Dahod, Devbhumi Dwarka and Navsari villages in Ahmadabad have decided to boycott elections due to poor sanitation and civic issues. http://ahmedabadmirror.indiatimes.com/ahmedabad/cover-story/gujarat-elections-2017-votes-can-wait-give-us-development-first-demand-scores-of-villages/articleshow/61990114.cms

KA06SHUTTERE-01
Works on dismantling shutter I in KRP Dam continued on Tuesday also when the shutter cage was removed.    Photo Credit: N.Bashkaran

Kirshnagiri Dam Update Dismantling of damaged shutter continues By 066 Dec, the works on the dismantling of  24-feet high Shutter 1 went into a full-fledged mode. The shutter will be replaced by two 6-feet high plates, sealing the shutter gate up to 12 feet. As per Collector C. Kathiravan, a proposal for the replacement of the shutter I will be put up to the State govt, along with the consolidated proposal to replace all eight shutters of KRP dam. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/dismantling-of-shutter-gate-continues-at-krp-dam/article21271288.ece

National Dams aggravating water problems Speaking in a seminar in Bengaluru experts have criticized dams saying that dams don’t solve the problem of lack of water storage. On the contrary, the storage capacity of a river is reduced to 75 per cent due to the problem of silting. http://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/there-are-alternatives-to-dams-but-we-are-not-taking-about-them-experts-59297

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

IMG_20171024_162056
Ken-Sonar meeting at Amanganj (Image Credit: SANDRP)

SANDRP Report केन-बेतवा परियोजना लोगों के लिए एक त्रासदी:पूर्व कलेक्टर पन्ना 2005 से 2008 के बीच पन्ना जिले की कलेक्टर ने अपने कार्यकाल के दौरान केन-बेतवा परियोजना के बारे में अपने शीर्ष अधिकारियों और विभागों को पत्रों की एक श्रृंखला लिखी थी। इन पत्रों में उन्होंने एक चौंकानेवाला निष्कर्ष दिया था कि यदि केन बेसिन के लोगों की पानी की बुनियादी जरूरतें पूरी की जाए, तो केन नदी में कोई अतिरिक्त पानी ही नहीं बचेगा। उन्होंने यहाँ तक लिखा था कि केन-बेतवा नदी जोड़ो परियोजना केन बेसिन के लोगों के लिए एक त्रासदी होगी। https://goo.gl/9FbwbN

This is based on SANDRP blog and has been translated in Hindi by Shashi Kumar Jha. Link for original English blog of the same is here: https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/10/06/ken-betwa-project-is-disaster-for-ken-basin-people-there-is-no-surplus-water-in-ken-basin-panna-collector/

INTER STATE WATER DISPUTES

Mahanadi River Dispute Centre refuses to constitute tribunal on Mahanadi The Centre is unlikely to constitute a tribunal to resolve the Mahanadi water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh. In an affidavit filed before the SC, the Centre accused the state govt of not adducing evidence in support of its case. In the affidavit, the Centre alleged the state govt of not submitting any data till date. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/centre-refuses-to-constitute-tribunal-on-mahanadi/articleshow/61951983.cms

Center seems to be playing a partisan role here: The Central govt which has now filed a statement before the SC saying the Orissa govt did not provide facts to the National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee. However, it seems to have contradicted the report of the Negotiation Committee which claimed that even the Chhattisgarh govt did not share facts with the institute. The minutes of the second Negotiation Committee also claim that the Chhattisgarh govt also did not take part in the second meeting of the committee. But these two matters were ostensibly not mentioned in the statement of the Central govt submitted to the SC. https://www.orissapost.com/mahanadi-row-centre-conceals-many-facts-relating-to-chhattisgarh/

Meanwhile, Biju Janata Dal to disrupt Parliament over Centre refusing to set up Mahanadi Tribunal. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/bjd-to-disrupt-parliament-session-over-mahanadi-dispute/story-RXga2DiOvLoiML9q6zyhOM.html

Similarly, senior BJP leader of Odisha has exposed how centre is trying to help Chhattisgarh in denying Odisha’s demand for a Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal. http://odishasuntimes.com/mahanadi-issue-bijoy-mohapatra-turns-a-pain-in-the-neck-for-odisha-bjp/

In a separate development, Centre has also told Telangana and Andhra Govts to stick to Krishna River Management Board. In the letter to Telangana, Kundu advised it to stop hydel power generation so that the discharges from both Srisailam and Nagarjunsagar can be regulated. Telangana has been generating power from the Srisailam left bank power house by letting out water from the reservoir. Similarly, the joint secretary instructed Andhra to stop releasing water from the Pothyreddipadu head regulator. He made it clear to both the states that action will be taken in case of violation of the orders. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/centre-tells-telangana-andhra-pradesh-to-abide-by-krmb-orders-or-face-music/articleshow/61874316.cms

The existing members hearing the Cauvery dispute case will have to step down given the age ceiling envisaged under the new legislation, the CM pointed out Photo Credit, K MURALI KUMAR
Contentious issue: The existing members hearing the Cauvery dispute case will have to step down given the age ceiling envisaged under the new legislation, the CM pointed out.              Photo Credit: K_MURALI_KUMAR

Tamil Nadu Govt continue to oppose new water disputes panel The state govt has reiterated its opposition to the proposal to constitute a Permanent Water Disputes Tribunal (PWDT) to adjudicate inter-State water disputes. CM Palaniswami in a letter to Union Water Minister, Nitin Gadkari has stated that the provisions of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, as amended up to 2002, “would suffice” to adjudicate the inter-State river water disputes among the States and there was “no need” to make amendments to the provisions of the Act. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tamil-nadu-sticks-to-stand-on-new-water-disputes-panel/article21137907.ece

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS

Center Water Minister proposing Water Grids India’s Water Resources Minister wants to connect rivers in line with Power Grid! The rivers to him is not even pipelines or canals, but like wires that carry water to and fro. https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/river-connectivity-needed-similar-to-power-grids-gadkari/1202812

water-summit-702x336
The Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari along with the Union Minister for Drinking Water & Sanitation, Uma Bharti releasing ‘Vision Ganga’, at the India Water Impact Summit, in New Delhi on December 05, 2017. The Director General, NMCG, U.P. Singh is also seen.

According to Nitin Gadakari, his ministry has decided to transfer surplus water from the Godavari River to Krishna to Pennar river (Karnataka) and finally to Cauvery to solve the water scarcity in the south. http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/nitin-gadkari-talks-about-plans-to-solve-water-scarcity-in-the-south-117112800222_1.html

Addressing the Second India Water Impact Summit 2017, the water minister has again stressed on the need of river connectivity, construction of Barrages, Dams, Rubber dams and Bandhas, drip and piped irrigation in the country and highlighted the need for water circuits in the country on the lines of power circuits for better water conservation. https://www.khabarindia.in/water-circuits-developed-lines-power-circuits-nitin-gadkari/

The minister also says that the channelling of the Ganga from Varanasi to Haldia (1625 km)  would be completed before January 2019. http://www.hindustantimes.com/lucknow/kashi-to-haldia-cruise-from-jan-2019-says-gadkari/story-cwgm7LE9m3zlXiN0nI8sXO.html

IRRIGATION

Punjab SC denies bail to two accuse in 1000 cr irrigation scam The SC on Dec 07, has  rejected the anticipatory bail pleas of former chief engineer Harvinder Singh and contractor Gurinder Singh, who are facing criminal investigation as accused in the Rs 1,000-crore Punjab irrigation scam. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/irrigation-scam-sc-denies-bail-to-two-accused/509879.html

URBAN RIVERS

SANDRP Blog Urban Rivers – Moovattupuzha River in Kerala Following great response to Urban Rivers exhibition during India Rivers Day 2017, SANDRP has started publishing blog series on Urban Rivers. This story from Moovattupuzha Town in Kerala is first in a series of online stories of urban rivers from across India. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/12/09/urban-rivers-moovattupuzha-river-in-kerala/

This story from Nag River in Nagpur is second in the series of online stories of urban rivers from across India. Please share your feedback and provide us with suggestions (read more in appendix). If you have any urban river stories or images that you might want to share, please send them to ht.sandrp@gmail.com and asid@veditum.org. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/nag-the-river-that-lends-life-and-a-name-to-nagpur/

Please leave your feedback or questions for the author in the comments. Share this river story with others, and please use #IndiaRiversDay2017 in the description if sharing on social media. We look forward to hearing your responses.

As part of the India Rivers Day 2017 event, we held an exhibition based on this year’s theme – ‘Rivers in the Urban Context’. Responding to our call for entries, many individuals and organisations shared urban river stories/ documentation from across India, making it a lively and diverse collection.

However, a concern shared by the organising committee and many of our visitors, has been the limited distribution of these important and insightful river stories if restricted only to the physical form of the exhibition. It is in this stead that we’re starting a series of blogs where we will share these various river stories, though the experience of the exhibition can only be justified when visited in personal capacity.

If all goes well, we will soon announce dates for the exhibition to be open in more venues across Delhi and other cities too. If you want to or can help us taking this exhibition to a local venue near you, please contact us at ht.sandrp@gmail.com and indiariversweek2014@gmail.com. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/12/09/urban-rivers-moovattupuzha-river-in-kerala/

RIVERS

Ken Calender
Ken River Calendar launched at IRW 2017. 

SANDRP Blog भारतीय नदी दिवस 2017 – नदियों के संरक्षण का अभिनव प्रयास  देश की नदियों की दुर्दशा किसी से छिपी नहीं है। एक ओर नदियों का जलप्रवाह लगातार घट रहा है, दूसरी ओर उनमें प्रदूषण की मात्रा चिंताजनक स्तर पर पहुॅच गई है। बढ़ती बॉध, पनबिजली, सिंचाई परियोजनाओं, भूजल दोहन, वनविनाश, बाढ़ भूमि अतिक्रमण और अवैध खनन से हमारी नदियों की जैवविविधता पर विपरीत प्रभाव सामने आ रहे हैं। साथ में नदियों पर गुजर बसर करने वाले मछवारों, मल्लाहों, किसानों की आजीविका पर गंभीर खतरा मंडरा रहा है। Plz Read and Share. https://goo.gl/ohJbKj

Also see, India Water Portal report on Mahaveer Singh Sukarlai recipient of Bhagirath Prayas Samman at the India Rivers Day 2017 for his valiant effort to safeguard the integrity of the Bandi river in Pali. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/better-bandi

Arunachal Pradesh Center indifferent to North East rivers issues: MP In a video message Ninong Ering, an MP from East Arunachal says that Siang river is the lifeline of the region. It is revered by the locals there as their Aane (mother). But, since the last few months the river has turned black due to slag content which has allegedly come from China’s river diversion plan. He had written a letter to PM Modi. Here, he talks about the sorry state of the river and it needs to be taken care of immediately. https://www.facebook.com/logical.indian/videos/1446630245466690/

Meanwhile, in an interview, Arunachal CM makes a balanced statement about the waters of Siang turning muddy. http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/pema-khandu-arunachal-pradesh-siang-river-yarlung-tsangpo-china/1/1105278.html

Odisha Rivers water quality falling sharply On Nov 28, State Environment Minister Bijayshree Routray in a written reply to the assembly has stated that of the 129 water quality monitoring stations in 11 rivers, water was found unfit for human use at 93 places. He also said that the 21 quality measuring points where water was fit for human consumption till last year recorded high pollution level making them unfit for human use in tests done during April-October this year. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/water-quality-falling-sharply-in-odisha-rivers/articleshow/61845880.cms 

Karnataka After Yettinahole, its now Sharavathi The KPCL has clarified that the ambitious ₹5,000-crore Sharavathi Pumped Storage project will use drilling and tunnelling as means to minimise ecological damage. The project has received pre-construction approval to conduct EIA studies as well as the impact of the project on the endangered Deccan Mahseer species. It may affect 150 hectares of forest land in the Western Ghats. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/sharavathi-project-tunnelling-to-reduce-eco-damage/article21255300.ece

As per another report, the uncontrolled construction of resorts and homestays, the encroachments and various projects including power projects have resulted in decrease in water level in the Mrityujaya, Kapila, Aniyuru or Bandaje rivers. http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/301117/water-level-declines-in-ghat-rivers-resorts-to-blame.html

MA10RAMNAD-POLLUTION
Sewage water stagnating in the Vaigai near Melakottai.   | Photo Credit: handout_e_mail

Tamil Nadu ‘Treated sewage’ water stagnating in Vaigai Residents of at least six villages of Ilamanur, Salaikudiyuruppu, Ramala Nagar, Melakottai, Mayapuram and Thillainayagapuram located on the bank of Vaigai have complained that they faced serious health hazards and water pollution as ‘treated sewage’ let out by the Ramanathapuram Municipality remained stagnant in the river for about 8 km and for more than 2 years.

When the municipality launched the ₹31.51-crore Underground Sewerage System (UGSS) in July 2013, the local people were assured that the sewage would be let into the Vaigai only after treatment at the STP built at Kazhgoorani and they could even use the treated water for agriculture purpose. Denying the charge Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage (TWAD) Board said that the plant Modified Activated Sludge Process (MASP) system, ran to its full capacity of 4.5 MLD. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/villagers-allegation/article21381090.ece

Kerala Pollution Unabated pollution of Pampa river A letter issued recently by the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB) to the Devaswom Commissioner and the member-secretary of the high power committee (HPC) for implementation of the Sabarimala Master Plan is a testimony to the negligence on the part of the authorities concerned in ensuring foolproof functioning of the modern STP at the Sabarimala Sannidhanam. The letter said the inspection conducted by a joint team of PCB engineers, TDB officials, and STP contractor on November 26 had found 8 sewage collection tanks at the holy hillock had not yet been connected to the STP. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-in-school/pollution-unabated-at-sabarimala/article21293365.ece

GANGA Center Ganga going Sabarmati way Vedanta’s Anil Agarwal and the Foresight Group’s Ravi Mehrotra had offered to invest 500 crore for development of the Ganga river front at Panta and Kanpur and maintain it for 15 years. Nitin Gadkari has also stated that govt would planting 10 crore trees along riverfronts. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/uks-indian-tycoons-to-maintain-ganga-banks/articleshow/61841977.cms

The water ministry has also signed MoU with 5 British companies for technology sharing and investment, including Celtic Renewables, a Scottish biofuel company, Lyndon Water, a water treatment firm, Mebifarm, NVH Technologies and Arkatap. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/uk-based-nris-pledge-rs-500-crore-for-ganga/article21237145.ece

There has been a tie-up between London-based GMEX Technologies Ltd Centre for Ganga River Basin Management to provide a spot market for trading waste. The initiative to roll out in first half of 2018 in few districts will involve buying waste (not clear if it is only solid or also liquid), and selling it to downstream processors. An agreement for this was signed at recent Vigyan Bhawan conference between C Ganga on behalf of NMCG on one hand and London Based GMEX technologies Ltd on the other. GS Bioenergy has developed a waste collection and segregation technology for the spot exchange. As Manoj Mishra says, this is done much more efficiently by the decentralised network of segregators. GMEXT hopes to expand it to take is at all India level in next 18 months. http://www.livemint.com/Politics/0imbfxJuIdrxE2UQRMoUOP/An-biomass-exchange-for-Ganga-waste-management-in-the-offing.html

Uttar Pradesh The state govt is planning to develop Garhmukteshwar into a ‘proper pilgrimage and spiritual tourism destination site’ to attract both domestic and foreign tourists as an alternative option to Varanasi or Haridwar. About 31 lakh domestic tourists are said to have visited this town in 2016 for a dip in the Ganga.  https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/garhmukteshwar-to-be-built-as-the-next-big-ganga-city/articleshow/61954560.cms

Meanwhile an ill informed report labels traditional floodplain farmers as mafia and encroachers though use of chemical is an issue. According to an estimate, as many as 20,000 bighas of riverbed land is used to cultivate wheat and seasonal vegetables in Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur and Meerut. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/meerut/land-mafia-illegally-occupies-large-chunk-of-cultivable-land-on-ganga-riverbed/articleshow/61905105.cms

Uttarakhand The state govt has handed over a detailed project report (DPR) worth Rs 920 crore to a German delegation for technical and loan assistance to clean the Ganga river. The German Mission said that the DPR was being studied and a decision will be taken soon. The Mission also informed that the German Agency for International Technical Co-operation (GIZ) will offer assistance in making the river clean. The funds will be utilised for STPs networking which is to be done over 574.25 km area across Haridwar, Rishikesh, Tapovan, Mussoorie and Dehradun that produces around 265.47 MLD untreated sewage every day. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/govt-gives-dpr-worth-rs-920-crore-to-german-delegation-for-ganga-clean-up/articleshow/61946709.cms

yamuna
Rs 5 crore deposited by AoL will be used for restoration of the floodplains, rules NGT.                (Image Credit: Tashi Tobgyal)

YAMUNA NGT AoL responsible for damaging Yamuna floodplains Imposing a fine of Rs 5 crore, NGT on Dec 08, has finally ruled that AoL foundation is responsible for “causing damage and environmental degradation” to the Yamuna floodplains during in March 2016 event.  Earlier this year, an NGT-appointed expert committee had noted that the rehabilitation of the floodplains would cost over Rs 42.02 crore and may take up to ten years.

In its 98-page order, https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/16031071ac2f6ed3?projector=1  NGT rejected arguments put forth by AoL on the lack of wetlands at the Yamuna. The tribunal also turned down AoL’s objections to the expert committee’s findings.The green tribunal also pulled up the DDA but did not impose any fine on it.

Rs 5 crore deposited by AoL with the DDA, will be utilised for restitution/restoration and other necessary work for the floodplains under the supervision of the expert committee. The Bench also added that if the total expense incurred is less than ₹5 crore, the remaining amount will have to be refunded to the organisation.http://indianexpress.com/article/india/ngt-holds-sri-sri-ravishankars-aol-responsible-for-yamuna-floodplains-damage-4972339/

Expressing disappointment over order, the AoL decided to appeal in the SC. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/art-of-living-damaged-yamuna-floodplains-ngt/article21293122.ece

Before this, NGT on Dec 05 observed that the delay in the execution of the Yamuna cleaning project was because of non-cooperation between the various Central and State authorities. Further, it said that rather than taking punitive action against the authorities for non-compliance of the previous orders, the current orders of the NGT will be oriented towards providing solutions in order to expedite the project. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/authorities-pulled-up-over-delay-in-cleaning-yamuna/article21269781.ece

Earlier, following Valmiki community complaint of selection of cremation land for proposed STP, NGT on Dec 01, has directed an inspection of the site in Dichaon Kalan village, Najafgarh. http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/stp-for-yamuna-ngt-orders-inspection-of-land-in-dichaon-kalan-117120100928_1.html

India Water Portal Najafgarh seeks attention There is an urgent need to restore Najafgarh basin if the recurrent flooding and water shortage in Delhi and Gurugram have to be avoided in the future. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/najafgarh-seeks-attention

SAND MINING

Tamil Nadu HC directs govt to stop sand mining in 6 months The Madras High Court on Nov 29 has directed the State Govt to stop all sand mining and quarrying activities in the state within six months and to not open any new sand quarries. The court also directed that a committee be constituted to ascertain the loss to the state exchequer due to illegal mining and recover the same from companies, individuals or govt servants found responsible for it. http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/madras-hc-directs-tn-govt-to-stop-sand-mining-in-six-months-117112900916_1.html

The state has also been ordered to not open any new sand quarries and that the quarries of granites and other minerals, except gravel, should be periodically closed to maintain ecological balance. In order to curb illegal sand mining, the court has also directed to set up permanent checkpoints equipped with CCTV cameras. http://zeenews.india.com/tamil-nadu/madras-hc-directs-tn-govt-to-stop-sand-mining-in-six-months-2061481.html

The court has also allowed import of river sand from Malaysia. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/stop-sand-quarrying-within-six-months-hc/article21135704.ece

The HC on Dec 5, refused to stay a single judge order directing closure of all sand quarries in Tami Nadu within six months. District collectors of Tuticorin, Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari preferred an appeal in the court against the Nov 29 order of Justice R Mahadevan. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/madras-hc-refuses-to-stay-single-judge-order-on-closure-of-sand-quarries-in-tn/articleshow/61928608.cms

In its appeal against the ban on sand mining, State Govt argued that the single bench order was beyond the scope of the writ petition and the State has powers to regulate transport and storage of sand. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/state-has-powers-to-regulate-transport-and-storage-of-sand-madurai-high-court/article21268358.ece

Environmentalists and activists have welcomed the order but industry has feared negative impact on businesses due to it. PWD officials and builders feel imported sand may not be a permanent solution to the crisis in the State, raising doubts over the quality and cost factor in the long run as demand goes up. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/activists-welcome-order-industry-concerned/article21135832.ece

Meanwhile the court on Dec 07, directed the Industries Secretary to file a comprehensive report before the court by collecting details from all District Collectors with regard to the ongoing mining activities throughout the State. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/submit-detailed-report-on-mining-activities-in-state/article21292856.ece

Also see the interview of R Nallakannu the 91 years old CPI leader campaigning against illegal sand mining for last 15 years. As per the due to his efforts, the Madras high court has stopped sand mining along River Tamirabarani within six months. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/officials-who-abet-sand-mafia-must-be-identified-and-punished/articleshow/61876048.cms

Punjab No action on Justice Narang commission report It has been four months since Justice (retd) J S Narang commission recommended cancellation of two controversial sand mines linked to Irrigation Minister Rana Gurjit Singh’s former employees and close aides. While the commission gave a clean chit to the minister, it recommended action against certain officers of mining department for procedural anomalies. The commission had found that both the bidders Amit Bahadur and Kulwinder Pal had blatantly violated the rules governing participation in the auction. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/sand-mines-auction-row-four-months-on-justice-narang-commission-report-gathers-dust-4969781/

Rajasthan Despite ban, illegal sand mining rampant Notwithstanding SC’s ban, illegal sand mining is going unabated in Merta. Mining department has not conducted replenishment study leave alone taking action against the lease holders who are involved in illegal mining. http://www.dnaindia.com/jaipur/report-despite-ban-illegal-sand-mining-rampant-2563008

Bihar Govt proposes new sand and stone mining rules As per state mines and geology minister Vinod Kumar Singh the govt would form new rules to sale sand and stone chips through licensed retail outlets from Dec 1 as the unregulated business yielded only Rs100 crore to the govt against Rs10,000 crore going to the kitty of those engaged in the business. Calling the new rules “impractical” and anti-small businessmen and farmers, opposition says that the Patna high court on Nov 27 has stayed the implementation of the new rules.https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/sand-and-chips-to-be-sold-under-new-rules-minister/articleshow/61839472.cms

Terming the sand mining policy as faulty RJD the main opposition has announced to launch protest again it. They allege that mining policy has resulted into rate of sand rising from Rs 2500 per tractor earlier to Rs 5000-Rs 10,000 per tractor. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/rjd-to-protest-bihar-govt-s-sand-mining-policy/510738.html

Odisha Govt signed JV for Rs 450-cr sand mining project Two State-owned firms- the Industrial Development Corporation of Odisha Ltd (IDCOL) and the Indian Rare Earths Ltd (IREL)- inked a joint venture (JV) agreement to explore beach sand minerals.  The JV has been approved by the Niti Aayog and the state govt. The pre-feasibility report prepared by IDCOL envisages raw sand processing of five million tonnes per annum. http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/jv-signed-for-rs-450-cr-sand-mining-project-in-odisha-117112900985_1.html

Maharashtra State govt mulls mining NOC to counter sand theft Pune guardian minister Girish Bapat has decided to send a proposal to the urban development department to make “mining no objection certificate regarding use of minor minerals'” compulsory for real estate developers before a building completion certificate is issued to them. Local bodies such as Pune Municipal Corporation, Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation or the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) will have to ensure that the developer has sought a no objection certificate for use of sand.

The work will be executed under the District Mineral Foundation that has been established under the directions of the central and state government regulation. The district has 267 mining sites and the committee has given approval for project works worth Rs 310 crore to be executed under different schemes. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/state-govt-mulls-mining-noc-to-counter-sand-theft/articleshow/61921787.cms

Karnataka Sand mining rampant in Dakshina Kannada: Ayukta police The fight against illegal sand mining by environmentalists has received a boost with the Lokayukta Police submitting a report about the existence of illegal sand mining in Dakshina Kannada (DK) district. The report submitted by the Lokayukta Police recently has clearly mentioned about the presence of illegal sand mining in DK district. Going by the findings of Lokayukta Police, there are about 39 places of illegal sand mining and sand collection places in Bantwal, Belthangady and Mangaluru Taluks. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/081217/sand-mining-rampant-in-dakshina-kannada-ayukta-police.html

Khemchand Yadav, mine worker and silicosis patient from the village of Dabi in Bundi, Rajasthan Photo Credit, Ashish V
Khemchand Yadav, mine worker and silicosis patient from the village of Dabi in Bundi, Rajasthan, Photo Credit: Ashish V.

National Silicosis caused by sand mining reached epidemic-like levels The detailed and comprehensive report throw light on the plight of silicosis affected mine workers in Bundi, Kota and Bhilwara districts. As per the report, despite the 7th Asian Mining Congress held last month in Kolkata, where the head of the Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS) admitted that silicosis was a “concern”, nothing looks likely to change soon. DGMS is only now conducting a study to determine the extent of the problem. It has collected 9,000 samples from five or six States, including Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Gujarat.

Rajasthan has the highest number of mine leases (close to 35,000 mines, according to a 2015 report by the Department of Mines and Geology, Rajasthan), and has been at the centre of the silicosis debate in the country. A large number of its nearly 2.5 million mine-workers are under threat, with sandstone miners at even greater risk because sandstone has some of the highest quantities of silica. There were 125 confirmed cases of silicosis in Bundi in 2015, and 113 in 2016, according to govt data. http://www.thehindu.com/society/theres-death-in-the-air-here-in-dabi-village-in-rajasthan-silicosis-caused-by-sand-mining-has-reached-epidemic-like-levels/article21241289.ece

WETLANDS

Karnataka Opinion divided on formation of separate pollution board Spiralling levels of pollution in Bengaluru have prompted lawmakers to contemplate setting up a separate pollution control board for the megacity. Several domain experts, however, are sceptical about the legal standing of the proposal to set up a city-oriented pollution control board, considering the issue is governed by central legislation such as the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act and the Environment (Protection) Act. At present, only New Delhi NCR has a dedicated pollution control body, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), and no other city has this privilege. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/separate-pollution-board-to-monitor-bengaluru-in-the-offing/articleshow/61826126.cms

Jammu & Kashmir Parched wetlands making migratory birds stay difficult Bird lovers  have seen many birds going out of Kashmir valley around mid-winter in the past few years because of their dry habitat. Experts blame rapid urbanisation, lack of will on the part of the govt to remove encroachments in and around the wetlands, increasing noise pollution due to a rapid increase in vehicular traffic. http://www.sundayguardianlive.com/news/11844-kashmir-s-parched-wetlands-make-winged-visitors-stay-difficult

FISH & FISHERIES

Bihar Govt plans to improve freshwater fisheriesIdeally, 4.5 lakh tonnes of fish feed should be used by farmers of Bihar; just about 6,000 tonnes are being used. According to department plans, half of the fish feed cost would be provided as subsidy. The decision is meant to achieve the target of producing 8 lakh metric tonnes of fish per annum by 2022, as envisaged in the state’s third agriculture roadmap.

-The average fish productivity in Bihar is 3 tonnes per hectare of waterbody and the aim is 5 tonnes per hectare. The state produces 5.10 lakh metric tonnes of fish annually, against the demand of 6.42 lakh metric tonnes. The gap is filled by importing fish from other states. Fish farmers of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana supply a good chunk to Bihar.

-50% subsidy also decided on setting up of fish-feed mill with the upper limit being Rs 50 lakh. At present 6 fish-feed mills are functioning in the state whose combined production is at 1,060 metric tonnes per annum. The remaining fish feed used in the state comes from outside. As per dept, 7 such mills with a combined production capacity of 3,995 metric tonnes are coming up in Bihar. https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/bihar/subsidy-sop-for-fish-farmers-187272

Cyclone Ockhi Kerala fishermen demand stringent action against erring disaster management officers Kerala Fishermen continue to feel the state govt and especially the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) let them down in not providing timely warning to fishermen going to sea. With dozens of fishermen dead and many still missing, fishermen and their families led a protest march to the KSMDA office at Vellayambalam seeking action against officers who they believe are at fault.

According to Union Minister Alphons Kannanthanam, the Central agencies had given alerts on November 28 and 29 on deep depression and also against fishermen venturing into the sea. However, they issued the warning on cyclone only on Nov 30. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/thiruvananthapuram/2017/dec/05/cyclone-ockhi-kerala-fishermen-demand-stringent-action-against-erring-disaster-management-officers-1718774.html

WATER OPTIONS

Bhajandas-Pawar-maharashtra-Kadbanwadi-1

Maharashtra A retired teacher transformed a barren village with water conservation The village of Kadbanwadi in the Indapur taluka of Pune in is the perfect example of this self-sufficient village Gandhiji envisioned. Thanks to the efforts of Bhajandas Vitthal Pawar. Today Kadbanwadi has 100 farm ponds, 3 percolation tanks, 27 cement bunds and 110 earthen bunds. https://www.thebetterindia.com/123663/water-conservation-kadbanwadi/

GROUND WATER

IMG20171209154123
Tubewell in Yamuna Floodplain, Palla, Delhi (Image Credit: SANDRP)

Center More and more farmers depending on groundwater for irrigation GOVT’S 5TH MINOR IRRIGATION (MI) CENSUS 2013-14 suggests that STEPS SHOULD BE TAKEN TO RESTORE SURFACE WATER SOURCES and also STOP FURTHER DEPLETION OF UNDERGROUND WATER TABLE.

-Between 2006-07 and 2013-14, there has been a significant growth in the number of groundwater schemes such as dug well, shallow, medium and deep tube wells from 19.75 millions to 20.52 millions during the period.

The number of surface water schemes such as flow and lift irrigation, however, has dropped from 1.24 millions to 1.19 millions.

– Groundwater still accounts for the lion’s share (94.5 %) of all the minor irrigation schemes in the country.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/more-and-more-farmers-depending-on-groundwater-for-irrigation/articleshow/61903238.cms 

This implies declining dependency of farmers on surface water schemes and increasing dependency on groundwater schemes for meeting their minor irrigation needs,” it added. http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/more-and-more-farmers-depending-on-groundwater-for-irrigation-117120300369_1.html

WATER

645828_thump
Representative Image 

Karnataka Board asks Apartments to install STPs or face actions The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board has announced that apartment complexes with 50 or more flats will be fined 25 percent of the water bill if they fail to install STPs by Dec 31. Non-compliance with the order beyond 3 months will lead to a penalty of 50% of the water bill. A notice has already been sent to 1,043 apartments in the city. However, over 10,000 residents have protested against the rule saying that the older apartments do not have the design or strength to install STPs and that they are already connected to the internal sewage system. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/645828/apartments-must-instal-stps-dec.html

DELHI WATER

Delhi NGT slams Govt, DJB NGT on Nov 29 has rapped the Delhi govt and the DJB for permitting operation of industries which carry out illegal extraction of groundwater, leading to depletion of water levels. Further, the govt came under fire for ‘abusing an interim order’. The NGT had in 2014 passed an interim order which stated that “if the industry is a water packaging industry and is extracting water for that purpose, that unit shall pay a sum of ₹50,000 per year per borewell for utilisation”. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/groundwater-extraction-ngt-slams-govt-djb/article21041657.ece

Further during Dec 01 hearing the court directed the Delhi govt, the DJB and the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC) to convene a meeting over illegal groundwater extraction being carried out by industries in Bawana and Narela.

The green court rapped the authorities for not providing proper plans to these industries, which has led to groundwater extraction in overexploited areas. Directing the authorities to place details of the meeting before the Tribunal within a week, the Bench said, “Take a clear stand whether these industries should be shut down or should there be some sort of a regulation.”  http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-newdelhi/take-clear-stand-on-industries-extracting-groundwater-illegally/article21237941.ece

MONSOON 2017

Master

Cyclone Ockhi Effect Mumbai records highest December rain in 50 years IMD’s Santacruz observatory highest-ever December rainfall of 36mm in 12 hours (8.30 am-8.30 pm on Dec 05) crossing the previous record of 31.4mm, recorded on Decr 12, 1967. IMD records show that Dec 05 maximum temperatures were the lowest ever recorded in the last 10 years. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/cyclone-ockhi-effect-mumbai-records-highest-december-rain-in-50-years/articleshow/61939427.cms

Also see warning on rivers in the context of cyclone Okchi. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=174120

SOUTH ASIA

4THBRAHMAPUTRA
“The Brahmaputra is an important resource for India’s own water diversion plans – the national river interlinking project.” The Brahmaputra river in Morigaon district, Assam.                      Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

BRAHMAPUTRA EXCELLENT piece on Indo China Brahmaputra issues

– Union minister Arjun Meghwal clarified that preliminary findings of the Central Water Commission suggested this was caused by the earthquake that hit Tibet on 17 November.

– the thick black soot in Siang which, of course, continues to destroy the aquatic life, birds, flora and fauna and even the livelihood of thousands in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam as the water remains unusable.

– India’s snail-paced response in providing even a preliminary assessment, and inaction in providing relief from this contamination

– Despite China having 50% spatial share of this 3,000km-long water system, low precipitation and desert conditions mean that Tibet generates only 25% of its total basin discharge, while India, with 34% of the basin, contributes to 39% of the total discharge. So, it is not China’s water diversions, but intentional flooding or contamination that should be a major concern for India.

– (Does it mean rest 16% catchment in Bhutan and Bangladesh generates 36% discharge?)

– To recall, the entire debate on India-China ‘water wars’ was triggered in 2000 by the sudden burst of one such dam, causing flash floods that resulted in 25 deaths and damage to property and livestock.

– India must build its own capabilities to redress and withstand such disasters. India can get China to regularize existing mechanisms and expand them beyond just data exchange on water flows, levels, rainfall, etc. These need to expand to cover quality of water and mutual inspections by joint or third-country observers. http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/ZPKM8YtCV8Je6sNs0VzScK/Is-China-muddying-Brahmaputra-waters.html

There is a bit misleading article also for example when it says, “A decade ago, India started planning multiple hydropower projects on the Brahmaputra as a reactive strategy against Chinese dam-building activities on the upper reaches of the river. This strategy is informed by the international law of ‘prior appropriation’, which states that the first user gets the rights to continue using that quantity of water.” Here the author needed to add a qualification that this is misleading contention since Chinese track record shows that one cannot depend that it will follow any such principles and if there is any international agency that can force China to do that. The article’s implied conclusion that the water transfer from YTB is imminent is itself flawed. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-brahmaputra-conundrum/article21254881.ece

Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar Back Away From Chinese Projects VOICE OF AMERICA on how contracts for hydro projects in Nepal, Pakistan and Mynmar have been cancelled with one particular Chinese company in recent weeks. It also quotes SANDRP. https://www.voanews.com/a/three-countries-withdraw-from-chinese-projects/4148094.html

One more report draws attention to Pakistan and Nepal’s withdrawal from two dam-building deals functional in China, citing measures Beijing might have to adopt in order to ensure equitable terms and distribution of benefits among those that need the investment. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/cpec-in-dock-after-pakistan-nepal-withdraw-from-dam-projects-in-china/articleshow/61849911.cms

Pakistan SC summons CM, Mayor in Sindh pollution case The SC on Dec 04 has summoned Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah on Dec 6 while hearing a case on the provision of clean drinking water for people of Sindh at SC’s Karachi Registry. The court also summoned former city mayor Mustafa Kamal on Dec 5 in illegal allotment of land for treatment plant. 

The court also rejected the objection of advocate general stating that, “The court should give time to clarify the issue before summoning the CM.

As per petitioner Advocate Shahab Usto people in 29 districts across the Sindh province are drinking contaminated water. As per petition 80 % water in Karachi, 85 % in Hyderabad, 88 % in Larkana and 78 % in Shikarpur is contaminated. Waste from hospitals, industries and municipalities is disposed of in rivers across Sindh, the petitioner claimed. https://www.geo.tv/latest/170578-pollution-case-supreme-court-summons-cm-sindh-on-december-6

During next hearing the Chief Justice Saqib Nisar observed that human waste is being deliberately released in water. The remarks of the chief justice came after a short-film about contaminated water was shown in the courtroom. In July, a report submitted to the SC  stated that 90% of drinking water samples collected from Karachi were unfit for human consumption and a significant portion was tainted with human waste. https://www.geo.tv/latest/170902-water-pollution-case-sindh-cm-mustafa-kamal-reach-sc-karachi-registry

Nepal IBN seeks rights for 2 hydro projects Investment Board Nepal (IBN) has asked the Energy Ministry for the implementation rights for the Betan Karnali and Bheri-1 hydropower projects as it has the sole authority to execute schemes with a capacity of 500 MW or more. IBN has requested the ministry to send the documents related to the Betan Karnali and Bheri-1 projects which have a capacity of 688 MW and 617 MW respectively, both located in western Nepal. http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2017-12-05/ibn-seeks-rights-for-two-hydro-projects.html

THE REST OF WORLD

Australia  2011 DAM FLOODS case still ongoing in Australian courts: The Queensland Govt put water storage considerations before flood mitigation strategies while operating the state’s dams during the summer of 2011 partly out of fear of public “embarrassment’’, a Sydney court has been told. Despite more than one century of tradition that protection from flooding was the priority, the severe drought of the early 2000s appeared to have “changed perceptions,’’ Julian Sexton, SC, told the Queensland floods class action hearing.” The ongoing trial will continue for about two weeks. http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/2011-queensland-floods-class-action-peak-dam-releases-should-have-been-halved-lawyers-say/news-story/a6e117d0aad8c1f395e325444b20c59b

The plaintiffs’ case rests largely on the proposition that, had water been released from dams well before the flood peak, some of the damage could have been avoided. Mr Sexton reiterated that there was no doubt Brisbane would have experienced flooding regardless of dam operations, but it might have been significantly reduced if mitigation strategies had been properly employed. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/donothing-dam-plan-led-to-brisbane-flood-disaster-court-told/news-story/b454f9e5da0aee1b1c189934344e73f9?nk=6b26d3c32494d98ef7b2d67eb7d36209-1512466171

Engineers waited for water to fall on ground before taking action. “Class action lawyers contend failures on these points led to water being released from the dams too late, causing far greater flooding than would have occurred if water was released earlier and more gradually.” https://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/dam-operators-wedded-to-rain-on-the-ground-strateg/3283759/#/0

The operator of Queensland’s Wivenhoe Dam maintains it would have been “drastic” to pre-release water ahead of the 2011 floods based on predictions of extreme rainfall.

– Justice Robert Beech-Jones replied: “What if you were told there was a cyclone coming?”

– Mr O’Donnell said if there was a large-scale rainfall event predicted to go beyond flood-storage capacity, pre-releasing water would be “a great idea”.

– “The bureau’s advice has been you can’t rely on the forecasts for making operational decisions,” he said.

– “Our case will be that the consistent advice from the Bureau of Meteorology and the flood engineers’ own long experience in forecasts is that that is not a reliable thing to do,” he said. https://au.news.yahoo.com/qld/a/38204939/dam-operators-did-their-jobs-court-told/

Brisbane Dam operators tell court that victims of the Jan 2011 floods were responsible for contributory negligence!

– The victims of Queensland’s devastating 2011 floods are partly to blame for damage to their properties because they didn’t do enough to protect them and are guilty of “contributory negligence”, dam operators claim.

– Mr Owens said Seqwater contended she, too, should have known the land on which she built her house flooded in both 1893 and 1974. “It also contends she was guilty of contributory negligence in not doing enough to help herself before the flood,” he said. https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/dam-operators-claim-queensland-flood-victims-were-partly-to-blame-20171207-p4yxid.html

file-20171205-23047-1fz8pbt
The mouth of the Murray River, where sometimes no water flows into the ocean at all. CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY

Also see Drought on the Murray River harms ocean life too This is an obvious fact, but is still relatively under-reported: That the health of the ocean depends on the river systems. If freshwater input is depleted, marine life collapses. A study has found that drought in the Murray River doesn’t just affect the river itself – it also affects the ecosystems that live in the ocean beyond. This shows that the health of the Murray River has a much bigger influence on the marine environment than we previously realised. https://theconversation.com/drought-on-the-murray-river-harms-ocean-life-too-88637

US Lafayette River Oyster Survey shows thriving reefs It’s just amazing to see oysters growing so thickly, especially in an urban river that was polluted for decades. If oysters can come back in the Lafayette, they can come back anywhere they used to be in the Bay,” said CBF Virginia Oyster Restoration Manager Jackie Shannon. In India too, many Western Ghat rivers are rich repositories of Oysters rivers like Aghanashini and even Vashishthi. http://www.cbf.org/news-media/newsroom/2017/virginia/lafayette-river-oyster-survey.html?referrer=https://www.google.co.in/

As sediment builds, one dam faces its comeuppance Sediment accumulation is also an issue that US dam operators face, like in this case of Paonia reservoir in Colorado river. http://www.hcn.org/articles/water-as-sediment-builds-a-colorado-dam-faces-its-comeuppance-paonia-reservoir

South Africa Minister threatens to cut off water to 30 municipalities 30 defaulting municipalities among 186, owe R10.7-billion to several water authorities among 186 local govt structures that owe money for water. https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2017-11-28-minister-threatens-to-cut-off-water-to-30-municipalities/

Here is the list of the owing municipalities in Mpumalanga https://mpumalanganews.co.za/326880/thirty-municipalities-facing-cut-off-debts/

Experts say Department of Water and Sanitation DWS has an obligation to supply citizens with water, and the cutting of water would be against the constitution. https://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/gauteng/water-cuts-for-defaulters-unconstitutional-12176856

New Zealand 800,000 at risk after ‘mess’ left by previous govt In its second report, experts investigating the Havelock North gastro outbreak warn hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders – one in five people – are at risk of getting sick and universal treatment of drinking water is needed. Attorney-General David Parker said that there were a series of failures that led to so many falling ill in Havelock North and in other areas of New Zealand.

More than 5000 people were made sick in August last year as campylobacter spread through the village’s contaminated drinking water. Dozens were hospitalised, and at least three were left with a chronic condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome. https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/345570/new-zealand-s-drinking-water-a-mess

CLIMATE CHANGE

zrimyafnsr-1512124526.jpg
A person trapped on the terrace of a building surrounded by floodwater is rescued by the Indian Air Force in Utadi village in Gujarat’s Surendranagar district in July 2017. (Photo credit: PTI).

Gujarat How are its cities coping with climate change Part I of the article says some interesting things; cities depend on flows, flow of water, milk, traffic, goods, money. When there is failure, there is multiple organ failure. https://scroll.in/article/859203/gujarat-is-battered-by-heat-waves-floods-drought-how-are-its-cities-coping In part 2 there is emphasis on how the urban governance is top down, undemocratic and bureaucratic. https://scroll.in/article/859205/urban-planning-why-gujarats-cities-are-losing-their-fight-against-a-changing-climate

Study Where is Greenland melted ice going? Each year, Greenland loses 270 billion tons of ice as the planet warms. New research shows that some of the water may be trapped in the ice sheet, which could change how scientists think about global sea levels. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/05/climate/greenland-ice-melting.html

Global UN signals ‘end’ of throwaway plastic The end of the era of throwaway plastic has been signalled by UN environment ministers meeting in Kenya. They signed off a document stating that the flow of plastic into the ocean must be stopped. Scientists welcomed the statement, but were unhappy the agreement was only based in principle, with no firm targets or timetables. http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-42252233

ENVIRONMENT

Sanctuary-Nature-Foundation-recognises-The-Arunachal-Times-Tongam

Sanctuary Asia Award SALUTES to TONGAM RINA for getting the Sanctuary Asia award – ‘Known for her incisive writing, Tongam has reported on issues concerning the environment, and illegal activities in the name of development,’ it said. ‘Her articles cover the hydro-dollar mission and power generation surge set to ravage her state.’

– Through her column ‘Ringside View’, Tongam has shed light on the environmental unviability of the hydropower projects in Dibang Valley, Tawang and Siang basins. Tongam also became a voice of dissent through her extensive and honest reportage of the anti-dam protests that were held in 2016 in Tawang, where two protestors were killed and scores injured. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2017/12/09/sanctuary-nature-foundation-recognises-the-arunachal-times-tongam/

Report Govt made disasters are worse than natural Nityanand, as usual is brilliant and scathing:

– The National Highways Authority of India is building a second NH47 from Kanyakumari to Nagercoil, in defiance of opposition from the local people. This road bounds the western length of the famed temple town and runs north towards Nagercoil. The town’s eastern boundary is the Palayar River, which joins another stream just south of town. The road being built pays no attention to the water’s need to flow. Suchindram drains in a southeasterly direction through the Palayar River, which then emp ties into the Indian Ocean through the Manakkudy estuary. But the bypass road slices across the main river after its confluence with the other stream in the town’s south.

– As a result, heavy rains on November 30 saw waters backing up into the Suchindram temple. Large parts of the town were submerged. The duplicate highway’s bypass, shaped like the bund of an irrigation tank, loomed like a deadly garland around Suchindram, blocking Ockhi’s waters from draining into the Palayar. The town was saved only after the road was cut in three places on December 1.

– Sagarmala and Bharatmala are nothing but garlands of death for coastal environment and communities.

– But Devasahayam warns that, even as we are battling one disaster, the government is building up for the next: “The govt wants to build an airport over the Manakkudy salt pans.”

– As disasters go, natural ones like the Chennai floods and Cyclone Ockhi pale in comparison to the disaster that our govts have become. https://thewire.in/202073/whats-worse-natural-disasters-like-ockhi-manmade-ones-like-governments/

Goa Gram sabhas fight back When the state govt in Goa drew up plans to make the Mormugao Port a hub for importing coal and transporting it to steel factories in Karnataka, it ran into opposition it had never really expected. At the public hearings on the proposal, doctors, lawyers and scientists tore into officials with information and questions for which they had no real answers. Good to see how Panchayats & Gram sabhas in Goa are fighting the coal transportation. http://www.civilsocietyonline.com/cover-story/goas-gritty-gram-sabhas-give-it-back-on-coal-hub-river-rights-and-more/

National Environmental violations on decline across India: NCRB National Crime Records Bureau’s 2016 report: Wish media to also cover Water Pollution Act violations. -HARD TO BELIEVE THAT Environment-related offences across India have been on steady decline – 5,835 cases in 2014, 5,156 in 2015 and 4,732 in 2016. -Uttar Pradesh topped the list of environment-related offences in India (2,130 cases) in 2016, followed by Rajasthan (1,381 cases). http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/maharashtra-tops-list-in-environmental-violations-ncrb/story-mUsRe1AqB7pnsXUVMm5TgI.html

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 04 December 2017 & DRP News Bulletin 27 November 2017

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.