Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 5 March 2018 (Will India Face An Unprecedented Water Crisis This Summer?)

Residents of Muruga Tholuvu Harijan Colony in Chennimalai Union have urged the district administration to take steps to provide them water on a regular basis. In a petition, they said that villagers have to go in search of water from other areas and transport it in bicycles regularly. They said that most of the people were labourers and their livelihood is lost when they go in search for water. They said that the situation is worse during summer season, as water is not available at nearby areas and they are unable to purchase water from the market too. http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/provide-drinking-water-villagers/article22935093.ece (The Hindu, 5 March 2018)

With the beginning of summer season, there are several news reports describing the growing water crisis in different parts of country. Here are details of various Indian states suffering from  water scarcity for industrial, irrigational and even for drinking purposes which given the due summer months could develop into grim scenario. These stories also show how the mismanagement of dam storages, exploitation of ground water resources and pollution of rivers have significant role in aggravating the situation.

Gujarat The state is staring at a water crisis this summer, with low water levels in the Narmada dam and almost all other major dams. On March 3, the CM Vijay Rupani has held a meeting with senior minister and bureaucrats to take stock of the water situation in the state and discussed ways to ensure drinking water availability. The government also has decided to allocate Rs 200 crore in special grants for augmentation of local water sources and instructed all collectors to form district committees, have weekly review meetings and start supply of water by tankers wherever required.

The state government has decided to stop the Narmada branch canal supply. Only the main canal will remain in use. An alternative plan for water supply discussed how the govt can supply Narmada water directly from the main canal. The chief secretary will review the state-level situation every week. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/govt-approves-use-of-tankers-to-deal-with-water-scarcity/articleshow/63152552.cms (The Times of India, 4 March 2018)

The farmers dependent on Narmada waters have also been suffering. They allege that despite repeated written presentations to government has not done anything to provide irrigational water to them. Recently several farmer organizations have jointly decided to stage a protest in Gandhinagar from 12 March to 15 March during the assembly session. http://www.livemint.com/Politics/kZpHfZA8MgWqyNs2czbSLO/Farmers-protest-to-hit-Gujarat-next-month.html (Live Mint, 28 Feb. 2018)

In Kutch area about 35,000 small industries are facing water problems. These industrial units are supposed to get 90 Million Litres per Day (MLD) but will be reduced to virtually zero if the government proceeds with the plan.  http://www.dnaindia.com/ahmedabad/report-don-t-stop-water-supply-kutch-units-tell-gujarat-govt-2588894 (DNA, 27 Feb. 2018)

Bundelkhnad A premature water crisis has sent alarming bells ringing in Bundelkhand while authorities continue to resort to knee-jerk tactics. Water woes are all-pervasive in the Rampur village of Chitrakoot district in Bundelkhand. What is perhaps most disturbing now – early 2018 is how soon the crisis has begun to rear its parched head.

According to  Khabar Lahariya’s, an all women reporters’ group, in its more than 16 years of reporting of the drought-afflicted terrains of the heartland, it has always reported on water problems through April, May, and June. But this is for the first time that the group had seasonal report trickling in as early as late January. In Pradhan Krishna ’s words have an ominous ring to them, “By the end of March, there will be massive scarcity here. Massive. We don’t know what’s going to happen.” War is afoot in Bundelkhand. It has got an angrier flow this year. https://thewire.in/228828/water-woes-rampur-bundelkhand/ (The Wire, 1 March 2018)

Here is You Tube vedio by Khabar Lahriya depicting the situation of water scarcity in Rampur village of Chitrakut.

Karnataka It is worth to mention that a BBC report has listed 11 world cities that were “most likely to run out of drinking water”, and put Bengaluru at number 2, behind only São Paulo, Brazil. http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/bengaluru-drinking-water-problem-cauvery-dispute-supreme-court-5078111/ (The Indian Express, 26 Feb. 2018)

Bengaluru originally had multiple sources of water supply in the form of over 200 lakes, abundant groundwater, and supplies from reservoirs and tanks in the Arkavathi river basin — the Hesaraghatta Lake in the north and the Thippagondanahalli Reservoir in the west. These sources are all but dead now due to the depletion of catchment areas in the wake of uncontrolled infrastructure expansion. http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/bengaluru-drinking-water-problem-cauvery-dispute-supreme-court-5078111/ (The Indian Express, 26 Feb. 2018) One more report has suggested that business as usual scene Bengaluru will invite severe water crisis in coming time. http://www.indiaspend.com/cover-story/why-bengaluru-may-run-out-of-drinking-water-in-12-years-27356 (India Spend, 20 Feb. 2018)

The Udupi City is also facing water scarcity, there would be water rationing in coming days as water stock at Baje dam on Swarna river would last till the end of May 2018. The Swarna Second Stage also does not have sufficient water. It was built in the hope that it would take care of the city’s water needs till 2020.  A  ₹270 crore project to bring water from the Varahi from Bharatkal village to Udupi city had also been drawn up. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/decision-on-water-supply-regulation-in-udupi-city-soon-madhwaraj/article22872273.ece (The Hindu, 28 Feb. 2018)

Tamil Nadu Farmers leaving Nazareth area Thoothukudi district have reported 6 tanks running dry and water shortage affecting cultivation on a total 3,323 acres of paddy crop. They also allege that despite demanding water release from the Papanasam and Manimuthar dams, no action had been taken. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/water-release-sought/article22880119.ece (The Hindu, 28 Feb. 2018)

Similarly, the residents in Sriram Nagar in the city have alleged that that the excessive and unfair exploitation of the groundwater source in the area by the Madurai City Corporation has caused the drastic depletion of the groundwater level in the area, threatening their daily life. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/madurai/over-exploitation-of-groundwater-by-corpn-affects-sriram-nagar-residents/articleshow/63152748.cms (The Times of India, 4 March 2018)

Residents of Muruga Tholuvu Harijan Colony in Chennimalai Union have also urged the district administration to take steps to provide them water on a regular basis. In a petition, they said that villagers have to go in search of water from other areas and transport it in bicycles regularly. They said that the situation is worse during summer season, as water is not available at nearby areas and they are unable to purchase water from the market too. http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/provide-drinking-water-villagers/article22935093.ece (The Hindu, 5 March 2018)

Kerala Several panchayats in Kuttanad, including Neelamperoor, Kavalam, Pulinkunnu, and Kainakary, are reeling under acute drinking water scarcity. The situation is not much different in Thalavady, Edathua, and Muttar. With potable water becoming a rare commodity, residents have already started to shell out a hefty amount for buying water from private suppliers. Kavalam grama panchayat president Sandhya Ramesh told that the situation was going to be severe in the coming months. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kuttanad-reeling-under-water-scarcity/article22936750.ece (The Hindu, 5 March 2018)

Maharashtra Telangana There is a possible beginning of water sharing dispute involving Maharashtra Telangana Godavari. Recently Maharashtra Government has ruled out waters to the Babli project affecting Telangana whose lands fall under the Sriramsagar ayacut. Surprised with the development the Telangana government has decided to petition the Union water resources ministry and Godavari Board to exert pressure on Maharashtra. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/maharashtra-says-no-water-to-babli-telangana-turns-to-centre/articleshow/63093766.cms (The Times of India, 27 Feb. 2018)

Telangana Andhra Pradesh Similarly after short pause Telangana and Andhra Pradesh has renewed their water dispute as Telangana has stopped release of water to the right canal of Nagarjuna Sagar Dam which flows into the Andhra Pradesh state. As per report, Telangana lodged a complaint against Andhra Pradesh with the Nalgonda district collector and SP. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/tension-at-sagar-dam-as-andhra-pradesh-tries-to-force-water-release/articleshow/63119840.cms (The Times of India, 1 March 2018)

Telangana As per another news report, villages, tribal thandas and remote villages on the banks of Manjeera River are reeling under severe drinking water crisis as the storage level in Manjeera project in Telangana has come down to 13 tmc as water has been discharged from the project to the lower reaches of the project to quench the people’s thirst.  The ground water table has already been receded to 19 meters in Narayanakhed, Hatnura, RC Puram, Zaheerabad and Raikod and other mandals. http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Telangana/2018-03-04/Ground-water-table-receding-/363380 (The Hans India, 4 March 2018)

The groundwater table in Visakhapatnam district has also plummeted compared to the levels in March 2017 due to the stretched dry spell during the north-east monsoon. The other mandals/areas that witnessed a drop in the groundwater levels include Dumbriguda, GK Veedhi, Gajuwaka, K Kotapadu, Munchingiputtu, Vemapdu, Anantavaram, Vizag city etc. On the other hand, the water levels in the reservoirs that supply water to Vizag city have also been depleting slowly, which will ultimately lead to reduced water supply to residents. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/visakhapatnam/groundwater-levels-plummet-thanks-to-stretched-dry-spell/articleshow/63161876.cms

Goa  Selaulim dam affected people have not been suffering from water scarcity. Having already lost their houses and agricultural land, the villagers are deprived of even the basic requirement of water, despite living about 5 to 8km from the project area. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/displaced-by-selaulim-dam-locals-thirst-for-water/articleshow/63141403.cms (The Times of India, 3 March 2018)

Punjab The pollution control board has raised concerns on indiscriminate installation of reverse osmosis (RO) systems resulting growing wastage of ground water. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/haphazard-ro-usage-adding-to-punjab-water-woes-ppcb/articleshow/63117626.cms (The Times of India, 1 March 2018) It is worth to mention that experts have warned that steady exploitation of groundwater in north Indian states for meeting short-term demand can hamper long-term goals such as providing sanitation for the population. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/exploitation-of-groundwater-in-india-for-meeting-short-term-demand-can-hamper-long-term-goals-expert-says/articleshow/63115567.cms (The Times of India, 28 Feb. 2018)

Haryana There is report about farmers in Haryana sitting on protest for last 44 days demanding their share of waters from Barwala branch canal a part of Bhakra dam. The samiti suspended the dharna after the CM sought 6 months to ensure adequate water supply in the region by taking a number of steps, including repair and desilting of canals. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/khattar-to-take-up-bhakra-height-raising-issue-with-r-sthan-today/550744.html (The Tribune, 28 Feb. 2018)

Delhi The ammonia pollution in Yamuna is only going worse causing water supply problems for many parts of capital since last week of Jan. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/delhi-equally-to-blame-for-dirty-yamuna/articleshow/63101817.cms (The Times of India, 28 Feb. 2018) As per latest report, the DJB has issued an advisory to residents. The levels of ammonia rose to an alarming level of 40 per cent twice in two months. Residents of south and south west Delhi have been complaining of water emitting a pungent smell. http://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2018/mar/03/delhiites-raise-stink-over-ammonia-in-yamuna-water-1781622.html (The New Indian Express, 4 March 2018)

Bihar The Dhanbad city of Bihar is also suffering from irregular water supply amid growing demand. https://www.livehindustan.com/jharkhand/dhanbad/story-water-crisis-is-ready-1832062.html (4 March 2018)

Uttarakhand The Naini lake has started drying again and the irrigation department has curtailed lake based water supply to Naintal town from 14 MLD to 8 MLD. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/to-safeguard-naini-lake-water-supply-from-lake-to-nainital-town-to-be-cut-by-almost-half/articleshow/62973204.cms (The Times of India, 19 Feb. 2018)

In 2017, the water levels of the lake had dipped to unprecedented 18-feet below zero mark leading to alarm bells ringing.In Jan. 2018, the lake water level started falling again due to scanty to almost no rainfall in winter. https://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/after-monsoon-cheers-dip-in-lake-level-swells-nainital-water-worries/story-STgIJ2XovND3gd1HeRguzM.html (Hindustan Times, 14 Jan. 2018)

In early Jan. 2018, rationing of water supply in the town — which was first started in the summer of 2015 — was implemented for the first time in winter to help check declining water levels of the lake. The irrigation department had justified the rationing by saying that “water levels of the lake were dipping at a speed of 1.25 inches per day.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/-in-a-first-water-rationing-in-nainital-this-winter/articleshow/62356619.cms (The Times of India, 3 Jan. 2018)

HYDRO POWER

Arunachal Pradesh Confusion prevails over the visit of the Dibru-Saikhoww Natinoal Park Great confusion prevails over the visit of the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park by the ‘Site Visit Committee’ constituted by the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife (SCNBWL) to visit the 1,750-MW Demwe Lower Hydroelectric Power Project-related sites, including the important national park. It is feared that the national park would be bearing the brunt of the adverse impact of the project’s tampering with the Lohit river.The Site Visit Committee comprises RD Kamboj, Director, GEER Foundation, Dr Gopi GV, who is representing the Wildlife Institute of India and DP Bankhwal, Inspector General of Forests (IGF), National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Guwahati Regional Office. This confusion seems to show the non serious approach of the NBWL sub committee in visiting the areas affected by 1750 MW Lower Demwe HEP, following NGT orders.  http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=mar0118/at061 (Assam Tribune, 28 Feb. 2018)

DAMS

Center Rs 7,000cr facelift for 700 large dams A screening committee of the department of economic affairs has given in-principle approval to a World Bank-funded project to repair and renovate large dams. Under this, 700 large dams across 18 states would be renovated over a six-year period at a cost of Rs 7000 crore. This is a part of the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project which looks to strengthen the safety aspects of major dams across the country. India has 213 large dams which are over a 100 years old. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/rs-7000cr-facelift-for-700-large-dams/articleshow/63072771.cms (The Times of India, 26 Fe. 2018)

ToI

Dry Narmada Kutch industries facing crisis as Narmada water likely to stop for them Close to 35,000 small industries will face the heat, literally, as Gujarat government has decided to supply Narmada waters only for drinking purpose. These units are supposed to get 90 Million Litres per Day (MLD) but will be reduced to virtually zero if the government proceeds with the plan, fear local industries.Total requirement of industries in Kutch is close to 250 MLD, of which 90 MLD is supplied by the state government through Gujarat Water Infrastructure Ltd (GWIL), while the rest is for captive use by large industries.  http://www.dnaindia.com/ahmedabad/report-don-t-stop-water-supply-kutch-units-tell-gujarat-govt-2588894 (DNA, 27 Feb. 2018)

Farmers to protest on Narmada Water Use Despite repeated written presentations to Gujarat government, our issues have not been addressed. At a recent meeting attended by 30-35 leaders of various farmers’ organisations, we decided to stage a protest in Gandhinagar from 12 March to 15 March when the assembly session is on,” said Sagar Rabari, general secretary, Khedut Samaj, a farmers’ organisation. http://www.livemint.com/Politics/kZpHfZA8MgWqyNs2czbSLO/Farmers-protest-to-hit-Gujarat-next-month.html (Live Mint, 28 Feb. 2018)

Status of Narmada Canal work as on Dec 31, 2017 as per the CM replying in Gujarat assembly– work related to 129.4 km of Branch Canals is pending as of December 31, 2017. Similarly, construction of 383 km of distributaries, 2,898 km of minor canals and 17,540 km of sub-minor canals is yet to be completed. Totally, 20,951 km remains to be built, government’s reply showed. http://www.dnaindia.com/ahmedabad/report-21000-km-of-narmada-canal-work-remains-unfinished-2589696 (DNA, 1 March 2018)

The state government admitted that 57% of the sub-minor canal network is yet to be completed in the state. The government, in a written reply to a question by Una MLA Punja Vansh, said that around 22% of minor canals were also pending. Work on branch and distributary canals is also not complete. The government revealed that they have yet to complete 129km of branch canals and 383km of distributary canals. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/57-of-sub-minor-canals-still-not-complete/articleshow/63122551.cms (The Times of India, 1 March 2018)

Some details of the STATUE of UNITY to be inaugurated on 31st Oct 2018, 3.32 km downstream of SSP. https://swarajyamag.com/insta/statue-of-unity-pm-modi-to-inaugurate-sardar-patel-memorial-on-the-narmada-on-31-october (Swarajya, 2 March 2018)

Statue Of Unity: PM Modi To Inaugurate Sardar Patel Memorial On The Narmada On 31 October

Telangana Dam safety panel for additional spillway To protect the existing dam structure and avoid the possibility of the dam breaking in the event of a major flood in Krishna river, Nag-arjunasagar Dam Safety Panel chairman M.S. Reddy recommended the construction of an additional concrete spillway on the earthen dam.

– in order to protect the existing 26 spillway gates from breaking, an additional spillway construction is the only solution, by building a concrete spillway for about 600 metres on the left bank of the earthen dam, so that during heavy floods like in 2009, water can be di-verted to downstream Kris-hna river through Tiger Valley.

– He said that in 2009, it was estimated that 25 lakh cusecs of flood water was recorded against the dam’s full capacity of 13 lakh cusecs.

– “Nagarjunasagar dam spillway bucket portion is already damaged, it cannot cope with major floods, which was evident in 2009 floods. There is also a power house situated below the spillway, in case of major floods over and above 13 lakh cusecs occur, it will be dangerous for the existing concrete spillway structure and there is likelihood of the dam breaking,” M.S. Reddy said.

– When asked about the fate of Srisailam Dam, which was constructed in the gorge portion of the river, M S Reddy said, “There was a separate technical experts committee constituted and something needs to be done to release additional flood water into the downstream river by constructing major tunnels to control the flood.”

India had in the past reported 36 dam disasters including the worst one in Gujarat (Machu dam in Morbi) where 2,000 people died and 12,700 houses were destroyed in 1979. Construction of the dam was completed in 1972 but its flanks were washed away in floods seven years later – sending a warning signal of dam failures in other parts of the country if their rehabilitation was not taken up. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/270218/telangana-dam-safety-panel-for-additional-spillway.html (Deccan Chronicle, 27 Feb. 2018)

Goa Displaced by Selaulim dam, locals thirst for water More than two decades after water from the Selaulim dam started flowing from taps in houses of thousands of residents in South Goa, those displaced by the project are yet to receive adequate water supply. Having already lost their houses and agricultural land, the villagers are deprived of even the basic requirement of water, despite living about 5 to 8km from the project area. The dam caters to most of South Goa talukas and 20% of North Goa. After the Selaulim Irrigation Project was initiated in mid-1970s, displaced villagers from Curdi and other small villages on the southern and south-western side of the catchment area were rehabilitated in the dam’s eastern areas, especially Vaddem and Valkini. In nearby Valkini, the fate of the rehabilitated persons is as bad.

As per Prasad Gaonkar Independent MLA from Sanguem though most of the displaced villagers have been allotted land to build houses and for cultivation, many are yet receive their due. He added 89 displaced families, who have not received their land, have their files pending before the government. The government had promised each of the families a 400 sqm plot for housing and 10,000 sqm agricultural land. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/displaced-by-selaulim-dam-locals-thirst-for-water/articleshow/63141403.cms (The Times of India, 3 March 2018)

Tamil Nadu Farmers demand immediate release of water to save paddy crop Tamil Nadu farmers report 6 tanks in Nazareth area Thoothukudi district empty & water shortage affecting cultivation on a total 3,323 acres of paddy crop. They also allege that despite demanding water release from the Papanasam and Manimuthar dams, no action had been taken. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/water-release-sought/article22880119.ece (The Hindu, 28 Feb. 2018)

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Interview ‘River inter-linking will sow the seeds of future conflicts between states’ There is nothing new about the proposed river-interlinking project being pushed by the government, and this ‘unnecessary excess’ of a project will create more problems than it promises to solve, says environmentalist and water management expert, Dr Ravi Chopra.

About Ken Betwa Link: “Betwa is a much larger basin than Ken. But Ken, much of its watershed is full of forests, so all this is a part of central India which drains through the Ken. Ken does not have much population, it does not have large cities and it does not have industries, so it has less demand for water. There is a much larger tribal population which does not practice irrigated agriculture. So all those things are creating a lower demand for water at present.

Now, what is your development model for Ken? You don’t have any other model for Ken. Tomorrow, Ken is going to be like any other part of the country and when the people of that area reach this level of development as in Betwa today, then they are going to say that we don’t have surplus water.

Betwa is the region that goes back to the Bhopal side. Bhopal to Vidisha to Jhansi etc are part of the Betwa basin. Betwa [‘s basin] has highly irrigated agriculture [area], a lot of soybean farming goes on over there, commercial cropping [etc]. So there is a huge demand for water in the Betwa basin. Therefore, it is said to be deficient. In terms of god-given rainfall, nature-given rainfall, it’s the same [between Betwa and Ken]. So it’s the lesser demand in the Ken basin at present that is creating a “surplus” and the joke – the third joke – is that now a report has come out of Madhya Pradesh, a government report, that says that Betwa basin is surplus; so whose numbers do we believe?

When we did our analysis, we came to the conclusion that there is almost no difference between the rainfall amounts and patterns in both the basins and Ken has excess water today only because its own demand is low. That’s it. By doing this link, you are sowing the seeds for a future conflict of the kind that you see between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, between Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. So you are sowing the seeds of future conflicts.  https://thewire.in/228035/interview-river-inter-linking-only-a-pipe-dream-being-sold-to-extract-national-resources/?utm_source=fbpage (The Wire, 27 Feb. 2018)

This is good to see this, but the article is unfortunately full of inaccuracies, one does not expect that from India Water Portal. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/should-wildlife-suffer-name-water (India Water Portal, 6 Nov. 2016)

INTER STATE WATER DISPUTES

Maharashtra Telangana Maharashtra says no water to Babli, Telangana turns to Centre Possible beginning of the Maharashtra Telangana Godavari water sharing dispute this summer.

– As per a Supreme Court (SC) order, Maharashtra has to release 0.6 TMCft water from March 1 to Babli barrage to supplement the Sriramsagar project (SRSP) and save the rabi crops in Nizamabad, Adilabad, Karimangar and Medak. Maharashtra government has said there is acute shortage of water at Gaekwad and Vishunupuri projects above Babli, due to which they cannot release water downstream.

– “The Gaekwad reservoir should have 102 TMCft water by now, but it has less than 77 TMCft. The Vishnupuri reservoir has only 2 TMCft water, which is not sufficient for our farmers. There is no possibility of water release from March 1,” the Maharashtra irrigation department wrote to its Telangana coutnerpart.

– The SC in 2013 had ordered opening for Babli gates from July 1 to Oct 28 and directed Maharashtra to release 0.6 TMCft water from March 1 for the rabi crops. The order was being foolowed for the last four years. Of late, Maharashtra has been allowing construction of dozens of check dams to divert Godavari water before it reaches Babli. This has reduced inflow into Telangana.

– Taken aback, the TRS government has decided to petition the Union water resources ministry and Godavari Board to exert pressure on Maharashtra. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/maharashtra-says-no-water-to-babli-telangana-turns-to-centre/articleshow/63093766.cms (The Times of India, 27 Feb. 2018)

Telangana Andhra Pradesh Water war at Sagar, Telangana stops flow to Andhra Pradesh After a lull, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh renewed their water war which was triggered by the former stopping release of water to the right canal of Nagarjuna Sagar Dam which flows into the latter state. By the end of the day, Telangana lodged a complaint against AP with the Nalgonda district collector and SP.

Telangana irrigation officials said they stopped the water after the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) issued a letter to them on Feb. 28 stating that AP has exceeded its quota of water by 2.3 TMC as of Feb. 26 and urged the residuary state to immediately stop unauthorised excessive drawls of water. However, AP irrigation claimed they had actually received 0.3 TMC of water less than the allocated quota of 60 TMC from January to February end.

Immediately, AP irrigation officials confronted their Telangana counterparts leading to a war of words. Adding to the tension, both states summoned additional police personnel from Nalgonda (Telangana) and Guntur (AP) respectively. While Telangana officials displayed the KRMB letter, AP officials displayed a letter written by their engineer-in-chief and demanded the immediate release of water.

While Telangana officials said they need to preserve the water in order to cater to the drinking water needs of Hyderabad, AP officials said they need another 2,000 cusecs of water to be released from the right canal. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/tension-at-sagar-dam-as-andhra-pradesh-tries-to-force-water-release/articleshow/63119840.cms (The Times of India, 1 March 2018)

Mahadayi River Water Sharing Row Amit Shah promises to resolve Mahadayi issue After failing to bring Goa to the negotiating table on the Mahadayi water dispute, BJP national president Amit Shah on Feb. 26 slipped into damage control role by making a fresh promise on the decades-old dispute: the party will work towards resolving the long-pending water dispute if they are voted to power in the 2018 assembly elections in Karnataka.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/vote-for-bjp-well-resolve-mahadayi-issue-amit-shah/articleshow/63089920.cms (The Times of India, 27 Feb. 2018)

In a stinging attack on Amit Shah, who has promised a solution to the long-standing Mahadayi river dispute, the Goa unit of Shiv Sena said today the BJP president was acting like a “kangaroo court” and “delivering a verdict” on the issue without any authority. http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/feb/27/mahadayi-dispute-shiv-sena-says-amit-shah-acting-like-kangaroo-court-1779725.html (The New Indian Express, 27 Feb. 2018)

Bhakhra Dam Haryana took up Bhakra height raising issue with Rajasthan Haryana CM has taken up the issue of raising the level of the Bhakra Main Line (BML) with his Rajasthan counterpart Vasundhara Raje so that the state gets its share of water to feed perched furrows in the catchment area of the Barwala branch canal.

The CM assured a delegation of farmers in this regard at a meeting held in Chandigarh. He had invited the delegation of the Jal Sangharsh Samiti, which is leading a dharna for the last 44 days in Hisar. The samiti suspended the dharna after the CM sought 6 months to ensure adequate water supply in the region by taking a number of steps, including repair and desilting of canals.

– It may be recalled that a joint inspection by states and members of the Central Water Commission in 2012 had recommended maintaining the level of the BML canal at 19.4 feet as against 18 feet to feed the Barwala link channel. After its completion, it was estimated that the water capacity of the Barwala canal would rise from 1,200 cusecs to 1,400 cusecs and possibly more.

– Haryana had given around Rs 4.88 crore to Punjab for executing the BML work that had started. However, Rajasthan objected to the project and Punjab stopped the work midway in 2015. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/khattar-to-take-up-bhakra-height-raising-issue-with-r-sthan-today/550744.html (The Tribune, 28 Feb. 2018)

Cauvery Rivers Water Sharing Dispute Center ‘No time frame for Cauvery Board’: Gadkari This is strange that even through SC has given a 6 week deadline, Union Minister openly says 11 days later that there is no time frame for constitution of Cauvery Management Board. Is this open defiance of the SC orders? http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-andhrapradesh/cauvery-board-not-likely-soon-gadkari/article22861520.ece (The Hindu, 27 Feb. 2018)

Op-Ed Cauvery verdict may impact other disputes by Jacob Koshy Cauvery judgment reveals several new strands for interpretation that may complicate disputes over water-sharing arrangements in other tribunals, for instance, the Ravi and Beas Water Tribunal or the Krishna Water Tribunal. Prompted by the Cauvery judgment, Punjab could ask that Haryana too utilise greater quantities of its groundwater reserves. The Mahanadi tribunal, intended to devise a water-sharing arrangement between Odisha and Chhattisgarh, could imbibe principles touched upon in the Cauvery judgment. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/cauvery-verdict-may-impact-other-disputes/article22847987.ece (The Hindu, 25 Feb. 2018)

Report Cauvery water should not be allocated on the basis of groundwater estimates, say experts Veena Srinivasan, a hydrologist at the Ashoka Trust for Research on Ecology and the Environment, pointed out that groundwater and river water that flows on the surface – also called surface water or surface runoff – are interconnected. Therefore, the Supreme Court should see them as a single component and not separately, she said. https://scroll.in/article/869572/cauvery-water-should-not-be-allocated-on-the-basis-of-groundwater-estimates-say-experts (Scroll, 28 Feb. 2018)

Op-Ed  Mekong Formula for Cauvery dispute In another op-ed by Yoginder K Alagh a former water minister suggests Mekong formula to settle Cauvery dispute which he has worked on and suggested to government. The Mekong countries too had conflicts over water. The countries set up a three-tier dispute resolution mechanism, at the lowest level of which was a committee of water officials, much like the proposed Water Management Board in the Cauvery. But when this panel failed, as it would in a scarcity year, the differences would go to a senior officials’ committee. If this failed, it goes to the political level (chief ministers chaired by the PM) Such a system was implemented even in the Cauvery but was jettisoned. That was a mistake.” https://goo.gl/Dsjp4B (Business Line, 27 Feb. 2018)

IRRIGATION

Maharashtra Irrigation Scam Contractor named in dam scam commits suicide? Dam contractor Jigar Thakkar, 41, an accused in the Maharashtra irrigation scam, shot himself in his car opposite Marine Plaza hotel at Marine Drive in south Mumbai on Feb. 28 night. As per the report, a Ghatkopar resident and director in the family-controlled D Thakkar Construction, Thakkar is believed to have recently defaulted on a Rs100 crore loan from a public sector bank,. As per sources, he was one of the biggest irrigation contractors in the Vidarbha region with an annual turnover of around Rs 400 crore. Last month, the state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) filed a chargesheet against Thakkar and several others in the irrigation scam. The case pertained to irregularities in award of irrigation work contracts by the Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation (VIDC). https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/contractor-named-in-dam-scam-shoots-himself-on-marine-drive/articleshow/63103060.cms (The Times of India, 28 Feb. 2018)

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RIVERS

SANDRP Blog North India Rivers Review 2017: Pollution Poisoning Lifelines In an effort to assess the situation of Rivers in 2017, SANDRP is presenting the compilation of key rivers related development in the country. The first part of this Rivers Review 2017 includes Northern States including Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. The following parts will present separate accounts for Rivers in North East, West, East and South Zones. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2018/03/03/north-india-rivers-review-2017-pollution-poisoning-lifelines/ (SANDRP Word Press, 3 March 2018)

Mumbai Rivers Anthem Great to see the CM and wife Amruta singing for the Mumbai Rivers to work towards their rejuvenation with Abhijit Joshi lyrics and Sonu Nigam voice… What action plan does the state govt have for the rivers to achieve this objective? None is visible for now… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heeghCQPCy4 (You Tube, 24 Feb. 2018)

An ‘anthem’ cannot save or rejuvenate Mumbai’s rivers Some useful insights on how to revive Mumbai rivers. Restoring or rejuvenating Mumbai’s rivers has been a sputtering operation, devoid of serious commitment of attention and resources, and lacking a holistic or detailed long-term plan. People-led efforts took off on a modest scale in recent years but they do not – and cannot – substitute official action.

At the core of this lies the unwillingness or inability of governments, municipal commissioners, and planning authorities to comprehend that Mumbai is a peninsula with a unique and complex system of rivers, mangroves, creeks and estuaries. Together, they form a web-like drainage and protection system for a coastal city. The rivers cannot be restored unless this entire eco-system is protected, cared for and urbanisation plans are made around it. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/an-anthem-cannot-save-or-rejuvenate-mumbai-s-rivers-mr-fadnavis/story-KWASqdErOIKlHjEf9hJKfJ.html (Hindustan Times,1 March 2018)

CM should save rivers instead of singing, dancing Activists have highlighted that it was CM Devendra Fadnavis’s government that scrapped the River Regulation Zone (RRZ) policy, which was framed in 2000 to protect rivers from pollution. The state policy had restricted industrial development along riverbanks for almost 15 years, and was further amended in 2009 with some stringent norms. But, in 2015, the Fadnavis government had scrapped the policy, claiming it was flawed legally. At the time, activists had pointed out that the policy was within the frame of law, and was according to powers under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.  https://www.mid-day.com/articles/devendra-fadnavis-should-save-rivers-not-do-a-song-and-dance-say-activists/19130195 (Mid Day, 1 March 2018)

No govt role in financing River Anthem: CMO The video has not been prepared or financed by the Maharashtra government, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) clarified. The River Anthem video has been made by a non-government organisation River March, it said. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/devendra-fadnavis-river-anthem-no-govt-role-in-financing-river-anthem-says-maharashtra-cmo-5082343/ (The Indian Express, 1 March 2018)

In a generation, Mumbai forgot it 4 rivers Mumbai’s relation with water is complex, and nowhere is this most apparent than in the metropolis’ treatment of the four rivers – Dahisar, Poisar, Oshiwara and Mithi – which run through it. Over the years, they have come to be ravaged by pollution and urbanisation and scarcely resemble what they once were. It is this transformation that photographer Aslam Saiyad wanted to capture in his photo project Discovering The Forgotten Rivers Of Bombay. https://scroll.in/magazine/831023/photos-in-just-one-generation-mumbai-has-forgotten-that-it-has-four-rivers (Scroll, 17 March 2017)

Can Pune revive Dr Salim Ali bird sanctuary? The natural bird sanctuary on the Mula-Mutha river bank, that was dedicated to the memory of the great ornithologist Dr Salim Ali nearly two decades ago, is as good as dead now due to neglect by authorities. https://www.hindustantimes.com/pune-news/can-pune-revive-dr-salim-ali-bird-sanctuary/story-ia0sHEmidmsugSpouIehSL.html (Hindustan Times, 28 Feb. 2018)

West Bengal Subernarekha facing worst algae bloom attack Prolific growth of algae has affected the Subernarekha the lifeline of East Singhbhum with river stretches in Sakchi, Mango and Bhuiyandih stagnated by the green devil. Concerned have attributed the unabated algal bloom to unbridled river pollution by both individuals and industries triggering faster depletion of the dissolved oxygen level, leaving aquatic life at stake.

As per report there are 300-350 small- and medium-scale units in Adityapur Industrial area draining industrial effluents into Kharkai river, which meets Subernarekha at Domuhani. Officials at the regional office of Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board (JSPCB) in Adityapur conceded that algae had stagnated the flow of the river. Suresh Paswan, regional officer of JSPCB says that the only way to get rid of the blanketing bloom which occurs annullay is to release water from the Chandil dam or wait for heavy monsoon rain. Mentioning of severe summer prediction R.S. Tigga, chief engineer of state water resources department who looks after Chandil Dam, said releasing water was difficult at this juncture and suggested JSPCB to fix the pollution instead. 

Meanwhile, Adityapur Small Industries Association president Inder Agarwal claimed discharge of waste was no longer a key cause behind Subernarekha’s ill health because a common effluent treatment plant, a part of Adityapur auto cluster project, had become operational last year. https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/jharkhand/annual-algae-attack-on-river-of-gold-211554 (The Telegraph, 27 Feb. 2018)

Tamil Nadu Chennai’s struggle with segregation India Water Portal report on how inefficient solid waste management results in waste piles that contribute to urban flooding in cities like Chennai. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/chennais-struggle-segregation (India Water Portal 8 Nov. 2017)

Kerala Dredging work to restore water flow in river begins Kerla Govt begins Mampuzha river dredging projects to restore the natural water flow in rive clogged with plastic bottles & non-degradable sediments. The project will cover nearly 10 km stretch of the river between Kuttikkattoor and Kaduppini costing ₹1.75-crore. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/dredging-work-to-restore-water-flow-in-river-begins/article22925456.ece (The Hindu, 4 March 2018)

GANGA Center NMCG approves Rs. 4K cr sewerage projects In the 9th Executive Committee meeting of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), projects worth nearly Rs 4,000 crore were approved including a 20 MLD Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) for tannery cluster at Jajmau in Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh. The PIB release has the details of various STPs CETPs approved by the committee. http://www.pib.nic.in/Pressreleaseshare.aspx?PRID=1521398 (PIB, 22 Feb. 2018)

Uttrakhand  Shiva idol on Ganga raises ire of environmentalists NGT in its directive has banned any construction in a 50-metre periphery from the middle of the river to either side last year while the Uttarakhand HC in Feb. 2013 had specified a 200-metre limit in this regard. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/shiva-idol-on-ganga-raises-ire-of-environmentalists/articleshow/63151174.cms (The Times of India, 4 March 2018)

YAMUNA NGT Hema Malini’s holi fest venue shifted from Yamuna bank On account of the intervention of the NGT, the cultural programme sought to be hosted by BJP MP Hema Malini on the bank of river Yamuna in front of Vishramghat in Mathura, UP, on the occasion of Holi, now has a different venue. A direction to the state of Uttar Pradesh and other authorities to ensure that there is no violation of the provisions of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authorities Order, 2016. http://www.livelaw.in/hema-malinis-holi-cultural-fest-venue-shifted-yamuna-bank-ngts-intervention-read-order/ (Live Law, 27 Feb. 2018)

The Tribunal had earlier directed the UP pollution control board and the National Mission for Clean Ganga to inspect the site on the Yamuna floodplains opposite the historic Vishram Ghat in Mathura and submit a report. The petition had said that the activity proposed on the riverbed would require construction of stage and other ancillary arrangements to host nearly 5,000 people. It had sought directions to restrain the authorities from carrying out any further organisation of the proposed activity on the riverbed and floodplain of Yamuna. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/national-green-tribunal-directs-hema-malini-to-clear-debris-on-yamuna-floodplains-1817452 (NDTV, 26 Feb. 2018)

Uttar Pradesh Yamuna dariya prem ka A Ballet (two 35 mint parts) which brings to life the story of Yamuna. In MUZAFFAR ALI’s annual JAHAN-E-KHUSHRAU, at HUMANYUN’s TOMB, Arab ki Sarai from March 9 to 11. It will trace the journey of the river and what it goes through at different junctures. http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/art-and-culture/course-and-correction-5082120/ (Indian Express, 1 March 2018)

Delhi Plan to make seaplane land on Yamuna in next 5 yrs: Manoj Tiwari After water taxi, seaplane in Yamuna??? The project called “Yamunosa” by Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari will be on the lines of Sabarmati on which PM Modi made a splash of a last-day Gujarat campaign by landing on a seaplane. No drain (about 2 dozen of them flow into it currently) will be allowed to merge into the river. These will run parallel to the river and will be treated by a single treatment plant outside Delhi.

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As part of the project, approximately 500 m wide channel will be created after dredging and the river shall be made to flow in this channel. For filling and maintaining the water level in the channel, a separate dam will be constructed near Agra. Project Yamunosa takes its name from Singapore’s Sentosa island resort and the party plans to unveil the project within a few weeks, says Tiwari. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/plan-to-make-seaplane-land-on-yamuna-in-next-five-years-bjps-manoj-tiwari/articleshow/63133253.cms (The Economic Times, 2 March 2018)

Yamuna ammonia pollution goes on This is probably the longest duration when ammonia pollution in Yamuna has hit Delhi water supply right from the last week of January till now. CPCB report has shown that the industries in Panipat and Sonepat may be contributing significantly to Yamuna water pollution but even Delhi’s waste water contribution downstream of Wazirabad is very high and may be impacting water used from Agra canal for irrigation purposes. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/delhi-equally-to-blame-for-dirty-yamuna/articleshow/63101817.cms (The Times of India, 28 Feb. 2018)

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SAND MINING

Rajasthan CAG Report 98.87 Lakh mt minerals illegally mined in 5 yrs A whopping 98.87 lakh metric tonnes of minerals were illegally excavated in a period of five years in five Rajasthan districts, says a latest Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report.

– The CAG report, tabled in the state Assembly on Tuesday, claims that apex court directions regarding Aravali hills were not followed by the state’s department of mines as mining leases falling within the mountain range area were granted and renewed. Even the Union ministry of environment and forests granted clearance for mining leases despite the area falling under the Aravali hill range, it adds.

– All this also have serious consequences on natural resources like forests, rivers, flora and fauna and public health, the report said.  https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/9887-lakh-metric-tonnes-of-minerals-illegally-mined-in-5-rajasthan-districts-in-/308937 (Out Look India, 28 Feb. 2018)

NGT appoints court commissioners in Johpur mining case The National Green Tribunal on Feb. 26 has appointed advocates Gaurav Bansal and Rahul Khurana as court commissioners in Jodhpur sand mining case and directed them to submit the inspection report by March 30. The tribunal directed the District Magistrate of Jodhpur and the police commissioner to provide assistance to the court commissioners during the visit to village Mandore in Jodhpur district. The matter is listed for next hearing on April 6. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/sand-mining-in-jodhpur-ngt-appoints-court-commissioners/articleshow/63079492.cms (The Times of India, 26 Feb. 2018)

Police seized 36 sand mining turcks The Rajasthan Police seized vehicles involved in illegal sand mining from Rajasthan’s Banas River. In total, 36 trailers have been seized by the Bayana Circle Police while earlier in the day, 11 more trailers had been seized during search. Earlier on Feb. 24, the Supreme Court extended the sand mining ban in the state till March 13 and issued notice to the state government and the MoEF for its move to mine sand from agricultural land. The court said if illegal sand mining was not stopped, it might lead to the drying up of rivers. Last year, the apex court had restrained 82 large lease holders from mining sand in the state on November 16. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrkUHDsAB0o (You Tube Video, 26 Feb. 2018)

Puducherry  Death of a schoolboys employed in sand mining  Sathish Kumar, a class 12th student of the Government Higher Secondary School in Korkadu, Puducherry died when Sankarabarani riverbed caved in while he was lifting the sand. The incident has brought to light the illegal practice of the sand mafia employing schoolboys in a bid to find cheap labour. Poverty and proximity to riverbeds have been weaning away a number of children studying in government schools and pushing them into sand mining. The unsuspecting youngsters fall prey to the designs of the mafia, tempted by the money on offer.

According to a teacher of a government school in Villianur, “a number of children from government schools in Villianur and Kanuvapet in the age group of 14 to 17 have been used by the mafia to lift sand from the riverbeds to make easy money and meet their personal expenses. These children from poor families are lured by wages ranging from ₹200 to ₹300 a day,” she said. The children accept work to meet the economic requirements of their parents or for pocket money. This practice has been going on for long. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/schoolboys-employed-in-sand-mining/article22912454.ece (The Hindu, 3 March 2018)

Uttarakhand NGT bans quarrying in Ganga, its tributaries Following NGT direction Uttarakhand govt has banned quarrying in Ganga and its tributaries. The ban comes following an interim order by the National Green Tribunal and will remain in effect till the green body passes final order.Here is the chronology of key court orders in Ganga mining case:

  • 2009: High Court bans river bed quarrying
  • 2009: HC allows quarrying only after environment impact assessment clearance
  • 2011: BJP government in state bans quarrying at Haridwar’s Bhogpur and Bishanpur Kundi ghats.
  • 2012: Congress government lifts ban on quarrying at the said two ghats
  • 2013: In January, GMVN issues notification banning quarrying at Bhogpur- Bishanpur Kundi ghats in Haridwar.
  • 2013: Anti Mining Force set up in Uttarakhand
  • 2017: In March, Nainital High Court bans quarrying for four months
  • 2017: In May, state orders ban on usage of Pokeland and heavy machines for quarrying purposes in Haridwar.
  • 2017: In July, NGT directs Uttarakhand government to ensure no illegal quarrying was carried out on floodplains of river Ganga
  • 2018: NGT bans quarrying in Ganga and sub-tributaries. https://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/post-ngt-order-uttarakhand-bans-quarrying-in-ganga-its-tributaries/story-X8exkJPuV0Aa0yR46LHGuO.html (Hindustan Times, 4 March 2018)

Maharashtra Activists seeks foolproof plan as illegal sand-mining revives in Panvel Citizens and environmentalists have claimed that there is a revival in sand-mining at certain sites in Panvel taluka but Raigad district authorities state they are regularly taking action against illegal sand-mining in their jurisdiction. A local activist recently intimated Raigad district collectorate and Panvel tehsil office about illegal sand-mining at Vaghivali, near Jui Kamothe. Sources said the wet sand illegally collected from Vaghivali is transported to another spot nearby, from where it is taken in vehicles to be sold at construction sites. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/activists-seeks-foolproof-plan-as-illegal-sand-mining-revives-in-panvel/articleshow/63086243.cms (The Times of India, 27 Feb. 2018)

WETLANDS

Kerala KCZMA panel plea in SC to review meagre fine on builder The Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority (KCZMA) has moved the SC to review its own decision upholding a Kerala HC order imposing a meagre fine on DLF Builders for an illegal construction. The HC had ordered the builders to pay just Rs. 1 crore for constructing a multi-storied building on the endangered Chilavannur river in Kochi district without prior environmental clearance. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-andhrapradesh/kerala-panel-plea-in-sc-to-review-meagre-fine-on-builder/article22861505.ece (The Hindu, 27 Feb. 2018)

Karnataka Ranganathittu to be pitched as a potential Ramsar wetland site The renowned islets of Ranganathittu on the banks of the river Cauvery in Srirangapatna will be pitched to be recognised as a Ramsar wetland site of international importance. There are currently 26 sites in India recognised as Ramsar wetland sites of international importance, but none of them are in Karnataka. Hence, the Forest Department will promote Ranganathittu and try to seek the tag.http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/ranganathittu-to-be-pitched-as-a-potential-ramsar-wetland-site/article22883887.ece (The Hindu, 1 March 2018)

ICIMOD Report Wetlands in the Himalaya: Securing Services for Livelihoods a special edition on Hindukush Wetlands by ICIMOD. file:///C:/Users/Dell/Downloads/Final_464_Wetlands%20in%20the%20HKH_WEB.PDF (Feb. 2018)

 

GROUND WATER

Expert Speaks India must check rampant exploitation As per Alok Bhargava steady exploitation of groundwater in north Indian states for meeting short-term demand can hamper long-term goals such as providing sanitation for the population. The Indian-American econometrician was talking on “climate variability, rice production and groundwater depletion in India” at MS Swaminathan Research Foundation. He further stated that there is a need for replenishing groundwater via better technologies and healthcare and family planning services should be integral components of long-term policies for mitigating the effects of climate variables. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/exploitation-of-groundwater-in-india-for-meeting-short-term-demand-can-hamper-long-term-goals-expert-says/articleshow/63115567.cms (The Times of India, 28 Feb. 2018) \

Punjab Haphazard RO usage adding to water woes: PPCB As if the state’s groundwater depletion due to paddy was not enough, Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has expressed concern at the indiscriminate installation of reverse osmosis (RO) systems in the state, even though 75% of water being supplied in 16 key cities is potable. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/haphazard-ro-usage-adding-to-punjab-water-woes-ppcb/articleshow/63117626.cms (The Times of India, 1 March 2018)

Telangana Ground water table receding Ground water table receded to 16.07 meters on an average from the ground level in the undivided Medak district. There is every danger of it further receding to 17 to 19 meters by May. The storage level in Manjeera project has come down to 13 tmc as water has been discharged from the project to the lower reaches of the project to quench the people’s thirst.  Villages, tribal thandas and remote villages on the banks of Manjeera River are reeling under severe drinking water crisis.The ground water table has already been receded to 19 meters in Narayanakhed, Hatnura, RC Puram, Zaheerabad and Raikod and other mandals. http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Telangana/2018-03-04/Ground-water-table-receding-/363380 (The Hans India, 4 March 2018)

Ground water table receding

Tamil Nadu Residents allege over exploitation of groundwater by corpn “The residents in Sriram Nagar in the city have alleged that that the excessive and unfair exploitation of the groundwater source in the area by the Madurai City Corporation has caused the drastic depletion of the groundwater level in the area, threatening their daily life. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/madurai/over-exploitation-of-groundwater-by-corpn-affects-sriram-nagar-residents/articleshow/63152748.cms (The Times of India, 4 March 2018)

WATER

Karnataka Govt tells BWSSB, KSPCB to frame rules for safety of pvt STPs The government on Feb. 23 has directed the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board to set guidelines with regard to operation, maintenance and safety of private sewage treatment plants (STPs) in the city. In a meeting with stakeholders here, T M Vijaya Bhaskar, Additional Chief Secretary, said both the BWSSB and the KSPCB will choose and train people to operate the private STPs.

He said that they have to frame rules to penalise contractors and in-charge officers who fail to provide protective gears to workers involved in cleaning and maintaining septic tanks, manholes and soak pits. A proposal was also made in the meeting to provide a loan at subsidised rates to people of a particular community involved in the cleaning of drains, manholes and septic tanks. The loan should be lent to buy jetting and sucking machines instead of involving in any manual scavenging.. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/661244/govt-tells-bwssb-kspcb-frame.html (Deccan Herald, 24 Feb. 2018)

Op-Ed Is Bengaluru about to run dry? To say this is probably alarmist, but the death of the city’s lakes and depletion of its groundwater as a result of thoughtless development is undeniable says by Johnson TA.

Bengaluru originally had multiple sources of water supply in the form of over 200 lakes, abundant groundwater, and supplies from reservoirs and tanks in the Arkavathi river basin — the Hesaraghatta Lake in the north and the Thippagondanahalli Reservoir in the west. These sources are all but dead now due to the depletion of catchment areas in the wake of uncontrolled infrastructure expansion.

This makes Bengaluru critically dependent on the Cauvery — some 100 km away, and now the principal source of the city’s drinking water — and the monsoon. Residents get 65 litres per capita per day (lpcd) on average, less than half the ideal amount of 150 lpcd. Of the 270 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) of water that was earlier allocated to Karnataka from the Cauvery, 17.64 tmc ft was used every year for the city’s drinking water needs. This share has now increased by 4.75 tmc ft. http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/bengaluru-drinking-water-problem-cauvery-dispute-supreme-court-5078111/ (The Indian Express, 26 Feb. 2018)

Bengaluru may run out of drinking water in 12 years This is jugglery with figures. It suggests that business as usual scene will invite disaster. http://www.indiaspend.com/cover-story/why-bengaluru-may-run-out-of-drinking-water-in-12-years-27356 (India Spend, 20 Feb. 2018)

Karnataka 2 dams failed to meet water need, Udupi planned 3rd This shows dams built to supply potable water to Udupi city, Karnataka are not proving helpful. Still the authorities are planning a third dam on same river. The city is getting water from two dams Baje dam (called Swarna First Stage) Shiroor dam (called Swarna Second Stage) located at a distance of 15 km and 22 km from the city respectively. The City is facing water scarcity, there would be water rationing in coming days as water stock at Baje dam on Swarna river would last till the end of May 2018. The Swarna Second Stage was built in the hope that it would take care of the city’s water needs till 2020.  

However, the water scarcity problem began in the city in 2013. There was no stock in the Shiroor dam in 2017 making water rationing a necessity. A third dam against the Swarna was planned to be constructed at Shimbra. But the hydrographical study conducted stated that this dam was not feasible. A  ₹270 crore project to bring water from the Varahi from Bharatkal village to Udupi city had also been drawn up. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/decision-on-water-supply-regulation-in-udupi-city-soon-madhwaraj/article22872273.ece (The Hindu, 28 Feb. 2018)

FLOOD 2017

Center High Level Committee has approved Rs 5981 cr National Disaster Relief Fund:- The state wise allocation of fund is given as under.

            States Approved Amount
Bihar Rs 1,711.66 crore
Gujarat Rs 1,055.05 crore
West Bengal Rs 838.85 crore
Madhya Pradesh Rs 836.09 crore
Uttar Pradesh Rs 420.69 crore
Rajasthan Rs 420.57 crore
Chhattisgarh Rs 395.91 crore
Kerala Rs. 169.63 crore
Tamil Nadu Rs 133.05 crore

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/over-rs-2700-cr-grant-for-flood-affected-bihar-gujarat/articleshow/63084157.cms (The Times of India, 26 Feb. 2018)

RENEWABLE ENERGY

Report Visible loss of steam in solar capacity in India Solar capacity additions this year are estimated to drop 22% to 7.5 gigawatts (GW), After 2017, when the sector added 9.6GW, a record. “The lower forecast is underpinned by a smaller pipeline of projects scheduled for commissioning in the coming year. Auction activity was not very robust in 2017 and, though there was a burst in activity at year-end, most of the projects tendered are not likely to be commissioned until 2019, a factor that is reflected in our five-year forecast,” Mercom said in a report. http://www.livemint.com/Money/2ld8XemUF3LyRXKJRllDyK/Solar-powers-gap-year.html (Live Mint, 1 March 2018)

Progress is rather slow and the delay is having a noticeable impact on the sector.

Op-Ed Impacts of renewable energy projects by Shikha Lakhanpal Renewables projects are increasingly being opposed by local people and civil society groups because they conflict with local livelihoods and have significant environmental impacts. There is no mechanism to monitor how much electricity will be provided and to how many households at the local level. Even as renewable power projects pose equal if not greater threat to ecological biodiversity and cause a wide-scale dispossession of lands and livelihoods, they are rarely critiqued. A greater attention to the social and environmental impacts of these projects shall go a long way in ensuring equitable and fair renewable energy development. http://m.deccanherald.com/?name=http://www.deccanherald.com/content/661665/impacts-renewable-energy-projects.html (Deccan Herald, 27 Feb. 2018)

SOUTH ASIA

Nepal Some useful figures about hydro power generation In 2016-17, hydropower generation from govt projects went up by 8.06% to 2305 MU (Million Units), Imports from India went up by 22.35% to 2175 MU and private project generation went up by 57.39% to 1777 MU, overall availability of power went up by 23.25% to 6274 MU. http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2018-03-02/hydro-powered-dreams.html (Kathmandu Post, 2 March 2018)

THE REST OF WORLD

A man holds a poster during a protest in demand of justice over the murder of Honduran activist Berta Cáceres, during the second anniversary of her death, at the public ministry headquarters in Tegucigalpa on Friday.

America Berta Caceres killer ex-Honduran military officer arrested Great to see the arrest of Berta Cáceres’s killer. Berta the winner of prestigious Goldman Prize for leading a campaign against Agua Zarca dam on Gualcarque river considered sacred by indigenous Lenca community was murdered in Honduras 2 yrs ago. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/02/berta-caceres-death-murder-ex-honduran-military-intelligence-officer-arrested?CMP=share_btn_tw (The Guardian, 2 March 2018)

Indonesia Scrubbing the ‘world’s dirtiest river’  Informative piece on impact of pollution on agriculture, people health and government efforts to clean Citarum river in Indonesia dubbed as world’s most polluted river. https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/indonesia-scrubbing-the-worlds-dirtiest-river-1818856 (NDTV, 2 March 2018)

Cape Town Awaiting day zero: Cape Town faces an uncertain water future EXCELLENT article that throws light on what led to the phenomena of ZERO DAY for CAPE TOWN.

– Its amazing that the city has been able to reduce water consumption first to 23 GPCD (Gallons – 1 G = 4.55 Ltrs – per capita per day) and then to 13 GPCD now, pushing the day zero from April 12 to July 9 as of now, by which time rains are expected to dissolve the crisis, rains set in in June. The city (population 4 m plus) water consumption has come down from 317 MGD in 2005 to 137 MGD now.

– Its now resorting to drilling bores. But read this: “Drilling a single borehole in the wrong place could cause the extinction of a species,”. HAVE WE EVER HEARD THIS IN INDIA?

– AND THIS? It may already be too late for the Wemmershoek Erica (Erica bakeri), a diminutive heath-like plant with tiny pale-pink, bell-shaped flowers. About two weeks ago, the rushed construction of a water borehole and a pipeline trench commissioned by the municipality of Stellenbosch severely damaged a wetland in a conservation area. The wetland is the last known habitat for the Wemmershoek Erica, and one of the last known habitats for other critically endangered plants.

– “We’re out of the envelope of certainty,” says Christine Colvin. “Cape Town is not special. Many other cities will face these challenges in coming years.” https://e360.yale.edu/features/awaiting-day-zero-cape-town-faces-an-uncertain-water-future (Yale Environment 360, 1 March 2018)

Meanwhile ecologists warn that depleting the aquifers would threaten the unique biodiversity of the Cape Floral Region, a UNESCO World Heritage site. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/02/ecologists-arms-over-cape-town-s-plans-ease-water-crisis-drilling-aquifer (Science, 26 Feb. 2018)

BBC Report 11 cities most likely to run out of drinking water – like Cape Town A quarter of the world’s major cities face a situation of water stress. Cape Town is in the unenviable situation of being the first major city in the modern era to face the threat of running out of drinking water. However, the plight of the drought-hit South African city is just one extreme example of a problem that experts have long been warning about – water scarcity. Despite covering about 70% of the Earth’s surface, water, especially drinking water, is not as plentiful as one might think. Only 3% of it is fresh. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-42982959 (BBC, 11 Feb. 2018)

The BBC report listed 11 world cities that were “most likely to run out of drinking water”, and put Bengaluru at number 2, behind only São Paulo, Brazil. The report mentioned the acute shortage of water in Cape Town in South Africa, where people are now being rationed 50 litres daily, and which many fear could become the first major city to run dry in the modern era. Other cities on the list of the most vulnerable were Beijing, Cairo, Jakarta, Moscow, Istanbul, Mexico City, London, Tokyo and Miami. The report noted that more than half of Bengaluru’s drinking water is wasted due to “antiquated plumbing”, 85% of the city’s lakes “had water that could only be used for irrigation and industrial cooling”, and “not a single lake had suitable water for drinking or bathing”. http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/bengaluru-drinking-water-problem-cauvery-dispute-supreme-court-5078111/ (The Indian Express, 26 Feb. 2018)

Africa Chad becomes the first African country to join the Water Convention UNECE WATER CONVENTION ACCEDED BY CHAD:

– Chad has become the first country outside the pan-European region to accede to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) serviced by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). A landlocked country in Central Africa, Chad faces significant water management challenges and largely depends on water resources shared with its neighbours — Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Libya, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan.

– Minister of Environment, Water and Fisheries of Chad, explained the country’s situation driving the accession process: “Our country, Chad, is one of the countries having large basins; Lake Chad is the fourth largest lake in Africa. The Lake Chad Basin is drained by two main rivers: the Chari and the Logone, which are largely supplied by tributaries outside Chad. In addition to these surface waters, the Nubian sandstone aquifer system is shared between Chad, Libya, Sudan and Egypt. All these reasons explain the need for our country to join the Water Convention, which provides a framework for cooperation and exchange at the regional and international levels”.

– The Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes serviced by UNECE has, since its entry into force in 1996, provided an important framework for improving the management of transboundary surface water and groundwater resources in the pan-European region. In March 2016, the Water Convention became a global multilateral legal and intergovernmental framework for transboundary water cooperation, open to accession by all United Nations Member States.

– Chad has been a party to the New York Convention on the Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses since 2012. http://www.unece.org/info/media/presscurrent-press-h/environment/2018/chad-becomes-the-first-african-country-to-join-the-water-convention/doc.html (UNECE, 28 Feb. 2018)

America Video showing how billions of gallons of ground water are pumped from the aquifer by megafarms in South Carolina… http://www.thestate.com/news/local/article203085489.html

Germany How a small town reclaimed its grid and sparked a community revolution Interesting case of how a german town achieved remunicipalisation of its electricity services. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/28/small-town-wolfhagen-community-revolution-german-europe-energy-contract (The Guardian, 28 Feb. 2018)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Tamil Nadu Sea-level rise in 30 years a threat to chennai The international scientific community report that there is a possibility that by 2050, we could see several cm of sea-level rise (SLR). And due to this, thousands of fishermen communities, fancy resorts and restaurants, corporate firms, and the street hawkers may fade into oblivion 30 years from now, say experts and researchers. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/sea-level-rise-in-30-years-a-threat-to-chennai/articleshow/63057586.cms (The Times of India, 28 Feb. 2018)

Report Unprecedentedly warm North Pole, even if due to a warm intrusion The sun won’t rise at the North Pole until March 20, and it’s normally close to the coldest time of year, but an extraordinary and possibly historic thaw swelled over the tip of the planet this weekend. Analyses show that the temperature warmed to the melting point as an enormous storm pumped an intense pulse of heat through the Greenland Sea. Such extreme warm intrusions in the Arctic, once rare, are becoming more routine, research has shown. A study published last July found that since 1980, these events are becoming more frequent, longer-lasting and more intense. Such warm water is appearing to have an effect on air temperatures. https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/north-pole-surges-above-freezing-in-the-dead-of-winter-stunning-scientists-1817525?pfrom=home-topscroll (NDTV, 27 Feb. 2018)

Study Flood risk from American rivers is greatly underestimated A groundbreaking new study, led by the University of Bristol, has found that 41 million Americans are at risk from flooding rivers, which is more than three times the current estimate—based on regulatory flood maps—of 13 million people. The new study analyzes and identifies only those at risk from flooding from rivers. The estimate of 41 million people does not include the millions of additional Americans that are at risk of coastal flooding.” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180228112520.htm (Science Daily, 28 Feb. 2018)

US Beastly storm to slam East Coast with damaging winds, coastal flooding The storm will bring with it an array of life-threatening hazards, from record-breaking coastal flooding and hurricane force winds, to cement-like wet snow that will bring down trees and power lines. https://mashable.com/2018/03/01/noreaster-new-england-worst-coastal-flooding/#MElVjB4lHmqf (Mashable, 1 March 2018)

In two days, the deadly nor’easter turned a thousand-mile stretch of the East Coast into a wind tunnel, leaving millions without power, paralyzing flooded cities and towns and claiming the lives of at least eight people — some of whom had tried in vain to take shelter from hurricane-force winds. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2018/03/03/six-dead-streets-flooded-cities-paralyzed-by-massive-east-coast-storm/?utm_term=.a640d4bc6275 (Washington Post, 4 March 2018)

ENVIRONMENT

Interview We’ve excess power but no access to it: Ritwick Dutta In this candid interview with Prerna Bindra, Ritwick Dutta reveals concerning facts on critical environmental issues of India (Dams, Rivers, Wetlands, Namami Ganga, NGT etc.)

We've excess power but no access to it: Environment lawyer Ritwick Dutta

On Dams: “It’s (Dam Construction) not about power. There is a nexus around the construction of dams — the contractor, construction, procurement of steel, cement etc — and that is the driver. According to the Niti Aayog report, we have already reached surplus as far as power is concerned. Every single day, India has 3,000-4,000 MW with no takers. The Central Electricity Authority has itself said that there is no need for a power plant in the next 10 years, till 2017.”

On NGT: The NGT Act requires the tribunal to have 40 expert members. It had about 20 members when it started in 2011 in its one Delhi bench. Now, it has only five members.

The NGT benches at Bhopal, Chennai, Pune and Kolkata are non-functional because of lack of quorum. The Chennai bench has closed down because it doesn’t have even one member, while Kolkata and Pune have only one judicial member. No judgement has been passed in Kolkata since December 2017.

It is not just about numbers. The tribunal hears matters on a range of subjects — pollution, toxic waste, pesticides, forest destruction etc, and to function effectively, it needs members with specialised expertise. For instance, one major issue the Delhi bench is hearing currently is to do with PM 2.5/PM 10, where forest officers — the only expert members it has — are out of their depth.

The result is that cases are being delayed, from hearing 80-90 cases a day, it can now hear only about 10. This defeats the very purpose of the NGT which was to provide expeditious and speedy justice. The law requires that every matter should be decided within six months.

Not filling the vacancies is a very deliberate action on the part of the government to ensure that this institute is made non-functional and dysfunctional. In its response to a petition, the Delhi High Court in August 2017 asked the government whether it wanted to wind up the NGT.

Contrary to the myth that the NGT strangulates growth, there are very few instances where the NGT has quashed a decision taken by the MoEFCC. In NGT’s entire history, the total number of projects it has stopped do not exceed 10, six of which have managed to get relief from the Supreme Court. In the same period, the government would have approved some 100,000 projects. As per our analysis, in 2017, the government gave about 10,000 forest approvals, and stopped only three, of which two have a forest area of less than three hectares.

The reason the government is intent on expunging the NGT is not because it is obstructionist, but because it enables the public to question the inaction of the government, and holds it accountable. http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/we-ve-excess-power-but-no-access-to-it-environment-lawyer-ritwick-dutta-118022400633_1.html (Business Standard, 24 Feb. 2018)

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 26 February 2018 & DRP News Bulletin 19 February 2018

Follow us on www.facebook.com/sandrp.in; https://twitter.com/Indian_Rivers

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