South India Rivers Review 2017: More Water for Cities from Drying Rivers

This fourth rivers review presents developments related to rivers in States of South India including Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka. 

Telangana Rivers 2017

Manair River Garbage polluting Manair river The shores are being polluted by the Municipal Corp of Karimnagar (MCK), which is dumping garbage generated from the town. Other private agencies such as chicken centres, hotels, private hospitals, mechanical shops and others too are also dumping garbage generated at their places into the river Manair. The State Govt had decided to develop the Manair front on the lines of Sabarmati river front development, which would spell further disaster for the river.  http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/Garbage-polluting-Manair-river/article17113713.ece (The Hindu, 30 Jan. 2017)

Garbage dumping the near Manair River in Karimnagar town.  (Image Source: The Hindu)

Musi River Musi River sees rise in pollutionThe Musi river is dying a slow death as the locals are dumping their waste into it. Musi continues to be one of the most polluted rivers in the country. The Musi, which is a tributary of the river Krishna, is sarcastically referred to as the city’s sewage drain because most of 1,300 MLD sewage generated by Hyderabad ends up there. http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/030217/not-just-bengaluru-lakes-hyderabads-musi-river-too-sees-rise-in-pollution.html (Deccan Chronicle, 3 Feb. 2017)

Musi-Esi pollution affecting cultural connection Several rituals, customs and traditions long associated with the Musi and Esi river has got affected due to increasing pollution of twin rivers. DupkiPunnam or holy dip was once a grand annual event in the river Musi particularly at the confluence of the Esi and the Musi on the occasion of Kartika Purnima, the first full moon after Diwali. The event is essentially linked to the Indian culture of holding water bodies in high reverence. With the Musi losing its pristine waters to contaminants of all sorts, DupkiPunnam has also become a thing of the past. Govt has started a Rs 1500 crore ambitious plan to cleanse the Musi but there is no impact of the project. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/too-dirty-for-dip-musis-toxic-water-drowns-tradition-of-dupki-punnam/articleshow/61556961.cms(The Times of India, 8 Nov. 2017)

Foam in Musi river raises severe pollution spectre Musi river once trademark of Hyderabad for centuries with its pristine and crystal clear waters is now in frothing with poisonous foam and decaying with highly polluted black water, smelling with the presence of huge heaps of garbage, strewn all along the river course.https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/foam-in-musi-river-raises-severe-pollution-spectre/articleshow/62440190.cms (The Times of India, 10 Jan. 2018)

Godavari River Godavari river in dire state Water level in the Godavari plummeted to 5.8 feet on Jan. 30, after sand dunes got exposed. Its flowing like a small stream. Godavari water level at Bhadradri plummets to 5.8 ft. The level on the same day last year was 6.8 ft and in 2016 it was 5.7 ft. The water level of Godavari is likely to fall in the days to come. It is now flowing like a small stream. It may be recalled that the first warning was recorded in the Godavari during the rainy season last year. Following scanty rainfall and lack of inflows from the upstream the water flow was largely reduced. The water position in January this year became critical. http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Telangana/2018-02-01/Godavari-water-level-at-Bhadradri-plummets-to-58-ft/355719 (The Hans India, 2 Feb. 2018)

Sand dunes surface in the Godavari in  Bhadrachalam on Tuesday
Sand dunes surface in the Godavari in Bhadrachalam  (Image Source: The Hans India) 

First State Environment Report Nothing for rivers This is surprising that the first Telangana State of Environment Report – 2015 a 667 pages mammoth document with 40 pages on water resources does not even have 4 paras on Krishna, Godavari Rivers.  http://www.eptri.com/state-of-environment-report-telangana-2015/ (Jan. 2018)

SoET 2015.png

Andhra Pradesh Rivers 2017

Krishna River  CM’s residence on Krishna river bank ‘illegal’ Former Information Commissioner P. VijayaBabu has revealed that CM Chandra Babu Naidu residence on Krishana river bank was in violation of rules. He also stated that govt officials were aware of this and several other encroachments but doing nothing. Demanding removal of encroachments, he said that the CM could not get away by releasing a Govt Order, as they could not amend the Constitution and the law. If CM can violate the rivers like this and get away with it, where is the hope for the rivers. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/andhra-cm-naidus-residence-near-krishna-river-illegal-says-states-former-rti-chief-65343 (The News Minute, 18 July 2017)

Increasing pollution in Krishna river Toxic discharges from cement projects and chemical factories upstream Krishna river threaten to overshadow “blue and green” capital city Amaravati. Industries in Jaggiahapeta, Nandi-gama, Gudimetla, Ramanapeta and other areas were allegedly polluting the river water, but the Pollution Control Authority is turning a blind eye to it. Huge biotech factories in Peddavaram and Keesara are polluting Munneru, which is a major tributary to river Krishna. http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/190817/river-pollution-poses-threat-to-amaravati.html (Deccan Chronicle, 19 Aug. 2017)

Along bank, capital trouble builds for Krishna This is an excellent article explaining the kind of threats Andhra Pradesh’s proposed new capital Amravati on Krishna river floodplain and riverbed poses for itself, river and groundwater.https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/amaravati/along-bank-capital-trouble-builds-for-krishna/articleshow/60508429.cms (The Times of India, 14 Sept. 2017)

NGT refuses to set aside green clearance for Amaravati capital In an unfortunate decision, NGT in Nov. 2017, declined to set aside the environmental clearance (EC) for building of the new capital city Amaravati and allowed the project to go ahead, subject to set of conditions for environment protection. The verdict was passed by a three-member bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar after hearing a batch of pleas that challenged the project on environmental grounds and the project’s EC. The pleas had said the Capital city would harm the fertile agricultural lands in Krishna and Guntur districts and put at peril the floodplain and wetland ecology.

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

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

It also directed the state govt and concerned authorities to include rain water harvesting, use of solar energy and treated grey water for non-potable purposes as part of its building bye-laws. It has also specifically asked the state govt to prepare a climate change mitigation plan to achieve carbon neutrality, as stated in the EC, within six months. The capital city’s forest cover of about 251 acres has to be preserved as its green lungs and it cannot be used for making a park or for recreational activities, the Tribunal added. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-ngt-refuses-to-set-aside-green-clearance-for-amaravati-capital-2560996(DNA, 19 Nov. 2017)

How the Krishna went dry? This is an interesting report on drying Krishna, although it makes unwarranted claims about Polavaram and Pattiseema.http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/how-the-krishna-went-dry/article22398807.ece#comments (The Hindu, 09 Jan. 2018)

Chitravati River Another sinkhole in Chitravati riverbed Overexploitation of groundwater, coupled with virtually no recharge of the water table in the absence of good rains in the last six years, appears to have triggered the geological event known as “sinkhole”, the second such in this perennially drought-prone Anantapur district. A sinkhole had first formed in the last week of January 2015 on the Chitravati river bed near the Goddumarri village of the Yellanurmandal. Limestone occurs at a depth of 250 ft below the surface in the Chitravati river belt which is where the water table also starts. With the water depleting to around 750 to 850 ft, the cavernous limestone zone develops into a layer collapsing into itself. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/Another-sinkhole-in-Chitravati-riverbed/article17079513.ece (The Hindu, 23 Jan. 2017)

The sinkhole in the Chitravathi riverbed in Yellanur mandal in Anantapur district.   (Image Source: The Hindu)

Tungabhadra River Sunkesula barrage goes dry Sunkesula barrage on Tungabhadra river, supplying water to Kurnool town, is dry now for the first time in four decades, with hardly 3% of its storage capacity having water and zero inflows. Kurnool is facing acute drinking water crisis. Gajuladinne project, with storage capacity of 4.5 TMCft, has about 1.22 TMCft water, but no decision has been taken to take water from there. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-andhrapradesh/sunkesula-barrage-goes-dry-after-four-decades/article18405862.ece (The Hindu, 8 May 2017)

Dwindling resource:The Sunkesula barrage with traces of water. (Image Source: The Hindu)

Karnataka Rivers 2017

Yettinahole Diversion Row Diverting Yettinahole is economically unsound The manner in which the project has morphed to skirt the law is disturbing. While the original project report included irrigation and power generation components, it was modified to remove all mention of them without any actual changes to water storage or usage plans. Civil society groups have claimed that making Yettinahole a drinking water project by modifying the original proposal are mere cosmetic changes to evade environmental scrutiny. This way, it keeps to the letter but ignores the spirit of the Environmental Protection Act. In fact, there are three cases against Yettinahole Project in the NGT – yet work continues apace.https://thewire.in/102253/yettinahole-karnataka-bengaluru-chikkaballapur/ (The Wire, 24 Jan. 2017)

Protracted hearing turning into frustrating experience for petitioners Even after two years since legal struggle against execution of Yettinahole project was launched, no final solution is in the offing. The petitioners have been fighting against the project mainly on the basis of the devastation and damage it will inflict on ecology and environment of Western Ghats. Normally petitions in the NGT are decided faster. As the hearing is being put off repeatedly, the case reminds one of the legal maxims, ‘Justice delayed is Justice denied’. Frequent adjournments of the case have frustrated the petitioners. Pained by long delay and postponements, the petitioners have approached the chairman NGT with a request to either re-transfer the case to Chennai bench or quash the petition. http://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay.aspx?newsID=451418 (Daiji World, 11 May 2017)

Nota or own candidates green activists to decide in a fortnight Environmentalists in Dakshina Kannada, who are opposing the controversial Yettinahole river diversion project, are thinking about either fielding their own candidates in the Assembly elections or taking up an extensive campaign to convince voters to exercise NOTA option to register protest against the project.http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/nota-or-own-candidates-green-activists-to-decide-in-a-fortnight/article22500831.ece (The Hindu 23 Jan. 2018)

NGT okays first phase of Yettinahole project In a setback, the govt has received the green signal on the controversial Yettinahole drinking water project with the NGT overriding objections to it and permitting its first phase with some pre-conditions. The ambitious Rs 13,000 crore project aims to divert the Yettinahole, a vital tributary of the Netravathi river originating in the Western ghats to provide drinking water to the parched villages of three districts. ANOTHER DISASTROUS DECISION BY NGT: It has taken many such decisions, while also taking many welcome ones. http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/071017/ngt-okays-first-phase-of-yettinahole-project.html (Deccan Chronicle, 10 Oct. 2017)

The ambitious Rs 13,000 crore project aims to divert the Yettinahole, a vital tributary of the Netravathi river originating in the Western ghats to  provide drinking water to the parched villages of three districts.
The ambitious Rs 13,000 crore project aims to divert the Yettinahole, a vital tributary of the Netravathi river originating in the Western ghats to  provide drinking water to the parched villages of three districts. (Image Source: Deccan Chronicle) 

Sharavathi River 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 ha of forest land in the Western Ghats. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/sharavathi-project-tunnelling-to-reduce-eco-damage/article21255300.ece(The Hindu, 3 Dec. 2017)

After Yettinahole shock, coastal region to have Paschmia Vahini balm In what is perhaps an attempt to mollify the people of coastal Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts angry at the State Government for vigorously pursuing the Yettinahole project for diverting the Netravati river to water starving Tumakuru, Kolar and Chikkaballapura districts, the Siddaramaiah government is now taking up the Rs 1394 crore Paschima Vahini project under which a series of vented dams or check dams will be built to augment water during summer in three coastal districts.

The State Cabinet which met in Bengaluru has sanctioned Rs 200 crore for the project in the current year of 2017-18 even though the entire estimated cost is Rs 1394 crore. The much hyped project would benefit 19 assembly constituencies in Dakshina Kananda, Udupi and Uttara Kannada districts.

It may be mentioned that the project has been under discussion for a decade along with another idea of linking the rivers in the coastal belt. With the State Government incurring the wrath of green activists for going ahead with the Netravati river diversion or Yettinahole project, the decision is being seen as an effort to silence the opposition to the project. http://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay.aspx?newsID=485716 (Daiji World, 11 Dec. 2017)

‘Overexploitation of water alters perennial streams’ According to Report by IISc Scientists about Nethravati Basin overexploitation of water for monoculture has altered some of the perennial streams in the ghats of the Netravathi river basin to intermittent streams coming in the way of perennial nature of the Netravathi.  Referring to the forest cover of 2016 in the basin, it said that the area under forests stood at 51.67 % after losing significant green patch for mini-hydroelectric, infrastructure projects and monoculture plantations. The plantations constituted 26.42 % of the basin. Large tracts of forests have been replaced with monoculture plantations such as acacia, eucalyptus, rubber, teak, coffee, cocoa, and arecnaut plantations. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/overexploitation-of-water-alters-perennial-streams/article22853035.ece (The Hindu, 26 Feb. 2018)

Coffee and arecanut plantations seen at Yettinahalla where the Yettinahole diversion project is coming up near Sakleshpur under the Netravathi basin.  (Image Source: The Hindu) 

Aghanashini River Aghanashini river estuary comes under threat It was in this rich and highly productive estuary that, in 2009, the Karnataka State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corp (KSIIDC) proposed to build a multi-purpose estuarine port. It is now one last step away from final clearance by the environment ministry, which is likely to be granted – regardless of the damage to the ecosystem, its aquatic species and the loss of traditional livelihoods. “On behalf of the industrial body, the NEERI in Nagpur conducted an environmental impact assessment of the proposed port. Pollution Control Board (PCB) held a public hearing on March 23, 2015, and the minutes of the hearing reveal that the draft impact assessment report was severely criticised. About 300 written representations were also received by the PCB. Most complained about the lack of consideration of the ecology and economic productivity of the estuary in preparing the EIA.https://thewire.in/131667/a-rare-pristine-estuary-comes-under-threat-in-karnataka/ (The Wire, 4 May 2017)

The Aghanashini river. Credit: Manjunath Bhat/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Western Ghat Rivers drying 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 (Deccan Chronicle, 30 Nov. 2017)

Cauvery  Cabinet approves 5,912-cr Mekedatu dam The Cabinet on Feb. 23, 2017 has given in-principle approval for implementing the Mekedatu multipurpose project utilising the Cauvery river water at a cost of Rs 5,912 crore. A balancing reservoir with 66.50 tmcft capacity will be built across the river near Mekedatu in Ramanagaram district. A 400 Mw capacity hydropower unit will also come up as part of the project.  As per, Law Minister T B Jayachandra, the project will help the State utilise excess river water that, otherwise, goes waste to the sea. About 4,900 hectares of forest land have to be acquired for the project. But the Govt can implement the project only after obtaining permission from the Cauvery Supervisory Committee and the Central Water Commission. The project has failed to take off with Tamil Nadu opposing it stiffly. After Yettinahole, Upper Bhadra it is Mekedatu. Karnataka seems to be hell bent on pushing environmentally destructive projects. This one will need thousands of hectares of forest land. http://m.deccanherald.com/articles.php?name=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.deccanherald.com%2Fcontent%2F596650%2Fcabinet-approves-5912-cr-mekedatu.html (Deccan Herald, 2 Feb. 2017)

Image result for mekedatu dam project
Image Source: The Indian Express 

CWC seeks clarifications from Karnataka on Mekedatu project The Central Water Commission has sought some clarifications from Karnataka on its plan to build a balancing reservoir across the Cauvery at Mekedatu at a cost of Rs 5,912 crore. Earlier, Karnataka had sent a detailed project report to CWC and sought its approval. However, Tamil Nadu has opposed the project on the grounds that it violates the Cauvery tribunal order. The proposed project would have a balancing reservoir with a “gross storage” capacity of 67.14 tmcft and a 400 MW hydro-electric power station.  http://www.deccanherald.com/content/624246/cwc-seeks-clarifications-karnataka-mekedatu.html (Deccan Herald, 23 July 2017)

Cauvery suffers as tourism and urbanisation flourish The protection of Kodagu region is directly linked to the survival of the Cauvery, whose water flow is already showing signs of dwindling, and faces extinction in the long run. Detailed piece that gives various sides of the issues related to Coorg/ Kodagu, the Cauvery catchment and how that is being destroyed. http://www.firstpost.com/india/drought-in-the-western-ghats-part-5-cauvery-suffers-a-slow-death-as-tourism-and-urbanisation-flourish-3439978.html (First Post, 12 May 2017)

No water for crops in Cauvery basin In August 2017, drought threat loomed large in Cauvery basin. Karnataka Water Minister indicated that it would not be releasing water to standing kharif crops in the Cauvery basin areas, due to poor inflow into the Cauvery river basin reservoirs. As per the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, Karnataka has to release 10 tmcft in June and 34 tmcf in July. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/no-water-for-crops-in-cauvery-basin/article19410286.ece (The Hindu, 2 Aug. 2017)

Tungabhadra River No Water for river from Tungabhadra dam In Aug. 2017 no water was being released from Tungabhadra dam in the river, threatening the downstream river, biodiversity, communities and environment. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/poor-monsoon-hits-aquatic-life-in-the-tungabhadra/article19404831.ece (The Hindu, 2 Aug. 2017)  

Dwindling hope: A view of the dried up ancient ‘anicut’ built across the Tungabhadra by the Vijayanagar kings in Kenchanagudda.  (Image Source: The Hindu) 

Complication of silt trapped in Tungabhadra dam Ever since the dam came into operation in 1953, 37 tmft silt has accumulated inside it. As per State Water Minister a massive 76 acres of land is required to dump the silt at 10 feet height along with thousands of crores of rupees. It’s worth to mention that, successive govts have ignored the engineers’ recommendation of removing 0.5 per cent of silt on annual basis. Now, Facing scarcity, farmer groups have voluntarily deployed 100 tractors and 10 earth movers to desilt the dam since May 18, 2017. But, terming farmers initiative as futile, Water Minister says that they can only remove 0.11% of the total silt.

In 2015, CWC’s compendium on silting of reservoirs showed that Tungabhadra dam is the second most affected dam in the country after Bhakra dam in Punjab.  Roughly silts collected over the years in all the dams, is depriving state of 10 per cent of their storage capacity.  While the siltation problems narrated seems like an understatement, it is alarming that solution offered is another dam! https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/desilting-tungabhadra-dam-impossible-task-says-govt/articleshow/59029982.cms (The Times of India, 7 June 2017)

Gurupur River Locals issue 24-hour deadline to resolve Gurpur pollution issue In the wake of pollution of Gurpur (Phalguni) river at Malavoor dam, residents of Malavoor, Thokur, Kenjar and members of the local unit of National Environment Care Federation have issued a deadline of 24 hours to the district administration to solve the issue and prevent local industries from further releasing effluents into the river. The water at Malavoor dam and surrounding areas has been polluted with effluents and chemicals discharged from MRPL and Baikampady industrial areas.

On May 19, 2017, Mayor Kavitha Sanil said that the Mangalore City Corporation (MCC) does not release effluents from its sewage treatment plants to Gurupur River. Mayor, who is also a member of KSPCB, suggested the Board officials to take action against industries in the nearby areas that actually pollute Gurupur River. Commissioner Nazeer said that the MCC treats the sewage from Pachanady promptly and the treated water is being supplied to water plants in PilikulaNisargadhama.https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mangaluru/gurupur-river-pollution-mayor-says-water-contamination-not-because-of-mcc/articleshow/58748140.cms (The Times of India, 19 May 2017)

It may be recalled that the water in Gurupur River has been contaminated and as a result large number of fish died. Similarly, few days ago, three cows also died after consuming water from a stream that connects the river. A foul smell also emanates from the river in the area downstream of Malavoor dam, which was inaugurated recently.http://www.deccanherald.com/content/612893/mayor-highlights-pcbs-failure-controlling.html (Deccan Herald, 22 May 2017)

Coffer dam may have aggravated contamination in the Phalguni While officials of Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and experts from College of Fisheries believe  that the coffer dam built to facilitate the construction of the Malavoor vented dam across the Phalguni (Gurupura) on its downstream has created a pond-like formation thereby aggravating the contamination but engineers with Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat dispute the suggestion.

Nevertheless, continuation of the existence of the coffer dam even after four years of the construction of the vented dam remains an undisputed fact as against the practice of removing the same from river beds immediately after completion of any construction.

In his report on the cause of recent fish kill, Gangadhara Gowda, Head, Department of Aquatic Environment Management, College of Fisheries, Mangaluru, said that the accumulated organic waste downstream the dam was not flushed out during high tide due to more depth.

The coffer dam, built about 200 m downstream the vented dam to prevent flow of saline water during high tides, becomes visible when the water level recedes during low tides. Added to this is the water gushing out of the vented dam during floods deepening the riverbed downstream thereby creating a pond-like structure.

KSPCB officials believe that the structure reduces the force of high tide water, as a result of which the accumulated organic waste, particularly that on the riverbed, remains intact.

Zilla Panchayat engineers, however, sought to differ with the suggestion claiming that the coffer dam is broken in the middle thereby providing sufficient space for movement of water during high and low tides. “The dam is in place since about four years and the problem has occurred only this year. The contamination must be due to industrial effluent,” said an engineer.

The coffer dam downstream the Malavoor vented dam across the Phalguni (Gurupura) off Mangaluru has not been removed even four years after the construction of the vented dam. (Image Source: The Hindu) 

Another engineer said that there is no reason to believe that accumulation of organic waste resulting in water contamination downstream the vented dam as everything gets flushed out during the monsoon. If necessary, the panchayat would get the coffer dam removed, the engineer said

Interesting unwanted coffer dam or industrial effluents, with both sides (experts and engineers) presenting strong arguments, confusion prevails on exact reasons behind pollution of Phalguni river.  http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/coffer-dam-may-have-aggravated-contamination-in-the-phalguni/article18710277.ece (The Hindu, 3 June 2017)

Pollution of urban rivers in Mangaluru The unabated discharge of untreated domestic and industrial sewage has not only severely polluted the Phalguni (Gurupur) and the Netravathi, which surround Mangaluru, but also affected groundwater quality in the city, allege environmentalists and social activists.

– Low levels of oxygen in Phalguni river had resulted in the death of several fish last summer, and the National Environment Care Foundation, Mangaluru, says a graver situation has arisen even before the summer this time around.

Low oxygen levels in Phalguni river in Mangaluru resulted in fish kill last summer.  (Image Source: The Hindu)

– Very little of domestic sewage is treated and used for industrial purposes as the entire infrastructure created using Asian Development Bank funds under Karnataka Urban Development and Coastal Environment project has crumbled, Shashidhar Shetty, general secretary of the foundation said.

– On the other hand, the Thokur stream, flowing through Mangalore Special Economic Zone and Baikampady Industrial Area, is rotting with industrial and domestic waste. Joining the Phalguni downstream the Malavoor vented dam, the stream discharges waste into the river.

– Unabated sand extraction in the Coastal Regulation Zone of these rivers has deepened the river course. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/discharge-of-untreated-sewage-polluting-water-around-mangaluru/article22486831.ece(The Hindu, 21 Jan. 2018)

Mangaluru set up committee to study Gurupur river pollution It seemed the Gurupur vented dam has escalated the industrial pollution problem and ingress of salt water from the sea downstream of dam in absence of free flow. In addition, there is the issue of untreated effluents discharged from industrial units in Jokatte that joins the river downstream from the Gurupur vented dam and the same get stacked against the dam with the ingress of salt water from the sea upwards towards the dam. As the dam supplied drinking water it is not possible to lift the vents of the dam now for free flow of water to sea. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/phalguni-pollution-panel-formed-to-find-solution/article22614005.ece(The Hindu, 1 Feb. 2018)

MCC commissioner Mohammed Nazeer has warned underground drainage maintenance (UGD) contractors, who allegedly let sewage towards the Gurupur (Phalguni) river. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mangaluru/gurupur-river-pollution-mcc-chief-warns-ugd-contractors/articleshow/62760728.cms(The Times of India, 3 Feb. 2018)

Varahi River Udupi plans to draw water from Varahi river In Jan. 2018, the councilors has sought clarity on Varahi river water situation. A ₹270-crore plan drawn up to get water from Varahi river from Bharatkal in Kundapur taluk to the Baje dam, about 22 km from Udupi, so that the CMC would get 42 MLD during the four summer months. CMC requires 36 to 37 MLD of water during the summer but the Swarna river, from where drinking water is supplied, dries up during summer. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/councillors-seek-clarity-on-varahi-river-water-situation/article22583319.ece(The Hindu, 31 Jan. 2018)

Farmers have been demanding release of water in canals of the Varahi Irrigation Project in Kundapur taluk of Udupi district. (Image Source: The Hindu)

Prabhakar Sharma, Assistant Project Coordinator of Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation, said that the ₹300.27 crore project — to bring water from the Varahi at Bharatkal in Kundapur taluk to Baje in Udupi taluk to meet the drinking water needs of Udupi city — would be completed in two-and-a-half years.

Mr. Sharma said the project has been divided into three packages. Under the first, water would be brought through pipelines for 38 km from Bharatkal to Baje. Under the second package, a water-treatment plant would be constructed near Baje; and under the third, the purified water from Baje would be distributed through seven overhead tanks and pipes to Udupi city.

The project has been divided into three packages, the execution of all three will take place almost simultaneously. 

A tender for the first package of ₹122.5 crore was floated on January 27, while that for the second and third packages of ₹60 crore and ₹177.77 crore respectively will be floated in a month. The Detailed Project Report of the second package is under preparation, while the technical sanction is awaited for the third package. The execution of the three packages will take place almost simultaneously.

This project, it is claimed, will take care of water needs of Udupi city till 2046. Presently, the population of Udupi is 1.36 lakh and it is projected to be 1.94 lakh in 2046. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/project-to-bring-varahi-water-to-udupi-to-be-completed-in-25-years/article22641102.ece(The Hindu, 3 Feb. 2018)

2 dams failed to meet water need, Udupi plans 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 on 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)

Compiled by Bhim Singh Rawat, SANDRP (bhim.sandrp@gmail.com)

You may also like to see Rivers Review 2017 for other Indian States 

North India Rivers Review 2017: Pollution Poisoning Lifelines

Maharashtra Rivers Review 2017: Multi-colored Rivers!

West India Rivers Review 2017: Govts, Industries Destroy Rivers

Kerala Rivers Review 2017 : Government Efforts Fail To Protect Rivers

Tamil Nadu Rivers Review 2017: Despite Drought; Diversion of Rivers

East India Rivers Review 2017

North East India Rivers Review 2017: Agenda behind Brahmaputra & Barak Fesitvals won’t Help the Rivers

Positive Rivers Stories 2017: Citizens Reconnecting with Rivers

India Rivers Studies 2017: Rivers Succumbing To Dams, Pollution & Climate Change 

4 thoughts on “South India Rivers Review 2017: More Water for Cities from Drying Rivers

    1. We monitor news on daily basis, put them up on our FB page, compile weekly News Bulletins and put them up on blog and then do annual compilation from weekly bulletins.


      1. Excellent. Curious question Is this your day job or these compilations are part time activities pls?

        These days i became interested in environmental issues around world especially india be it global warming impact , various pollution impact be it water,air,noise and garbage disposal landfills related.

        Sometimes i feel like crying reading environmental issues especially in india but then agreed its universal problem .

        BTW, can you share your FB page pls ?


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