DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 9 April 2018: Flood control makes Mississippi floods worse

Mississippi floods get worse with flood control engineering Groundbreaking research suggests that floods in 3800 km long Mississippi River passing through ten US states have got worse over the centuries, a new study suggests, with Flood Protection Engineering! “Floods on the mighty Mississippi River are larger and more frequent today than at any time in the past 500 years — in part, a new study suggests, because structures erected to control the river have increased the flood risk.

Both the frequency and magnitude of floods on the Mississippi have increased in the past 150 years. Up to three-quarters of the increased flood risk might be attributable to the dams, walls and levees that now confine the river. These structures turned a lazy, meandering behemoth that could slop out excess water along much of its length into a super-charged fire-hose. Now when the river overtops its banks, the flood is faster, bigger and more powerful than it would be without human intervention, the researchers found. “In essence, the same engineering works that prevent small floods make big floods worse.”

To reconstruct the river’s history, Samuel Munoz, a geoscientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, and his colleagues looked at oxbow lakes and oak trees on the lower Mississippi between southern Missouri and Louisiana. The team examined three lakes that were cut off from the river around 1500, 1722 and 1776. The lake beds preserve layers of coarse material laid down by the high-powered flows of major floods, whose timing the researchers estimated using several methods.

Robert Twilley, a coastal-systems ecologist who directs the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, says that the study “should be on every desk of every Corps engineer who is designing infrastructure for the Mississippi River”. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-04061-z

DAMS

Inflow to Hirakud Dam reduces drastically On 31 March, the inflow to the reservoir from Chhattisgarh was only 98 cusec and on 2 April inflow stopped – zero, said a Hirakud dam official. After completion of Kalama project in Chhattisgarh in 2016, the normal flow to Hirakud reservoir in the non-monsoon season has come down by almost 78 per cent.

– The inflow in the non-monsoon seasons to the Hirakud was 1.450 million acre feet in 2013-14, 1.355 acre million feet in 2014-15, and only 0.907 million acre feet in 2015-16.

– Even during monsoon the flow had declined to only 11.871 million acre feet in 2017 which is much less in comparison to previous two years. https://www.thestatesman.com/cities/inflow-water-chhattisgarh-hirakud-reservoir-reduces-drastically-1502618035.html

Narmada Rehabilitation half hearted? Half hearted sounds like a bit of exaggeration. Was there any heart in it? https://www.counterview.in/2018/04/narmada-dam-oustees-have-been-half.html

SSP water level remains steady SSNNL officials estimate that water level at SSP will remain between 104 and 110 m by end of June, it will deplete max 3 cm per day, current level is about 105.5 m. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/water-crisis-thanks-to-madhya-pradesh-narmada-dam-level-stays-steady-5122488/

Gujarati press clipping: illustrating the hardship of some of the villages for water

Water woes for Gujarat farmers Nandini Oza’s blog about water situation in Gujarat

http://nandinioza.blogspot.in/2018/04/gujarat-model-water-woes-and-farmer-woes.html

Gujarat Govt plans BIGGEST water park in drought In drought times, Gujarat plans BIGGEST water park, Farmers oppose. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/farmers-to-protest-water-park-in-borsad/articleshow/63662041.cms

Unfolding Mapithel Dam Implications & State Unaccountabitliy by Jiten Yumnam https://www.ifp.co.in/page/items/48080/unfolding-mapithel-dam-implications-state-unaccountability/

Mapithel Dam affected area. Source – Jiten Yumnam

HYDRO POWER

Kishanganga Tunnels leaking, affecting farmers, people The tunnels of the recently commissioned Kishenganga HEP in Kashmir is leaking heavily, adversely affecting the numerous horticulture farms, as this detailed report narrates. https://kashmirreader.com/2018/04/08/seepage-from-kishanganga-tunnels-drowning-orchards-in-bandipora/

CAG: Costly power from Kashang HEP in Himachal A state-run 65 MW Unit I of 195 MW Kashang hydropower project in Himachal Pradesh, implemented by the Himachal Pradesh Power Corp Ltd,being funded by the Asian Development Bank, which was commissioned last year after cost overruns and delays, is generating power much costlier than the market rate, report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said.

– The stage-I of the Integrated Kashang Hydro Electric Project was completed with an outlay of Rs 789.84 crore against estimated cost of Rs 478.02 crore, a cost overrun of Rs 311.82 crore. With this, the per unit generation cost of Stage-I had increased from Rs 2.85 to Rs 4.78 against the prevailing rate of Rs 2.20 per unit. The Stage II and III of the project are scheduled to completed in January 2021.

– The total estimated cost of the hydro project in Kinnaur district was Rs 966.21 crore and the project was to be completed by November 2015. An expenditure of Rs 1,169.75 crore was incurred till March 2017, a cost overrun of Rs 203.54 crore, said the CAG report.

– The auditor blamed the company for failure to sell certified emission reductions (CERs) or carbon credits. A CER Purchase Agreement was signed between company and Future Carbon Fund for sale of CER valuing $5,945,000 at the rate of $7.25 per carbon credits. These are to be delivered from April 2015 to April 2021.

– However, Future Carbon Fund has rejected the validation report made by M/s TUV Rheinland due to non-inclusion of environment issues of Lippa village, located in the project vicinity, and inconsistency of report with documents submitted to the Asian Development Bank. Due to termination of CER Purchase Agreement, the carbon credits could not be realised despite fulfilling the milestones. Since the termination of the agreement, market for CERs has slumped. Its average price ranged between $0.24 and $0.72 from August 2013 to April 2017. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/himachal-hydro-project-generating-power-costlier-than-market-rate-cag/63639687

Dynamite explosion at Panan HEP in Sikkim According to reports, the intense explosion took place on April 1 2018 night in the magazine house of the Panan Hydropower project site at Tikdaa, Lingzya in Sikkim. Several houses in the vicinity of the magazine house developed cracks while a certain number of villagers reported to Passingdang PHC for medical attention. Districts officials have promised report and necessary action. This seems like another case of negligence by the hydropower company. http://sikkimexpress.com/NewsDetails?ContentID=9499&SectionID=1

Umiam HEP in Meghalaya faces risk due to roads The Meghalaya government is exploring the possibility of having additional roads in the Guwahati-Shillong route to minimise the vibration caused by vehicular traffic causing harm to the wall of the Umiam hyro-electric dam.

– The Central Water Commission (CWC) recently expressed concern about the safety of the Umiam concrete dam saying the government may give priority to take up an alternative road, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said. Presently every vehicle coming from Guwahati side has to pass the 220 sq km scenic lake, and everyday thousands of vehicles ply by the dam, the first and the main hydro electric project in the state.

– The CWC has advised that traffic is to be diverted downstream of the Umiam dam,” Sangma said. He said the MeECL had conducted a traffic vibration measurement study on the Umiam concrete dam in 2012, through the Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS), Pune.

– “The findings indicated that the vibration levels are very low and within safe limit,” he said quoting the report of the CWPRS. However, the chief minister said, the CWPRC also suggested that it was not advisable to have continuous vibration due to heavy traffic on such an important structure and suggested diversion of traffic near the dam. “This will also help in taking up maintenance works at the dam without any hindrance of traffic,” Sangma said.

– The dam at the Umiam river came up in the early 1960s and the Meghalaya State Development Report in 2008 said the dead storage capacity has been silted up and the life of the reservoir would be reduced to about 65 years if the current rate of siltation is not checked. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/meghalaya-may-have-new-roads-to-save-umiam-dam/63651816

Misleading Media report on Hydropower Generation As usual, the hydropower generation reporting year to year do not take into account the increased installed capacity this year compared to last year by 815 MW. Thus the reporting of 3% increase in hydro generation in 2017-18 compared to previous year is clearly misleading. If we take into account the increased installed capacity, increase is hardly 1%. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/hydro-power-generation-posts-3-per-cent-growth-in-india-in-2017-18/63651626

INTER STATE WATER DISPUTES

CAUVERY SC rebukes Centre: “Implement our orders” The central government was reprimanded by the Supreme Court on April 9, 2018 for ignoring its orders on the River Cauvery. Judges of the top court today suggested that the centre is acting in guile; “the centre knows what the scheme means”, the judges said, as they ordered the governments of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to ensure peace. The centre was directed to share plans by on how the distribution of the Cauvery water will be implemented. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/cauvery-dispute-supreme-court-rebukes-centre-says-implement-our-order-on-cauvery-water-1834675

IRRIGATION

Maharashtra Irrigation Scam Probe “Then Advocate General made a categorical statement on the basis of direct instructions from Hon’ble Chief Minister on December 12, 2014 in the matter as serious as irrigation scam involving public revenue and misdeeds of high functionaries, it is surprising that even 3 years 3 months later the probe is progressing at a snail’s pace. If this is state of affairs after the Chief Minister orders an open probe then what must be happening to ordinary investigations?” the High Court had wondered while strongly deprecating the conduct of investigating agencies and entire machinery in prolonging the probe against high and mighty.

– the two so called SITs are a great disappointment and are nothing but re-grouping of officers from Anti Corruption Bureau of Nagpur and Amravati units.

– The two teams will be headed by Superintendent of Police rank officers to probe irrigation scam cases of Nagpur and Amravati divisions respectively. SIT Nagpur and SIT Amravati will have one additional SP rank officer, three Dy SP rank officers, nine Police Inspectors and necessary police staff to conduct the probe expeditiously. Nagpur ACB unit is enquiring and investigating into 17 projects while Amravati ACB is investigating 26 projects. Thane ACB is also probing 12 matters.

– So far out of 35 cases of Nagpur and Amravati divisions covered in open enquiry, offences have been registered in 16 cases while chargesheet has been filed in only 2 cases while 14 cases are under investigation by respective Anti Corruption Bureau units. http://thehitavada.com/Encyc/2018/4/4/State-forms-2-SITs-to-probe-43-irrigation-scam-cases.aspx

PALAMURU RANGAREDDY PROJECT The project envisaged lifting 1.5 tmcft water in 90 flood days from the foreshore of Srisailam to irrigate seven lakh acres in erstwhile Mahbubnagar district, five lakh acres in Ranga Reddy and 30,000 acres in Nalgonda. The State government had redesigned the project in June 2016 and accorded administrative sanction of ₹ 35,200 crore for the works.

Mr. Harish Rao inspected works on the project in Nagarkurnool and Wanaparthy districts on April 5, 2018. Mr. Rao released water from Buddharam tank to the Peddamandadi branch canal. He visited the proposed site for a reservoir at Vattem which will be constructed as part of the project. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/palamuru-ranga-reddy-project-given-forest-clearance/article23447498.ece

RIVERS

RIVERINE FISH Freshwater fish production boost in Bihar Bihar produced 25,000 metric tonnes of fish more in 2017-18 than the previous fiscal. According to state fisheries directorate data, the state produced 5.35 lakh metric tonnes of fish till February 2018, while the figure for 2016-17 was 5.10 lakh metric tonnes. “We are hoping to cross 5.5 lakh metric tonnes in 2018-19, which is quite encouraging,” said a senior official in the directorate. Bihar, which has 93,000 hectares of ponds, 9,000 hectares of oxbow lakes, 9.41 lakh hectares of chaur (low) lands which remain submerged in water for six to seven months in a year, 26,000 hectares of reservoir and 3,200 km of rivers, still depends on supply from other states to meet its local annual demand of 6.42 lakh metric tonnes of fish. https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/bihar/fish-production-boost-220361

SAND MINING

Cases against illegal sand mining in Manair River in Karimnagar In a span of 3 months, Karimnagar Police Commissionerate has registered 30 cases and sized 60 vehicles involved illegal sand mining in Manair River. In this time period, the police have also seized two tippers and 14 JCBs, besides seizing 344 lorries and 98 tractor loads of sand stored in illegal dumps. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/crackdown-on-illegal-sand-mining-in-karimnagar/article23468329.ece

LAKES, WETLANDS

CIDCO, private company asked to remove debris from Navi Mumbai wetland The Bombay High Court on April 6, 2018 directed the City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) and a private company hired by the agency to remove debris from the Talawe wetlands in Sector 60, Seawoods, Nerul, Navi Mumbai, within a week and commence restoration work. The order passed by Justice AS Oka and Justice Riyaz Chagla said that as per inspection report submitted by deputy conservator of forest, state mangrove cell, JR Gowda to the court on April 2, debris dumping was observed at the site. “CIDCO and Mistry Constructions Pvt. Ltd. are directed to remove the debris from the wetland by April 13 and submit a report with photographic evidence to this court,” the order said. The next hearing in the matter is on April 13. During the last hearing on March 21, the HC bench had directed officials from the HC-appointed wetland grievance committee to survey the site and file a punchnama and take photographs as well.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/bombay-hc-directs-cidco-private-company-to-remove-debris-from-navi-mumbai-wetland/story-iSB3Wc6DBe6H4QEt4GJSLN.html

TN tells HC it has set up wetland authority “Tamil Nadu govt on April 2 has informed the Madras High Court that it has set up a state wetland authority under the chairmanship of the chief secretary to aid and advise as well as to formulate policies for the protection and preservation of wetlands in the state. The court had earlier taken suo moto notice as per a Supreme Court direction on preservation of wetlands in the state.” http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/govt-has-set-up-wetland-authority-tn-to-hc-118040201158_1.html

MONSOON 2018 Skymet weather forecasts normal rainfall in monsoon 2018:

– OVER ALL: 5% chance of excess (seasonal rainfall that is more than 110% of LPA); 20% chance of above normal (seasonal rainfall that is between 105 to 110% of LPA); 55% chance of normal (seasonal rainfall that is between 96 to 104% of LPA); 20% chance of below normal (seasonal rainfall that is between 90 to 95% of LPA)

– June – 111% of LPA (LPA for June = 164 mm) – 30% chance of normal; 60% chance of above normal; 10% chance of below normal

– July – 97% of LPA (LPA for July= 289 mm) – 55% chance of normal; 15% chance of above normal; 30% chance of below normal

– August – 96% of LPA (LPA for August = 261 mm) – 55% chance of normal; 10% chance of above normal; 35% chance of below normal

– September – 101% of LPA (LPA for September = 173 mm) – 60% chance of normal; 20% chance of above normal; 20% chance of below normal. https://www.skymetweather.com/content/weather-news-and-analysis/skymet-weather-forecasts-normal-monsoon-for-india-in-2018/

POWER SECTOR SPOT ELECTRICITY PRICES ARE UP THIS YEAR Prices of power in the spot market in India have risen 25 per cent to Rs 3.97 per unit in March from R 3.20 per unit in January.

– The average spot power price this year of Rs 3.43 per unit is a “huge leap from the Rs 2.50 average logged in the corresponding period of the past two fiscals. What’s more, monthly peak prices on power exchanges this year have averaged at Rs 7.1 which is almost twice the levels in fiscal 2017,” the agency said in a statement. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/spot-power-price-up-25-in-2018-expected-to-flare-up-further/63598453

POWER OPTIONS New Solar Energy scheme for farmers on anvil “The KUSUM (Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthaan Mahaabhiyan) Scheme is likely to be placed before Union Cabinet for consideration and approval by this month end. We would be able to implement the scheme in first half of this fiscal,” New and Renewable Energy Secretary Anand Kumar told reporters.

– The Centre’s contribution was proposed at Rs 48,000 crore under the scheme to aid total solar power generation capacity of 28,250 MW over the next 10 years.

– Under the scheme, the government plans to incentivise farmers to run solar farm water pumps and use barren land for generating power for extra income — up to Rs 60,000 per acre every year. At present, farmers earn about Rs 30,000 per acre annually from conventional wheat and paddy rotation, after deducting input costs.

– Apart from 175 GW renewable energy target from sources including solar, wind and hydro, 10 GW each would come from offshore wind power and floating solar project taking the total clean energy capacity to 195 GW by 2022, he said.

– highest ever 12 GW of wind energy and 20GW of solar energy projects were tendered last fiscal (2017-18).

– Kumar said India’s renewable energy capacity excluding large hydro has increased to 68 GW by the end of March this year compared to 57 GW last year around this time. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/cabinet-nod-soon-for-rs-50000-crore-kusum-scheme-on-solar-farming/63597665

CLIMATE CHANGE Global warming to affect rivers, floods, food production The study looked at the difference between global warming of 1.5 degree Celsius and 2 degree Celsius (compared to pre-industrial levels). The findings, published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, showed that despite increased vulnerability to food insecurity in both scenarios – the effects would be worse for most (76%) countries at 2 degrees Celsius. Study co-author Richard Betts, Professor at the University of Exeter in Britain said, “Such weather extremes can increase vulnerability to food insecurity.”

– Researchers have projected that the flow of the Ganges river could more than double at 2 degrees Celsius global warming, with floods putting food production at risk in countries like India. http://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/science/ganges-river-flow-could-more-than-double-here-is-the-reason-why/1118729/

BBMB says rains up in Himachal due to global warming Ruling out water shortage in northern states due to deficient rains in the future due to global warming, the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) on April 6, 2018 said a study commissioned by it has confirmed that there will be increased rainfall in the near future due to global warming. BBMB chairman DK Sharma said the study conducted on the rain pattern in Himachal Pradesh has ruled out water scarcity till 2080. “In fact, as per the study the rainfall is increasing.” Sharma said. The BBMB has created a Climate Change Cell. https://www.thestatesman.com/cities/rains-due-global-warming-bbmb-1502618510.html

ENVIRONMENT AND FORESTS

Research on micro-plastics in Rivers: Research on microplastic pollution (small particles of plastic <5 mm in size) has long focused on their largest sink: the ocean. More recently, however, researchers have expanded their focus to include freshwater and terrestrial environments. This is a welcome development, given that an estimated 80% of microplastic pollution in the ocean comes from land and that rivers are one of the dominant pathways for microplastics to reach the oceans. Like other persistent pollutants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), microplastics are now recognized as being distributed across the globe. Detailed understanding of the fate and impacts of this ubiquitous environmental contaminant will thus require a concerted effort among scientists with expertise beyond the marine sciences. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/sci/360/6384/28.full.pdf

Second Highest Fatal Landslides in 2017; Max fatalities in monsoon in South Asia Fatal landslides in 2017 were highest in last 14 years, except 2010. The Highest number of fatal landslides happen in August, June, July and Sept, the South Asian Monsoon months. https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2018/04/08/fatal-landslides-2017/

Global Fatal Landslides Source – David Petley Landslide blog

SOUTH ASIA

NEPAL Joint statement has no word on Arun 3 or Hydropower projects? The India Nepal Joint statement during Nepal Prime Minister’s visit to India during April 6-8, 2018, however, has not a word on Arun 3 or any other hydro project.  http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=178505

India-Nepal PM’s statement on development of inland waterways between the two countries “The Prime Ministers of India and Nepal… took the landmark decision to develop the inland waterways for the movement of cargo, within the framework of trade and transit arrangements, providing additional access to sea for Nepal… the two leaders directed their respective officials to formulate and mutually agree upon the requisite procedures and modalities for including inland waterways as an additional means of transport in the Protocol to the Treaty of Transit between India and Nepal.” http://pibphoto.nic.in/documents/rlink/2018/apr/p20184703.pdf

Could this have thrown a spanner in possible India Nepal Hydro cooperation? India’s condition to Nepal: “You cant expect India to buy power from a Chinese-built project. Let Nepal take Chinese assistance to build those dams and let China buy back the power produced from there,” the government official said. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/if-china-builds-your-dams-india-wont-buy-energy-pm-narendra-modi-to-tell-kp-oli-5125566/

Arun 3 HEP Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart KP Sharma Oli were to jointly lay the foundation stone of the SJVN’s 900 MW Arun III hydropower project during a meeting in New Delhi on April 7. Some key agreements were expected to be signed along with the remote laying of the foundation stone of the hydroelectricity project in Sankhuwasabha district of eastern Nepal during Oli’s state visit beginning on April 6. This is the largest hydroelectric project undertaken by the India government in Nepal. India will provide a total of $ 1.5 billion for the project which is being constructed on the build, operate, own and transfer (BOOT) model.

– There is no confirmation if this happened. https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/modi-oli-to-lay-foundation-of-900mw-power-project-in-nepal/story-EYRPNzL3tGyFSC9lf1qSNO.html

Nepal wants to sell surplus electricity to India Nepal is planning to sell surplus electricity to India and the issue is likely to have figured in talks Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had during his visit to New Delhi during April 6-8, 2018. Nepal will have surplus electricity during the wet season once the 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi hydropower project comes up by the end of this year. The country’s energy ministry is hoping to sell the surplus electricity to India for cash. The ministry is also toying with the option of “power banking”, if the “determining the price of electricity becomes an issue”, reports the Kathmandu Post. http://www.uniindia.com/nepal-to-propose-power-swap-deal-with-india-during-pm-oli-s-visit/world/news/1187119.html

Corruption in NEA keeps citizens in dark Nepal citizens were had to suffer upto 14 hours daily power cuts in winter during 2006-2016 due to corruption in NEA. Select consumers and industries were provided uninterrupted power. https://www.nepalitimes.com/here-now/how-they-kept-nepal-in-the-dark-ages/

Bhutan New Projects in India Bhutan Hydropower cooperation? Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale held a meeting with Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay on Apr 2, 2018, as he travelled to Thimphu for the second time since February. Mr. Gokhale, who flew to Bhutan on Apr 1, met King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck and discussed commemorative activities for the 50th anniversary celebrations of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan. King Jigme Khesar Wangchuck is expected to visit India later this year for a state visit. In his statement about their meeting, Mr. Tobgay said Mr. Gokhale and he had also discussed “development cooperation and hydropower projects”. http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/mixed-response-to-indias-neighbourhood-outreach/article23418402.ece

Pakistan Pak approaches World Bank on Kishanganga Pakistan has informed the World Bank about India’s completing of the Kishanganga hydropower project during the bank’s “pause” period and has urged it to “recognise its responsibility” under the Indus Waters Treaty.

– Pakistan has been flagging concern over designs of India’s five hydroelectricity projects – Pakal Dul (1000 MW), Ratle (850 MW), Kishanganga (330 MW), Miyar (120 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW) – being built/planned in the Indus river basin, contending these violate the treaty. The power division of the energy ministry sent a fresh communique early this week to the bank’s vice president, a government official told Dawn newspaper. https://www.thekashmirmonitor.net/2018/04/06/pak-approaches-wb-over-indias-completing-of-kishanganga-hydropower-project-reports/

The World Bank has responded, saying it is working with India on this issue. https://www.dawn.com/news/1399874/working-with-india-pakistan-to-settle-dam-controversy-says-world-bank

CHINA How Dams on Yellow river change fish in the River This article by Chinese scientists shows changes in fish species assemblages along Yellow river during last 50 years during due to dams diversions and invasive species. The number of fish species decreased from 164 to 106 species over the past 50 years, and the number of native species decreased from 163 to 80 species. The proportions of alien fishes in three periods of the 1960s, the 1980s, and the 2000s were 0.6%, 13.1% and 24.5% of the total species, respectively. Dam constructions, exotic fish invasions, and flow reductions played the vital role in structuring the temporal fish assemblages in the Yellow River. The paper adds solid contribution to the growing scientific evidence of detrimental effects of dams and other water infrastructure on aquatic biodiversity. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ece3.3890

USA Houston makes insurance mandatory in 500 year flood plain Finally, 7 months after the destruction by hurricane Harvey, Houston adopts new Floodplain rules, making insurance mandatory for houses for in one in 500 YEAR FLOODPLAIN! The drive to include the 500-year floodplain came after homes in that floodplain flooded in three consecutive years. During Harvey in 2017, a third of homes in the 500-year floodplain were damaged by flooding and, according to a city study, 84 percent of the structures in the 100-year or 500-year floodplains that flooded during Harvey may have avoided damage if the proposed regulations had been in place.

In Pune and many cities across India, we are busy dismantling the once in 25-year floodplain too.

“To do nothing is not an option,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner, who pushed the new rules requiring new homes within the city’s 500-year floodplain to be built 2 feet above the floodplain. Currently, homeowners in the 100-year floodplain are required to have flood insurance and build new homes 1 foot above the floodplain. https://www.texastribune.org/2018/04/04/houston-city-council-approves-changes-floodplain-regulations-narrow-vo/

Realtors influence Houston Policies Although Houston comes up with new regulations, its clear that there is still too much realtor influence on policies, like everywhere. “Christie’s amendment was crafted largely by the Houston Association of Realtors. Another Travis amendment was developed with the help of the Greater Houston Builders Association. And Councilman Michael Kubosh basically said in an open council meeting that he trusted the opinions of Realtors over the city’s engineers’.” https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/City-Council-needs-to-stop-carrying-water-for-12813584.php

Court to decide farmer vs fish water allocation in Klamath River in USA Farmers and ranchers from the Klamath Basin in Southern Oregon in USA are taking a bus down to San Francisco to witness a key court hearing that deals with in-stream flows to protect salmon in the Klamath River. It is yet another chapter in the ongoing dispute to balance water rights for agriculture and endangered fish along the Klamath River. The Bureau of Reclamation, which administers the Klamath Project, still has not been able to announce a water allocation or irrigation start date for the season. That’s because the agency is hung up on a previous court ruling that requires 50,000 acre-feet of stored water for in-stream flows to wash away a deadly parasite that attacks coho salmon, known as C. shasta.

The injunction, filed Feb. 8, 2017 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, essentially calls for three types of flows to combat C. shasta. The first is a “flushing flow” of 6,030 cubic feet per second for 72 hours, which must be completed every year before the end of April. There is also a “deep flushing flow,” which is required every other year but not for 2018. The last is what’s known as “dilution flows,” which are contingent on the presence of C. shasta spores in the river. If water tests higher than five spores per liter, that triggers the release of 3,000 cubic feet per second for seven days below Iron Gate Dam to cleanse the stream. If that doesn’t work, water releases are ramped up to 4,000 cubic feet per second for another seven days.

Glen Spain, Northwest regional director for the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association, said they sympathize with basin farmers, but unless something is done to stop the onslaught of C. shasta, it may push Klamath salmon to extinction. “For us, it’s an existential problem,” Spain said. “We don’t exist as salmon fishermen without salmon.” “We need that water in the river. Farmers understandably need it on their crops. And there is not enough to go around,” Spain said.

WHEN WILL INDIA’s FISH AND FISHERFOLK GET SIMILAR CONSIDERATION? THEY ALSO PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE. http://www.capitalpress.com/Oregon/20180406/klamath-water-users-to-attend-pivotal-court-hearing

Cost effective to remove 4 Snake River Dams in Columbia Basin ““Although the subject matter is really complicated, the story is really pretty simple,” said Sean O’Leary of the NW Energy Coalition, the clean energy advocacy group that commissioned the study. “For years, this problem has been presented as a dilemma: We can have fish restoration or reliable power — we can’t have both. But this study demonstrates that’s false.”

The Lower Snake River Dams Power Replacement Study concludes that balanced portfolios of solar and wind energy production, combined with energy efficiency and storage, can replace the power provided to the Northwest by the four Lower Snake dams and at a cost of about $1.28 per month for residential customers in the year 2026.

The study also claims no new natural gas power plants are needed to meet regional energy demands. “Replacing the dams with clean and renewable resources provides superior or equal results to replacing them with natural gas for cost, carbon emissions, system reliability, and ability to meet peak load requirements,” states a fact sheet on the study.” http://www.columbian.com/news/2018/apr/04/study-sees-little-cost-in-removing-snake-river-dams/

New Spillway of Oroville Dam to be tested The newly built spillway of Oroville Dam in California, USA could be tested if the water level crosses 830 ft. http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article207841294.html

REST OF THE WORLD Very interesting, useful website: https://blueheart.patagonia.com/truth

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 26 March 2018 & DRP News Bulletin 2 April 2018

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