DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 23 April 2018: India Urgently Needs Urban Water Policy

Experts Flush out India’s ‘Sewage’ Rivers: Urban India is treating its rivers as a pipeline for water, a dumping ground for all kinds of sewage, industrial effluents and solid waste and, its floodplain and riverbed as land available for encroachment. This was the gloomy perspective presented by Himanshu Thakkar, a social activist at the South Asian Network on Dams, Rivers and People.

Speaking at the two-day ‘Dialogue on Urban rivers of Maharashtra’ at Yashada on April 20, 2018, Thakkar said that India needs a national urban water policy in which the sustainable existence of urban rivers have a key place. “This dialogue is an important step in that journey,” he said at the conference organised by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH, Pune Chapter) and the South Asian Network on Dams, Rivers and People. Inaugurated by noted ecologist Prof. Madhav Gadgil, a number of prominent environmentalists are participating in this conference. https://www.hindustantimes.com/pune-news/experts-flush-out-india-s-sewage-rivers/story-7UXx4jQmvxbM2yPV0ar4YJ.html

Experts Flay River Front Development Plan Not a single person in the Seminar supports Pune River Front Development Plan, said Sanskriti Menon, who moderated the session on the River Front Development Plan, where Bimal Patel presented Sabarmati River Front Development Project, which turned out to be full of factual mistakes and misrepresentations. (Hindustan Times, Pune, 22 April 2018)

Activists call for River Policy at State and National Level A conference on ‘Urban rivers of Maharashtra’, inaugurated on April 20, 2018 by environmentalist Madhav Gadgil, emphasised the need for a National Urban Water Policy to ensure Healthy Urban Rivers. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/activists-call-for-river-policy-at-state-and-national-level/articleshow/63851439.cms

Pune Dialogue on Urban Rivers of Maharashtra on April 20-21, 2018: Press Release before the meeting. https://sandrp.in/2018/04/19/pune-dialogue-on-urban-rivers-of-maharashtra-on-april-20-21-2018/

Participants at Dialogue on Urban Rivers of Maharashtra in Pune on April 20-21, 2018 (Photo INTACH-SANDRP)

DAMS

New model of Dam decision making from Telangana? The Telangana government on Apr 21 ,2018 accorded administrative approval for the Lingampalli reservoir with storage capacity of 10.78 tmc near Malkapur village in Chilpur mandal in Jangaon district. The estimated cost is Rs 3227.10 crore. There is a very large rainfed area in the erstwhile district of Warangal, where only lift irrigation is feasible. Tenders will be invited soon. So the project does not have any EIA, clearances, public consultations, central approvals! http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2018/apr/22/telangana-government-gives-nod-for-lingampalli-reservoir-1804817.html

Polavaram: Supreme Court asks why Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources did not its directions The Supreme Court on Apr 17 took exception to the union water resources secretary not filing an affidavit in a matter relating to the Polavaram Project in Andhra Pradesh despite its order and directed him to do so in three days. The direction came after the apex court was informed that a chief engineer of the department has filed an affidavit instead of the secretary.

– During the hearing, the counsel for Odisha said the controversy was with regard to the capacity and specifications of the Polavaram dam as mentioned in the tribunal award. He said the capacity of the project was scheduled to be 36 lakh cusec but the design was for 50 lakh cusecs.

– Odisha had earlier told the apex court that the project should be done in accordance with the 1980 tribunal award and other laws. The petition has claimed that the project will submerge about 600 habitations in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Telangana and also about 8,000 acres of forest and 500 acres of the wild life sanctuary.

– The environment clearance of the project was cancelled by the National Environment Appellate Authority in 2007 but the Andhra Pradesh High Court had stayed it as an interim measure. The Ministry of Environment and Forest had given a direction to stop the construction work of the project on February 8, 2011, but had later kept its own order in abeyance. http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/polavaram-sc-takes-exception-to-non-filing-of-affidavit-by-top-officer-118041701142_1.html

Pancheshwar Development Authority to meet on April 25 The governing body meeting of the Pancheswar development authority which has members of both India and Nepal, is likely to be held on April 25 in Kathmandu, followed by meeting of experts next month, said an official in the Union water resources ministry. The Indian delegation for the Pancheswar development authority meeting will be headed by UP Singh, secretary water Resources, while the group of experts meeting will be headed by chairman of the central water commission, Maqsood Hussain. Five meetings of the governing body of Pancheshwar development authority have been held so far, the last of which was about eight months ago. The detailed project report of Pancheshwar multi-purpose project was submitted in November 2016. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-nepal-to-resume-talks-on-pancheshwar-hydro-project-this-month/story-J6fMK72VkR35Gpx9Dd029H.html

Uttarakhand has no land to resettle Pancheshwar Dam Affected Irrigation and flood control minister Satpal Maharaj said the state had no land either to rehabilitate the oustees of the proposed dam or carry out compensatory afforestation in lieu of trees that would be lost to its water. “We hope our land currently under the Uttar Pradesh irrigation department will be returned to us, so we can relocate the oustees,” Maharaj said. https://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/pancheshwar-dam-uttarakhand-plans-to-develop-vertical-township-for-rehabilitation/story-HnDVTFs1XlICSeJrLLFjIO.html

Rajasthan HC pulls up officials on Ramgarh Dam Rajasthan High Court on Apr 10, 2018 asked the various government departments to file separate affidavits enumerating the steps taken to comply with its orders on removal of encroachments on water bodies along with affidavits by May 3, the next hearing. The court also directed that the state chief secretary to monitor the case.

– The division bench of Justice MN Bhandari and Justice DC Somnai had summoned about a dozen senior officials heading the various departments to the court on April 10 afternoon in connection with the compliance of its order in May 2012 on revival of the Ramgarh dam at Jamwa Ramgarh in Jaipur.

– The court also said the state pollution control board failed to discharge its duty. Court observed that the PCB should have taken action against the errant officials found violating the pollution laws.

– The court said the revenue department; UDH and JDA were equally guilty as they have given permission for land use change and issues pattas on the catchment areas of the reservoirs while the environment and forest department and rural development to construct check dams on water bodies have done more harm than good. This has resulted in the drying up of the water bodies. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/file-affidavits-on-steps-taken-to-remove-ramgarh-encroachments-rajasthan-high-court/articleshow/63706660.cms

– The high court had also given four directions. The four directions included the road map for revival of the Ramgarh dam, report on removal of encroachment, the setting up of sewerage treatment plant (STP) by the JMC to control pollution of the lake and also the pollution caused by the industries. But none of them were complied with.

– The Pollution Control Board informed that it has registered 35 cases of pollution by industries which are pending in the courts. It has nothing else to report! https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/court-raps-officials-over-ramgarh-encroachment/articleshow/63693445.cms

BJP made Narmada crisis This report says that in the title itself. Ominous statement from former Narmada Minister of Gujarat: “The future is absolutely bleak. Even districts may fight with districts and tehsils may fight with tehsils for sharing the constantly decreasing water resources”. https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2018/04/19/sardar-sarovar-dam-bjp-created-crisis-gujarat-lifeline-wilting.html

Earthquake close to Sardar Sarovar Dam An earthquake measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale, with an epicentre near the Sardar Sarovar Dam built on the Narmada dam in Bharuch district of Gujarat was felt on Saturday evening, official sources said.

“The earthquake was epicentered 38 kilometers east-south-east of the Narmada dam and was felt at 4.56 pm. It was one of the larger tremors to hit the region around the dam in the recent past,” an official from Institute of Seismological Research (ISR) told The Indian Express. Data from ISR show that the quake happened at a five kilometer depth near a dry river bed close to Panchasim village. According to ISR, the Narmada fault has potential to produce earthquakes of 6.5 magnitude. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/gujarat-earthquake-measuring-3-7-hits-bharuch-district-epicentre-near-narmada-dam-5146591/

Opposition to Bhadbhut Dam on Narmada in Bharuch district of Gujarat continues. https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/gujarat-govt-wants-to-build-dam-on-dry-narmada-to-help-industries

Medha Patkar joins the rally of the fisher people in Bharuch, suffering the downstream impacts of the Sardar Sarover Dam https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/patkar-takes-out-narmada-bachao-rally-in-bharuch/articleshow/63790568.cms

Gujarat crisis would be worse in case of monsoon failure This report ignores the implications of Gujarat using the water below MDDL from SSP. It would mean that SSP Canals will get water with a delay even if monsoon is on time. If monsoon is not on time, than the problem will be prolonged. It also does not mention the already prevailing crisis in the Narmada Downstream areas. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/horrific-crisis-lies-ahead-for-state-if-monsoon-fails/articleshow/63806266.cms

WATER OPTIONS

Deepening and Widening of Rivers is invitation to disaster Hundreds of people from 15 villages (total population 31000) in Maharashtra’s Parli Taluka in Beed district are braving blazing Sun to wage a war on perennial water crisis in Marathwada. They are part of the 45-day “Shramdaan Abhiyan” (Voluntary labour campaign), launched on April 8 by an NGO under former AAP leader Mayank Gandhi, who has adopted these villages for water conservation and preservation. The villagers are digging trenches, farm ponds, watershed structures, check dams, to preserve rain water.

– THIS IS PROBLEMATIC: Dozens of excavators and earth-movers, funded by various corporates, are deepening and widening the tributaries of the “Paapnashi” river which passes through six of the selected villages.

– Ten out of these 15 villages have been selected to participate in the Satyamev Jayatee Water Cup competition. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/hope-under-sun-marathwada-villagers-wage-war-on-drought/articleshow/63770854.cms

HYDRO POWER

Declining Global Hydropower capacity addition This confirms the declining hydropower capacity addition globally over the last few years. http://irena.org/publications/2018/Mar/Renewable-Capacity-Statistics-2018

INTER STATE WATER DISPUTES

YAMUNA

DELHI HARYANA DISPUTE ON YAMUNA WATER: A meeting was called on March 28 by UP Singh, Secy, MoWR. Delhi told SC on Apr 16 that the minutes of the meeting does not reflect what transpired in the meeting. It is indeed strange that the MoWR could not get the minutes right and had to twist it. The SC has asked MoWR to confirm the factual position by next hearing on Apr 19. Delhi counsel has said it is ready to formally write to Haryana for supplying Delhi 450 cusecs of water as agreed, Delhi says Haryana supplies only 330 cusecs, what too high in Ammonia content. http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/delhi-govt-in-sc-disputes-agreement-reached-with-haryana-on-yamuna-water-118041601092_1.html

INTER LINKING OF RIVERS

Guj Mah ILR talks in Limbo In the river-linking projects — the Damanganga-Pinjal and Par-Tapi-Narmada projects — the Gujarat and Maharashtra governments have failed to reach an agreement on sharing water. The Union ministry of water resources tried to intervene on April 20, 2018, at a meeting attended by the secretary of water resources, Gujarat chief secretary J N Singh and his Maharashtra counterpart, in New Delhi.

– The Gujarat government conditionally agreed to share Narmada waters with Maharashtra, provided Maharashtra reciprocates for rivers flowing from Maharashtra to Gujarat. However, Maharashtra is unwilling to accept the conditions of the Gujarat government. Gujarat has mandated that Maharashtra first agree to sharing more Tapi water, whose source is in the Sahyadris in Vidarbha. Only then will Gujarat sign on the dotted line to provide more water from the Damanganga-Pinjal link to quench Mumbai’s thirst. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/gujarat-maharashtra-water-sharing-talks-in-limbo/articleshow/63863066.cms

Infrastructure lobby pushing ILR This shows that infrastructure lobby is behind this project costing billions of dollars. https://www.indepthnews.net/index.php/the-world/asia-pacific/1821-modi-government-s-plan-to-interlink-rivers-splits-the-nation

GROUNDWATER

A Million Recharge Wells Movement in Bangalore Bangalore has lost 80% of its water bodies in the past two decades, while its built-up area has increased from 8% to 77%. A new campaign plans to revive the city’s open wells, recharge groundwater and engage with the community. Called ‘A Million Recharge Wells’, the project is being launched by S Vishwanath of the Biome Environmental Trust and voluntary citizen network Friends of Lakes (FoL). “Lakes cannot be used as a source of drinking water as it would mean emptying the water body. At the same time, rainwater harvesting and groundwater can be natural recharge mechanisms that could provide Bengaluru with up to 400-million litres of water per day,” said Vishwanath.

– He explained that by working towards the goal of a million recharge wells by going local would mean a well for every 700 sqm of the city. “Normally, only 10% of rainfall reaches aquifers, but if managed properly, this can be increased to 60%.”

– The campaign will be kick-started later this month, Vishwanath said, while commemorating the completion of the first phase of another joint project involving recharge of seven wells in Cubbon Park. The second phase of the said project (implemented in association with the India Cares Foundation) entails rejuvenation of two ponds and creation of rainwater trenches in the park. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/a-million-recharge-wells-hopes-to-raise-bengalurus-groundwater/articleshow/63780022.cms

AGRICULTURE

Farmers of five states to go on agitation from June 1 Farmers of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana to go on agitation from June 1. https://www.livemint.com/Politics/oaIqaNnSBsKXPVHb1jvBCJ/After-Maharashtra-farmers-of-4-more-states-on-protests-from.html

RIVERS

Amazing experience of Yatra along the Majestic Ken River Following joint effort of SANDRP and Veditum, 600 kms long walk over 33 days along the entire stretch of KEN river, starting from Chilla in Uttar Pradesh where Ken confluences with Yamuna to the origin of Ken in Madhya Pradesh about 427 km upstream, happened over the last nine months, over three periods. This note captures the essence of that memorable experience, includes some breath taking photos. https://sandrp.in/2018/04/19/amazing-experience-of-yatra-along-the-majestic-ken-river/

Raneh Falls, Ken River Canyon (Photo by Himanshu Thakkar)

अनुपम केन नदी पदयात्रा का यादगार अनुभव. The same report in Hindi. goo.gl/ygLLVw

Ken River Yatra Media Reports:

SN Headline, Reporter News paper, Links Date Quote
1 मानवीय कारणों से केन नदी का अस्तित्व खतरे में दैनिक मध्यप्रदेश, 16 अप्रैल 2018 भीम सिंह रावत
2 कैसे बन गयी केन नदी बरसाती नदी, मुकेश तिवारी पत्रिका न्यूज़ कटनी, https://www.patrika.com/katni-news/rainy-river-became-ken-2671736/ 19 अप्रैल 2018
3 केन नदी बाँध परियोजना बहा ले जा रही है पन्ना जिले के कई घर खबर लहरिया पन्ना,  https://goo.gl/pGEqzM 19 अप्रैल 2018
4 सदानीरा केन नदी का बिगड़ रहा है स्वास्थ्य, अरुण सिंह दैनिक जागरण पन्ना 20 अप्रैल 2018 सैनड्रप
5 केन नदी में हो रहा देश का सबसे बड़ा खनन कारोबार, शशिकांत मिश्रा राजस्थान पत्रिका पन्ना,  http://epaper.patrika.com/c/28102529 20 अप्रैल 2018 सैनड्रप
6 केन की 23 सहायक नदियां सूखी बहाव हुआ कम नई दुनिया पन्ना 20 अप्रैल 2018 सैनड्रप
7 केन नदी में हो रहा देश का सबसे बड़ा खनन कारोबार, पुष्पेंद्र पांडेय पत्रिका न्यूज़ पन्ना,  https://www.patrika.com/panna-news/big-expose-the-country-s-largest-mining-business-in-the-river-of-pann-1-2675648/ 20 अप्रैल 2018 सैनड्रप
8 परियोजना से केन ही नहीं गंगा और यमुना भी होगी प्रभावित दैनिक भास्कर 20 अप्रैल 2018 सैनड्रप
9 मशीनो द्वारा किये जा रहे उत्खनन से केन नदी का अस्तित्व संकट में नव स्वदेश 20 अप्रैल 2018 सैनड्रप
10 खतरे में केन नदी का अस्तित्व, हरी मिश्र दैनिक जागरण, बांदा,  http://epaper.jagran.com/mdetail/21-apr-2018-edition-Banda-page_2-23451-7624-69.html 21 अप्रैल 2018 सैनड्रप
11 बांदा को नहीं मिलेगा केन-बेतवा गठजोड़ का फायदा हिन्दुस्तान, बांदा, https://www.livehindustan.com/uttar-pradesh/banda/story-banda-will-not-get-the-advantage-of-the-ken-betwa-alliance-1915587.html 21 अप्रैल 2018 सैनड्रप
12 उद्गम स्थल पर टूट रही है केन की जलधारा अमर उजाला बाँदा 21 अप्रैल 2018 सैनड्रप
Ken Yatra Media report April 2018

Remembering Kabini River source on Earth Day From Wayanad, Kerala, the birthplace of Kabini River:

– The rounded hills and snaking streams, each born of millions of seeps from tree roots, making their way east through the Kabini, and then the Kaveri… It sits 12-metres high on a meen-mutti tree growing over the Kallampuzha stream… For more than 15 years, we have protected this stretch of the stream. Village folk can come here to harvest bamboo, to fish, to graze their cows, and to swim and bathe

– I often wonder, which Western Ghats are they interested in?.. the green deserts and gouged-open slopes, and dammed, desecrated rivers which don’t reach the ocean? The splendid water tower or the invaded last forests?.. There are so many perspectives on this small mountain biome, with its rivers supporting some 245 million people — from wanting them up, to wanting them down, the need to conserve them and the greed to destroy them.

– Of course, life is still sublime in some parts of the Western Ghats. It is still a paradise. A king cobra nests in the valley. Malabar giant squirrels chitter in the canopy. Fireflies light up the night, vying with the stars. Gliding frogs line up on lily leaves. Musical sweet water streams flow from the toes of trees. If it’s fertile and fecund today, it could be like this tomorrow as well.

– I do love my home in these mountains. We all do — the frogs, the elephants, the rivers, the humans and the trees. We will pass on this love to others, in the slim, yet bright, shining hope that they too find communion in all that is vital, beautiful and real. We hope that they then roll up their sleeves and get to work, protect what needs to be protected, fight what needs to be fought, and leave alone what needs to be urgently left alone. So, I modify my first sentence. The world in which we live necessarily yields the world that is to come. (Suprabha Seshan: http://indianexpress.com/article/express-sunday-eye/once-upon-a-biome-5146475/)

Ganga Siltation and Floods: Bihar Ultimatum to Centre? Massive siltation in the Ganga is posing a flood threat to Bihar, and the state government has flagged the issue to the central government, seeking immediate action. This issue was raised during the meeting of the first conference of eastern states on water resources held in Kolkata last week. According to representatives from the Bihar government at the conference, siltation is being reported in the Ganga along its entire length of 445 km in Bihar. They added that as a result, the ability of the river to drain water has diminished, posing a flood threat to the entire state.

“Bihar’s fears are not unwarranted. The situation is getting worse due to siltation every year,’’ said Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People who was part of the committee formed on the issue. “Chief minister Nitish Kumar had last year called a meeting of international experts on the issue and every one was of the opinion that some serious de-siltation measures have to be taken or there needs to be a rethink about the Farraka Barrage.’’ https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/bihar-wary-of-flood-threat-from-ganga-siltation-turns-to-centre-for-help/story-3SfIjoSTCVeMfHkYvhluiO.html

KSPCB says Cauvery water quality not bad? A report prepared by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) under the Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS) and Monitoring of Indian National Aquatic Resources System (MINARS) for April-2017 to March-2018 revealed that the Cauvery river water quality falls under the category C.

– According to the report, the Cauvery water samples were collected from 21 stations, including KRS dam, Kushalnagar, Napoklu Bridge and Ranganathittu, every month and tested. In all the months, the quality of the water remained the same and stood in category C.

– Water quality of the Hemavati river, one of the major tributaries of the Cauvery, is also good. According to the report, it is also classified under category C. But contrary to this, the Kabini, another tributary, has been classified under D and E categories. Water under these two categories is not fit for drinking purpose.

– The report also pointed out that the quality of Arkavati river’s water, too, is very poor. The board had tested Arkvavati’s water samples from T G Halli Reservoir, Kanakapura, and Hesaraghatta Reservoir. The quality of water samples collected from T G Halli reservoir and Kanakapura were classified under E category. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mysuru/cauverys-water-quality-not-that-bad-report/articleshow/63720112.cms

URBAN RIVERS

Gujarat acknowledges its wrong to release Narmada water in Sabarmati This is first acknowledgement that using Narmada water for Sabarmati was and is wrong.

– For long, every time Narmada waters were diverted into the Sabarmati riverfront, the pride of Ahmedabad, it drew criticism. Finally, the state government has for the first time asked the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to ensure that by 2019, the riverfront should be fed by five sewage treatment plants with tertiary treated sewage water instead of Narmada waters.

– Municipal commissioner Mukesh Kumar said, “The Union government has already approved the five STPs under the National River Conservation Plan. The project is worth Rs 400 crore and will arrest any release of untreated sewage water in to the river front. We are hopeful to commission all five STPs by December 2019”.

– Out of these STP plants, two, Jal Vihar and Vasna STPs, will be upgraded by July 2018. The upgrade of Pirana STP is underway and is expected to be completed by December 2019. Two new STP plants will be set up at Shankar Bhuvan and Duffnala, and are expected to be completed between December 2019 and early 2020.

– Combined, these five STP plants will divert 313 million litres of treated sewage into the Sabarmati riverfront every day. Once riverfront starts getting fed by treated sewage water, the excess Narmada waters from Dharoi dam will be diverted for irrigation in Dholka, Sanand and several villages downstream.

– A senior AMC official revealed that on an average the Sabarmati riverfront stores close to 10-12 million cubic meters of water (1 cubic meter equals 1,000 liters), which could have been used for other key requirements. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/sabarmati-riverfront-not-to-get-narmada-water-from-2019-end/articleshow/63823575.cms

Sabarmati’s true face Photo: Amruta Pradhan, SANDRP

RIVERINE FISH

Fisher-people lead Save Mathabhanga & Churni River Campaign in W Bengal: DMF report. https://sandrp.in/2018/04/17/fisher-people-lead-save-mathabhanga-churni-river-campaign-in-w-bengal/

MONSOON 2018

Central India to see less rainfall in next 50 years The collaborative study, by R S Ajayamohan and a team of scientists from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), IIT Delhi, New York University and University of California, which was recently published in PNAS projects that about 50 years from now, the monsoon over the central Indian region is expected to drastically reduce owing to a declining trend observed in the number of Low Pressure Systems (LPS) that usually bring rain to this area.

– It also highlights a 10% increase in the instances of LPS forming over land, which will eventually lead to extreme rainfall over the North Indian plains.

– LPSes originate in the Bay of Bengal, and travel landwards in a southeast-northwest direction crossing Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. This region is known as the core monsoon zone. The region, according to the study, will witness a 45% decline in the frequency of LPS activity, thereby resulting in lesser rainfall. This downward trend in rainfall is expected to be realised during the decades spanning between 2065-2095.

– One of the main reasons for this decrease in rainfall, particularly during the monsoon, could be the largescale decrease in the moist westerly winds travelling from the Arabian Sea, called monsoon circulations, along India’s west coast onto the mainland. In addition, these winds have been observed to have shifted northwards from their normal track during their forward propagation.

– With the rise in global temperature, the atmosphere would have a much higher moisture holding capacity. But, at a certain juncture, this capacity would collapse leading to extreme rainfall events, which are anyway found to be increasing in recent years. http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/why-central-india-may-see-less-rainfall-over-the-next-50-years-5141618/

India needs to learn to use Rainfall Good to see EDIT in Hindustan Times saying: “India has to evolve a long-term plan to tackle the water crisis, especially in this era of climate change. The plan should include decentralisation of water conservation, community management of aquifers, and a shift from water-intensive agricultural practices. Addressing these new challenges also requires a new institutional and economic architecture for water management. Both the Central Water Commission and the Central Ground Water Board were set up in a different era.” The picture it presents about what happened at Sardar Sarovar could have been clearer and could have been clearer plain speaking. https://www.hindustantimes.com/editorials/don-t-get-carried-away-by-the-promise-of-good-rains/story-LeazAnlvODUdn14uDpEqkJ.html

Normal monsoon forecast hides anomalies Between 1948 and 2015, the total quantum of rain that falls on Indian landmass in the 122 days span of the monsoon has seen small decline.

– The number of days of extreme rain (over 150 mm a day) has increased significantly over the central India, where it jumped THREE fold.

– In 2017, while India has normal monsoon, Saurashtra and W Rajasthan received 40% excess rain while UP and Vidarbha received 30% less.

– Extreme monsoon events are concentrated along a band running from Saurashtra-South Rajasthan all the way to Assam.

– Window of rainy season is shrinking with delayed arrival at least since mid 1970s.

– Since 2017, experimentally IMD has started sharing state level forecasts. https://www.livemint.com/Politics/BSCdweJIpSrWFta7NMZ76L/IMDs-normal-monsoon-forecasts-hide-more-than-they-reveal.html

Regional Rainfall forecast from private agency Skymet has now come up with quantitative distribution of Monsoon rainfall across the four regions for the country, with error margin of +/- 8%.

– East and Northeast India: The region contributes maximum amount of share in the countrywide rainfall during Monsoon. It records 1438 mm of rain during the four-month long season that accounts for 38%. This year risk remains high for East and Northeast India, particularly for Northeast India. It is most likely to see slightly below normal rains of up to 95% of LPA. 5% chance of excess; 10% chance of above normal; 50% chance of normal; 30% chance of below normal; 5% chance of deficient.

– SOUTH India: Peninsular India is at risk this season with expected rains at 97% of LPA. Rayalaseema, South Interior Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu may see some poor rainfall. The region records 716 mm of rains that accounts for 19% of the total Monsoon rains. 5% chance of excess; 5% chance of above normal; 65% chance of normal; 20% chance of below normal; 5% chance of deficient

– Northwest India: As the active Monsoon duration is the least over the region, thus its contribution in rainfall is also the least of all. Northwestern states record 615 mm of rains that makes it 17% of the total rainfall recorded across the country during the Monsoon. The region is expected to record rainfall to the tune of 99% of LPA. Significant contribution would come from hilly states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. 5% chance of excess; 20% chance of above normal; 60% chance of normal; 10% chance of below normal; 5% chance of deficient

– Central India: Records 976 mm of rain from June to September, contributing second highest share of 26%. It would be the only region to record excess rainfall at 108% of LPA, this season. Particularly parts of North Maharashtra, Konkan, Chhattisgarh and parts of Madhya Pradesh would be main beneficiary. 15% chance of excess; 15% chance of above normal; 55% chance of normal; 10% chance of below normal; 5% chance of deficient rainfall. https://www.skymetweather.com/content/weather-news-and-analysis/skymet-weather-forecasts-region-wise-monsoon-probabilities-for-india-in-2018/

WATER SECTOR

90% reduction in water discharge in Uttarakhand Water Sources A report prepared in January 2018 (http://ujs.uk.gov.in/pages/display/62-list-of-schemes-500)  by the Uttarakhand Jal Sansthan (UJS) says: 93 of its 500 water projects, which supply filtered water that takes care of both irrigation and drinking needs, have witnessed more than 90 percent decrease in water discharge in the past three years. The report notes that: 268 projects have seen water discharge reduce by 75-90 percent and another 139 projects have seen it dip by 50-75 percent. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/uttarakhand-braces-itself-dry-days

IMD: 153 villages severely dry Several parts of the country could be staring at a water crisis in the peak summer months ahead, with the latest meteorological department data showing mild to extremely dry conditions in 404 districts due to poor rainfall since October 2017.

– Of these, around 140 districts were termed severely to extremely dry in the October 2017-March 2018 period. Another 109 districts were moderately dry while 156 had mild dry conditions.

– IMD data reveals a 63% rain deficit across India during January and February. The shortfall from March to April 11 stands at 31%.

– NW India: The region received 10% less rainfall during the last monsoon season. The later months were worse, with shortfalls of over 54% in October-December and 67% in January-February. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/ahead-of-peak-summer-153-districts-severely-dry-met/articleshow/63776592.cms

Does Meghalaya need a USD 48 Million loan from the World Bank for this? This needs to be done in any case. The project to cover 400 villages over five years is to focus on Landscape approach to Natural resource management, including water and forest management. This news report says “there are o institutions or legal frameworks for water management in the state. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/world-bank-fillip-for-natural-resources-of-meghalaya/article23564647.ece

900 year long Drought destroyed Indus Valley Civilisation According to research by IIT Khadagpur scientists based on evidence from Tso Moriri Lake in Leh Ladakh, which was fed by the same glacial source as the Indus, a drought like weakening of the monsoon for 900 years from 2350 BC to 1450 BC led to migration of people to the East (Ganga-Yamuna) and South South Gujarat and further south), leading to wiping out of the Indus civilisation. They studied 5000 years of monsoon rainfall. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/900-year-drought-wiped-out-indus-civilisation-iit-kharagpur/articleshow/63776710.cms

URBAN WATER

Remunicipalisation movement in Europe There have been 235 recorded cases of water remunicipalisation in 37 countries from 2000 to 2015, affecting over 100 million people. “Ninety-four cases of these come from France. And I think that this is quite important as a trend, especially since France is the country that has invented water privatisation as we know it today. The country that knows water privatisation best,” explains Emanuele Lobina, Principal Lecturer in Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU) at the University of Greenwich.

– “For 25 years, Paris’ water supply service had been under private management. Having this 25-year-long experience with the private sector we realised that we had lost the technical control over the service. That there was no financial transparency. So we wished to regain control of this service,” says Anne Le Strat, deputy mayor of Paris from 2008 to 2014. “A natural resource as essential as water must be managed by a prudent public authority and not by a profit-driven company.”

– In 2010, the city of Paris decided not to renew its contract with French companies Suez and Veolia, two of the world’s largest private water corporations. This was mainly due to the high level of fraud and scandals. Water lobbies funded election campaigns and maintenance work was minimal. The case was similar in the German city of Berlin.

– Publicly, the European commission does not take a stance on water management, but large-scale privatisation features heavily in the loan agreements that the Troika (EC, European Central Bank and IMF) imposes on every Greek government.

– There is agitation against this. https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2018/04/drop-secret-water-war-europe-180402084125467.html

Treating sewage on floating wetlands in lake Neknampur lake, just outside Hyderabad serves as a fitting example of how low cost but effective natural techniques can be used to clean city lakes that are choking with pollutants. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/treating-sewage-plants

Gujarat to introduce Water Reuse policy The Gujarat government is planning to introduce a waste water reuse policy in the state. According to waste water figures of eight municipal corporations, cited by the officers, around 3618 million litre per day (MLD) water is utilised in these corporations. Out of this, 2587 MLD waste water is collected and of the waste water 2138 MLD water is treated in Sewerage Treatment Plants (STPs). Out of those 2138 MLD treated water, currently Gujarat reusing only 43 MLD water.

– Currently, the officer said, out of the 160-odd municipalities in Gujarat, 1500 MLD water is being utilised and only 860 MLD is being collected and 190 MLD is getting treated. Nothing from this water is put into reuse. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/to-tap-waste-water-gujarat-to-introduce-resuse-policy-5140675/

500 M Litres water in Lakhapur Dam “stolen” 500 Million Litres water reserved for Betul city in Madhya Pradesh in Lakhapur Dam is “stolen” for irrigation. https://www.bhaskar.com/mp/bhopal/news/reserve-50-crore-liters-of-water-theft-5848555.html

ENVIRONMENT

Shocking, unscientific pro-polluter report from CSE Typical of CSE, this article, in stead of seeing critically how the govt is trying to weaken the NGT and in stead of critically looking at the decisions of higher judiciary, this article, by criticising NGT, seems to side with the govt, violators and polluters. http://www.downtoearth.org.in/coverage/tribunal-on-a-tightrope-60224

SOUTH ASIA

NEPAL

Call for National Landslide Management Authority Various Nepali and Japanese experts are calling for the setting up of a national agency to take responsibility for the management of landslides: “Following the adverse impacts of landslide on diverse areas like infrastructure, arable land, human settlements and lives, disaster experts from Nepal and Japan have jointly proposed a Landslide Disaster Management Centre. Disaster experts have drawn the attention of state bodies in a recent five-point declaration on how the government should be prioritising its efforts for saving property and lives to landslides.” https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2018/04/17/landslides-in-nepal-1/

Interesting facts about Indo-Nepal Tanakpur issue, though the article has some errors:

– In 1983, India unilaterally started the construction of a 120-megawatt dam, called Tanakpur power project, in its own territory, which was completed in 1989. To increase the size of the pondage to ensure uninterrupted operation of the hydropower plant, India wanted the bund to be extended to the contiguous high ground in Nepal. In exchange of 2.9 ha of land from Nepal, India agreed to provide to Nepal 150 cusecs of water and 10 MW of electricity from the Tanakpur project at no cost. In December 1991, the decision was formalised in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two countries, which is commonly referred to as the Tanakpur Agreement.

– This Tanakpur Agreement became extremely controversial in Nepal, as it was framed in nationalist terms, by raising concern for Nepal’s territorial sovereignty. The opposition accused the government of ignoring Nepal’s interests to appease India. When India’s then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao visited Nepal in 1992, the Indian side made some concessions. The Pancheshwar project on the river and other possible interventions were separated from the understanding reached on Tanakpur, allowing both countries the possibility to negotiate for any other development in the Mahakali basin. India agreed to provide an additional 10 MW of electricity to Nepal, making a total of 20 MW. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/2018/04/18/going-beyond-the-mega-project-mindset-is-a-must-for-india-nepal-relations/

Bangladesh

Infrastructure projects threaten Hilsa in Bangladesh http://www.uniindia.com/~/power-projects-threaten-hilsa-migration-routes-in-bangladesh/World/news/1207230.html

Pakistan

Pakistan writes to World Bank on Kishenganga HEP Pakistan wrote the letter to World Bank on April 3, 2018, saying that the pause taken by the Bank has provided the time to Indian side to erect the Kishenganga project.

– Pak wanted Court of Arbitration and India Neutral Expert. This had compelled World Bank to announce ‘pause’ on December 12, 2016 till the agreement on procedure or mechanism between the parties to the dispute — Pakistan and India.

– Pakistan argued saying that since the World Bank’s president has been selected to name three umpires for COA, so it should further initiate the process to complete the task and initiate the arbitration’s proceedings. Pakistan and India each will nominate their two judges and this is how the court of arbitration will be comprising 7 judges.

– Pakistan believed that Kishanganga’s poundage should be a maximum of one million cubic meters instead of 7.5 million cubic meters, intake should be up to four meters and spillways should be raised to nine meters.

– About the Rattle project, Pakistan had four objections. Freeboard should be one meter instead of two meters, poundage should be a maximum of eight million cubic meters instead of 24 million, intake level should be at 8.8 meters and spillways at the height of 20 meters. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/305322-pakistan-says-wb-helped-india-complete-kishenganga-project

USA

How US Rivers are turning saltier In a study published earlier this year, we found that a cocktail of chemicals from many human activities is making U.S. rivers saltier and more alkaline across the nation. Surprisingly, road salt in winter is not the only source: construction, agriculture, and many other activities also play roles across regions.

– Salt pollution is not currently regulated at the federal level, and state and local controls are inconsistent.

– In 2013, we published another study showing that rivers were becoming more alkaline across regions of the eastern United States. As water becomes more alkaline, certain chemicals dissolved in it can become toxic. For example, ammonium is a nutrient in freshwater ecosystems, but is converted to toxic ammonia gas in significant concentrations in waters with a high pH. Alkaline conditions also enhance release of phosphorus from sediments, which can trigger nuisance blooms of algae and bacteria.

– After much analysis, we proposed that similar (to processes in ocean) interconnected processes could influence salinity and pH in fresh water.

– We believe there is a serious need for federal regulations and regional plans to reduce salt pollution in fresh water. https://theconversation.com/us-rivers-are-becoming-saltier-and-its-not-just-from-treating-roads-in-winter-92648

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 9 April 2018 & DRP News Bulletin 16 April 2018

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

3 thoughts on “DRP News Bulletin 23 April 2018: India Urgently Needs Urban Water Policy

  1. It is quite surprising, this group raises every time the Polavaram dam with misleading information. When Jairam Ramesh was the MoEF Minister he hobnobbed with a particular NGO who filed a case against the Polavaram as this effects the illegal activities running in to thousands of crores. They got the stay order but high court stayed this order and later almost all clearances were given. Just before going the national status file to cabinet meet [after planning commissions clearance] hell broke. (1) Jairam Ramesh asked the state government to conduct public hearing in Orissa and Chattisgarh. Here there are two important points to be kept in mind while answering this. Bachawat Tribunal agreed for Karakattas [the MP and Orissa CMs agreed] and for that state government allocated Rs. 600 crores. That mean there is no need to have a public hearing as the karakattas will make “no submergence” and also the project was cleared under 1996 EIA and the Jairam Ramesh asked the state government to conduct public hearing as per 2006 EIA while EC was granted in 2005. (2) CWC said it is not 38.2 lakh cusecs but it is 50 lakh cusecs — it is not the capacity but it is a maximum flood level achieve in one in 1000 years. The capacity of the Polavaram is the same with 150 ft. 50 lakh cusecs needs more gates to allow flood water in excess of the capacity and accordingly CWC asked the government. The government submitted its revised plan. After this Supreme Court sent a team to visit the dam site and report it back to the court whether the government violated Bachawat Tribunal award. The team after their visit reported to the Supreme Court, there are no violations. The height of the dam is maintained at 150 ft only as per the tribunal order. Yet supreme court is creating problems. Anybody can check the flood versus gates with the same dam height on submergence. The 50 lakh cusecs may be the result of new method of yearly water availability estimates generated by CWC, which presents around 20% in excess??? In real terms it is only 38.2 lakh cusecs is flood level in one in 1000 years. Unfortunately irrigation officials unable to present the case like in the case of Brijesh Kumar Tribunal in Krishna. The governments are wasting money towards legal expenses and creating water wars.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

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    1. Nor correct. The Impact Assessment and public hearings in Chhattisgarh and Odisha is still pending. The increased spillway could mean additional backwater impacts, which need assessment and put it in public domain. MoEF has issues stop work notice, but quite wrongly suspended the same. Land based R&R Plan is still not available and FRA stands violated. Petitions remain pending in SC. Hope SC sees through all this.

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      1. As regards public hearing in the Orissa & Chattishghad, the then Chief Minister of AP wrote letters to the two states asking them to conduct public hearing in their respective states. He also stated that the expenses will be born by AP. There was no response. In such cases, the regional office of MoEF in Bangalore has to undertake public hearing after 45 days giving notice — in fact I wrote to MoEF on this but as usual they dumped in the dust bin. Jairam Ramesh before giving closer order, he should have looked in to the law and acted. So, this is not fault of AP.

        With the Karakattas where will be the additional back water. The 50 lakh cusecs is a manipulated data — this you can verify with the CWC data [the same game CWC playing with interlinking of Godavari water which Telangana government did not agree with CWC data; even in Krishna CWC showed 20% higher. The 38.2 lakh cusecs is the real data. Increased gates will infact reduce the burden of submergence if any.

        When the Supreme Court visited the site and expressed no violation. Where is the case?

        I don’t know what you are talking on R & R plan. Dr. YSR presented this to government; and PM and Planning commission appreciated the plan [media published this] and said we follow this for the country. Unfortunately with the accidental accident that caused the death of Dr. YSR all problems started and Karnataka and Maharashtra politicians played all games under the disguise of the separating the state. Dr. YSR implemented the 1st phase of R&R wherein the NGOs and opposition leaders tried to stop the people moving to new rehabilitation centre but they refused and moved to the centres. On this I wrote articles at that time in daily news papers criticising NGOs and Opposition party leaders. Also, project got aibp — 90% funds in 2009; MoEF on July 28, 2010 final forest clearance with a condition AP would construct “embarcments/karakattas to avoid submergence & displacement. That means even with 50 lakh cusecs everything is in order.

        Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

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