DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin May 7, 2018: WESTERN GHATS FORESTS ARE VITAL FOR SOUTH WEST MONSOON RAINS IN TAMIL NADU

W Ghats Forests vital for Tamil Nadu SW Monsoon Rains Researchers have found that the dense vegetation in the Western Ghats determines the amount of rainfall that Tamil Nadu gets during the summer monsoon. A team led by Prof. Subimal Ghosh from the Department of Civil Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay has found that dense forests of the Western Ghats contribute as much as 40% of moisture to the southwest monsoon rainfall over Tamil Nadu during normal monsoon years. The average contribution is 25-30%. But during monsoon deficit years, the contribution increases to as high as 50%.

– The study found the forests of Western Ghats contribute 3 mm per day of rainfall during August and September over a “majority of locations” in Tamil Nadu and 1 mm per day during June and July. The study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters also found that deforestation of the Ghats led to 0.25 degree C increase in surface temperature across the State. The work was done in collaboration with Prof. Raghu Murtugudde of University of Maryland and Dr K. Rajedran from CSIR-Fourth Paradigm Institute (CSIR-4PI), Bangalore. The researchers found a significant drop in rainfall in the range of 1-2.5 mm per day when the vegetation cover was removed from the Western Ghats. This translates to an average of 25% of the total monsoon rainfall over Tamil Nadu.

– The team selected three years (1993, 1999, and 2002) when Tamil Nadu experienced extreme deficit in summer monsoon rainfall. They found that deforestation over Western Ghats reduced rainfall over the State by 40-50% during all the three years. “The effect of deforestation is more during the deficit years than monsoon surplus years,” says Supantha Paul from IIT Bombay and first author of the paper. “During the three extremely monsoon deficit years studied, we found Tamil Nadu gained the most from vegetation in Western Ghats. If there is no vegetation in the Ghats then Tamil Nadu will be severely impacted especially during the monsoon-deficit years.” http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/western-ghats-forest-cover-vital-for-tamil-nadus-sw-monsoon-rainfall/article23761534.ece

DAMS

To protest dam, 30 000 seek Euthanasia 30,000 people of Padmapur sub-division in Bargarh district have written to President Ramnath Kovind, seeking permission for euthanasia as mark of opposition against a proposed mega irrigation project over Ong river. The villagers stated they would prefer to ‘die’ instead of being displaced by the irrigation project. They claimed as many as 6,288 families of 32 mouzas will be displaced by the project.

– While 11 mouzas will be completely submerged, 25 villages will be partially affected, villagers claimed. Besides, 3,913 ha private land, 212 ha forest land and 974.98 ha other categories land will be inundated, said Ramesh Barik, a member of Anganadi Pratirodh Committee which is spear heading the protest. http://odishatv.in/odisha/body-slider/locals-oppose-irrigation-project-in-bargarh-seek-euthanasia-293591

Pancheshwar: The dam-ning aspect of Indo-Nepal relations Interesting new aspect here: “In an open letter in Hindi to the secretary, Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Board, the organisers of the Jan Sunvai, published by Hridayesh Joshi, Basant Singh Khaini, a representative of Sarayu Hydroelectric Power Producers, village Bajela of Dhaula Devi block (district Almora), records deep misgivings of the locals of Dhaula Devi block which still remain valid. The letter notes that he and his group are are running a 1 MW power generation plant in Rasyuna village along the Sarayu river which is threatened with submersion by the formation of the proposed 116-kilometre lake under the proposed scheme. The small dam has provided 100 families a monthly income of ₹12,000 each and all shareholders are locals. This had also stemmed the tide of male migration from the villages.” https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/opinion/pancheshwar-project-the-dam-ning-aspect-of-indo-nepal-relations

Manipur groups demand decommissioning of Mapithel Dam http://e-pao.net/GP.asp?src=20..280418.apr18

HYDRO POWER

600 MW Kameng HEP of NEEPCO faces serious leakage from penstock GOVT OF INDIA MANAGES TO KEEP THIS UNDER WRAPS FOR ALMOST TWO MONTHS! The incident occurred on 12 March, 2018 when turbines of the 600 MW Kameng HEP in Arunachal Pradesh was being charged as a prelude to its commissioning. When water was released from Tenga dam on 10 March, it started leaking from multiple places of the penstock, posing serious threat to the power station and NEEPCO establishment at Kimi under West Kameng district. The leakage reportedly occurred due to faulty welding work. As per initial report, a two-inch gap has been found in the welding work inside the tunnel, which led to the leakage of water. The welding work was carried out by contractor Om Metal for NEEPCO. The inspection of damage is still underway and this may further delay the commissioning of Kameng HEP. This also raises a serious question mark over the quality of the dam being executed by NEEPCO. So far, the NEEPCO has reportedly suspended the general manager civil for the leakage in penstock. However, after detailed enquiry more heads are expected to roll. Further, the delay in commissioning will cause massive loss to the Government of India as well as the Government of Arunachal Pradesh. Also, it will lead to massive escalation of the cost of project. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was supposed to visit Arunachal in the month of April to inaugurate both Kameng and Pare HEPs. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2018/05/03/neepcos-kameng-project-fails-pre-commission-trial/

Hydropower is no longer Cheap SANDRP coordinator’s article in May 2018 issue of Civil Society http://www.civilsocietyonline.com/column/water-watch/hydropower-no-longer-cheap/

Equis to sell Hydro Business Singapore-based infrastructure developer and fund manager Equis Pte. Ltd is looking to sell its Indian hydropower platform Hydreq for Rs 2,000 crore. Equis has started a process to hire an investment bank for the sale. Hydreq owns a controlling stake in two hydropower plants in Sikkim with total generation capacity about 200 MW. https://www.vccircle.com/equis-may-sell-hydropower-platform-five-suitors-for-blackstone-controlled-intelenet/

Hydro lobby at work here, such advocacy for big push is not going to help. http://www.cenfa.org/finance/big-push-for-the-development-of-hydropower-in-india/ Similarly the Parl Com here talking about the new hydro policy, and considering all hydro as renewable has been in the works for decades now. The panel seems misguided. http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/par-panel-for-formulation-of-new-hydro-policy-118031301264_1.html

Toshiba to expand Hydro Turbine Production in India Toshiba Plant Systems & Services Corporation (TPSC) (India) Private Limited, a 100 percent Indian subsidiary in Japan, announced that it will expand its assembly plant of water turbines for small and medium-sized hydroelectric power project in India. Currently, the TPSC(I) plant in Delhi-NCR assembles water turbines for small and medium sized hydroelectric power facilities ranging between 1 MW to 15 MW capacity. The new assembly line will allow TPSC(I) to increase existing production capacity and also assemble water turbines that are larger in weight and size. The company expects to complete the expansion work by March 2019. TPSC(I) has already received orders for 11 projects comprising of 22 turbines in India and Nepal. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/tpsc-to-expand-water-turbines-assembly-line-in-india/63988476

IRRIGATION

THIS SEEMS LIKE FURTHER DESTRUCTION OF FARMERS, A NON STARTER: The water farmers use for irrigation may not be free any more and they may soon be asked to pay a ‘reasonable’ price even if that increases the cost of production. Chairman of the committee on doubling farmers’ income Ashok Dalwai said irrigation water should be supplied by installing meter and charged at a reasonable rate to economise its use. https://www.financialexpress.com/economy/conserving-natural-resources-irrigation-water-may-be-charged/1153760/

Why was Kaleswaram cleared in spite of violations? Union Minister Water Resources Nitin Gadkari said on May 5, 2018 that the Central government had a negative report on grounding Kaleswaram irrigation project initially but, nonetheless, conceded. The project was also mired in a controversy over whether it was an old one or new, yet the Centre gave all permissions so far. “The last permission is awaiting clearance by the Secretary of my department. As soon as it reaches me, I will sanction it,” he said.

– He added that the Water Resources Ministry had also commissioned a detailed project report for three rivers that flow into Pakistan. They will be diverted to irrigate lands in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/centre-had-negative-report-on-kaleswaram-gadkari/article23788166.ece

Maharashtra Irrigation Scam HC asks SIT members to submit personal affidavits The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court has brought all 13 members of the Special Investigation Team probing the multi-crore irrigation scam under the scanner by directing them to individually inform it through personal affidavits before June 13, 2018 whether they were provided all relevant documents pertaining to the scam. A division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Arun Upadhye sternly told the State Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and SIT members on May 4, 2018 to inform it about the progress in investigations till date. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/hc-asks-sit-members-to-submit-personal-affidavits-on-irri-scam-probe/articleshow/64055947.cms

Maharashtra Sugarcane growers to use drip by 2019 The Maharashtra government has issued the circular asking private- and cooperative-run sugar mills to mandatorily employ drip irrigation for sugarcane farms by June 2019.

– The circular says this move will help to save 30-50 per cent water in the state. The circular has been issued by the state cooperative and marketing federation department on April 27.

– The implementation of drip and sprinkler irrigation systems will be made mandatory at river areas of Tembhu, Bhima Ujani, Mula, Uradapus, Nimmana in western Maharashtra while Hatnur in North Maharashtra, and Konali and Amboli in Vidharbha and Konkan region by June 2019.

– In Maharashtra, 9.42 lakh hectares of fields are under sugarcane cultivation. Of these, so far 2.25 lakh hectare is already under drip irrigation while remaining 7.18 lakh hectare will also be covered by June 2019. The govt will provide subsidy, but not clear to what extent. Its also not clear how is the govt going to be able to stop the spread of sugarcane beyond the acreage today. http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-sugarcane-growers-asked-to-use-drip-irrigation-by-2019-2609998

Mah to get Rs 13650 Cr from Centre for mostly scam tainted projects The proposal includes 83 surface minor irrigation projects of which 66 are in Six Vidarbha districts and 17 in the eight Marathwada districts, and 8 major/medium irrigation projects with a potential across projects of 3,76,915 hectares worth around Rs 13,650 crore over five years.

– A meeting on the proposal was held in the Prime Minister’s Office on April 9. As a follow-up, Expenditure Finance Committee approved it on week of Apr 23, 2018, now Cabinet approval is required. The projects do not fit into the guidelines of AIBP/ PMSKY, so need approval as a special package.

– “The balance estimated cost of projects to be completed under this package is Rs 13,651.61 crore as on 01/04/2018, with Rs 3,412.90 crore being the Central Assistance (CA) by Government of India,” the proposal states. The meeting noted that “CA is also to be reimbursed for expenditure incurred during 2017-18 which would amount to Rs 418.51 crore out of expenditure of Rs1674.04 crore incurred by the Government of Maharashtra on these projects during 2017-18 .”

– “The irrigation potential created in 14 districts in Marathwada and Vidarbha is around 18%. Only 6.40% area is actually irrigated.”, proposal notes. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/farmers-distress-maharashtra-set-to-get-rs-13650-crore-package-and-can-thank-nitin-gadkari-5157887/, http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=179000

Five states account for 78% of micro irrigated area Overview of figures: Area added under micro irrigation in 2015-16 in India: 5.72 lakh Ha; 8.39 lakh ha in 2016-17 and 9.26432 lakh ha in 2017-18 based on partial info. In 2017-18, 78% of area added in 5 states: AP (1.86444 lakh ha), Karnataka (1.64967 lakh ha), Gujarat (1.43134 lakh ha), Maharashtra and TN. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/5-states-account-for-78-of-progress-in-micro-irrigation/story-Wy81Whx6ApW6FOHtlh4bzN.html

WATER OPTIONS

SRI and SWI helps in Uttar Pradesh Using System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and System of Wheat Intensification (SWI), yields of both crops have increased 50 to 100 per cent and additional income has come from high value vegetable cultivation in Bahraich and Shravasti districts, Uttar Pradesh. The fields are also lush green with vegetables. Wheat yields increased from two quintal a bigha to five quintal per bigha. http://www.asianage.com/metros/delhi/020518/bumper-vegetable-wheat-yields-push-back-farm-distress-in-up.html

SRI improves yield in W Africa by 56-86% The System for Rice Intensification (SRI) has significant potential to close the rice production gap in West Africa and put the region on the path to rice self-sufficiency, according to a new book published by researchers from Cornell University and the National Center of Specialization on Rice (NCoS-Rice), based in Mali, for the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF).

– The book, “50,000 Farmers in 13 Countries: Results from Scaling up the System of Rice Intensification in West Africa,” documents the results of the 2014-16 project, Improving and Scaling up SRI in West Africa, when SRI was introduced and evaluated in farmers’ fields in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

– The authors report that more than 50,000 farmers started using SRI and more than 750,000 people benefited indirectly from the project, of whom 31.6 percent were women. By adopting the SRI method of planting rice, farmers’ yields increased overall by 56 percent for irrigated rice and 86 percent for lowland rain-fed rice. http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2018/05/climate-smart-production-boosts-west-african-rice-self-sufficiency

Difference between traditional and SRI rice plant

Gujarat Water Conservation Drive in May 2018 Under the water-conservation drive — Jal Sanchay Abhiyan, launched on May 1 from Kosamdi village, Bharuch district, the government of Gujarat is expecting to collect 1.1 lakh ha area will be covered by deepening 13,000 lakes, checkdams and reservoirs. The government is also going to revive 32 dead rivers in Gujarat spread over 340 km-long stretches in 30 different districts. More than 5,400 km long canal network and 580 km long cut canals will be made free from the silt and other muck. More than 4,000 earth movers and more than 8,000 transportation vehicles will be used for civil works. Around 50 lakh man days employment would be generated under this drive and labourers will be paid remuneration under MNREGA scheme. http://www.dnaindia.com/ahmedabad/report-water-conservation-drive-to-cover-11k-lakh-cu-mt-area-across-gujarat-2610031

AGRICULTURE

Sugar will need a lot of (Water) export incentives this year This shows how sugar industry, sugar export (WATER EXPORT) will need a lot of incentives this year of over production. http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/sugarcane-farmers-arrears-sugar-cess-sugar-mills-modi-government-5165984/

INTER STATE WATER DISPUTES

CAUVERY

Centre succeeds before SC to postpone the scheme discussion post Karnataka elections Centre succeeded in postponing the declaration before Supreme Court of draft Cauvery scheme till after the Karnataka elections. On May 3, 2018, SC asked Karnataka to release at least 2 TMC by next hearing, that is May 8. Karnataka said this is not possible.

– Karnataka claimed it had ensured “more water” to Tamil Nadu then what the state was entitled to receive. “The State of Karnataka would file its affidavit submitting that the share of TN in this distress water year (up to end of April 2018) was 98.06 tmcft. However, Karnataka has ensured 116.74 tmcft,” said a statement from the Karnataka government’s legal team. “Besides, Karnataka would also submit that the live storage in Mettur in TN is 9.56 tmcft which is sufficient to meet drinking water needs in TN. Karnataka would also submit that the live storage in its four reservoirs is 9.93 tmcft which is entirely required for meeting the drinking water needs of rural and urban areas including Bengaluru.” http://indianexpress.com/article/india/cauvery-row-sc-raps-centre-for-delay-govt-cites-karnataka-polls-5162713/

KRISHNA

Telangana objections to KRMB jurisdiction notification A draft notification indicating the jurisdiction of Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) has been prepared by the Board and sent for publication by the Union Water Resources Ministry on May 4, 2018. However, the Telangana state government has serious reservations over the draft notification. “We have already announced our stand in the past that the projects should be brought under the jurisdiction of the Board only after the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal makes final allocation of water. First, the KRMB or the Centre should respond to our demands like allocating 45 tmc extra water in Krishna, as AP diverted Godavari water to Krishna through Pattiseema. We have several other issues with regard to Krishna water sharing.” http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2018/may/05/telangana-raises-objection-over-krishna-river-management-board-jurisdiction-1810459.html

YAMUNA

Haryana to review Delhi Water supply after May 15 Haryana government on May 1, 2018 told the Supreme Court that it was facing a “huge distress” for water as it has been receiving only half the supply from the Hathni Kund barrage located in the Yamunanagar district. SC will again hear the matter on May 11 as Haryana said it needs time to review the situation. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/facing-huge-distress-over-water-supply-haryana-tells-sc/articleshow/63993869.cms

RIVERS

Cauvery: Why is no one concerned about the catchment? In stark contrast to developments related to Cauvery in the downstream attracting huge political interest, serious ecological problems threatening water yield at the river’s very origin in Kodagu district is seeing complete political apathy even at the time of the Assembly polls. None of the leaders from all the three major political parties has made even a passing reference to the issue during his campaign in this coffee-growing district.

– The hilly district of Kodagu with an area of 4,108 square kilometres happens to be the biggest catchment area of Cauvery. Rapid commercialisation, uncontrolled tourism, development projects, changes in agricultural practices and climate change have been affecting water availability at the source.

– Open wells in the hilly district went dry during the previous monsoon season, perhaps for the first time in this water-rich district, setting off alarm bells. The University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences-Shivamogga, which has a regional college of forestry in Ponnampet in Kodagu, has come out with a study along with the Coffee Board (study was funded by the European Union) has found among other things that there is excessive usage of water at the areas around the origin of the river. The study found there has been a decrease in the number of rainy days in Kodagu by 14 days in these 35 years. A big cause of concern is increase in temperatures that has resulted in more evaporation and drying up of soil.

– The study says that loss of traditional paddy fields is one of the main reasons affecting the availability of water in the district. The growing of paddy as a rainfed crop gave a sponge effect as the soil would absorb water and increase the groundwater level. It also contributed to the flow of river as impounding of water in the paddy fields adds life to several rivulets that join the Cauvery. Traditionally paddy was being grown on about 35,000 ha. But there has been a decrease in the paddy-growing area by about 40% as farmers feel that it is not as profitable as commercial crops. The proposal to pay ecosystem services incentives to paddy farmers has not been accepted. http://www.thehindu.com/elections/karnataka-2018/karnataka-assembly-elections-2018-the-birth-pangs-of-cauvery/article23763232.ece

Mysterious loss of Godavari Waters A huge loss of water flow has been observed on a 52-km stretch between Koida and Polavaram in Godavari river in a study conducted by Kaila Sreenadhudu, a Central Water Commission official. The loss is reported to be very high during the flood season, especially when the river is in spate. The overall yearly losses are in the order of 146 tmc (4.55 % of river flow). The study is based on the discharge observations made by the CWC at its flow guage and discharge sites at Koida and Polavaram (from 1977 to 2006). Though the discharge observation at Koida was discontinued in 2006, the gauge observations still continue. The water loss which remained a mystery was being attributed by some of the studies to the “big deep bed profile” existing in the river bed between Koida and Polavaram.

– The yearly average run-off measured at Polavaram is (86,981 MCM) 3,072 TMC and it is (5,143 MCM) 182 tmc less than the run-off availability computed from Koida run-off. Similar losses are found some 200 km upstream of Polavaram at Gundlavagu project in Venkatapuram mandal of erstwhile Khammam district.

– It calls for a detailed geological investigation to identify the nature of the fault in the river bed profile. Once the Polavaram project is completed, there will be a massive impounding of water in the zone. The CWC official said the fault area should be treated properly to plug the faults before going in for impounding. https://telanganatoday.com/godavari-in-telangana-suffers-huge-loss-of-water

Narmada River Crisis affects industries The Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) has informed the industries that the water supply to them would curtailed by at least 40%. Sources said due to high tide on full moon on Sunday, seawater gushed into the river up to the GIDC pumping stations located at Nandh and Angareshwar.

– GIDC’s proposed desalination plant with 50 million litre per day will still take around six to eight months to get operational.

– President Dahej Industries Association M A Hania said, “Due to the high tide, pumping stations of GIDC at Nandh and Angareshwar are non-operational. Also, because of high level of salinity, the underground water gets contaminated… More discharge of the dam is the only immediately solution.”

– A senior government official said, “Bhadbhut barrage project will take three to four years to partially begin, but till then GIDC should lay another pipeline up to Garudeshwar in Narmada to have continuous flow of usable water.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/gidc-curtails-water-supply-to-dahej-vilayat-industries-by-40/articleshow/63978319.cms

LAKES, WATER BODIES

सूख गई बदरीनाथ की शेषनेत्र झील (Dainik Jagran, 04 May 2018) विकास के नाम पर प्रकृति से किए जा रहे खिलवाड़ का दुष्परिणाम एक-एक कर सामने आ रहा है। उत्तराखंड में बदरीशपुरी स्थित धार्मिक महत्व की शेषनेत्र झील खात्मे की ओर है। झील लगभग सूख गई है। इसमें नाममात्र को ही पानी बचा है। झील के चारों ओर भवन निर्माण के चलते उसका अस्तित्व में आ गया है। यह तमाम निर्माण कार्य किसी और ने नहीं बल्कि सरकार ने ही कराए हैं। इसके अलावा झील की सफाई को लेकर भी कोई चिंतित नहीं है, जिससे अब इसमें पानी की जगह मलबा ही शेष है।

लोक निर्माण विभाग निरीक्षण भवन तिराहे के पास 50 मीटर से अधिक क्षेत्र में फैली इस झील की गहराई कभी दस मीटर से अधिक हुआ करती थी। मई-जून के महीने भी इसका पानी सड़क से बहकर नीचे की ओर जाता था। लेकिन, बीते तीन साल में झील में मलबा भरने और आसपास सरकारी निर्माण होने से इसका दायरा सिमटता चला गया। इस वर्ष तो झील में नाममात्र को ही पानी रह गया है और यही हाल रहा तो इस झील के बस किस्से ही शेष रह जाएंगे।”

URBAN RIVERS

Petition against Yamuna floodplain Landfill The Aam Aadmi Party on May 1, 2018 filed a plea with the National Green Tribunal against the two proposed landfills at Ghonda Gujran and Sonia Vihar. Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan has already opposed the proposal and written to LG, CPCB, DDA and Delhi Govt against it since the land is in the active floodplain of Yamuna and setting up landfills there would not only endanger the groundwater, but also the river. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/aap-in-ngt-against-two-proposed-landfills/articleshow/63992363.cms

Excellent Article by Shripad Dharmadhikary on Pune Dialogue on Maharashtra’s Urban Rivers held on 20-21, 2018 http://indiatogether.org/concrete-riverfronts-or-ecological-rejuvenation-environment

Urban areas  pollute Indrayani River Alandi sewage fueling water hyacinth growth in Indrayani river a tributary of Bhima river Pune and thus affecting potable water supply. Alandi Municipal Corporation has issued advisory to citizens to boil supplied water before consumption. Its seems an annual affair for past many years and responsible municipal corporations are unable to treat the pollution.

“AMC officials said they do not have adequate funds and manpower to clean the hyacinth, which chokes the river till June and July when the rain washes it away.

Sources from the AMC said sewage water from Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) limits is being released in the river. “We have taken up this issue with Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and PCMC several times. The PCMC should treat sewage before releasing it into the river,” an AMC official said.

“The AMC has set up its water treatment plan but it does not function to its capacity because of consistent maintenance issues. Secondly, the civic body does not have adequate manpower to operate it fully. These issues need to be resolved at the earliest,” he added.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/polluted-indrayani-rings-water-alarm-in-alandi/articleshow/64046261.cms

INLAND FISHERIES

Climate Change is impacting fish reproduction in Sunderbans A team of researchers that is mapping biological sensitivity of certain fish species to climate change said increasing salinity and temperature in the Sundarbans estuary is messing up their reproductive behaviour and may also likely alter their abundance, factors that could wipe them out one day, they warn.

– Spanning 10,000 square km along the coast of India and Bangladesh, the Sundarbans represent the largest expanse of contiguous mangrove forests in the world. This globally significant ecosystem is situated in the Bay of Bengal, within the delta of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers.

– The Indian Sundarbans archipelago acts as the “nursery” for nearly 90 percent of the aquatic species of eastern coast of India. It is the top producer of fish and prawn, with both districts (South and North- 24 Parganas) combined producing roughly 31 percent of the total inland fish/prawn production of West Bengal, a state iconic for its fish-eating habits. Sundarbans also satiates 15 to 20 percent of the state capital Kolkata’s fish requirement.

– The five species on the team’s radar are Tangra (Mystus sp.), Pabda or butterfish (Ompok sp.), Ranga (Parambassis sp.), Dari (Esomus sp.), Kholse (Colisa sp.). Pabda (Ompok pabda), Kholse (Colisa fasciata), Akash tangra (Mystus gulio) are some of the species documented to be among those whose population has drastically declined in the last thirty years.

– “So species like kholse and rasbora are much more adaptable and their survival chances are more as it can tolerate a wider variation. Whereas pabda is comfortable within a very specific range of climatic parameters and any small change can lead to their decimation,” he warned.

– “For example, after Aila, the catch per unit (CPU) and abundance of some species of Notopterus and Mystus has already gone down considerably from the previous availability and our data suggest that if the scenario continues for the next ten years, the probability of extinction would be very high in some of the places of Sundarbans,” he said. https://india.mongabay.com/2018/04/12/climate-change-impacting-fish-reproduction-in-the-sundarbans-study/

France loan for Assam fish yield: questions impact of dredging The Assam fishery department has approached Agence Française de Développement (AFD), a public development bank of France, for Rs 1,767-crore loan to develop indigenous breeds of fish in 700 beels (wetlands) across the state. Sources in the fishery department said the bank has, in principle, approved the fishery department’s Wetland Conservation and Protection Project and a team will visit the state in July for “identification-cum-appraisal”. The source said the bank will give Rs 500 crore as the first instalment to rejuvenate 500 derelict wetlands with potential of fish farming. Another 200 wetlands in forest land will be covered under the project. The average fish production in Assam is 300kg per hectare per annum, the production could be enhanced to 1,500kg per hectare per annum.

– The AFD has told the department that it has come to know about the proposed plan of dredging the Brahmaputra and constructing an expressway along it. “It is understood that the proposed wetlands/fisheries are located in the floodplains of the river. What will be the impact of these activities on the wetlands and fisheries?” it asked. https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/north-east/france-loan-to-up-fish-yield-226916

Kabul river’s famous Sher Mahi fish in peril Due to the impacts of climate change, pollution, and overfishing, the Sher Mahi is dwindling away. The construction of the Warsak dam in 1960, also added problems. The dam blocked the migratory route of the fish. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/2018/05/01/kabul-rivers-famous-sher-mahi-fish-in-peril/

Sher-Mahi Fish. Source- thethirdpole.net

WATERWAYS

Godavari Waterways DPR yet to me made Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on May 5, 2018 said “Our department has done feasibility study for Godavari waterways and I will soon give orders for preparing detailed project report (DPR)”. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/will-start-work-on-godavari-inland-waterways-this-year-says-nitin-gadkari-1847775

SAND MINING

Rajasthan Govt to SC: We failed to prevent illegal sand mining Before Supreme Court Rajasthan State Govt accepts its failed to stop illegal sand mining. Ban on mining continues “The NGO Dastak argued that rampant illegal mining is going on and sand is being dug out from about 20 to 30 metre down. It also alleged connivance of the government machinery in this thriving sand mining mafia. It said, the rampant mining has done irreparable damage to the environment and river course have been change because of this illegal mining. It demanded the appointment of a court commissioner to ascertain the truth.

However, the court gave no relief to government or acceded to the demand of the petitioner and posted the matter for further hearing in July. In November 2017, the apex court had refrained all 82-mining lease/quarry holders from mining sand and ‘bajri’ and asked them to submit a scientific replenishment study.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/failed-to-prevent-illegal-sand-mining-govt-to-sc/articleshow/64035532.cms

HC for SIT probe by Retd HC judges into illegal sand mining in Punjab Punjab and Haryana HC is inclined to initiate special investigation Team constituted of Retired High Court Judges on illegal sand mining in Punjab. The HC has asked the parties on May 1, 2018 to suggest such names by May 7, next date of hearing. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/illegal-mining-hc-for-sit-probe-under-retd-judges/582679.html

WATER SECTOR

NWIC: Source of Water Resources Data in India National Water Informatics Centre (NWIC) has recently been created by Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation at New Delhi vide notification dated 28th March 2018. NWIC would be a repository of nation-wide water resources data and would work as a Subordinate Office under the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. The centre would be headed by a Joint Secretary level officer. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=179110

Now Mahi Water feeds Narmada Canal “Now, 350 cusecs water from Mahisagar river is being used for the first time to feed the Narmada-based drinking water system. This water transfer is taking place by drawing water from Mahi Right Bank Canal (getting water from Kadana-Wanakbori Dams) using nine submersible pumps to lift it by about 22 meters and releasing it into the Narmada Main canal at Padal (Kheda district) where both these canal systems intersect each other,” MB Joshi, General Manager (Technical), Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, said. The new infrastructure costs over Rs 26 crore and was commissioned on April 13, 2018, work on it started in March and is still ongoing. Totally 16 pumps are to be installed with capacity to pump 600 cusecs water. It is planned that this water transfer will continue till June 30. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/now-mahi-river-feeds-narmada-main-canal-to-meet-drinking-water-needs-5165183/

Kalpsar cannot be implemented: Non starter Gujarat’s former Narmada Minister supports exactly what SANDRP has been saying for years: “There are many ifs and buts in this (Kalpasar) project from run off estimation to environment and engineering. It is a non-starter and shall never be possible to implement it in the present form.” https://www.counterview.net/2018/05/kalpasar-cant-be-implemented-is-non.html

Gujarat Government Map showing Kalpasar and Bhadbhut project locations

POWER OPTIONS

In a first, renewables surpass conventional sources in capacity addition in 2017-18 The renewable (Solar, wind, biomass) sector added 11,788 MW to the grid, against 9,505 MW by traditional sources in 2017-18. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/in-a-first-renewables-surpass-conventional-energy-sources-in-capacity-addition-in-fy18/article23740900.ece

URBAN WATER

Agra faces water crisis as Yamuna level dips Jal Sansthan Agra is demanding release of more water fro Gokul barrage. Gokul Barrage management says not getting enough water from Okhala Barrage Delhi.

“Yamuna river touched the minimum level of 480 feet in Agra on May 4. Officials said that in order to maintain uninterrupted water supply in the city, the Gokul barrage needs to release at least 2,000 cusecs but only 1,000 cusecs is being discharged since the past two weeks. Water treatment plants in the city have also not been able to function properly due to the poor quality of raw water from Yamuna.

Against the demand for 300 million litres per day (MLD), the Jal Sansthan is supplying around 250 MLD through the two water works stations at Jeevan Mandi and Sikandra. Yamuna water has not exceeded the 482 feet mark since the past one month, said Jal Sansthan officials. Several parts of the city continue to receive much less or no water supply.

The district’s groundwater level has depleted by nearly 7,00,000 litres everyday due to continuous extraction, said VK Upadhaya senior geophysicist at the groundwater department. With further depletion, hand-pumps are likely to stop working, said Upadhaya. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/agra-reels-under-water-crisis-yamuna-touches-minimum-level/articleshow/64005828.cms

Ganga Jal Project for Agra Demand for Ganga water in Agra on Yamuna bank rising. “A formal inauguration of the ambitious Rs 3,000 crore Ganga Jal project, to ease water supply situation in the Taj city, has again been postponed – to August. The 130-km-long pipeline from Bulandshahar’s Palra Jhaal canal of the Ganges was to have been commissioned in Nov 2017. But it was postponed after the refusal of the UP Forest Department to chop some trees. http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/inauguration-of-ganga-jal-project-postponed-again-in-agra-118042900367_1.html

Two Deaths at Delhi STP In mishap at Sewage Treatment Plant at Vivanata by Taj-Ambassador hotel in Delhi, two persons have died out of five that fell unconscious at the STP. Director of Eco-pollutech Engineers, the company that was given the task of maintaining the STP, is absconding. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/sewage-plant-mishap-vivanta-by-taj-two-dead-probe-looks-at-firm-given-contract-5159192/

Depths of despair: 31 STP worker deaths in Delhi in eight years Sewage workers Deaths in DELHI: 31 Dead in 14 incidents spread over eight years, but no convictions. This list has no incidents in 2014-16, so does not look exhaustive. 11 of the incidents involved multiple deaths. Lack of safety equipment is the common theme. Max number of incidents in this list is in 2016: 6. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/sewage-worker-death-rainwater-harvesting-pits-treatment-plant-5166062/

Ganga: Business as usual mega STPs wont achieve either Nirmal or Aviral Its clear from PIB PR of April 24, 2018 that the MoWR says PM and the Union GOvt has the dream of “making Ganga ‘Aviral and Nirmal.’” But it is still setting up the same massive size STPs and doing all things business as usual. The Minister also released the Feb-March 2018 issue of Namami Ganga Magazine, See: http://nmcg.nic.in/writereaddata/fileupload/16_February%20Issue_PDF.pdf http://pib.nic.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1530038

WATER POLLUTION

Micro-plastic threat to water bodies Some information why microplastic in water ways is a serious issue requiring urgent attention. Microplastics (smaller than 0.2 mm) is polluting rivers, water sources, entering water supply & contaminating food chain. “In May 2017, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) issued a notification and added ‘non-biodegradable polymeric microbeads’ to the ‘List of raw materials generally not recognised as safe for use in cosmetics’. Earlier, it had a clause for household detergents: “The material shall not contain any microbeads or other synthetic abrasive material.”

While the law exists on paper, soap, creams and gels containing these microbeads are available off the shelf and online. Interestingly, there has been only one study of microplastic waste in India and the researchers used a ‘neuston net’ to trap and analyse the plastic debris.” That study: “Microplastic pollution in Vembanad Lake, Kerala, India: The first report of microplastics in lake & estuarine sediments in India”, see: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0269749116327166 http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/microbeads-laden-soaps-and-gels-toxifying-water-bodies/article23788005.ece

DISASTERS

Cloud burst in Chamoli Video showing water gushing through homes, streets after a loud burst incident in Narayan Bagad, Chamoli, (Uttrakhand) on May 2, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyJTn-PzG9Q, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68h7G1UQ0JI

ENVIRONMENT

Char Dham Road Project in Uttarakhand: a Himalayan blunder? https://www.ecologise.in/2018/05/05/the-char-dham-project-narendra-modis-himalayan-blunder/

SOUTH ASIA

Bhutan

Refurbished Chumey Mini HEP commissioned Coinciding with the golden jubilee anniversary celebrations of formal diplomatic relations between Bhutan and India, the Chumey Mini Hydropower Plant in Bumthang was re-commissioned on May 2, 2018.

– The 1.5 MW (0.5 MW X 3) Chumey Mini Hydropower Plant was first commissioned on December 14, 1989. The hydropower plant catered to the electricity requirement of Bumthang and Trongsa before the grid connection reached the region. The plant was constructed by the Central Water Commission India with GoI funding.

– The plant was running until 2013 but have to be rehabilitated after the machines started breaking down frequently. On December 23, 2016, works to rehabilitate and upgrade the plant was contracted through bidding to Erhard Automation, Austria at USD 2.431 million. The 24 months project was funded by BPC and completed in February 2018 as scheduled. The capacity of the power plant has been upgraded to 1737 kW. http://www.kuenselonline.com/chumey-mini-hydropower-plant-re-commissioned/

USA

Invest in watershed improvements, not taller dams 50 YEARS AGO, on May 4, 1968, the then California Goveror Ronald Reagan dedicated US’s tallest dam, Oroville, which faced unprecedented disaster last year. This is what Laurie Wayburn, president of Pacific Forest Trust wrote on this occasion: “The Trump administration proposal to raise the Shasta Dam by 18½ feet, along with the recent vote by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to support the delta tunnels, illustrate our complete and outmoded dependence on built infrastructure to provide water. Both ignore the least expensive and most effective means of increasing water security: restoring the watersheds that supply the vast majority of utilized water in the (California) state.”

– “A smarter (than increasing the height of Shasta Dam with initially estimated price tag of USD 1.3 Billion) investment of taxpayer money would be to address the serious problems in the watershed itself, where restoration and conservation would both increase storage and provide more reliable flows in both drought and intense rain events… If we’re going to spend taxpayer money on securing our water supply, let’s make sure it benefits everyone.” https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Invest-in-watershed-improvements-not-taller-dams-12889906.php

TIME TO LOOK BEYOND DAMS FOR WATER, STORAGE EDITORIAL COMMENT: The California Water Commission has been meeting this week to discuss how to invest $2.7 billion in water storage funds approved… The commission — and all Californians — should bear in mind that water storage doesn’t necessarily mean a dam with water behind it. The commission’s charge is not to fund the biggest new dam but to fund projects with the greatest net benefits to California cities, farms and wildlife.

– More dams paid for with the public dime doesn’t mean more water for every Californian… California is already dammed up. Over 55 years, California saw 800 new dams — more than one a month. The state has an inventory of close to 1,200 dams (plus another 200 under federal control) but no over-arching plan to maintain, monitor or remove them when they are past their engineered life span. The Oroville Dam spillway fracture, which forced the evacuation in February 2017 of nearly 200,000 people downstream, was a wake-up call.

– Groundwater storage, storm water capture and recycled water are more efficient, less costly storage solutions that balance human and environmental needs, in part because the water can be stored closer to users.

– In the 20th century, big engineering projects… embodied the can-do spirit Americans prize. Today, we must use that can-do spirit to engineer for the challenges of a changing climate — extended dry periods with intermittent torrential rains. It’s time to look beyond big dams. https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Editorial-More-water-storage-doesn-t-mean-12882997.php

The history of USA’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Act titled Policy matters: Reconfiguring river governance for ecosystem protection and climate adaptation is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzykc0gQXus&t=1164s

REST OF THE WORLD

ASIA-2017: Surplus power, cancelled Hydro and dam risks dominate https://sandrp.in/2018/05/05/asia-2017-surplus-power-cancelled-hydro-and-dam-risks-dominate/

SOUTH ASIA 2017: MISS YOU, RIVERS & FISH! As Dams and Water sharing dominate https://sandrp.in/2018/05/06/south-asia-2017-miss-you-rivers-fish-as-dams-and-water-sharing-dominate/

AFRICA-2017: Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on NILE remains the focus https://sandrp.in/2018/05/03/africa-2017-grand-ethiopian-renaissance-dam-on-nile-remains-the-focus/

EUROPE-2017: Dam Removal, Hydro Threats & Cancellations, River Restoration in focus https://sandrp.in/2018/05/03/europe-2017-dam-removal-hydro-threats-cancellations-river-restoration-in-focus/

AUSTRALIA 2017: Floods due to Dams key issue https://sandrp.in/2018/05/05/australia-2017-floods-due-to-dams-key-issue/

Hydro projects in Balkans threaten Europe’s last wild rivers Plans to build about 3,000 hydropower plants in the Balkans in the next few years endanger Europe’s last wild rivers and some of the most important biodiversity hotspots on the continent, campaigers said. Stretching from Slovenia to Albania, critics say the hydropower boom threatens animal life, including endemic species of fish, and people’s access to water used for drinking, fishing and farming.

– “There is a tsunami of hydropower dam constructions happening here and nobody really knows about it,” said Britton Caillouette, director of “Blue Heart”, a documentary that focuses on efforts to halt the hydropower plans. “Blue Heart”, which had its world première on Saturday in a screening at the Idbar dam near Konjik, focuses on local people’s and campaigners’ efforts to halt the plans. http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/tsunami-of-hydropower-dam-building-threatens-europes-last-wild-rivers-campaigners/article23717479.ece?/

Sand mining: Biggest Environmental crime? But as horrible as wildlife crime is, there’s one criminal activity ten times bigger than all other illegal wildlife crime combined. Sand mining has no bleeding elephants – but it is the elephant in the room of environmental issues. Illegal sand mining has ten times more value than all wildlife crime. https://theecologist.org/2018/feb/08/they-stole-beach-major-mafia-almost-nobody-wants-talk-about

COMPILED BY SANDRP (ht.sandrp@gmail.com) 

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 23 April 2018 & DRP News Bulletin 30 April 2018

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2 thoughts on “DRP News Bulletin May 7, 2018: WESTERN GHATS FORESTS ARE VITAL FOR SOUTH WEST MONSOON RAINS IN TAMIL NADU

  1. Summer monsoon refers to southwest monsoon. Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats orography play critical role on rainfall received in wind-ward and lee-ward part of ghats in southwest and northeast monsoon. Monsoons are part of general circulation patterns in any given year. 2002 and 2009 are drought years at all India level with temperature going up. Tamil Nadu rainfall mainly associated with monsoon systems. vegetation plays role at local level and not at state level. In 70s my collegue Jayanthi studies the impact deforestation on Simla Rainfall. The monsoon systems are complicated patterns.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    Like

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