DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin May 14, 2018: THE SHIFTING, ILLUSORY, NON SPECIFIC GOALPOSTS OF GADKARI on GANGA

Union Water Resources Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari claimed in a press conference on May 10, 2018 that by March 2019, 70-80% of Ganga will be cleaned and that by Dec 2019, Ganga will be 10% clean. He did not bother to mention as to at at which place he was referring to, which pollutants he was referring to, and 70-80% was with what reference time point was he referring to. Earlier at the Economic Times Leadership Conclave, he had declared that Ganga WILL BE CLEANED by 80%. Now he has decreased the % and also added qualification, he shall try to. He possibly meant that 70-80% of the allocation of Rs 20000 Crores will be spent by that date, and not necessarily, cleaning the river? This is because when he was specifically asked about low % of the allocated finances spent so far, he said we hope to spend much more this year. But can spending money clean the Ganga River? He also made other claims:

– 251 Gross Polluting Industries (GPI) have been closed and closure directions have been issued to non complying GPIs

– real time monitoring of pollutions is being done in 938 industries. 211 main ‘Nallas’ have been identified which are causing pollution in Ganga and 20 modular STPs are being deployed to treat Nalla water. Regular review meetings are done for speedy completion of projects.

– 195 projects have been sanctioned for activities such as sewage infrastructure, ghats and crematoria development, river front development, river surface cleaning, institutional development, biodiversity conservation, afforestation, rural sanitation, and public participation.

– 102 projects out of 195 were sanctioned for creation of 2369 MLD new sewage treatment plants (STPs), rehabilitation of 887 MLD of existing STPs and laying/rehabilitation of 4722 km sewer network for abatement of pollution in river Ganga and Yamuna. Till date 24 projects have been completed which has created 217 MLD STP capacity, rehabilitated 62 MLD STP capacity and 1879.5 km of sewer network has been laid. Presently, 45 sewage infrastructure projects are under execution. These projects envisage creating 841 MLD sewage treatment capacities. Another 33 projects are under various stages of tendering.

– In a paradigm shift in sewage sector in the past one year, works on two STP projects (50 MLD in Varanasi and 82 MLD in Haridwar) have been started under Hybrid Annuity PPP mode (HAM). Other projects sanctioned under HAM are Naini, Jhusi, Phaphamau, Unnao, Shuklaganj, Mathura, Kanpur, Mirzapur, Gazipur and Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh; Digha, Kankarbagh and Bhagalpur in Bihar; Howrah, Bally and Tolly’s Nalla (Kolkata), Kamarhati and Baranagar in West Bengal.

– New Initiative: “One City One Operator” as part of which STPs in 7 towns (Kanpur, Allahabad, Mathura, Patna, Kolkata, Howrah-Bally, Bhagalpur) are being integrated and tendered with Hybrid Annuity based projects.

– The focus has been on 10 major towns contributing almost 64% of total sewage discharge.

BIG QUESTION, IS DOES THIS ADD UP TO CLEAN GANGA? ALL OF THIS WAS TRIED IN LAST THREE DECADES WITHOUT IMPACT? HOW IS THIS ANY DIFFERENT? WHY WILL THIS BRING A DIFFERENT RESULT? AND OF COURSE THERE IS NOTHING HERE ABOUT AVIRAL GANGA. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=179204

GANGA HAS MOVED AWAY FROM PATNA The Ganga is now also swiftly moving away from its banks in Patna. No serious scientific attempt has been made to deal with this crisis, warned experts and activists, while at the same time an ambitious project Ganga-Pathway project – to build an 20.5 kilometre elevated road in the river to ease traffic problems – is underway, posing a new threat.

– Ramakar Jha, from the National Institute of Technology, Patna, warned that river Ganga has already shifted 2.5 – 3.5 kilometres from most ghats in Patna in recent years due to man-made interference. The ongoing construction of Ganga-Pathway will certainly push it further away.

– He also pointed out the dangers of constructing deep into the river. As the Ganga experiences massive flooding annually from Patna to Farakka, a great amount of silt will be deposited at the pillars being constructed to support the elevated road. The consequences are unlikely to be good.

– This is at a time when beautification work is being carried out of 20 ghats in Patna under as part of the USD 1.5 billion National Ganga River Basin Project, supported by the World Bank.

– The managing director of the Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corp, Amrendra Prasad Singh, said that the beautification work of 16 out of 20 ghats has been completed. The foundation stone for the project was laid by the Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish, Kumar in February 2014 and it was initially slated to be completed by June 2016.

– Kedar Nath Jha, the 92 year old priest of a temple at Collectorate ghat, has lived there for the last 49 years and blames interventions in the name of development for the problem. “Now only filth, silt and dry sand of Ganga is found nearby,” he said. It is a bad sign for Maa Ganga (Mother Ganga), he said. “It will be difficult for the young generation to accept that river water was flowing near Collectorate ghat until 4-5 years ago… Ganga ko pulwala bhagaya hai”. Now the river is 3.5 km away.

– Three years ago the Bihar government’s water resources department along with Inland Waterways Authority of India had initiated steps to bring the river’s stream back to its original course by creating a 7 kilometre long and 15 feet deep channel from Digha to Kalighat. This was in response to a directive by the Patna High Court in response to a Public Interest Litigation case filed against the project. But efforts have failed to bring the river Ganga close to its southern banks despite INR 80 million (USD 1.2 million) spent to create the channel.

– The chief engineer of the water resources department Lakshaman Jha claimed that the channel would be restored by 2019 as five proposed sewerage treatment plants will be operationalised. The work is underway for five STPs that were launched in 2017 to treat nearly 350 MLD of waste water. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/2018/05/11/the-ganga-is-leaving-patnas-ghats/

NMCG cannot spend funds Funds spent is no guarantee of any impact, but even by that account, NMCG is not going far. This clams that 1000 MLD STPs are functional (total sewage generated in Ganga basin is 12000 MLD). One would like to know which ones are functional. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/only-20-of-clean-ganga-mission-funds-spent-till-march-2018/article23828319.ece

GIS for Ganga clean-up? In 15 months time, Survey of India, the country’s principal mapping agency, will map the entire stretch of the Ganga using geographic information system (GIS) technology and provide high-resolution maps to the government. The NMCG has approved Rs 86.84 crore for this work in its executive committee meeting this week. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/gis-tech-to-aid-in-ganga-clean-up/articleshow/64036296.cms

DAMS

Bihar CM NITISH KUMAR again speaks up about utility of Farakka Dam He raised that issue again at a meeting in Patna. Nitish Kumar on May 3, 2018 said the utility of the barrage must be re-evaluated. Nitish demanded that a comprehensive National Silt Policy be formed so that the menace of siltation is restricted.

– Rebuking Patna University (PU) administration for non-performance the Bihar CM expressed his anguish over the delay in the establishment of Dolphin Research Centre in the university and said being allotted proper funds notwithstanding it is startling to know that the DRC is yet to be established in the PU. CM Nitish added that the center will be shifted to Bhagalpur in case the PU administration fails in earmarking land and starting the project within a timeframe of 60 days. He was addressing the inaugural function of a 15-day workshop organized by Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) in Patna, Bihar. https://www.thetrickyscribe.com/revaluate-the-utility-of-farakka-barrage-says-nitish/

Breached Malsisar dam restored Malsisar Dam, which had breached on March 31, within three months of its completion, has been restored. Water supply has restarted to five towns (Jhunjhunu, Bagad, Mandwa, Khetri annd Gothada) and 98 of the 114 villages that it served earlier. The contractor was fined Rs 2.75 core, two PHED officials were suspended and a three-member committee was set up to probe the mishap. The Rs 588 crore project lifts water from Indira Gandhi Canal. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/water-supply-from-malsisar-dam-restored/article23841589.ece

2nd Ravi Beas Link Proposal A significant quantum (0.58 MAF) of water of the Ravi is flowing across the international border through tributaries like Ujh, Jallialia, Tarna, etc, joining the Ravi downstream of the rim station at Madhopur.

– Given the flat terrain of Punjab, it is not possible to create reservoirs for storage of the Ravi-Beas waters, said the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, while reacting to a letter written by his Haryana counterpart on the issue.

– In 2015, the Punjab government had submitted a report giving two alternatives — firstly, pump water from Makora Pattan to the UBDC at RD 79,000 ft, involving lift of 85 ft over the distance of 30 km and secondly, pump water from Jainpur to the UBDC at RD 79,000 ft, involving lift of 96 ft over the distance of 32 km. Further, a High-Powered Steering Committee for Implementation of National Projects, chaired by Secretary (Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, constituted a team comprising officers of the Central Water Commission and Union Irrigation Department on March 3, 2017, to visit the site of the proposed Second Ravi Beas Link Project and submit a feasibility report. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/storing-riverwaters-not-feasible-cm/585924.html

Time line related to 2nd Ravi Beas Link to transfer 32 cumecs or 0.58MAF of water from tributaries of Ravi river like Basantar, Ujh, Tarnah, Bein, and Devak, meeting Ravi downstream of Madhopur Barrage (from where 1st Ravi Beas link was built in 1950s to transfer 10 000 cusecs) as per this report. The 18 feet deep and 85 km long canal to be built at the enpense of Rs 784 crores, passing west of Amrtsar and connecting with Harike Barrage.:

– Before or Early 2008: Haryana irrigation dept sends a concept paper to Centre.

– Feb 2008: Centre declares it as National Project along with other projects.

– Nov 14, 2008: Centre constituted a committee under the chairmanship of the Member (Design and Research), CWC, to finalise the action plan. It has 6 meetings till Apr 2012, in that meeting it submits the report.

– April 30, 2013, Haryana CM Hooda wrote a letter to the CWC Chairman, asking him to speed up work on the proposed project.

– Aug 2013: the CWC wrote saying it had finalised the proposal in its sixth meeting.

– October 2013, then Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda wrote a letter to Harish Rawat, then Union Minister for Water Resources, to expedite construction of a second Ravi-Beas link project, proposed by Haryana and accepted by the Centre.

The reporter does not seem to know that Punjab made it clear that this is not feasible and Centre accepted that conclusion of Punjab. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/2nd-ravi-beas-link-forgotten/586743.html

Injustice of the Pawai Dam displaced in Ken Basin in Panna district in MP Following Ken River Yatra initiated by SANDRP and press conference at the end of it, Khabar Lahariya has done a story on this, which is commendable. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngdpxvH5Vsc

HYDRO POWER

Protests against Bursar Dam in J&K The local villagers mostly farmers, labourers, and students here have been protesting and resisting the planned construction of the Bursar Hydropower project on Marusudar river, which is a tributary of river Chenab and passes through dozens of villages in Marwah tehsil in Kishtwar district in J&K. The NHPC project is planned as a storage scheme on river Marusudar with an installed capacity of 800 MW. The dam will be the first storage project constructed by India under the Indus Waters Treaty, 1960, which has granted a permissible storage of 3.6 million acre-foot (MAF). The estimated cost of the project is Rs 246 billion. The power project involves the construction of a 289 metre-high dam which will submerge an area of about 14.43 square kilometres which is mainly comprises agricultural fields and open forests along with 3.37 square kilometres of land which is required for construction purposes. The clearance for the dam has been quicker than usual, but the construction faces local opposition. The agitation against the dam has been in full swing since October 2017.

A group of villagers on hunger strike in opposition to the Bursar dam. Credit- Shafiq Malik

– The villagers have constituted a Pakal-Bursar Dam Committee on April 5, 2018, led by a young 25 year old student, Yasin Ahmed Sheikh. On April 16, thousands of people from 47 villages marched towards Eidgah in Marwah where people raised slogans against the government and NHPC. “If the dam is constructed, it will not only affect people but also the delicate environment of Marwah. Our forests will be gone, our rich flora and fauna will be in danger. It will destroy our ecology,” Yasin Ahmed Sheikh told the crowd. “This dam is not about the development of the people or the area, but to destroy the livelihood and ecology,” he added. “The villagers rallied against the dam when we had visited the area for EIA report,” said a member of EIA team who wished to stay anonymous.

Hundreds of people gathered in Marwah to oppose the NHPC_s planned construction of Bursar dam. Credit- Shafiq Malik

– Out of 17.79 square kilometres of land that was required for construction of Bursar Project, 5.34 square kilometres was part of Kishtwar High Altitude National Park. Surprisingly on July 6, 2015, the Department of Forest, Environment and Ecology, Jammu and Kashmir, issued a notification (SRO Notification No. 212) readjusting the boundaries, thus excluding the portion of land which was earlier a protected area. The department stated that high human population pressure and other activities as a justification for readjustment of boundaries. Sheikh Zaffar believed that it was done with an intention to pave way for the construction of the dam.

– The EIA report has also found that the site proposed for Bursar project lies in a region liable to be affected by moderate to great earthquakes. It says that the region forms part of the central crystalline area of the main Himalayan belt which has been classified as the main Himalayan seismic zone and the area has been subjected to intense tectonic deformation and has experienced the seismic activity of high frequency. “The project area is located in Kishtwar Window zone falls between Kashmir Block and the Kangra Block. The seismological data indicates that there is a well-marked concentration of earthquakes in the grid 32o to 33oN and 76o to 77oE, the region where the great Kangra earthquake of 1905, the Chamba earthquake of 1945 and the earthquake of August 23, 1980 had occurred,” the report says. According to M.A. Malik, a professor at the Department of Geology in Jammu University, a detailed and comprehensive study is needed to understand either the construction of the dam is going to increase the seismic activity or not.

– “Even if they give us INR 210 billion (USD 3 billion), hundred times the R&R plan amount, we will still say no to the dam. That money is of no use which destroys our livelihood and environment,” Zahoor said. A group of ten people from different villages are observing hunger strike since April 5, 2018. They say that it is the last medium left with them to express their opposition against the dam. “As the other medium of protests have failed we think this is the only nonviolent method with which we can go ahead,” said Zafar Ahmed Sheikh. “We can even lay down our lives, but will stop this dam at any cost,” he added. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/2018/04/30/protests-against-the-bursar-dam-in-jk-gather-steam/

PTI fails to mention about Kishanganga tunnel leakage Media Bias: This PTI story is focused on Kishanganga HEP but does not even mention the heavy leakage that the project tunnels faced for over month on commissioning. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/prime-minister-modi-to-inaugurate-kishanganga-hydro-project-this-month/64092340

Gadkari says no new hydro on Ganga What does it mean no new hydel project on Ganga? Does Ganga include Mahakali and Ken and Betwa? What does new mean? Why limited to hydro and not include all dams? Is there a document that will say this or its just one off statement of the minister? Is this statement  in way to stop Prof GD Agarwal from going to fast unto death from June 22, 2018? https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/wont-allow-any-new-hydel-project-on-ganga-gadkari/articleshow/64116782.cms

Small Hydro Projects in western Ghats are blocking Elephant Corridors “Before hydel projects came to this area there was no conflict with elephants,” says Veerabhadra. “Our crops such as coffee, pepper and potato are damaged because of various reasons, and incidents with elephants are increasing every passing year,” he says. Sakaleshpur taluk, which is the most affected from the conflict, has five mini-hydel projects in operating or ready-to-operate states.

Kempuhole Mini Hydel project, Kadumane Project 1&2, Ettinahole Mini Hydel Project and Maruthi Power Zen projects are operating here and eight more projects, two of which have sought permission for damming the streams in Bisile forests, are awaiting government clearance. There is also the Ettinahole water diversion project, which aims to provide water to parched Kolar and Chikkaballapur districts. From 2010, since hydel projects started getting commissioned here, wildlife corridors were being altered, streams diverted and catchment of rivers damaged. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2018/may/07/in-ghats-of-hassan-hydel-plants-spark-conflicts-1811247.html

Himachal pushes for sops for Hydro developers, not likely to help The Himachal Pradesh government has approved amendments in the hydro power policy with a view to reviving 737 stalled projects of 5,500 MW capacity and attracting investors for new projects. The state cabinet in its meeting decided to make it mandatory for State Electricity Board to purchase power produced by hydro projects with capacity up to 10 MW. The cabinet gave approval to the proposal that the generic tariff applicable in case of Hydro Power Projects (HEPs) up to 25 MW will be from the date of the commissioning and not from the date of implementation agreement, a release said. It was also approved that wheeling charges/open access charges will not be levied for HEPs up to 25 MW capacity, enabling them to sell power on competitive rates outside the state also.

– The state cabinet today decided to rationalise royalty rates for allotment of new projects and keeping in view the provisions of national hydro power policy and bordering hilly States of Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir. The meeting presided over by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur further decided to defer 12 per cent free power for first 12 years in case of already allotted projects.

– With all these steps it is expected that it will also be possible to allot 300 projects of 2,200 MW capacity for which there were no takers despite repeated advertisements under the old policy, an official release here said. These measures would help catalyse private investment in hydro power sector to the tune of Rs. 70,000 crore over the next ten years.

– The Cabinet gave its nod to allocate 66 MW Dhaulasidh hydro project on Beas river in Hamirpur district to SJVN Ltd. for implementation on standalone, BOOM basis instead of Special Purpose Vehicle on the pattern of Luhri Stage-I and II and Sunni Dam hydroelectric projects. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/himachal-pradesh-approves-amendments-in-hydro-policy-to-promote-investment/64092306

Norway’s interest in Himachal Hydro Norway’s ambassador to India met Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister on May 8, 2018 and expressed interest in investing in hydropower sector in HP, which the CM said welcome. http://www.5dariyanews.com/news/227671-Ambassador-of-Norway-Calls-on-Jai-Ram-Thakur

IRRIGATION

Telangana cancels irrigation cess. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/kcr-waives-rs-800-crore-water-cess-of-ryots/articleshow/64104921.cms

GROUNDWATER

Groundwater Mafia in Chennai WITH the advent of summer, illegal water extraction is once again booming in the city’s southern suburbs with the Keelkattalai and Nanmangalam lakes becoming the epicentre of the water mafia’s operations. The modus operandi of water suppliers operating around Nanmangalam lake is this: water is pumped from large wells a few metres from the lake bund. The pipes lead to makeshift filling stations along the Nanmangalam main road, making it easy for tankers to do multiple trips. The act is a direct violation of Chennai Metropolitan Area Groundwater (Regulation) Amendment Act of 2002 and also a violation of the Tamil Nadu Protection of Tanks and Eviction of Encroachment Act, 2007. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2018/may/04/water-mafia-tankers-ignore-regulations-extract-groundwater-in-chennai-1810040.html

DJB seals 718 borewells following NGT orders Following NGT order to Delhi Govt on Jan 30, 2018 to seal all illegal borewells in Delhi, DJB has started the process and so far has sealed 718 borewells. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/delhi/700-borewells-sealed-locals-complain-scarcity-of-water/585348.html

90% of Delhi in critical Zone Delhi is heading towards a more serious situation as the level of groundwater, continuously depleting in the last two decades, has resulted in 90% of the city being categorised as semi-critical or critical. Presenting a dismal picture, the Central Ground Water Board told the Supreme Court on May 8 that the water level has been decreasing from 0.5 metre to over 2 metres per year at different places in Delhi and could lead to a crisis if not halted. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/90-of-delhi-in-critical-zone-as-groundwater-level-dips/articleshow/64087255.cms

Borewells banned in 230 Warangal villages Drilling of new borewells has been prohibited in 230 villages in erstwhile Warangal district indicating the alarming rate of depletion of ground water levels. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/no-to-new-borewells-in-230-villages/article23806236.ece

INTER LINKING OF RIVERS

Ken Betwa: No agreement between UP and MP on water sharing A meeting called earlier this month to finalise a memorandum of agreement between the two states hit a deadlock after UP demanded more water in the pre- monsoon months to irrigate the rabi crops sown in the winter.

– According to the draft project report, MP was to get 2,650 million cubic metres (MCM) of water and UP 1,700 MCM. “While none of the states has objection to their share according to a previous MoU, Uttar Pradesh wants more water (935 MCM) in pre-monsoon months for rabi crops and less for the monsoon months.

– MP, however, is not willing to release the quantity in months with the least rain,” said an official in the ministry of water resources, who did not want to be named. The demand s is for around 150 MCM more than its share for the rabi reason. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-s-first-river-inter-linking-project-ken-betwa-hits-roadblock/story-d8x3ZqSG3nqJktwd93Ea4N.html

AGRICULTURE

Message from Dalwai Committee on Doubling Farmer’s Income by 2022: http://agricoop.nic.in/doubling-farmers The draft volumes of the “Strategy for Doubling Farmers’ Income by 2022” prepared by the Committee. The tentative layout of the DFI Report is as follows:

Vol. I March of Agriculture since Independence http://agricoop.gov.in/sites/default/files/DFI%20Volume%201.pdf

Vol. II Status of Farmers’ Income: Strategies for Accelerated Growth http://agricoop.gov.in/sites/default/files/DFI%20Volume%202.pdf

Vol. III Post-production Interventions: Agri-logistics http://agricoop.gov.in/sites/default/files/DFI%20Volume%203.pdf

Vol. IV Post-production Interventions: Agriculture Marketing http://agricoop.gov.in/sites/default/files/DFI%20Volume%204.pdf

Vol. V Sustainability Concerns in Agriculture http://agricoop.gov.in/sites/default/files/DFI%20Volume%205.pdf

Vol. VI Specific Strategies for Sustainability in Agriculture http://agricoop.gov.in/sites/default/files/DFI%20Volume%206.pdf

Vol. VII Input Management – Resource Use Efficiency / Total Factor Productivity (TFP) http://agricoop.gov.in/sites/default/files/DFI%20Volume%207.pdf

Vol. VIII Production Enhancement through Productivity Gains 8A, http://agricoop.gov.in/sites/default/files/DFI%20Vol-8A.pdf

8B – http://agricoop.gov.in/sites/default/files/DFI%20Vol-8B.pdf

8C – http://agricoop.gov.in/sites/default/files/DFI%20Vol-8C.pdf

8D (No URL)

Vol. IX Farm Linked Activities and Secondary Agriculture http://agricoop.gov.in/sites/default/files/DFI%20Volume%209.pdf

Vol. X Risk Management in Agriculture http://agricoop.gov.in/sites/default/files/DFI%20Vol-10.pdf

Vol. XI Empowering the Farmers through Extension & Knowledge Dissemination http://agricoop.gov.in/sites/default/files/DFI%20Volume%2011.pdf

Vol. XII Science for Doubling Farmers’ Income http://agricoop.gov.in/sites/default/files/DFI%20Vol-12A.pdf

Vol. XIII Structural Reforms and Governance Framework http://agricoop.gov.in/sites/default/files/DFI%20Volume%2013.pdf

Vol. XIV Comprehensive Policy Recommendations (NO URL)

As decided by the Committee the volumes are being released sequentially in installments, so as to enable all the stake holders and interested parties from across the country to study and absorb the analysis and recommendations. This is thought to be appropriate if the Committee is to receive constructive critique, observations and suggestions on the Report. Responses may be mailed on *dfi-agri[at]gov[dot]in.*

Rejuvenating Paddy Lands in Kerala From 32% in the 1980s — the highest share of gross cropped area in the state — paddy covered only 6.63% of Kerala’s total cropped area in 2016-17, according to the state government’s Agricultural Statistics Report of 2016-2017. From 8.82 lakh hectares in 1974-75, the area planted with paddy came down to 1.96 lakh hectares in 2015-16, says the 2016 Economic Review of the State Planning Board.

– Some change there brought by some farmers: 250 acres of parrot green paddy fields could be seen today separated by narrow canals in the Kollad region of Panachikkadu taluk in Pallom block of Kottayam district. Till a few months ago, these lush pastures were empty stretches – land lying fallow for over three decades. Babu and Georgekutty, along with Suresh Kumar, Shibu Kumar and Varghese Joseph, transformed that.

– In 2010, the government accelerated its efforts to create ‘fallowless panchayats’ by giving farmers incentives to cultivate on barren land. “In the first year, the state government provides a subsidy of Rs. 30,000 per hectare, of which 25,000 is to the farmers and 5,000 is for the owner of the land as lease value,” says Georgekutty. Once the major task of readying the soil is completed in the first year, this assistance “falls to 5,800 and 1,200, respectively.” https://ruralindiaonline.org/articles/promoting-paddy-reclaiming-rice-in-kerala

Paddy nursery, Syunsal village, Thailsain block, Pouri Garhwal, Uttrakhand. In about a month these plants would transplanted. So far, I could list about 17 varieties (15 irrigated & 2 rainfed) of rice grown in the small belt known as Patti Chauthan.

Paddy Nursery in Pauri Garhwal in May 2018 (Photo by Bhim Singh Rawat)

किरमुल, गड़बग, थापुली, मैनेठ, लाल सैठी, काश्मीर, छोट, नेपाली, राजमैत, दुधा, अंजन, चौरया, बौराना, मच्छी, रामज्वान, (सिंचित) बंकू, गड़ोय्या (वर्षा आधारित) धान की प्रजातियां। पलायन, जल संकट, जंगली जानवरों के कारण क्षेत्र में धान उगाना कम हो गया है। (Bhim Singh Rawat)

INTER STATE WATER DISPUTES

CAUVERY

Centre not forming CMB is “Sheer Contempt” says SC The government’s delay in forming Cauvery Board is “sheer contempt”, the Supreme Court said on May 8, 2018. The court asked the water resources secretary to be present at the next hearing, which will be held on May 14 — well after the Karnataka assembly elections. Secy, MoWR has been summoned in the next hearing. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/sheer-contempt-supreme-court-on-centres-delay-over-cauvery-board-1848874

Why Karnataka opposes CMB This is interesting way to put opposition to Cauvery Management Board by Karnataka: Siddaramaiah’s letter had also said that “setting up the Cauvery Management Board goes beyond the necessity of implementation of the award as passed by the Tribunal and as modified by Supreme Court. These provisions are destructive of federal scheme of the Constitution of India as they violate the powers of the State to manage its water in Cauvery after ensuring 177.25 tmc at the inter-state border (Bilingundu check point) in a normal year or proportionate share in a bad year determined on ground realities”.

– Meanwhile, Karnataka on Monday filed an affidavit in Supreme Court stating that there was no further need for releasing water to Tamil Nadu as it has already released 116.7 tmc ft, which is 16.66 tmc ft more than the allocated quota, until April 2018. Tamil Nadu also filed an affidavit demanding the release of 4 tmc ft of water stating that around 19.834 tmc ft is available in Karnataka dams whereas just over 9 tmc ft is available in Tamil Nadu dams, of which only 4.5 tmc ft can be utilised. Hindustan Times reported some additional figures: This is third distress year in Cauvery basin in a row. In March, TN was provided 1.4 TMCft against share of 1.24 tmcft and in April 1.1 against share of 1.22 tmcft. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/cauvery-draft-scheme-centre-may-seek-time-cite-cm-siddaramaiah-letter-5167439/

RAVI

The Punjab-J&K Shahpur Kandi Project in Ravi Basin has remained non starter as no clear agreement has been arrived at between the two states and Centre is yet to approve the revised cost upwards from Rs 2286 Cr. J&K was to get 1150 cusecs water for Kathua and Samba districts. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/jammu-kashmir/shahpur-kandi-project-fails-to-start/586790.html

YAMUNA

Financial Times Says India is Running Dry The battle over the Yamuna, and its lack of water, highlights the profound — but scarcely acknowledged — crisis now confronting India: it is slowly running dry. Meanwhile, in the baking heat, Mr Singh, and a group of fellow farmers, are pumping groundwater to dampen the dry riverbed and prevent the sand from blowing over their vegetable fields and destroying their crops. It is a process repeated several times a week. Water Conservation is a hard lesson — and one that many urban Indians will inevitably have to absorb themselves, if not sooner, then definitely later. https://www.ft.com/content/9bb02a32-4eba-11e8-9471-a083af05aea7

MAHANADI

NGT asks why no criminal case against Chhattisgarh over Mahanadi Constructions The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on May 7, 2018 accepted Odisha’s appeal to penalise Chhattisgarh for violating the green body’s order to stop uncommissioned projects on Mahanadi river. In July last year, the green tribunal had stayed operation of 31 projects undertaken by the Chhattisgarh government on Mahanadi after social activist Sudarshan Das filed a petition alleging mindless construction of barrages and industrial projects.

– The Chhattisgarh government, however, floated a tender for construction of barrage on a new site on the Mahanadi upstream. Challenging this, the Odisha government filed a petition before the tribunal seeking a criminal case against the Chhattisgarh government. Accepting Odisha’s plea, the green tribunal’s principal bench asked Chhattisgarh why no criminal case should be lodged against it for violating its order. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/ngt-accepts-odisha-plea-against-chhattisgarh-over-construction-on-mahanadi/story-PJpMuLCIvDi2cmMscc08aJ.html

RIVERS

Community Screens of RARE River film Nadi Vahate Great to see that community screenings are happening of this fabulous, rare film about rivers. https://scroll.in/reel/878076/community-screenings-are-bringing-a-movie-about-river-conversation-closer-to-its-audiences

Opposition to Nethravathi diversion a poll issue in Karnataka Great to see that there is some push to make the Western Ghats an election issue in Dakshin Kannada. Environmentalists took out a week-long campaign against the Yettinahole or the Netravathi diversion project. Abuse of the Western Ghats has turned out to be an issue for the first time in an Assembly election in Dakshina Kannada.

– The activists under the banner of Sahyadri Sanchaya and the National Environment Care Federation encouraged the voters to exercise the None of the Above (NOTA) option in Saturday’s election stating that successive party candidates and the government have not taken the destruction of the Western Ghats seriously.

– Mr. Holla said that the activists took up a NOTA campaign in the last Lok Sabha election in the district, which resulted in 7,500 such votes. When it was scaled up to the last zilla panchayat elections in the district, 28,000 NOTA votes were cast, he said. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/western-ghats-abuse-is-a-poll-issue/article23842155.ece

Picturesque Potholes on Kukadi River Bed On the Kukadi Riverbed, 90 km from Pune is this wonderful place, this says. “The riverbed and its walls have fascinating formations of potholes as far as the eye can see. Believed to be Asia’s largest potholes in a river, these are formed when pebbles carried by the Kukadi river are swirled around, resulting in eroding the riverbed rocks. Nighoj resembles a steep stone gorge, which has been sculpted by nature to form interesting shapes and crevices resembling half moons, lamp shades, pickle and golf balls, zig-zag designs, layered modern art and graphics. Villagers call these potholes kunds and the goddess is referred to as Malaganga or Kundmauli. Her brightly coloured temple is located on the banks of the Kukadi river.” Reminds one of similar formations on Ken River Bed in Panna Dist (MP). http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/spectrum/travel/exploring-lesser-known-terrains/584695.html

Kukadi River Pot holes (Tribune May 6, 2018)

Narmada Kunds submerged by Omkareshwar Dam Nivedita Khandekar in 2009 narrated how the dam is going to submerge wonderful Kunds in the Narmada Valley. http://meredilkinazarse.blogspot.in/2009/09/dhawdi-kund-treasure-lost-forever.html

YAMUNA

Yamuna Dry (Photo: V Kaushik)
Yamuna Dry (Photo: V Kaushik)

Dry Yamuna River at Panipat about 90 km upstream Delhi. Despite NGT order, Haryana Govt is not releasing 352 cusecs from Hathini Kund Barrage, Yamuna Nagar, depriving the River of its flow & leaving villagers at receiving end. Wild & aquatic life worst hit. (Bhim Singh Rawat)

LAKES, WATER BODIES

Lake Rejuvenation in Maharashtra: Is there scam here? The Maharashtra Environment minister Ramdas Kadam sanctioned funds worth Rs 12.47 crore for the rejuvenation of 11 lakes in his home district Ratnagiri during the last financial year, of which Rs 4.55 crore was released. Only 14 lake rejuvenation projects were sanctioned last year. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/of-14-lake-revival-projects-sanctioned-11-in-maharashtra-ministers-home-district-5172116/

Seems like this is an interesting success story to save Dhamapur Lake in Sindhudurg in Maharashtra.  http://sindhudurgwetlands.cfsites.org/

Dried Kolleru Lake Devastates Andhra Pradesh Detailed report on how a huge Kolleru lake spread over Krishna and W Godavari districts is getting dried up. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2018/may/04/dried-up-kolleru-lake-leaves-andhra-pradesh-villagers-high-and-dry-1809990.html

INLAND FISHERIES

Detailed Study on Hilsa The number of fishing boats operating in the northern Bay of Bengal is in excess of the sustainable limit, resulting in overexploitation of the hilsa population. There has been a persistent decline of fish catch in spite of increasing efforts, a recent study reports. Between 2002 and 2015, even though the number of boats engaged in fishing increased by 25 percent, the hilsa catch dipped by 13 percent. The study draws attention to the haul of juvenile hilsa and first spawners due to small mesh-size nets, which are detrimental to fish stock. The enforcement of regulations is important for India to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 14 as a signatory. SDG 14 commits countries to protect oceans and the lives that depend on it. https://india.mongabay.com/2018/05/07/the-iconic-hilsa-is-facing-threat-of-being-fished-out-of-west-bengal-rivers/

Dolphins in Beas River Some hope for last remaining Indus dolphins in Beas river in India, following first organised survey by WWF-India and Punjab Govt, made public on May 9, 2018. The surveyors sighted young calves of the Indus Dolphins in Beas river, where their population is limited to downstream of Pong Dam and upstream of Harike Barrage.

– The Indus river dolphin (Platanista gangetica ssp. minor) is a subspecies of the South Asian River Dolphin, wh- ich includes the Gangetic river dolphin. The subspecies is endangered and is placed in Schedule I of India’s Wildlife Protection Act. The Indus river dolphin is the national marine mammal of Pakistan (population 1800) and the Gangetic dolphin is the national aquatic animal of India. A step to protect the habitat was taken last year, when the Beas stretch in Punjab was declared a conservation reserve, with a ban on commercial fishing, netting or hunting. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/endangered-indus-river-dolphins-see-hope-in-beas/story-KkX0x6eBylUdSPGsQVZ7mI.html

Angling tourism in Teesta Hills It can be discussed whether angling is good or bad, but it does play a role in increasing river awareness. https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/west-bengal/bid-for-angling-tourism-in-hills-228603

WATERWAYS

Developing traditional waterways of Kochi Kochi used to have an extensive ferry system… Kochi’s bountiful supply of inland water—comprising the Lake Vembanad and the rivers flowing into the lake, including the Periyar and Muvattupuzha rivers—make it an ideal test case for harnessing such potential. The water system and its ecology are critical for the city’s natural drainage, flood protection, and also to its local economy (fishing, coir) … in India, urban management laws like the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010, have left out most of the urban water bodies, causing the cities to grow over them… Implementation of ferry services in just five major routes in Kochi can lead to net emission savings to the tune of 7,500 tonnes of CO2 annually… https://www.financialexpress.com/opinion/a-new-study-shows-how-developing-waterways-can-promote-climate-social-and-economic-resilience-in-kochi/1160415/

SAND MINING

How TN Officials Made Up a Report to Aid Illegal Sand-Mining, mislead HC & everyone else Amazing story of how mining lobby and a set of bureaucrats can conspire to hood wink the government, the judiciary and everyone else to continue illegal sand mining in Tamil Nadu. The case continues, but the detailed revealed here are frightening. https://www.huffingtonpost.in/2018/05/06/revealed-how-tamil-nadu-officials-made-up-a-report-to-aid-illegal-sand-mining_a_23428131/

SAND MINING MURDER IN TN A Special Branch constable was brutally murdered by illicit sand miners near Nanguneri in the Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu in the early hours of May 7, 2018 after he tried to arrest them for illegally lifting sand from the Nambiyar riverbed near Puducherry. Two of the attackers have been arrested, but the kingpin is absconding.

– According to former MLA, Dhas of Kannanallur in 2000, Kumar of Mittadharkulam in 2012, Chellappa of Karunkulam in 2017 and Viyagappan of Perunkulam in April 2018 had been run over by vehicles and cases of accidents were subsequently registered to bury those “murders”. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/illicit-sand-miners-brutally-murder-police-constable-near-nanguneri/article23802916.ece

Police and  administration works hand in glove with illegal sand mining from Son River मित्रो ! यह सोन नद की दूधधारा है.. अमरकंटक से निकलने वाले इस नद का नाम सोन इसलिए पड़ा क्योंकि सोन की रेत सोने की तरह चमकती है.. कहते हैं कि पेट दर्द में औषधि का काम करती है यह रेत… सोन की रेत का बडे पैमाने पर अवैध कारोबार चल रहा है.. रेत माफिया पुलिस-प्रशासन को इस अवैध धंधे में हिस्सेदार बनाए हुए हैं. खनन माफिया अपनी कारगुजारी से बाज नहीं आ रहे हैं, बालू के अवैध खनन के लिए सोन नदी को बांध कर धारा मोड़ी जा रही है। इससे जहां जलीय जंतुओं पर खतरा मंडरा रहा है वहीं, वहाँ के सम्मानित नागरिकों का जीवन भी खतरे में है. प्रख्यात रचनाकार Uday Prakash ji का गांव सोन की तट पर है, वे आजकल सपरिवार अपने गांव शहडोल-सीतापुर सोन की तट पर हैं.. कल उनके छोटे बेटे चि. शान्तनु को रेत माफियाओं द्वारा दी गई धमकी गहरी चिन्ता का विषय है. भाजपा-शासित शिवराज सिंह के राज में यह और भी भय पैदा करने वाली खबर है.. मैकाल की पहाडि़यों में स्थित अमरकंटक से निकलने वाले इस सोन व इसके तटवासियों के लिए प्रार्थनाएं… (Facebook post of Shushila Puri, https://www.thelallantop.com/news/anuppur-police-misbehaved-with-shantanu-who-tried-to-expose-illegal-mining-in-son-river-of-madhya-pradesh/)

NGT seeks Centre, UP response on illegal sand mining in Ken & Betwa Rivers The National Green Tribunal on May 8, 2018 sought responses from the Centre and the state government over a plea alleging illegal sand mining in Ken and Betwa rivers in four districts of Uttar Pradesh.

– The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Hamirpur resident Prem Singh Yadav alleging large scale unscientific sand mining in Ken and Betwa rivers in the districts of Banda, Hamirpur, Jalaun and Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh in violation of the conditions prescribed in the environmental clearance (EC) as well as the mining lease deed. “One of the respondents is violating the conditions prescribed under the EC by carrying out in stream mining using heavy machinery (pockland) and conducting mining operations even during night hours which is strictly prohibited as per the conditions of the EC,” the plea said. http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/ngt-seeks-centre-up-govt-response-on-petition-alleging-illegal-sand-mining-in-ken-betwa-rivers-118050800632_1.html

Punjab Cabinet Sub Committee report on Sand Mining Cabinet sub committee submits report to the Punjab CM on Sand mining. Suggests sand price of Rs 1000 per 100 sq ft. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/punjab-government-moves-towards-fixing-sand-price/article23805711.ece

WATER SECTOR

1.47 crore at risk of drinking Arsenic contaminated water Data of India’s Union Ministry of Water Resources reveals that 1.47 crore (14.7 million) people are at risk due to arsenic contaminated drinking water across 16,889 areas, while 12,029 areas have high levels of flouride and 2384 habitations have heavy metal contamination. Iron is also present in 23613 areas and around 14069 areas have high levels of salinity. Nitrates have also been found in 1809 areas. These areas are part of the list of 70,793 places (habitations with population of 4.56 crore) where drinking water is contaminated — either with heavy metals, iron, nitrates or even high degree of salinity, cited by the government last month in a written reply to a question on water contamination in Parliament.

– The ministry said West Bengal leads in arsenic contamination with 9756 areas affected while Assam is second with 4416 areas. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh also have arsenic affected areas. Rajasthan leads in flouride contamination with 5939 affected areas while West Bengal has 1293 and Bihar has 898 such areas. Heavy metals are present in water in 2378 areas. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/1-47-crore-indians-drink-arsenic-contaminated-water/story-rMSgUDyI4HzELCRRaICAYK.html

Do we need Israel experts of pond rehabilitation in Haryana? Our people cannot do this? Tahal Group of Israel has agreed to send a team of experts to Haryana soon to help find solutions to such issues as rehabilitation of 8,000 ponds in villages, which are overflowing, waste-water recycling and its use for irrigation after treatment. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/israels-tahal-group-to-send-experts-to-haryana/articleshow/64102071.cms

POWER OPTIONS

Renewable capacity added in India in 2017-18 over twice the fossil fuel capacity Not only did renewables exceed conventional sources, they exceeded them by more than two times. Between April 2017 and March 2018, the subcontinent added about 11,788 MW of renewable energy capacity (9,009 MW from ground solar power, 1,766 MW from wind power, 352 from rooftop solar and 657 MW from biomass, small-scale hydropower and waste-to-energy) and only 5,400 MW of capacity from fossil fuels or large hydropower projects. https://www.ecowatch.com/india-more-renewables-than-coal-2565598027.html

Solar power for farmers, not clear if it is a groundwater management option There is a LOT interesting and thought provoking here:

– “under KUSUM, 30% of the capital subsidy is to be provided by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), another 30% by the state government, 30% is a priority-sector loan [sectors such as agriculture, housing and renewable energy that banks are mandated to encourage, by the central government and the Reserve Bank of India, with adequate and timely credit]. Farmers are to contribute only 10%. For example, a farmer will have to contribute Rs 25,000-30,000 for a 5-kilowatt pump, which I think is feasible for even small and marginal farmers.”

– “The challenge is that a scheme like KUSUM needs a champion at the highest level, which in my opinion should be the MNRE. It must educate the distribution companies that this can revolutionise the Indian energy economy, especially because the farm sector uses around 23% of the electricity generated but is responsible for nearly 85% of the losses.” (Losses is wrong word.)

– Even without our water crisis, doubling farmers’ income in five years is an unreachable target. However, there are things we can do to enhance farmers’ income. Ensuring on-farm water control is top on the agenda, but for maximum beneficial income impact, more interventions are needed once water security is established. Examples of villages like Hiwrebazar, Pirewadi, and Ralegan Siddi [all in Maharashtra] show that water security followed by value-addition interventions and market linkages [for farm produce] can rapidly raise farm incomes.

– Promoting solar power as a remunerative crop that farmers can grow can also add risk-free income to farmers’ livelihoods. If implemented properly, KUSUM can majorly ramp up farmers’ incomes. Nearly 30 million solar pumps proposed under KUSUM can [produce] up to 240 gigawatt-hours of solar energy to sell to distribution companies every year and can increase a farmer’s net income by over Rs 1 lakh a year, besides also increasing income through reliable on-farm water control.

– There will be a need for a different sort of water infrastructure which a project like river linking will not necessarily help address… The Rs 5.6 lakh crore is an old estimate. If it were to be revised, today the cost would be more than four times that figure. I do not take it [interlinking of rivers] very seriously.

– We will have to manage our aquifer storage. Throughout India we are heavily dependent on aquifers. But we do nothing about managing them. In developed countries such as Australia and the western parts of the US, which are also dependent on groundwater, they have intensive regimes that include managed aquifer recharge and groundwater banking. We will have to adopt some of these measures for management of groundwater. Gujarat managed to allocate resources in Saurashtra in the 1990s and early 2000s for decentralised groundwater recharge. The returns have been enormous.

– ON National Project on Aquifer Management (NAQUIM): I do not think it is working. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government sanctioned it. It was supposed to encourage such community-led approach to ensure that there would be an increase in association of local people in understanding the process of mapping, unlike how, say, a geographer would map. This stopped once the UPA government [went]. Under the Central Groundwater Board, only the resource [water] and the geology were mapped. Some of the maps created are very technical and only give a supply-side understanding and not the demand side. There is no idea of where the concentrated pockets of groundwater demand are or where pressure on the resource is the highest. The idea must be to change the behaviour of people and not the aquifer, which is the problem with the maps presently available.

– On Govt decision to provide incentive to use groundwater in 96 districts: In these parts, although there is low groundwater development, the non-tribal affluent groups have cornered the resource. So, our recommendation was that the government must focus on the poorest tribal families who have stopped migrating and are dependent only on rain-fed farming. This provides supplemental irrigation for water security to such groups. Now, we have identified nearly 500 blocks within these 96 districts where less than 10% of the farm holdings have a source of irrigation. We will recommend that the focus should be on these most deprived areas during the first year. Even if the government provides two or three million dugwells, it’ll be only 25% of the groundwater development in these parts. This is the quickest way to ramp up low-cost irrigation in the poorest areas of India.

– On Atal Bhujal Yojana: I am hoping that this scheme would allow communities to understand the natural processes and lead to change in behaviour. Investments must be made to strengthen groundwater availability. Our research has shown that when farmers in Saurashtra were involved in the creation of percolation tanks and check dams or any other infrastructure, property creation took place. These groups create norms and protocols to regulate utilisation of water. Once this happens, local management and governance of groundwater strengthens. http://www.indiaspend.com/indiaspend-interviews/even-without-indias-water-crisis-doubling-farmers-income-in-5-years-impossible-39304

Draft National Energy Storage Mission The draft National Energy Storage Mission expects to kick-start grid-connected energy storage in India, set up a regulatory framework, and encourage indigenous manufacture of batteries, according to a member of the expert committee set up by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). Adding storage options could result in solar power spiking ₹ 3-4 per unit above its current low price of ₹ 2.44 per unit, making it unattractive to distributors. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/draft-mission-to-kick-start-renewable-energy-storage/article23713031.ece

URBAN WATER

Bombay HC restrains Pune from using Pavana water for IPL matches Bombay HC restrained use of water from Pavana dam or river for Pune IPL matches, categorising such use as recreational use, the lowest priority and not industrial use as Maharashtra Cricket Association wanted. This was following petition by Lok Satta. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/water-woes-dog-ipl-matches-in-maharashtra/584673.html

  • Recycled wastewater or shallow aquifer water recharged by rainwater would be the way to go for Pune, perhaps with sewage mining. Bengaluru and KSCA does that.

Comprehensive article about Delhi water situation by Nivedita Khandekar The following story is most interesting. Learn from history.

South Delhi is home to the ruins of the Tughlaqabad Fort built in the 14th century. There goes a tale surrounding this site that can be a wonderful metaphor for today’s situation. It is believed that Delhi’s celebrated sufi mystic Nizamuddin Auliya wanted to have a baoli (stepwell) built at the place where he stayed at the time. Ghuiyasuddin Tughlaq, the then ruler of Delhi, was having his fort built in the same area. As he wanted to see the fort erected faster, he ordered that all masons in the city be employed for the task and forbade them to work at the baoli. But out of sheer reverence for the mystic, people worked through the night for the stepwell, in the shadow of oil lamps. So, the tyrant ruler banned the sale of oil. The mystic being a mystic used the baoli water to light the lamps, and shine they did. Angered by this, Tughlaq then banned the men from working at night. It was then that the mystic cursed: “Ya rahe ujad, ya base Gujjar.” (It will either be abandoned or be inhabited by pastoral nomads).

As luck would have it, Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq died within two years of the fort’s completion and the fort has battled the vagaries of nature ever since. No royal has ever lived there. It is the community that needs to take charge and conserve Delhi’s precious groundwater. There is no point in relying on the king – the government of the day – be it at the Centre or in Delhi to take action. Else, let’s be ready to meet Tughlaqabad Fort’s fate. https://www.dailyo.in/variety/groundwater-alarm-for-delhi-supreme-court-delhi-jal-board-ncr-water-crisis/story/1/24016.html

Delhi’s failure to harvest rain Another evidence of non seriousness and failure of DJB in ensuring rainwater harvesting in Delhi. Why did this take two years to be highlighted? https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/2-years-on-rain-centres-run-dry-as-city-fails-to-harvest-gains/articleshow/64101847.cms

Use of Swill App in Bangalore Water Invitation to participate in Water information gathering through crowd sourcing app in Bangalore. https://www.swissnexindia.org/blog/bangalores-water-crisis-swiss-app/

Enough water in dams serving Coimbatore Coimbatore gets water from Siruvani, Pillur and Aliyar Dam (Bhavai river). The dams have sufficient water this summer. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/coimbatore/enough-water-in-dams-to-help-city-tide-over-summer/articleshow/64116157.cms

DISASTERS

Gujarat’s grim water crisis this summer The already acute water crisis in Gujarat is taking a grim turn. It is being speculated that the total water available in Gujarat can only last till May 31, and can be stretched only for a week after that. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/spotlight/city-gears-up-to-beat-the-water-blues/articleshow/64093748.cms

Water ATM are Vote ATMs in Karnataka? In dry parts of poll bound Karnataka, water ATMs are becoming vote gathering machines. http://www.thehindu.com/elections/karnataka-2018/karnataka-assembly-elections-2018-not-dry-but-not-in-full-flow-either/article23816195.ece

BBMB calls Emergency meeting BBMB dams (Bhakhra, Pong and Thein) are not getting sufficient inflow even as filling season has started, due to unseasonal rains and snowfall lowering the temperatures, thus lowing the snow melt in the catchment. The water level in these days is about 40% below normal and inflow is 25% below normal. BBMB has asked the states to curtail their demands and also called for an emergency technical committee meeting. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/untimely-rain-impedes-filling-up-of-reservoirs/586545.html

Next emergency BBMB meeting on May 18 Following Emergency Technical Committee meeting, states have been asked to reduced their water use. The next meeting to happen on May 18. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/punjab-haryana-rajasthan-asked-to-use-water-judiciously/story-SyO5J9VHRQOTx2QQVurIcJ.html

Examine Soil Moisture to predict drought, crop yield The study suggests that rising temperatures are depleting the soil moisture more quickly, which affects agricultural productivity. The study emphasised that soil moisture, rather than the amount of rainfall during the monsoon, should be considered to monitor, assess, and predict a drought situation during the non-monsoon season, which will help policy makers to evaluate and calculate irrigation demands for crops. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/don-t-look-at-monsoon-only-examine-soil-moisture-to-predict-crop-yield-says-iit-study/story-M1ctexyM9yTubYPzgay2xH.html

SOUTH ASIA

NEPAL

Arun-3 gets generation license Investment Board Nepal (IBN) on May 8, 2018 granted an electricity generation license to SJVN Arun-3 Power Development Company in eastern Nepal. http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2018-05-08/ibn-grants-generation-licence-for-arun-3-project.html

India-Nepal PMs lay foundation stone of Arun III HEP South China Morning Post writes about Indian PM Modi’s Nepal visit during May 11-12, 2018 and laying of foundation stone for the 900 MW Arun III HEP in Nepal, with Nepal PM. http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/diplomacy/article/2145832/indian-prime-minister-narendra-modi-seeks-counter-chinas

Global Tenders on Kali Gandaki HEP Nepal decides to say NO to China and in stead decides to float global tenders for the 1200 MW USD 2.73 B Budhi Gandaki Hydro project. https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/nepal-refuses-china-s-offer-to-fund-multi-billion-dollar-power-project/story-cfRJPHSKJkn2gqyon7anUL.html

Pakistan

Pakistan’s First National Water Policy In April 2018, the chief ministers of Pakistan’s four provinces approved the country’s first national water policy – after over a decade of wrangling and consultations. Experts give mixed opinions, some key ones.

– To Abbas, the policy is a very clear signal in favour of building more large dams, but failed to explain how objectives can be achieved with these mammoth structural interventions. According to Abbas, the policy should have learnt from the past, especially “economic externalities of large water development works” which resulted in huge socio-economic and environmental costs.

– approximately eight acres (0.03 square kilometres) of land per day is being eroded by sea intrusion in the Indus delta because the silt load was not being replenished due to the dams and diversions already built on the Indus. But the policy brushes it aside with tiny socalled ‘environmental flows

– On Transboundary rivers and IWT: “It does refer to aquifers, minimising environmental consequences etc. of IWT on the eastern rivers and better sharing of information particularly in the event of flood flows to protect Pakistan, its economy and its environment”. There should have been mention of Afghanistan or China, which are the other riparians of the Indus basin. There is no specific reference to the Indus cascade, a mega water sector development project (about USD 50 billion) envisioned between Pakistan and China. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/2018/05/08/pakistans-first-national-water-policy-historic-or-mere-electioneering/

Pakistan’s NWP: Historic? Ambassador Shafqat Kakakhel, a noted water expert and former diplomat, argues that Pakistan’s new National Water Policy, despite significant lacunae, is a breakthrough moment for the country. The 41-page National Water Policy (NWP) is unexceptionable.

– The shorter, 4-page Charter is meant to highlight both the seriousness of “the looming shortage of water” which poses “a grave threat to (the country’s) food, energy and water security” and constitutes “an existential threat…”as well as “the commitment and intent” of the federal and provincial governments to make efforts “ to avert the water crisis”.

– The most remarkable provisions of the NWP are the proposed substantial increase in the public sector investment for the water sector by the Federal Government from 3.7% in 20017-18 to at least 10% in 2018-19 and 20% by 2030; the establishment of an apex body to approve legislation, policies and strategies for water resource development and management, supported by a multi- sectoral Steering Committee of officials at the working level; and the creation of a Groundwater Authority in Islamabad and provincial water authorities in the provinces.

– Critics will lament the exclusion of civil society representatives in the Steering Committee. The absence of a commitment to guide gender mainstreaming in water-related initiatives is conspicuous and indefensible.

– It specifically acknowledges the whopping 21 million acre feet (MAF) contributed by the Kabul River representing 16% of the flows in the entire Indus River System. The 1960 Indus Waters Treaty provides for sharing of available information and data but says nothing about aquifers and protection of watersheds of the western rivers.  https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/2018/05/08/opinion-pakistans-new-national-water-policy-is-historic/

SOUTH EAST ASIA

Mekong Dams Map Source: NIKKEI

Chinese dams affect downstream Mekong Detailed report about how the Upstream Mekong Dams in China will affect the downstream countries. https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Cover-Story/Mekong-River-nations-face-the-hidden-costs-of-China-s-dams

USA

Solar PV mandatory for new homes in California from 2020 California took a major step on May 9, 2018 toward becoming the first state to require solar panels on nearly all new homes, the latest sign of how renewable energy is gaining ground in the U.S. The California Energy Commission voted 5-0 to approve a mandate that residential buildings up to three stories high, including single-family homes and condos, be built with solar installations starting in 2020. https://www.wsj.com/articles/california-set-to-require-solar-on-new-homes-1525866318

REST OF THE WORLD

47 killed in Dam burst in Kenya At least 47 people have been killed and hundreds more forced to flee after a dam burst in Kenya following weeks of heavy rain. Water burst through the banks of the Patel Dam in Solai, Nakuru county, 120 miles northwest of Nairobi, late on May 9, 2018, sweeping away hundreds of homes which border the reservoir. The dam is reportedly owned by prominent irrigation farmer Mansukul Patel. The dead are thought to include children and women trapped in mud. The Kenyan Red Cross says it has rescued some 40 people. More than 2,000 people are said to have been left homeless. The dam burst raised the death toll from flooding in the East African nation to more than 180. Residents of Handaraku village were relocated following the bursting of River Tana banks. KenGen has refuted claims made my section of leaders and residents that it released huge volumes of water from the Seven Forks dams causing flooding in Tana River and Garissa counties. BBC reports that this was an illegal dam. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-44082423, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-44065340, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/burst-dam-kenya-latest-deaths-heavy-rain-solai-nairobi-red-cross-a8344266.html

Floods in East Africa in May 2018 NASA image shows the flooding in East Africa, on May 9 2018. Hundreds of thousands of people in eastern Africa have been affected by heavy rains and devastating floods in April and May, especially near the Shebelle and Jubba rivers. Originating in Ethiopia, they are Somalia’s only perennial rivers. Flooding burst the banks of the Shebelle River in several locations, destroying houses and crops and causing more than 120,000 people to flee their riverside homes since April 2018. The floods are some of the worst on record for the region. Heavy rains are expected to continue through mid-May, which could create more problems in areas where rivers are already at full capacity.

NASA satellite images show the East Africa flooding on May 9, 2018

– Heavy rains also have overwhelmed Kenya, destroying an area of farmland larger than New York City. Floods have washed away bridges and homes, shut down schools, and taken many lives in the past two months. At least 270,000 people have been displaced. The floods are a dramatic and dangerous turnabout for millions of Kenyans still recovering from drought and food insecurity in 2017. https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=92130

Balkan Dam Book threatens Europe’s last wild rivers The Balkan Peninsula (e.g. in central Bosnia and Herzegovina about 40 miles west of Sarajevo fighting against dams on the Kruščica River) is facing a wave of thousands of hydroelectric projects that would block pristine, free-flowing rivers and cause major environmental damage. Local residents and conservationists are fighting back. Nearly 2,700 dam projects are planned or under construction from Slovenia to Greece. https://e360.yale.edu/features/a-balkan-dam-boom-imperils-europes-wildest-rivers

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

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 30 April 2018 & DRP News Bulletin 7 May 2018

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

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