Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 18 June 2018 (Why this Onslaught of Big Dam Advocacy by CWC Ideologues?)

In a recent article Ashwin B Pandya, Former, Chairman Central Water Commission (CWC) refuses to acknowledge either the adverse impacts of dams or the better option of using groundwater aquifer for storing water. And thus making unscientific arguments against dam decommissioning and for dams. No one is talking of removal ALL dams as the author seems to postulate and then dismiss it as impossible and irresponsible.

– Factually Incorrect: Similarly, almost all towns and villages in Saurashtra, Kutch and North Gujarat, are dependent on the Sardar Sarovar dam for water for most parts of the year.

– WRONG QUESTION: How many people know that the Kumbh mela and religious baths in the winter season at Allahabad or Haridwar are sustained by specific releases from the Tehri dam? Right question would be how to rejuvenated Ganga so that Ganga does not see water only during Kumbh.

– IGNORES THE REALITY: The flood control functions of the Damodar Valley system of dams and other dams across the country have been taken for granted in our short public memories. Ask W Bengal CM about the FLOOD DISASTER that Damodar Dams have caused for several years now.

– NOT CORRECT: No one is talking about removal of large dams like Hoover or Glen Canyon in South Western US. There is advocacy for removal of some of these big ones too.  https://www.deccanchronicle.com/discourse/120618/no-swadeshi-takers-for-the-clamour.html (12 June 2018)

Before this, M. Gopalkrishnan president of the New Delhi Centre of the World Water Council, has advocated for big dam projects saying that, “Many practices in water management in India are centuries old. This demonstrates the rich experience of a monsoon-fed country. Because of the erratic pattern of rainfall and natural availability of water, temporal as well as spatial, numerous traditional solutions have emerged over centuries.” But we all know how little respect the water resources establishment that the author is part, has for the traditional technology and management systems. 

– Again, “When farmers commit suicide owing to crop loss or unremunerative prices, dismantling dams to restore lakes and rivers to their pristine status, comprising natural terrestrial and high-value aquatic ecosystems, is a luxury. It entails a heavy cost.” is misleading. Maximum Farmers are committing suicides in the land of highest number of big dams, where irrigated area % is the lowest. This seems to argue that aquatic systems have no value, another blatant falsehood. http://www.asianage.com/discourse/110618/europe-can-demolish-at-will.html (Asian Age, 11 June 2018)

Similarly, in an interview, S Masood Hussain, Chairman, CWC can be seen for lobbying for dams here. As expected, he says ALL anti dam protests are misplaced and all Big dams proposed by them should be built. https://www.thestatesman.com/opinion/anti-dam-protests-misplaced-1502649147.html (16 June 2018)

It is worth to mention that a recent assessment of the impact of two SHPs in the Western Ghats found that SHPs fragmented rivers, altered their physical characteristics and water chemistry and affected fish species. https://www.firstpost.com/india/small-hydropower-projects-turning-rivers-into-series-of-static-water-bodies-shows-study-4528521.html (17 June 2018)

Center Cabinet okays Bill on dam safety The draft law Dam Safety Bill, 2018 was approved by the Union cabinet on June 13. The bill will be introduced in Parliament in the forthcoming monsoon session beginning in July. The bill provides for mandatory surveillance, emergency action plan, comprehensive dam safety review, inspection and operation & maintenance of all dams in the country to ensure their safe functioning. The bill also provides for setting up a national committee on dam safety which will recommend necessary regulation.

Besides, the proposed legislation talks about setting up a National Dam Safety Authority as a central regulatory body which will implement policy, guidelines and standards for dam safety across the country. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/cabinet-okays-bill-on-dam-safety-makes-owners-responsible/articleshow/64580440.cms (14 June 2018)

Background: There are over 5200 large dams in India and about 450 are under construction. Plus there are thousands of medium and small dams. Due to lack of legal and institutional architecture for dam safety in India, dam safety is an issue of concern. Unsafe dams are a hazard and dam break may cause disasters, leading to huge loss of life and property.

The Dam Safety Bill, 2018 claims to address all issues concerning dam safety including regular inspection of dams, Emergency Action Plan, comprehensive dam safety review, adequate repair and maintenance funds for dam safety, Instrumentation and Safety Manuals. It lays onus of dam safety on the dam owner and provides for penal provisions for commission and omission of certain acts.

It is worth to mention that the act is in the making for years, since UPA years. Why did it so long and when will it be introduced in Parliament and become and act & implemented? The Bill does not address many issues, e.g. operational safety of the Dams. It also does not have any non govt members in the authority. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=179939 (PIB, 13 June 2018)

Telangana Dam safety a big concern due to lack of maintenance for decades As many as 14 dams in TS and two dams in AP were constructed 50-100 years ago and require urgent repairs. Nagarjunasagar and Srisailam dams witnessed unprecedented floods in the Krishna river in October 2009, but no concrete safety measures have been taken at these dams in the past eight years.

New information:- In Sept 2017, TS had sent proposals to the CWC seeking Rs 645 crore for rejuvenation of 29 old dams. The proposals were forwarded to the World Bank for funding but the funds are yet to be released.

Response from Venkatesh Hemmige on FB post:- Since 1990 the CWC had advised the Andhra Pradesh government twice to increase the spillway capacity of the Srisailam dam on the Krishna from the original set 13.5 lakh cusecs to 25 lakh cusecs. Another detailed study was carried out in 2005 when officials found that the design of the dam allowed the capacity to be increased to 25 lakh cusecs. As per sources the increase in capacity would not have taken them more than six months to a year to carry out. This would have saved Kurnool and many upstream areas from being inundated in the extraordinary floods of 2009 (a large part of it due to backflows caused by insufficient discharge capacity on the spillways). Nothing seems to have changed since then as well….https://deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/150618/safety-of-telangana-dams-a-big-concern.html (15 June 2018)

Tamil Nadu Dam Safety Bill will split India, warns Vaiko The Indian union will split into different countries like the Soviet Union if the Dam Safety Bill – 2018 is passed in Parliament, warns MDMK general secretary Vaiko. In a statement released by the party on June 16, Vaiko said, “If the Dam Safety Bill is passed, Karnataka will also stop giving the rightful share of Cauvery water to Tamilnadu. This will lead to a dangerous situation affecting Indian solidarity. Why do we (Tamilnadu) need an Indian Union if such a situation arises? Do not create a stage where India is split into different countries like the Soviet Union. TN has been opposing Dam Safety Bill due to Mullaperiyar dam being in Kerala territory, but all benefits going to TN, fearing that the Dam Safety Bill will take away the control of Mullaperiyar from TN. https://www.newstodaynet.com/chennai/dam-safety-bill-will-split-india-warns-vaiko-101720.html (16 June 2018)

Check-dams planned on Kosasthalaiyar, Cooum rivers Two more check dams are planned to be built on Kosasthalaiyar river to store flood water. The Water Resources Department (WRD) will begin work to construct a check-dam, this month-end between Pudhukuppam and Kudiraipallam, located downstream of Karanodai bridge. This is eighth such check-dam to be built at a cost of Rs. 9.9 crore. Similarly, the process is on to build another check-dam across the river near Bandikavanur, which is located about 30 km from Chennai. The historic Korattur anicut, built in 1876 across the unpolluted stretch of the Cooum river was damaged during the 2015 floods This anicut helped in regulating water to the Chembarambakkam reservoir, and will be reconstructed.

16JUNECHLAX01CHGQB46D9UA3jpgjpg
Broken, not lost:A view of the Korattur anicut at Jamin Korattur, which was damaged in 2015 .B. Jothi Ramalingam The Hindu

This may be not good for river ecosystem: Such check-dams are needed at a distance of 5 km across the river to save water that flows into the sea through the Ennore creek. Surplus water from the Poondi reservoir too reaches the Kosasthalaiyar river, WRD officials said. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/two-more-check-dams-coming-up-soon-across-kosasthalaiyar-river/article24184265.ece (17 June 2018)

Polavaram Dam 1400 m long diaphragm wall completed On June 11, the crucial diaphragm wall of Polavaram dam has been completed. It is stated to be the longest and deepest such wall in the country, it forms the foundation for the Earth-cum-Rock-Fill (ECRF) Dam of the Polavaram project across the Godavari river. The diaphragm wall constructed below the ECRF dam prevents the leakage of water across the dam from the bottom of ECRF through sand pores. It has been constructed in 14 months at a cost of Rs 423 crores. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/polavaram-project-achieves-major-milestone-1400-m-long-diaphragm-wall-completed-5213336/ (12 June 2018)

Madhya Pradesh Prana Minor Tank Project to be discussed for forest clearances The Factsheet says: “The Parna Minor Tank project is proposed to be constructed on local nalla a tributary of river Byarma which finally joins river Ken. The Ken River is a tributary of Yamuna River. The project is situated in Jabera Block of Damoh district Head Quarter. The Parna dam envisages construction of 23.95 m. hight and 1320 m. long earthen dam including 103.00 m. flush bar type waste weir near village Parna of Damoh District of Madhya Pradesh. It is designed to store 5.42 Mcum. Live storage of water to provide irrigation to command area of 950 Ha. (CCA) through a well-planned canal network. There is no intercepted catchment area at Parna Dam site and full catchment i.e. 20.59 Sqkms. entirely lies in State of Madhya Pradesh. Similarly entire submergence at FTL and MWL and fill gross command area of 1100 ha. Lies in Madhya Pradesh. Durgavati Sanctuary is located 6.5 Km from Singorgarh proposed area” See factsheet about the project from FAC website : http://forestsclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/AdditionalInformation/AddInfoSought/0_0_611151229121718392018.pdf

The dam is coming up for Forest clearance before FAC meeting on June 19, see agenda: http://forestsclearance.nic.in/AgendaDetail.aspx?id=203!dis1

Rajasthan Sudden release of water from Kota barrage traps people on Chambal Island (Dainik Bhaskar, 12 June 2018) chambal

HYDRO POWER

MoEF Agenda for 15th Meeting of EAC for River Valley & Hydroelectric Projects The agenda for  15th Meeting of Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for River Valley & Hydroelectric Projects to be held on 28 June 2018 has eight items, including three from HP, two from J&K, One each from Uttarakhand, UP and Meghalaya. Please send it to others concerned. http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Agenda/150620186PYIK6N715thAgenda.pdf

Uttarakhand High Court stays dams, roads construction Taking cognizance multiple incidences in which construction debris are being dumped into rivers, Nainital High Court on June 11 has ordered that all construction activities along river banks, including construction of hydroelectric power projects, and road construction projects in the state, be stayed till suitable muck disposal sites, for discarding the muck generated during the construction activities are identified and are made operational.

This is great decision, but from where do you measure 500 m? Not clear: The court prohibited waste disposal within 500 metres of rivers, sternly rejecting the state government’s request to reduce the range from 500 metres to 200 metres, and said all district magistrates shall be personally held responsible if any waste is disposed of at any place other than the ones earmarked for the purpose. The court said building hydro electricity projects on rivers like the Ganga and its tributaries was tantamount to overburdening them.

The court also directed the concerned agencies to ensure a “minimum 15 % flow of water immediately downstream of the weir, barrage, or dam.” A case on the 900-km long all-weather Char Dham roads project in the state is already ongoing in the NGT, where the green tribunal has raised objections on the current methods of muck dumping. http://www.livelaw.in/muck-in-rivers-ukhand-hc-stays-all-construction-work-across-state-till-debris-disposal-sites-are-identified-read-order/  (12 June 2018)

HC orders FIR against UREDA for faking damages during Kedar disaster Taking note of a PIL that alleged financial irregularities in projects run by the Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency, including showing fake damages to demand funds for reconstruction after 2013 flash floods in Kedarnath, the Uttarakhand high court on June 15, 2018 ordered registration of FIR against officials concerned of UREDA. A public interest litigation was filed by Sushil Vasishth, a resident of Maikoti village in Rudraprayag district, alleging financial fraud in projects run by UREDA. According to the petitioner, several discrepancies were recorded in work of UREDA officials in the period between 1995 and 2016, including hiring of blacklisted firms, purchase of construction material without permits and faking damages during Kedarnath disaster. The petition alleged that the then chief project officer (Rudraprayag district), UREDA, prepared a proposal regarding damage to the under-construction 200 kW hydro project Kedarnath-II during the 2013 disaster and assessed the cost of reconstruction at Rs 8.5 lakh even though there was no damage. The proposal was passed by the UREDA director.

– The petition has cited two more hydro power projects where evidence of financial bungling has been found. These include 250 kW Gauri China hydro power project in Thalisain block in Pauri Garhwal district and 100 kW Kedarnath I in Rudraprayag district. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/hc-orders-fir-against-ureda-for-faking-damages-during-kedar-disaster/64609680 (16 June 2018)

IMG20180524185143
Vimal Bhai of Matu Jansangthan

Public Hearing of Jakhol Sakri Hydro Project cancelled: MATU As per MATU Press Release, the public hearing of 44 MW Jakhol Sakri Hydro Power Project has been cancelled following strong opposition of local villagers. The Project is proposed on Supin river a tributary of Tons in Uttarkashi District. As per the report, hundreds of villagers kept shouting slogans for 3 hours. Their main demand was cancellation of public hearing. They alleged that it was being held without fulfilling basic norms and rules. The hilly women in large number also joined the protest.

Here is video showing local protesting against the project company.  https://twitter.com/i/status/1006596410052096002

The public hearing was held on June 12. The hearing was organised despite the flouting of various legal provisions and ethical codes of conduct, all reminiscent of the infamous Pancheshwar dam public hearing from August, 2017. Legal documents, reports and other documents required for the same are not publicly accessible. There is also no information about the Environment Impact Assessment report, the Social Assessment report and the management plan. http://matuganga.blogspot.com/ (13 June 2018)

It is worth to mention that on this June 13, five years have passed since Kendarnath disaster occurred in Uttrakhand. But it seems that State as well as Central govt has not learnt any lesson as it continues to push hydro dam projects and the negative impact of massive Char Dham project are omnipresent everywhere in Uttrakhand.  Several media reports have highlighted massive amount of road muck and construction debris is being dumped in rivers.

Interesting:- June 2016, the MoWR filed an affidavit in the SC suggesting that certain valleys (in Uttarakhand) must be left untouched and pristine in consideration of the impacts of climate change, loss of biodiversity and for the purpose of the conservation of the origin of the river Ganga.

The affidavit had stated that “existing dams and river water diversions have caused significant damage to the river length and have depleted and deprived the river with its original content thereby compromising the quality of the water downstream”.

On the other hand “The State govt now wants to revise the 2012 Bhagirathi Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) notification to construct 10 hydropower projects on Bhagirathi river with a total capacity of 82 MW. https://india.mongabay.com/2018/06/15/five-years-since-uttarakhand-floods-continued-disregard-for-the-environment-is-an-open-invitation-for-more-calamities/  (15 June 2018)

Also see NDTV video report highlighting environmental impact of Char Dham Yatra project. https://khabar.ndtv.com/video/show/prime-time/controversy-over-char-dham-yatra-route-487286  (15 June 2018)

Himachal Pradesh Investors cold-shoulder hydropower projects Himachal Pradesh’s plans to harness hydropower in a big way have received a jolt with investors reluctant to take up projects. The directorate of energy had invited global bids for 28 hydropower projects on a build own operate and transfer (BOOT) basis with June 19 as the last date for submitting and opening bids, but so far only three bid documents have been sold. In the past, three attempts to allot these projects with a combined generation potential of around 2,000 megawatt (MW) have remained unsuccessful. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/investors-cold-shoulder-himachal-pradesh-hydropower-projects/articleshow/64621311.cms?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=TOIDesktop (17 June 2018)

Tamil Nadu More hydro power generation in Nilgiris due to heavy rainTamil Nadu’s hydro power capacity is 2307MW and much of it is situated in the Nilgiris district. Incessant rainfall in the hills helped increase hydro power generation from less than 100MW to a peak 700MW. While the total hydro generation on Saturday evening was 781MW, the same day last year, the it was 40MW. Hydro power projects were set up in the early 1960s when the state was dependent on this source of power. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/green-power-generation-cross-38-per-cent-in-two-days/64550211 (12 June 2018)

FLOOD 2018

SANDRP Blog Floods in Tripura, Mizoram, Barak Valley in June 2018 Mostly away from National Media attention, Tripura, Mizoram and Barak valley in Assam are curretly facing second wave of floods of this season in North East India. In Tripura, the Manu River has already crossed the HIGHEST FLOOD LEVEL at two locations: Manughat and Kailashahar. At Matizuri in Assam, the Katakhal (tributary of Barak) is likely to be within 6 cm of Highest Flood Level.

In MIZORAM, videos show houses collapsing like card boards due to landslide. Serchhip district has already received 677 mm of rainfall, more than any other district in North East and it is already 345% above average. But CWC has NO flood forecasting sites here, most of its flood monitoring sites also show no information.

The article provides some suggestions for CWC to improve its flood monitoring and forecasting, since it is an activty whose importance cannot be over estimated. https://sandrp.in/2018/06/14/floods-in-tripura-mizoram-barak-valley-in-june-2018/ (14 June 2018)

23 dead as floods ravage Northeast, situation grim in Assam The devastating flood in the Northeast has claimed six more lives during the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 23. On June 17, three people drowned in Cachar district while one each in Karimganj and Hailakandi district.  Following torrential rains, flood waters of Kopili, Nishari river have submerged several villages under Kampur revenue circle in central Assams Nagaon district.

In Assam, 4.5 lakh people have been affected in the deluge across six districts. According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), all the five persons lost their lives in three districts, taking the death toll in the state to 12 in the first wave of flood this year. While the Brahmaputra river is flowing above danger level at Neamatighat (Jorhat), Dhansiri river is flowing above danger level at Numaligarh in Golaghat.

In Manipur, water level of major rivers flowing in the five districts of the Imphal Valley has receded considerably with only Lilong River flowing a little above the “warning level”. The Imphal river, however, is reported to be a “highest flood level” at the Minuthong area by a few margins, although in general it is below the danger mark.

With the recovery of one more body on June 17, the toll in rain related incidents in Kerala rose to 54 since the onset of the South West monsoon late last month. Kerala Revenue Minister E Chandrasekaran who visited the landslide hit areas at Kattipara and said the cabinet would decide the quantum of compensation for those who suffered heavy losses in landslides and floods. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/23-dead-as-floods-ravage-northeast-situation-grim-in-assam-1262872-2018-06-18 (18 June 2018)

Tamil Nadu Flood alert sounded on Bhavani river banks Strange that there is FLOOD news from Bhavani (Cauvery Basin) River in the beginning of monsoon with water release from Pilloor Dam due to heavy rainfall, this says. “Besides, 12,000 cusecs of water are being released to Pilloor from Kunda dam in Nilgiris district, which is full, district collector T N Hariharan said in a press release… 6,000 cusecs of water are being released from Pilloor through each of the two sluice gates, due to which there is a possibility of Bhavani to be in spate… The water-level in Pilloor dam, which has 100 feet capacity, touched 94 feet early today as against 85 feet last night, following inflow of nine feet in the last 12 hours.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/coimbatore/flood-alert-sounded-on-bhavani-river-banks/articleshow/64530338.cms (10 June 2018)

Meanwhile, there is interesting situation in Cauvery basin this year with Kabini Dam releasing so much water before Mid June that the downstream people are alerted. https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/flood-alert-in-karnataka-s-rain-hit-mysuru-118061501016_1.html (15 June 2018)

Karnataka KRS reservoir sees highest water levels in 4 years On June 15, the water level was at 94.50 ft as against the full reservoir limit of 124.80 ft. “Generally, the state’s dams fill up around July end. If the rain continues like this, our dams may get filled up as early as June end, which is good news for both farmers and crores of people who depend on it for drinking water,” an official of the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Committee told Star of Mysore. Following heavy rains in Wayanad, Kerala, the Kabini reservoir also saw a large inflow, after which 15,000 cusecs of water was released to Tamil Nadu. Authorities have issued a flood alert to those living in low-lying areas nearby.  Interesting situation in Cauvery basin this year with Kabini Dam releasing so much water before Mid June that the downstream people are alerted. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/karnataka-rains-krs-reservoir-sees-highest-water-levels-4-years-9450-ft-83102 (15 June 2018)

Kerala Reservoirs level above normal Within 2 weeks, the state has received 52 per cent rainfall above the normal. As on June 14, storage in the Irrigation Department reservoirs stands a whopping 139.2 per cent higher compared to the same period last year. According to the latest figures from the Irrigation Department, total storage now stands at 755.04 million cubic metres (mcm). Last year, the same period boasted just 315.65 mcm. Yet, the current storage is nowhere near the total capacity of the irrigation reservoirs, which stands at 1,847.17 mcm.

KSEB’s hydel reservoirs also have highest storage in recent years. As on June 14, they stood 198.89 per cent higher than 2017. All the reservoirs combined have enough water to generate 1,539.02 million units (MU). The same day last year, the capacity was just 514.9 MU. The Idukki reservoir is 36 per cent full and Pamba, 40 per cent. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2018/jun/17/kerala-storage-in-dams-above-normal-1829225.html (17 June 2018)

WATER

Composite-Water-Management-Index

NITI Ayog Release of the Report on the Composite Water Management Index NITI ayog releases a report on Composite Water Management Index. Gujarat is No 1 (based on information about 2016-17), followed by MP, AP, Krntk and Mah among general states and Tripura followed by Himachal, Sikkim and Assam among NE/ Himalayan states. In terms of improvement over 2015-16, Rajasthan is No 1 among general states and Tripura among NE/ H. This is based on 9 sectors, 28 indicators. It hopes to do this annually.

CWMI index will serve as a tool to assess and improve the performance of states/Union territories to manage water resources in an effective and efficient manner. Niti Aayog did the survey in partnership with the Union ministry of water resources, Union ministry of drinking water and sanitation and most of the states/Union territories. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/puducherry/no-water-data-shared-with-niti-aayog/articleshow/64577861.cms (13 June 2018)

Nearly 600 million Indians faced high to extreme water stress and about 2,00,000 people died every year due to inadequate access to safe water. Twenty-one cities, including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting 100 million people, the study noted. If matters are to continue, there will be a 6% loss in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2050, the report says. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/india-faces-worst-water-crisis-niti-aayog/article24165708.ece (15 June 2018)

The report found that 75% of Indian households do not have drinking water on premise, 84 per cent rural households do not have piped water access and 70 per cent of the water is contaminated. India is currently ranked 120 among 122 countries in the water quality index.

By 2030, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual 6% loss in the country’s GDP by 2050, the report stated. Critical groundwater resources – which account for 40% of our water supply – are being depleted at unsustainable rates, it added. http://www.abplive.in/india-news/india-suffering-from-worst-water-crisis-in-history-says-niti-aayog-711180 (15 June 2018)

According to NITI Aayog’s Composite Water management Index, Chennai will run out of groundwater by 2020. Officials say the two new desalination plants with a joint capacity of 550 MLD will reduce the stress on groundwater. Rain Water Harvesting will recharge the groundwater but CMDA has yet to implement the recommendations of consultant4. Water resources Department says that the state is restoring only 25pc capacity of water bodies as rest 75% is encroached or polluted.  http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2018/jun/15/chennai-to-run-out-of-groundwater-by-2020-rainwater-harvesting-and-desalination-plants-only-hope-s-1828632.html (15 June 2018)

The report has also warned that Bengaluru will run out of groundwater by 2020, even as it placed Karnataka among the top five states on its composite water management index.

“Most states have achieved less than 50% of total score in augmentation of groundwater resources. Fifty four per cent of India’s groundwater wells are showing a decline in levels due to extraction rates exceeding recharge rates and 21 major cities are expected to run out of groundwater as early as 2020, affecting 100 million people,” the Niti Aayog Composite Water Management Index report says. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/bengaluru-will-run-out-of-groundwater-in-2-years-warns-niti-aayog-report/articleshow/64618522.cms (17 June 2018)

There are lots of questions and counter intuitive results, but will need to go through the report. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=179962 (14 June 2018)

Here is ET NOW debate featuring Himanshu Thakkar, SANDRP, Rajendra Singh, Tarun Bharat Sangh, Rohini Nilekani, Argyam, Naina Lal Kidwai and Isher Ahluwalia on NITI Ayog’s report on Water Management in India. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01-8D1u5GRI (June 15, 2018)

Rajya Sabha TV debate program on the same issue also featured CWC Chair, MoWR Jt Secretary, Nitin Desai, Himanshu Thakkar among others. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzZppL_1ZDM (15 June 2018)

And CNBC Awaaz also had a debate on the same subject.

Also see, SANDRP Coordinator Himanshu Thakkar is also quoted by BBC in Gujarati report on the issue. https://www.bbc.com/gujarati/india-44496266 (16 June 2018)

SANDRP Coordinator also participated in NDTV debate on present water crisis in country. https://khabar.ndtv.com/video/show/ranneeti/water-crisis-in-shimla-486438 (4 June 2018)

MoWR showcases 4 year achievements MoWR claims of achievements over the past four years of current govt at centre. Closer reading would show their failures. http://www.uniindia.com/water-resources-ministry-showcases-its-achievements-during-past-four-years/india/news/1258895.html (12 June 2018)

Gadkari releases NABARD book  The book ‘Water productivity mapping of major Indian crops’ is based on study of 10 important crops by a team under the leadership of leading agricultural economist Dr. Ashok Gulati. The ten important crops include rice, wheat, maize, pulses, oilseeds, sugarcane, cotton and potato etc. The book suggests to realign cropping pattern keeping in view water scarcity of irrigation, ration irrigation supplies in canal irrigation system, improve micro-irrigation and invest in water harvesting and artificial recharge and encourage participatory irrigation management through water user association and farmer’s producer organisation.

This must take not the cake, not the bakery but bakery industry. Gadkari ji says there is enough water in India, we only need better planning… and then talks about desalinisation for irrigation!!!!http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=179963 (14 June 2018)

Gujarat Govt’s water conservation campaign meant to “hide” deep-seated corruption at the highest level People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), has alleged that the Gujarat govt’s ambitious Jal Sanchay Abhiyan, claimed to have been launched to conserve water during the coming monsoon by deepening lakes, tanks, reservoirs and constructing new check dams, besides desilting riverbeds and canals, is a nothing but “a fabrication to hide deep-seated corruption at the highest level.” PUCL has alleged that the recent campaign achieved none of its targets. Quoting official figures, a PUCL statement said, out of 1 lakh lakes only 13,000 were deepened, and as against 52 lakh farm ponds, only about 2.61 lakh were dug up, insisting, the actual purpose of the water conservation crusade was “to cover up the state government’s corruption in Gujarat Land Development Corporation (GLDC)”.

– Pointing towards how the “new” scheme was a total failure, addressing media, senior economist Prof Rohit Shukla told media, “As of 2014-15, in all 1,65,560 checkdams were built under the Sardar Patel Community Water Conservation scheme. In the last four years this has been increased to 1,68,895, a rise of just about 3,335 checkdams.” “Similarly”, said Prof Shukla, “During the same period, while 1,22,035 weirs already existed, they went up to 1,25,541, which means an addition of 3,506 weirs”, adding, “Number of farm ponds, which were 2,61,785 in 2014-15, have increased to 2,61,988, resulting in the increase of 203 only. Then, while Gujarat as in all 203 lakes, only 13,000 of them were officially announced to have been deepened.” https://www.counterview.net/2018/06/gujarat-govts-water-conservation.html (12 June 2018)

GROUND WATER

Center Panchayats to manage water usage, monitor levels With World Bank support, Govt has started Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABY). Under ABY, which aims to decentralise water management, panchayats in 8,350 villages in 78 districts and 193 blocks in seven states of the country facing severe water crisis will soon manage water usage in their areas, monitor water levels and devise plans for its use and recharge through their own water management schemes. The scheme will soon be launched in Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The scheme to be implemented over five years is to be put up to Cabinet for approval. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/now-panchayats-to-manage-water-usage-monitor-levels-devise-plans-for-recharge/story-KrQvB0pwcBNMo23PYdAQ1L.html (15 June 2018)

West Bengal How Did Arsenic Get Into Bengal’s Groundwater? Some Science of arsenic in groundwater, from Suvrat Kher, a sedimentary geologist:

– The ultimate source of arsenic in the groundwater are the high Himalayan rocks and the Indo-Burman ranges. Minerals like biotite, magnetite, ilmenite, olivine, pyroxene and amphiboles contain arsenic. When they get weathered in the catchment area and in the deposits in alluvial plains, they release arsenic. This arsenic is absorbed by secondary minerals, such as iron hydroxides like goethite. Under oxidising conditions, the arsenic is immobile and remains sequestered in the iron hydroxides. However, when these sediments encounter organic-rich reducing conditions, the bacterial reduction of iron releases arsenic into groundwater. Then, sedimentary conditions changed about 12,000-15,000 years ago. The glaciers melted and exposed arsenic-bearing rocks in the high Himalayas, and more arsenic made its way on to the alluvial plains. The sea level also rose, and water flooded the continental shelf.

– So, a change in climate and sea levels from the Pleistocene to the Holocene exerted strong control on the distribution of arsenic in the alluvial plains of Bangladesh and West Bengal. https://thewire.in/the-sciences/how-did-arsenic-get-into-bengals-groundwater (21 May 2018)

Hyderabad Due to unplanned urbanization groundwater level falling As per a senior ground water official, property owners are converting their premises into commercial establishments like shopping malls, hotels, hospitals and high-rise apartments/multi-storeyed buildings. For this, they are digging borewells in a large number to meet the demand for the occupants says a senior groundwater official. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/blame-it-on-malls-high-rises-groundwater-hits-a-new-low/articleshow/64550613.cms (12 June 2018)

URBAN WATER

SANDRP Blog India’s water unsmart cities operate in policy vacuum The Urban Water footprint in India is increasing in multiple ways. Rapid Urbanisation predicted by experts is just unfolding. Per Capita Demands are going up. The City water managers are looking at big storages for dependable source of water, such big storages are necessarily far off from the cities. Cities are also generating sewage equal to 80% of the water they consume. https://sandrp.in/2018/06/16/indias-water-unsmart-cities-operate-in-policy-vacuum/ (16 June 2018)

Himachal Pradesh Shimla losing 5 MLD water daily: HC  Shimla is daily losing more than 5 MLD of potable water because of various reasons, including leakages and theft, the Himachal Pradesh High Court observed on June 11. Listing the case’s next hearing on June 18, the court wanted to know the steps initiated by the govt and the Municipal Corporation in modernising the system of collection, pumping and uplifting and distribution of water in Shimla town. The bench also noted that the affidavits of the Chief Secretary and the Municipal Commissioner were silent on action taken against those whose acts of omission and commission led to the situation of crisis.

Planned by the British for a maximum population of 16,000, Shimla, now with a population of nearly 200,000, requires 42 MLD water, but is currently getting around 30 MLD. Locals rue that Shimla is now synonymous with water scarcity — both in summer and winter. The civic authorities blame leakages in the distribution network, a significant portion of which goes back to the British days, and diminishing water resources that have been over-exploited to meet the increasing demand for the tourism industry. http://www.timesnownews.com/india/article/shimla-losing-five-million-litres-water-daily-high-court/239020 (11 June 2018)

WATER POLLUTION

Punjab PPCB recommends action against 2 dyeing units Following the directions of chief executive officer of Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Corporation (PMIDC) Ajoy Sharma, the officials of Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) have recommended action against two dyeing units which were allegedly disposing of effluents from their unit directly in Buddha Nullah. The CEO had visited the Nullah on June 6 where he had noticed the direct discharge of industry water inside the drain near Tajpur Road which raised the question marks on the claims of PPCB that industrial units were fulfilling the norms.

Notably, the water of drain has got polluted due to the presence of dyeing and dairy units near Buddha Nullah. Though PPCB officials have been claiming that effluent treatment plants in the dyeing units were made compulsory and they were using them as well but some of the erring units are still dumping the untreated and harmful water in the drain. Some of the dairy owners too throw cow dung waste inside the sewerage and even drain. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/ppcb-recommends-action-against-2-dyeing-units/articleshow/64524133.cms ( 10 June 2018)

Meanwhile technology remains at the focus. Punjab Govt has decided to install online water quality testing meters at the inlet points of all rivers or and canals, from where water is being extracted for drinking purpose, to ensure supply of safe drinking water. http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/chandigarh/pb-to-install-online-water-quality-testing-meters-at-rivers-canals-inlet-points.html (5 June 2018)

Rajasthan flagged polluted water from Punjab last year Apart from fights over supply of fresh water share, disputes over supply of polluted water also increasing among Indian state. Since July 2017 Rajasthan Govt was raising the issue of water pollution reaching the state from Punjab via Rajasthan Feeder canal, Indira Gandhi canal and Ferozepur/Sirhind feeder canal. Despite couple of site visits and meetings by Punjab and Rajasthan Pollution Control Boards and CPCB, the situation has seen no remarkable improvement. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/rajasthan-flagged-polluted-water-from-punjab-last-year-5213821/ (12 June 2018)

Maharashtra Water regulatory body plans to make sewage treatment viable  The Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA) is considering a proposal through which Viability Gap Funding (VGF) can be provided to private players for sewage treatment. By making sewage water treatment a viable business model, the MWRRA hopes that less untreated sewage will enter the sea.“Constructing and running a Sewage Treatment Plant is an expensive affair and Urban Local Bodies find it difficult to do this. Earlier, the water had to be discharged into the river after the treatment, which means the water would no longer be their property. But now we have changed the policy and now once they treat the water they own it. So, now these bodies can sell the water after it is treated,” said K P Bakshi, MWRRA chairman. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/water-regulatory-body-plans-to-make-sewage-treatment-viable-5208955/ (8 June 2018)

DELHI WATER

Haryana Khattar asks Delhi CM to withdraw water cases to get additional water Haryana CM ML Khattar on June 12, has assured his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal of additional 150 cusecs water up to June 30 to the national capital if Delhi withdraws all cases related to their water dispute including short supply and ammonia pollution from NGT and Delhi HC. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/withdraw-cases-get-additional-water-supply-khattar-to-kejriwal/articleshow/64562769.cms (12 June 2018)

Delhi man shoots neighbours during brawl over water During a heated argument over water in the Sangam Vihar area of South Delhi, a man was shot dead on June 15 night by his neighbour. The son of the deceased was identified as Manish, who also suffered gunshot injuries. The other family members of victim were also injured during the brawl. As per police, the quarrel was over a Delhi Jal Board (DJB) water connection that the victim’s neighbours opposed as it passed right outside form his house. The deceased was identified as Kishan and the accused was named Babli. http://www.timesnownews.com/mirror-now/crime/article/delhi-man-shoots-neighbour-during-brawl-over-water-father-dead-son-injured/241379 (16 June 2018)

WATER OPTIONS

Uttar Pradesh MoU between NTPC and Noida Authority to use treated sewage water at Dadri plant NTPC signed a MoU with the Noida Authority on June 14, 2018, at Noida for the supply of 80 MLD treated sewage water to the NTPC Dadri power plant, it said. This project is expected to get completed in next three years. This is in line with the tariff policy amendment by the Ministry of Power, which requires mandatory use of treated sewage water from STP of municipal body for thermal power plant located within 50 km radius of the STP,” an NTPC statement said. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/companies/ntpc-inks-pact-with-noida-authority-to-use-treated-sewage-water-at-dadri-plant-2595111.html (15 June 2018)

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Ken Betwa Link Pedaling of rumurs regarding agreement between MP-UP continue  Ideally, if all phases of the project are combined, they should have combined Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), appraisal, public consultation and fresh environment clearance,” said Himanshu Thakkar, SANDRP.

Referring to the Centre’s earlier deadlines of rolling out the project, Thakkar said, “Union water resources minister Nitin Gadkari had promised in first week of Sept last year that work on three ILRs, including Ken-Betwa, will start in three months. Nine months later, he is changing the goal post to say that the work is likely to start in next six months. But, the Ken-Betwa Phase-I Environment Clearance (EC) was challenged before NGT.”

Noting other pending clearances, he said, “It still does not have final forest clearance. Its wildlife clearance stands challenged before the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) of the Supreme Court (SC). There is no inter-state agreement and the wildlife management plan is still under preparation.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/ken-betwa-link-centre-agrees-to-mps-demand-to-merge-phases/articleshow/64564767.cms (13 June 2018)

Par-Tapi-Narmada Gujarat refuses water release in Tapi for Maharashtra Meanwhile, Gujarat govt has expressed its inability to divert 434 MCM water for Maharashtra in Tapi basin as requested by Maharashtra CM as part of the Par-Tapi-Narmada inter-state river link project. The opposition parties in Maharashtra accusing the BJP led govt of sidelining the state’s interests at the behest of Gujarat. The project, and Gujarat govt’s refusal will now be discussed in Mumbai on June 18 in a meeting of irrigation ministers from five states — Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Goa — in the presence of Arjun Ram Meghawal, Minister of State for MoWR.

– CM Devendra Fadnavis in his letter dated July 20, 2017 had requested for compensation of 434 MCM of water to be diverted to P-T-N link from upstream of Ukai dam. “Recently a meeting was taken by Secretary (MoWR) on April 20, 2018 among the officials of both the states regarding water sharing in respect of Damanganga-Pinjal and P-T-N link projects,” said the agenda for June 18 meeting.

“During the meeting, the Chief Secretary, Govt of Gujarat stated that the inflows into the Ukai reservoir have reduced over the years and Govt of Gujarat may not be in a position to accept Maharashtra’s demand to divert 434 MCM of water in Tapi basin from upstream of Ukai reservoir,” the agenda said. It further highlighted that the issue of diverting 434 MCM of water upstream of Ukai dam to Tapi basin of Maharashtra shall be deliberated and resolved. The issue has been raised in the Maharashtra Assembly several times. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/cant-release-water-for-tapi-basin-gujarat-to-maharashtra/article24175731.ece (15 June 2018)

Narmada Kshipra Link 40 farmers disconnected from their farmland The linking of Narmada-Kshipra rivers has created a problem for 40 farmers of Kampel village since the canal has cut connectivity to their agriculture land. “Before linking Narmada with Kshipra river through a canal, we were able to take tractor and other agriculture equipment to our farmland. In the past five years, we have approached local MLA Rajesh Sonkar and NVDA officials for developing a culvert over the canal to solve our problem but to no avail,” farmers Hemant Parashar and Ganesh complained at collectorate. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/indore/farmers-narmada-kshipra-linkage-disconnects-40-farmers-from-their-farmland/articleshow/64563953.cms (13 June 2018)

IRRIGATION

Center QUESTION mark over KUSUM as Finance Ministry is yet to clear it  The Centre’s KUSUM scheme, which was announced to bring a respite to farmers from high-cost diesel-run water pumpsets and erratic power supplies, is yet to see the light of the day. KUSUM (Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahaabhiyan), the solar pump distribution scheme, was announced in the Union Budget 2018-19. But the Power Ministry has not been able to convince the Finance Ministry for the desired fund allocations. This is said to have delayed Cabinet approval and further pushed the timelines for implementation of the scheme.  https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/with-finance-ministry-not-on-boardkusum-solar-pump-scheme-a-non-starter/article24116607.ece (8 June 2018)

Madhya Pradesh Not clear how, newly launched online platform can help farmers On June 12, 2018, the state govt unveiled an online platform that would enable users to access and visualize map based climatic, physical and socio-economic data aimed at climate adaptation and resilience planning. Called Partnership for Resilience and Preparedness (PREP), the platform has been jointly developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the MP State Knowledge Management Centre on Climate Change (MPSKMCCC) of the Environmental Planning and Coordination Organization (EPCO).

After Madhya Pradesh, a similar platform would be unveiled in Uttarakhand. Available at prepdata.org, the platform can be accessed by anyone. On having a glance on the website, it seems like an existing platform where some information about MP can also be seen in the context of climate change. It has multiple global organisations as partners from the World Bank to Microsoft to Google and you name it. However it is not clear how one can plan crop based on information on this website. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/now-plan-your-crop-depending-on-water-availability-in-future-1258868-2018-06-12 (12 June 2018)

Gujarat Facing crisis, govt now plans to form water cooperative model for Narmada project Faced with shortage of water for irrigation, Gujarat has decided to strengthen a cooperative model that could see farmers manage, levy charges and ensure proper distribution of the irrigation water released by the Narmada river dam.

The Gujarat govt, through a notification dated 2 June, has decided to form a 12-member committee for strengthening what officials call Participatory Irrigation Management or PIM, which will lay the foundations for a cooperative-like structure. The committee will be chaired by B.N. Navalawala, former secretary in ministry of water resources in the Central govt and currently an adviser to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani.

They would run the entire system, appointing officials, distributing the water in an equitable way, maintaining canals and collecting charges—whereas currently, the farmer with the biggest farms get to corner most of the water and pilferage is rampant.

While the concept of PIM is yet to become a success in India, Gujarat, which introduced a PIM Act in 2007, aims to have 4,467 ‘irrigation cooperatives’ up and running by 2020 under the Sardar Sarovar Project, an inter-state project being implemented by SSNNL. Although called cooperatives colloquially, these are really Water Users Associations (WUAs). Till May 2018, SSNNL had registered 2,539 of these associations and handed over the management of about 1011 these to farmers’ cooperatives, according to official data. However, only about 55 WUAs formed under Sardar Sarovar Project were functional till May.

In a normal year, the Gujarat govt supplies Narmada water for irrigation from July to March before the onset of the monsoon. There is no provision to provide Narmada water for irrigation during the summer— from April to June—however the govt has been giving water in this period for the past few years due to good rainfall.

Some farmers group in the state have been protesting, accusing the govt of mismanaging the Narmada waters. While Gujarat received adequate rainfall in 2017, less inflow of water from the upstream catchment area of the Narmada basin in MP, which accounts for 97.5% of the total catchment area, has led to a situation where the water allocation to all four states has been reduced drastically this year. The Gujarat govt announced earlier this year that it won’t be able to provide irrigation water to farmers this summer. Experts feel the situation could have been better handled by farmers’ associations or cooperatives. https://www.livemint.com/Politics/pL05nmZi3fS5j4Kemd6dON/Gujarat-plans-cooperative-model-for-Narmada-project.html (13 June 2018)

Rajasthan Narmada canal is changing state’s biodiversity The Narmada Canal in Rajasthan is now showing its impact on the biodiversity. The first noticeable change came when desert rodents were driven away to drier areas and replaced by those living in the areas with abundant water supply. https://www.hindustantimes.com/jaipur/narmada-canal-is-changing-rajasthan-s-biodiversity/story-i9rVk9GIbzBsnN2xSpUVmM.html (16 June 2018)

Punjab State is losing 8 MAF of water per year There is a decrease of 485 thousand hectares of land under canal irrigation; and that there is a loss of approximately 8 MAF of water each year over the last many years. The data for 2014-15 shows that the source of irrigation for approximately 28.53 per cent (1,175 thousand hectares) was canal and for the remaining 71.46 per cent (2,943 thousand hectares) tubewells. A look at a longer time span of the last 35 years reveals a shocking fact: that the quantum of area under canal irrigation in Punjab has decreased significantly after 1990-91.

– The net irrigated area (NIA) under canal irrigation for 1980-81 was 1,430 thousand hectares which increased to 1,660 thousand hectares in 1990-91. There is a gap in the data available for subsequent years, but for 2000-01, the available data shows the decline to 962 thousand hectares and in 2010-11, rise to 1,113 thousand hectares and as per the latest data available for the year 2014-15, this rises marginally to 1,175 thousand hectares.

– The difference between the NIA under canal irrigation in 1990-91 when it was highest (1,660 thousand hectares) and that in 2014-15 ( 1,175 thousand hectares), shows that since 1990-91, Punjab has lost 485 thousand hectares area under canal irrigation. This amounts to 29.21 per cent decline in NIA under canal irrigation in Punjab between 1990-91 and 2014-15.

– Let us first estimate the volume of this canal water which was once used to irrigate 485 thousand hectares. For simplification, we assume that the 485 thousand hectares of land was used only to produce just one crop of rice in one year (though in reality this land is used to produce more than one crop in a year, we make this assumption to prevent overestimation). The average yield of rice in Punjab for year 2014-15 was 3,838 kg per hectare. Approximately 5,337 litres of water is used for producing 1 kg of rice. So, the total rice produced from the area of 485 thousand hectares in a year would be 186,14,30,000 kg. The water needed to produce 186,14,30,000 kg of rice works out to be approximately 8 MAF (million acre feet).

– The article goes on to try to answer the question where this water went to and what needs to be done now. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/comment/punjab-is-losing-8-maf-of-water-per-year/603829.html (12 June 2018)

Bhakra dam level hits a record low Water level in Bhakra dam has dipped to 1,509 feet, a record low in the last 15 years. As per Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB), the water level at the reservoir was at 1,567 feet on June 14 last year. The inflow in Bhakra was 27300 cusecs, due to melting of snow in the catchment area, while outflow was at 24,800 cusecs. This is despite that 8,000 cusecs from Pong are being diverted into Bhakra every day. The BBMB agreed to release 29,000 cusecs water per day till June 30 to the 3 states (Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan) on June 15 with a rider that they would review the situation on June 30 and take a decision accordingly. “The BBMB seems to have released lot of water for power generation. They should have been more careful during the depletion period of the reservoir,” said a Punjab official. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/punjab-water-crisis-looms-as-bhakra-dam-level-hits-a-record-low-5219455/ (16 June 2018)

Maharashtra Difficult for farmers to abandon sugarcane crop: Gadkari Water resources minister Nitin Gadkari said on June 14, 2018 it was practically difficult for sugarcane farmers in Maharashtra to abandon the water-guzzling crop and shift to other crops, as the latter are less remunerative. The irrigation water productivity (IWP) of sugarcane in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharshtra is lower compared to other states such as Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh, the report said. The IWP of sugarcane in Maharashtra is 4.48 kg per cubic metre water consumed and in Bihar, it is 12.42 kg/cubic metre. The crop consumes a total of 60.43 billion cubic metre (BCM) of water every year in the country. https://www.financialexpress.com/economy/nitin-gadkari-difficult-for-maharashtra-farmers-to-abandon-sugarcane-crop/1206947/ (15 June 2018)

URBAN RIVERS

Tapi River, Surat, Gujarat AAI water aerodrome project at Tapi riverfront not feasible The Airports Authority of India (AAI) will have to rethink on its proposed plan to set-up water aerodrome at the Tapi riverfront to start seaplane and amphibious aircraft operations. In a letter to chief secretary of Gujarat, J N Singh AAI chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra revealed the plans to set up water aerodromes in Gujarat. The AAI has shortlisted Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati riverfront and Surat’s Tapi riverfront for a pre-feasiblity study to start the seaplane and amphibious aircraft operations

The Tapi riverfront is not at all feasible location to set up water aerodrome citing reasons, including non-availability of water in the river, stinking riverfront, heavy siltation etc. “The water aerodrome project at Tapi riverfront is possible only when second weir-cum-causeway would come up near Magdalla, till then the possibility is very less. Also, the upstream of river Tapi at Singanpore is not a suitable location as the water is infested with water hyacinth and other wild vegetation. We will certainly provide our technical inputs to the visiting team members from the AAI,” a senior officer of SMC. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/aais-water-aerodrome-project-at-tapi-riverfront-not-feasible/articleshow/64578608.cms (14 June 2018)

Panchganga, Kolhapur, Maharashtra Case against stealing of Panchganga In a surprising development hundreds of local people in Kulhapur approached the local police station to register a case against stealing of Panchganga river. As per the Hindi Dainik Bhaskar report, urban areas and industries have been discharging waste water in river for over 20 years. The river has been polluted severely. The ecosystem of the river has been finished. The river has turned muddy in village areas and has turned into a drain in urban areas. As a result of all this people are getting no fresh water from the river. http://epaper.bhaskar.com/detail/100368/06120202160000/mpcg/map/tabs-1/2018-06-12%2000:00:00/162/11/image/  (12 June 2018)

RIVERS

unnamed

Ken River Excerpts about Raneh falls from Pranay Lal’s popular book ‘Indica’  “The 400km long Ken river originates in the Kaimur range, the Eastern most mountains of the Vindhyas. It cuts through an amazing variety of formations, like this one near Raneh in Chattarpur district of Madhya Pradesh where you can see several types of rocks in one place. The white-grey rock in the foreground is a cooked calcium-rich rock called dolomite which is about 120 million years old. It lies over a layer of slate, which is about 550 million years old and bears impressions of sea creatures. The pink rock is quartzite, which overlies maroon sandstone that is about 90 to 65 million years old. The grey rock at the bottom right of the picture is 600-to-400-million-year-old granite and below it is the deep grey volcanic basalt which is about 2 billion years old.”  https://www.amazon.com/Indica-Natural-History-Indian-Subcontinent/dp/8184007574

GANGA NGT slams UP municipalities over inaction on Ganga pollution The Tribunal was hearing a plea of the CPCB seeking directions to the UPPCB and the CEOs of five municipal councils (Mirzapur, Chunar, Bhadohi, Fatehpur, and Hastinapur) to “prepare a plan of action to clean river Ganga and water bodies, ground water and soil in a time-bound manner and recover the cost of preparation and execution of such plan of action from the polluters”. Advocate Balendu Shekhar, appearing for the CPCB, had said the respondents (UPPCB and five municipal councils) had failed to provide adequate sewage network and install sewage treatment plants for effective treatment of sewage discharged into the river. https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/discharge-of-sewage-into-ganga-ngt-slams-municipalities-in-uttar-pradesh-118061200821_1.html (12 June 2018)

Center Not possible to clean Ganga without cleaning tributaries: Gadkari At an event in Mathura, Nitin Gadkari, Union Water Minister has reportedly stressed that the Ganga cannot be clean unless its tributaries are clean. He informed that of the 14 ongoing projects on the Yamuna, a major tributary of the Ganga, two are in Uttar Pradesh (Mathura and Varanasi), 10 in Delhi and two in Haryana (Sonepat and Panipat).

Gadkari said the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is also creating a 800-acre garden along the banks of the Yamuna in the national capital and he had also cleared a Rs 37 crore-proposal for a STP for the Sarayu river in Ayodhya. He added that projects on the Hindon and the Kali, the two tributaries of the Yamuna, are also being taken up. As per Nitin Gadkari, 47 of the 225 projects for cleaning the Ganga and its tributaries have been completed.

Meanwhile, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has signed an MoU with the Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) for 2 crore litres per day of treated water for the Mathura refinery. For this, a 20 MLD tertiary treatment plant will be set up which will supply treated waste water to the Mathura refinery of the IOCL.

The cost for the development and operation of the Tertiary Treatment Plant (TTP) for 15 years is Rs 162.38 crore. The IOCL will bear the entire operations and maintenance cost of the TTP amounting to Rs 82.38 crore for a period of 15 years.  Over and above this, the IOCL will pay Rs 8.70 per kilo litre towards the partial capital cost for the development of the TTP. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/india/47-out-of-225-projects-for-cleaning-ganga-completed-nitin-gadkari-2589843.html (13 June 2018)

As per PIB release, the Mathura sewage project is special in three respects. This is the country’s first Integrated Sewage Infrastructure project based on One City – One-Operator concept, which means that the project integrates building of new STPs and maintenance of the existing infrastructure under one operator for the whole city. Secondly, under this project the treated sewage water is going to be reused by IOCL , and thirdly, the project is based on Hybrid Annuity Mode, the third of this kind in this sector after the HAM based STPs being developed in Haridwar and Varanasi. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=179925 (13 June 2018)

Photo Essay Ganga Dussehra – the worship of a vanishing river Pilgrims celebrating the arrival of the Ganga from heaven at the Ganga Dussehra are completely oblivious that the real course of the river has dried up, writes Siddharath Agarwal of Veditum. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/2018/06/13/ganga-dussehra-the-worship-of-a-vanishing-river/ (13 June 2018)

Meanwhile, with a mission to preserve the river Ganga, noted dancers, mother-daughter duo Rajeshwari and Vaishnavie Sainath and 16 other dancers staged a Bharatnatyam ballet titled ‘Ganga’ at Ravindra Bharati in Hyderabad. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/entertainment/events/hyderabad/mission-to-preserve-the-river-ganga/videoshow/64613539.cms (16 June 2018)

SAND MINING

Madhya Pradesh Sand mafia attacks NBA activists in Badwani, cops refuse to act Stone pelting greeted activists associated with the well-known anti-dam civil rights organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), on the state highway from Badwani to Nisarpur, near Rajghat, when they tried stopping 3 tractors filled with sand, allegedly being smuggled from the Narmada river. The incident happened soon after two of the activists, Rohit and Raja, tried calling the Badwani police station to visit the spot.

As per NBA activists, the police, even as registering an FIR with “mild” clauses, refused to act, even though they had submitted all photographs and videos of the incident to police officers, and also identified many of those involved in stone pelting. Contending that sand mafia has the blessings of the rulers of MP and their nominees, NBA said, “Despite the High Court and NGT orders, illegal mining continues on the banks of Narmada, including in the submergence area, causing environmental damage. NBA has reported about this to the revenue and police department, yet things have not changed.” https://www.counterview.net/2018/06/sand-mafia-led-by-bjp-corporator-attack.html (13 June 2018) 

Here is Hindi report clips showing several inroads built in Narmada riverbed by illegal sand miners.

Narmada Mining

http://epaper.bhaskar.com/detail/73854/06130230460652/cph/map/tabs-1/2018-06-13%2000:00:00/194/8/image/ (13 June 2018) 

Punjab Non co-operation among govt departments hampers action against illegal sand mining in Satluj Laying bare tall claims of the Punjab govt of curbing illegal sand mining, two digging machines illegally being used on govt land and caught by the Ludhiana forest department officials a month ago in Goindwal village, Ladhowal, are still at the spot on the Sutlej riverbed.

While it took a week for the Ludhiana police to determine that the location is not in their jurisdiction and in fact falls under Jalandhar police area, the forest department officials have been running from pillar to post all these days to get an FIR registered. The illegal mining first came to light on May 19 when forest department officials got a tip-off. There is a ban on using machines, but contractors use these to extract more sand than they are entitled to and cover area around mines that are allotted legally too. https://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab/illegal-sand-mining-month-on-red-tape-holds-back-action/story-edKrt0sAaxwCD62oQPf6GJ.html (15 June 2018)

Haryana Drone mapping detects unauthorised sand mining in the Aravallis The Gurugram forest department on June 16 completed the drone mapping of two villages in the first phase to check encroachment or illegal activities in the Aravallis. During the mapping process, which started on June 15 morning, a team of forest, wildlife and technical officials, detected illegal sand mining in Sakatpur and Tikli villages. Trucks, laden with sand, were spotted leaving these villages on June 16 morning, a forest official said. Before the mapping teams could get hold of the sand miners, they drove away, the official added. https://www.hindustantimes.com/gurugram/drone-mapping-detects-unauthorised-sand-mining-in-the-aravallis/story-2Tv4AOyJdE2YnTcVYI7CZO.html (17 June 2018)

Tamil Nadu Madurai villagers seek action against sand miners Villagers of Pothumbu village in Madurai have submitted a petition to the district collector demanding that action be taken to prevent illegal mining of sand from the two tanks in their village. They alleged that the removal of silt from the tanks was allowed by an order of the collector which said that the silt should be removed to the depth of three feet, but the contractors were illegally removing the sand which was beyond the permissible limit. Machines were being used to remove the sand, beyond the silt level. This was depriving them of their ground water resource. They had complained to the revenue inspector of the village about a month ago and the contractor was warned. But, the illegal sand mining continued. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/madurai/villagers-seek-action-against-sand-miners/articleshow/64548648.cms (12 June 2018)

‘Rs. 120 cr. fine imposed for illegal sand mining’ CM Edappadi K. Palaniswami Statement in Assembly on June 11: Penalties to the tune of Rs. 120 crore had been imposed and collected from around 48,000 lorry operators involved in illegal sand mining across the State over the last 6years of the AIADMK govt 1. During a debate on the issue of illegal sand mining, raised by DMK legislator Durai Chandrasekaran (Thiruvaiyaru) in the House, Mr. Palaniswami said the fine imposed during the erstwhile DMK regime was only Rs. 50 crore, and only 18,000 lorries were seized. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/rs-120-cr-fine-imposed-for-illegal-sand-mining/article24140333.ece (12 June 2018)

Sand mining on Kosasthalaiyar riverbed sets off alarms The Tiruvallur Collector’s permission to mine sand from Kosasthalaiyar riverbed was based on reports from govt departments analysing the feasibility of operations. The Collector quotes a letter from Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board dated August 31, 2017. The permission order claims that the board had found that groundwater is available at a depth of four metres (12 feet).

The executive engineer of TWAD, Tiruvallur said he wasn’t sure when the reports were taken and that he would check. However, a senior official in the Geology and Mines department confirmed that the reports were prepared in 2016. Experts claim the floods could have had an effect in the surge in groundwater levels. The permission order also claims that TWAD found sand to a depth of five metres at the site. However, Express found that nearly half of the 14-acre mining site was covered in shrubbery and has only clay soil at the top. Officials from the mining department also conceded that half the area was not viable for mining. http://www.newindianexpress.com/specials/2018/jun/18/chennai-sand-mining-on-kosasthalaiyar-riverbed-sets-off-alarms-1829650.html (18 June 2018)

As per another report, the PWD appears to be violating govt norms in mining sand from the Kosasthalaiyar river bed. This could affect Chennai’s water security as the city depends on groundwater from the basin. The order says the 14-acre mining zone can be excavated only to a depth of one metre. But the Express, on June 14 & 15, found mining being done to a depth of two metres in multiple places. There were sections that could hide a six-footer. Officials claim mining to lower depths in other sections would compensate. The order says only two-unit lorries could be used to transport the 12,584 loads of sand that could be mined. But, villagers claim six and eight-unit lorries are used. PWD officials concede bigger lorries are used, but claim the rules apply only for dispatching sand from godown to customers. PWD, then, could be mining three times the amount of sand permitted by the order. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2018/jun/18/kosathalaiyar-river-bed-sand-mining-is-government-violating-its-own-norms-1829654.html (18 June 2018)

13 trucks used for illegal sand mining seized Revenue officials have seized 13 sand-laden trucks and 10 bullock carts in three different incidents in Pudukottai district over the past two days, in a crackdown on illegal sand mining rackets. According to Viralimalai police, the sand was stolen from Koraiyaaru River near Viralimalai. The seized trucks were handed over to the respective police stations. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/trichy/13-trucks-used-for-illegal-sand-mining-seized/articleshow/64579853.cms (14 June 2018)

Karnataka Lokayukta orders to stop illegal sand mining in Gadag Lokayukta Police has found that sand is being extracted illegally at Dyamahunse village in Rona taluk of Gadag district. The investigation was conducted by the Lokayukta police based on an anonymous complaint filed with Lokayukta Justice P Vishwanatha Shetty. Lokayukta has initiated suo-motu proceedings to investigate the matter. Meanwhile, the Lokayukta asked the Deputy Commissioner of Gadag district to conduct an inquiry, submit the report within four weeks and stop the illegal extraction of sand from Dyamahunse village. The superintendent of police, Assistant Commissioner, Rona taluk, Senior Geologist, tahsildar and others are asked to cooperate with Deputy Commissioner. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2018/jun/17/lokayukta-orders-to-stop-illegal-sand-mining-in-karnatakas-gadag-1829270.html (17 June 2018)

Bathymetry survey to be conducted to assess sand availability in CRZ areas Unbridled sand extraction from rivers in Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) in Dakshina Kannada, which got reduced to some extent recently, is set to get further reduced following the district administration’s decision to go for accurate assessment of sand available for extraction. The administration has decided to go for a bathymetry survey of riverbeds in CRZ areas to assess the quantum of excess sand that may be extracted ‘to facilitate smooth movement of fishing boats.’

– The committee had limited the number of permits within one hundred this season, as against over 400 issued a couple of years ago as the first step to prevent excess exploitation of riverbeds. Asked whether the number of permits would further get reduced, Mr. Senthil said it was likely. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/bathymetry-survey-to-be-conducted-to-assess-sand-availability-in-crz-areas/article24117258.ece (9 June 2018)

Telangana Kuthagudem district to use technology to curb illegal sand mining menace Warning of stern action against sand smuggling, Kuthagudem district Collector Rajiv Gandhi Hanumanthu on June 13 said that to curb the menace of illegal sand mining, administration will be introducing GPS tracking system soon. He was addressing a review meeting with the Revenue, Police, and Mining department officers. He said it was noticed that the transporters who were lifting the sand from the reaches for the govt works purposes, were found involved in sand smuggling using the coupons of the government. As per the DC, around 51 sand reaches being monitored by the tahsildhars, panchayat secretaries and mining officers. He also explained that there are 3 kinds of reaches in the district located at Godavari river,  Kinnarasani and other streams.  http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Khammam-Tab/2018-06-13/GPS-to-curb-illegal-sand-mining-menace-Kothagudem-Collector/388926 (13 June 2018)

Andhra Pradesh Raids send sand prices soaring in E. Godavari Sand prices in East Godavari district have gone up from ₹2,000 to ₹3,000 per unit within days of multi-departmental teams commencing raids on sand reaches and ordering the closure of over a dozen reaches. Delivered on the spot over a phone call till a week ago, it required an advance booking of two to three days to get the river sand. It all began with a wordy duel that took place between Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Council Reddy Subrahmanyam and YSRCP MLA from Kothapeta Chirla Jaggi Reddy during the general body meeting of the Zilla Parishad on May 24, over the issue of illegal sand mining. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/raids-send-sand-prices-soaring-in-e-godavari/article24027983.ece (30 May 2018)

FISH, FISHERIS, FISHERMEN

National Fisherfolk’s apex body seeks rejection of draft coastal zone notification National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF), the apex body of fisherfolk across India, has rejected the draft Coastal Zone Regulation Notification 2018 (CRZ 18), released by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) on April 18, even as holding National Day of Protest on June 11 against it by representing before collectors of of the country’s coastal districts under the banner “Restore our coastline, secure our livelihoods”.

The representation said, the draft “scales back the environmental safeguards for the coastlines, and stands in violation of Section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986”, which states that the Central govt shall “take all such measures that it deems to be necessary or expedient for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing, controlling and abating environmental pollution”.

Meanwhile, a public consultation in Gujarat by NGOs Centre for Social (CSJ) and Paryavaran Mitra, Ahmedabad, and a fish-workers’ organization, Darya nu Dayro, with the participation of 30 representatives, also called for the rejection of the draft CRZ 18, demanding that the current CRZ, 2011 notification be “restored” for the preservation of coastal ecology and promotion of economic activity of the local people. https://www.counterview.net/2018/06/protesting-across-india-fisherfolks.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter (11 June 2018)

West Bengal Costly fuel may burn hole in pockets this Jamai Sashthi Peak Hilsa season starts in mid June, this report says, and Jamai Sashthi is on June 18. Diesel Prices is the spoiler here. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/costly-fuel-may-burn-hole-in-pockets-this-jamai-sashthi/articleshow/64528202.cms (10 June 2018) 

WETLANDS

Uttrakhand Threats on Nainital lake remains Water retention in Naini Lake is at an all time low even as construction debris, pollutants and solid waste is choking the reservoir’s bed.

– Numbers speak of the stress that Naini Lake is facing. The population in the hill station, spread over 11.73 sq kms, has swelled from 7,589 in 1881 to 41,377, according to 2011 census. Add to this the floating population of 10,000 to 15,000 tourists and a substantial number of lawyers who reach here every day to attend hearings in the high court. The number of buildings in Nainital, most of them on slopes, has increased from 520 in 1901-02 to over 7,000 at present, including over 150 hotels and resorts.

– Add to it the drying up of its most important source of recharge — Sukhatal —and other factors such as climate change, comparative warming up of the Himalayas, and increasing stress of more people dependent on it. This is symptomatic of what is happening in other Himalayan lakes in the state, such as Bhimtal and Khurpatal.

– Vishal Singh, an expert on Himalayan water bodies and deputy executive director at Doon-based Centre for Ecology Development and Research (CEDAR) along with researchers from Department of Geography, Cambridge University, had conducted a study of the critical water sources of Naini Lake during 2014-16.

“We found that revival of Sukhatal was critical to the long-term survival of the Naini Lake. Also, all the ridges and depressions on the slopes around the lake are recharge zones for the lake. But with a huge number of constructions coming up on the slopes, the runoff has increased and seepage has decreased,” he added.

– All these Himalayan water bodies are wetlands but the state govt has not yet notified them. The builder mafia is taking advantage of this fact and have gone ahead with construction on the lake beds and on the lakes’ shore. https://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/in-giving-life-to-nainital-its-lifeline-is-dying/story-3d0rT41aFxUZ0wbCz2rI9K.html (11 June 2018)

‘Nainital Houseful’ banners greet tourists with vehicles in hill station Nainital has 12 parking lots with combined capacity to accommodate nearly 2000 four-wheelers. The town has been witnessing an influx of 3,000 to 4,000 tourist vehicles every day. On weekend the number go exponentially up. On June 10 nearly 6000 vehicles came out of the town.

The unprecedented step, officials said, follows the directives issued by the High Court in April this year. Earlier, the high court had in 2017 asked the administration to create an app to enable tourists to book parking slots before they landed in Naninital. The court had, prior to that, directed the district administration to seal all such hotels, guest houses and home stays that do not offer parking space to their guests.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/nainital-houseful-banners-greet-tourists-with-vehicles-in-uttarakhand-hill-station/story-8Blk1nfJofoz6lyTfrWqbJ.html (12 June 2018)

Gujarat Thousands of lakes now flow only in govt files Thousands of lakes — natural pitchers to store precious water and recharge our groundwater aquifers — lie completely silted, with some having housing societies built on their filled beds or encroached by slums or usurped by local bodies for roads or open spaces.

– In 2005, the state govt had notified 44,138 lakes, almost two and half times the number of lakes that are claimed to be desilted under the Sujalam Sufalam Jal Sanchay Abhiyan. Almost 1,939 are within urban areas. A whopping 625 are within the urban limits of Vadodara, the highest in the state, followed by 330 in Surat while Ahmedabad has 61 and Rajkot 9 notified lakes. But sadly, most of these face the danger of disappearing with agencies hardly moved to save them over the past 13 years. In Vadodara’s Bapod area alone, 38 lakes are completely silted, 26 have turned into dry pits, 11 lakes disappeared to build roads, three lakes have been reserved for police housing, district panchayat housing and Sardar industrial estate. Recently, despite the 2005 notification, the high court had to issue a stay to the state government’s decision to de-notify a lake in Tandalja area. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/thousands-of-lakes-now-flow-only-in-govt-files/articleshow/64533959.cms (11 June 2018)

Charotar wetlands home to 233 crocodiles The first ever summer night count of Charotar crocodiles conducted by the Voluntary Nature Conservancy (VNC) has revealed that wetlands of lush green Charotar belt of Central Gujarat are home to as many as 233 crocodiles.  VNC which has been conducting Charotar Crocodile Counts since the last five years annually during winters, for the first time had conducted a summer crocodile count between May 11 and May 13 this year.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/charotar-wetlands-home-to-233-crocodiles/articleshow/64279373.cms (23 May 2018)

Jammu & Kashmir Fascinating! As the legend describes it, Kashmir Valley was a huge lake Kalhana, the author of the earliest recorded history of Kashmir, Rajtarangni, states that the valley of Kashmir was a huge lake called Satisar. The Lake was drained through the Varmul gorge by Kashyap Reshi after killing the demon Jalodbhava guarding the outlet. The draining of the Lake reclaimed the present valley of Kashmir.

The geological findings especially the presence of Karewas (geological formations of sedimentary clay) throughout the valley confirm this mythological belief. For thousands of years Kashmiris had the privilege of having the last remnants of Satisar as Wular, Manasbal, Dal, and Nageen. These water bodies were our living heritage from the times immemorial. In fact, as per the findings at Burzhom and many other similar places, the human civilisation in Kashmir started on the banks of these water bodies right from the Neolithic age. https://countercurrents.org/2018/06/14/the-vanishing-water-bodies-of-kashmir/ (14 June 2018)

Has Kashmir wronged its water bodies? Athar Parvaiz also writes that the massive urban expansion in Srinagar and some major towns of Kashmir is also consuming the region’s wetlands. More than 50 percent of water bodies in Srinagar and its suburbs have been lost during the past century. Over the same period, the area of Srinagar grew 23 times and population 12 times. https://india.mongabay.com/2018/05/29/has-kashmir-wronged-its-water-bodies/ (29 May 2018)

Maharashtra Lack of commitment making mangrove committee ineffective: Expert In a strong worded letter addressed to all the members of the Bombay High Court appointed-wetland grievance redressal committee, environmentalist Stalin D, who is also a member of the committee, has alleged complete lack of commitment shown by govt departments thereby making the committee ineffective. The trigger for the letter was the recent case earlier this month where despite the committee asking CIDCO officials to stop reclamation of a pond in Kharghar, the officials continued the work forcing residents to approach the High Court, which then stayed the work.  http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-lack-of-commitment-making-mangrove-committee-ineffective-green-expert-to-bombay-high-court-panel-2624400 (DNA, 12 June 2018)

Haryana Gurugram’s water bodies revival plans still on paper In 2016, MCG conducted a study of 120 water bodies in the city, and selected 12 of them to revive within a span of six months, on the basis of feasibility, catchment area and practicality. It was the latest of several such promises made by the govt in the past five years, from ones to remove encroachment from the water bodies and their catchment, to their revival. However, all these plans remain on paper.

To have a reality check ToI  visited 20 water bodies in the past two weeks, including the 12 — in Sukhrali, Ghata, Badshapur, Fazilpur Jharsa, Wazirabad, Garauli Kalan, Basai, Sarai Alawardi, Jahazgarh, Kadipur, Sirhaul and Dhanwapur — that MCG has promised to revive. The team found that so far, revival work has been carried out at just two ponds, in Sukhrali and Kadipur. While a proposed walkway around the Sukhrali pond is still being built, at Kadipur, encroachment has been removed around the pond and a walkway constructed.

Catchment areas of lakes in Ghata, Jharsa and Badshapur have been encroached upon by land mafia and public infrastructure projects, while religious places, community halls and illegal colonies have come up on the lakes in Choma and Carterpuri. Meanwhile, the authorities have allowed private players to carry out fish farming in Basai lake.

Sirhaul village, which once had two ponds, now has none. A community centre has been developed on one of them, while a park has been developed on part of the other. In Sikanderpur, a community centre has come up on the bed of the pond, while a govt school and a temple have come up on the beds of ponds in Mulahera and Carterpuri. According to an RTI response by block development officers, nine water bodies — including ones in Carterpuri, Gurugram village, Dundahera, Mulahera and Choma — are now fed only by sewage. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/gurugrams-water-bodies-dry-up-but-revival-plans-still-on-paper/articleshow/64580905.cms  (14 June 2018)

Birders revive call for wetland tag on Najafgarh, Basai Birders across Delhi and NCR have renewed their demand for the need to give status of wetland to both Najafgarh and Basai Jheel basins, after a ‘near threatened’ Black-necked Stork was spotted with a rubber ring entangled around its beak — part of the garbage that is indiscriminately dumped in these water bodies, in which the bird had evidently foraged for food.

Two years ago, during a hearing of a case in the NGT, the Haryana govt had agreed to give the Najafgarh basin area wetland status. As per the new Wetland Rules 2016, it’s the sole responsibility of the state govt to declare wetlands in a state. In 2016, the Haryana govt started the process and submitted a ‘brief document’ on Najafgarh Jheel to the MoEF&CC. For Basai, on the other hand, the state govt has always denied giving wetland status. As per revenue records and the Master Plan, land in Basai is marked for public utility (as Sector 100 and 110) and as agricultural land.

“There has been no effort by the Haryana govt to take a decision and declare Basai and Najafgarh as wetlands, despite the fact that the state govt has sole authority to take the decision. In its document on wetlands, the Haryana govt has, in fact, listed only 51 wetlands, which is quite shocking. As per Wetland Inland Atlas of the MoEF&CC, there are 44 wetlands in Gurugram alone. How can the entire state have just 51?,” said Pankaj Gupta of Delhi Bird Foundation, a Delhi-based NGO, adding, “Basai is a big wetland spread over 900 acres still now. Even today, one can find water in it in peak summers.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/birders-revive-call-for-wetland-tag-on-najafgarh-basai/articleshow/64579616.cms (14 June 2018)

Neha Sinha is also pained by the stork incident. She writes that “Firstly, Basai is our backyard — Gurgaon — and shows the devastating impacts of plastic waste. Ironically, we are in the middle of a Clean India movement, and on World Environment Day on June 5, PM Modi called for an end to single-use plastic. Secondly, this incident proves just how badly our natural areas are treated. Wetlands become wastelands, and rivers become sewage drains. I wrote earlier how some of Delhi’s biodiverse wetlands, Basaiand Najafgarh, are under imminent threat.” https://www.dailyo.in/variety/stork-with-plastic-around-its-beak-basai-wetland-gurgaon-waste-dumping-pollution/story/1/24805.html (11 June 2018)

As per another report, one of the biggest contributors to degradation of urban wetlands is plastic waste. According to a 2015 report by the  Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), a statutory organisation which keeps an eye on pollution, India produces 25,940 tonnes of plastic waste every day. Delhi alone contributes 700 tonnes per day, the highest among all cities. And it is always the wetlands – water bodies, ponds, rivers, natural drains –  which suffer as they are invariably turned into dumping grounds for urban waste. https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/the-stork-has-delivered-a-message-save-the-wetlands/312538 (15 June 2018)

Andhra Pradesh CM exempts 20k acres from Kolleru lake Naidu, while holding a review meeting, accepted the request of the farmers of D Patta lands to the extent of 5,600 acres and others to the extent of 15,0000 acres to exempt them from the lake protection area. The decision will now bring down the extent of the lake between contour 3 to contour 5 from the existing 78,000 acres to 58,000 acres. Naidu also directed officials to develop the lake into a tourist place. He asked officials to take up restoration of the canals and drains leading to Kolleru and prepare them to receive Godavari river water through the Pattiseema project. He also directed them to construct regulators at Kottada and Chinnagollapalem to regulate flow of water into the lake and outside. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/amaravati/andhra-cm-exempts-20k-acres-from-kolleru-lake/articleshow/64590713.cms (14 June 2018)

Karnataka Water bodies cannot be transferred to private parties  An 18-year-old circular which had provisions to sanction government-owned water bodies to private organisations has been withdrawn with immediate effect, Minister for Revenue and Skill Development R.V. Deshpande said on June 15, 2018. This decision comes after a recent warning by the Supreme Court to authorities against using government-owned water bodies for any kind of public or private purpose. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/water-bodies-cannot-be-transferred-to-private-parties/article24175421.ece (16 June 2018)

AGRICULTURE

Andhra Pradesh Farmers taking to ‘natural farming’ Kumar is among 163,034 farmers in Andhra Pradesh practising zero-budget natural farming or ZBNF, where chemical fertilizers and pesticides make way for locally available cow dung and cow urine, jaggery and pulse flour. These are used to make a fermented culture which stimulates microbial activity in the soil, promoting better plant growth and protect crops against pest attacks.

Mulching, or covering the top soil with crop residues to increase water retention and supply the soil with essential nutrients; and intercropping, say coconut farms with cocoa or banana plantations with yams and pulses are also integral to ZBNF. The method was pioneered by Subhash Palekar, an agriculturalist from Maharashtra and a Padma Shri awardee from 2016.

On 2 June, the Andhra Pradesh govt launched an ambitious scale-up of the ZBNF programme to take it to 6 million farmers by 2024. The programme will be promoted by a specialized wing of the govt called Rythu Swadhikara Samstha. An interesting innovation here is that the agency has recruited over 100 natural farming fellows—agriculture graduates who are paid Rs 30,000 a month to demonstrate the benefits of ZBNF by taking up farming in rented plots and staying in villages to answer farmers’ queries. https://www.livemint.com/Politics/RR91lCVqVKPaQuBovNeYGM/How-Andhra-Pradesh-is-taking-to-natural-farming.html (12 June 2018)

MONSOON 2018

Delay in Kharif sowing likely as monsoon might weaken over next 1 week Monsoon progress likely to be delayed. Most of Central India, East India and All of North West India is yet to be covered as also parts of NE India. https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/delay-in-kharif-sowing-likely-as-monsoon-might-weaken-over-next-one-week-118061101179_1.html (11 June 208)

SOUTH ASIA

India Bhutan TRANSBOUNDARY BHUTAN INDIA DAM FLOODS The CWC has issued an alert to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority over the release of water from Kurichu dam in Bhutan on Friday after continuous rainfall, which will affect people in Barpeta and Bongaigaon districts.

An ASDMA official said the water released from Kurichu dam flows into the Beki river and if more water is released, then the water level of the Aai flowing through Bongaigaon district will also go up.

“This could cause flooding in villages in Barnagar and Kalgachia revenue circles affecting nearly 50,000 people. Kalgachia is a low-lying area so it takes time for the flood situation to improve,” Nandita Dutta, project officer of Barpeta district disaster management authority, said. According to reports, the release of water from the Kurichu dam in 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2016 affected thousands of people in lower Assam. https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/north-east/alert-over-bhutan-dam-water-release-238238 (17 June 2018)

Kuri Hydro project intensifies floods in Assam It says: “Turning a deaf ear to demands to take measures to control flood intensified by the released water from Kuri Chu Hydro-electric Project, Bhutan Govt is going to build a new Kuri-I project with cooperation from India and Bangladesh. In the last few years, there were many incidents of sudden rise in the water levels of river Beki that washed away embankments, roads, and bridges. Authorities of the two districts in Assam, Barpeta and Baksa have been alleging that there was no prior warning by Bhutan before releasing the water from its Kurichu dam, which affected several thousand families and flooded Manas and Beki rivers, the two principle tributaries of Brahmaputra river in lower Assam as well as large area of Manas National Park, a UNESCO heritage site, were inundated on June 13, 2018 night after an embankment was breached.

– This new project is most likely to appear as a potential disaster to the downstream villagers and farmers in Assam and the wildlife and environment of Manas National Park.” The new project will be built on Kurichu after the confluence of river Dorjilung. Lyonpo Lekey Dorji, the economic affairs minister, revealed on June 12, 2018, the memorandum of understanding for the 1125 MW Kuri-I or Dorjilung project would be signed at an occasion when leaders of all three countries – Bhutan, Bangladesh and India would meet. “To this effect, the draft MoU that provides broad framework for trilateral cooperation stands shared among the three countries and still being reviewed by respective authorities in finalising it,” he said. Lyonpo said that the govt of India has formed a review team headed by the power secretary and that the team is currently working on revising the guidelines. The concession agreement for Kholongchhu project is still on hold because of the issues with guidelines. https://nenow.in/opinion/kuri-hydro-electric-project-intensify-floods-assam.html (14 June 2018)

Has hydro power deal strengthen India Bhutan friendship? Bhutan and India are in the midst of a year-long celebration marking 50 years of formal diplomatic ties between the two nations. Many eyes in Bhutan will be on the two specific and big events which have been packaged as a part of the celebrations. The first is the formal agreement with India on the 2,560 MW Sunkosh reservoir project and the laying of its foundation stone, which is awaited – though assurances have been given to top Bhutanese leaders by New Delhi. The second event is the inauguration of the 720 MW Mangdechu project scheduled for around November 2018 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but here it is more about the final power tariff rate that India will agree to before the inauguration. What happens in terms of the two events is seen to play an important role in determining the ties between India and Bhutan. For the 2,500 MW Sunkosh, the Detailed Project Report has been completed.

– A study on the Chukha project conducted in 2008 by the Center for International Development, Duke University, USA, and the Department of Economics, Queen University, Canada concluded that due to the low tariff rates, India completed the recovery of the investment cost with its economic opportunity cost by 1997, which is just nine years after the project started in 1988. However, the Mangdechu project, unlike Chukha and Tala, is built on only 30 percent grant and 70 percent loan making the cost of financing much higher and hence, pushing up tariff rates. https://www.thequint.com/voices/opinion/bhutan-india-friendhip-strengthen-with-hydropower-deal (13 June 2018)

Nepal Largest hydro projects in the offing The Department of Electricity Development (DoED) is preparing to award a survey licence for the largest ever hydropower project in Nepal to state-owned Vidhyut Utpadan Company. The Mugu Karnali Hydroelectric Project located in northwestern Nepal has an installed capacity of 1,902 MW. Vidhyut Utpadan Company will undertake a study of the mammoth storage type project after obtaining the survey licence. The company applied for a permit at the department on April 15. DoED is reviewing the application and will forward it to Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation. The Ministry, if satisfied, will approve, after which DoED will issue the survey license. The company will have two years to complete the survey. The reservoir project located on the Karnali River extends across Mugu, Bajura and Humla districts. http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2018-06-13/nepals-largest-hydro-project-in-the-offing.html (13 June 2018)

Four people, including two Indians, who had gone missing after a huge mass of earth caved in at a tunnel site of the Arun III hydro power project in eastern Nepal, have been rescued after nearly 40 hours. The mud mound at Numko Fyaisando tunnel had caved in and swept away the workers along with a dozer on June 15, 2018 night. https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/2-indians-among-missing-workers-rescued-from-nepal-hydro-project-after-40-hours-1868812 (17 June 2018)

http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2018-06-16/4-killed-in-sankhuwasabha-mud-mound-collapse.html (16 June 2018)

Pakistan Due to inefficiency & rising population Pkistan is fast running out of water Pakistan’s water crisis has become increasingly visible in recent months: levels in the largest dams are low; parched irrigation canals mean farmers in the south planted less cotton; and the commercial capital Karachi has long queues at hydrants. So there was little surprise when, on June 6, during a spell of unseasonably high temperatures, the Pakistan Meteorological Department issued a drought alert.

Yet that is unusual for this time of year when winter snows in the mountainous north typically melt and fill the rivers. The lack of run-off is part of the problem, said the Met’s director general Ghulam Rasul, but the main issue is a lack of rain. Last year’s monsoon was about a quarter below normal while the winter rains, from December to March, were about half the average, he said. “Drought-like conditions have emerged in most parts of Pakistan,” he added.

Much of the water used in Pakistan comes from its two largest dams, the Tarbela and the Mangla. Both are managed by the Indus River System Authority, a government agency. In March, the agency said the dams had, for the first time in 15 years, reached the “dead level”: the point at which their water cannot be drained by gravity, and can only be pumped out.

Pakistan’s population is growing at 2.4% annually. Last year it reached 208 million, up from just over 130 million in 1998. Linked to that, per capita water availability has been on a downward trend for decades. In 1947, when Pakistan was created, the figure stood at about 5,000 cubic metres per person, according to the World Bank. Today it is 1,000 cubic metres. https://scroll.in/article/882805/at-dead-level-why-pakistan-is-fast-running-out-of-water (17 June 2018)

CHINA

Nepal China Agreement on 1000-MW Manag-Marsyangdi Hydro project Nepal and China are likely to sign a Memorandum of Understanding allowing China to open Disaster Management and Rescue centre, one each, in all the seven provinces of Nepal. The MOU is likely to be signed during Nepal PM K P Oli’s six-day trip to Beijing beginning June 19. The Nepal minister said China has agreed to fund 1000-MW Manag-Marsyangdi Hydro project. https://indianexpress.com/article/world/nepal-pm-kp-oli-to-visit-china-mou-on-disaster-management-on-table-5218117/ (15 June 2018)

THE REST OF WORLD

SANDRP Blog Risk of collapse of Hidroituango Dam hangs over Columbia Hindroituango Dam on Cauca River in Columbia continues to face emergency situation since April, and collapse of the dam is one of the likely possibilities. It’s a very large embankment dam being built Cauca River near to Ituango in Antioquia Province in Latima American country Columbia. There is a lot everyone including us in India and South Asia can learn from this developing emergency. Plz read, send comments and share. https://sandrp.in/2018/06/12/risks-of-collapse-of-hidroituango-dam-hangs-over-columbia/ (12 June 2018)

American Rivers The importance of floodplains to fish in Mississippi Floodplains provide important resources to fish, especially catfish, in Mississippi’s Big Sunflower River writes Dr. Donald Jackson in a guest blog for American Rivers which is a part of our America’s Most Endangered Rivers series on the Big Sunflower river:-

– Rivers, unlike ponds and lakes, derive most of the energy driving biological productivity from organic material (primarily plant material) of terrestrial origin. Organic material, including leaves, woody debris and detritus from vegetation, is colonized by bacteria and fungi that convert it to forms usable (digestible) by aquatic invertebrates like insect larvae, snails and crayfish.

– Production of aquatic invertebrates is called secondary production. The amount of secondary production in an aquatic ecosystem is directly related to fishery production. The more organic material entering the aquatic component of a river ecosystem, the greater the secondary production, and the greater the fishery production.

– During high water, rivers like the Big Sunflower fill their floodplains and fish leave the confines of the normal river channel. They follow the rising water both to exploit the additional sources of food the floodplain affords, and to spawn in the floodwaters. When the river recedes after high water, the fish return to the river’s channel nourished through feeding on the floodplain. Some species spawn on floodplains and return to the main channel having contributed a new year-class of juveniles to the river.

– Generally speaking, fishery production for a given year in a floodplain river ecosystem is directly related to the height and duration of flooding one to two years before the year in question. This is usually the amount of time it takes for fish that were spawned in the flooded areas to grow large enough to be captured in the fishery (this is called recruitment into the fishery).

– When a river’s cycles of flooding and low-flow periods are disrupted by human activities, the fishery and the people who may have dependencies on it can suffer. Although flooding can occur during any time of the year, across evolutionary time aquatic organisms have evolved to anticipate flooding during winter/early spring and low flows during summer/autumn.

– Most rivers in “The Delta” have been modified by damming and dredging (including, in some cases, channelization). These activities are designed to minimize flooding. Two principal rivers in the region that have not been significantly altered are the Big Sunflower River and the Big Black River.  Floodplains provide important resources to fish, especially catfish, in Mississippi’s Big Sunflower River writes Dr. Donald Jackson in a guest blog for American Rivers which is a part of our America’s Most Endangered Rivers series on the Big Sunflower river. https://www.americanrivers.org/2018/05/the-importance-of-floodplains-to-fish-in-mississippi/?utm_campaign=coschedule&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=americanrivers&utm_content=The%20Importance%20of%20Floodplains%20to%20Fish%20in%20Mississippi (26 May 2018)

US Coke not giving back as much water as it is taking With all the poor track record of Coke in India, this is from US: In a 2016 full-page ad published in The New York Times, the company proclaimed, “For every drop we use, we give one back,” boasting on its website that it was “the first Fortune 500 company to hit such an aggressive target.” But a year of reporting into Coca-Cola’s water program shows that the company is grossly exaggerating its water record, which suggests that its new “World Without Waste” recycling plan should also be viewed with skepticism.  https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/31/17377964/coca-cola-water-sustainability-recycling-controversy-investigation (31 May 2018)

WATER SMART CITY? Los Angeles is in the midst of an aqueous awakening, setting an ambitious goal to cut its reliance on imported water in half by 2025 by following an increasingly urgent rule of good water policy: diversification. In a nutshell, that means getting your water from a range of sources—rain capture, aquifers, wells, desalination, even right out of the air. A study from UCLA earlier this year even said the city could feasibly reach 100 percent locally sourced water. To do it, the city is diving into a series of high- and low-tech campaigns that could transform Los Angeles into a model city for water management.

– “Now there’s been there’s been a shift in that thinking,” Castro says. “Now we see stormwater as an asset.” Climate change will not be kind to Southern California. “More droughts, more floods, and more warm temperatures all will result in more water when we don’t want it, and less water when we do,” says Michael Kiparsky, director of the Wheeler Water Institute at UC Berkeley.

– Waste water recycling is also part of the menu. As also getting water from the air.

– All well and good, but technology will only get us so far. We can’t just engineer our way out of this one. “It’s got to be a conservation mind-set,” Childress says. “We have to start valuing water more.”  https://www.wired.com/story/la-is-doing-water-better-than-your-city-yes-that-la/ (12 June 2018)

MIT Research New system recovers fresh water from power plants A new system devised by MIT engineers could provide a low-cost source of drinking water for parched cities around the world while also cutting power plant operating costs.

– About 39 percent of all the fresh water withdrawn from rivers, lakes, and reservoirs in the U.S. is earmarked for the cooling needs of electric power plants that use fossil fuels or nuclear power, and much of that water ends up floating away in clouds of vapor. But the new MIT system could potentially save a substantial fraction of that lost water — and could even become a significant source of clean, safe drinking water for coastal cities where seawater is used to cool local power plants.

– The principle behind the new concept is deceptively simple: When air that’s rich in fog is zapped with a beam of electrically charged particles, known as ions, water droplets become electrically charged and thus can be drawn toward a mesh of wires, similar to a window screen, placed in their path. The droplets then collect on that mesh, drain down into a collecting pan, and can be reused.This is described in a paper published today in the journal Science Advances, co-authored by Maher Damak PhD ’18 and associate professor of mechanical engineering Kripa Varanasi.

– It could dramatically improve the efficiency of fog-catching systems, and at a surprisingly low cost. The equipment is simple, and the amount of power required is minimal. A typical 600-megawatt power plant, Varanasi says, could capture 150 million gallons of water a year, representing a value of millions of dollars. This represents about 20 to 30 percent of the water lost from cooling towers. The concept will be soon tried at MIT’s own power plant. http://news.mit.edu/2018/new-system-recovers-fresh-water-power-plants-0608 (8 June 2018)

Study 2014 Napa quake may be linked to groundwater changes Research suggests the magnitude 6.0 earthquake that rocked California wine country in 2014 may have been caused by an expansion of Earth’s crust because of seasonally receding groundwater under the Napa and Sonoma valleys.

“We think it’s more of a localized effect, something related to the groundwater system. We don’t know if it is groundwater pumping specifically, or something related to how the natural aquifer system works, or a combination,” said lead author Meredith Kraner, formerly of the Department of Geosciences at Stony Brook University in New York and now with the University of Nevada, Reno. The early morning Napa quake on Aug. 24, was the largest to hit the San Francisco Bay Area since the magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake of Oct. 17, 1989. It left 8 miles (12.8 kilometers) of surface rupture and damaged many historical masonry buildings and older residences, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. https://apnews.com/ef3a2a7eccfc43189b8b8728bf0f8a2f (June 2018)

Study Seismometer readings could offer debris flow early warning This could save lives: In the wake of the largest wildfire in California’s history, the December 2017 Thomas Fire, a powerful storm dumped about five inches of rain on the denuded hillsides of Santa Barbara County, triggering debris flows on January 9 that killed 21 people and destroyed hundreds of homes in the Montecito and San Ysidro Creek areas.

– Seismologists at Caltech noticed that the rumble and roar of the mudslide was detected by a seismometer about 1.5 kilometers away from the worst of the damage. Significantly, they found that the seismogram generated by the event reveals information about debris-flow speed, the width of the flow and the size of boulders it carried, and the location of the event— results suggesting that the current generation of seismometers in the field could be used to provide an early warning of an incoming debris flow to residents in mudslide-prone areas.

– Their study, which was published online on May 30 by Geophysical Research Letters, shows that seismometer readings could potentially have offered some of the residents of Montecito between 5 and 10 minutes of warning on January 9. The research was led by Victor Tsai (BS ’04), corresponding author of the paper and professor of geophysics. “The motion of the ground can indicate a lot of things, from the detonation of a warhead to the motion of a glacier. The trick is determining what the signal means,” he says. “Debris flows move much slower than earthquakes, so we could potentially develop an early warning system that would offer important warnings for residents and first responders,” he says. http://www.caltech.edu/news/seismometer-readings-could-offer-debris-flow-early-warning-82393 (30 May 2018)

New Book: Human Planet A manifesto to save Planet Earth (and ourselves) By Simon Lewis and Mark Maslin University College London: The impacts of human actions on our home planet are now so large that many scientists are declaring a new phase of Earth’s history. The old forces of nature that transformed Earth many millions of years ago, including meteorites and mega-volcanoes are joined by another: us. We have entered a new geological epoch, called the Anthropocene.

As scientists we agree that society has entered a dangerous new time. But what is to be done?

cover

In our new book, The Human Planet, published on Thursday, we present a new view of how humans climbed down from the trees of Africa to become a geological superpower.

We argue that to avoid ever-larger environmental changes causing a societal collapse, we need to acknowledge the incredible power that modern society possesses and direct it towards a shift to a new type of society in the 21st Century. Our influence is more profound than many of us realize.

Globally, human activities move more soil, rock and sediment each year than is transported by all other natural processes combined. The total amount of concrete produced by humans is enough to cover the entire Earth’s surface with a layer two milli metres thick. Micro-plastics are found in every ocean. We have cut down half of Earth’s trees, losing three trillion, with extinctions becoming commonplace.

“… we need to acknowledge the incredible power that modern society possesses and direct it towards a shift to a new type of society in the 21st Century. Our influence is more profound than many of us realize. Globally, human activities move more soil, rock and sediment each year than is transported by all other natural processes combined.” https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/karnataka-rains-krs-reservoir-sees-highest-water-levels-4-years-9450-ft-83102 (7 June 2018)

Citarum river the world’s most POLLUTED river The Citarum river in West Java is the most polluted river on Earth. The layers of trash, waste and dead animals make it impossible to see even one glimpse of the water. Watch the video here.

According to media reports, the Indonesian river receives 20,000 tons of waste and 3,40,000 tons of wastewater every single day. The Citarum river in West Java has been dubbed as the most polluted river on Earth. The layers of trash, waste and dead animals make it impossible to see even one glimpse of the water. The polluted water has killed a huge amount of water animals, including several species of fishes. https://indianexpress.com/article/trending/viral-videos-trending/video-this-is-the-worlds-most-polluted-river-heres-why/ (14 June 2018)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Study Dry riverbeds are contributing more carbon emissions than previously thought

– “There is a substantial amount of plant litter that accumulates in dry riverbeds and when they flow again this material can break down rapidly. We’ve now estimated the potential short-term CO2 emissions during these rewetting events,” said Nathan Waltham from James Cook University in Australia. “We believe that a single pulse of CO2 emission upon litter rewetting contributes up to 10 per cent of the daily CO2 emission compared to perennial rivers and streams, particularly in temperate climates. “What this means is that the contributions of intermittent rivers and streams should be included in global carbon-cycling assessments,” Waltham added.

– Intermittent rivers, as the name suggests, sometimes stop flowing and can dry completely. Although far less studied than permanent rivers, they could represent half of the world’s river network. For the study, the international team of researchers looked at 212 dry riverbeds in the world. The results were published in the journal Nature Geoscience. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/global-warming/how-dry-riverbeds-contribute-to-climate-change/articleshow/64624600.cms (17 June 2018)

Uttrakhand Snowfall possible in May June According to Bikram Singh, director, meteorological centre, Dehradun, snowfall can occur over peaks having an altitude of over 4000 and 4500 meters in the month of June as part of a normal weather pattern. “Depending upon the intensity of western disturbance and location of zero degree isotherm (the freezing level), which is usually located between the height of 4000 to 5000 meters, snowfall can take place before the onset of monsoon. However, after the onset of monsoon, snow activity does not usually take place below 6500-7000 meters of altitude,” he said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/climate-change-freak-snow-in-may-june-dashes-hopes-of-mountaineers-in-garhwal/articleshow/64533579.cms (11 June 2018)

Gujarat Ahmadabad climate future looks fiery Climate change will severely affect Rajkot – and by extension central Saurashtra – by the end of the century, predicts a research paper by Gujarat-based officials of the India Meteorological Department. The researchers say that in the next eight decades, by 2099, the maximum summer temperature will increase by 3.3 degrees (C) and the minimum winter temperature will rise by 4.5 degrees.

The hotter climate will mean more rain and the region will witness a 11% to 14% rise in average rainfall. The changes by 2030 will be 0.5 C in Summer Temp, 0.8 C in Winter Temp and 2% rainfall increase and by 2065, 1.7 C, 2.2 C and 11% respectively. The paper, “Future Climate Change Scenario in Hot Semi-Arid Climate of Saurashtra, Gujarat by using statistical downscaling by LARS-WG model’ by Jayanta Sarkar and J R Chicholikar of IMD, Ahmedabad, was published in the IMD’s quarterly journal Mausam. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/climate-change-future-looks-fiery/articleshow/64579177.cms (14 June 2018)

Chhattisgarh Govt to study impact of climate change on water sector Chhattisgarh govt has signed a memorandum of understanding with North-Eastern Regional Institute of Water and Land Management for preparing a ‘State Specific Action Plan on Climate Change for Water sector’. NERIWALM has been made national nodal agency while the National Institute of Technology, Raipur (NIT-R) has been made nodal agency by state WRD. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/raipur/chhattisgarh-to-study-impact-of-climate-change-on-water-sector/articleshow/64576047.cms (13 June 2018)

ENVIRONMENT

National India slips to bottom on global environment performance index 2018  Unable to improve its air quality, protect its biodiversity, and cut its greenhouse gas emissions, India – say all available data — stands today at the bottom of the Global Environment Performance Index (EPI) rankings. In 2016, the country had ranked 141 out of 180 countries. In 2018, it has slipped to the 177th position.

– In 18 Indian states and UTs, over 82 per cent rural households, which is the national average, remain without a tapped connection. The dependency on groundwater has increased between 2004 and 2013. 70,736 rural habitats with a combined population of 47.4 million live on contaminated groundwater. Traces of new contaminants are now being reported in the country, suggesting a steady decline in the quality of groundwater. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/coal/india-slips-to-bottom-global-environment-performance-index-2018/64554506 (12 June 2018)

Maharashtra Tribunal refuses to abolish ban on Aarey carshed construction NGT on June 14 turned down a request by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL), seeking immediate removal the ban imposed on construction of a metro car-shed at Aarey Colony, Goregaon east. The car-shed is part of the underground metro 3 project (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz) that the MMRCL is executing.

Mid-May, the NGT upheld its previous order and restricted the MMRC from cutting trees, dumping debris and reclaiming land at the car-shed site till July 10. Meanwhile, some activists alleged that the inspection done by the Bombay high court committee at the metro 3 transplantation site revealed that up to 40 per cent of the transplanted trees did not survive. As per them around 365 of the 900 trees did not show any signs of sprouting. http://www.asianage.com/metros/mumbai/150618/tribunal-refuses-to-abolish-ban-on-aarey-carshed-construction.html (15 June 2018)

National Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas of India, 2016 It was recently released by the Space Application Centre (SAC), department of space and reveals that while the area of desertification in Jharkhand increased by 1.01%, between the block years of 2003-2005 and 2011-2013, the same in Rajasthan decreased by 0.29%.

Gujarat has the third highest area under desertification in the country. The state is only better than Jharkhand and Rajasthan. Around 52% of the total geographical area of 1.96 crore hectares in the state is under desertification. The same in the last eight years increased by nearly 1.85 lakh hectare or 0.94% of the total geographical area. The area under desertification in Jharkhand is 68.98% followed by Rajasthan (62.90%) and Gujarat. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/gujarats-desert-ratio-is-3rd-highest-in-india/articleshow/64618383.cms (17 June 2018)

Karnataka 10 mining companies facing Rs 80 crore penalty to be shut in Bannerghatta 10 mining companies in Thammnaikanahalli, located in the Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) of Bannerghatta National Park (BNP), were reported to be closed by June 12 evening. They also face a huge penalty of approximately Rs 80 crore. Earlier in April, the mining operations of five cos in Shivanahalli were closed, however, the penalties are yet to be worked out in their case.

The Joint Survey and spot inspection done by both the state Mines and Geology (M&G) and Forest departments have now revealed that all 15 mining companies have done excess mining in the 1-10 KM zone of BNP, thereby violating mining, environmental and forest laws, SC orders and guidelines. Most of these companies are located at 1.3/1.5 to 3.5 kilometers from BNP’s boundary but none of them are within the 1 km safe zone. Not only excess mining has been done by each of these 15 companies but four major lapses have been observed by the joint survey team. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2018/jun/11/10-mining-companies-facing-rs-80-crore-penalty-to-be-shut-in-bannerghatta-today-1826625.html (11 June 2018)

Op-Ed The signs of a failed environmental regulatory system by Kanchi Kohli & Manju Menon: The Uttarakhand High Court rule on banning hydropower operators and road developers from dumping debris in the rivers & the NGT reminder state governments to immediately prepare action plans for the utilisation of fly ash generated from coal power are two examples symptomatic of a failed environmental regulatory system, where harmful energy projects are approved behind the rationale of mitigation measures. These poorly designed safeguards add to the dangers faced by people and the environment. It is no wonder that environmental mitigation measures are seen as a ‘Trojan horse’ by social activists and organisations. http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/column-the-signs-of-a-failed-environmental-regulatory-system-2626395 (18 June 2018)

Analysis Why India Is The World’s Deadliest Country For Forest Rangers by Prerna Singh Bindra:- Between 2012-17, India accounted for nearly 31%–162 of 526–ranger deaths, according to the federation. Besides being the highest globally, this is just one less than the sum of deaths of the next five countries on the list–Congo, Thailand, Kenya, USA and South Africa. http://www.indiaspend.com/cover-story/why-india-is-the-worlds-deadliest-country-for-forest-rangers-85333 (26 May 2018)

Uttar Pradesh 25K tonnes of solid waste to stink for 40 days in Noida A staggering 25,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste will stink for 40 days at the Sector 123 dump site before a remediation machine—that the Noida Authority is planning to purchase—can be deployed to segregate the waste into refuse derived fuel (RDF), as suggested by the authority in a meeting on June 8. It will take nearly 30 to 40 days for the machine to be procured and deployed at the dump site while the monsoon is expected to hit NCR by June 29. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/noida/25k-tonnes-of-solid-waste-to-stink-for-40-days-at-sector-123-till-machine-arrives/articleshow/64514745.cms (9 June 2018)

Also see DRP News Bulletin 11 June 2018  & DRP News Bulletin 4 June 2018

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.