DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 25 June 2018: Himachal Hydro remain stalled: Big Hydro no longer viable

Private Hydro remain in stalled Himachal The State Govt has sought the revised completion schedules of 21 stalled hydropower projects (above 5 MW capacity) having a capacity of 684 MW. Additional Chief Secretary (Power) Tarun Kapoor on June 19, 2018 held a meeting with independent power producers to take feedback from them on the hurdles being faced in completion of the 10 stalled projects on which work has not begun. In the remaining 11 projects also, the progress is extremely slow. “We have asked the power producers to expedite work on these 21 projects and also cancelled the Joiner-II (8 MW) in Kinnaur,” revealed Kapoor.

– The 10 projects on which work has been stalled include Sorang (100 MW) Tidong-I (100 MW), Tangnu Romai-I (44 MW), Paudital Lass (24 MW), Roura-II (20MW), Kut (24 MW), Tangnu Romai-II (6 MW), Fozal (9 MW) and Rajpur (9.9 MW). The other 11 in which progress is very slow include Baoji Holi (180 MW), Kuwarsi-II (15 MW), Salun (9 MW), Raura (12 MW), Rala (13 MW), Jeori (9.60 MW), Lambadug (25 MW), Wanger Homte (24.60 MW), Holi-II (7 MW), Swelti Masrang (24 MW) and Chanju-II (19.8 MW).

– At the same time, there are 53 other private projects at various clearance stages with a total capacity of 2,917 MW. The number of private projects which have been commissioned is 22 with a total capacity of 1,965 MW. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/fed-up-by-delay-govt-tells-firms-to-expedite-projects/607793.html (20 June 2018)

HYDRO POWER

Sikkim

Delay in Teesta III line causes Rs 6 cr loss per day: AIPEF The Sikkim govt’s failure to complete transmission line from Teesta-III hydro power station to Kishanganj substation has resulted in loss of 500 MW continuously, particularly in summer and monsoon, with Rs 6 crore loss per day, All India Power Engineers’ Federation said. According to the AIPEF’s white paper, power generated from 6 hydro power stations in Sikkim is pooled at 400 kv  grid substation Rangpo, owned by Power Grid Corporation. This pooled power is transmitted from Rangpo to 400 kv grid substation at Binaguri (near Siliguri) through transmission line that has capacity to transmit 1700 MW about 150 km away in West Bengal. From Binaguri this hydro power is dispersed over eastern grid which in turn is linked with northern, southern and western grid of the country.

– The 6 hydro stations with combined capacity of 2098 MW which are connected to Rangpo are NHPC Teesta-V (510 mw), Chuzachen  (99 mw), Jorethang (96 mw), Teesta-III (1200 mw, with over load capacity of 1320 mw), Dikchu (96 mw), and Tashiding (97 mw). https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/power/delay-in-teesta-iii-line-causes-rs-6-cr-loss-per-day-aipef/articleshow/64649339.cms (19 June 2018)

Tamil Nadu

Museum of hydro-electricity projects The recently inaugurated museum at Manjoor highlights the history of hydro-electric power, and the Nilgiris’ key role in electrifying Tamil Nadu till the second half of the 20th Century. V.R. Thimmarayappan, who joined the Kundah hydro-electric circle as Junior Engineer in 1961 shortly after its completion, and who was on a visit to the museum, said that the museum was showcasing instruments and equipment that have been in use since the early 1930s. “As the golden era of dam constructions have come to an end, college students and people interested in learning about the history of the various dams across Tamil Nadu must pay a visit to the museum,” he said. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/showcasing-history-of-hydro-electricity-projects-in-india/article24203794.ece (19 June 2018)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Ferocity of Glacial Lake Outburst in Bhaga Valley in Himachal Have you seen how FEROCIOUS glacial lake outburst flood can be? We too have not, but WATCH this.

https://sandrp.in/2018/06/23/ferocity-of-glacial-lake-outburst-in-bhaga-valley-in-himachal/ (SANDRP, 23 June 2018)

Is there a new lake at Gangotri? Meanwhile, a team of experts led by the executive director of Uttarakhand’s Disaster Mitigation and Management Centre (DMMC), has denied that a lake has formed in the Gaumukh glacier from where the Ganga river originates. Last year, after a team from the Dehradun-based Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology revealed that a lake had started forming at Gaumukh as a result of which the river had altered the direction of its flow, Uttarakhand high court had in December 2017 directed the state government to clear the lake.

However, local residents said that they did not concur with the experts’ views. Mukesh Semwal, president, Gangotri Temple Samiti told that heavy accumulation of debris in the river bed is a big threat. Last year, a few huts and safety walls situated at Gangotri town got washed away during the monsoons because of the river’s levels rising. The govt needs to re-evaluate the situation and remove debris from Gangotri town and upstream on an urgent basis. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/experts-claim-no-new-lake-formed-near-source-of-ganga/articleshow/64714045.cms (24 June 2018)

DAMS

Telangana

Nagarjunasagar dam loses 25% storage over the years The dam was built to hold 408.24 TMC (Thousand Million Cubic Feet) of water. The Central Water Commission (CWC) which examined the dam using remote sensing techniques found that the capacity had dropped to 312 TMC, a fall of nearly 100 tmc ft. The CWC study found that the capacity at dead storage level had shrunk to 133 TMC and live storage level to 175 TMC. The biggest concern is drop in storage capacity at live storage level by 67 TNC. The CWC studied 108 major dams across the country to assess the impact of accumulation of silt. Deforestation in the Krishna catchment area and urbanisation are said to be some of the reasons for increasing silt in the dam. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/180618/nagarjunasagar-dam-loses-25-per-cent-storage.html (18 June 2018)

Polavaram Dam

Provide cultivable land to Polavaram displaced: ST panel Give cultivable fertile land, means of livelihood, enhanced compensation package and proper houses to tribals— National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has directed Andhra Pradesh to improve on resettlement and rehabilitation of 55,000 tribal families displaced by Indira Sagar Polavaram project. This is the largest displacement of tribals by a single development project in India.

– The directive comes after extensive field visits conducted by NCST earlier this year following representations from social organisations that alleged that tribals were being displaced without proper compensation packages and made to give up fertile land for non-cultivable land without water. The Commission has punched holes in Andhra Pradesh government’s rehabilitation of tribals affected by the project. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/provide-cultivable-land-to-polavaram-displaced-st-panel-tells-andhra-pradesh-government/articleshow/64675573.cms (21 June 2018)

AP WR Secretary’s tall claim: “We are just a year away from getting water from the Polavaram project.” Water Resources Secretary of Andhra Pradesh, Shashi Bhushan Kumar says in media interview: “We have completed close to 56 per cent of all the civil works of the project. We are working towards providing water through gravity by monsoon of 2019, and I am convinced that we will achieve it.”

“The Full Reservoir Level of Polavaram dam is 150 ft. The next relevant height, that of the cofferdam, is 135 ft. The purpose of the cofferdam is to create a water-free area to take up the construction of earth-cum-rock fill dam. However, in this case, as per the design, the cofferdam’s height is enough for water to flow into the canals by gravity. That is why, we have divided the work of land acquisition into two slots. One, acquisition of villages that come for submergence at 135 ft and the other between 135 and 150 ft. So, we are on schedule as we have completed LARR for the 135 ft mark. In fact, of the entire 1.6 lakh acres of land to be acquired, 1.15 lakh acres of land has already been acquired.” A lot of tall order statements in the interview. (http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2018/jun/24/we-are-just-a-year-away-from-getting-water-from-polavaram-1832780.html June 24 2018)

Pong dam oustees struggle 60 years after displacement The issue of Pong dam oustees that has been lingering for the past more than 60 years is again in limelight. Hundreds of dam oustees, led by Independent MLA Hoshiar Singh, carried out a candle light march and gathered near the Pong dam lake. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/mla-leads-protest-march-by-pong-oustees/610186.html (June 24, 2018)

Dam Safety Bill 2018 4 Tamil Nadu dams in Kerala to come under national dam safety panel The Union govt has decided to bring the policy, guidelines and standards for safety of four dams located in Kerala but owned, operated and maintained by Tamil Nadu under the proposed National Dam Safety Authority. The dams are Mullaperiyar, Parambikulam, Thunakadavu and Peruvaripallam.

Under the amended draft Bill, the state that maintains and operates a dam will own it. The national dam safety authority will perform the role of the state dam safety organisation. Ministry sources said the authority will also take care of the dams, either owned by central public sector units or situated in more than one state. While water is governed by Entry 17 of the state list, the Centre is set to take the route of Entry 56 of the Union list, which allows it to deal with inter-state rivers, if Parliament enacts a law. Currently, there are no rules and regulations for dam safety and Centre relies on National Disaster Management Authority. None of the dam safety organisations in the country have statutory powers, but are only advisory in nature.

TN officials said they were unaware of the draft Bill, 2018, until the cabinet gave its nod last week. CM Edappadi K Palaniswami had demanded that the Centre keep in abeyance the cabinet decision until all the states were consulted and a consensus evolved. The J Jayalalithaa government had objected to, raised concerns about, the Dam Safety Bill, 2016, that stipulated that the state dam safety organisation would have jurisdiction over all dams in a state irrespective of who owned, operated and maintained them.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/4-tamil-nadu-dams-in-kerala-to-come-under-national-safety-panel/articleshow/64677156.cms (21 June 2018)

Gujarat

Sindhrot check dam: Boon for Barodians, bane for villages A dam in Mini river (tributary of Mahi River) at Sindhrot near Vadodara for Vadodara water supply has created havoc for 23 downstream villages, were the salinity has affected not just the river, but the groundwater, and the pollution from nearby industries have made the matters worse. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/sindhrot-check-dam-boon-for-barodians-bane-for-villages/articleshow/64688545.cms (22 June 2018)

Kerala

Govt to probe whether check dam triggered landslide that killed 13 people CM informed the state assembly that a panel had been constituted and it would soon submit a report on whether the collapse of the private check dam (storage capacity 4 lakh litres) had caused the destruction in the region, killing 13 people at Kattipara in Kozhikode district. The leader of opposition also sought an explanation from the state government over the sanction given to set up the check dam in such a landslide-prone area. The committee comprises panchayat secretary, a geologist and officials of the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management. https://gulfnews.com/news/asia/india/kerala-govt-to-probe-whether-check-dam-triggered-landslide-that-killed-13-people-in-kattipara-kozhikode-1.2238748 (18 June 2018)

MONSOON 2018

IMD Current Weather Status and Outlook for next two weeks (21 June- 04 July 2018) Monsoon situation looks dicey. It has halted for over a week, last week (week ending on June 20) the national rainfall was 39% below normal and next week does not seem very promising, even as there is some revival on June 24-25 with heavy rains in parts of West (Mumbai, Konkan) & East India (W Bengal). http://www.imd.gov.in/pages/press_release_view.php?ff=20180621_pr_288 (21 June 2018)

Study India’s Monsoon Winds Have Blown For Nearly 13 Million Years India’s monsoon winds kicked into gear 12.9 million years ago, indicates a new study published in Scientific Reports. The team proposes that the rise of the Himalayan Mountains and a cooling climate likely created conditions that allowed the monsoon to take shape. An older, weaker version of the seasonal shifting winds likely snowballed into the monsoon’s present-day strength over a swift (geologically speaking) 300,000 years. https://www.popsci.com/indias-monsoon-winds-have-blown-for-nearly-13-million-years (9 August 2016)

ABOUT IMPACT OF STALLED MONSOON

Prabhat Khabar, June 25, 2018

http://epaper.prabhatkhabar.com/1709996/RANCHI-City/City#page/10/1 (June 25, 2018)

FLOODS 2018

CWC, Google tie up to better flood forecasting Let us see if and how this helps. Google would use high resolution digital elevation model and vast computational resources to generate flood inundation maps while utilising the level forecast input provided by CWC. For 2018, inundation forecasting would be done on a trial basis and it would be up scaled in the future. The water ministry, in 2016-2017 had launched a World Bank assisted programme, National Hydrology Project, with the aim of improving the extent, quality, and accessibility of water resources information, decision support system for floods and basin level resource assessment/ planning and to strengthen the capacity of targeted water resources professionals and management institutions. http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/jun/18/central-water-commission-google-tie-up-to-better-flood-forecasting-1830031.html (18 June 2018)

North East Flood Floods in northeast India Over the past few days, floods have hit several states, claiming the lives of at least 25 people and displacing hundreds of thousands of citizens. In Assam, the deluge has reportedly affected nearly 550,000 people. The neighbouring states of Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura have also been affected, with flooding forcing thousands into relief camps. The damages suffered by Assam due to flooding every year are Rs128 crore ($19 million) on average, with around 2.6 million people being affected, according to data from the Central Water Commission.  https://qz.com/1307939/floods-in-indias-assam-manipur-and-tripura-kill-25-displace-thousands/ (19 June 2018)

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Ken Betwa

No consensus Ken Betwa Link between UP & MP The project “was accorded clearance by the National Wildlife Board on the condition that the land lost would be made good by acquiring contiguous, revenue land. This is to ensure that wildlife corridors in the region aren’t hit. “The M.P. government has said that they are facing major difficulties over this,” said a senior person in the Water Ministry involved with the project.”

– Another hurdle is a dispute over how Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh — the two beneficiaries — will share water in the Rabi season. These “major” issues made it quite unlikely that the project will get under way this year. A person familiar with deliberations said, “New points of differences between the two States are constantly being raked up…there are still many things to be ironed out before the project can be sent for the [Union] Cabinet’s approval.” http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/indias-first-river-interlinking-project-caught-in-up-mp-tussle/article24212657.ece (20 June 2018)

While addressing a conference on ‘Water for Sustainable Development-2018-2028′ in Tajikistan on June 20, 2018, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said something different, but that is understandable. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/linking-of-30-rivers-put-on-fast-track-to-tackle-water-woes/articleshow/64671511.cms (20 June 2018)

Par Tapi Narmada

Gujarat refuses to share Tapi water with Mah Gujarat refuses to provide 474 MCM Tapi river water to Maharashtra, so no headway on Damanganga Pinjal and Par Tapi Narmada ILR projects. https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/mumbai/other/gujarat-refuses-to-share-tapi-water-with-state/articleshow/64704783.cms (23 June 2018)

INTER STATE WATER DISPUTES

Cauvery

K’taka govt may file appeal against provisions of Cauvery Water Regulation Committee Following the notification of the formation of the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) despite Karnataka’s opposition, the state may file an appeal against provisions of the scheme. Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy was livid as the Central govt went ahead and notified the formation of the CWRC with consulting with Karnataka. The CM also held a meeting with state Attorney-General Uday Holla. The government is now mulling filing an appeal with the Supreme Court regarding the functioning of the committee.

During his recent meeting with PM Modi in New Delhi, CM Kumaraswamy had urged the Centre to revisit the disputed provisions on forming the committee before issuing the notification. The CM said he would meet the Union Water Resources Minister once more and also write to the Centre on the issue. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/k-taka-govt-may-file-appeal-against-provisions-cauvery-water-regulation-committee-83588 (24 June 2018)

RIVERS

GANGA

Swami Sanand on fast unto death for Ganga Swami Sanand ji (Prof G D Agarwal) has started Fast unto death from June 22, 2018 at Matri Sadan, Haridwar for the cause of Ganga. He had written a letter to the Prime Minister about it several months ago and raised specific demands, see the following links. He has received no reply from the Prime Minister. (https://www.facebook.com/100002976473260/posts/1540232889419245/https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1540203246088876&id=100002976473260)

Swamiji is seeking the intervention of the Prime Minister and the Union Water Resources Minister in saving the Ganga. He is demanding that work on the Vishnugad Pipalkoti, Singoli Bhawari and Phata Byung hydroelectric projects be stopped, the passing of the Draft Ganga Protection Act and the creation of a national Ganga follower committee, whose permission will be necessary before initiating any work in the vicinity of the river. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/uttarakhand/elderly-man-goes-on-fast/609495.html (June 23, 2018)

Centre Ganga can’t be clean unless its tributaries like Yamuna are clean:  Gadkari The Union Water Minister Nitin Gadkari stressed that Ganga cannot be cleaned unless its tributaries are cleaned. The minister also informed that 47 of the 225 projects for cleaning the Ganga and its tributaries have been completed, while 14 projects are under construction on the river Yamuna. ‪‪

However Mr Gadkari said that in 2018, there will be lot of expenditure “As per my assessment, we will be able to spend 60 to 70% of the (total) funds. So, from 20 % to 70 per cent means that expenditure going up by between Rs 8000 crore and Rs 10,000 crore, Mr Gadkari added. Till the end of the previous fiscal, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), had spent Rs 4,254 crore (or 20%) of the around Rs 20,000 crore sanctioned for the programme since 2015. https://swachhindia.ndtv.com/ganga-cant-be-clean-unless-its-tributaries-like-yamuna-are-clean-nitin-gadkari-namami-gange-21454/ (18 June 2018)

YAMUNA

Delhi Railways to build 2 more bridges over Yamuna Old Railway bridge also known as Loha Pul will be replaced by new 800-metre-long new double-line rail bridge. It is  being built at an estimated cost of Rs 200 crore. It is expected to be operational by March 2019. Another bridge is set to come up near the existing Nizamuddin rail bridge. The proposed 600-metre bridge, would be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 425 crore.

“The hydraulic study for the proposed new rail bridge is underway and we are expecting the construction to start by year-end,” a senior Railway Ministry official said. The construction of this new bridge along the Nizamuddin bridge is expected to claim about 2,000 kikar trees on the dry riverbed. The road bridge which is part of the old bridge will continue to be in use and its maintenance will now be handed over to the Delhi govt by Northern Railway. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/railways-to-build-another-bridge-over-yamuna-to-ease-congestion/articleshow/64661234.cms (20 June 2018)

SAND MINING

Uttar Pradesh अवैध बालू खनन सोनभद्र के ¨वढमगंज थाना क्षेत्र के पकरी ग्राम पंचायत के ग्राम प्रधान व एक ग्रामीण के बीच June 23 की सुबह कनहर नदी में बालू का अवैध खनन व परिवहन करने को लेकर विवाद हो गया। ग्रामीण युवक का कहना था कि बालू के अवैध खनन से नदी का अस्तित्व खतरे में पड़ता जा रहा है। हम इसलिए विरोध कर रहे थे। https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/sonbhadra-illegal-sand-mining-18113744.html (23 June 2018)

FISH, FISHERIES & FISHERMEN

Karnataka New wonders in rivers of Western Ghats A team of researchers has a discovered a species called Pethia Sahit — a new species of fish from the Western Ghats. There are currently 39 valid species in the genus Pethia, of which nine are endemic to peninsular India, and in particular to the river systems originating in the Western Ghats mountain ranges.

Pethia Sahit and Pethia longicauda are distributed in the Krishna river system of the southern India, while their sister taxa Pethia phutunio and Pethia ticto are distributed in Ganges and Mahanadi of northern India. Since all these river systems ultimately go into the Bay of Bengal, there is a possibility that some evolutionarily recent freshwater connections occurred along the coastline of this bay due to high rainfall and vast lowland floodplains.

Another team of researchers have discovered a new species of badid fish from Western Ghats called Dario Neela. The species name ‘neela’ is derived from the Malayalam word, ‘Nila’, for blue and alludes to the striking iridescent blue colour of males. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/news/state/karnataka-new-wonders-in-rivers-of-western-ghats/articleshow/64670935.cms (21 June 2018)

WETLANDS

National Science, Policy and Law of Wetland Conservation in India Prof Brij Gopal writes about this on page 13-15 of this issue. India has no wetland-specific policy or law. The ecosystem services of wetlands are recognised in India’s National Environment Policy, 2006 which also mentions the need for maintaining their ecological character. The Government adopted in 2010 the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, to regulate various activities affecting the wetlands adversely. These Rules were replaced recently by the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2017, which together with some judgements of the National Green Tribunal in cases involving wetlands have cast a deep shadow over the future of wetlands in India. These recent developments highlight the inefficacy of the policies and inherent weakness of laws both of which are not driven by science. https://limnology.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/SILNews-72.pdf (June 2018)

West Bengal

Objections over EIA process for construction of flyover on East Kolkata Wetlands A crucial environment impact assessment has been commissioned for a road and a flyover that are to be built through the East Calcutta Wetlands, a 12,500-hectare span of water bodies regarded as the city’s kidneys. The Thane-headquartered Ultra-Tech Environmental Consultancy & Laboratory has been given four months to study air, water and soil conditions in the project area and stack those values against corresponding projections after work starts and when the infrastructure is in use.

According to experts in impact assessment, starting the exercise at this time of the year makes four months inadequate for a proper study. “The guidelines of MoEF states that baseline monitoring cannot be done during the monsoon because particulate matter in the air settles down during this period,” an engineer said. A senior official of Ultra-Tech said the strongest impact of construction would be on air quality. Dust particles settling in the water bodies can affect the marine ecosystem as well. https://www.telegraphindia.com/calcutta/impact-report-on-wetlands-projects-238737  (19 June 2018)

Karnataka

Floods rattle Mangaluru due to neglect of wetlands by  M Raghuram Until the first week of June this year, Mangaluru city had never witnessed large-scale and life-threatening floods except for once in 1972. Meteorological experts attributed it to a ‘cloud burst’, but what happened in this coastal city recently was a result of ignorance and nonchalance on the part of the city’s planners, who have been unmindful of the topography and natural dynamics of the region. Ignorance, because the planners did not care to protect the wetlands, as a result of which the whole area has been inundated, causing significant social and individual damage.  Mangaluru’s water bodies have been neglected so far, and are quickly disappearing. Most of them have given way to urban dwellings, agricultural operations, and natural siltation. The siltation levels are alarming, and are attributed to the large-scale deforestation that is taking place around the wetlands.

In Dakshina Kannada district alone, over 540 ponds and tanks are on the brink of destruction by ‘wilful closures’ and mindless urbanisation. The coastal districts of Karnataka have more than 18 world-class wetlands right from the north of Chandragiri River to Karwar, while Mangaluru has two of the most sensitive wetlands which are ranked twenty-ninth among the world’s endangered wetlands. India has no law in force yet to bring wetlands under the purview of land use norms. Of the 88 wetlands of international importance in the country, 45 per cent are under “moderate to high” threat. Estuaries on the west coast are also categorised as “highly endangered”, according to studies carried out by Dr Hussain. https://swarajyamag.com/politics/why-did-floods-rattle-mangaluru-neglect-of-wetlands-was-a-decisive-factor (17 June 2018)

NGT panel: Bellandur Lake Bengaluru’s biggest septic tank The city’s biggest lake has become its largest septic tank and the blame goes to the government and civic agencies, which have failed to discharge their duties, a commission appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has concluded. The panel made the observations in its report prepared after inspection of three lakes, including Bellandur, the largest and most polluted in Bengaluru. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/ngt-panel-bellandur-lake-bengalurus-biggest-septic-tank/articleshow/64581044.cms (14 June 2018)

Hyderabad

Styrofoam use in floating wetlands objected The Neknampur Lake’s floating treatment wetland, which has been serving as a fitting example of low-cost but effective techniques used to clean city lakes, has been facing controversies after a group of citizens raised concerns over the use of styrofoam or thermocol for the wetlands. Dhruvansh, a voluntary organization working for the lake’s protection, introduced its first floating island in March 2017. It was designed using styrofoam, plastic, bamboo, gunny bags and coir. However, a citizens group say that the floating islands made using Styrofoam is harmful as its a banned material in many countries including India.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/floating-wetland-in-green-muddle/articleshow/64251127.cms (21 May 2018)

Kerala

New species of amphipoda found in Vembanad lake Researchers from the School of Marine Sciences at Cusat have reported the discovery of a new species of Victoriopisa (amphipoda) from the Valanthakad mangrove in Vembanad backwaters. It has been named Victoriopisa cusatensis. This is the first time a species is named after Cusat.

As per Bijoy Nandan, the discovery underscores the need to conserve our mangroves. Kerala had 14,000 ha of mangroves a few decades ago which is fast shrinking due to construction activities. According to a recent report of the Forest Survey of India, the mangroves in Kerala has shrunken to around 600 ha. The mangroves and wetlands in Kerala house many benthic organisms which are yet to be explored. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/kochi/2018/jun/19/new-species-of-amphipoda-found-in-vembanad-lake-1830106.html (19 June 2018)

Gujarat

Uday Vora appointed member of National Wetland Committee The Union govt has appointed Uday Vora, the chief conservator of forest as the member of the National Wetland Committee. Vora will be the member along with Arvind Kumar, president, Chair Founder of India Water Foundation, BC Jha, former principal scientist, ex-officio Head, Reservoir & Wetland Fisheries Division, CIFRI and also director, School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi. Vora is the third person from the state to find a place in national committee. Earlier it was HS Singh who was appointed as the member of the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife and later it was CN Pandey who was appointed as chairman of the 14-member Expert Appraisal Committee for Environment Clearance to Industry-I projects. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/uday-vora-appointed-member-of-the-national-wetland-committee/articleshow/64637171.cms (18 June 2018)

Delhi

Concretizing Purana Qila lake bed to affect its recharge capacity The Archaeological Survey of India, following a NGT order, has started restoring the moat lake at Purana Qila and outsourced the work to the National Building Construction Corporation. The agencies are also considering lining or concretising the base of the lake and fill it up with water from Okhla STP to ensure that there is water all year round. But, the plan would inhibit groundwater recharge in a water-scarce city like Delhi.

Recently, Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan has written to the LG and the CM about how it would inhibit groundwater recharge in a water-scarce city like Delhi. As Manu Bhatnagar, head, natural heritage division of INTACH, moat lake can recharge about 10 MLD. He also said that in simple terms, the recharge potential of the moat — 2 ha in size — is enough to sustain the water needs of 30,000 people over a year. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/purana-qila-lake-may-lose-recharge-capacity/articleshow/64655047.cms (20 June 2018)

Manipur

Water Lives in Loktak In Loktak Paat (lake), the community believe in the presence of Loktak Lairembee (The Goddess of Loktak). She is the only goddess who will be whispered every day, believed to be the protector of the Paat and the Paat people. https://pangsau.com/2018/06/13/the-struggles-of-the-lake-people-in-loktak/ (13 June 2018)

WATER OPTIONS

Uttarakhand Govt to replenish 67 ‘drying’ natural springs Siddharth Patil from ACWADAM said that traditional methods such as contour trenching, vegetative plantation and making pits on slopes to harvest rainwater, will be adopted by forest officials to increase groundwater recharge to treat 67 identified springs in 30 locations. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/to-curb-forest-fires-ukhand-to-replenish-67-drying-natural-springs/articleshow/64654218.cms (20 June 2018)

Treating sewage to recycle is likely to be cheaper option A study reveals that India suffers from water scarcity for over seven months a year. The current water requirement for India is around 28,251.73 TMC (thousand million cubic feet), which is close to the utilisable water resource (i.e. available fresh water) for our country (roughly 38,351.73 TMC). Desalination processes could be a solution to India’s perennial water woes. However, these processes have a major drawback — they consume a large amount of energy, most of which is derived from fossil fuels. Considering the fact that India and the rest of the world are moving towards fossil-free energy generation, it would be prudent to combine Renewable Energy with desalination technologies. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/opinion-renewable-energy-based-desalination-could-resolve-indias-perennial-water-woes/64631343 (18 June 2018)

Green toilet in my backyard  Chicu from India Water Portal says: “Ecological sanitation toilets are the best option to deal with mounting sewage burden in India.” http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/green-toilet-my-backyard (18 June 2018)

Indian drumstick seed can solve poor world’s drinking water problem Researchers in the US have found that proteins from drumstick plant can help provide clean water to millions of people across the world. Drumstick seeds are already used for a type of rudimentary water purification. But this process leaves behind high amount of dissolved organic carbon from the seeds, letting bacteria to regrow in the water after just 24 hours. Hence, only a short window of time is left before the water purified through the rudimentary process become undrinkable. Now a modification has been introduced using a sand filter to solve this issue. https://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/great-news-indian-drumstick-seed-can-solve-poor-worlds-drinking-water-problem-heres-why/1210717/ (18 June 2018)

GROUND WATER

Punjab ‘Save water and earn money’: PSPCL launches voluntary scheme for farmers Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has come up with a new scheme of direct benefit transfer for electricity to agricultural consumers. Under the scheme “Paani Bacho, Paise Kamao” (save water, earn money) farmers will get monetary benefit for less use of tubewell to pull water out of the ground. Farmers will get ₹4 as direct benefit for each unit saved. Seen as a double bonanza, farmers will earn money for power which the Punjab government gives them free of cost.

– A brainchild of PSPCL chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) Baldev Singh Sran, it will be a voluntary disclosure scheme will not be forced on consumers. Giving example, Saran said if the supply limit of a farmer is 1,000 units per month — according to the BHP (brake horsepower) capacity of the submersible pump — and the consumption is 800 units, ₹800 (₹4 per unit) will be directly credited into the beneficiaries bank account. He said if the consumption exceeds the limit, farmers will not liable to pay any charges. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/save-water-and-earn-money-pspcl-launches-voluntary-scheme-for-farmers/story-6CI0p45fKGRr4yKCzRMwMO.html (13 June 2018)

West Bengal Issue of groundwater depletion, contamination and regulation According to the state Pollution Control Board, in more than half of the blocks of Bengal, the water level is falling by 20 centimetres a year on average. In tandem, arsenic and fluoride contamination is also increasing. In rural areas, drinking water supply is largely dependent on non-electrified tube wells. Many such tube wells have already failed, while many of them are yielding contaminated water, creating a drinking water crisis. The falling water table has also led to the drying up of many water bodies, with a serious impact on local flora, fauna and the ecology. https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/big-worry-239290 (22 June 2018)

URBAN WATER

Guardian on On Shimla water crisis “All over India, we have an anarchic situation in water management,” says Himanshu Thakkar, the coordinator of SANDRP. He compares Shimla to Cape Town, the South African city that narrowly avoided running out of water this year after officials raised warnings and citizens restricted their use. “Once they predicted that water would run out, action followed,” Thakkar says. “In India, you would never even get a prediction. The water would just go.”

Without effective plans to manage dwindling supplies, future water crises will likely play out the same way. “That’s what the powerful people want,” says Thakkar, the water rights advocate. “They are in a position to pull the strings they need to. The weaker people have no strings to pull.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/21/shimla-india-water-crisis-life-on-frontline (21 June 2018)

Bangalore does not need external water The city, Mr Vishwanath argues, does not have to depend on water drawn externally “if it chooses to”. Bengaluru receives around 3,000 million litres of rainfall every day and it draws 1,350 million litres externally per day. “So, even if we manage to harvest half of the rainfall, we would be able to meet the city’s need,” he says.

But this is unlikely to happen as long as the authorities remain hooked on the inefficient system based on pumping water from distant reserves. “The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board doesn’t have a single hydro-geologist; groundwater just doesn’t exist for them. What is needed is an institutional thrust that changes a model that remains supply-oriented to one that is in sync ecologically and socially,” he adds. https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/south-asia/india-faces-water-crisis-largely-of-its-own-making (June 25, 2018)

India’s colonial legacy almost caused Bangalore to run out of water The authors say, Bangalore is “a city starved of water: a legacy of colonial policies that relied on vast technological solutions to solve local problems.”

– “Grand technological visions have proved incapable of meeting Bangalore’s needs since colonial times. But local, community-led measures to manage and replenish water have a good chance of creating a water-secure, resilient city: an object lesson for those planning cities for the future.” https://theconversation.com/indias-colonial-legacy-almost-caused-bangalore-to-run-out-of-water-98494 (20 June 2018)

Bangalore managers reject zero day prognosis Meanwhile, officials at the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB),  dismissed the claims that the city was on the verge of running out of ground water. “The BWSSB has been around for 54 years. In my experience, there is no reason to believe that there will be such a severe shortage in 2020,” Kemparamiah, Chief Engineer at the BWSSB said. Kemparamaiah however admitted that the problems related to depleting ground water levels were at the outskirts of the city.

– Kemparamaiah’s claims are backed up by the Bengaluru Urban Metabolism Project, which records Bengaluru’s groundwater levels at 150 borewells in the city every month. “There are inconsistencies when people quote the groundwater level in reports. NGOs and government bodies have made statements not making it clear where they obtained their data. With the data we have, the situation is not as bad as it is laid out (in the Niti Aayog report)”, an academician who was part of the Bangalore Urban Metabolism Project said.

– “In the case of the NITI Aayog report, it is not very clear whether they have made the right assessment. They have based their findings on another source, whose data-set is unclear. Anyone making a judgment should have realistic data. It is important that the source of data should be open to authenticity.”  the academician added.

– Since the BWSSB’s formation in 1964, the civic water body had implemented new projects in 1974, 1983, 1992, 2002 and 2012. In 2012, the Cauvery Stage 4 Phase 2 project was executed which provided water to the city

– Until 2007, Bengaluru’s water usage was close to 900 MLD. 7 City Municipal Corps, 1 Town Municipal Corp and 110 Villages were brought under the purview of the BBMP in 2007.  The water board was then allocated an additional 100 TMC of water to cater to the extra demand. Today, Bengaluru draws 1400 mld of water from Cauvery. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/bengaluru-wont-run-out-groundwater-2020-experts-disagree-niti-aayog-83547 (23 June 2018)

Also see, some examples of water conservation efforts in Bangalore. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/how-data-on-water-sources-can-enable-greater-preservation/articleshow/64692585.cms (22 June 2018)

Gujarat Study says Pirana dump is poisoning groundwater A recent groundwater analysis by the civil engineering department of LD College has found that The Pirana dumpsite is injecting poison into our groundwater source. The study also said that groundwater pollution has breached all parameters of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The study has revealed that groundwater around the dumpsite, especially in areas such as Behrampura, Nagma Nagar, Faisal Nagar, and Chhipakuva was severely polluted. The volume of sulphates, phosphates, and chloride alarmingly exceeds the BIS standards for drinking water (BIS 1500:991) and the limits set by the World Health Organization. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/study-says-pirana-dump-is-poisoning-groundwater/articleshow/64618437.cms (17 June 2018)

Pirana landfill: A ticking time bomb The landfill remains a ticking time bomb that not only threatens to aggravate environmental pollution but also rob the city of its water. Currently, 8 tankers of water are needed daily to manage the constant fires that erupt here and keep the dust from rising. The fires are more frequent in summer months.

Ahmedabad is already bracing for severe water crisis & more than 48,000 litres of water is wasted on Mount Pirana, the city’s largest dumpsite, every day. This comes to more than 17.5 million litres of water a year — enough to sustain 1.16 lakh people for a day or a family of four for 80 years.

Over the past decade a slew of projects have been announced to get rid of the mounds – waste processing, a nature park, waste-to-electricity project. Spread over 84 acre, the Pirana landfill is the biggest dumping ground for the city since 1982. https://ahmedabadmirror.indiatimes.com/ahmedabad/cover-story/pirana-landfill-worsens-ahmedabads-water-crisis-as-48000-litre-water-wasted-daily-to-contain-waste/articleshow/63550693.cms (31 March 2018)

June 2017: CM says Pirana problems will be solved, whatever the cost From 1982, Pirana has been Ahmedabad’s garbage dumping spot and has today become an unmanageable mess where frequent fires and unsegregated waste are regular occurrence. In June 2017, CM Vijay Rupani has made an ambitious statement, declaring that the Pirana problem will be solved even if it cost Rs 500 crore. https://swachhindia.ndtv.com/nearing-35-years-ahmedabads-pirana-landfill-is-infamous-for-its-garbage-mountains-and-frequent-fires-11855/ (14 Sept. 2017)

WATER SECTOR

Muddying the Waters: Why Niti Aayog report wont achieve transformation Given its fundamental limitations, this NITI ayog report won’t help the NITI Aayog achieve its stated objective of ‘identifying, targeting and solving problems in the water sector’. The Aayog will need to work on future editions with much more rigour and transparency. In the meantime, India’s water crisis will continue to meander through the groundwater aquifers, out of sight, until the next calamity. https://www.indiatoday.in/magazine/up-front/story/20180702-muddying-the-waters-1266108-2018-06-24 (24 June 2018)

Data drought renders report ineffective The author stresses “the urgency of developing a comprehensive blue book on water data pooled from diverse sources can help gain objective insights for developing decision-making tools for effective water governance.” http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/comment/-data-drought-renders-report-ineffective/610139.html  (June 25, 2018)

RENEWABLE ENERGY

RPO target increased India’s power ministry has increased the renewable purchase obligation (RPO) target from 17% now to 21% by 2022. The RPO mandates state power-distribution companies and certain other private firms to procure a part of their power requirement from renewable sources. As per the new norms, all entities that fall under the RPO should procure 10.5% of their total electricity from solar sources, up from 6.75% now, and another 10.5% of their power from other non-solar renewable sources by 2022, up from 10.25% now. https://qz.com/1307648/india-is-forcing-large-power-consumers-to-use-more-renewable-energy/ (18 June 2018)

SOUTH ASIA

Nepal

New agreements with China for Hydro, Cement, transmission Three major signings were: Investment Board Nepal (IBN) and Huaxin Cement Company of China will develop a Rs15-billion Huaxin Narayani Cement; Butwal Power Company and Sichuan Investment Group (SCIG) will work together on Marsyandi Cascade to produce 1,000MW; Nepal Electricity Authority and China’s State Grid Corporation will construct a 159-km Kerung-Galchhi transmission line. The latter will be the first Nepal-China cross-border transmission line that will allow Nepal to export its power to China, when and if it decides so. http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2018-06-21/oli-xi-strike-strong-personal-rapport.html (20 June2018)

Specific HEPs in agreement “Other deals sealed during the visit are developing 164 MW Kali Gandaki George hydroelectricity project, 40.27 MW Siuri Nyadi hydro electricity project, another 600 MW hydroelectricity project at Marsyangdi River basin and 75 MW Trishuli Galchi hydroelectricity project were signed by the private sectors of Nepal and China worth US $ 2 billion.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/nepal-china-sign-8-pacts-for-projects-worth-2-4-billion/story-NW4J5RheWBbh30bQwmjBiN.html (20 June 2018)

Delay in 456 MW U Tamakoshi HEP completion Amid a delay by an Indian firm in completing hydro-mechanical works at the 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Plant, Nepal has set a new deadline of December 2018 for the project. Nepal now wants the Indian firm to subcontract the remaining work to an Australian company (reportedly Andritz Hydro) already engaged in the project. https://sputniknews.com/asia/201806181065511179-nepal-ousts-indian-firm/ (18 June 2018)

CHINA

India-China Bilateral Agreement on Brahmaputra hydrological data signed in Qingdao, China on June 9, 2018 Memorandum of understanding between Ministry of Water Resources, The People’s Republic of China and Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Republic of India upon provision of hydrological information of the Brahmaputra river in flood season by China to India. “The Agreement enables the Chinese side to provide hydrological data in flood season from 15th May to 15th October every year. The Article also enables the Chinese side to provide hydrological data if water level exceeds mutually agreed level during non-flood season.” https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/streams-of-life-239742 (June 24, 2018)

MYANMAR

Ayeyarwady dolphins U Maung Lay followed the footsteps of his father by fishing on the Ayeyarwady River together with their aquatic friends –Ayeyarwady dolphins. The tradition, passed down from his father generation, is known as cooperative fishing in which he signals to a dolphin by tapping his boat with a stick, slapping the water gently with the paddle and making a strange sound.

The decades-old tradition is unique to the river. U Maung Lay is one of three skilled fishermen who are teaching other fishermen on the river to retain this tradition and to be skilful in interacting with the dolphins while fishing. They occasionally gave a talk, developing an awareness of how the Ayeyarwady dolphins are important. Ayeyarwady dolphins are critically endangered. Electrofishing poses a threat to the dolphins and the amount of fish caught on the river has declined due to that practice. “I will do my utmost to protect them because they have supported us for generations,” he said. https://www.mmtimes.com/news/ayeyarwady-dolphins-safer-hands.html (21 June 2018)

THE REST OF WORLD

USA

USA manages to reduce 2015 water use to below 1970 level

US water use Map. Source-USGS

It is amazing to learn that water use across US has been decreasing since 2005, has now reached pre 1970 levels, says the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study published on June 19, 2018. Read, share and send comments. https://sandrp.in/2018/06/22/usa-manages-to-reduce-2015-water-use-to-below-1970-level/ (SANDRP, 22 June 2018)

Flood-Managed Aquifer Recharge Flood – MAR illustrated concept of aquifer recharge. It is an integrated and voluntary resource management strategy that uses flood water resulting from, or in anticipation of, rainfall or snow melt for managed aquifer recharge (MAR) on agricultural lands and working landscapes, including but not limited to refuges, floodplains, and flood bypasses. Flood-MAR can be implemented at multiple scales, from individual landowners diverting flood water with existing infrastructure, to using extensive detention/recharge areas and modernizing flood management infrastructure/operations. https://www.water.ca.gov/Programs/All-Programs/Flood-MAR

COSTA RICA

President in 2015 banned dams from the Pacuare & Savegre rivers After a morning of whitewater rafting with his family, President Luis Guillermo Solís signed a decree banning dams from the Pacuare and Savegre rivers for 25 years, then thrust the document into the air and said, “For Costa Rica!” “And today we’re achieving one of those goals, which is to save the Pacuare River and the Savegre River for 25 years from hydroelectric dams,” he said. The decree applies to hydroelectric projects of 500 KW or more and will be in force for 25 years unless overturned by a future president’s decree. In a 2005 plebiscite, 97% of the electorate of Turrialba voted against granting permits for building dams on the Pacuare. http://www.ticotimes.net/2015/08/29/costa-ricas-solis-goes-rafting-then-bans-dams-from-the-pacuare-and-savegre-rivers (29 August 2015)

Russia

How a Dam on the Volga River Almost Killed off the Caviar Fish Detailed report on Volgograd Hydro Electric Station and its adverse impact on river ecology. This is the largest hydro power plant in Europe, and a dam which has played a pivotal role in driving sturgeon, the source of the iconic Russian delicacy black caviar, to the brink of extinction.  https://thewire.in/environment/how-a-dam-on-the-volga-river-almost-killed-off-the-caviar-fish (18 June 2018)

Compiled by SANDRP (bhim.sandrp@gmail.com) 

You may also like to see DRP News Bulletin 18 June 2018 & DRP News Bulletin 11 June 2018

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

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