DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 26 Nov. 2018 (INDIA RIVERS WEEK 2018: BPS 2018 to Rainman Vishwanath; AMM 2018 to River Journalist Arun Tiwari)

At a well-attended function at India Rivers Week {IRW} 2018 at WWF-India in Delhi on Nov 25, 2018, the hall reverberated with resounding claps from the audience when suspense over who gets this years’ Bhagirath Prayas Samman (BPS) and Anupam Misra Medal (AMM) was broken. Vishwanath Srikantaiah, popular as Zen Rainman was the unanimous choice of the IRW Jury for the exemplary work on River conservation over the last 25 years.

The Anupam Misra Medal for path breaking media work on Rivers with focus on Ganga, the theme of IRW 2018, was given away to Shri Arun Tiwari by late Anupam ji’s life partner Manju Misra ji. Abhilash Khandekar, a well known journalist, also member of IRW organising committee and also member of BPS-AMM Jury, while interacting with the award laureates, called Arun Tiwari as INDIA’sRIVER JOURNALIST OF 2018.

Famous Chipko leader Shri Chandi Prasad Bhatt, giving the BPS award to Vishwanath, including Citation, Shawl and Plaque and, congratulated the six organisations that are in the organisation committee of IRW, said the India Rivers Week needs to be celebrated by every household and family.

The BPS citation for Shri Vishwanath Srikantaiah says:

The Organising Committee of the India Rivers Week has great pleasure in awarding the BHAGIRATH PRAYAAS SAMMAN 2018 to Shri S Vishwanath in appreciation of his dedicated and untiring efforts to highlight the links between rainwater, groundwater, lakes and rivers, and to promote their restoration and protection through education, research and advocacy.

Once known as the city of lakes, Bengaluru has experienced unchecked urban expansion that has destroyed its water bodies and diminished groundwater recharge.  This water crisis has affected the well-being of humans as well as the integrity of the ecosystems that they inhabit.

Alarmed at the state of affairs, S Vishwanath, a Civil Engineer by training and an Urban and Regional Planner by profession, gave up his job in the govt to work with communities affected by water scarcity and pollution.

In 1994, S Vishwanath started the Rainwater Club, collecting and publicizing information about rainwater harvesting, advocating for and demonstrating sustainable water and sanitation management solutions.  Thanks to this initiative, when Karnataka faced a severe drought in 2003, the state govt was persuaded to build 20,000 rainwater harvesting structures that Vishwanath helped to design and construct. 

S Vishwanath also helped create a citizens’ campaign for the conservation of lakes in Bengaluru. Through the group Friends of Lakes, he has helped the local community oversee and design the wetland system for the rejuvenation of Jakkur lake.

S Vishwanath has played a stellar role in the campaign to restore the River Arkavathi, a tributary of River Cauvery. His efforts helped to mitigate river pollution and led to a government-funded initiative to revive 360 tanks along the Arkavathi River. Through his individual work, and his contribution to noteworthy initiatives including Arghyam, India Water Portal, and Biome Environment Trust, Vishwanath has advocated ‘river basin thinking’ as a holistic approach for the conservation of our rivers. 

Over twenty-five years of committed work, S Vishwanath has been sensitive to social justice issues, ensuring that marginalized and stigmatized communities of well-diggers and sanitation workers are included in river conservation dialogue and actions.

Through accessible films and public presentations, S Vishwanath has taken the message of water conservation to a wider audience.  His dedication to this cause has led him to be called ‘Zen Rainman’.

It is an honour to recognize and celebrate S Vishwanath’s truly Bhagirath-spirited efforts on the ground, and in partnership with communities, for making river basins whole again.

The AMM citation for Shri Arun Tiwari says:

The Organizing Committee of the India Rivers Week has great pleasure in awarding the ANUPAM MISHRA MEMORIAL MEDAL to Shri Arun Tiwari in appreciation of his dedicated writings on rivers.

Since 1986, Arun Tiwari has been reporting engagingly and in depth on the state of India’s rivers. His writings have helped to build public awareness and advocacy on water-related issues. During his journalistic career, Arun Tiwari has been associated with Akashvani, Doordarshan, among others. His print articles have been featured across Chauthi Duniya Saptahik, Dainik Jagran, Jan Satta, Nav Bharat Times, Amar Ujala, Nai Duniya, and Kadambini.

Arun Tiwari has written extensively on the impact of floods on people’s lives.  He has also investigated the effect of barrages and dams on river health. His stories illuminate the challenges faced by communities that live around rivers and their efforts to overcome them. His long association with Tarun Bharat Sangh, where he spearheaded river and water advocacy work, has informed his understanding about rivers, the threats facing them and the role of the state and communities in bringing about change.

Arun Tiwari’s reportage and commentary extend across audio, visual, print, theatre and digital media. He writes and speaks in Hindi with a welcome clarity and passion.  Like Shri Anupam Mishra, he is a dedicated practitioner of the craft of independent journalism inspired by a social and ecological conscience.

Arun Tiwari has authored/edited 13 books and 3 short plays on issues related to rivers. These include “Sanskriti Ki Mahadhara Ganga”, “Bharat Ki Man Pran Yamuna”, “Arvari Sansad”, “Dang Ka Paani”, “Athsri Hindon Katha”, “Ganga Janadhesh”, and “Sirf Snan Nahi Hai Kumbh”. His series of in-depth interviews with Late Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand (Prof. GD Agrawal) is a valuable contribution to the historical archive of water warriors.

Arun Tiwari is a recipient of the Ganga Prahari Samman (1996), Ganga Samman (2009) and Tarun Bharat Paryavaran Rakshan Samman (2013).

To celebrate Arun Tiwari’s unflagging efforts in documenting, analyzing and making public the plight of rivers, it is an honour to recognize and present him the Anupam Mishra Memorial Medal, 2018.

India Rivers Week 2018 942 dams, barrages, weirs in Ganga basin preventing river’s rejuvenation’ A month after the Centre notified minimum environmental flow for the Gang, environmentalists on Nov. 24 said the methodology used for deciding e flow did not follow scientific basis and claimed as many as 942 dams, barrages and weirs in the entire Ganga river basin were restricting its flow and posing a grave challenge to its rejuvenation.

Uninterrupted flow of water in any river is important to keep it clean through its natural ecological functions and processes. Besides 784 dams, 66 barrages and 92 weirs, the river basin also has 45 functional lift schemes.

Making a joint presentation on the issue at an event, India River Week, river conservationists noted that the Ganga slows to a trickle just 14 km downstream from its origin and the reason for this are the dams, barrages and weirs which come in its way.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/942-dams-barrages-weirs-in-ganga-basin-preventing-rivers-rejuvenation/articleshow/66787847.cms  (24 Nov. 2018)

Speaking at IRW 2018 event, Former Union Water Resources Secretary Shashi Shekhar has said that the govt’s Oct. 9 notification requiring a “minimum flow” in the Ganga is “woefully inadequate.”

– Additionally, an analysis by Professor Vinod Tare of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur of the actual water flow at barrages downstream of Haridwar and using data provided by the Central Water Commission, suggests that actual flow today already exceeds the government’s prescriptions. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ganga-rejuvenation-centres-minimum-flow-notification-inadequate-says-ex-water-resources-secretary/article25587752.ece  (24 Nov. 2018)

Speaking further on the issue, he said that there is need to have an understanding that the natural flow of the river is important and cleaning of the river is not rejuvenation.

According to Ravi Chopra, Scientist, People Science Institute, the govt is concentrating on cleaning the Ganga and not its rejuvenation. Improving the flow of the river is the most important way to rejuvenate it, environmentalist and water management expert Ravi Chopra said.

Manoj Misra, a Retd. IFS and convenor of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan said that discharge of solid waste from cities, and municipal and industrial wastes into the river were the main causes of pollution in the Ganga. He also stressed on the need to improve the flow of the river to ensure its rejuvenation. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/940-dams-barrages-built-on-ganga-restricting-its-flow-environmentalists-5462652/  (24 Nov. 2018)

– As per the report, Centre’s Oct. 9 notification on minimum environmental flows in the Ganga, notified two days before Ganga activist G D Agarwal’s death, is largely based on a March 2018 report, put together by three govt agencies and IIT-Delhi, an RTI application has revealed. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/notification-on-ganga-e-flows-drew-from-study-by-govt-bodies-iit-d-reveals-rti-5463103/  (25 Nov. 2018)

At the same time, it is also disclosed in RTI reply that the PMO did not repond to GD Agarwal’s letters showing how non serious is the Modi govt to the Ganga and GD Agarwal’s fast. https://thewire.in/environment/pmo-sat-on-g-d-agarwals-letters-for-two-months-chose-not-to-respond-rti  (20 Nov. 2018)

Meanwhile, as this report reveals, that the Centre is in talks with experts from Germany, Laos, Austria and Egypt, among others, to evolve a Ganga River Basin Management Plan. Though it already has a preliminary draft from a consortium of 7 IIT, it is the process of soliciting wider consultation from countries that have such river basin management plans.

At a 2-day workshop organised by German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), and the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), the Centre discussed the experiences of countries in managing rivers such as the Danube, Rhine, Mekong — all of which flowed through multiple countries. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/centre-looks-abroad-for-ideas-to-manage-ganga-basin/article25587770.ece  (24 Nov. 2018)

As per another report, NMCG has also approved 10 projects worth Rs. 1,573.28 crore, of which more than half the amount has been earmarked for Agra, the city of the iconic Taj Mahal, according to an official statement released on today.

Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal are the other states where works to prevent polluted waters from reaching the Ganga, its tributaries and sub-tributaries, have been sanctioned. The project for rehabilitation and renovation of Agra Sewerage Scheme (Interception and Diversion Works) has been conceived at a total cost of Rs. 857.26 crore. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/10-projects-worth-rs-1-573-crore-approved-for-cleaning-of-ganga-1951278  (21 Nov. 2018)


In an interesting development some citizen groups in Pune also celebrated, India Rivers Day, with a resolve to make our Rivers pollution-free Pune citizen groups to celebrate India Rivers Day: https://www.change.org/p/pmc-commissioner-treat-100-sewage-of-pune-city-on-war-footing-to-avoid-health-emergency/u/23656624  (23 Nov. 2018)

Meanwhile the Front Line report mentions of the  neglect and institutionalized abuse of River Mithi, which originates in Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai, forebodes another disaster if the city’s infrastructure and development are not taken in hand. https://www.frontline.in/environment/article25555078.ece  (7 Dec. 2018)


Karnataka Farmers, activists oppose Karnataka Cauvery tower project The proposed project of the Congress-JDS govt to build a 125-ft tower at the site of the Krishna Raja Sagar dam on the river Cauvery in honour of “Mother Cauvery” has been opposed by river activists and farmer leaders from Mandya region.

Veteran activists like 87-year-old G Madegowda of the Cauvery Protection Committee — who has campaigned for decades for Karnataka’s share of the Cauvery water — have opposed the project and warned of an agitation in Mandya region.

“Plans for construction activity near the dam will only weaken it. There is a lot of illegal sand mining in the riverbed which the state must stop to protect the dam. The state is proposing construction instead of planning to strengthen the dam,’’ Madegowda said. Some farmer leaders have said the proposal is an attempt by people with vested interests to grab land. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/farmers-activists-oppose-karnataka-cauvery-tower-project-5458341/  (22 Nov. 2018)

Gujarat Call to “enjoy” pilgrimage of Sabarmati beyond Ahmedabad GREAT. Sabarmati Yatra proposed, downstream of Vasna barrage to the mouth, it will expose the reality of Sabarmati model: Asking “devotees” to take a dip at Vauthua, a village just ahead of the mouth of the river, Seth says, the unique programme “will start from Dec. 2, at Giaspur, which is situated next to Vasna Barrage, at 8.00 am, and end on Dec. 9.  “It is spectacular yatra, indeed. Friends of the media can also join in”, he adds, even as giving his mobile number for contact (9427616578), on which one could WhatsApp, or email to nagrikmanch2018@gmail.com or shethjatin1950@gmail.com. https://www.counterview.in/2018/11/call-to-enjoy-pilgrimage-of-sabarmati.html  (20 Nov. 2018)

Punjab Environment Minister sacked? Speculation that Punjab Env minister lost the portfolio following NGT fining PPCB Rs 50 Cr following release of toxic effluents into Beas river by sugar factory in May 2018. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/coal/chandigarh-after-fine-o-p-soni-loses-environment-ministry/66732878  (21 Nov. 2018)  

YAMUNA Uttar Pradesh ‘Agra citizens launch drive to rid Yamuna of garbage’ – Aimed at conserving heritage monuments along the Yamuna besides cleaningthe river itself, the drive, named River Connect Campaign, succeeded in fishing out tonnes of garbage, including up litter, polythene bags, plastics, immersed idols in the river, construction material, from the river during the day. Besides youngsters, senior citizens too actively participated in the river cleaning drive, working as volunteers of various voluntary organisations. https://www.hindustantimes.com/lucknow/agra-citizens-launch-drive-to-rid-yamuna-of-garbage/story-YQtnmozz4RN5fkpoF43qRM.html  (18 Nov. 2018)

Delhi 1500 colonies still out of sewer networks NGT set up monitoring committee on Yamuna Pollution has in its report expressed concern over the absence of sewer networks in over 1,500 unauthorised colonies and slums of Delhi, calling it one of the biggest reasons of pollution in the river. The monitoring committee has said in the report that only about 14 per cent of the 1,797 colonies have been provided sewage pipelines. But, even there “the offtake is extremely poor as the residents are reported to be unwilling to pay the charges,” it said. https://www.timesnownews.com/mirror-now/in-focus/article/absence-of-sewer-networks-in-1500-unauthorised-colonies-major-reason-of-pollution-in-yamuna/320496  (25 Nov. 2018)

Delhi HC pulls up authorities over failure to clean Kushak drain The Delhi High court on Nov. 22, came down heavily on the failure of the authorities in complying with the directions to clean up the Kushak drain under the Barapullah flyover and asked all the PWD officials concerned of the state govt to be present in the court on Nov. 27 and explain why action should not be initiated against them. The court’s order comes after Manjeet Singh Chugh, a resident of the area adjoining the Kushak nullah produced photographs of construction debris heaped inside the drain.

The court since 2012 has been issuing directions from time-to-time to clean up the drain. At various instances, the PWD has assured the court that it will clean the drain of all garbage and construction debris after construction of the Barapullah flyover is completed.  However, the deadline for completion of work kept getting extended even as residents of the areas, especially South Extension-II, near the nullah complained of waterlogging in their colonies during monsoon due to garbage and debris in the drain.

Even on Sept. 27, the bench had termed as “unacceptable” and “deplorable” the condition of the Kushak drain and had directed the PWD to clean it up to ensure it does not become a mosquito breeding ground. https://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/delhi-hc-pulls-up-authorities-over-failure-to-clean-kushak-drain/story-Goy5HPh9BA1iX0tiu71D2L.html  (23 Nov. 2018) 


World Fisheries Day 2018 River Fish Update From India ON WORLD FISHERIES DAY, Update on developments around Riverine fish from India and some from South Asia and beyond. I loved putting it together, there is so much happening, a lot of it also positive, hopeful. Hope you enjoy reading as much as I did while putting it together. Share it and also share your feedback. https://sandrp.in/2018/11/21/wfd-2018-river-fish-update-from-india/  (21 Nov. 2018)

India’s Increasing Fish Kill Incidents Apart from crucial source of food and livelihood to lakhs of fisherfolks in India, fish diversity determines the health of the water body including lakes, ponds and rivers. However with growing threats and pollution mass fish mortality has been taking place in various rivers and lakes in the country every year.

On World Fisheries Day 2018 SANDRP has put together known mass fish kill incidents that took place this past year to highlight the gravity of threat so that corrective measures can be taken by respective Governments and others concerned. https://sandrp.in/2018/11/20/world-fisheries-day-2018-indias-increasing-fish-kill-incidents/  (20 Nov. 2018)

WFD: Dakshinbanga Matsyajibi Forum: PRESS STATEMENT

This year the World Fisheries Day is going to be celebrated in India at a time when –

– Due to the policies of the Govt favouring large scale investment in fishing our seas are experiencing over and destructive fishing by mechanised fishing boats and small scale fishers are left with almost no fish;

– Sagarmala Project by the Govt of India is going to evict the traditional small scale fishing communities from the coast with establishment of large number of ports;

– Proposed Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2018 has been published by the Govt of India with a view to further open up the coast to massive investment and utilisation destroying the habitats and livelihood options of indigenous coastal communities including fishing communities;

– West Coast Shipping Corridor announced by the Govt of India is going to prohibit fishing communities from 85,000 square km of fishing area on the West Coast;

– Deep sea port, marine drives and large scale tourism are threatening the small scale coastal fishing communities with eviction and loss of livelihood;

– ‘Blue Revolution’ initiated by the Govt of India promotes investment driven production increase in fisheries that is replacing the traditional fishing communities by a new breed of entrepreneurs.

– The small and traditional fishing communities of Sundarban and other protected areas are deprived of their right to fish in the waters of the protected areas.

Dakshinbanga Matsyajibi Forum (DMF) calls upon all small scale fishing communities to celebrate World Fisheries Day 2018 on 21st November to commemorate glorious movements of the community and vow to build up invincible collective resistance to – Save Water, Save Fish, Save Fisher People. https://www.facebook.com/sandrp.in/posts/2341512792543047?__tn__=K-R  (22 Nov. 2018)

Water for fish: Sustainable inland fisheries – Occurring in rivers, deltas, floodplains, lakes and reservoirs, inland fisheries are demonstrably important for over 60 countries, providing food, income, employment and nutrition.

– Inland fisheries employ over 16.8 million people worldwide, with almost half (43%) of the global inland fishery catch coming from 50 low-income countries.

– Inland fisheries contribute up to 20% of national GDP in developing countries, yet little attention is paid to the conservation of this valuable resource in water, land use planning and development decisions. https://www.iucn.org/news/species/201809/water-fish-sustainable-inland-fisheries  (10 Sept. 2018)


National When, and how, does a state govt declare drought? Useful highlights of the Union Ministry of Agri Drought manual of 2016 that is hindrance to declaration of drought and drought relief. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/drought-when-and-how-does-a-state-govt-declare-one-5460455/  (23 Nov. 2018)

Maharashtra Sugarcane emerges as likely culprit in drought-hit Marathwada If sugarcane was not cultivated at such large extent in Marathwada, the region would not be facing drought at such horrible scale. According to experts, though rainfall in Marathwada (534mm) was 22 percent below the average (768mm), it’s not too bad. Even with this amount of rain, one crop could have been cultivated leaving enough water for drinking, regular usage and for animals.

The situation in Marathwada, however, is bleak as farmers have been unable to sow Rabi crops. Even the production of Kharif crops was almost half than expected due to insufficient and scanty rain. It’s only November, and people from all the eight districts of the region are already struggling to arrange water to drink. Truths being rediscovered: What we need is more focussed work on this issue. Pity, no organisation in Mah is doing that. https://www.firstpost.com/india/sugarcane-emerges-as-likely-culprit-in-drought-hit-marathwada-growing-cultivation-of-cash-crop-depleted-groundwater-5572261.html ( 18 Nov 2018)

Construction of dams leading to rising water conflicts Maharashtra: Experts Issues of unequal distribution, lack of planning, political interference and the growing demand for water were giving rise to disputes among the different regions of Maharashtra, according to experts on the subject.

Citing lack of a state-level policy for water distribution and storage, Sanjay Lakhe Patil, president of the Marathwada Backlog Removal and Development Forum, blamed politicians.

“They have always invested heavily in their own areas. Maximum dams have been constructed per hectare area, resulting in water imbalance and conflicts between different regions, talukas and districts,” he said. http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/nov/23/construction-of-dams-leading-to-rising-water-conflicts-maharashtra-experts-1902218.html  (23 Nov. 2018) –

– As rural Maharashtra once again finds itself in the grip of a major drought with fodder and water fast becoming scarce, farmers are complaining of a lack of early govt intervention.

– The state government’s Rs 7,000-crore drought relief proposal before the Central govt is yet to be finalised, but on ground, resentment about the lack of timely relief has generated much anger.

– Drinking water is already scarce, but only 375 tankers have been operationalised as of November 17 across the Marathwada region, serving a population of 6,91,304 in 296 selected villages. As many as 313 of these tankers are in Aurangabad district, while Beed has only got 12 tankers, Osmanabad three and Jalna 45. “After repeatedly asking for water tankers, our village of 2,800 residents now gets one tanker a day. There’s the usual fight as everybody rushes to get their share,” says Sanjay Adhane of Viramgaon in Aurangabad.

– District-level authorities say they’re awaiting an official declaration on the fodder policy. The collectors of Solapur and Osmanabad have prohibited transportation of fodder outside their districts, but there is no indication that fodder camps will be opened soon. Osmanabad Collector R B Game says a project to grow fodder crops along the sides of tanks and dams that have water is underway. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/maharashtra-drought-devendra-fadnavis-fodder-water-scarce-villagers-blame-govt-5460234/  (23 Nov. 2018)

At the end of Oct. the Maharashtra govt declared drought in 151 taluks in 26 of 36 districts, mostly in the Marathwada region and in the north. Experts said rainfall had been below par in large swathes of the State and faulty water conservation methods had added to the problem.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/why-is-maharashtra-reeling-under-drought/article25527179.ece  (17 Oct. 2018)

Across Maharashtra, as farmers mull another season of severe losses, disputes over scarce water resources have begun to percolate down to village and taluka levels. More about Maharashtra drought this year. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/east-and-west-maharashtra-districts-fight-water-wars-drought-5458259/  (22 Nov. 2018)

The warning for this in fact is available since August, but there is clearly not sufficient action even in an election year. https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/maharashtra-marathwada-agriculture-crops-drought-warning-5458136/  (22 Nov. 2018)

Meanwhile, villagers from drought affected areas has begun migrating to other areas in search of livelihood. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/parched-villages-begin-to-empty-out-in-drought-hit-maharashtra-5456398/  (21 Nov. 2018)

On the other hand, in state assembly the opposition refuses discussion on drought, wants govt to compensate farmers. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/maharashtra-opposition-refuses-discussion-on-drought-wants-govt-to-compensate-farmers-5456489/  (21 Nov. 2018)

Gujarat Farmers told not to cultivate paddy due to water scarcity South Gujarat farmers are opposing Gujarat irrigation dept circular, advising farmers not to cultivate paddy in summer due to low water levels in Ukai dam. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/farmers-told-not-to-cultivate-paddy-due-to-water-scarcity/articleshow/66715375.cms  (21 Nov. 2018)

Police have registered 37 FIRs over illegal drawing of water from Narmada canals in various parts of Gujarat. For Rabi Crop 19920 cusecs water is being released in the Main Canal since Nov 12. 51 talukas are declared as scarcity hit, while 45 other talukas special package is declared for low rainfall. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/gujarat-govt-cracks-down-on-water-theft-from-canals/articleshow/66736226.cms  (21 Nov. 2018)  

FLOOD 2018

SANDRP Blog Dams Floods 2018: Filling up Dams well before Monsoon end, Invitation to Disaster The tendency of filling up reservoirs in the beginning and middle of monsoon season have been leading to avoidable flood disasters in the country. Apart from Kerala flood 2018, which was aggravated by mismanagement of reservoirs, various reports show that reservoirs in river basin of Cauvery, Krishna, Godavari and Ganga were also filled up well before the end of South West monsoon season. https://sandrp.in/2018/11/22/dams-floods-2018-filling-up-dams-well-before-monsoon-end-invitation-to-disaster/  (22 Nov. 2018)

Kindly also see, Kerala: Dams Floods 2018: Follow Rule Curves to Avoid Flood Disasters

Dam Floods 2018: Assam, Himachal; Making Dam Operators Accountable

Study Water release from dams didn’t lead to Kerala floods This Hindu article clearly makes statements that are not warranted by what the text says. The basic facts of this research are not here. The statement, thus that water release from dams did not lead to floods is unsupportable. In any case, that is not what SANDRP and others have been contending. What we have been saying is that the dams, if operated following rule curves and keeping in mind the carrying capacity of the downstream channels, than the proportion of the floods and flood disaster would have been much lower.

In a way the Hindu report also seems to support that when it says that peak discharge in Pamba could have been reduced by 31% in absence of dams, which is a substantial reduction. If the dams had been operated prudently, the peak discharge could have been reduced further, it seems from the little details here. Will await to see the full study. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/water-release-from-dams-didnt-lead-to-kerala-floods-iit-m-purdue-university-study/article25570143.ece  (22 Nov. 2018)

Also see, Video report on the impact of flash floods in Himachal around Sept. 24, 2018. https://www.livehindustan.com/national/story-bus-gets-washed-away-in-flooded-beas-river-in-manali-himachal-pradesh-manali-floods-latest-news-2188916.html  


Report Credible review of the safety of all large dams essential P 32-33 of this issue carries interview of SANDRP coordinator on the issue of dam safety and dam decommissioning. This is an important issue and good to see this coverage in media. http://emagazine.governancenow.com/english/volume9issue20_247rSED4f6ftg/mobile/index.html 

According to Himanshu Thakkar, SANDRP, “It is the mindset of our water resources establishment in general and CWC in particular.” He feels that there is a lack of visionary political leadership that can overcome hurdles. “Our institutions seem unwilling or incapable of learning, they seem bound in their self-imposed ideologies and would rather perpetuate the non-transparent, unaccountable governance rather have any participatory governance. CWC is not only full of contradictory mandates, it is absolutely against any attempt at restructuring. http://www.governancenow.com/news/regular-story/ageing-dams-or-ticking-time-bombs  (21 Nov. 2018) 

Madhya Pradesh Bargi, a dam of discontent For 3 assembly Raigaon, Nagod and Rampur Baghelan in Satna districts the main issue is the unfinished Bargi Dam project. On Nov. 16 people from 40 panchayats of Raigaon assembly seat declared that they will boycott the assembly polls. “For 27 years, we have waited for the Bargi dam water to irrigate our fields. The BJP govt proposed to complete the project by 2012. This is 2018 and still there is no water’, said Pehari Singh, president of the Jal Andolan Jan Andolan Samiti. “The project was started in 1974 and till 1991, as much as 2.45 lakh hectare land was brought under irrigation in the state.”

A survey was done from 1991 to 1995 to bring 885 villages of Satna under the irrigation project. “From 1991 to 2018, they cannot get past a 12 km tunnel,” Pehari said.

As per Ngendra Singh Nagod former water resources minister, Govt had imported a US made machine to cut through the hard rock which cost about Rs. 150 crore. But the soft boulders clung to the machine and became impossible to drill through. So work was stopped for a year or two. Then the contractor asked for more funds because for the soft boulders, a second manchine had to be imported from Germany. Funds of around Rs 100 crore was cleared by finance dept but it took time. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/bargi-a-dam-of-discontent/articleshow/66672794.cms  (18 Nov. 2018)

Rajasthan Malsisar: A broken dam and vanishing hopes As per the report there are two dams in Malsisar area in Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan. One has leakages and the other has breached and lying dry. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/malsisar-a-broken-dam-and-vanishing-hopes/articleshow/66643015.cms

Bihar There are talks of building a weir dam on Falgu river in Bihar: https://www.jagran.com/bihar/gaya-ddd-18663358.html  (21 Nov. 2018)

Another Hindi report says CM Nitish Kumar has approved the project: https://www.bhaskar.com/bihar/gaya/news/historical-step-for-the-construction-of-beer-dam-in-falgu-river-raju-baranwal-030534-3244508.html

In May 2018 there was a signature campaign in Gaya promoting the demand.  https://www.livehindustan.com/bihar/gaya/story-signature-campaign-for-demand-of-beer-dam-construction-in-falgu-river-1952256.html


Himachal Pradesh Landslide hits traffic on Chandigarh-Manali highway Commuters stuck for hours in long traffic jam in the region

– Deep cutting towards hillside had caused the face of the hilltop to slide, resulting in the massive landslide and hampering traffic movement on the Chandigarh-Manali highway near Banala because of a massive landslide.

– The four-laning of the highway is under progress and the National Highways Authority of India has engaged its workforce and machinery for the work. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/landslide-hits-traffic-on-chandigarh-manali-highway/686974.html  (22 Nov. 2018)


Kelo Dam Created for irrigation, Kelo a nightmare for Odisha farmers Another interstate water sharing issue between Odisha and Chhattisgarh, this time about Kelo Dam:  http://www.orissapost.com/created-for-irrigation-kelo-a-nightmare-for-odisha-farmers/  (20 Nov. 2018)



Gujarat Mopeds, autorickshaws used to dig ponds in Gujarat on paper FRAUD of water conservation in Gujarat. Mopeds, autorickshaws and jeeps from Rajasthan were shown on record as bulldozers performing earthmoving works, digging farm ponds in Gujarat’s water scarcity hit villages! This is the cruel joke played on thousands of Gujarat farmers and taxpayers in the name of the Jal Sanchay Yojana and private pond construction and erecting water tanks in villages by the Gujarat Land Development Corporation (GLDC).

The ACB has found Rajasthan’s privately owned commuter vehicles hired for farm pond construction in Jamkandorna, Dhoraji, Nana Mandva, Kotda Sanghani and Gondal in Rajkot district. In these places the ACB lodged criminal complaints against 21 individuals. ACB officials claim that till now cases worth Rs 6 crore have been lodged and more will be added soon. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/mopeds-used-to-dig-ponds-on-paper/articleshow/66684599.cms  (19 Oct. 2018)

Villages affected as check dam across wild stream in ruins The check dam constructed across the Karaathu stream, flowing from Marungapuri Taluk, which irrigates dry lands is in a ruined state. Despite repeated representations by farmers and residents of various villages situated along the stream appealing to PWD Ariyar division authorities to renovate the structure, nothing has been done so far, farmers alleged. The check dam was constructed at a cost of Rs 10 lakh across the Karaathu stream under the National Rural Drinking Water scheme in 2010-2011 in VIdaiyapatti. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/trichy/villages-affected-as-check-dam-across-wild-stream-in-ruins/articleshow/66572463.cms  (11 Nov. 2018)


Karnataka NGO asks ACB to probe sand mining Raising questions over the process of identification of sand bars in CRZ area of the river Swarna, the National Environment Care Federation asked the ACB to probe the issue on Nov. 21.

In his complaint, Shashidhar Shetty, general secretary, NECF, alleged: “Few officials of govt departments concerned in Udupi, led by Kundapura sub division assistant commissioner, Mr Bhoobalan T, have committed fraud through false identification of sand bars in the river Swarna in Udupi district to facilitate businessmen to mine sand in the garb of sand bar removal.”

As per rules only sand bars which are obstructing fishing boats and vessels in rivers could be removed. Mr Shetty alleged that even when there were no sand bars in the river, false complaints were filed stating that sand bars are obstructing fishing boats.  He also pointed out another interesting fact: “The district administration has received 47 complaints from ‘fishermen involved in fishing in the river,’ about sand bar obstructing their activity. But the boat registration certificates enclosed with the complaints reveal that all these boats are fiberglass boats with base operations at sea and these boats are not at all used in rivers. It is clear that all 47 complaints are to misguide the administration!” he alleged. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/221118/ngo-asks-acb-to-probe-sand-mining.html  (22 Nov. 2018)

Odisha Collector orders to check illegal sand mining – Illegal sand mining in Subarnarekha river has emerged as a major cause of concern for the locals. Sand mafia from West Bengal are engaged in lifting sand from the river bed even as the local administration remains a mute spectator, sources said.

– Locals said the tributaries and distributaries of the river need to be renovated. If Subarnarekha dries up, the region will have to face ingress of sea water which will affect agriculture and human habitations. They also accused the State and Central govts of being callous towards executing the ambitious river renovation project.

– Earlier, the NGT had directed both Odisha and West Bengal governments to come up with a joint restoration plan for damages inflicted on the river. The NGT order had asked the chief secretaries of the two states to form a committee to prepare the plan. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2018/nov/20/collector-orders-to-check-illegal-sand-mining-1900653.html  (20 Nov. 2018)

Telangana Illegal sand mining goes unabated in Krishna – According to villagers, a few contractors, ‘backed by the Telugu Desam leaders’, were mining sand from the stream and transporting it without obtaining necessary permissions from the department concerned.

– Reliable sources in the revenue department said Water Resources Minister Devineni Umamaheswara Rao was the person supporting the illegal sand mining and that he failed to take action against the accused when the villagers approached him with complaints. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/vijayawada/2018/nov/19/illegal-sand-mining-goes-unabated-in-krishna-1900129.html  (19 Nov. 2018)


MoEF identifies wetlands for conservation – HT Editorial says that MOEF has identified 20 wetlands and 9 wetland clusters for conservation as they are congregation sites for migratory water bird species.

– These wetlands, which will be protected as part of the Centre’s Central Asian Flyway Action Plan launched on Nov. 19, include Keoladeo in Rajasthan, Coringa in Andhra Pradesh, Bhitarkanika in Odisha, Point Calimere in Tamil Nadu, Sunderbans in West Bengal, Harike in Punjab, Gulf of Mannar, and Nal Soravar in Gujarat. https://www.hindustantimes.com/editorials/we-have-to-save-india-s-natural-commons-is-important/story-eMUAtlSyCM3Lta6eFoJMvL.html  (22 Nov. 2018)

Maharashtra Mangrove razing: Action must be taken in 48 hrs The state mangrove committee on Nov. 12 decided that various state departments and district administrations will have to act on complaints related to mangrove destruction in 48 hours. Officials will have to submit reports, along with photographs or videos, after inspecting the site.

As per state mangrove cell, around 2,000 hectares is likely to be added to the existing 15,088 hectares of notified mangrove forests across Maharashtra. The overall mangrove cover in the state, including private land, is around 30,000 hectares.

The committee was formed following the landmark Bombay high court judgement related to protection of mangroves in the state. The members are responsible to look into cases of mangrove destruction, restoration and preservation in districts of Konkan. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/mangrove-razing-in-maharashtra-action-must-be-taken-in-48-hours/story-UEnkUNzCQrj90ClxVlhvcO.html  (13 Nov. 2018)

Jammu & Kashmir Exchequer owes Dal Lake expert committee Rs 35 lakh J&K High Court (CJ) has through an order on Sept 18, 2018, appointed a high level committee, prescribing fees for its members, including Rs 1 lakh per person per meeting for physical meeting, Rs 50 000 for electronic consultation and Rs 5 lakhs for reading and preparation charges. The committee met 4 times, Rs 35 lakh is due to them, but there is no budget for this with the Lakes and waterways development authority of J&K has no budget for this. Rs 400 crores have been spent on Dal Lake in last 15 years. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/jk-exchequer-owes-dal-lake-expert-committee-rs-35-lakh-5456376/  (21 Nov. 2018)


Maharashtra Citizens’ drive puts an end to water problems in Pashan Interesting: Community-based and manually done (without any assistance from machine) water percolation initiative have benefited citizens living around the foothills of the Pashan hill.

– Over the past 3 years, residents took the effort to build continuous contour trenches (CCT) and check dams along the foothills, thus ensuring the conservation and percolation of water.

– Earlier, we relied on around six water tankers a day for 350 residents in our society. Now, over the past two years, our dependence on the tankers has reduced to zero,” said Dr Vijay Rahayakar, a resident of the area.

– Around 1,200 people have benefitted from these efforts taken over the last three years during which 20 check dams and trenches were built to store and percolate the water.

– “Volunteers from the neighbourhood and regular visitors to the Pashan hill contributed to the effort. The result is that some residential complexes like us, which spent around Rs 60,000 a month on water tankers, no longer need to rely on them,” he added.https://punemirror.indiatimes.com/pune/cover-story/citizens-drive-puts-an-end-to-water-problems-in-pashan/articleshow/66741580.cms  (22 Nov 2018)

With Zero Budget Natural Farm techniques Pune farmers manage to survive average monsoon rainfall and water scarcity: – The techniques, a farmer claims, are a contrast to chemical-based farming, which was not “profitable” and commanded an investment of Rs 60,000 per acre. “With zero-budget farming methods, only expenses for labour worth Rs 20,000 were incurred,” he added. https://punemirror.indiatimes.com/pune/civic/zero-budget-farming-dodges-water-paucity/articleshow/66699208.cms   (20 Nov. 2018)

Gujarat How an inclusive institution is managing it’s water Example of how village people in Mandavi block of Surat district in Gujarat, possibly close to Bharuch border collectively manage a local dam and its waters. https://beingdgreen.blogspot.com/2018/11/how-inclusive-institution-is-managing.html  (21 Nov. 2018)  


Maharashtra Villagers get lesson on sharing groundwater To deal with water scarcity in drought-prone Marathwada, villagers are coming together to learn the importance of judicial use of groundwater resources by sharing it and developing resilience against the harsh climate. Residents from 14 villages in Bhokardan taluka of Jalna, located about 60 km from Aurangabad, are learning to efficiently use of groundwater and budgeting it through a democratic process.  https://punemirror.indiatimes.com/pune/others/villagers-get-lesson-on-sharing-groundwater/articleshow/66673622.cms  (18 Nov. 2018)

Panel to study feedback on groundwater rules Maharashtra Groundwater (Development and Management) Rules, 2018, was made public for suggestions and objections, a committee of experts had been constituted to study the feedback on the proposed groundwater rules in the state. https://www.financialexpress.com/market/panel-to-study-feedback-on-groundwater-rules-in-maharashtra/1389458/  (22 Nov. 2018)  

Madhya Pradesh Groundwater in Ankaleshwar turns yellow Issues related to groundwater in Ankaleshwar turning Yellow, for, among other reasons, Sardar Sarovar Dam stopping river flow.  https://www.counterview.in/2018/11/groundwater-of-residential-complexes-in.html   (21 Nov. 2018)

Telangana Scarce water and surplus power Farmers are complaining that they don’t want free 24×7 power because they have fitted their pumpsets with auto-starters and regular supply meant there would be over-watering. https://www.business-standard.com/article/elections/andhra-s-trickle-down-politics-groundwater-scarcity-during-surplus-power-118112201030_1.html  (23 Nov. 2018)


Goa Worries over water pollution aired at zilla panchayat meet Serious concerns over the imminent contamination of waters of the Mhaisal dam near Panchwadi were expressed at the meeting of the South Goa zilla panchayat held on Nov. 21. Jaideep Shirodkar, representing Shiroda constituency, pointed out that the operation of some illegal stone quarries in the vicinity of the dam was causing contamination of the river and expressed apprehensions over the probability of polluted water being supplied to people through the dam’s water supply network.

Recently a 10 MLD water treatment plant has been made operational at Mhaisal dam. He demanded that the zilla panchayat bring to the notice of the govt the gravity of the situation at the dam. A resolution to that effect was passed at the meeting. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/worries-over-water-pollution-aired-at-zp-meet/articleshow/66757572.cms  (23 Nov. 2018)


Report ‘Hundreds of organic outlets, but farmers struggling to markets Lamenting the corporaization of organic food and products, and their consumption, Santhosh Koluge of Janaseva Trust said, “On the one hand hundreds of organc outlets have mushroomed across the city, but farmers cultivating crops in an organic manner are struggling to market their product. It is said that organic outlets have become a symbol of corporatization”.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mysuru/hundreds-of-organic-outlets-but-farmers-struggling-to-market-produce/articleshow/66683585.cms  (19 Nov. 2018)


India-Bangladesh Dam building and pollution have turned these transboundary rivers into dirty sludge, unable to sustain life  

– Dam building and pollution have turned Atreyee, Mahananda and Teesta transboundary rivers into dirty sludge, unable to sustain life.

– Fisherman Gurudayal Haldar says rampant pollution in the Atreyee River has caused a drastic fall in catch. Several hundreds of fishermen in Dakshin Dinajpur have migrated to other parts of the country along with their families in search of better livelihoods. Most of them now work as masons or take on other low-paying jobs to survive.

– The Atreyee River is mentioned in the Mahabharata, one of the two Sanskrit epics of ancient India. Today it is a transboundary river flowing between India and Bangladesh. It originates near Baikanthapur forest in Siliguri and travels 58 kilometres through Dakshin Dinajpur before entering Bangladesh through the Samjhia border in Balurghat.

– If the condition of the Atreyee is bad, Mahananda, another transboundary river flowing between India and Bangladesh, is perhaps worse. This river, which originates in the Himalayas in the Kurseong area of Darjeeling district and descends to the plains near Siliguri, has become a dumping ground for city dwellers.

– The city generates around 400 tonnes of waste every day, and most of it is dumped untreated into the river because of administrative laxity. Thousands of people have built their cattle sheds along the riverbanks and defecate there.

– “We call it ‘Mahaganda’ (extremely dirty) instead of Mahananda,” Jyotsna Agarwal, secretary of the Mahananda Bachao Committee, told thethirdpole.net. “Most of the city’s waste, including harmful chemicals, gets dumped in the river. The encroachments on the riverbed have left it dry. We have been running a campaign to save the river since 1994 but the lack of support from the people has dampened our efforts,” she continued. “The situation has reached such an extent that there is no water in the river even during the monsoon.”

-Teesta, the largest river in North Bengal, is also facing the combined dangers of rubbish and hydropower projects. Over 20 hydropower projects have turned the river into a series of artificial lakes.

-According to a study by the West Bengal government, due to the dams built for the hydropower projects and the barrages built for irrigation, by the time the Teesta reaches Bangladesh, it has just one-sixteenth of water flow assumed by both Bangladesh and India, as mentioned in the draft Teesta treaty.  https://www.firstpost.com/long-reads/india-bangladesh-and-the-story-of-three-transboundary-rivers-which-no-longer-sustain-life-5591971.html  (21 Nov. 2018)

Bhutan Govt. to have its first fish database by next year The river ecosystems in Bhutan are robust and flourishing, according to findings from the ongoing fish fauna assessment that is underway in the eastern and central parts of the country. Officials from the National Research Centre for Riverine & Lake Fisheries (NRCR&LF) in Haa captured fish samples from Bamridrang, a tributary that joins the Drangmechu river system in Trashigang recently. The team captured two species of freshwater catfish – parachiloglanis and pseudecheneis species – from the stream. The fish fauna assessment that began in 2013 is being conducted to find fish diversity including composition and diversity of fishes in different water systems in the country.

A similar study was conducted for the western water system between 2013 and 2016. The team discovered 104 species of fishes from the Amochu, Wangchu and Punatshangchu basins. Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation funded the project with Nu 12.59 million and it would be completed by June next year. “To study the whole water system in the country and the presence of fishes in it would require more time,” said Sonam Dorji. The team collects samples of fishes mostly from the tributaries and takes it for DNT testing. “We are not able to access the main river given the size of the water. We are focusing on the tributaries since it joins the main river and the same fishes found in the river are expected to be found in the tributaries,” said Pema Norbu. http://www.kuenselonline.com/bhutan-to-have-its-first-fish-database-by-next-year/  (13 Nov. 2018)

Afghanistan Drought is crippling Afghanistan more than the war Sad drought situation in our neighbour Afghanistan: The worst drought Afghanistan has seen in years has dried up what meagre crops there were, killed off livestock and forced hundreds of thousands to abandon their farms. They’ve had the lowest snowfall and rain in more than 17 years. The United Nations estimates that two million people in 20 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces are at serious risk. Making their plight even worse is the prospect of a harsh winter. Temperatures last month dropped close to zero degrees at night. https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/climate-change/whats-crippling-afghanistan-more-than-the-war/news-story/138adbbcd8aefb7522519d056c684dfe  (23 Nov. 2018)


Bridge Construction Kills 6,000 Rare Fish, Work Stopped China has halted construction of a bridge in the province of Hubei after it was said to have caused the death of around 6,000 critically endangered Chinese sturgeon, the China Daily said, citing the agriculture ministry. An investigation team found the construction project in the city of Jingzhou had illegally encroached on a protected national nature reserve. The fish were bred at an aquafarm in Jingzhou. Their deaths were attributed to the “shocks, noises and changes of water sources” brought about by the bridge project. https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/china-halts-bridge-construction-after-6-000-critically-endangered-fish-die-says-report-1952105  (24 Nov. 2018)


Photographing the Disastrous Effects of Sand Mining on the Mekong River Photographer Jian Gao traveled down one of the longest rivers in the world to see how demand for sand is driving the region toward a crisis it might not be able to come back from. https://www.vice.com/en_au/article/a37pb4/photographing-the-disastrous-effects-of-sand-mining-on-the-mekong-river  (28 Nov. 2017)


Canada Researchers measure carbon footprint of hydroelectric dams “We’re creating artificial reservoirs around the world, but GHG emissions from hydroelectricity are not well accounted for,” said Paul Del Giorgio, a biologist at UQAM. “There are some dams in tropical zones that emit as many greenhouse gases as coal plants,” due to the accelerated decomposition of drowned organic materials, said the Argentine researcher.

Del Giorgio and his students complement Garneau’s research by taking water samples from flooded lands behind dams that are analyzed in a field laboratory set up in Havre-Saint-Pierre’s town hall. Both datasets will be plugged into a complex set of equations to determine the volume of greenhouse gas emissions from dams. The first results of their work are expected in 2019 and are highly anticipated by climate scientists worldwide, says Garneau. The IPCC desperately needs “to have better models, for better predicting climate change,” she said. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/researchers-measure-carbon-footprint-of-canada-hydroelectric-dams/66745940  (22 Nov. 2018)


How Hydropower Can Help Climate Action Accounting for 70% of the world’s current renewable generation capacity, hydropower is an important element in the fight against #ClimateChange. For this reason, we’re partnering with Itaipu Binacional at #COP24 >> https://bit.ly/2PMnZW0 https://unfccc.int/news/how-hydropower-can-help-climate-action  (21 Nov. 2018)


Comment Proposed amendment by Environment Ministry to include 3rd party monitoring Kanchi Kohli on proposed amendment to EIA notification:

– On Sept. 10, 2018, the MoEF issued a draft amendment to the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006. Through this the ministry acknowledges that the compliance status of implementation of environmental conditions needs to be improved, and do so it has proposed to include a randomised third party monitoring system. The ministry has proposed to carry out this third party monitoring through govt institutions of national repute.

– In response to this draft amendment, CPR-Namati Environmental Justice Program made a submission with the ministry. The submission highlights that such a process is still limited to the original two parties involved in environmental compliance i.e. govt agencies and project developers. It emphasises on the need for a monitoring framework that addresses impacts and is not limited to routine inspections. To fill this lacuna the submission suggests that affected people be made part of third-party monitoring mechanism. This mechanism should enable them to collaborate with regulators towards better monitoring and compliance with environmental safeguards. It also raises questions regarding the credibility of the govt institutions of national repute and urges the Ministry to disclose the funding details proposed for such an amendment.  http://cprindia.org/news/7383  (20 Nov. 2018)

MoEF Health and environment effects to be criteria for clearance to thermal plants This is interesting part here: The MoEF has also put in a condition to look into the impact of operation of power plants on agricultural crops and large water bodies once in two years and has asked that an institute of repute be engaged for the purpose.  https://indianexpress.com/article/india/health-and-environment-effects-to-be-criteria-for-clearance-to-thermal-plants/   (21 Nov. 2018)

Farmers march to Delhi Farmers from across India, from 210 farmer and agricultural organisations to march to Delhi on Nov 29-30, 2018 to demand a 21 day special parliament session on the plight of farmers. https://www.counterview.in/2018/11/rally-in-patna-non-farmer-bodies-to.html  (22 Nov. 2018)

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

Also see DRP News Bulletin 19 Nov. 2018 & DRP News Bulletin 12 Nov. 2018

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

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