DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 20 May 2019: This drought, Big Dams Elephants recognised by media

At least 40% of India is facing worst drought of 30-40 years as per various researchers. A very large part of that happening in areas that are focus of India’s dam building. These areas are facing drought in spite of so much dam building. But the official agencies never saw the link. Its heartening to see some media reports and edits have started recognising the elephant in the room. Hope this is change for the better and if the media continues to highlight the situation and linkages, may be, may be we will also see impact on the governments. A silver-lining as they say in otherwise dark situation.

DNA Edit: Dry states – Maha, Guj show why big dam policy has not worked Clearly, something needs to be said about the policy of promoting large dams, as is evident in the case of both Gujarat and Maharashtra, which has not yielded commensurate benefits. States such as Telangana have shown the way, having implemented a large scheme to rejuvenate its tanks, something that has been found wanting in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Sadly, in a period of election-related theatrics, real issues like the water crisis and acute shortage of stored water, have been swept under the carpet. The drought situation in Kutch is so dire that officials have described it as “possibly the worst since the drought of 1985 in Gujarat.” https://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/editorial-dna-edit-dry-states-maha-guj-show-why-big-dam-policy-has-not-worked-2750973

Dams elephant in the room Though 2,069 large dams already dot its landscape, Maharashtra is building another 285, even though the majority of the dams have not achieved their projected irrigation potential. However, during the entire Lok Sabha election campaign and now, with the State facing one of the severest droughts, the irrigation scams are missing from public discourse. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/elections/maharashtra-polls-dams-are-the-elephant-in-the-room/article27141372.ece   (15 May 2019)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Agenda for FAC meeting to be held on May 22, 2019, some relevant proposals: – 52.80 HA OF FORESTLAND (SURFACE FOREST LAND = 47.70 HA, RIVERBED = 2.30 HA & UNDERGROUND AREA =2.80 HA) FOR TATO-I H.E.PROJECT (186 MW) IN WEST SIANG DISTRICT OF ARUNACHAL PRADESH BY M/S SIYOTA HYDRO POWER PVT. LTD.

– ADDITIONAL AREA OF 4.2 HA OF FOREST LAND (PH & BARRAGE QUARRY OF 0.5 HA AND MUCK ACCESS ROAD OF 3.7 HA) FOR HEO HYDRO ELECTRIC PROJECT (240 MW) IN WEST SIANG DISTRICT OF ARUNACHAL PRADESH.

– 54.87 HA. OF FOREST LAND FOR HIRAN MEDIUM TANK PROJECT FOR WATER RESOURCES DEPT, JABALPUR DISTRICT MADHYA PRADESH. http://forestsclearance.nic.in/AgendaDetail.aspx?id=219!dis1

Uttrakhand बांध का काम रोका: समस्याओं का निदान नही : माटू जन संघठन 13 मई 2019 से नैटवाड़-मोरी बांध परियोजना (60 मेगावाट), टॉन्स नदी, ज़िला उत्तरकाशी, से प्रभावित नैटवाड़ और बनोल गांव के लोगों ने अपनी बरसो से लंबित मांगों की पूर्ति ना होने के कारण बांध का काम रोका हुआ है उनकी मांगें वही है जो कि उनसे जनसुनवाई तथा उसके बाद अलग-अलग समय पर वादे किए गए और जिन्हें पूरा नहीं किया गया है। अफसोस की बात यह है कि प्रशासन ने अभी तक कोई सकारात्मक पहल नहीं की है। नैटवाड़ और बनोल गांव के लोगो ने  बांध परियोजना का विरोध नहीं किया था। परियोजना के बारे में जैसा बताया गया, जो उनसे वादे किये गए उसको ही लोगो ने सच माना था। बांध की जनसुनवाई से पहले उनको पर्यावरण प्रभाव आकलन रिपोर्ट और प्रबंध योजना हिंदी में, आसान भाषा में मुहैया नहीं कराई गई थी।  जखोल-साकरी बांध परियोजना की जनसुनवाई प्रक्रिया भी गांव वासियों को बिना पूरी जानकारी दिए, जबरदस्ती के साथ  पूरी की गई है। http://cgbasket.in/?p=23802  (17 May 2019)

Alaknanda Hydro Project company in Srinagar Uttrakhand lays off 90 employees whose land was acquired for project in return of employment among other benefits. Shows hydro project are not employment generator for local people. http://epaper.livehindustan.com/imageview_2251_95919556_4_146_12-05-2019_i_4.pagezoomsinwindows.php   (14 May 20109)

Himachal Pradesh Dams safety be dammed On May 3rd, 2019, Divya Himachal, a Hindi daily, reported that the 100 MW Sainj Hydropower Project in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district had stopped its operations after severe leakage due to massive cracks in the dam was noticed. Owned by the Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd (HPPCL), the project has been non-operational for more than a month, creating a loss of Rs 5 crore so far for the company. However, what is shocking about the case is that the leakage has been continuing since the last two months but not a single remedial measure was taken. The project, reported Divya Himachal, is apparently moving towards a massive disaster, putting the lives of hundreds of people at risk.

– In this highly landslide-prone state, 153 hydropower projects (HPPs) have been commissioned as of March 2019, records the DOE. Astoundingly, a 2015 study of the State Disaster Management Authority warns that 56 per cent of Himachal’s total constructed HPPs are under serious threat of landslide hazard risks. Any construction that involves underground disturbance, working near fast flowing rivers prone to flash floods and eroding the soil of steep slopes is risky business. Despite this state of affairs, Himachal’s valleys are set to see 863 more HPPs, which are either under construction or at different stages of clearance.

– Himachal, which had its hydropower policy laid out way back in 2006, does not pay much heed to the safety assurance of operational, under-construction or to be constructed projects. However, owing to repeated instances of negligence at various project sites, the Ministry of Multi-Purpose Projects and Power, via a notification on February 10, 2014, mandated the formation of a state-level dam safety cell. According to the notification, the cell was to ensure safety, quality control, management of water flows, and monitor and ensure the health of hydro projects which are under implementation in all the five river basins in Himachal Pradesh. Ideally, the cell should have been playing a role in the planning of projects and even more importantly, safety monitoring and accountability in under-construction and operational projects.

– On April 14, 2019,  Amar Ujala, a national Hindi daily, reported leakage in a tunnel of the Parbati Stage-III (520 MW) HPP in Sainj Valley, Himachal Pradesh, where the inhabitants of the nearby Bihali and Sampagani villages feared that the tunnel would burst open and cause complete erosion. In 2017, Parbati Stage-II HPP (800 MW), just upstream of Stage-III, met a similar fate when leakage from its tunnel impacted over a dozen villages in the Kullu district putting at risk the lives of around 400 families. In the absence of regular monitoring, our safety vis-à-vis dam safety seems fragile. As far as collective discussion of safety issues in hydropower projects is concerned, members of the state-level dam safety cell have not even met once following their first meeting, owing to a lack of funds (based on telephonic conversation with a senior official at DOE).

– In 2014, the Ministry of Multi-Purpose Projects and Power issued a issued a letter to all IPPs and government organisations (managing dams/barrages in various river basins) of Himachal Pradesh, mandating the formation of a safety cell by each IPP for “preventive methods of minimising loss to life and property”. But when an enquiry was conducted in the Kashang case, HPPCL formed an enquiry team consisting of engineers from the Shongtong Karcham HPP (another project of HPPCL) on an ad-hoc basis. This makes it appear like HPPCL became the sole investigator of its own crime.

– The absence of safety cells at IPP level is also echoed in the CAG report of 2017 on Social, General and Economic Sectors, which highlights non-compliance by three dam authorities: Bhakra Nagal, Largi and Chamera-I. It records that “no dam safety cell was created for implementation of the dam surveillance programme by any of the selected dam authorities” to respond to relief and rescue operations. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/energy/dam-safety-in-himachal-pradesh-be-damned-64585  (16 May 2019)

Sikkim Highest Elevation Record Of Tiger  Under Sikkim Biodiversity and Forest Management project (SBFP) Royal Bengal tiger was captured in one of the cameras, on the night of February 5th 2019 at 09:20:36 pm at Ek Ghothey at an altitude Of 11,715 ft. (3571 masl) with a recorded atmospheric temperature of -3•C.

This is the highest elevation record of tiger in the state. Earlier records spoke of tigers at an altitude Of 10,000 ft in the state. So far the elevation of 11,909 ft. is the highest camera trapped photographic evidence of tiger presence. In the Indian part of the Eastern Himalayas in Arunachal Pradesh.

In the same area where the tiger was camera trapped, other fauna like Red Panda, Musk deer, Red fox, Wild yak, Blood pheasant and Himalayan monal were also captured which means that there is good prey base in the habitat. The Department had earlier recorded evidences from Lachung, Torsa Lake, Phyangsi, Kyongnosla with the first photographic evidence from cameras installed in the pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary. https://voiceofsikkim.com/2019/05/17/the-highest-elevation-record-of-tiger-in-sikkim/  (17 May 2019)  

https://twitter.com/lifeindia2016/status/1129931197914570753   

Industry CMD OF NHPC on challenges of hydropower sector The major issue plaguing the sector is that it is a capital intensive sector with long gestation period. The wide array of uncontrollable externalities further drives up the project cost thereby increasing the tariff. The constrained financial situation of the distribution sector is another risk for developer and financers, further complicated by the problems in long term power purchase agreements in some cases. All such factors, combined with technical challenges and geological uncertainties associated with hydropower do not make it the preferred choice of investors. This sentiment is amply manifested by lower share of private investments in hydro sector.”

– Pump storage business has not matured to the extent opportunities available in our country. In India we have 2.6 GW capacity under operation and another 3.1 GW is under construction. One of the major reason is associated R&R issues with large storages. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/we-may-exceed-the-current-years-capex-of-rs-3800-crore-balraj-joshi-nhpc/69343774  (15 May 2019)

DAMS

Telangana Kondapochamma reservoir land oustee fear eviction, attempts suicide The project is part of Kaleshwaram project:- In a severe embarrassment to the State government, Dacharam Kanakaiah, a farmer of Mamidyala village in Mulugu mandal, attempted suicide by consuming pesticide on May 12 night. He was immediately shifted to the Government Hospital in Gajwel and then to Gandhi Hospital in Secunderabad. Later, he was shifted to a private hospital for better treatment. His condition is reported to be stable now.

According to villagers, police had forcibly entered the lands of P. Srinivas Goud of Mamidyala and commenced the bund work. This was despite showing them the stay orders of the High Court. “Do whatever you can. We are not bothered about the court orders and the courts are already in vacation,” were the reported comments by police officials to the protesting villagers who objected to the police entering their lands.

Mr. Kanakaiah, one of the farmers of the village felt that the government was not heeding even the court directions and he and others could approach no one as the police themselves were violating the orders. Incidentally, he was one among the group of villagers who had approached the court seeking implementation of the Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act – 2013. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/land-oustee-fear-eviction-attempts-suicide/article27120541.ece  (14 May 2019) 

Police flout court orders on Kondapochamma Taking the residents of Markook village by surprise, a large contingent of some 100 police personnel reached the village May 12 morning and digging work was commenced for a bund to be taken up on a private land as part of the Kondapochamma Reservoir project. The revenue officials feigned ignorance and said that it had not come to their notice and that they were not aware of the development.

The bund work was taken up on the land belonging to P. Srinivas Goud of Mamidyala village in Mulugu mandal. His strategically located piece of land was not acquired by the government as the land owner had moved the court and the court gave a stay order in his favour and directed the administration not to take up any work. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/police-flout-court-orders-on-kondapochamma/article27110131.ece  (13 May 2019)

Maharashtra File reply to plea on Aruna dam graft: HC The Bombay High Court Division Bench of Justices Ajay Gadkari and N.M. Jamdar has  on May 16 directed the Maharashtra government to file a reply to a petition alleging corruption in the construction of Aruna dam in Sindhudurg district. The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Tanaji Kamble, from Sindhudurg. He is a project-affected person (PAP) as his land in village Bhom has been acquired for the project. Land from Akavane and Nagabwadi villages in the same district have also been acquired. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/file-reply-to-plea-on-aruna-dam-graft-hc-tells-state/article27175003.ece  (19 May 2019)

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

Mullaperiyar Dam Tamil Nadu files contempt plea against Kerala The Tamil Nadu government has filed a contempt plea in the Supreme Court against Kerala charging it with constructing a multi-layer car parking lot in the catchment area of the Mullaperiyar dam. In its petition in 2nd week of May 2019, Tamil Nadu has contended that the ongoing construction at Anavachal was in violation of the orders of the top court and was aimed at preventing the restoration of the storage level of the reservoir to the original level of 152 ft. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/mullaperiyar-row-tamil-nadu-files-contempt-plea-against-kerala/story-81RrmHHsuCAGTbYXVbUPGJ.html  (14 May 2019)

IRRIGATION

Gujarat Narmada’s WUA failed At a recent high-level committee meeting chaired by B N Navalawala, advisor to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, it was revealed in a report that less than 2% of the Water Users Associations (WUAs) are still functional. The report was prepared by a 12-member committee headed by Navalawala to revive the WUAs through PIM. In the official report titled ‘Committee Report of Sardar Sarovar (Narmada) Scheme for Strengthening Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM)’, it was found that of the 4,466 WUAs only 79 were functional.

– About 30% work of the smaller canals has not been completed, say industry officials. For the sub-minor canal network, out of the total 46,319 kilometres, work on 13,491km is yet to be completed. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/narmadas-water-co-ops-fail-to-work/articleshow/69315687.cms   (14 May 2019)

Madhya Pradesh Relevant decision of FAC meeting on April 23, 2019 Recommended for In-principal approval of the proposal for diversion of 69.555 ha. of forest land for construction of Chhitakhudri Medium Irrigation Project, in favour of Water Resources Department, Jabalpur District http://forestsclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/FAC_Minutes/511151236121011.PDF   

URBAN RIVERS

Mithi; Mumbai Unfinished bridge on Mithi may cause Kurla-Kalina to flood An incomplete bridge over the Mithi river that has been in the works for 10 years could flood Kurla-Kalina this monsoon. The BMC has failed to clear the mud it had dumped along the banks to serve as bunds during its reconstruction. As per the BMC’s order, all drains have to be cleaned by May 15. But only 61.62 per cent of the Mithi river has been desilted so far, as per the latest data of May 10. Any blockage caused from mud embankments-could, therefore, resulting in flooding.

The bridge on Air India Colony Road that connects Kalina with LBS Road was taken up for reconstruction a decade ago after a large number of buffaloes from sheds along the river banks that were killed in the devastating 2005 floods washed up under it. A BMC committee recommended that raising its height would prevent such a recurrence.

The Rs 10-crore project was split into two parts-the southern arm was to be taken up first and then the northern carriageway. While phase 1 was completed five years ago, the BMC issued the work order for the next only in October last year, said the contractor AR Construction. https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/mumbai/other/unfinished-bridge-on-mithi-may-cause-kurla-kalina-to-flood/articleshow/69299461.cms  (13 May 2019)

RIVERS

SANDRP Blog River as a Companion: Titash Ekti Nadir Naam For all its tragedy and melodrama, Titash Ekti Nadir Naam is a celebration of a river and its people. Its been 63 years since its publication and things are not better either for our rivers or our fisherfolk.

Books like Titash Ekti Nadir Naam or Ichhamati are not about nostalgia. They are about remembrance. We cannot afford to forget what happened to the Malos along the banks of Titash or the river itself.

Like Ritwik Ghatak says in Komal Gandhar, “Despite the pain, we must remember. Through remembrance, we may yet affirm our human dignity against the resonance of cruelty. And yet, the landscape of hope is too vast. Too subtle, too tender. Just like our Bengal. Part 2 of understanding Titash Ekti Nadir Naam by Adwaita Mallabarman https://sandrp.in/2019/05/16/river-as-a-companion-titash-ekti-nadir-naam/  (16 May 2019)

Odisha Locals step up to save Indravati river Residents of Bastar have started foot-march to save Indravati River from Bhejapadar village on May 8. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/news/chhattisgarh-locals-step-up-to-save-indravati-river-in-bastar/videoshow/69342905.cms  (16 May 2019)  

Tamil Nadu Effort to transport 300-tonne stone alters Thenpennai river courses The steady rumble of the earth mover competed with the sound of the gushing Thenpennai river. The machine ploughed through the riverbed, scooping out mounds of mud on to a ramp 100 feet long, 25 feet wide and 20 feet high being constructed across the river in Perandapalli village along the Krishnagiri-Hosur stretch of the national highway.

The ramp will allow the passage of a multi-axle truck bearing a 300-tonne, partially-carved stone monolith for a Vishnu sculpture commissioned by the Kondaramaswamy Charitable Trust, a private trust based in Bengaluru. The truck has been on the road since last year.

With no Public Works Department (PWD) officials in sight, the ramp is blocking the water’s course even as inflow into the river from the upstream Kelavarapalli dam is substantial. Underneath the bund created by the ongoing construction, three pipelines have been laid to regulate water under the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) bridge. The Thenpennai, fed by the Kelavarapalli dam, irrigates over five districts. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/effort-to-transport-300-tonne-stone-alters-river-courses-in-tamil-nadu/article27175275.ece  (19 May 2019)

CAUVERY A dead river in Tamil Nadu Overexploitation and mismanagement has taken its toll on the Cauvery. Add to that sea level rise due to climate change, and the Cauvery delta is becoming more and more saline all the time. https://indiaclimatedialogue.net/2019/05/17/photo-feature-coping-with-a-stressed-cauvery/  (17 May 2019)

River Cauvery is heading down a deadly spiral “In ten years, the Cauvery river will go dry.” And it will if things go the way they are, says M N Chandramohan, an activist who appears to be fighting a lonely battle to save the river that is facing pollution right where it originates — the Kodagu district, where it is also revered as Dakshina Ganga, the Ganga of the South. Sewage generated from homestays, coffee pulping units, hotels and plastic directly enters its waters here.

Things are not any different in Tamil Nadu, the lower riparian state where Cauvery and its tributaries are facing a slow, but certain death due to rampant pollution anchored by sewage and industrial effluents, coupled with a general disregard for the water on the part of both authorities as well as the public. From its origin in Talakaveri, the 765-km-long Cauvery flows through Hassan, Mandya and Mysuru districts before entering Tamil Nadu.

Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have spent decades fighting out a legal dispute on sharing the Cauvery water, but lost in the loud shouting match is the rampant pollution and mismanagement of the water on both sides. Only a handful of activists in both states are focussed on the big picture — how a river is headed down a deadly rusty spiral. https://www.deccanherald.com/exclusives/river-cauvery-is-heading-down-a-deadly-spiral-734640.html  (19 May 2019)  

GANGA Ascetics, environmentalists, and a forgotten Ganga Himanshu Thakkar speaks to the thethirdpole.net about environmentalists and ascetics, hunger strikes, hydropower projects, and a Ganga that might be holy, but is nowhere near clean. The Namami Gange Mission works to prevent sewage and industrial waste from polluting the Ganga, but activist groups accuse the government of not taking steps to ensure natural flows in the river. Allowing hydropower projects in Uttarakhand blocks the natural water flow and renders sewage cleaning projects ineffective.  https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/2019/05/17/ascetics-environmentalists-and-a-forgotten-ganga/  (17 May 2019)

Uttarakhand Govt wants farmers to go organic to keep Ganga toxin-free “Under the first phase of the centrally funded project Namami Gange, all poor and marginal hill farmers inhabiting the 42 out of a list of 139 villages in Chamoli, Uttarkashi, Pauri, Rudraprayag and Tehri in the catchment area of the river Ganga are being given full support to adopt organic farming”, said Gauri Shankar, director, agriculture referring to Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY). The scheme is also being implemented in four other states—Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal– under the PKVY.

In that connection, 2 MoU were signed between the state government and two prominent corporate houses—Adani group and Home Burpp during the Investors Summit held in Dehradun last year, according to officials. “Both the groups agreed to market the locally grown organic produce under the local brand”, Shankar said referring to ‘Uttarakhand Organic.’ https://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/uttarakhand-government-wants-farmers-to-go-organic-to-keep-ganga-toxin-free/story-TEAGs454rlLGAwIA9hmFcN.html  (13 May 2019)

YAMUNA Centre CPCB tells state to ensure STPs are augmented Its plain eye washing; various STPs in Haryana towns along Yamuna under upgradation, enhancement over a decade, without any result. CPCB has directed the state to ensure augmentation of STPs in industrial cities of Yamunanagar, Panipat and Sonepat districts. Notably, industrial and domestic discharge from these industrial cities was the main source of pollution in the Yamuna water.

CPCB chairman SP Singh Parihar has written to the engineer-in-chief of the public health engineering department that augmentation of the capacity of STPs and laying down of sewerage system at Yamunanagar and Sonepat is required, whereas the augmentation of sewerage conveyance system of Panipat city for 100% utilisation of existing treatment facility is required. In the letter, the Haryana government has been told to make STP installed at Rathdana village of Sonepat district operational. https://www.hindustantimes.com/gurugram/yamuna-cpcb-tells-state-to-ensure-stps-are-augmented/story-64Z45o5mcBWOoQNPQvHZrO.html  (16 May 2019)

Delhi Who will save Yamuna from its ‘saviours’? Agencies responsible for preventing dumping of construction and demolition waste on the Yamuna floodplain and drains and punishing violators are now under scanner for dumping malba themselves. These include corporations, the Public Works Department, the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation and Engineers India Limited.

The Yamuna monitoring committee, at a recent meeting, stressed on the need for accountability and for jurisdictional issues to be sorted out at the chief engineer level “instead of resorting to paper exercises like issue of show causes notices to each other”.

“It has been found that instances of solid waste in large quantities being dumped into the drains continue… Meetings have been held with agencies and RWAs/complainants and some remedial action has been taken at, namely, Ramnagar Extension or Subhash Nagar, and dumping of biomedical waste at Barapullah drain (sic),” the panel said.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/who-will-save-yamuna-from-its-saviours/articleshow/69403617.cms  (20 May 2019)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Varanasi Fisher community facing livelihood crisis due to cruise project in Ganga वाराणसी में वादाखिलाफी और बड़ी कंपनियों के प्रमोशन से नाराज़ है वहां का निषाद समाज. प्रधानमंत्री ने गंगा घाटों पर पर्यटन बढ़ाकर स्थानीय लोगों की आमदनी बढ़ाने का वादा किया था लेकिन आज निषाद समुदाय को लगता है आमदनी बढ़ना तो दूर उनकी आजीविका ही संकट में पड़ गई है. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqY-XPEm3MY   (14 May 2019)

Also see, एनजीटी को क्यों कहना पड़ा कि कुंभ के बाद इलाहाबाद महामारी के कगार पर पहुंच गया है  (17 May 2019)  

SAND MINING

National पर्यावरण मंत्रालय की नयी अधिसूचना बिल्डरों और खनन कंपनियों को फायदा पहुंचाने की कोशिश केंद्र ने पर्यावरण प्रभाव आकलन (ईआईए) पर अपनी संशोधित अधिसूचना में कहा है कि 20 हजार वर्ग मीटर से लेकर 50 हजार वर्ग मीटर तक के क्षेत्र में निर्माण कार्य के लिए सरकार से मंजूरी लेने की अब जरूरत नहीं होगी। वहीं, पर्यावरणविदों ने कहा है कि इस अधिसूचना के जरिए बिल्डरों और खनन कंपनियों को फायदा पहुंचाने की कोशिश की जा रही है तथा इससे ‘ईआईए’ कमजोर होगा। नयी अधिसूचना के तहत रेत खनन और निर्माण गतिविधियों के लिए ली जाने वाली मंजूरी की प्रक्रिया खत्म कर दी गई है, हालांकि यह फैसला पर्यावरण कार्यकर्ताओं को नागवार गुजरा है और उन्होंने दावा किया कि ईआईए अधिसूचना में जन सुनवाई के साथ समझौता किया गया है। यह मसौदा जिलाधिकारी की अध्यक्षता में जिला स्तर के अधिकारियों को जन-सुनवाई से छूट पाने की इजाजत देता है जबकि पांच एकड़ तक के क्षेत्र में रेत खनन के लिए हरी झंडी दी गई है। https://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/india/environmentalists-trying-to-benefit-the-new-notification-builders-and-mining-companies-of-the-ministry-of-environment/articleshow/69377247.cms#  (17 May 2019)            

Andhra Pradesh SC suspends NGT order asking govt to deposit Rs 100 Cr On May 12, citing interest of natural justice, the Supreme Court has suspended the NGT order directing the state to deposit Rs 100 crores with the CPCB for inaction to prevent illegal sand mining. The apex court permitted the govt to move an appropriate application before the NGT within two weeks after the government had claimed that it was not granted an opportunity to be heard by the green tribunal before the order was passed. “…. We clarify that we have only suspended the direction of the NGT to the above extent. We have not expressed any opinion on the merits of the appeal,” the bench said.

On April 4, the tribunal while asking the state to deposit Rs 100 crore with the CPCB within a month, directed the chief secretary to forthwith prohibit all unregulated sand mining. “Even a policy to give free sand as welfare measure cannot justify unregulated mining unmindful of impact on environment. If in the course of mining, damage is caused, the same must be recovered from such violators. Authorities cannot avoid their duty under the environmental law to restore the damage which is a duty to future generations,” it had said. https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/illegal-sand-mining-sc-suspends-ngt-order-asking-ap-to-deposit-rs-100-cr-with-cpcb/1533796  (13 May 2019)

On May 13, A joint team of Nandigama and Kanhikacherla police busted illegal sand mining at Raghavapuram village in Krishna district and seized 78 tractors owned by a contractor. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/vijayawada/2019/may/14/illegal-krishna-sand-mining-busted-78-tractors-seized-1976708.html  (14 May 2019)

Activists have written to the Chief Secretary L.V. Subramanyam to stop indiscriminate and illegal sand mining with heavy machinery and barges near the CM’s residence in the Krishna River. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/stop-sand-mining-near-cm-residence-waterman/article26872048.ece  (18 April 2019)

Madhya Pradesh Congress Leader Threatens Officer In Sand Mining Row Arushi Jain, SDM Ajaygarh in Panna district alleged that a local Congress leader forcibly freed a confiscated sand-laden truck linked to illegal sand mining operations in the area. In a letter written to the district collector, she also claimed a police officer misbehaved with her and refused to follow orders. She has asked for police protection.

The police have registered cases under Sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty) and 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions). Ms Jain has frequently confronted illegal sand mining activities and confiscated several trucks, including the one belonging to the Congress leader. In March, her team and she demolished a temporary (and illegal) 20-metre-long bridge built by the mafia to facilitate the mining and transportation of sand. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/madhya-pradesh-sand-mining-congress-leader-took-confiscated-truck-and-threatened-me-says-sub-divisio-2039445  (18 May 2019)

Kerala  Govt goes ahead with mineral sand mining plan amid protest Amid protests, the major irrigation department (MID) has decided to go ahead with the plan to extract mineral sand from Thottappally ‘pozhi’ (estuary).

A senior officer with the MID said that both Indian Rare Earths (IRE) Limited and Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited(KMML) have submitted their expression of interest for mineral sand mining from the estuary. “They be given permission for removing mineral sand this week, and we are waiting for the government order in this regard. Both KMML and IRE will extract the mineral sand from the estuary as a joint venture,’’ said the MID official.

Purakkad gram panchayat authorities have come out against the state government’s move to remove mineral-rich sand from Thottappally. Speaking at a news conference here on May 6 , Purakkad panchayat president Rahumath Hamid had said that the state government was gearing up for large scale mineral sand mining in the area in the name of Thottappally spillway renovation, which is within their local body. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/govt-goes-ahead-with-mineral-sand-mining-plan-amid-protest/articleshow/69332996.cms  (15 May 2019)

Haryana HC-constituted panel inspects illegal passages across Yamuna Members of the committee constituted by the Delhi High Court visited Yamunanagar district on May 12 for the inspection of sites where the mining mafia has constructed makeshift passages and bundhs across the Yamuna. The committee members first went to Kanalsi village, 17 km downstream of the Tajewala barrage, where a team of the DJB had seen a bundh being made on May 3.

SB Tripathi, petitioner, had moved an application in the Delhi HC for reviving the Yamuna flow. Thereafter, DJB officials were to submit a report to the court on May 8 regarding the position and quantum of the river flow at Tajewala. The DJB team had visited Tajewala and other places in Yamunanagar district on May 3 and presented a report, and photographs of an obstruction in the Yamuna mainstream at Kanalsi village in the HC on May 8. Passing an order that day (on May 8), the HC constituted the committee. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/hc-constituted-panel-inspects-illegal-passages-across-yamuna/772812.html  (14 May 2019)

Uttrakhand Illegal mining threatens Dakpathar barrage Rampant illegal sand, stone mining in Yamuna river, in Vikas Nagar, Dehradun now threatens the safety of Dakpathar barrage. News clip cites violations of norms and involvement of officials. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=640720223018642&id=330667430690591  (11 May 2019)

Tamil Nadu Chennai: Illegal sand mining claims man’s life This is 3rd reported casualty due to illegal sand mining in 2019:- According to police of Vellore district, Thangavel (28) hearing and speech impaired and a resident of Valarpuram village in the district, went to Nandi river near Arakonam along with other four workers to dig the sand. It is a regular practice for workers to dig the sand and carry it on bullock carts. On May 16 also, when they were engaged in sand mining, sand caved in and they were buried. The other workers could be rescued, but Thangavel died on the spot. It took two hours to take out the victim from the sand mound, police said. Three other injured workers are undergoing treatment at a private hospital in the city.  Local residents said they were illegally mining the sand from the river. The body of Thangaraj was sent to the Vellore government hospital for postmortem. The Arakonam police have registered a case. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/170519/chennai-illegal-sand-mining-claims-mans-life.html  (17 March 2019)

The incident took place in the morning after loose soil near the spot where they were digging suddenly caved in and all the four workers were trapped. Local villagers, who were crossing the riverbank, found the four buried and managed to save the lives of three, except Thangavel. The three, who were suffocating under the tonnes of earth, were rushed to a private hospital in Tiruttani and were undergoing treatment in the intensive care unit.

In a press release, Vellore SP K Pravesh Kumar had warned of stringent action against people who were involved in illegal sand smuggling and had requested the public to extend support to a special team formed to eliminate the illegal sand mining in the district. According to Pravesh Kumar, a special team headed by Vellore ADSP Balasubramaniam and compromising an SI and 10 armed reserve police personnel has been deployed to prevent illegal sand mining. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/puducherry/worker-involved-in-illegal-sand-mining-buried-alive/articleshow/69362205.cms  (17 May 2019)

Bihar Mining and Brick Kilns Hasten Ganga’s Shift From Patna Ganga, which once flowed along Patna, has shifted away at least five to six kilometres away from its original course. In Patna district, the total length of the Ganga river is 99 kilometres. The waterfront used to be around 20 kilometres before the river started moving away from the city. Research published in 2014 says that river Ganga is shifting away from the city of Patna on an average of 0.14 kilometres per year.

Experts believe that the change in the course of the river is due to several reasons which are geogenic (resulting from geological processes) as well as anthropogenic (resulting from human activity). “Lateral shifting of the river is a typical characteristic of any tropical river. But, at the same time, what has happened with Ganga, especially in and around Patna, is definitely man-made. Too much extraction of sand and building of brick kilns has led to the shifting of the river away from the city,” said R.K. Sinha, a biologist and also the vice chancellor of the Nalanda Open University in Bihar.

Sinha explained how the sand mining and dumping by brick kilns affected the flow of the Ganga river and its tributaries like Son and Ghaghara near Patna. “Excessive mining at the mouth of river Son which meets Ganga near Patna has also caused the change in flow. The mining has eroded a lot of villages on the left side and deposited all the soil on the right, and a vast stretch of land has been created,” he added.

Official government data demonstrates that mining has continuously increased over the last few decades. As per the Bihar government’s data published in November 2018, the total revenue earned between 2014-15 and 2016-17 from sand mining along Ganga in the state was Rs 54 crores. In 2014-15, the total revenue earned by Bihar from just Patna district was Rs. 13.71 crores which increased to Rs. 20.01 crores in 2016-17 marking an increase of almost 50 percent. “These official figures do not reflect the illegal mining which is going on day and night. This data is just for the approved mining,” said a senior official of the Bihar government, while wishing to remain anonymous.

Apart from rampant mining, brick kilns are another big reason for this change. The brick industry boomed as the demand for housing and other construction rose after 1990 due to urbanisation. In 2016-17, a total of 479 brick kiln were identified by the government in Patna district and out of them 388 units are still working. https://thewire.in/environment/mining-and-brick-kilns-hasten-gangas-shift-from-patna  (20 May 2019)

Goa Sand mining: 30 canoes seized During the last few months, Captain of Ports (CoP) has seized about 30 illegal canoes operating in the business of sand extraction. To secure the release of these vessels, the owners will have to complete the registration process and pay a fine of Rs 2,000. The attached canoes will be released post monsoon, a CoP official said.

Following a NGT order banning sand extraction, the industry that was operating on a large scale in the Mandovi, Chapora and Tiracol has come to standstill. However, in pockets, clandestine mining continues. Meanwhile, the government-appointed committee is working to find a solution to help people involved in sand extraction trade, who have lost their source of income says an official.

Seizing the canoes is just the tip of the illegal sand-mining iceberg. The sand mining industry in Goa has not only grown manifold in the past two decades, it has also mechanised. Excessive extraction is a threat to marine life and can affect the watertable and pollute drinking water. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/sand-mining-30-canoes-seized/articleshow/69275445.cms  (11 May 2019)  

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Uttar Pradesh Bird risk to flights puts question mark over wetlands around Jewar The fate of 63 wetlands hangs in balance as they lie within the area earmarked for Jewar airport and in the adjoining 15 km. Responding to an RTI query, the forest department has said there are three wetlands — over 2.5 hectares in the area that lie within the Jewar airport land. Another 60 wetlands are within the adjoining 15 km, making it a total of 63 in the proposed airport’s impact zone that cannot be provided protection.

According to the draft EIA report prepared earlier for the Jewar airport, the area is also close to the sarus crane habitats and their presence can impact flight safety. Officials, however, say since the planning for the Jewar airport is still in its nascent stage, these wetlands will be looked into and their management plan will be prepared. But environmental activists have made it clear that scientific alternatives are required to compensate for these wetlands since Jewar’s water table is already over exploited as per CGWB. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/noida/bird-risk-to-flights-puts-question-mark-over-wetlands-around-jewar/articleshow/69287324.cms   (12 May 2019)

Kerala Vigilance forms SIT on wetland conversion The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) has received preliminary intelligence that the illegal conversion of wetlands to saleable real estate using forged government orders and fabricated documents was more widespread in the State than presumed initially.

In response, Director, VACB, Anil Kant, has constituted a special investigation team to unearth other such violations, if any. SP, K.E. Baiju, will head the SIT. Officials said Mr. Kant had flagged up the possibility that there could be more attempts to convert wetlands using the same method witnessed in Choornikkara in Ernakulam district.

The VACB had earlier arrested four persons, including a clerk attached to the Land Revenue Commissioner’s office in Thiruvananthapuram, on the charge of having forged government orders and proceedings to abet the illegal conversion of 25 cents of wetland into prime real estate. The agency has also made the landowner, who paid a sizeable commission to the suspects, an accused in the case. Investigators said more public servants could be involved in similar fraud cases. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/vigilance-forms-sit-on-wetland-conversion/article27142186.ece  (16 May 2019)

Odisha Cyclone Fani Creates 4 New Mouths on Chilika Lake The lake earlier had two mouths. The two more that have opened up could make the lake water more saline, thus affecting marine life. “There were two active mouths before Fani, but now we found four new mouths. There are chances some of the new mouths may merge with the old mouths,” said.

When asked whether the CDA (Chilika Development Authority) will endeavour to close the new mouths, Susanta Nanda, the chief executive of the CDA said it wouldn’t because “we get one or two new mouths after every cyclone. Moreover, the transfer of sediments closes the mouth by itself. It is a natural phenomenon.” According to the CDA, Fani hasn’t damaged the lake’s ecology – “but the plantations have been damaged. However, the mangroves at Chilika are fine, which is good sign.”

Sibaprasad Parida, an expert who contributed to the dolphin and bird census in Chilika, believes that the new mouths could change the lake’s fish population for the better. “However, there may be a decline in fresh water fish. The marine life will improve, as fish migration can now take place from both sides.” https://thewire.in/environment/cyclone-fani-creates-four-new-mouths-on-chilika-lake  (15 May 2019)

Maharashtra Only 26% wetland destruction plaints addressed in 3 months A Bombay high court (HC) appointed panel said only 26% mangrove and wetland destruction complaints filed between February and April have been addressed by state agencies. The state mangrove and wetland committee, during its fourth meeting on May 16, presented details compiled by various government agencies and found that 75 complaints had been filed from February to April. Of these, only 20 have been addressed, while the rest are still under investigation. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/only-26-wetland-destruction-plaints-addressed-in-3-months-mumbai/story-qmJyUMAujF8isBuzcszhGI.html  (17 May 2019)

As per another news, on May 16 the Committee members directed the NMSEZ not to dump any more earth and debris on wetland sites in Uran, Raigad district, following recent complaints.  The member secretary of the Mangroves Protection Committee, Neenu Somraj, said: “Besides asking the NMSEZ to stop any further dumping till these wetland sports are further inspected by Raigad district officials, we have also not allowed the total stoppage of tidal water flow into the Panje wetland in Uran.” https://twitter.com/AneraoKailash/status/1129270673333923840 

Another Committee member, D Stalin added that the Raigad district administration also stated at the meeting that they have identified 131 wetland spots in their jurisdiction, which therefore need to be safeguarded.” NMSEZ which has acquired 2,240 hectares and it has failed to take off. Recently, there has been a flurry of activity in its walled areas after the company obtained change of user permission from the State Government to develop an industrial township. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/mangroves-protection-committee-stops-further-debris-dumping-on-wetlands/articleshow/69362506.cms  (16 May 2019)

Rejuvenating ancient sources to combat water scarcity Environmental groups, in conjunction with the local administration, have embarked on a unique initiative to rejuvenate ancient water sources of the famed pilgrim town of Alandi, 28 km from Pune. The project aims at rejuvenating 52 puratan kundas or ancient water reservoirs located around Alandi which is the birthplace of Dnyaneshwar, the 13th Century saint, poet and philosopher and one of the pivotal figures of the Bhakti movement in medieval India. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/rejuvenating-ancient-sources-to-combat-water-scarcity/article27153864.ece  (17 May 2019)

Report How sanitation drives can leave water bodies badly contaminated Urban centres in the country generate 20-30 per cent human waste and even this is not adequately taken care of. “If we cover 100 per cent of the country with the kind of toilets that we have right now, what is going to happen to the water bodies here,” asked Vinod Tare, who headed the consortium of 7 IITs set up for cleaning the Ganga.

According to official estimates, over nine crore toilets have been built across rural India under this mission. More than 5.5 lakh villages and 615 districts have been declared open-defecation-free across all States and Union Territories. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/how-sanitation-drives-can-leave-water-bodies-badly-contaminated/article26904625.ece  (22 April 2019)    

WATER OPTIONS

Karnataka Bengaluru Couple Save 1 Lakh Litres of Water Every Year Very informative and positive report about sustainable home of Vishwanath, a Civil Engineer and Urban and Regional Planner, and his wife Chitra an architect.

– While it looks no different from a conventional house from the outside, it has no fans or air conditioners, thanks to the natural ventilation system. Solar energy powers the house, bringing the electricity bills down by 1/4th in comparison to regular homes. As a backup, there is a biomass heater for heating water and cooking.

– Through different forms of storing water from the rooftop, Rain Water Harvesting (RHW) system in this eco-friendly house, helps store around one lakh litres of rainwater every year. The house has two eco san toilets it does need water for flushing. The waste collected after every use is covered with ash, and the microbes present on the toilet surface convert it into manure in a short period, which helps maintain the rooftop garden. The duo uses grey water for almost all kinds of organic produce growing on their rooftop.  “Besides,” Vishwanath claims, “the rooftop garden helps in cooling the entire house.”

– One of the most common questions about leading a green life is about the investments of time and money. To this, Viswanath answers, “Contrary to popular belief, the capital cost of building an eco-friendly house reduces by 10 per cent. It also reduces the overall carbon footprint and water wastage.” The 55-year-old continues, “The maintenance also comes down by 75 per cent. Of course, I have to allocate a couple of minutes every week to clean the water-saving appliances, but it is like taking care of your child.”

– The couple believes that building an eco-friendly house should be an intellectual pursuit—where you learn from your failures and apply your lessons—all for a habitation that helps you as well as the environment. To know more about any of the eco-friendly practices, visit Vishwanath’s YouTube page.  https://www.thebetterindia.com/181796/bengaluru-couple-sustainable-home-rain-water-harvesting-save-water-india/  (13 May 2019)

Govt mulls mandated rainwater harvesting in rural areas The state government is mulling over introducing a rule to make it compulsory for commercial establishments in rural areas to take up rainwater harvesting, Krishna Byre Gowda, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Minister, said on May 19.

Karnataka has declared 2019 as its Year of Water. This is under the Jalamrutha campaign to increase water literacy. “On June 11, on a single day, we will plant at least 30 lakh trees to give Jalamrutha a major push,” Gowda said.

His department will now include the cost of rainwater recharge structures in the estimates that are prepared for infrastructure projects. By the end of the 2019-20 fiscal, the department will ensure completion of 20,000 water harvesting structures across the state at a cost of Rs 500 crore. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/govt-mulls-mandated-rainwater-harvesting-in-rural-areas-734651.html  (19 May 2019)

GROUNDWATER

Punjab State on way towards being a desert state in 25 yrs Central draft report says groundwater resources till depth of 300 metres in state set to end, sounds alarm. Punjab will be rendered a desert within 25 years if the exploitation of its underground water resources continues at the current rate, a draft report of the Central Ground Water Board (North-Western region) has warned. It says, all available groundwater resources at a depth of 100 metres will end within 10 years. As per a Punjab Agricultural University study regarding groundwater fluctuations over the span of 28 years (1988-2016), there has been an average fall of 51 cm annually.

– The extraction of underground water as per the Central Ground Water Board Report of 2013 was 149 per cent. The latest report puts the figure at 165 per cent. Much of it by the 14.31 lakh tubewells in the state.

Underground water recharging was 21.58 billion cubic metres annually, while the gross water withdrawal was 35.78 BCM.  https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/punjab-well-on-way-towards-being-a-desert-state-in-25-yrs/772592.html  (14 May 2019)

Groundwater stress drown in election noise “It is easy to point fingers at farmers in Punjab for air pollution from stubble burning. But what about the pollution in rivers? Will people living in cities take responsibility for the rivers polluted by untreated sewage? Rivers are integral to agriculture, but nobody talks about their poor situation,” said a visibly exasperated Harpreet Singh, 52, a farmer in Faridkot area of Punjab, talking about the problems that the agriculture sector in Punjab is facing.  https://india.mongabay.com/2019/05/punjabs-groundwater-stress-drowns-in-election-noise/  (17 May 2019)

Report The State of Fluoride in India More than 1 lakh villages, with more than 10 million people, stand to face disability and other serious health problems because of high Fluoride in their water across 22 States and over 200 districts of India. https://medium.com/@fluorideindia/the-state-of-fluoride-in-india-83d6b4373e87  (20 May 2016)  

URBAN WATER

Mumbai Tap Water Now Fit for Direct Consumption Brihanmumbai Municipal Corp (BMC) said that an average of just 0.7% of municipal water samples collected between April 2018 and March 2019 tested for coliform bacteria, whose presence in drinking water indicates the existence of disease-causing organisms. This average is significantly lower than the WHO’s limit of 5%.

The BMC decided to revamp its distribution process in 2012-13, after a severe outbreak in waterborne diseases in some wards. That year, almost 17% of water samples were contaminated, according to the BMC’s laboratories. https://thewire.in/environment/mumbai-clean-tap-water-bmc  (13 May 2019)

No sewage treatment plant in Mumbai meets NGT norms The list was published by the NGT in a recent order that set 10 mg per litre of BOD as the new national norm for STPs. The work of capacity revival of STPs in the city is now expected to be at least 33% costlier as the new standards will have to be adopted. The previous norm used to be 20 mg per litre of BOD.

In six months, work on 8 STP projects worth Rs 12,000 crore will gain pace, said BMC sources. Projects are now being retendered to match the standards set by the NGT order and may cost Rs 4,000 crore more.

Around 25% of sewage generated in the city comes from slums and flows straight into nullahs and creeks, polluting the marine ecosystem. The remaining 75% waste enters the 1,915 km sewer network and is treated before its release into the sea. The city releases 2,600 MLD to 3,000 MLD of sewage into the sea.

The list was originally published by a committee of IIT and NEERI experts set up by the NGT. It includes the 50 MLD STP in Kalamboli and the 100 MLD STP in Vashi, both in Navi Mumbai; the 20 MLD STP in Sangvi, the 45 MLD STP in Mundhwa and the 40 MLD STP in Kharadi, all in Pune; the 130 MLD STP in Nagpur; the 40 MLD STP in Hubli; the 55 MLD STP in Singanpure, Surat; the 1.5 MLD STP at Cubbon Park in Bengaluru; and the 12.5 MLD STP in Tonca, Goa. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/no-sewage-treatment-plant-in-mumbai-meets-ngt-norms/articleshow/69319069.cms  (14 May 2019)

Pimpri Chinchwad PCMC losing 30-40% water to leakages PCMC accepts that its losing 30-40 per cent water supply from Pavana river dam to leakages yet talks of sanctioning 267 MLD water from Andra and Bhama Askhed dams which will likely to take at least two-three years.

– Pavana dam, with a capacity of 9.5 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) continues to be the only source of water for the industrial city. The dam, currently has 29 per cent water stock, which is not enough to cater to the drinking water needs of city till June end.

– Leakage in pipelines has compounded the problem for residents, says PCMC joint engineer. “We supply all the water we lift — around 420 MLD. But since there is 30-40 per cent leakage, residents struggle to get enough water,” Nikam said. He added that the civic body is trying to get the old water pipelines replaced under the Amrut Yojana.

– Activists Manav Kamble and Maruti Bhapkar blamed govt for not starting Rs 400-crore Pavana pipeline project, the work for which came to a halt in 2011 after three protesting farmers were killed in police firing. The PCMC authorities, however, said that they have sanctioned 267 MLD water from Andra and Bhama Askhed dams which will be enough to cater to the population for at least 15 years. However, work on lifting of water from the two dams is likely to take at least two-three years. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/plans-stuck-pipelines-leak-pimpri-chinchwads-water-nightmare-is-worsening-by-the-day-5724487/  (13 May 2019)

Chennai Water crisis looming large The water scarcity is so acute in the city that the Metrowater board commenced rationing in January, thus bringing down the total daily supply steeply from about 880 to 550 MLD. By June, the city will not get any water from its three principal sources – Red Hills lake, Poondi reservoir and Cholavaram lake. From May 15, the Chennai Metrowater Supply and Sewerage Board has stopped drawing water from the Red Hills lake, which supplies the city 90-120 MLD. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/170519/chennai-water-crisis-looms-large-protests-with-empty-pots-swell.html  (17 May 2019)

Mangaluru Ignoring water crisis, govt going ahead with Yettinahole project While  Mangaluru city is facing  unprecedented water crisis, as their main source, the Nethrwati river has dried up, Karantaka govt is going ahead with Yettinahole project to transfer water from Nethrawati to Bangaluru, Kolar and other areas. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/mangaluru-gripped-water-scarcity-unprecedented-situation-sees-residents-struggle-101981  (18 May 2019)

Gujarat Govt looking at Rajasthan model of water metering Rajasthan’s water policy goes beyond metering. The civic utility is governed by a company called the State Urban Drinking Water Sewerage and Infrastructure Corporation, which governs operations, fixes water tariffs and ensures periodic maintenance of water meters and supply lines, using private service providers. The policy aims to provide 135 litres per individual per day. Moreover, the policy also considers regulating water usage rates to sustain operations of urban and rural piped water schemes. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/state-looking-at-rajasthan-model-of-water-metering/articleshow/69349787.cms   (16 May 2019)

WATER POLLUTION

Haryana NGT Fines IOCL, Panipat Refinery Rs.17.31 Cr For Violations NGT has imposed a fine of Rs.17.31 crore on the Indian Oil Corporation Limited’s refinery in Panipat, for violation of environmental norms by polluting water and air. The tribunal noted: A public sector unit is expected to be a model for compliance of environmental norms. For pollution caused, liability is unavoidable. We find that there is adequate material on record to hold that there is violation of environmental norms by Respondent No. 1. The inspection was carried out by the credible experts of the regulatory authorities, namely, the CPCB, the HSPCB under the direction of this Tribunal. NGT Order: https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/psu-model-compliance-of-environmental-norms-ngt-fines-iocl-panipat-refinery-rs1731-cr-145040   (14 May 2019)

WATER

National Water management to be Modi’s priority if NDA is re-elected PM at last election rally on May 17, 2019 at Khargone: “After constructing toilets and giving dignity to women, I will focus my next term on ensuring clean drinking water.” Cong and BJP’s manifestos have promised the setting up of a unified Ministry of Water to end the water woes of the country. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/elections/lok-sabha/india/water-management-to-be-modis-priority-if-nda-is-re-elected/articleshow/69389336.cms  (18 May 2019)

Jharkhand Adani vs Villagers: the fight for land rights and water resources Farmers in Mali, Motia villages in Godda and Poreyahat blocks that vote on May 19 say BJP’s Nishikant Dubey, who has represented them since 2009, has failed to defend their rights. https://www.newslaundry.com/2019/05/17/adani-vs-villagers-the-fight-for-land-rights-and-water-resources-in-jharkhand  (17 May 2019)

M.Sc. In Water Science and Policy The admissions for the 2-year Masters Programme on Water Science and Policy (WSP) at Shiv Nadar University is now open. This programme is hosted by Centre for Public Affairs and Critical Theory (C-PACT), School of Humanities and Social Sciences, SNU. https://cpact.snu.edu.in/graduate/masters/certificate-in-water-science-policy

DELHI WATER

SANDRP Blog Delhi’s Drinking Water is 9 inch Wall away from Toxic Industrial Effluents & Sewage About 300 cusec of water is supplied to Delhi via Drain Number (DN) 8. The drain branches off from Western Yamuna Canal (WYC) near Garhi Bindroli village in Sonipat. The total length of the drain is about 25 km. It carries Delhi’s share of water and discharges it into River Yamuna at Palla, where the river enters Delhi territory.

The water then flows 21 km downstream up to Wazirabad barrage where it is treated at Wazirabad Treatment Plant (WTP).  This plant also supplies water to New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) areas which includes President House, Parliament areas among other prominent VIP residential units. https://sandrp.in/2019/05/16/delhis-drinking-water-is-9-inch-wall-away-from-toxic-industrial-effluents-sewage/     (16 May 2019)

Wetland authority to restore Narela’s Tikri Khurd lake The government’s newly set up Wetlands Authority, which will notify and conserve natural water bodies in the national capital, will start work with the restoration of the Tikri Khurd lake in outer Delhi’s Narela, which has been encroached upon over the last few years. The 23-member authority set up last month will function under the environment department. In its first meeting on April 25, the authority has asked the DDA, which is the water body-owning agency in this case, to remove encroachments around the lake and submit a conservation plan.

 “It is an oxbow lake (a channel of the river Yamuna) spread over 8-10 hectares and a prominent water body in the village. Some people had constructed a wall across it, as it had shallow water. It is a welcome step that the authority will finally take up its conservation before it dies,” said Manoj Misra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan. Mishra had also written to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and lieutenant governor Anil Baijal last month to save the lake from drying up.

While the Delhi government has a list of around 900 water bodies in the city, only less than half of these exist as of now. Manu Bhatnagar, principal director, Natural Heritage Division of INTACH and an expert member of the Wetlands Authority, said, only around 450 natural water bodies in form of johars, talabs, baolis and jheels remain at present, which need to be restored to recharge the depleting groundwater table in the city. https://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/new-wetland-restoration-authority-will-get-cracking-with-narela-s-tikri-khurd-lake/story-8DDkhOC85bMrfXMRiJsD9K.html  (17 May 2019)

Breathing new life into Yamuna floodplains, one wetland at a time DDA and the Delhi University (DU) have started developing an integrated floodplain wetlands system at the city’s 7th biodiversity park next to Delhi-Noida Direct Flyway. The area, located on the western banks of river Yamuna, between the marginal bund and DND Flyway, will soon have large wetlands, 100 metre-wide greenways, 6.8km-long walking trails and recreational parks.

The land-owning agency has roped in CR Babu, who heads the Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems (CEMDE) at the Delhi University, for the project. Babu, who has been instrumental in the development of six other biodiversity parks in Delhi, said the project has been divided into three main components — Kalindi Colony, DND Flyway and Batla House — which will be developed in a phased manner over a period of five years. The DDA has allocated over ₹2 crore for the project.

There are 10 major drains, including Maharani Bagh drain and Kilokri drain, which discharge raw sewage into the wetlands from where it reaches the river, thereby polluting it. The plan is to treat the water from all these drains through a constructed wetland method in which sewerage is made to pass through three levels of filtration. Residents of Kalindi Colony, who had approached the NGT highlighting the inaction of authorities over 115 hectares of vacant land being turned into a sewage dump, are happy that the work has started. https://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/breathing-new-life-into-yamuna-floodplains-one-wetland-at-a-time/story-OGZRiGCgSmdieVrj89ru6L.html  (18 May 2019)

For not installing rainwater system, 605 pvt schools to lose recognition The Directorate of Education (DoE) will begin the de-recognition process for over 600 private schools after they failed to pay the ₹5 lakh environmental compensation charge for not installing rainwater harvesting as mandated by the NGT. The schools were issued a final warning to pay the compensation within three days by the DoE on May 9.

In 2017, the tribunal had directed all government and private schools and colleges in Delhi to install rainwater harvesting systems to conserve water in their premises at their own cost. The green panel had stated that any institution that fails to install the rainwater harvesting system within the stipulated period shall be liable to pay the environment compensation of ₹5 lakh.

According to the Directorate of Education, of these 605 schools, while 331 schools have not even started construction work, the rain water harvesting plants are yet to be made functional in 274 schools. https://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/for-not-installing-rainwater-system-605-pvt-schools-to-lose-recognition/story-C6cC5czUSdxQQMkNwJG5vN.html  (17 May 2019)

MONSOON 2019

IMD Monsoon ‘slightly late’, may hit Kerala June 6 The official weather agency’s forecast of a slight delay in the start of the rainy season comes a day after private weather forecaster Skymet released its onset prediction that said monsoon is likely to arrive on June 4, closer to the normal date. IMD’s forecast has an error margin of ± 4 days as opposed to Skymet’s margin of ± 2 days. The westerly system appears to be offsetting the establishment of the monsoon system. That’s the main reason why there’s likely to be a delay,” said P Sivananda Pai, IMD’s lead monsoon forcaster. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/monsoon-slightly-late-may-hit-kerala-june-6-says-imd/articleshow/69350232.cms  (16 May 2019)  

“Onset of monsoon will be around June 4. It seems that initial advancement of monsoon over peninsular India is going to be slow,” said Jatin Singh, MD, Skymet. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/monsoon-expected-to-hit-kerala-coast-on-june-4-likely-to-be-below-normal-skymet-2037476  (15 May 2019)

Skymet also forecast less than normal rainfall over all four regions of the country, with northwest and peninsular India projected to get relatively better rains at 96% and 95% of LPA, respectively. Monsoon is likely to be poorer over central India — which could see a 9% rain deficit — and eastern regions of the country.

IMD has projected slightly better monsoon rainfall this year at 96% of LPA, saying countrywide rains in the June-September season are likely to be “near normal”. The normal range, for all-India rainfall, is 96-104% of LPA.

Meanwhile, the latest model forecast from US’s Climate Prediction Centre continues to give a high probability (55-60%) for El Nino, which developed in February, continuing through the monsoon season. El Nino, an abnormal warming of the east equatorial Pacific waters, usually impacts the Indian monsoon adversely.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/monsoon-likely-to-hit-kerala-on-june-4-progress-slowly-skymet/articleshow/69333723.cms  (14 May 2019)

The onset of the monsoon over Kerala is being delayed mainly by an ongoing suppressed phase of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) wave, says the Climate Prediction Centre (CPC) of the US National Weather Service. But it also added that the convection (the process of cloud-building and rainfall) may begin to increase during the last week (May 22 to 28) of the month. http://www.imd.gov.in/pages/press_release_view.php?ff=20190518_pr_477https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/monsoon-to-cover-more-parts-of-bay-over-next-three-days/article27177383.ece  (19 May 2019)

Pre-Monsoon Rainfall Deficit Drops To 22% Weather office IMD recorded 75.9 mm of rainfall from March 1 to May 15, marking a around 22 per cent deficiency compared to the normal rainfall reading of 96.8 mm. From March 1 to April 24, the IMD recorded a deficiency of 27 per cent.

Of the four meteorological divisions of the IMD, the southern peninsula – which comprises all the southern states – has recorded a pre-monsoon deficiency of 46 per cent – the highest in the country. This was followed by 36 per cent in the northwest subdivision, which covers all the northern states. It was 38 per cent from March 1 to April 24, but has dropped by 2 per cent due to rainfall across several parts of the country. https://www.ndtv.com/business/latest-on-monsoon-rainfall-pre-monsoon-rainfall-deficit-drops-to-22-says-weather-office-2039805  (19 May 2019)  

Study Humans have a hand in weakening Asian monsoons in the last 80 years There is a decreasing trend in the strength of monsoon rains over Asia in the past 80 years, a new study has found. As part of the study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters on April 9, 2019, the researchers studied data from the last 448 years and found that the major reason could be an increase in the aerosol levels of the atmosphere due to human-made emissions. Scientists studied tree rings of 584 cores from 310 trees from the western Loess plateau in north central China, a region where the correlation between tree growth and monsoon rainfall is very high. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/humans-have-a-hand-in-weakening-asian-monsoons-in-the-last-80-years-64604  (17 May 2019)

DROUGHT

ISciences Update for South Asia WIDESPREAD, INTENSE WATER DEFICITS FORECAST FOR INDIA  Severe to exceptional water deficits are forecast through July for a vast stretch across central India including much of Madya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, and southern Odisha. Deficits will downgrade in Tamil Nadu but intensify in Karnataka.

– indicates intense water deficits in southern India, in the middle Godavari River Basin and the Indravati watershed, and a pocket in central Madhya Pradesh. Moderate deficits are expected in the center of the country, Gujarat, the northern Gangetic Plain, and the Far Northeast. Exceptional surpluses are forecast for Jammu and Kashmir in the north. https://www.isciences.com/blog/2019/04/15/south-asia-widespread-intense-water-deficits-forecast-for-india  (15 April 2019)

Centre Drought advisory issued to southern and western states With water storage in dams dropping to a “critical” level, the Centre on May 17 has issued a “drought advisory” to Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu, asking them to use water judiciously. Similar cautionary letters were sent to Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana late last week, S K Haldar, a member of the CWC said.

The drought advisory is issued to states when the water level in reservoirs is 20 per cent less than the average of live water storage figures of the past 10 years. According to the figures released on May 16, the total water storage available was 35.99 billion cubic metres (BCM), which is 22 per cent of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. The total storage capacity of these 91 reservoirs is 161.993 BCM. The figure was at 24 per cent for the week ending on May 9. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/with-water-level-in-dams-dipping-centre-issues-drought-advisory-to-southern-and-western-states/articleshow/69376262.cms  (17 May 2019) 

https://twitter.com/vmishraiit/status/1130006901729533952    

Maharashtra demands 3 tmcft water in return for supply to Karnataka Maharashtra government has demanded 3 tmcft of water from Karnataka. The demand has been formally stated in a MoU the two States are likely to sign soon assuring exchange of as much as 5 tmcft of water across both sides of the border.

The three tmcft of water will be distributed in the Maharashtra villages bordering Karnataka, where the State is unable to supply tankers. Maharashtra in turn will supply two tmcft of water from the Koyna or the Warna into the Krishna and two tmcft of water from Ujjani dam into the Bhima to help the dry districts of north Karnataka.

Earlier this month, CM Fadnavis in principle agreed to Karnataka’s demand for water to be released from State reservoirs for drinking in Belagavi district based on the condition that Karnataka should also release water from its reservoirs to drought-hit districts in that State. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/maharashtra-demands-3-tmcft-water-in-return-for-supply-to-karnataka/article27142303.ece  (16 May 2019)   

Maharashtra State reels under drought as reservoirs dry up Soaring mercury levels have resulted in the rapid depletion of water stocks in the 22 reservoirs which are part of the Bhima River basin in western Maharashtra and are the potable water lifelines of Pune and the township of Pimpri-Chinchwad. At least five of these reservoirs including Dimbhe and Temghar have zero storage now, while the total water stocks in seven other reservoirs was less than 10% of their capacity. The remaining 10 had a collective reserve stock of a little over 20% of their cumulative storage capacity.

While Pune’s Guardian Minister Girish Bapat announced that Pune city would not face water cuts, sources in the Water Resources Department said reservoirs in the Pune region had barely 18% live water stock available as on May 6, compared to 38% at the same time last year.

Pimpri-Chinchwad is also going dry, with water levels of the Pavana reservoir – the township’s lifeline – rapidly declining. The Pavana reservoir water stock which stood at 31% of its capacity at the beginning of the month has now been reduced to 26%. Water in the township is already being rationed with Pimpri-Chinchwad receiving water only on alternate days.  https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/maharashtra-reels-under-drought-as-reservoirs-dry-up/article27112432.ece  (13 May 2019)

26 Maharashtra dams hit zero water storage level as on May 18 In a far cry from last year’s situation, 26 reservoirs in Maharashtra have reached “zero storage” as on May 18, according to statistics put out by the Water Conservation department of the state government. The department’s website informed that water storage in Aurangabad Division, which comprises Aurangabad, Beed, Hingoli, Parbhani and Osmanabad districts, was 0.43 per cent as against 23.44 per cent at the same time last year.

The dams in these division are Paithan, Manjara, Majalgaon, Yeldari, Siddeshwar, Lower Terna, Sina Kolegaon and Lower Dhudna, all of which have zero storage at the moment, the department informed. The storage in these dams in May last year was 34.95 per cent in Paithan, 21.24 per cent in Manjara, 17.5 per cent in Majalgaon and 52.03 per cent in Lower Terna.

Other dams that have hit the zero storage level as on May 18 are Kadakpurna and Pentakli in Buldhana, Gosikhurd, Dina and Nand in Nagpur Division, Upper Tapi Hathnur in Jalgaon, Waki, Bham, Bhavli and Punegaon in Nashik Division, Dibhe, Ghod, Pimpalgaon Joge, Wadaj and Temghar in Pune, Bhima, Kundali Tata and Lonavala Tata in Solapur, it informed.

Meanwhile, Tisgaon dam in Nashik and Totladoh in Nagpur have 0.01 and 0.08 per cent water respectively. It said water storage in the state’s 103 large, medium and small reservoirs stood at 11.84 per cent, against 23.73 per cent last year. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/maharashtra-dams-hit-zero-water-storage-level-5735377/  (18 May 2019)

Jayakwadi dead stock again in use Dead storage(26 TMC of total storage of 102 TMC) of Jayakwadi Dam in Maharashtra being used this year  again after 2016 when 9 TMC of dead storage was used. The Dam is losing about 1 MCM of water as evaporation losses everyday. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/aurangabad/jayakwadis-dead-stock-in-use-again/articleshow/69298046.cms   (13 May 2019)

Tanker business flourishing amid drought In 2014, the state had deployed 368 tankers, according to official records. After Fadnavis took over, 2015 saw the deployment of 1,686 water tankers in Maharashtra. The following year, that number rose to 4,640. In 2017 and 2018, the number considerably declined to 373 and 481, respectively. But in 2019, with another month of acute summer ahead of us, 4,774 tankers have already been engaged.

Out of nine reservoirs in the agrarian region of Marathwada, eight have hit zero water storage. Water stock in the region is at 5 per cent, while for Vidarbha — another agrarian region — it stands at 11per cent. It is 25 per cent below the long-time average.

Thousands of crores have been tapped in to initiate schemes related to water, and its supply during summers. Today, more than 2,500 schemes stand incomplete or abandoned for one reason or another. And there lies the core of tanker economy.

https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/opinion/columnists/parth-mn/our-water-crisis-is-man-made/articleshow/69330498.cms  (15 May 2019)

Toilets left without water Many villages in the parched regions of Marathwada have achieved 100 per cent construction of toilets under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, but the majority of the toilets remain unused due to water scarcity.

“You know the value of water only if you live here. You can’t just flush and waste 3-4 litres” Golande said. In Narsapur, women complained that the water provided by the tanker is too muddy to drink, but with no other option, they use the water for their bath and to wash kitchen utensils.

The women say they have to wait till late night to relieve themselves as they can’t use the toilets. They admit they are under constant stress and fear of physical attack each time they go out in the dark. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/in-drought-hit-marathwada-even-the-toilets-have-run-dry-and-cant-be-used/article27164982.ece  (17 May 2019)  

Drought Forcing People To Steal Water Vilas Ahire, a resident of Manmad town, has filed a police complaint alleging that around 300 litres of water have been stolen from the tanks. https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/drought-like-situation-is-forcing-people-to-steal-water-from-storage-tanks-in-nashik-367201.html  (14 May 2019)

Gujarat Why has drought hit the Maldharis of Kutch so hard this year? During the droughts of the past, among the three key coping mechanisms for Banni’s people were: migration to greener pastures, distress sale of livestock, and tapping into groundwater through traditional jheels and virdas. But things have changed now. With the rise of a milk economy, charcoal economy, and pipeline water, older coping mechanisms have died away.

What they’ve been replaced with are not mitigating the severity of this severe drought. As they have begun to depend on external systems, the Maldharis have neglected their traditional groundwater harvesting systems. A jheel in Sarada village lies in utter disrepair after a pipeline and water tankers came to these parts over a decade ago. Then there is the complex impact of the invasive tree Prosopis juliflora. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/drought-in-a-desert-why-has-drought-hit-the-maldharis-so-hard-this-year/article27090863.ece  (11 May 2019)

Delayed monsoon a worry, Gujarat worst affected In Gujarat all 10 reservoirs are showing a downward trend in water levels this year as on May 16. According to the latest report on live storage of reservoirs in India, issued by CWC, Gujarat faces a deficiency of 33 per cent as far as water reserves in its reservoirs are concerned.

The reservoir basin-wise stocks are most deficient in that of Sabarmati, which flows through Gujarat, apart from those on the southern rivers of Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery. Drought advisories were sent to Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana late last week, CWC member S K Haldar, said. https://indianexpress.com/article/weather/delayed-monsoon-a-worry-gujarat-worst-affected-5734625/  (18 May 2019)  

Karnataka Groundwater, reservoir levels low According to data obtained from the Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, 138 out of 176 taluks in Karnataka have very low groundwater levels. Of these, the worst affected are Bagepalli, Chikkaballapura, Sidlaghatta, Bangarpet and Kolar.

“Fresh water flow has stopped in all major rivers in the coastal belt including Netravathi, Phalguni, Swarna, Chakra, Varahi, Sharavathi, Aghanashini and Kali. Groundwater levels have depleted and have reached 30-40 m below ground level in Mangaluru. Water level has reached the dead-storage limit in the Baje dam across the Swarna river, which is the main source of water for Udupi,” the KSNDMC official said.

The agency, which also monitors reservoir levels states that the entire state has only 155 TMC of water in 13 reservoirs. The Hemavathi dam, Tungabhadra dam in Koppal, Ghataprabha and Malaprabha in Belagavi have the least amount of water. Currently, the Tungabhadra Dam has 3% live storage followed by Malaprabha (5%) and Ghataprabha (9%). The Supa Dam in Uttara Kannada district has the highest live storage this summer at 35%.

“Last year, the reservoirs were 40% full when compared to this year. Currently the average water levels in all reservoirs combined is only 19%. Even though the department is willing to shell out money to provide tanker water, there is no water in the borewells,” the official from the Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj said. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/drinking-water-crisis-looms-over-karnataka-groundwater-reservoir-levels-low-101753  (14 May 2019)

Telangana Adivasis struggle for safe drinking water In northern Telangana, several Adivasi hamlets are facing an acute water crisis in mandals like Utnoor, Indravelli, Narnoor, Gajuguda, Adilabad, Sirikonda, Tiryani, Sirpur and Ichoda. According to human rights activists, people facing the water crisis are falling sick as the only water available is not potable. This summer, the temperature has already crossed 46 degrees in Adilabad, and groundwater levels are plummeting. Borewells and handpumps have also dried up, forcing people to desperately look for alternative water sources.

Recently, in Kolamguda of Narnoor mandal, three minor children from the same family died, and preliminary reports indicate that this could be due to consumption of food made with unclean water, which resulted in food poisoning. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/amidst-blazing-summer-northern-telangana-adivasis-struggle-safe-drinking-water-101713  (13 May 2019)

Andhra Pradesh Water level in Nagarjunasagar dam dips to 511 ft dead storage Water level in the Nagarjunasagar dam on May 17 fell to 511 feet dead storage level while the capacity of dam is at 590 feet level. Recently, the Irrigation Department released water and filled the drinking water tanks and summer storage tanks in NS Canal ayacut area of Guntur and Prakasam districts in April to meet the drinking water requirements in summer. At present, water in the summer storage tanks and drinking water tanks is enough meet demand for drinking water for another 20 to 25 days. In order to fill the drinking water tanks and summer storage tanks, the government has to again release water from Nagarjunasagar dam dead storage level. If the same situation continues, there is no chance to get water for kharif in the NS Canal ayacut area of Guntur and Prakasam districts. The farmers in NS Canal ayacut area who pinned hopes on water for kharif worrying that they will get water or not. https://www.thehansindia.com/andhra-pradesh/water-level-in-nagarjunasagar-dam-dips-to-511-ft-dead-storage-530316  (18 May 2019)

Not a drop to drink A centuries-old stepwell close to Cumbam tank, in Andhra Pradesh’s Prakasam district, has gone dry as severe drought has gripped Mohideenpuram. Image by Kommuri Srinivas.  https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-andhrapradesh/not-a-drop-to-drink/article27106282.ece  (12 May 2019)

Tamil Nadu Chennai has 1.3% of water in its reservoirs, one of the lowest in 70 yrs The water levels in Chennai’s four main reservoirs has recorded one of its lowest levels in seven decades, with the current quantities adding upto only 1.3% of the total capacity. This is the fifth lowest quantity of water recorded in the last 74 years, making it one of the worst droughts the city has witnessed. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/drought-hit-chennai-has-13-water-its-reservoirs-one-lowest-70-yrs-102038  (19 May 2019)

Kerala  Rivers run dry The Kadalundipuzha, on which a large of part of central Malappuram is dependent for drinking water, has begun to show its pathetic plight. A sun-baked portion of the river in Malappuram. https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-kerala/river-runs-dry/article27143984.ece  (16 May 2019)

Water level in the Malampuzha dam is rapidly receding due to the absence of summer rain in its catchment areas. It is the source of water to Palakkad municipality and the five adjacent panchayats. https://epaper.thehindu.com/Home/ShareArticle?OrgId=GB05SD955.1&imageview=0  (16 May 2019)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Report How soil carbon can help tackle climate change  Maintaining soil organic matter is critical to tackling climate change because soil organic matter is rich in carbon. Soil carbon is also the keystone element controlling soil health, which enables soils to be resilient as droughts and intense rainfall events increasingly occur. http://theconversation.com/how-soil-carbon-can-help-tackle-climate-change-116039    (13 May 2019)

Research How Inland Waters ‘Breathe’ Carbon; What it Means for Global Systems A new Yale study reveals important insights into the factors that influence the release of greenhouse gases from rivers and streams, including a key relationship between storm events, ecology, and topography in moderating this release. https://environment.yale.edu/news/article/how-inland-waters-breathe-carbon-and-what-it-means-for-global-systems/

DISASTERS

Himachal Pradesh Landslide leaves 2,000 stranded near Manali Heavy rain triggered a massive landslide at 14 Mod, near Gulaba, on May 18 evening, leaving nearly 2,000 tourists stranded. Sources said nearly 600 tourist vehicles were stuck between Gulaba and Marhi.

The higher reaches of Dhauladhars and Chhota and Bara Bhangal witnessed snowfall, while the lower reaches were lashed by heavy rain. Causing inconvenience to locals, snow and rain snapped power lines in the area. The Thamsar Pass and Bara Bhangal recorded 30-cm snow.

Vehicular movement came to a halt as hailstorm lashed Shimla and adjoining areas on Friday. The hailstorm in May has added to the anxiety of farmers and vegetable growers. Hamirpur was the wettest in the state with 53 mm of rain. The maximum temperatures decreased by 4-5°C. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/landslide-leaves-2-000-stranded-near-manali/774523.html  (18 May 2019)

Uttrakhand Recent forest fires destroy huge swathes of green cover  Incidents of fire have been reported from all 13 districts, the worst affected districts being Nainital and Almora. In both these districts, the forests are largely comprised of oak and pine trees. The pine trees, also known as the ‘chir’ are highly inflammable and cover more than 16 percent of the state’s forest cover. Recently, two large active forest fires were reported in Tehri Garhwal and Pauri Garhwal districts of the state.

The number of forest fire alerts reported since 9 May by satellite imagery, is 2,460, as recorded by the Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership Satellite (SNPP), and 231 as recorded through the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectro-Radiometer (MODIS). The SNPP is capable of mapping small fires and achieving better accuracy of the location as compared to the MODIS.

Very recently, an RTI reply from the department revealed that more than 44,000 hectares of forest, which is roughly equivalent to 61,000 football fields, have been destroyed ever since the formation of state in the year 2000.

Though the exact damage is yet to be assessed, the forest department has estimated a loss of more than Rs 17 lakh in the recent fire. From the time the state was carved out of Uttar Pradesh, it has faced a total loss of over Rs 15 million. This is the extent of the loss that can be calculated. The rest is abstract — the pollution levels, the impact on air quality, the damage to rivers and glaciers, the number of birds, insects, etc. https://www.firstpost.com/india/pulwama-encounter-terrorist-who-killed-army-jawan-aurangzeb-in-2018-among-three-hizbul-militants-who-died-in-clashes-6656831.html  (18 May 2019)

3.9 richter scale earthquake jolts Chamoli As per IMD an earthquake measuring 3.9 on the Richter scale hit Chamoli district in the wee hours of May 18. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/earthquake-jolts-uttarakhand-nicobar-islands/articleshow/69382273.cms   (18 May 2019)

https://twitter.com/Indiametdept/status/1129320764778242048 

ENVIRONMENT

Report Centre seeks to replace EIA rules, activists rise in protest Preparing a key proposal for the new government, the Union environment ministry has decided to “re-engineer” its existing environment impact assessment (EIA) notification and bring a completely revamped one by factoring in various amendments to it drawing from the experience gained by authorities during its implementation over the years.

The existing EIA, notified in 2006, currently governs green clearance for all kinds of projects – mining, infrastructure, thermal, hydro, irrigation and industries – across the country. In order to bring new EIA notification, the ministry had last month issued a proposed version of it – called ‘Zero Draft’ – and sought comments from all states and concerned pollution control boards by mid-May. In an office memorandum on the issue, released on April 15, it said that the draft will be finalised only after receiving comments from all states.

While officials said the move was primarily aimed at bringing out a new notification keeping in view the substantial changes it had gone through over the years during implementation of relevant laws, environmentalists viewed it as a move to dilute various green norms in the name of the present government’s motto of ‘ease of doing business’. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/centre-seeks-to-replace-eia-rules-activists-rise-in-protest/articleshow/69350361.cms  (16 May 2019)

Report Demand for FRA implementation in the Sundarbans echoes in 2019 general elections The issue of non-implementation of the Forest Rights Act in the Indian Sundarbans has been raised in the 2019 national elections by a section of fisher and forest-dependent communities.

Bureaucracy in the region, in collusion with local elites like forest workers, fishery owners, agriculturists and local political leaders, together have worked to deny forest rights to the tribal communities, research has suggested.

Sociologists say that the implementation of the law has been hindered by bureaucratic and vested, local political interests, and also because of the lack of a collective mobilisation of local communities who are no longer dependent on forests. https://india.mongabay.com/2019/05/demand-for-fra-implementation-in-the-sundarbans-echoes-in-2019-general-elections/  (17 May 2019)

Delhi SEIAA defunct for one year, activists demand reconstitution The State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) of Delhi, the body which plays a vital role in protecting the environment, has been lying defunct for the past one year. Experts and activists have urged the Delhi government to form the new SEIAA at the earliest. The SEIAA of Delhi expired in April 2018 and has since not been reconstituted.

“The SEIAA is very important institution for securing environment justice in Delhi. The term of the Delhi SEIAA expired in April 2018 and it has not been reconstituted. With no SEIAA there is no monitoring of environment safeguards of projects such as the Signature Bridge or the Okhla waste-to-energy plant,” said Kanchi Kohli, a legal researcher with the Centre for Policy Research (CPR). https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/green-impact-assessment-body-defunct-for-one-year-activists-demand-reconstitution/story-IP1dMBXwDEWh1EMvccVKcI.html  (22 April 2019)

Karnataka Kappatagudda forest is now a wildlife sanctuary After decades of struggle by people and religious institutions in the face of strong opposition from mining companies, the Karnataka government has finally notified the pristine Kappatagudda forests as a wildlife sanctuary on May 16 under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

This supersedes the earlier notification of Kappatagudda as a ‘conservation reserve’ in 2015/17. The sanctuary will comprise an area of 244.15 sq km (24,415.73 hectares) spread across the three taluks of Gadak, Mundargi and Shirahatti in Gadag district.

The protected area will include notified reserve forests in Gadak district that has floral, faunal, geomorphological and ecological importance where its wildlife has to be protected and conserved, the notification states. The wildlife sanctuary, however, will not include any revenue villages, revenue land or patta land. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2019/may/18/kappatagudda-forest-is-now-a-wildlife–sanctuary-1978408.html  (18 May 2019)

Sikkim Around 300 Yaks Starved To Death In Mukuthang Valley District Magistrate, North, Shri Raj Yadav has informed that approximately 300 Yaks have reportedly died because of starvation due to heavy snow fall in Mukuthang, North Sikkim. Because of heavy snow fall the yaks were stranded at one place in Mukuthang since December which caused starvation and led to death of yaks. http://voiceofsikkim.com/2019/05/11/around-300-yaks-have-starved-to-death-in-mukuthang-valley-north-sikkim/  (11 May 2019) 

SOUTH ASIA

India Bangladesh India’s river water withdrawal affects groundwater recharge: minister Agriculture minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque told a seminar on May 19 that indiscriminate withdrawal of water from all the transborder rivers upstream by India was seriously affecting agriculture and groundwater recharge in Bangladesh.

‘Violating international laws on transborder rivers, India continues withdrawing water for irrigation for which river systems in Bangladesh are being seriously affected,’ he told the seminar on ‘Climate change: challenges in agriculture’ at the Institution of Diploma Engineers, Bangladesh. The seminar was jointly organised by the institution, Agriculture Information Service and Bangladesh Climate Change Journalists Forum. http://www.newagebd.net/article/72916/indias-river-water-withdrawal-affects-groundwater-recharge-minister  (19 May 2019)  

Bangladesh Freeing the Meghna from Grabbers: Act or get sued The National River Conservation Commission has warned that it would take legal actions against at least a dozen government authorities for their inaction to free the Meghna from grabbers if they do not act within seven days. The commission had earlier directed the authorities to take action against the grabbers but nothing happened since then. A few days before that, on February 9, The Daily Star ran a report on river-grabbing. Frustrated, the commission on May 13 issued these latest warnings, three days after Daily Star paper carried yet another report on encroachment by powerful businesses. https://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/news/freeing-meghna-river-grabbing-act-or-get-sued-1745590  (19 May 2019)

Riverbank grabbed by traders A section of brick and sand traders has started grabbing land on the bank of Ramnabad river in Galachipa upazila headquarters. About three acres of land on the riverbank have already been grabbed. At least 17 brick and sand traders built several illegal structures on the land, said locals. https://www.thedailystar.net/country/news/riverbank-grabbed-traders-1744735  (17 May 2019)

A River Dies in Kurigram Jinjirum river might be one of the least important issues for BWDB but for more than 2,00,000 people in Northern Bangladesh, it is their lifeline. It supports their agriculture, provides them with fish and freshwater and, in the remote northern border areas of Bangladesh, where transport infrastructure is inadequate and handicapped by constant river erosion, the river used to serve as a natural highway that connected communities.

As a navigable trans-boundary river, it also has immense potential as a trade route between Bangladesh and North-Eastern India, which can reduce transportation costs significantly. However, due to lack of supervision and certain reckless activities, this river is now on the brink of extinction. Jinjirum originates in the hills of Assam, flows through Meghalaya and then enters Bangladesh through Rowmari upazila of Kurigram district. https://www.thedailystar.net/star-weekend/spotlight/news/the-jinjirum-dies-slow-death-1744762  (17 May 2019)

Rajshahi people protest move to grab Padma char People of Rajshahi on May 19 formed a human chain protesting the prison authorities’ bid to grab at least 100 acres of char land in the Padma river in the city’s Sreerampur for building Prisons Training Academy complex.  https://www.thedailystar.net/city/rajshahi-people-protest-move-grab-padma-river-char-1745782  (19 May 2019)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Global False promises of Hydro Power Now is the time to ACT! 250+ organizations from around the world call for a halt to funding hydroelectric projects, and the strengthening of regulations for those in operation.

Dams generate methane emissions, violate the human rights of communities that depend on rivers, promote deforestation, and otherwise exploit natural resources.

Within the framework of the World Hydropower Congress, being held this week in Paris, we’re calling for the recognition that hydropower is neither a ‘clean’ nor ‘green’ source of energy. Read the STAEMENT https://aida-americas.org/en/false-promises-hydropower

Report Deploy diverse renewables to save tropical rivers  A strategic mix of solar, wind and storage technologies around river basins would be safer and cheaper than building large dams, argue Rafael J. P. Schmitt, Noah Kittner and colleagues. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01498-8  (15 May 2019)   

Brazil Mine Dam Could Burst Soon, Officials Warn A dam in southern Brazil that contains tons of toxic waste from mining operations could burst imminently, prosecutors said on May 17, raising alarm in a region still reeling from a dam burst in January that killed more than 240 people.

Prosecutors in the state of Minas Gerais said they had been informed by Vale S.A., the mining giant that operates both sites, that the dam built to contain waste from the Gongo Soco mine could burst as early as May 19. They issued the warning based on information gathered by radar. The possible breach has led Vale and local officials to relocate hundreds of residents from the dam’s vicinity and to carry out emergency drills. The Gongo Soco mine, in the town of Barão de Cocais, has been inactive since 2016.

Those precautionary steps come as prosecutors continue to investigate Vale executives for criminal negligence over the previous dam burst, on Jan. 23 in Brumadinho. That disaster has crippled Vale, one of the world’s largest mining companies, resulting in estimated losses of $4.8 billion. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/17/world/americas/brazil-mine-dam-collapse.html  (17 May 2019)

US Medellin energy company evacuates Colombia’s largest dam project, then denies emergency Continuing disaster risk at Hidroituango Dam of Columbia. Medellin energy company EPM on May 11, 2019 evacuated more than 100 workers from its disaster-ridden Hidroituango dam after finding water was seeping through the dam that has been at risk of collapse for a year. In the latest of a flurry of emergencies at Colombia’s largest hydroelectric dam project, EPM evacuated the workers after announcing the discovery of “water infiltrations” of the structure on Saturday afternoon. Later that evening, the company tweeted an image of what appeared to be a gigantic sinkhole in the mountain that supports the dam wall.

– But when a journalist asked to explain the tweet, the company took down the image without explanation and later implied everything was fine. EPM’s almost chronic misinformation has triggered widespread distrust about the company’s commitment to transparency over the dam project that could threaten the lives of up to 100,000 people if the dam breaks. https://colombiareports.com/medellin-energy-company-evacuates-colombias-largest-dam-project-then-denies-emergency/  (13 May 2019)

Tailings dam failures: an interesting perspective article in Science A paper published in SCIENCE journal argues that given the number of tailings facilities worldwide (over 9000), there is an urgent need to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms of tailings dam failures, and to use this understanding to improve management practices.  The urgency of this problem is illustrated by this diagram, from the article, showing volumes released, and losses of life, from tailings dam failures (with data from the fantastic World Mine Tailings Failures site). It says that there is increasing evidence that our understanding of the failure mechanisms of tailings may be imperfect. Despite this imperfect understanding, Santamarina et al. (2019) note that most tailings dam failures are the result of poor management and regulation. https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2019/05/13/tailings-dam-failures/  (13 May 2019)

Lake Waits For People To Wake A rare, hybrid environmental campaign is underway to save a great lake – in fact, a Great Lake – Erie. Just as citizens of a previous generation finally held polluters accountable, they’re beginning to mobilize once again.  That “Second Battle for Lake Erie” in the late ‘60’s and early 70’s was necessitated by massive pollution from sewage treatment plants, industrial offal and phosphates in detergents.  The current “Third Battle for Lak e Erie” is also about eutrophication (premature aging) from excess nutrients, but this time coming nearly 90% from agriculture, particularly hog, poultry and dairy factories. https://countercurrents.org/2019/05/lake-waits-for-people-to-wake  (13 May 2019)

UN Rising demand for sand calls for resource governance With the global demand for sand and gravel standing at 40 to 50 billion tonnes per year, a new report by UN Environment reveals that aggregate extraction in rivers has led to pollution, flooding, lowering of water aquifers and worsening drought occurrence.

The report “Sand and sustainability: Finding new solutions for environmental governance of global sand resources” (https://owncloud.unepgrid.ch/index.php/s/ck7D7KmsBlTbYM4#pdfviewer) presents how shifting consumption patterns, growing populations, increasing urbanization and infrastructure development have increased demand for sand three-fold over the last two decades. Further to this, damming and extraction have reduced sediment delivery from rivers to many coastal areas, leading to reduced deposits in river deltas and accelerated beach erosion. https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/rising-demand-sand-calls-resource-governance    (7 May 2019)

Also see, The world needs to get serious about managing sand, U.N. report   https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/05/world-needs-get-serious-about-managing-sand-says-un-report  (10 May 2019)

UK Hidden history: uncovering London’s ‘lost’ rivers The Tyburn is one of the 20-odd “hidden” rivers that have become buried under streets and houses, shaping the landscape and the lives of Londoners. They flowed through the city before they were covered over (“culverted”) or incorporated into engineer Joseph Bazalgette’s integrated sewer system in 1859. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/uk/hidden-history-uncovering-londons-lost-rivers/  (12 May 2019)  

Report Syllabi in Environment and Society This compilation of online syllabi on the interrelationship between environment and society provides a growing resource for teachers and students. It reflects a diversity of scholarly approaches towards the reciprocal interrelationships between humans and their environment, from environmental history and humanities, as well as the social and natural sciences. We continually strive for geographical and cultural diversity and invite you to help make this list more inclusive. Please contact us to send your suggestions. http://www.environmentandsociety.org/mml/syllabi-environment-and-society 

Also see the link for Europe Rivers News: https://www.ern.org/en/news/

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 13 May 2019 & DRP News Bulletin 6 May 2019

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

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