DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 27 May 2019: Water Sector Agenda for the new Govt: ILR cannot be part of it

The new government at the centre, headed by Shri Narendra Modi, if we go by the signals so far, is likely to push the mega project agenda including Inter Linking of Rivers (ILR). It also seems that Gadkari may continue to be the Water Resources Minister, if we go by the statements and signals so far. Both these steps would be wrong. The PM has said he wants to provide piped drinking water to everyone in the country in his new term. Such one size fits all solutions are likely to create more problems than solutions, as we can see from the dumping of honey sucker tankers close to drinking water sources, thanks to building of crores of soak pit toilets.

If the government wanted to listen, this weekly bulletin (like any other week) from SANDRP provides enough food for thought. Very large part of India, including huge parts of big dam building states of Gujarat and Maharashtra are in grip of drought. Like they have been repeatedly over the last few years. ILR is an extension of the big dam agenda and no amount of false promises of Godavari water are going to fetch votes, as they did not for the BJP in current elections in Tamil Nadu or Andhra Pradesh. Similarly big hydro is no longer viable, and pushing them either in Ganga basin or in North East India will only invite dis-satisfaction, destruction and distress. Big dams are making the floods worse as Kerala example showed in Aug 2018, among many others. We can choose to close our eyes to these realities, but that wont change the realities.

India’s increasing water crisis is made worse by the dam centric agenda that has neglected India’s real lifeline: Groundwater. The depletion and quality deterioration of groundwater has been a constant story for decades now, but the government has failed to do ANYTHING effective to arrest it. There is not even acknowledgement of the reality that groundwater is India’s water lifeline and will remain for decades to come. The rivers, which can serve as lifeline for the millions as also for water sustainability and security, are in one of the worst state in the world. But the river catchments are degrading everywhere, a very ominous sign, but there is no attention, leave aside steps to reverse. Every city is facing crisis as every city is guilty of unsmart water governance, including worsening state of Urban Rivers. But there is nothing to guide the city to define what is smart water governance. The changing climate is going to worsen the water crisis, all the scientists have been warning us. The coming monsoon too is likely to be deficit monsoon with impact from El Nino casting its shadow.

The New PM talked about new aspirational India, but can there be any hope for better India with Ganga and other rivers in such dire state and their situation have only gone worse under the previous five years of Modi government?

If the new government really wants to start for a more hopeful water future for India, than it needs to overhaul our water establishment institutions and governance starting with water gathering relying water information. That cannot be achieved with old leadership and old agenda.

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Godavari-Krishna-Cauvery Linking Gadkari makes linking his first task Union minister Nitin Gadkari who renewed his assurance to bring water to Tamil Nadu said his first task (as Union minister) would be to link Godavari-Krishna rivers.  Apparently indicating that the BJP is still concerned for Tamil Nadu, despite losing in the just concluded Lok Sabha elections, Gadkari said he would ensure water to the parched State.

“We will take backwaters of Godavari to Krishna and from Krishna to Pennar and then to the tail end of Cauvery in Tamil Nadu,” the Union Water Resources and River Development Minister, said. In January this year, Gadkari said the project which would be implemented by the Centre under the national river connectivity programme, would make use of 1,100 tmc ft water of Godavari river flowing waste into the sea. The project envisages the laying of steel pipes. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/politics/260519/my-first-job-is-to-bring-godavari-krishna-water-to-tn-says-nitin-gad.html  (26 May 2019)

नदी जल पर आम राय बनाने को जीएसटी काउंसिल जैसा तंत्र बना सकती है सरकार सिंचाई और पेयजल की समस्या हल करने के लिए भाजपा ने अपने घोषणापत्र में वाजपेयी सरकार की नदी जोड़ो परियोजना को तेजी से आगे बढ़ाने का वादा किया है, लेकिन इस पर राज्यों में आम राय बनाने की बड़ी चुनौती है। इस चुनौती से निपटने के लिए सरकार जीएसटी काउंसिल जैसा तंत्र बना सकती है। प्रस्तावित ‘रिवर बेसिन मैनेजमेंट बिल’ में इस तंत्र का ढांचा बनाया जाएगा। केंद्रीय जल संसाधन, नदी विकास और गंगा संरक्षण मंत्रलय ने इस मुद्दे पर विचार करने के लिए तीन जून को राज्यों की बैठक बुलाई है।

d6043 सूत्रों ने कहा कि नदियों के जल को लेकर राज्यों में आम राय का अभाव एक बड़ी चुनौती है। इसे देखते हुए प्रस्तावित विधेयक में जीएसटी काउंसिल जैसा फ्रेमवर्क बनाया जा रहा है। इसके तहत गंगा के साथ-साथ दर्जनभर अन्य नदियों के लिए ‘रिवर बेसिन अथॉरिटी’ बनाई जाएगी। जो भी ‘रिवर बेसिन अथॉरिटी’ बनाई जाएगी उसमें प्रत्येक की एक गवनिर्ंग काउंसिल होगी जिसमें उस नदी बेसिन में आने वाले राज्यों के मुख्यमंत्री बतौर सदस्य शामिल होंगे। ये मुख्यमंत्री बारी-बारी से इस काउंसिल के अध्यक्ष का पदभार संभालेंगे। यह काउंसिल ही प्रमुख फैसले लेगी। नदी जल का इस्तेमाल किस तरह किया जाना है, उसकी योजना यह काउंसिल ही बनाएगी।

सूत्रों ने कहा कि तीन जून को होने वाली बैठक में राज्यों से प्रस्तावित फ्रेमवर्क के बारे में चर्चा की जाएगी। उसके बाद राज्यों के सुझावों को विधेयक के मसौदे में समाहित कर कैबिनेट की मंजूरी के लिए भेज दिया जाएगा। सरकार इसे संसद के मानसून सत्र में पेश करने की कोशिश करेगी। https://epaper.jagran.com/epaper/26-may-2019-240-outer-delhi-edition-outer-delhi-page-16-page-1.html#  (26 May 2019) 

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Arunachal Pradesh Concern over resumption of mega-dam project at Subansiri …But of late the NHPC authorities are alleged to have stealthily continuing construction work on the dam with full concurrence from the central government. Concerned circles have raised serious apprehension about resumption of work at the hydro-electric project over river Subansiri at Gerukamukh on Lakhimpur-Dhemaji on May 1. However the NHPC has denied all these allegations.

The resumption of works on the dam project is being alleged following the lull in the anti-dam campaign due to state’s preoccupation on Citizenship Amendment Bill-2016 stir and the Lok Sabha polls. Some organizations associated with the anti-dam movement earlier have been alleged to have made some secret understanding with the LSHEP authorities and the NHPC in allowing the later to re-start the construction work. https://nenow.in/north-east-news/assam-concern-over-resumption-of-mega-dam-project-at-subansiri.html  (30 April 2019)

Study Half of glaciers in Satluj basin may disappear by 2050  A new study has warned that as many as 55 percent of glaciers in the Satluj basin may disappear by 2050 and 97 percent by 2090 under extreme climate change scenario. This could adversely hit availability of water for irrigation and power projects including the Bhakra dam. The Satluj basin has total of 2,026 glaciers of different sizes totalling 1,426 square kilometres area. Smaller glaciers will melt faster. Those having area of less than one square kilometre will experience about 62 percent of loss by 2050.

– The analysis showed that the total glacier stored water for glaciers in the Satluj basin was 69 cubic kilometres. About 56 percent of the total volume is stored in large glaciers (over 5 square kilometres) covering an area of 517 sq. km. The largest glacier spread over 66.8 sq. km and containing 6.5 gigaton of ice is located in Tibet. Most of the glaciers contain less than 0.1 gigaton of ice. The basin has already lost 21 percent or 16.4 gitaton of glacier volume between 1984 and 2013. They found that there would be 33 per cent (475 sq. km) and 81 per cent (1,157 sq. km) glacier area reduction by 2050 and 2090 respectively. The study team included Veena Prasad, Anil V. Kulkarni, S. Pradeep, S. Pratibha, Tejal Shirsat, A. R. Arya and Sayli A. Tawde (Indian Institute of Science); Andrew Orr and Daniel Bannister (British Antarctic Survey).   https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/science/half-of-glaciers-in-satluj-basin-may-disappear-by-2050-study/article27185928.ece       (20 May 2019)

Uttrakhand MATU PR ON THDC track record टिहरी हाइड्रो डेवलपमेंट कॉरपोरेशन (टीएचडीसी) के महा प्रबंधक ने हाल ही में जो ब्यान दिए हैं। उन्हीं के संदर्भ में माटूजन संगठन उनसे पूछना चाहता है कि यादें टिहरी व कोटेश्वर बांध से प्रभावितों को आज भी पुनर्वास के लिए ऐसा क्यों नही दे रही। जबकि  2001 के ऑफिस मेमोरेंडम के तहत  टीएचडीसी को यह निर्देश था कि पुनर्वास के लिए जब भी जरूरत होगी वह पैसा देगी। जो टिहरी व कोटेश्वर बांध के प्रभावितों के लिए नहीं कर रहे वैसे ही बातें अब विष्णुगाड-पीपलकोटी के संदर्भ में बांध प्रभावितों के लिए किए जा रहे हैं।

टीएचडीसी एक ही कंपनी है जो टिहरी बांध व कोटेश्वर बांध बना चुकी और अभी विष्णुगढ़ पीपलकोटी बांध विश्व बैंक के पैसे से बना रही है। राज्य को जिस 12% मुफ्त बिजली देने की वह बात कर रहे हैं, 1% बिजली विस्थापितों को और 100 यूनिट बिजली प्रतिमाह प्रभावितों को देने की बात है हम प्रमाणित कर सकते हैं कि यह बातें आज तक जमीन पर नहीं उतरी हैं बांध प्रभावितों को इनके कोई लाभ नहीं पहुंचे।मात्र अपनी तथाकथित छवि सुधारने के लिए वे ऐसा कह रही है। http://matuganga.blogspot.com/   (21 May 2019)

Pancheshwar Dam Environmental implications of Pancheshwar dam A study assesses risks associated with Pancheshwar dam in the light of environmental impact observed for the Tehri project. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/environmental-implications-pancheshwar-dam  (26 May 2019)

Surya Ganga Screening Kriti Film will screen Surya Ganga a documentary on the epic conflict between India’s land, energy, water & people on June 1, 2019 at 7:00 pm at India Habitat Centre. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/surya-ganga#/ 

Sikkim Govt must learn to reject projects   Himraj Dang on Sikkim’s mad rush to develop: “The green critique of Sikkim has to surely be its inability to say “No”. After having achieved a raft of economic successes — the first state to launch universal basic income, in the top five tier of states ranked by per capita income, highest per capita transfers by the central government, 90 per cent-plus literacy, 100 per cent electrification, 100 per cent organic farming, etc — one would have expected a small state, with strong community organisations and a diverse and vibrant democratic culture to assert itself and selectively reject certain kinds of development. This has not happened, and the typical pan-Indian, contractor-driven rush of roads, dams, tourism eyesores, explodes and assaults the senses. This is absent in Bhutan and Ladakh, no less affluent and no less strategic for Indian defence.”   https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/to-protect-its-fragile-ecosystem-sikkim-must-learn-to-reject-projects-119051800795_1.html       (18 May 2019)

Maharashtra  State stares at power crisis as Koyna dam’s water level dips  The 1,000 MW fourth phase of the Koyna hydroelectric project is currently facing water shortage. Only nine TMC water stock is available for the fourth phase of the power generating unit, the official said.

“It means power generation for the fourth phase will continue for the next few days. Of the current 28 TMC water, only nine TMC will be available for the fourth phase, which generates 1,000 MW power,” he said.

– The total power generation capacity of the dam is 1,920 MW. “The state power generating utility would be compelled to exhaust the current (water) stock owing to the higher demand during the summer season. It means the state will have to make some alternative arrangements to meet the shortage of 1,000 MW,” the official said.   https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/india/maharashtra-stares-at-power-crisis-as-koyna-dams-water-level-dips-3992631.html     (19 May 2019)

Report Pakistan in top 10 countries by new HEP capacity  Indeed, why should unviable capacities be added at such huge social and environmental costs? https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/india-falls-behind-pakistan-in-top-10-countries-by-new-hydropower-capacity/69413440   (20 May 2019)

MNRE Govt scraps aid to 53 small hydro projects The ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) has cancelled the proposals of 53 small hydro power (SHP defined as those with capacity below 25 MW) (out of 134 that had applied) projects across the country, which sought financial assistance from the central government. These projects, with a cumulative capacity of around 440 MW, would not receive any financial support from the government because they had not submitted any progress report after applying for central financial assistance (CFA, about 30% of project cost) before 2014. https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/govt-scraps-aid-to-53-small-hydro-power-projects/1588654/  (25 May 2019)

EAC Agenda for River Valley Projects EAC meeting to be held on May 27, 2019

  1. 3rd Unit of 50 MW (Phase-II) For Tidong-I Hydro Power Project (100MW+50MW) Himachal Pradesh by M/S Tidong Power Generation Pvt Ltd– fresh TOR
  2. Nardave Medium Irrigation Project at Nardave, Tal: Kankavali, Dist.: Sindhudurg by Water Resources Dept, Konkan Irrigation Development Corp, Maharashtra -reconsideration of Environmental Clearance
  3. P.V. Narasimha Rao Kanthanapally Sujala Sravanthi Project Jayashankar Bhupalapally District, Telangana by Irrigation & CAD Dept, reconsideration of Env Clearance.
  4. Satdharu Medium Irrigation Project in District Damoh of Madhya Pradesh, fresh Environmental Clearance
  5. Channaka-Korata (Rudha) barrage on Penganga River-Interstate Irrigation Project, Adilabad district of Telangana, fresh Environmental Clearance
  6. Construction of Adi Badri Dam on Somb Nadi and its piped link to Saraswati Nadi and Saraswati Reservoir by Irrigation & Water Resources Dept, Govt of Haryana – reconsideration of TOR. http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Agenda/20052019DT87MNK924th_EACAgenda.pdf

DAMS

Sardar Sarovar Dam Media blunders in reporting Narmada issue in Gujarat This report says: “This dam (Sardar Sarovar) has been built to supply water to Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.” WRONG. The dam does not supply water to Maharashtra. Only small amount (0.5 MAF) to Rajasthan.

– It says: “According to the policy of the Narmada tribunal, the dam will not provide water for irrigation during the summer.” WRONG. But NWDT Award did not require this.

– It says: “Out of the share of 9 MAF in a normal year, the evaporation losses will be around 0.5 MAF.” WRONG. Gujarat to get 0.5 MAF for evaporation losses IN ADDITION to 9 MAF its share and 0.5 MAF Rajasthan’s share. There are many other errors here.   https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-why-a-near-full-sardar-sarovar-dam-is-unable-to-release-water-for-farmers-5736060/     (19 May 2019)

Govt to back plea for release of 1,500 cusec water into Narmada downstream The Gujarat govt will back a petition, filed by two outfits in the SC, seeking release of 1,500 cusecs of water from Sardar Sarovar dam into downstream Narmada river till the Gulf of Khambhat near Bharuch.  Deputy CM Nitin Patel said that the state government would file its affidavit before the apex court supporting the petition filed by Narmada Pradushan Nivaran Samiti and Bharuch Citizen Council.

– the downstream has dried up leading to ingress of 35,000 cusec seawater into the river near Bharuch as far as 40-50 km during the high tides, twice a day. According to Patel, on full moon day, over 1 lakh cusec of sea water enters Narmada river, causing salinity ingress and heavy damage to the flora and fauna and environment.  https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/gujarat-govt-to-back-plea-for-release-of-1500-cusec-water-into-narmada-downstream-daily-5739296/        (21 May 2019)

A delegation met the Gujarat CM on May 20 to apprise him of the situation along the Narmada river downstream of Sardar Sarovar Dam. The delegation submitted a memorandum signed by Bharuch MP Mansukh Vasava, MLAs Dushyant Patel and Arunsinh Rana from Bharuch and Vagra, respectively.

Bharatsinh Parmar, state general secretary BJP, Kiran Joshi of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Vijay Shah of Maa Reva Nirmal Pravah Samiti, Bharuch Citizen Council, and other NGOs appraised CM Vijay Rupani that large areas of fertile land have turned barren after the riverbed dried up and turned into a salt pan. Even the fishermen are struggling for their survival. The industries facing serious water crisis have put many projects on the backburner and some have even withdrawn their projects from Dahej.

– They also lamented that scarcity of water in 161-km stretch — from Sardar Sarovar Dam to Bhadbhut near the estuary of Narmada river — has also affected tourism in the area with less pilgrims coming to the hundreds of ancient and historical places including Chandod Karnali, Kabirvad, Shuklatirth, Kadod, Bhrugu Rishi temple, Navgrah Ovara at Bharuch. Vijay Shah of Maa Reva Nirmal Pravah Samiti said, “The dry river is also making these temples lose its religious importance.”  Arunsinh Rana, MLA Vagra, said, “We need discharge of at least 1,500 cusecs of water from the dam to flush the salinity and make the river live. Mansukh Vasava, MP, alleged that an illegal bund constructed to load sand from the riverbed is also responsible for damaging the river. “All bunds, legal or illegal, should be removed immediately for the free flow of water in the river.”

– Sadly, some members of the delegation pushed for Bhadbhut barrage and not livelihood of fisherpeople. The CM also unfortunately only talked about allocation of water from common pool, and not from Gujarat share. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/bharuch-mp-mla-demand-1500-cusec-narmada-water-downstream/articleshow/69451156.cms   (23 May 2019)

Telangana Compensation paid for loss of livelihood With the HC ruling in favour of the farm labourers and asking the government to address their concerns, the authorities concerned extended the R&R package to farm labourers for oustees under both Mallannasagar and Kondapochamma reservoirs. Each of the farm labourer was given ₹7.5 lakh for losing their livelihood.

This was in addition to the houses sanctioned for them as part of the rehabilitation package. The additional advocate general informed to the court that on May 16, all the 93 petitioners, including Saritha, were paid the compensation. Not for the first time as the report claims, this has already happened in case of Sardar Sarovar Dam for some of the affected families. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/in-a-first-compensation-paid-for-loss-of-livelihood/article27199734.ece    (21 May 2019)

Tamil Nadu Plea for sand mining holiday for Mettur dam Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association has sought two year sand mining holiday in Cauvery and to revive a proposal to increase the height of Stanley Reservoir at Mettur so as to augment its water storage capacity. The reservoir, built in 1934, had a capacity to hold 93.47 TMC at its maximum level of 120 feet.

Indiscriminate sand mining in the Cauvery, the Coleroon and other rivers over the past three decades had severely affected water flow. Big shoals had formed in the rivers. Removal of sand had resulted in the silt level of major rivers going down and a substantial quantity of water released from Mettur was not flowing into the irrigation canals, which were on a higher plane, but running off into the sea. “At least a two-year holiday should be declared for sand mining from rivers,” he said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/plea-to-increase-height-of-mettur-dam-ariyalur/article26958772.ece  (26 April 2019)

Uttar Pradesh Stop extortion of tribals: Sonbhadra crusader   The struggle includes fight against unjust displacement due to Kanhar Dam. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/extortion-continues-and-i-dont-want-my-grandchildren-to-face-the-ordeal/articleshow/69392236.cms       (19 May 2019)

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

Forget the deal, return our water, Maharashtra tells Karnataka Maharashtra will not sign a water-for-water agreement with Karnataka till it gets back over 6 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of pending supply from Karnataka which has only returned 0.078 tmcft of the total 6.787 tmcft diverted to it since 2016. The two States are now sparring over signing an MoU to exchange 4 tmcft of water on each side of the border on condition that Karnataka returns 10.787 tmcft at the end of the agreement period, senior officials said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/forget-the-deal-return-our-water-maharashtra-tells-karnataka/article27199561.ece  (21 May 2019) 

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS

Brahmaputra Dredging What use is dredging the Brahmaputra? The union and the Assam govt are planning to dredge the Brahmaputra river with an initial cost of Rs 400 crores. It is claimed that the dredging project will reduce floods and make the river navigable for large vessels. However, as per the experts, dredging seems to be a superficial solution to the challenge of drainage congestion and managing floods. Moreover, the government needs to conduct proper planning and a detailed study of the basic aspects before starting this mega project.  https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/2019/05/20/what-use-is-dredging-the-brahmaputra/     (20 May 2019)

URBAN RIVERS

Tapi, Surat Vehicle junkyard on Tapi riverbed It says Surat police is using Tapi river as dumping ground of old vehicles. No one seems to see that as a problem. Their only problem is that the water stagnant inside the vehicle bodies is becoming breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Who cares for the river?:

“Vehicles rotting on the Tapi riverbed after being dumped there by the city police is causing inconvenience to the residents staying alongside the Tapi river. The high tide immerses majority of the vehicles dumped on the riverbed and the residual water left inside the vehicles has become an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Despite the increasing mosquito menace in the area and several complaints being made by residents, no action has been taken by the city police and the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) in this regard.”  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/vehicle-junkyard-on-tapi-riverbed-stings-surtis/articleshow/69275003.cms     (11 May 2019)

Gomati Lucknow  Gomti water level plunges to 3yr low More than 14 lakh residents in Old City are grappling with drinking water crisis for 10 days now with the water level in Gomti river plummeting to a three-year low this summer. General manager, Jal Sansthan, SK Verma said the ideal water level of the lifeline river was 356ft, but it had dropped to 346.8ft since April. This, in turn, has reduced supply from the three surface water stations by 20%. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/gomti-water-level-plunges-to-3yr-low/articleshow/69500876.cms  (26 May 2019)

Mula-Mutha; Pune PMC to start work on project to save Mula-Mutha  The Mula-Mutha river rejuvenation project, which is part of the National River Conservation Plan in Pune, was sanctioned by the Centre five years ago at an estimated cost of Rs 640 crore. However, due to the delay in implementation of the project, the project cost has raised to Rs 990 crore. Under the proposed project, the PMC plans to construct 11 new sewage treatment plants of 396 million litres per day capacity, lay 113.6-km of sewers and build 24 community toilets. https://indianexpress.com/elections/after-5-years-pmc-to-start-work-on-project-to-save-mula-mutha-5723369/    (12 May 2019)

Mithi; Mumbai Open dumping of garbage Rampant dumping of garbage on Mithi River bridge on SCLR /CST Road is happening despite individual mails to MCGM there is no stopping https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/citizen-reporter/stories/opendumpingofgarbageonsclrovermithiriverb/articleshow/69437131.cms  (22 May 2019)  

Adyar, Chennai The Dangerous rise of Adyar river Due to repeated dumping of construction debris and garbage along Adyar in the last nearly 30 years, the height of the river has increased haphazardly. S Janakarajan has put together a graph which shows that  Adyar river has risen 18-20 metres in height near Airport and Thiruneermalai because of this.

At places such as Ekkaduthangal, Anakaputhur and Manimangalam where the river’s height has increased by 15-18 metres, dumping of solid waste and debris happens almost on a daily basis, said locals. Residents at Thiruneermalai recalled that during 2015, flood water from Adyar river entered their houses and reached the first floor of their apartments. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2019/may/15/the-dangerous-rise-of-adyar-river-1977269.html  (15 May 2019)

Hindon River; Gaziabad

d9966

https://epaper.jagran.com/epaper/26-may-2019-240-outer-delhi-edition-outer-delhi-page-6.html# (26 May 2019)

RIVERS

Research India’s river catchments are drying up, too many too soon Over half of river catchments are struggling to get back in shape due to human activities and climate change. In a recent study, researchers from the Indian Institutes of Technology at Indore and Guwahati have uncovered how human activities affect the ability of river catchments to cope with climate change. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, has investigated the ability of these catchment areas to be resilient with disturbances in the natural water cycles. The team studied 55 catchment areas in peninsular India and found that more than 60% of them cannot cope with the changing climate, and may soon dry up.

– They examined the difference in the water that flows into a river (run-off) of these catchments between two periods to understand which of the two affect them more significantly. The first analysis was between 1988 and 1997 when there was less human activity in these regions, and again from 2001 to 2011, a period that witnessed a substantial rise in anthropogenic activities.

– Around 60% of the catchments dominated by climatic changes are resilient, say the researchers. Most of these include regions from the eastern and upper southern part of India, whereas most of those in the western part were found to be non-resilient. All but ten catchments saw a decrease in the runoff generated during the period with increased human activities. The researchers suggest that steps like planting grass, shrubs or trees to control soil erosion, water conservation techniques like roof water harvesting and harvesting ponds, and better management of forests are needed to mitigate the negative impact of human activities. “There should be guidelines to ensure sustainable extraction of water from rivers so that the rivers can maintain the flow that is key to sustain the aquatic ecosystem in it”, asserts Prof Goyal. In the next part of the study, the researchers hope to explore the influence of various human activities, such as pollution and deforestation of wetlands, on the catchment. https://researchmatters.in/news/india%E2%80%99s-river-catchments-are-drying-too-many-too-soon    (16 May 2019)

Ethical approach to river basin management in India    This paper argues for a more democratic river basin management, but misses the point that those proposing the IRBM have no interest or track record for this. https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/8pHzbmGFY9VejySRvKGE/full?target=10.1080/24730580.2019.1614357    (15 May 2019)

Report RIVER, INTERRUPTED!  WOW: River cyclist Samrat Moulik is on a mission to save the rivers and conserve water, the man who pedalled from Gangotri to Padma in Bangladesh to raise awareness…, freshly returned from a 5,200 km expedition from Ladakh to Kanyakumari.

– Having seen the country’s rivers up, close and personal cycling 8,200 kilometres, Moulik says that one of the most ill-planned infrastructure projects conceived since Independence are the river dams, which, while generating hydro-electricity, are also making man fish in troubled waters. A river is a living entity, Moulik stresses, whether glacial or rain-fed, and in this journey, it performs its own geological role. https://www.thehitavada.com/Encyc/2019/5/19/RIVER-INTERRUPTED.html    (19 May 2019)

Jammu & Kashmir Increasing pollution in Devika river Putting a big question mark on the functioning of all the concerned agencies of the State Government, a latest analysis has revealed that water quality of holy River Devika at Purmandal is deteriorating at an alarming rate because of varied reasons and if the prevailing scenario is further allowed it will lose its sanctity in the coming years.

– “The main reasons behind deterioration in quality of River Devika water at Purmandal are direct discharge of wastes from nearby establishments, encroachment of river, cremations at undesignated locations within the river bed particularly in front of gate of main temple and extraction of minor minerals etc”, sources said quoting the reasons recorded by the Pollution Control Board scientists in their report to the Regional Director. https://www.dailyexcelsior.com/water-quality-of-devika-at-purmandal-deteriorating-at-alarming-rate-analysis/  (27 April 2019)

Kerala Chalakudy River Has a New ‘Little’ Band of Saviours Despite the demise of Latha Anantha, its guiding light, River Research Centre the NGO has been continuing its river conservation and awareness drives, with a particular focus on schools in the region. The Schools for River project was flagged off for this very purpose and more prominently, for the obvious lack of relevant information pertaining to rivers and complex river basin ecosystems.

Latha had dedicated a significant portion of her life educating children about rivers and their importance, besides fighting a long-waged war against the construction of dams and dislocation of people settled along the peripheries of the Chalakudy river. https://www.thebetterindia.com/139719/chalakudy-river-conservation-river-research-centre-school-children/  (30 April 2019)

GODAVARI, Telangana Water level drops to 16-year low in bhadrachalam The water level in Godavari this week dropped to the lowest point of 2.5 feet after a gap of 16 years. According to environmentalists, uncontrolled mining of sand in the river’s sand reaches and environmental degradation was to be blamed for the river going dry.  https://telanganatoday.com/godavari-water-level-drops-16-year-low-bhadrachalam     (18 May 2019)

NARMADA Madhya Pradesh जलस्तर 3 फीट अधिक गिरा Due to low water level in Narmada river, people cross the river on foot at Kharra Ghat in Hoshangabad.   https://www.bhaskar.com/mp/hoshangabad/news/narmada-water-level-dropped-by-more-than-3-feet-in-may-due-to-drying-and-tributaries-01546591.htm   (15 May 2019)

Madhya Pradesh शिवना नदी की प्रदूषण के कारण रंगत ही बदल गई 

मध्यप्रदेश के मंदसौर शहर के बीच से बहने वाली शिवना नदी पेयजल का मुख्य स्रोत है। यह 5 साल से प्रदूषित हो रही है। यहां आने वाले सभी नेता और अफसर नदी में सुधार के लिए आश्वासन देते हैं लेकिन कोई ठोस काम नहीं हाेता। इसमें फैक्टरियों का पानी भी छाेड़ा जा रहा है। नतीजा शिवना दिन-ब-दिन दूषित हाेती जा रही है जिससे यह समय-समय पर अपना रंग बदलकर लाल हाे जाती है।

Shivna river (tributary of Chambal) flowing through Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh has turned red (report dated May 18) due to pollution.    https://www.bhaskar.com/photo/news-in-photo/news/shivna-river-of-mandsaur-01548635.html     

Yettinahole Diversion Project Petitions against controversial Yettinahole project dismissed by NGT Shockingly, negating the facts and scientific reports, NGT dismisses all petitions against the Yettinahole project in Dakshin Kanada district in Karnataka. The DPR says the project water is to be used for irrigation. And yet NGT declared:

`“”Since the project is for drinking water purposes, no environmental clearance is required…However, the Forest Department and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF & CC)  to monitor the project and if they found that there were any violation, they are at liberty to take appropriate action.” https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/petitions-against-controversial-yettinahole-project-dismissed-ngt-102384  (25 May 2019)

SANDRP Blog Can a book tell history of Ganga  

Book Ganga SudiptoSen 0519

The book, even with its share of limitations, is fascinating in many aspects, particularly the multi cultural tales about the river it tells. Plz Read and share. https://sandrp.in/2019/05/26/can-a-book-tell-history-of-ganga/   (26 May 2019)

Also see article on Ichhamati river by Parineeta Dandekar of SANDRP is based on her blog on this earlier. https://scroll.in/article/922900/ichhamati-a-classic-bengali-novel-set-along-a-river-is-an-archive-of-a-forgotten-ecological-past   (27 May 2019)

GANGA: NGT Even a drop of pollution in Ganga is matter of concern NGT has pulled up the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) over its action plan for Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal and said it does not show concrete plans with prompt timelines and effort in prohibiting pollution.

“The NMCG has not filed the precise information about the status of projects planned and executed between Kanpur to Ganga Sagar. Thus, the affidavit of the NMCG is of no assistance. The counsel appearing for the NMCG is not ready and is merely dependent on Praveen Kumar, Director (Technical), NMCG who is also not competent to assist this tribunal.

“During the interaction, we find his approach to be to help the polluters instead of remedying the pollution which is the mandate of law and the orders of this tribunal,” the bench, also comprising Justices S P Wangdi and K Ramakrishnan, said.

The bench said every time the progress has been found to be unsatisfactory, it will now have no option but to take more stringent measures unless satisfactory remedial action is taken. The next hearing is on May 29. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/even-a-drop-of-pollution-in-ganga-is-matter-of-concern-ngt/articleshow/69412198.cms  (20 May 2019)

The green tribunal has lashed out at Uttarakhand govt for not keeping a watch on illegally mushrooming camping sites, which are turning into one of the major contributors to pollution in Ganga. It warned that any failure must result in deterrent compensation being recovered from the persons/ authorities responsible for discharge of untreated sewage/ effluents into the river. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/ensure-no-illegal-camping-takes-place-on-banks-of-ganga-ngt-to-ukhand/articleshow/69418324.cms         (21 May 2019)

It also directed the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board to prohibit discharge of any sewage or industrial effluents either directly into the river or its tributaries. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/ngt-pulls-up-up-uttarakhand-governments-over-ganga/story-eicyKaHfANeSgRMfv3WHYP.html  (21 May 2019)

CPCB Ganga’s Faecal Coliform Level 3-12 Times Higher Than Limit After NGT direction CPCB released data of water quality of Ganga at nine inter-state boundaries passing through states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand. The highest faecal coliform (FC) in the Ganges was found at Khagra in Berhampore in West Bengal at 30,000 MPN/ml which is 12 times the permissible limit and 60 times than the desired limit.

The data of FC at two boundaries in Jharkhand was not given. The CPCB data showed the faecal coliform within the permissible level at only two boundaries – Sultanpur in Uttarakhand and Bijnor in UP. According to the data, the other factors like pH, BOD, dissolved oxygen and conductivity was found to be within desired limit. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/central-pollution-control-board-gangas-faecal-coliform-level-3-12-times-higher-than-permissible-limi-2043088  (26 May 2019)

Uttrakhand Dumping waste right into Bhagirathi   Detailed report on Uttarkashi’s waste management in Uttarakhand.  http://citizenmatters.in/uttarkashi-waste-management-dumping-in-bhagirathi-12881     (21 May 2019)

Govt wants farmers to go organic  Under NMCG, state govt is implementing a scheme for encouraging hill farmers in the catchment area of the Ganga river to adopt organic farming. The move aims to keep the Ganga river free of chemical pollution and augmenting the income of hill farmers.

uttarakhand govt,organic farming,ganga river

In the first phase of the centrally funded project, all poor and marginal hill farmers in the 42 villages in Ganga’s catchment area are being given full support to adopt organic farming. Apart from Uttarakhand, the scheme is also being implemented in four other states–Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal–under the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY). (13 May 2019) https://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/uttarakhand-government-wants-farmers-to-go-organic-to-keep-ganga-toxin-free/story-TEAGs454rlLGAwIA9hmFcN.html    (13 May 2019) 

Net Geo 15-member team to study plastic pollution   An all-women team of 15 researchers and engineers will be part of a National Geographic expedition (in partnership with WII-Dehradun), will travel up the Ganga from the Bay of Bengal to its source in the Gangotri glacier to study the flow of plastics in the river system.

The expedition will be undertaken by boat, road and rail over four months, of which two months will be in summer beginning at the end of May and two months after the monsoon. Every year, 9 million metric tonnes of plastic is dumped in the world’s water systems, which ends up in the oceans. In India, plastic contributes nearly 60% of the waste reaching the oceans, according to the National Centre for Coastal Research.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/15-member-natgeo-team-to-travel-up-ganga-to-study-plastic-pollution/story-kizp4Not0uAkWZ3I4PJWjO.html   (10 May 2019)

YAMUNA Haryana CPCB tells state to ensure STPs are augmented  The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has directed Haryana to ensure augmentation of sewage treatment plants (STPs) in industrial cities of Yamunanagar, Panipat and Sonipat districts. The board took note of the industrial and domestic wastewater being discharged in the Yamuna river through ditch drains and observed that there is a need to augment the capacity of STPs and laying down of sewerage system at Yamunanagar and Sonipat. In the Panipat city, however, the sewage conveyance system needs to be augmented for 100 percent utilisation of the existing treatment facility. But who is going to ensure that the existing STP capacities function as per design? https://www.hindustantimes.com/gurugram/yamuna-cpcb-tells-state-to-ensure-stps-are-augmented/story-64Z45o5mcBWOoQNPQvHZrO.html  (16 May 2019)

Delhi Yamuna cleaner this April than it was previous year River managed to flow so far in lean season ~AFTER A DECADE & credit goes to extended winter rains accompanied by some exceptional heavy snowfall spells in upper catchment.

Even in early April Yamnotri origin of Yamuna was under heavy snow cover which was manually removed to facilitate Char Dham Yatra on since May 7. We could have seen more flowing water in river this year, had Haryana govt control illegal mining, WORST in a decade & still going on. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/yamuna-cleaner-this-april-than-it-was-previous-year-finds-study/articleshow/69451197.cms  (23 May 2019)

Waste water from septic tanks dumped into Yamuna CPCB has directed DJB to set up a vigilance system to check illegal discharge of waste water from septic tanks into the Yamuna, and penalise violators. The move comes after a joint team of officials from CPCB and FSSAI stumbled upon tankers disposing waste water from septic tanks directly into the floodplains.

The team, which was inspecting the floodplains last month, also identified drains discharging waste water from scattered habitations in Jagatpur Khadar village and Milan Vihar among others. In its letter to the DJB on May 1, the CPCB said that during the joint inspections carried out in April, scattered habitations were found on the floodplains between Palla and Wazirabad where such illegal activities were spotted. https://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/waste-water-from-septic-tanks-dumped-into-yamuna-cpcb/story-8zuyuFlEQ9oxcxWI2Fe8oI.html  (17 May 2019)

Waste dumped in drains polluting river A team of the NGT-appointed Yamuna pollution monitoring committee in the national capital has found large quantities of solid waste and polythene dumped in storm water drains across the city that empty into the river, polluting it.

East Delhi’s Shahdara and Balbir Nagar, Subhash Nagar in west and southwest Delhi’s Najafgarh drains have been identified as the major dumping grounds. The drains have been choked with municipal solid waste, polythene bags, construction and demolition waste being dumped into them over the years, said a member of the inspection team. https://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/waste-dumped-in-drains-polluting-yamuna-panel/story-9QwfJdhvTeT0hTa2kbHMAK.html  (27 May 2019)

Understanding the Yamuna and life around it The panel discussion, under Revitalising Yamuna: Alternate on May 11, 2019,  moderated by Surajit Sarkar, assistant professor at Ambedkar University, had Neha Sinha, wildlife conservationist associated with the BNHS, Prof. Reema Bhatia and Prof. Meeta Kumar of Miranda House and Bhim Singh Rawat of SANDRP and Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan and representatives of the communities living along the Yamuna. It deliberated on the changes observed in the river over the years and encouraged individuals and communities to reconnect with it. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/understanding-yamuna-and-life-around-it  (21 May 2019)

Uttar Pradesh Leading a movement to revive a river The work of river conservationist Mustaquim Mallah with help from local people to revive the Katha river is a good example that river conservation is possible through local participation.  https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/leading-movement-revive-river  (1 Jan, 2019)

Mathura man’s mission to save Yamuna In less than three years, the Yamuna Mission launched by Pradeep Bansal to green the vast stretch of waste-land, land-fills, garbage dump-yards, along the Yamuna, using sewer and drain water, has started yielding results. “We have taken initiative to clean-up Yamuna river in Mathura and Delhi,” says Bansal. “From Mathura we are gradually proceeding towards Vrindavan.” https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/mathura-man-s-mission-to-save-yamuna-119052201183_1.html  (22 May 2019)

River polluted beyond Delhi Scientists monitored the pollution load at twelve points at from Poanta in Himachal Pradesh to Pratappur in Uttar Pradesh and found that water from Delhi to Etawah is highly polluted. Water samples were collected from middle of the river at twelve stations -Paonta (HP), Kalanaur (Haryana), Mawi (UP), Palla (near Delhi), Delhi, Mohana (UP), Mathura (UP), Agra (UP), Etawah (UP) in two consecutive years 2014 and 2015.

– As per water quality, stations along the river stretch can be classified into four groups – water at group 1 stations (Paonta, Kalanaur, Mawi, and Palla) was found to be suitable for drinking, irrigation, and aquatic life. The samples from group 2 stations (Delhi, Mohana, and Mathura), had high organic loads coming from several drains and found not fit for drinking and bathing and only marginally fine for fish culture. Water at group 3 stations (Agra and Etawah) was not fit for drinking (without treatment and disinfection) and bathing as this stretch received heavy high pollution from households and agriculture run-offs. Group 4 stations (Auraiya, Hamirpur, and Pratappur) had better water quality and could be used for various purposes. https://weather.com/en-IN/india/news/news/2019-05-22-yamuna-water-quality-iit-delhi-water-quality-monitoring  (22 May 2019)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Assam Fishing restrictions only on paper As per the directives under the Assam Fishery Rules, 1953, there are prohibitions over use of Borjal/Mahajal or Fasijal or any type of nets with meshes less than seven cm/14 cm during breeding season. Moreover, there is prohibition on catching of brood fish of certain species in any fishery. There is also prohibition of catching and killing by any method, of fish for any purpose including consumption and selling of undersized fish of certain species during this period. These are aimed at ensuing natural breeding, propagation and growth of fish in all fisheries and natural water bodies. However, all these remain in papers and rampant fishing goes on in every nook and corners of the State every year.

– But on the contrary, the neighbouring country of Bangladesh has come up with strict measures to ensure breeding of fish. Bangladesh has banned fishing off its coast for 65 days from May 20 till July 23 to try and boost depleted fish stocks. During this period all types of fishing vessels would be covered by the ban and coast guards have been specifically directed to enforce it along Bay of Bengal. Bangladesh is known for its fish exports, especially the king of all fishes – the majestic Hilsa. https://nenow.in/neighbour/assam-fishing-restrictions-only-on-papers-bangladesh-imposes-stringent-ban.html    (21 May 2019)

Gujarat Appeal written with blood to save Narmada fish Fishing in the Narmada estuary has been the backbone of the coastal district of Bharuch in Gujarat. With Hilsa, prawns, Mahaseer and more than 80 other varieties of fish, the yield used to be as high as 10,000-15,000 tonnes a year, with the annual revenue of Rs 500 crore. The first blow came with the building of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, which cut down the annual yield drastically to about 4,000 tonnes and even less. The area is now home to very few varieties of fish and that too in steadily dwindling quantity.

The small scale fishing communities have been protesting the devastation of fisheries perpetrated by the construction of Sardar Sarovar and other dams on River Narmada.

– *Stop Destruction in the name of Development.*

– *Save Water, Save Fish, Save Fisher People.*

 See an appeal written in blood by the fishers of Bharuch. (Retrieved from facebook post of Mahendra Macchi, a leader of the fishing community https://www.facebook.com/mahendra.machhi.754/posts/1079995725543096

Tamil Nadu Oily discharge in Kosasthalaiyar river affecting fishermen A thick oily brownish substance was found in Kosasthalaiyar river near Kaattukuppam village in Ennore on May 13 evening, again after one month. Fishermen with visual evidence of the chemical discharge, suspect it to be effluents from nearby industries.

The frequent chemical discharge into the river has been a triple-threat to fishermen, affecting their livelihood, health and ecology. ‘‘We have protested constantly for a year against the discharge and have submitted petitions to the collector, but our efforts were in vain”, he said.  http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2019/may/15/once-again-oily-discharge-pollutes-kosasthalaiyar-river-1977273.html  (15 May 2019)

SAND MINING

Delhi HC directed Haryana govt to demolish bunds built on the Yamuna The court also asked Delhi’s neighbour to ensure that water was supplied to the capital without impediments. “There should be no hindrance in the flow of water from there (Haryana) to Delhi,” a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A J Bhambhani said.

– The direction came after a committee — constituted by the high court to inspect whether “bunds” had been created in canals carrying water meant for Delhi — told the bench that such obstructions were found at 11 locations. The committee, also comprising retired high court judge Justice Indermeet Kaur and amicus curiae Rakesh Khanna, submitted its report, stating that apart from creation of bunds, large-scale mining was going on along the Yamuna. The report added that mining was “causing huge environmental damage to the flora and fauna” in and around the riverbed. It said the bunds “have definitely affected the flow of water in the Yamuna”.

– The committee further stated: “The state of Haryana has deliberately and intentionally kept back the information regarding details of mining site permits along the river. This shows that the state was trying to provide a cover to activities affecting not only the flow of water, but also causing environmental pollution.”

– The committee was of the view that the flow of water in the river needed to be monitored. It suggested installation of flow meters for this purpose. However, the suggestions were opposed by Haryana, which said it wanted to file its objections to the findings of the report. The bench gave Haryana till July 22 to do the same.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/hc-directs-haryana-govt-to-remove-bunds-on-yamuna/articleshow/69489673.cms, https://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/illegal-miners-built-bunds-on-yamuna-court-panel/story-8VqguqPrGlzy8mOBbgPB0K.html  (25 May 2019)

Haryana Mining company booked for illegal bundh in Yamuna A mining company has been booked for causing blockage in the Yamuna by constructing an unauthorised bundh across the river in Gumthala village to undertake mining activities at the riverbed.

In his complaint to the police, Satyendra, sub-divisional engineer, Hathnikund barrage, Jagadhri, said that during a visit to Gumthala on May 9, he found that the representatives of agency M/S Joginder Singh had caused obstruction by constructing an unauthorised bundh on the Yamuna. He further said that he had directed the representatives of the agency to remove the bundh immediately and they had partially removed the bundh on May 13. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/mining-company-booked-for-illegal-bundh-in-yamuna/775623.html  (20 May 2019)

Police lodge zero FIR over illegal sand mining Following heated arguments and confrontation over illegal mining, on the complaint of Haryana irrigation department sub-divisional officer Dharampal, a zero FIR was registered against unidentified 20-25 persons under relevant Sections of Mines and Minerals (Regulation of Development) Act and 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The FIR will be transferred to Mirzapur police station of the Uttar Pradesh Police. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/hry-police-lodge-zero-fir-over-illegal-sand-mining/articleshow/69451987.cms  (23 May 2019)

Rajasthan SC stays HC order on sand mining The SC on May 10 stayed the order of Rajasthan High Court which allowed the auction of sand-mining blocks in the state. The Supreme Court order comes after Letters of Intent were issued. The state government had issued a notice against the review petition which challenged the high court order. The top court heard the state and asked it to respond within four weeks.

“While the ban on mining will continue, the stay order enables the miners to proceed with environmental clearance,” Naval Kishore Singh, a representative of sand miners. The state government cannot re-auction the mining blocks as the letters of intent has been already issued. It had earlier told the environment ministry not to process the requests for environment clearance. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/supreme-court-rajasthan-hc-order-bajri-sand-mining-1521927-2019-05-10  (10 May 2019)

Maharashtra NGT’s contempt over clearance for sand mining The state government’s decision to grant Environment Clearance (EC) and permit district collectors to auction sand ghats is challenged as being in contempt of orders of the NGT.

Akot-based environment and wildlife lawyer Manish Jeswani has approached NGT for specific directions against the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) for violating its orders of Sept 13, 2018, and Dec 11, 2018. These orders had made it mandatory for states to hold public hearing and undertake EIA while granting EC for river bed mining. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/state-in-ngts-contempt-over-clearance-for-sand-mining/articleshow/69257656.cms  (10 May 2019)

UN Report India, China are hot spots for illegal sand mining  As per the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) report, Sand and Sustainability: Finding new solutions for environmental governance of global sand resources, India and China have topped the list of countries where illegal sand mining has become a major environmental problem. With the growing demand for sand, unchecked mining is leading to pollution, flooding, erosion of coastlines and flourishing sand mafia, said the report. The report, however, has highlighted that both countries are becoming leaders in tackling sand mining and sustainability challenges. The report also recommends that a traceability process followed up with strong accountability through governance can drastically reduce illegal and irresponsible sand mining.   https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/un-india-china-are-hot-spots-for-illegal-sand-mining/story-TkvsYIIwoDTitKiGkdNPhO.html   (8 May 2019)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

National NGT tells states, UTs to emulate Haryana, inventory water bodies   The Green Tribunal has ordered all the states and UTs to review their existing framework for restoration of water bodies not protected by any law and submit action plans to the CPCB within three months. The CPCB has also been directed to publish guidelines to restore water bodies—between 0 and 2.5 acres in size—not presently protected by any national legislation in a month’s time. The order has come after several concerned authorities in Haryana mapped the water bodies in the state, along with assigning them unique identification numbers.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/gurugram/ngt-tells-states-uts-to-emulate-haryana-inventory-water-bodies/story-otat9BWkPdG5PtT9rIx3KP.html    (19 May 2019)

Jammu & Kashmir Panel to demarcate Hokersar wetland Government has constituted a panel to demarcate boundaries of Hokersar wetland to prevent encroachments. Divisional commissioner, Kashmir has ordered constitution of committee to be headed by Deputy commissioners of Srinagar, Budgam to demarcate the boundaries of the wetland.

Minutes of the meeting chaired by the Divisional commissioner Kashmir, states Chief engineer Irrigation and flood control shall construct hydraulic gates at the entry and exit points of Hokersar wetland in order to maintain minimum water level in the wetland. Chief Engineer I&FC department shall initiate appropriate measures for tendering the work.

In absence of conservation measures over past nearly two decades, Hokersar has been pushed to the verge of extinction. A study conducted by Department of Earth Sciences Kashmir University reveals that Hokersar has shrunk from 18.75 sq Kms in 1969 to 12.8 sq Kms. Owing to its immense ecological value, Hokersar has been declared as Conservation Reserve under the J & K Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1978. It was also declared as site under the Ramsar Convention on Nov 8, 2005. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/srinagar/panel-to-demarcate-hokersar-wetland/  (27 April 2019)

Kerala Chilavanoor lake encroachment: Activists to move HC In the wake of various encroachments of Chilavanoor backwaters surfacing again, the green activists in Kochi are all set to move to the High Court to question why authorities have not yet submitted a survey report of the Chilavanoor lake. In Dec 2016, the Kerala HC gave an interim order to conduct a survey of the Chilavanoor backwaters on the petition filed by environmentalist Cheshire Tarzen. But now, various environmental activists in Kochi have said that the authorities have not even submitted a single report over the past two years.

Chilavanoor backwater is part of the Vembanad-Kol Wetland that is included as one of the sites as per the Ramsar Convention. The five apartment buildings which the Supreme Court recently directed to be demolished for violating Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) are located around the Chilavanoor backwaters.  https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/chilavanoor-lake-encroachment-activists-move-hc-over-delayed-survey-report-102430  (25 May 2019)

Tamil Nadu Polluted water bodies of Kanniyakumari   The Kannaiyakumari district, which benefits from the South-West and North-East monsoons, is covered by acres of emerald green paddy fields, and banana and coconut groves.

– The introduction of sewerage canals in every street and bylanes changed the picture gradually. The situation was further aggravated when concrete streets and bylanes were paved. All this affected the groundwater table. Till then, the water that was used to wash clothes and vessels would flow till the coconut and banana trees that stood in the backyard of the house. Slowly, the backyards were paved with concrete and, in many cases, accommodated new construction. Wells were converted into septic tanks, and the waste water was let out in the sewerage canal. It joined the clear unpolluted water flowing in the brooks. The brooks, in turn, flowed into water bodies used by many generations for cultivation and community bathing. Today, almost all the water bodies in Kanyakumari district are polluted beyond belief. Gallons of untreated sewage enter them, making them unfit for use. Of course, farmers still use the water for cultivation. But it is unsafe to drink from and bathe in many of these water bodies.  https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-polluted-water-bodies-of-kanniyakumari/article27152958.ece     (17 May 2019)

WATER OPTIONS

Gujarat Govt to supply treated waste water for industrial use “In the next 3-4 years, more than 80% of the water requirement of industries will be met through the supply of treated waste water (TWW), which will be supplied from Sewerage Treatment Plants (STPs),” said Gujarat’s Chief Secretary J.N. Singh, adding that industry will get only treated water in order to reserve fresh ground water for drinking and irrigation.

“As of today, our total sewage water generation is 4,000 MLD, while our treatment capacity is 3,500 MLD. In the next 2-3 years, new capacity of 1,500 MLD will be added, with the setting up of new STPs and expanding the existing ones,” said J.P. Gupta, Principal Secretary on water supply. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gujarat-will-supply-treated-waste-water-for-industrial-use/article27189314.ece  (20 May 2019)

Rajasthan Traditional wells to be revived in desert areas to fight water crisis Barmer district collector Himanshu Gupta said traditional water bodies will be revived under MGNREGA. “We have identified 1,790 ‘beries’ in the district for the purpose.” Gupta said presently 432 ‘beries’ are being used by people as drinking water sources. “We have prepared a work plan to revive ‘beries’ under MGNREGA.

rajasthan government,traditional water bodies in rajasthan,MGNREGA

Under the first phase, 1,000 ‘beries’ will be revived,” he said. Gupta said he had directed block development officials to send proposals at the earliest, so that work could be started. https://www.hindustantimes.com/jaipur/traditional-wells-to-be-revived-in-desert-areas-to-fight-water-crisis/story-qsZrSWcOhNS3TICmtquT5K.html  (20 May 2019)

SRI Roles of microbes in supporting sustainable rice production using SRI The system of rice intensification (SRI) is an agroecological approach to rice cultivation that seeks to create optimal conditions for healthy plant growth by minimizing inter-plant competition, transplanting widely spaced young single seedlings, and optimizing favorable soil conditions with organic amendments, increased soil aeration by weeding, and controlled water management. These practices improve rice plant growth with yields up to three times more than with conventional cultivation methods, and increase crop resilience under biotic and abiotic stresses.

This review discusses the roles of beneficial microbes in improving rice plant growth, yield, and resilience when SRI practices are used, and how these modifications in plant, soil, water, and nutrient management affect the populations and diversity of soil microorganisms. Mechanisms whereby symbiotic microbes support rice plants’ growth and performance are also discussed. https://india.mongabay.com/2019/05/punjabs-groundwater-stress-drowns-in-election-noise/    (17 May 2019)

Tamil Nadu NGO deploys new technique to maximise groundwater recharge Environmentalist Foundation India has recently started restoring Karuppan Kulam, a waterbody near Menambedu in Ambattur facing neglect for years, with special focus on replenishing the aquifer. For this a new type of recharge well called the central circular recharge pit, was installed to increase groundwater recharge. Before the restoration work started, this pond was one of the many waterbodies in Ambattur which was subjected to utter negligence by public and officials. Construction debri, garbage and sewage was dumped into the pond, eventually killing its water capacity.

Arun Krishnamurthy, founder of EFI, said this technique was deployed for the first time in Chennai. He explained that this technique will enable water to reach the aquifer in a uniform manner, without getting accumulated in one place. Around 60-65 per cent rate of recharge is expected in this method. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2019/may/07/efi-deploys-new-technique-to-maximise-groundwater-recharge-1973598.html  (7 May 2019)

Chennai Residents take the reuse, recycle route to tackle water crisis Many apartments have started recycling grey water and some others have opted for smaller yet effective ways to tackle the ongoing water crisis. Some residents have resorted to extreme measures like taking bath with reject water from air conditioners while some are giving their pets a bath with reject water from the RO machine. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2019/may/21/chennai-residents-take-the-reuse-recycle-route-to-tackle-water-crisis-1979520.html  (21 May 2019)

GROUNDWATER

National NGT pulls up Centre for failing to take steps   The NGT has pulled up the environment ministry for failing to furnish a report, sought by the tribunal earlier, on the actions taken to tackle groundwater depletion. In January, the tribunal had ordered the ministry to constitute an expert committee and to issue an appropriate policy for groundwater conservation with a robust institutional mechanism for surveillance. However, the ministry has not provided any report in this regard. Additionally, the NGT has rapped the CPCB for providing an incomplete report on the assessment of environmental compensation to be levied for illegal extraction of groundwater. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/groundwater-issue-ngt-pulls-up-centre-for-failing-to-take-steps/article27085582.ece     (10 May 2019)

MoWR Groundwater reserves estimate to be updated soon The Union Water Ministry is finalising an updated estimate on the state of groundwater reserves in India. The groundwater assessment, last done in 2013, is a survey that samples of blocks in each State and counts how many blocks have critically low levels of water and how many are well-stocked. In 2013, the CGWB assessed 6,584 units across the country and found 4,520 to be “safe,” 681 to be “semi-critical” 253 to be “critical” and 1,034 to be “overexploited.” About 96 blocks were “saline”.

In a CGWB report of April 2015, the agency noted that the water resource potential or annual water availability of the country in terms of natural runoff (flow) in rivers is about 1,869 Billion Cubic Meter (BCM)/year. However, the usable water resources of the country is about 1,123 BCM/year. Out of the 1,123 BCM/year, the shares of surface water and groundwater are 690 BCM/year and 433 BCM/year respectively. Setting aside 35 BCM for natural discharge, the net annual ground water availability for the entire country is 398 BCM.

The overall contribution of rainfall to the country’s annual ground water resource is 68%. The share of other resources, such as canal seepage, return flow from irrigation, recharge from tanks, ponds and water conservation structures taken together is 32%.

The national per capita annual availability of water has reduced from 1,816 cubic metres in 2001 to 1,544 cubic metres in 2011 — a reduction of 15%. As per CGWB, in 1995, only 3% of districts had overexploited their groundwater reserves whereas by 2011, that had increased to 15%. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/groundwater-reserves-estimate-to-be-updated-soon/article27211009.ece  (22 May 2019)

CGWB Groundwater may fall below 100m in north west India The CGWB report, which has been submitted to state governments, draws on data recorded between 1994 and May 2018 and shows that withdrawal of groundwater has been greater than recharge — against an annual gross groundwater withdrawal of 35.78 billion cubic meters (BCM), the annual recharge has only been 21.58 BCM. According to the report, groundwater level has been falling at the rate of 51cm every year and, at present, it is at a depth of 10-65 metres in the region.

Over the past decade, an increase in the frequency of drought-like situations has led to an increase in withdrawal of groundwater. The IMD reports (2012-2017)on rainfall patterns show that Himachal and Uttarakhand has received 25%-40% rainfall while Punjab, Haryana and parts of Rajasthan have received 15%-20% rainfall. The impact is clearly visible in the groundwater data released by the CGWB for these states.

Himanshu Thakkar, an IIT alumnus, who runs SANDRP, said, “Even though India receives good rainfall every year, in many regions water is now available more than 100 metres below the ground. In some places, it is even more than 200 metres. The situation clearly shows that there is mismanagement, not proper use of rain water and gross misuse of groundwater, which is India’s water lifeline”. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/groundwater-may-fall-below-100m-in-north-west-india/story-DWXKfzWWQo22xc8e2xtMIM.html  (15 May 2019)

Tamil Nadu HC restricts withdrawal of groundwater for commercial purposes Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on May 15 restrained private water packaging units in Virudhunagar district from drawing groundwater for commercial purposes while hearing a PIL naming at least 22 such units operating in the district. The petitioner, Videyal Veeraperumal, complained that these units were indulging in commercial exploitation of groundwater in the region.

They were drawing water without the no-objection certificate/licence and in some cases beyond the permissible limit. He complained that this practice had been there for long in Virudhunagar district. Though several complaints had been made to the district authorities, they did not take action. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/dont-draw-groundwater-for-commercial-purposes-hc-madurai/article27149941.ece  (16 May 2019)

Study Borewells Boon or Bane for Women? A study shows that although borewells have improved women’s access to water in the short term, they have increased water insecurity and the suffering of women in the long term. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/borewells-boon-or-bane-women   (23 May 2019)

URBAN WATER

Chennai 4,500 water tankers to go on strike from May 27 The main reason cited by the tankers is the opposition to them in certain villages on the outskirts of Chennai, from where they extract groundwater and sell it to residents of Chennai. While the villagers had always been opposing the extraction of their groundwater to supply to Chennai, the private tankers said they had decided to launch the sudden strike because the government officials took side with villagers and cracked down on the private tankers.

Private water tanker lorry association members said that three days ago in Red Hills four tankers were taken into custody by local police officials. In many places along Thiruporur-Chennai route, teams of revenue inspectors and tahsildars have been stopping tankers from tapping groundwater. In other localities such as Keerapakkam in Kancheepuram district, villagers have prevented tankers from extracting water.

“Villagers have broken pumps and other equipment. Panchayat officials have even gone to the extent of dumping sugar into the motor to cease it. Officials are treating us like criminals when we are only providing water to those who are in dire need. We will prolong the strike this time until Metro Water board and Collectors of three districts promise not disturb our work,” said Nijalingam N, president, South Chennai Private Water Tanker Association. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2019/may/22/4500-water-tankers-to-go-on-strike-today-in-chennai-1980075.html  (22 May 2019)

As per latest report, Tamil Nadu Private Water Tanker Lorry Owners’ Association has temporarily called off its strike that was set to begin from May 27. However, this may not last long according to Nijalingam N, President of South Chennai Private Water Tanker Association. On average, water tankers supply about 5 crore litres of water to residents of Chennai. One tanker with a capacity to supply 12,000 litres of water costs about Rs 900 but if it is carried beyond 20 km for distribution, an additional Rs 200-Rs 300 is charged. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/private-tankers-association-temporarily-call-strike-chennai-102403  (25 May 2019)

WATER POLLUTION

Odisha Animal waste pose water pollution threat in Raghunathpur The mushrooming of poultry farms has posed a serious threat to the environment. Majority of the farms, producing a huge amount of untreated chicken waste, are causing air, water and soil pollution in the district. Villagers say, paddy and vegetable cultivation are getting affected every year due to the release of effluent from the poultry farm. Environmentalists said the untreated waste finds its way into canals and other water sources during rainy days causing water pollution. The result is a high level of nitrogen and phosphorus in the water, affecting the ecosystem.

Meanwhile, the Orissa High Court has directed the district administration to submit a report over the matter within 45 days of the order in March. Raghunathpur Tehsildar Debasish Panda on May 9 visited the village and inquired about the matter and found that the farm was situated just 50 m from the residential area. He is likely to submit the report to Orissa High Court soon. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2019/may/18/animal-waste-littered-around-poultry-farms-pose-water-pollution-threat-in-raghunathpur-1978502.html  (18 May 2019)

Bangalore Residents seize BWSSB tanker dumping sewage The residents of BEML, 5th Stage, Rajarajeshwarinagar, seized a sewage tanker belonging to the Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board allegedly dumping untreated sewage into a farm in their locality. They surrounded the vehicle, forced the driver out and took away the keys.

Another resident of the area, on condition of anonymity, said the BWSSB has two treatment plants in the Rajarajeshwarinagar area. “There is no logic as to why the untreated sewage was being dumped in a residential locality,” he said. However, senior BWSSB officials claimed that the sewage tanker was only being washed there, while stating categorically that untreated sewage was not let into the farm. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/residents-seize-bwssb-tanker-dumping-sewage/article27250613.ece  (26 May 2019)   

DELHI WATER

Delhi’s five lakes at deep end Very informative report on Delhi’s five big water bodies. At a time when the Delhi government is planning to spend hundreds of crores to revive more than 200 waterbodies, the city’s existing lakes — some as large as the Nainital lake — are dying a slow death. Paras Singh and Jasjeev Gandhiok profile their plight. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/reality-check-delhis-5-lakes-at-deep-end/articleshow/69450987.cms  (23 May 2019)

Poison lakes below mountain trash Dozens of hand pumps in this unauthorised habitation at Bhalswa landfill in north Delhi were uprooted, but poverty has driven the thousands living there to continue to draw up the yellow-orange water from the aquifers contaminated by leachate from the mountain of garbage nearby. The mess in managing the three sanitary landfills at Bhalswa, Okhla in south Delhi and Ghazipur in east Delhi means they continue to grow well past their lives, insidiously contaminating the groundwater with the viscous, toxic leachate.

– Many recent research studies have highlighted their destructive effect on the sub-surface water in the areas. Bhalswa logged the highest leachate index, followed by Ghazipur and Okhla. In the three places, the biological oxygen demand, a measure of pollution, ranged from 2,825 ppm to 3,300 ppm against acceptable levels of 3-5ppm for potable water. The chemical oxygen demand, another measure, varied between 4,400 ppm and 5,840 ppm against WHO’s recommendation of 10 ppm for drinking water. The groundwater samples from Bhalswa also show a high level of dissolved solids and a concentration of heavy metals exceeding WHO’s permissible limits. In Ghazipur, the total dissolved solids were recorded as being from 510 mg/l to 3,205, against the standard of 250 mg/l. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/below-mountains-of-trash-lie-poison-lakes/articleshow/69510311.cms  (27 May 2019)

Waterlogging hits Violet Line services Metro services were impacted on a portion of the Violet Line on May 25 morning due to “waterlogging”. A statement from the DMRC read, “In the morning, some water-logging was also observed in the Kashmere Gate-Lal Quila section, due to which trains were moving at a restricted speed till 11.15 am.” https://indianexpress.com/article/delhi/waterlogging-hits-violet-line-services-5748665/  (26 May 2019)

d7544.png

https://epaper.jagran.com/epaper/26-may-2019-240-outer-delhi-edition-outer-delhi-page-7-page-1.html#  (26 May 2019)

Blacklisted but given DJB tenders, 17 private firms booked by ACB The Delhi govt’s anti-corruption branch (ACB) has booked 17 private firms and DJB engineers after payment worth around Rs 5 crore was allegedly released to the companies despite them failing to deliver equipment and services. These 17 private firms were given tenders despite being blacklisted by the DJB’s vigilance department. In July 2018, the department had received complaints of a number of spurious tenders being given from 2016 to 2018. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/blacklisted-but-given-djb-tenders-17-private-firms-booked-by-acb-5748637/  (26 May 2019)  

AGRICULTURE

HC Why give free power to rich Haryana and Punjab farmers  High Court is asking why rich farmers are being provided free electricity in Punjab and Haryana. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/why-give-free-power-to-rich-haryana-and-punjab-farmers-hc/69424255     (21 May 2019)

FLOOD

DAM Floods Kerala 2018 Heavy rainfall caused deluge: Kerala govt to HC  KERALA govt arguments that dams did not worsen the floods in Aug 2018 are clearly UNTENABLE.

– The government said outflow from the reservoirs did not exceed inflow into the reservoir during the event of extreme rainfall and hence the flood could not be termed a man-made disaster. [As shown by SANDRP this is not good enough. Did the flood releases exceed the downstream river channel capacities? Did the dams follow the rule curve? are many questions that this just refuses to answer.]

– Moreover, in the case of irrigation reservoirs, maximum flood discharge through the spillways was only to the tune of 50 per cent of its designed maximum spillway discharge. It clearly shows possible flood moderation was achieved with the limited flood zone in these reservoirs. [Untenable again as it does not answer above mentioned questions.]

– Flood management is different from dam management. While dams with sufficient design features and capacities may be used as a tool for flood-risk reduction, they cannot prevent flooding. [This negates that reality that the nature of floods in the downstream area post dam are VERY different than pre dam area and dams need to do everything to ensure that the releases are minimised. The Kerala dams just refused to do anything about it and dams were all full even by July 2018, just halfway through the monsoon.]

Clearly, Kerala govt is on very weak ground here depending on CWC and IIT Madras report. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2019/may/21/heavy-rainfall-caused-deluge-kerala-government-to-hc-1979659.html    (21 May 2019)

Govt knocks at HC door to reject report that pointed to lapses in dam management    THIS WON’T HOLD ANY WATER: THERE IS NO SCIENCE EITHER HERE.

– Referring to the study on the floods by the Central Water Commission that came out with supporting data, the government felt the CWC report negates any further need for a study. Apart from this, the study by K P Sudhir of IIT-Madras points that the floods happened as ‘an act of God’, the government said. It claimed the report of Vimal Mishra relied on by amicus curiae Jacob P Alex, to assist the court, was only an article rejected in peer review and thus not accepted for publication. The same is the case with the article of Himanshu Thakkar, who is not a technical expert in the field and a renowned dam opponent, it said.  https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/2018-floods-kerala-govt-knocks-at-hc-door-to-reject-report-that-pointed-to-lapses-in-dam-management-119052001059_1.html       (20 May 2019)

Tripura Flash flood leaves 739 people homeless Heavy rainfall leading to flash floods in Tripura has left at least 739 people homeless and hundreds of houses submerged in North Tripura, Unakoti and Dhalai districts. At least 40 rescue boats, nine speed boats were also pressed into service by the state revenue department to evacuate the people from affected areas. A total of 1039 houses were damaged due to heavy rains. Many trees and electric posts were also uprooted due to blustery winds. However, there is no report of any casualty. https://www.timesnownews.com/india/article/flash-flood-in-tripura-leaves-739-people-homeless-causes-damage-to-over-1000-houses/425418  (26 May 2019)

– The flood was mainly after the water level of river Juri and river Kakti started rising and came close to the danger level. https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/many-homeless-as-flash-flood-hits-tripura-119052600049_1.html  (26 May 2019)

DROUGHT

Maharashtra 26 Maharashtra dams hit zero water storage level as on May 18 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 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. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/maharashtra-dams-hit-zero-water-storage-level-5735377/  (18 May 2019)

Five medium-sized dams of the total 24 medium and large dams in Nashik district have gone dry. The water in two others of medium category, and one from the major dam category is about to touch the ‘zero’ mark.

Maharashtra water resources department shared water levels in dams across Nashik district, which clearly show levels of water in dams at zero. This sparked caution about the use of water – not just currently, under drought conditions, but also in future.

Medium dams that have gone dry include Punegaon, Bhavli, Bhojapur, Nagasakhya and Manikpunj.

The district in all has 24 medium and large dams, with capacity of 65,814 mcft of water, feeding a population of over 60 lakh. The water levels which were about 85 per cent (or 55,941 mcft) of the total capacity on October 15, 2018, now stand at 7,445 mcft. https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/maharashtra-stares-at-huge-water-crisis-as-five-dams-in-nashik-to-hit-zero-water-level-367554.html  (20 May 2019)

Water experts warn of ‘desertification’ of Marathwada The water crisis in Maharashtra is a “policy-induced failure”, according to economists and water academics who have specifically warned of the ‘desertification’ of the parched Marathwada region in the near future.

“It is the ecological illiteracy of policy-makers and the selfishness of the power elite in inducing farmers across Marathwada to adopt a crop pattern that is not congruent with the agro-climatic characteristics of this region,” said Prof. H.M. Desarda, economist and former member of the Maharashtra State Planning Board. Mismanagement of water resources by successive governments, coupled with four decades of incessant ‘water mining’, had led the groundwater table across the Marathwada region to decline precipitously to the point where rejuvenating it had become impossible, he said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/water-experts-warn-of-desertification-of-marathwada/article27212356.ece  (23 May 2019)

Cane growers get cold feet due to drought  The sugarcane cultivation in Maharashtra is likely to decline due to drought in 26 districts in Maharashtra. The State govt is collecting the data of cane cultivation and according to sources the decline in cane cultivation will have a drastic impact on sugar production. An opportunity to close down some sugar mills in drought prone areas?  https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/cane-growers-in-maharashtra-get-cold-feet-due-to-drought/article27188642.ece    (20 May 2019)

Drought helped lost village in Aurangabad resurface The drought raging in Aurangabad has made the waters recede at Nath Sagar reservoir, and Avadhoot’s village Pimpalwadi can be seen again. The receding waters have uncovered a century-old Narasimha temple, a Hanuman temple, the Pirbaba dargah, a math, the Aurangabad-Paithan road, and a bridge. Shivaji Khillare has often sailed on the river and fished in the reservoir’s waters, and he was amazed at the magnificent structures that the riverbed yielded.

Rise and shine: Portion of a temple re-emerges firom the receding water in Savkhede.

He says he has heard stories from his 90-year-old father Rambhau about how Savkheda village submerged when the dam was built. Rambhau spent 30 years in this village before it went under. “I spent my childhood and played with my friends here, sitting on the banks of the Godavari,” says an emotional Rambhau. “Then the village was asked to vacate, and everything was gone forever.” https://www.thehindu.com/photos/from-the-rivers-belly/article27248151.ece/photo/1/  (26 May 2019)

Gujarat Ukai dam level dips, water supply to Gujarat’s Surat cut by 10%   With dwindling water level in Ukai dam, which supplies water to Surat city, the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) on May 20 decided to cut water supply to the residents by 10 per cent. Water supply for irrigation from Ukai dam has also been completely stopped.

– On an average, the SMC supplies 1,150 MLD to residents, but during summer season due to increase in demand, the civic body draws additional 1,200 MLD of water from Tapi river.   https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/water-crisis-ukai-dam-level-dips-water-supply-to-gujarats-surat-cut-by-10-5739300/    (21 May 2019)

Sugar cane farmers face bleak future With just 322.44 million cubic metres (MCM) of live water storage left as against gross storage capacity of 7,414 MCM of Ukai reservoir, farmers, who have sugar cane crops in nearly one lakh hectare area in South Gujarat, face a bleak future. The current water level in Ukai dam is lowest in the last 15 years. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/sugar-cane-farmers-face-bleak-future/articleshow/69402921.cms   (20 May 2019)

Gaikwad Fort, which was flooded by the waters of the Ukai dam, was first seen in May.

For the first time, Gaekwad fort submerged due to Ukai dam was visible in May. Since the reservoir was filled, the fort has surfaced for the fourth time this year, but earlier it happened in 1997, 2016, 2018, but always in June. On May 15, 2019, when water level behind the dam was 281.1 feet, the fort surfaced. https://www.divyabhaskar.co.in/south-gujarat/news/gaikwad-fort-which-was-flooded-by-the-waters-of-the-ukai-dam-was-first-seen-in-may-1557867251.html    (15 May 2019)

Kerala Just eight months After floods, State reeling from a severe water crisis Kerala is a narrow strip of land. Between the Western Ghats in the east and the sea in the west, it is 140 km at its widest and 35 km at its narrowest. It takes rainwater from the Ghats only 48-72 hours to be discharged into the sea.

The destruction of forests, wetlands, sacred groves and laterite hills over the last few decades means rainwater is discharged without percolation into the plateau, said TP Padmanabhan, director of the Society for Environmental Education in Kerala. “This results in depletion of groundwater levels,” he added.

Before the ecosystem destruction became rampant, Padmanabhan said, 40% of the rainwater reached the Arabian Sea, 20% got evaporated, and 40% percolated down and replenished the water table. “Rate of percolation decreased with the destruction of the ecosystem,” he added. “Low percolation and depletion of the water table explains why we are facing a water shortage just eight months after the floods.” https://scroll.in/article/923702/just-eight-months-after-the-floods-kerala-is-reeling-from-a-severe-water-crisis-whats-gone-wrong  (21 May 2019)

Andhra Pradesh Two lives lost over fight for drinking water in 10 days Second loss of life claimed by what is perceived as water wars in Kurnool district in a gap of 10 days. The deaths and the water crisis strikingly went unnoticed in the din of electioneering.

Kurnool city, which has a population of over 5 lakh, depends on the Sunkesula project, located 20 km away and built on the Tungabhadra river, for drinking needs. The dam went dry in this summer because of scanty rainfall and the dam’s poor storage capacity.

The Tungabhadra river through a low level canal (LLC) is supposed to meet the irrigation and drinking water needs of Kurnool district while KC canal caters to the needs of Kadapa district and Penna river supplies water for Anantapur. Due to uneven rainfall, these rivers fail to meet their objective almost every year.

Bojja Dasaratha Rami Reddy, president of the Consortium of Indian Farmers Association (CIFA), said the lack of equity in distribution of river waters is the reason for the plight of the people in Rayalaseema. Rayalaseema has a share of 133.70 tmc assured water from the Krishna river. But the quantum in use by the region fails to exceed 70 tmc due to the government’s alleged failure to build sufficient reservoirs in the upper reaches of the Srisailam dam, he claimed. The government, whichever party is in power, is always biased in favour of people in the Krishna delta in the coastal region for distribution of Krishna river water, alleges Reddy. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/two-lives-lost-over-fight-drinking-water-amidst-polls-crisis-kurnool-ignored-102216  (22 May 2019)

Karnataka Mahadayi river mouth dries up, 4 districts reel under water crisis The mouth of the Mahadayi river at Degaon village in Bhimgad Reserve Forest in Khanapur taluk of Belagavi district has dried up even before the monsoon season. In fact, water should have been available at the source until after May, claim the residents here. “Usually there would be water until the summer was over. But for the past 4-5 years, the river dries up in the summer. But this time, the water crisis has hit us even earlier,” says Raju Dhond, Degaon resident and gram panchayat member. Dhond claimed that according to the local officials the monsoon may arrive by June 16.

In reality, residents say that the situation is very grim as there is only two inches of water left at the river’s mouth. “There is no trace of water in the Kalasa-Bhanduri Nala, which is about 22 km from the river’s mouth. Lack of adequate rainfall in the Western Ghats has worsened the situation here. People living on the fringes of the forest where the river flows are worried about the harsh summer that is staring at them,” Santhosh, a resident of city said. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/mahadayi-river-mouth-dries-4-north-karnataka-districts-reel-under-water-crisis-102339  (24 May 2019)   

Madhya Pradesh  भीषण जल संकट, भोपाल में हालत सबसे बदतर भोपाल में 187 में से 23 पंचायतों में नल जल योजनाएं सूख चुकी हैं. 4312 बोर में से 8% सूखे, 12% जल्द ही सूखने वाले हैं.

मध्य प्रदेश में भीषण जल संकट, भोपाल में हालत सबसे बदतर

जलसंकट का अनुमान इससे लगाया जा सकता है कि राजधानी में प्रतिदिन 104 एमजीडी पानी की सप्लाई की जरुरत है, किन्तु, निगम केवल 70 एमजीडी ही सप्लाई कर रहा है. दूसरी तरफ प्रदेश के 165 बड़े जलाशयों में से 80 से अधिक का पेट खाली है और 30 में उनकी क्षमता का 10 प्रतिशत से भी कम पानी बचा है. https://www.newstracklive.com/news/water-crisis-in-madhya-pardesh-bhopal-mc23-nu-1297162-1.html  (25 May 2019)

ENERGY OPTIONS

Jharkhand Two solar plants to come up on Dhurwa, Getalsud reservoirs Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECIL) will set up two floating solar plants on Dhurwa (Hatia) and Getalsud dams here which will together generate 150mw of power. Jharkhand Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited (JBVNL) managing director Rahul Purwar on May 1 said the project would be entirely funded by SECIL.

“JBVNL will purchase the power from SECIL at a cost of Rs 3.10 per unit. While the solar plant on Getalsud dam will produce 100mw, the Dhurwa dam will generate 50mw,” said Purwar. Purwar said SECIL had recently floated the technical bid to select the firm that would execute the project. The entire project will take 6-8 months to complete. Sources in the JBVNL said the power generated from both the dams will be used in Ranchi. https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/jharkhand/a-dam-good-plan-to-generate-power-in-ranchi/cid/1690175  (9 May 2019)  

DISASTERS

West Bengal 4.8 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Bankura District As per IMD an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.8 hit Bankura district  on May 26 morning. The tremors were felt in the district at around 10:39 am, it added. The epicentre of the tremor was 10 km below the surface of Earth at latitude 23.3 degrees north and longitude 86.9 degrees east. On May 25, two medium intensity earthquakes measuring 5.0 and 4.8 hit Andaman and Nicobar Islands region. The Andaman and Nicobar archipelago is prone to earthquakes. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/4-8-magnitude-earthquake-hits-west-bengals-bankura-2043140  (26 May 2019)

ENVIRONMENT

Report Pawar, Modi Tried To Help A Builder Fight India’s Green Laws  This exposes how MoEF, PMO, PM, Sharad Pawar and the builders lobby colluded to flout environment laws and institutions. “We expect the officials of the MoEF to take a stand which prevents the environment and ecology from being damaged, rather than issuing clarifications which actually help the project proponents to flout the law and harm the environment,” Justices Madan Lokur and Deepak Gupta observed in their 10 August 2018 order, which went against Goel Ganga Builders. https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/pawar-modi-real-estate-lobby_in_5cd58280e4b054da4e87edd7    (15 May 2019)

Centre Govt proposes overhaul of environment clearance rules  New Draft of EIA notification to further dilute the already pathetically poor and ineffective process involving dishonest EIAs, public consultation process of full of violations, rubber stamping EACs and non existent monitoring and compliance.   https://india.mongabay.com/2019/05/amid-elections-government-proposes-overhaul-of-environment-clearance-rules/     (22 May 2019)

Since 2014, the National Democratic Alliance govt has carried out a series of changes in environmental laws aiming to simplify them & promote ease of business. https://india.mongabay.com/2019/05/nda-2-0-what-it-means-for-indias-environment/  (24 May 2019)

NGT Shut down illegal garbage-dumping sites The NGT’s state-level committee (SLC) directed Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) commissioner to shut down the illegal waste dumping sites at Gunjur and Dommasandra, off Sarjapur Road.

This comes in the backdrop of the recent inspection of Gunjur and Dommasandra dumping sites by the committee members following a complaint from a resident, who alleged that waste segregation and burning were causing health hazards. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/shut-down-illegal-garbage-dumping-sites-ngt/articleshow/69501432.cms  (26 May 2019)

Report INCOIS: INDIA’S LESSER-KNOWN ROCKSTAR

INCOIS: Indias lesser-known rockstar in monitoring oceans, forecasting disasters and monitoring fisheries

Describes the role of INCOIS or Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services. https://www.firstpost.com/tech/science/incois-indias-lesser-known-rockstar-in-monitoring-oceans-forecasting-disasters-and-monitoring-fisheries-6681821.html   (24 May 2019)

CLIMATE CHANGE

World Hydropower Congress Clean energy and climate pledges  Interesting statement from Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of International Hydropower Association at the concluding session of the 7th Hydropower Congress at Paris, held during 14-16 May, 2019: “Every hydropower project is an ambassador for the whole sector. There is no hiding place for bad practice or projects that are deemed to be a loss to society or the planet”.

This though is not so welcome: A joint statement led by The Nature Conservancy, WWF and other non-governmental organisations was also announced on the closing day. “Hydropower can help balance power systems and facilitate the integration of a higher share of wind and solar generation – both through re-operation of existing hydropower and through strategically designed new projects, including pumped storage, that avoid the significant tradeoffs associated with past development”. It assumes that hydropower is possible without involving tradeoffs associated with past projects, but that has no basis. https://www.hydropower.org/news/world-hydropower-congress-concludes-with-clean-energy-and-climate-pledges       (17 May 2019)

Deploy diverse renewables to save tropical rivers  As the World Hydropower Congress (WHC) meets this week in Paris, we call on decision makers and investors to commit to regional strategies for mixed renewable energy sources. Comprehensive cost–benefit analyses are needed that consider the impacts and benefits of different forms of energy generation on regional scales. To guide these, researchers need to learn more about how large dams affect river processes, such as fish migration and sediment transport. They should study how to optimize distributed energy systems for improving output, reliability and costs, as well as enhancing local lives and livelihoods, while protecting great rivers and their watersheds. These global opportunities are explored in detail in a report being released at the WHC by the conservation group WWF, the Nature Conservancy and academic collaborators.

– Dams conflict with other objectives, such as maintaining healthy ecosystems in rivers (SDG 6.6), food security in fisheries (SDG 2) and the resilience of cities (SDG 11) on coastal plains and deltas. The impacts of dams accumulate across a river basin. Yet most hydropower projects are planned in isolation. As more streams are dammed, less sediment reaches the coast and river channels and banks erode. Lower river levels allow salt water to intrude into coastal aquifers, diminishing supplies of fresh water. Human health can be affected. Dams lock in costs and consequences for decades. Investments are risky: local protests can stall construction, adding to costs.

– A portfolio of wind, solar and hydropower would be less vulnerable to changes in regional hydrology. Solar panels and wind turbines are modular and swift to install or update. Constructing many small projects avoids saddling developing countries with billions of dollars of debt. They can be planned and financed more flexibly than large hydropower projects. By feeding power into a smart grid, consumers tap the cheapest energy and suppliers balance generation, storage and demand in real time. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01498-8     (15 May 2019)

US FOR THE MIDWEST, EPIC FLOODING IS THE FACE OF CLIMATE CHANGE So far, it’s proven prescient—with rivers from North Dakota east to Ohio and south to Louisiana all overflowing their banks in recent weeks. The damage to homes, businesses, and farms is likely to rise into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Scientists say it’s too early to tell to what degree this particularly relentless spring storm season is the result of human-induced climate change. But they agree that rising temperatures allow the atmosphere to hold more moisture—about 7 percent more for every 1 degree rise in Celsius—which produces more precipitation and has been fuelling a pattern of more extreme weather events across the US. And perhaps more than any other part of the country, the Midwest has had its capacity to store excess water crippled by human enterprise.

Besides all the damage to homes, businesses, and municipal infrastructure, increasingly frequent flooding events in the Midwest would have a huge impact on the nation’s ability to produce food. Wet fields make it difficult for farmers to operate their large, heavy planting machinery without getting stuck. And seedlings struggle to develop root systems when there’s too much moisture in the ground. https://www.wired.com/story/for-the-midwest-epic-flooding-is-the-face-of-climate-change/  (24 May 2019)

Book Review Climate adaptation impossible without community participation   With examples from South Asia, this book (“Climate Change Governance and Adaptation: Case Studies from South Asia”, edited by Anamika Barua of the Indian Institute of Technology – Guwahati, Vishal Narain of the Management Development Institute in Gurgaon and Sumit Vij at Wageningen University (Netherlands)) makes a strong case for participation of all in the governance of climate adaptation projects.   https://indiaclimatedialogue.net/2019/05/21/book-review-climate-adaptation-impossible-without-community-participation/     (21 May 2019)

SOUTH ASIA

China begins sharing hydrological data for Bramhaputra for monsoon season China has begun sharing hydrological data with India on the Bramhaputra river for this year’s monsoon season, a senior water resources ministry official said May 20. It is also expected to start sharing data on the Sutlej river from June 1, the start of monsoon season, official said.

China provides data from three hydrological stations Nugesha, Yangcun and Nuxia located on the mainstream of the Bramhaputra, also known as Yarlung Zangbo. Data for the Sutlej, also known as the Langqen Zangbo, is provided by the hydrological station at Tsada. The data is necessary for flood management downstream when the rivers swell due to rains.

Following the Doklam stand-off, China had stopped sharing the data on the Bramhaputra river in 2017, claiming that the hydrological data gathering sites were washed away due to floods.

However, with relations thawing, the two sides again resumed sharing of data in 2018. They also signed two Memorandum of Understandings for this. The Bramhaputra data is shared from May 15, while in case of Sutlej it starts from June 1 till October 15. Last year, China provided data even beyond October 15 after Bramhaputra witnessed formation of a lake due to a landslide that increased the water levels upstream. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/china-begins-sharing-hydrological-data-for-bramhaputra-for-monsoon-season/articleshow/69416077.cms  (20 May 2019)

India Nepal 90 families trapped in Koshi flood At least 90 families (300 people)  in Gobargadha of Saptari district of NEPAL have been trapped/ encircled by the Koshi River after India diverted its water to the western side on May 24, 2019. The Indian side released water from a 17 km long pilot channel built along the western side of the river/ Gobargadha village, despite protests by the locals. Hanumannagar Kankalini Municipality Mayor Sailesh Kumar Sah said, “Locals should have been informed prior to releasing water . But the Indians  released it without any notice, and hence the  disaster”.

90 families trapped as India diverts Koshi flow

– Koshi water overflowing the channel has swept away half a dozen boats including two emergency boats belonging to the municipality, firewood, timber and livestock, according to locals. “The Indian side should have worked within the territory  mentioned in the Koshi accord but they have built the channel three kilometers west of the land they leased through the Koshi accord, which is against  international practice,” Sah said. The local government has claimed that the District Administration Office, the Home Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office were informed five months ago about the construction of the pilot channel by the Indians. After 2008, while repairing the damaged embankment, India tried to divert the Koshi  flow more toward the western side adjoining Saptari district.

– “Indian strategy has posed a threat of displacement to half a dozen settlements on the Nepal side and increased the risk to the western embankment,” said Ghanashyam Jha, who has been advocating for  Koshi victims. “India has been taking the benefit as our government remains mum on this issue.” India  invested more than 1.5 billion Indian rupees after 2010 to save  the Indian settlement on the eastern side of the river. The Koshi flood on the Saptari side  inundated nearly 1,000 houses for nearly three weeks in the last monsoon. https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/90-families-trapped-as-india-diverts-koshi-flow/   (26 May 2019)

Bhutan Hydropower revenue drops Bhutan hydropower generation in 2018: With the Wangchhu recording the lowest flow due to the worst hydrology since 2008,  the Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) saw the lowest generation of electricity last year. DGPC was short of 13.18 percent of the target generation  in 2018. Chukha, Kurichhu, Basochhu, and Tala hydropower plants together generated 6,574 million units against the forecast of 7,440MU last year. Dagachhu hydropower plant, a subsidiary company of the DGPC, also recorded the lowest generation since its commissioning in 2015. The net export of electricity to India dropped from 5,068MU in 2017 to 4,054MU last year. Domestic energy consumption increased from 2,137MU in 2017 to 2,454MU in 2018. As a result of poor hydrology and increased domestic consumption, import of electricity rose by 92MU from 208MU in the previous year to 300MU in 2018. DGPC earned Nu 11.68 B against Nu 12.27 Billion in 2017.

– DGPC recorded the highest generation of electricity two years ago at 7,573MU and another low generation in 2012 with 6,811MU.    http://www.kuenselonline.com/hydropower-revenue-drops/  (22 May 2019)

CHINA

Environmental justice and Chinese dam-building in the global South A paper in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability on Chinese financing dams in the Global South.   https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S187734351830071X

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Research Hydropower dams can harm coastal areas far downstream  PIONEERING RESEARCH ABOUT IMPACT OF HYDRO ON COASTS AND DELTAS: We wanted to know whether dams also impact river systems farther away, at the coastlines where rivers flow into the sea. So we performed a natural experiment comparing four rivers along Mexico’s Pacific coast – two that are dammed and two that remain free-flowing. We found that damming rivers has measurable negative ecologic and economic effects on coastal regions more than 100 kilometers downstream.

– Two of these were from the San Pedro and Acaponeta rivers, which are relatively unrestricted, with over 75% of their flow unobstructed. The other two outflows came from the nearby Santiago and Fuerte rivers, which have over 95% of their flow retained in reservoirs. In addition to restricting water flow, these reservoirs trap sediments – over 1 million tons per year along the two rivers combined.

– In unobstructed rivers, sediment flows downstream and is eventually deposited along the coast, helping to stabilize the shoreline and sometimes even to build it up. We found that this was happening along the free-flowing Acaponeta and San Pedro rivers.

However, at the mouths of the two dammed rivers, waves were eroding up to 33 ha of combined land each year, with widespread ecologic and economic effects on the surrounding regions.

– Coastal regions downstream of free-flowing rivers had significantly more plant diversity. Many of these plants were found only in coastal areas, and therefore had high conservation value. Fishing activity at the mouth of the free-flowing San Pedro River was much higher than around the mouth of the dammed Fuerte River. This loss of fishing potential comes at a cost of around US$1.3 million every year.

– Reduced sediment flow also deprives coastal estuaries of nutrients. Lucrative shrimp and oyster fisheries in the region we studied rely heavily on nutrient inputs from rivers. In the San Pedro River region, these fisheries generate around $5.8 million yearly; near the dammed rivers, they have been all but abandoned.

Coastal mangrove wetlands also protect shorelines from hurricanes and tropical storms, and serve as recreational areas and conservation habitat for wildlife. Knowing this, we calculated that the loss of these ecosystem services around the dammed rivers totals $3.9 million annually.

– Still another valuable function that mangrove wetlands perform is storing “blue carbon” in plant tissue and soils, reducing the effects of climate change. But when coastlines recede and mangroves are destroyed, this carbon is released. We calculated that mangrove loss in our study region represented a loss of around $130,000 in annual carbon trading potential for this region.

– Adding up all of the ecological services that coastal ecosystems provide, we estimate that the economic consequences of shoreline loss around the Santiago and Fuerte rivers related to hydroelectric damming totaled well over $10 million yearly. To date, environmental impact assessments of large inland dams have often failed to properly analyze the impacts that these dams will have downriver on coastlines, estuaries, deltas and lagoons. Our study shows how important it is to fully account for dams’ environmental and economic impacts along coasts and basins.

– Mexico may be at a juncture in its approach to hydropower. A recent study by a Mexican nongovernment organization, SuMar-Voces por la Naturaleza, reported that a long-disputed proposal to build a new hydroelectric dam at Las Cruces is neither financially feasible nor needed to meet energy demand for the region, prompting national groups to call for the final cancellation of the project  https://theconversation.com/hydropower-dams-can-harm-coastal-areas-far-downstream-114171     (17 May 2019)

Study Dams and reservoirs affecting flow of benefits Only just over one-third of the world’s 242 long rivers — that traverse a distance of 1,000 km or more — are free-flowing. The rest are disrupted by dams and reservoirs, adversely affecting biodiversity and the benefits of the watercourses, an international team of researchers has found.

Most of the free-flowing rivers are restricted to remote regions in the Arctic, and the Amazon and Congo basins, said the scientists who assessed 12 million kilometres of rivers worldwide, in a study published in the prestigious journal Nature on Wednesday.

More importantly, only 23 per cent of the free-flowing rivers now connect to the oceans, indicating the extent to which estuarine and marine environments are being deprived of nutrients and sediments coming from the land, the study showed.

The study was carried out by 34 researchers from different countries, including India, and was led by Guenther Grill and Bernhard Lehner of the McGill University in Canada.

Free-flowing rivers create ecosystems with greatest biodiversity and dynamics, comparable to tropical rainforests and coral reefs. They also support millions of people by providing freshwater, irrigated agriculture, fishing and hydropower. In recent years human demands have led to the natural courses of rivers being altered and managed with infrastructural development, including dams and levees.

The study estimated that there are around 60,000 large dams worldwide, and over 3,700 new hydropower dams are currently under construction or planned. They are often planned and built at the individual project level, making it difficult to assess their real impact across an entire basin or region.

 “Rivers are the lifeblood of our planet,” said Michele Thieme, lead freshwater scientist at WWF and global leader of WWF’s free-flowing rivers initiative. “They provide diverse benefits that are often overlooked. This first-ever map of the world’s remaining free-flowing rivers will help decision makers prioritise and protect the full value rivers give to people and nature,” said Thieme, who is also an author of the study.

The scientists feared that climate change would threaten the health of rivers further. On one hand, rising temperatures are already impacting flow patterns and water volumes. On the other, the increased focus on low-carbon economies will prompt countries increase their hydropower portfolio.

“Renewable energy is like a recipe — you have to find the right mix of ingredients to have both a sustainable energy grid and a thriving natural world,” said Thieme. “While hydropower inevitably has a role to play in the renewable energy landscape, well-planned wind and solar energy can be more viable options for rivers and the communities, cities, and biodiversity that rely on them.”

The team, which developed a new method to comprehensively evaluate river connectivity, said there are six pressure indicators of human impact that sever the natural flow connectivity of rivers. These are river fragmentation, flow regulation, sediment trapping, water consumption and two measures of floodplain infrastructure development, namely road density and urbanisation.

The study also estimated that there are about 2.8 million dams along the 12 million km of rivers studied. “This leads to the fragmentation of the rivers and has serious impact on the whole river system,” said Christiane Zarfl, an applied geoscientist with Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen in Germany.

N LeRoy Poff, a researcher with Colorado State University, in a commentary article, also appeared in Wednesday’s issue of Nature, said: “…the flow of water occurs not only down the river channel , but also laterally onto floodplains and vertically through river bed and adjacent groudnwater. The different pathways of connectivity allow the exchange of nutrients, organic matter and organisms in all directions.” https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/variety/dams-and-reservoirs-affecting-flow-of-benefits-finds-study/article27071636.ece  (8 May 2019)

Report Dam violence against environmental defenders   The Ecologist on “Dam violence against environmental defenders”, an analysis based on a sample of 200+ cases of conflictive dams.  https://theecologist.org/2019/may/14/dam-violence-against-environmental-defenders   (14 May 2019)

Study World Rivers awash with dangerous level of antibiotic Largest global study finds the drugs in two-thirds of test sites in 72 countries. The researchers tested 711 sites in 72 countries and found antibiotics in 65% of them. In 111 of the sites, the concentrations of antibiotics exceeded safe levels, with the worst cases more than 300 times over the safe limit.

The Danube

The research team is now planning to assess the environmental impacts of antibiotic pollution on wildlife including fish, invertebrates and algae. They expect severe effects. The drug levels in some Kenyan rivers were so high that no fish could survive. “There was a total population crash,” Boxall said. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/may/27/worlds-rivers-awash-with-dangerous-levels-of-antibiotics   (27 May 2019)

Study The plastic age A research article published in Science Advances, a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary scientific journal, reads that ‘an estimated 4 to 12 million metric tons (Mt) of plastic debris produced on land entered the marine environment in 2010 alone.’ ‘Global production of resins and fibers increased from 2 Mt to 380 Mt between 1950 and 2015.’ In the 65 years, a total of 7800 Mt resins and fibers were manufactured across the globe.’

Scientific-America

American alternative medicine proponent Joseph Michael Mercola wrote in an article last year that out of the plastic trash produced as of 2015, we have managed to recycle only around 9 per cent and destroy 12 per cent and the remaining 79 per cent was simply dumped into the natural environment.

Our rivers carry the polymeric material to the oceans, the universe of the aquatic beasts. According to the journal Environmental Science & Technology, the 10 rivers — Yangtze, Yellow, Hai, Pearl, Amur, Mekong, Indus and Ganges in Asia and the Niger and Nile in Africa – carry an estimated ‘2.75 million metric tons (93 per cent) of plastic debris into the seas every year. The Yangtze River alone dumps up to an estimated 1.5 million metric tons of plastic waste into the Yellow Sea.’ The plastic has already entered the stomachs of birds, fish and whales, waging a war against the aquatic animals. https://en.prothomalo.com/opinion/news/195992/The-plastic-age  (22 May 2019)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 20 May 2019 & DRP News Bulletin 13 May 2019

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

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

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