DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 22 July 2019: Submergence as weapon to kill people’s movement?

Why are Gujarat and Centre in such a hurry to fill up Sardar Sarovar Reservoir? Shocking Decision of NCA. Stop power generation so that people can be submerged and displaced. The Madhya Pradesh government has objected to a decision of the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) to halt production of electricity at the River Bed Power House of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP-RBPH). NCA consented to Gujarat’s request in April this year to halt power generation at the SSP-RBPH so that the reservoir could be filled to capacity this monsoon. In a letter addressed to NCA chairman U P Singh, Madhya Pradesh chief secretary S R Mohanty termed the decision “unilateral” and demanded that the decision should be reviewed immediately.
– In April this year, SSNNL MD R K Gupta wrote a letter to NCA chairman, asking him to issue directions to the NCA secretariat not to operate the RBPH in the current water scenario. Gupta, in his letter to the NCA, said that in the past two years, the water level in the dam has not reached its Full Reservoir Level (FRL) of 138.68 metres.
– In 2017, the maximum water level was 130.75 metres, which came down to 128.79 metres in 2018. “Drinking water and irrigation needs are having overriding priorities over hydro-power generation as per the National Water Policy and hence it would be prudent to exercise this in the current water-year in overall interest of all party states,” the April 4, 2019 letter said. The letter also says it is necessary to have the concrete dam body tested against full thrust of water stored at a FRL of 138.68 metres.
– Based on Gujarat’s proposal, the NCA convened a special meeting on April 15 to discuss the matter. Madhya Pradesh objected to the proposal, contending that party states have rights to utilize their share of water in any manner as per their requirements and MP has opted for power generation out of their share of water. NCA chairman U P Singh said that notwithstanding the rights of party states, testing of Sardar Sarovar dam and gates at Full Reservoir Capacity are very important and all party states should work towards this. The MP chief secretary, in his letter, has told the NCA that the Madhya Pradesh Power Management Company Limited will incur a loss of Rs 229 crore because of the proposal to halt power generation at the dam site. (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/gujarat-mp-spar-over-power-generation/articleshow/70236566.cms July 16, 2019)

DAMS

FAC seeks more info about Tendua Nalla Dam in Chhatarpur, MP Minutes of FAC meeting held on June 27, 2019, some relevant decisions: – Proposal for diversion of 45.278 ha. of forest land for construction of Tendua Nalla Dam Scheme Project, in favour of Water Resources Department, Chhatarpur District Madhya Pradesh: Deferred, sought more information. (http://forestsclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/FAC_Minutes/711151254121511.pdf, July 16, 2019)

DREDG FARAKKA, says Mamta. IS THAT FEASIBLE? “There has been no dredging work in Farakka for years, as a result of which the water holding capacity of the barrage is getting reduced,” she said and blamed the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) for not undertaking dredging work in various dams and barrages.
– DAM ON ATRAI in BANGLADESH: She also said that river Atrai has been drying up after the Bangladesh government set up a dam on it and criticised the role of the Centre in not taking up the issue with Bangladesh. “Because of the dam, people from South Dinajpur district are suffering. However, the Centre has not taken up the issue despite our repeated requests,” she said. (http://www.millenniumpost.in/kolkata/mamata-trains-gun-on-centre-for-not-dredging-farakka-362544 July 9, 2019)

World Bank to loan USD 500 Million to Kerala “More than a project partner, World Bank will be our development partner now,” the CM said on Monday, detailing some of the projects in the works: reorganising the entire farmland into five agro-ecological zones and establish crop patterns that fits to each one’s water capacity, strengthening water supply and sanitation services and their resilience to disasters and impacts of climate change…” (https://www.livemint.com/news/india/what-does-the-world-bank-s-500-million-partnership-means-for-kerala-1563245312803.html, July 16 2019)

Polavaram Dam BJP: All Irrigation Projects of AP are care of Corruption Amazing statement from BJP Leader Ram Madhav: The BJP leader added that all the irrigation projects in AP are care of corruption. He may clarify, since TDP was BJP’s ally not long ago. (https://www.gulte.com/news/77287/TDP-will-be-confined-to-TANA-BJPs-Ram-Madhav July 15, 2019)

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

ILR for Industries? The proposed Damanganga-Vaitarna-Godavari inter-linking project in Maharashtra would transfer 202 mm3 (million cubic meter) water from the tribal Palghar district to Sinnar taluka in upper Godavari is a pointer of things to come. Of this 202 mm3 of water, nearly 60 per cent of the water is meant for the Mumbai-Delhi industrial corridor and the other industries in the area. This may be one of the reasons why the Economic Survey 2019 suggests “a shift in focus from land productivity to irrigation water productivity”. (https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/for-the-water-sector-its-a-dry-budget/article28414067.ece July 12 2019)

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

Goa Goa to file SLP against Mahadayi Tribunal award Goa CM informed the assembly that Goa has filed responses to SLP against the Mahadayi Tribunal Award by Karnataka and Mah on May 6, 2019 and will file its own SLP soon. He also said that all three states and Union of India have filed references for clarifications before the Tribunal under section 5(3) of ISWDA 1956. Union of India has sought nine clarifications. These are yet to be heard by the Tribunal. (http://www.uniindia.com/~/goa-will-file-slp-against-findings-of-mwt-award-soon-cm/States/news/1665849.html July 15, 2019)

Godavari Linking AP, Telangana Review proposals The AP side presented two proposals, one for diversion from Dummugudem to Srisailam and another from Polavaram to Nagarjunasagar via the proposed barrage at Vaikunthapuram, Pulichintala, Nagarjunasagar tail pond and reversible pumping from there to Nagarajunasagar. Similarly, Telangana has put forward two proposals, including one from Rampuram below Kanthanapally to Srisailam and another from Polavaram to Srisailam. The common proposal of the two States has been diversion from Polavaram, where maximum yield of Godavari is available. “Financial implications of the proposals from the two sides, and the requirement of forest and private land were also discussed,” the source said. (https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/telangana-andhra-review-diversion-of-godavari-water/article28336037.ece July 15, 2019)

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS

Impact of waterways on Dolphins Restricting the speeds of vessels and blowing sirens and horns is how the Ministry of Shipping plans to safeguard the population of the Ganges River Dolphin, in the country’s one dolphin reserve through which National Waterway-1 connecting Haldia to Varanasi passes.

– The response by the Ministry was tabled in Parliament on July 11 in response to a question by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor. The Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS), from Sultanganj to Kahalganj on the Ganga in Bihar is the only dolphin sanctuary in the country. The Ministry in its response admitted that the Sultanganj-Kahalgaon stretch of National Waterway-1 passes through it. (https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/speed-restrictions-and-sound-alerts-mooted-for-protection-of-dolphins/article28429832.ece July 14, 2019)

RIVERS BIODIVERSITY

Dolphins in Bihar’s Mahananda River Fourteen endangered Ganga river dolphins were spotted in Mahananda by a team of Vikramshila Bio-diversity Research and Education Centre (VBREC), TM Bhagalpur University, during a survey of the river conducted recently.

– The survey was the first official attempt of documenting suitability of habitat and preparing inventory of biodiversity of rivers apart from population estimation of endangered species and threats concerning the species. (https://www.hindustantimes.com/patna/endangered-dolphins-spotted-in-bihar-s-mahananda-river/story-JdCFf4EVSZV6c9Noxu16tN.html July 8, 2019)

SAND MINING

In Ropar illegal mining takes toll on groundwater While the Centre has initiated the “Jal Shakti Abhiyan” for water conservation across the country on July 1, the illegal mining has already played havoc with the water table in the district, with the riverbed being dug up to more than 40 feet.

– If the experts are to be believed, the unchecked digging up of the riverbed in the district has not only resulted in the depletion of water table in the adjoining areas, but also in groundwater pollution.

– Officials in the Agriculture Department said such complaints had increased manifold since the mining had been noticed in the rivers, especially in the Sutlej, during the last decade. Though water was found at 5 to 8 feet in villages on the river banks, now farmers are digging up new borewells up to a depth of more than 40 feet. (https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/in-ropar-illegal-mining-takes-toll-on-groundwater/802078.html July 15, 2019)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

SAD DECISION OF SUPREME COURT The Supreme Court on Friday stayed a Bombay high court order scrapping projects for a golf course and a residential colony of 17 towers on a large water body surrounded by mangroves on Palm Beach Road in Navi Mumbai. A bench headed by chief justice Ranjan Gogoi took note of the appeals of the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) and Mistry Construction Company Pvt Ltd against the HC order and issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forest and the Navi Mumbai Environment Preservation Society. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for CIDCO, assailed the HC order which, in November 2018, struck down a Maharashtra government notification that removed two pockets of land of 21hectares from the no-development zone to facilitate construction projects near NRI Seawoods Complex, off Palm Beach Road in Navi Mumbai.  (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/supreme-court-stays-bombay-high-court-order-scrapping-golf-course-building-project-on-navi-mumbai-wetlands/articleshow/70301229.cms July 20, 2019)

URBAN WATER

Bombay High Court passed an interesting judgment in Sea and Mithi River Pollution Petition. (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/bombay-hc-directs-bmc-to-set-up-sewage-disposal-lines-and-submit-quarterly-reports-to-mpcb-on-work-status/articleshow/70181180.cms July 11 2019)

Water Crisis: India’s ticking time bomb? Discussion on Urban water issues on ET NOW y’day featuring Vishwanath Srikantiah, Meera Gandhi and SANDRP coordinator, Anchored by Tammana Inamdar. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADrZn__pj2k&fbclid=IwAR3QH2_hmKj_wbWLML2mReOs_cL9LhBflHXyDjPq1Ksc9tGJTBJbfzXFQyY July 15, 2019)

Treated water for irrigation in Punjab In Jalandhar of the total 6,05,000 acres of farmland (of which 4.25 lakh is under paddy cultivation) merely 1,400 acres (.23 per cent) is being irrigated with treated water from STPs and ponds.

– With Jalandhar STPs having a capacity of 235 MLD, as much 14,100 acres of farm land can be irrigated by treated water. However, only 16 MLD of treated water is being routed to fields. which collectively irrigates 960 acres of agricultural land.

– In addition to this, the 10 lift water irrigation projects (across 10 sewage ponds) in the district generate 30 to 50 lakh litres of treated water, which is used to irrigate 400 to 500 acres of farmland. Of the 1,500 ponds in district, currently only 10 have lift irrigation projects.

– While it has taken the government decades to build over six STPs, 10 pond water (lift) irrigation and 45 rainwater harvesting projects in the district, of the total STPs, merely two to three contribute to treated water for fields while rest await pipelines for crops. The rest of the agricultural land is being irrigated primarily with groundwater. (https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/treated-water-for-irrigation-a-far-cry/802555.html July 16, 2019)

WATER POLLUTION

NGT gives 3 months to CPCB to close down polluting industries Contending that economic development cannot take place at the cost of public health, the NGT has directed the Central Pollution Control Board to shut down polluting industries in “critically polluted” and “severely polluted” areas within three months. (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/pollution/ngt-sets-3-month-deadline-to-shut-polluting-industries-across-india/articleshow/70244940.cms July 16, 2019)

WATER

Merrill Lynch: India needs $270 B for water infrastructure in 15 yrs This article says according to estimates of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Govt of India would need USD 270 B in next 15 years for water infrastructure, including $ 168 B for Inter linking of rivers, $ 94 B for providing piped water to everyone, $ 4.5 B for PMSKY and $ 3 B for Namami Gange. (https://www.theweek.in/news/biz-tech/2019/07/16/government-flagship-water-related-schemes-will-need-270-billion-investment-over-15-years-estimates-report.html, July 16, 2019)

‘Citizen participation critical in averting water crisis’ Moneycontrol’s Siddhesh Raut speaks to Himanshu Thakkar, Co-ordinator of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, on various aspects such as the increasing water footprint of urban areas, river-linking and its effectiveness in meeting India’s water needs, the ongoing crisis taking place in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra, and Chennai, and what citizens can do to ensure effective water management. (https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/podcast/mission-paani-citizen-participation-critical-in-averting-water-crisis-4187771.html, July 15, 2019)

Water Crisis in Chennai, Bangalore, Cauvery basin Arati Kumar Rao on Chennai, Bangalore and Cauvery water conundrum. Incidentally, just on July 24, 2018, less than a year back, all dams in Cauvery basin were full and even Mettur had to start releasing water. Why did that happen? (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/07/india-water-crisis-drought-could-be-helped-better-building-planning/ July 15, 2019)

MONSOON 2019

19% All India deficit on July 22, 2019 The state wise, subdivision wise and river wise maps of monsoon rainfall till July 22, 2019 are as follows.

State wise rainfall as on July 22, 2019
Sub division wise rainfall as on July 22, 2019
River basin wise rainfall as on July 22 2019

Isciences forecast: Surpluses in J&K, Gandaki Basin and in Afghanistan India can expect intense surpluses in Jammu and Kashmir, and surpluses are forecast along the Gandaki River in central Nepal leading into India. Moderate surpluses are forecast for northeastern Bangladesh into Meghalaya and Assam, India, and some surpluses are expected in Bhutan.

Deficits are forecast in the Krishna River Basin in southern India and will be severe to extreme around Hyderabad. Farther south in Tamil Nadu, extreme deficits are forecast reaching from Pondicherry on the coast to inland regions. Moderate deficits are forecast in a pocket of northern India in northernmost Uttar Pradesh.

The forecast through August indicates that intense deficit anomalies in southern India and intense surplus anomalies in the Gangetic Plain observed in prior months will disappear, leaving mild deficits or normal water conditions throughout most of the country. Moderate deficits are forecast for Kerala and northern Tamil Nadu in the south, a pocket in southeastern Madhya Pradesh in the center of the country, and Uttaranchal in the north. Surpluses will shrink but persist in Jammu and Kashmir, and moderate surpluses will emerge in the west from central Gujarat into southern Rajasthan, and in the south at the tip of Tamil Nadu. (https://www.isciences.com/blog/2019/06/15/south-asia-widespread-water-surpluses-forecast-in-afghanistan June 21 2019)

From 50% deficit to 10% surplus rains in Punjab The rainfall in Punjab, which till a few days ago was deficient by almost 50 per cent, is now 10 per cent above the long-term average. From June 1 to July 16, the state has received 147.9 mm rain against the normal of 135 mm, according to Met Department. Rains in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, on the other hand are deficient by 45 per cent and 36 per cent.

– Six Punjab districts of Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Ferozepur and Moga have received rainfall below the long-term average, with Hoshiarpur (-69 per cent) being the worst-hit. Only four districts in Haryana—Ambala, Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra and Karnal—have received normal rainfall and deficiency in other districts ranges up to 92 per cent. Faridabad, Mewat, Rohtak and Panipat are among the worst-affected.

– No district of the hill state of Himachal Pradesh, has received rain above the long-term average. Solan (-15) and Shimla (-19) are the best placed while the tribal districts of Chamba (-60) and Lahaul and Spiti (-55) and Kangra (-47) are the worst hit. (https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/from-deficit-to-10-surplus-rain-in-punjab/803143.html July 17 2019)

Bhathinda drowns The Bathinda city on July 16 got flooded after it received record 178 mm rain in six hours. Residents were at the receiving end with the town’s drainage system choked. Most of the roads in the town were flooded, which entered many localities and damaged household items. (https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/record-rainfall-drowns-bathinda/803032.html, July 17, 2019)

Chandigarh’s wet July According to the Chandigarh Meteorological Department, from July 1 to July 15, the city recorded 246.9 mm of rainfall. Before this, it was way back in 2010 that the city had witnessed more rain, 299.1 mm, during this period.

Met Director Surender Paul said, “In Punjab and Haryana, including Chandigarh, the monsoon has been weak for the past many years. There has been a general pattern of alternate low and high rainfall. But this time, the monsoon has been quite active and several Met factors are responsible for this. The rain is not intense, but the duration is long. It is light to moderate.” (https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/chandigarh/wettest-july-in-9-yrs/803211.html July 17, 2019)

FLOOD 2019

EXTREME FLOODS IN BRAHMAPUTRA ON JULY 17, 2019

CWC’s flood hydrograph for Dhubri on Brahmaputra river as on July 18, 2019

Water level of Brahmaputra River at Dhubri, close to the exit point from where River leaves India to enter Bangladesh has just reached HIGHEST FLOOD LEVEL of 30.36 m, recorded on Aug 28, 1988 and is set to achieve new HFL today. This shows how unprecedented is the Brahmaputra flood situation. This means unprecedented floods in Bangladesh too. Shockingly, Union Cabinet cleared the destructive Dibang Hydropower project in the same Brahmaputra Basin on the same day! (http://14.143.182.4/ffs/current-flood-forecast/flood-forecasted-site/ July 17 2019)

Cloud burst in Sopore, J&K Dozens of residential houses suffered damages as rain and strong winds besides a cloudburst hit several villages of Sopore area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district early July 15 evening. The rain and winds wreaked havoc in Duroo, Hardushiva, Mundji, Warpora and other villages of Zaingair area of Sopore. The cloudburst caused flood-like situation as Zainagir canal passing through many villages swelled up with flood water. Reports from Tral area of Pulwama district also said that heavy rains followed by windstorm damaged scores of vehicles and other belongings in Dadsara area of Tral. (https://thekashmirimages.com/2019/07/16/cloudburst-wreaks-havoc-in-sopore-villages/ July 16 2019)

Season of Landslides

David Petly South Asia SW Monsoon 2019 landslide graph

Dave Petley shows how beginning of monsoon in South Asia coincides with the increasing incidents of landslides. The graph is for this year. (https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2019/07/17/the-start-of-the-2019-south-asia-monsoon/ July 17 2019)

False Alarm? Going by the reservoir filling information from Maharashtra Water resources department, this could be a false alarm. (https://www.news18.com/news/india/villages-along-river-banks-in-thane-palghar-on-flood-alert-as-2-dams-may-touch-overflow-mark-soon-2231887.html July 16 2019)

ENVIRONMENT               

NGT orders demolition of Govt Lodge in West Bengal NGT has ordered the demolition of government’s Godkhali Tourist Lodge in the Sunderbans for violation of coastal zone regulations. The order also asked the state to pay Rs 1 crore as environmental compensation within 15 days. The bench ordered the forfeiture of Rs 10 lakh bank guarantee and asked the chief secretary of the state to take disciplinary action against officers involved in the violation. The bench also declared the Sagar helipad illegal because of the destruction of a mangrove forest and asked that a tower erected in Henry Island be dismantled.

– Judicial member S P Wangdi, judicial member K Ramakeishnan and expert member S S Garbyal of the bench said the NGT has time and again reminded the state that the Sunderbans falls under the ecologically fragile and sensitive zone declared as a biosphere hotspot by the United Nations and mentioned the necessity to protect the precious region in interest of the environment and progeny. The lodge, built on the waterfront, cannot exist since no construction is allowed within 50m of the bank in Sunderbans and 100m for other areas. (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/sunderbans-lodge-to-be-razed-state-fined-rs-1-crore/articleshow/70235983.cms July 16 2019)

Bombay HC stops Coastal Road project: Maharashtra CRZ Violation Bombay high court on July 16 quashed the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances granted to the city civic body’s ambitious Rs 14,000-crore coastal road project. The court’s ruling means the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) cannot continue work on the 29.2 km-long project, proposed to connect the Marine Drive area in south Mumbai to suburban Borivali in north Mumbai.

– A division bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice N.M. Jamdar quashed the CRZ clearances while allowing a bunch of petitions filed by activists, residents and fishermen from the city challenging the project. “We are quashing the CRZ clearances granted to the project. We have held that the environment clearance is required for the project,” the bench said. BMC’s counsel Darius Khambata sought a stay of the order to appeal in the Supreme Court. The request was, however, refused by the high court. (https://thewire.in/environment/bombay-hc-quashes-clearances-for-rs-14000-crore-coastal-road-project July 16, 2019)

TIGER ON THE BED? Why did the tiger sleep in the bed? Because his grandad slept in the same high ground when there was flood a few decades ago.

This is probably the image that is going to define this year’s flooding in the Brahmaputra valley.

Rewind about 10 years, I spent about six whole solid months researching for a series of stories that I did for the Business Standard on the Brahmaputra basin. (The links to the stories don’t work anymore, since the website is behind a paywall now 😦 )

It was a very intensive period of research back when there was not even much material available online. Lots of help from organisations such as South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People which had a treasure trove of research material. And then personally travelling to the region and meeting a whole bunch of local experts, including Prof Goswami from Guwahati University, whose research literally has the only historical water flow data available on the Brahmaputra and its tributaries.

It was such a rich and fascinating landscape to travel through. But wherever I looked I could only see the conflict of three forces that shape this region – geology, man and the wild.

There is perhaps no other place on the planet where these three meet with such intensity, density and violence.

You are talking about probably among the world’s most massive seasonal flows of water, one of the densest human inhabited regions and unparalleled biodiversity.

How will this play out?

Geology – will always win. Water is such a force here, it will inundate and sweep away everything in its path whenever it chooses to. The Brahmaputra plain, will always flood.

Man – can’t fight geology, not here, no sir. There will never be an engineer who will who will tame the geological forces here. All that can be done is occupy the high ground while you watch the seasonal flood carry away your annual toils.

Wild – has lived and adapted to the geology here. It is in the DNA here to head to higher ground at the first sniff of monsoon winds. Is it more comfortable now that higher ground now has a bed to offer?

The tragedy of India is inertia. This story of the Brahmaputra is known from the time of folklore to modern bureaucracy. But nothing can shake us awake.

The population of this region has probably tripled since independence. The size of the basin will always remain the same. The wild has probably shrunk by a factor of 3x.

The flood waters will recede soon. They always do. Lines will be drawn in the fresh silt again. (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10161940898810043&set=a.305998725042&type=3&theater Anand Sankar on FB July 18 2019)

MoEF seeks comments on Draft ESMF for World Bank funded ENCORE project This is a Draft Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) for the proposed Enhancing Coastal and Ocean Resource Efficiency (ENCORE) Project with financial assistance from the World Bank. This is hereby disclosed with a view to soliciting comments / suggestions on or before October 2019. In this regard, please send your comments/suggestions by email to esmf.apdsicom@gmail.com or by post to Additional Project Director, SICOM, Pt. Deendayal Antyodaya Bhawan, Ground Floor, CGO Complex, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, New Delhi. (http://moef.gov.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/ESMF-Encore-2019-Vol-I.pdf, http://moef.gov.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/ESMF-Encore-Vol-II.pdf)

First Comprehensive Orchid Survey Himalayas, North Eastern States and Western Ghats are rich in plants diversity The Botanical Survey of India has come up with the first comprehensive census of orchids of India putting the total number of orchid species or taxa to 1,256. Orchids of India: A Pictorial Guide, a publication detailing all the species of India was unveiled earlier this month by the MoEF.

– A State-wise distribution of orchid species point out that the Himalayas, North-East parts of the country and Western Ghats are the hot-spots of the beautiful plant species. The highest number of orchid species is recorded from Arunachal Pradesh with 612 species, followed by Sikkim 560 species and West Bengal; Darjeeling Himalayas have also high species concentration, with 479 species. While north-east India rank at the top in species concentration, the Western Ghats have high endemism of orchids. (https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/india-is-home-to-1256-species-of-orchid-says-first-comprehensive-survey/article28429797.ece July 14, 2019)

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan Cloudburst – flash flood kills 23 in Neelum Valley At least 23 people were killed and several others are missing after a cloudburst caused flash flood in the Neelum Valley of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, officials said. A large number of homes in the Laswa area of the valley were damaged and dozens of people were swept away in the flooding caused by relentless rainfall after the cloudburst over night.
– Last week, a flood hit several villages in Golen Gol area of Chitral district after a glacial lake burst its banks overnight, toppling electricity poles and inundating roads and farmlands, the Express Tribune reported. The glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) occurred after the Jam Ashpar glacier – a popular tourist destination in Chitral – exploded overnight, it said. (https://www.firstpost.com/world/cloudburst-causes-flash-flood-landslides-in-poks-neelum-valley-23-dead-several-others-missing-6997181.html, July 15, 2019)

Pakistani military rescued 52 people in a remote village of Neelum Valley where torrential rains triggered off by a cloudburst wreaked havoc in the region, an Army statement said on July 16. Search operation for drowned persons is in progress, Xinhua news agency reported. Saeed ur Rehman Qureshi, director of operations at the SDMA, confirmed that 150 houses and two mosques were washed away by the flashflood. Explaining the cloudburst, Muhammad Riaz, the Director General of the Pakistan Meteorological Department, told Xinhua that such weather pattern is very rare, occurring during the monsoon season and it happens when warm air mixes with cold monsoon air. He added that sometimes monsoon clouds get burst by mountains coming in their way, and the rain which has to scatter in a larger area pours down in a narrow radius. (https://www.khaleejtimes.com/international/pakistan/52-rescued-after-cloud-burst-wrecks-havoc-in-pakistan July 16 2019)

Bangladesh The future depends on Rivers! Only eight percent of water and sediments that flow through Bangladesh are generated within its own territory… Recently, Bangladesh adopted a long-term plan called the Bangladesh Delta Plan (BDP 2100) to manage water and land resources in the country in the face of climate change. Under the BDP 2100, the entire territory of the country is divided into six “hotspots”: coastal zones, Barind and drought-prone areas, haor and flash flood areas, Chittagong Hill Tracts, river systems and estuaries, and urban areas. The BDP 2100 is a water-centric plan. Freshwater availability was identified as the only cross-cutting and common challenge for each of the hotspots… a recent study carried out by scientists from Canada, Bangladesh (BUET), and the Netherlands reported that during the period of 1997-2016, Bangladesh did not receive its guaranteed share during critical dry periods with high water demand 65 percent of the time… PM Sheikh Hasina recently directed all district commissioners in the country to take necessary actions to remove all physical structures from rivers and canals that create an obstacle to the natural flow of water… Bangladesh should also rectify the UN Convention on Non-Navigational Water Course (1997) and encourage other co-riparian nations to do the same. If all parties rectify the convention, then it can serve as a basis for fair and equitable negotiation for all rivers in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basins. (https://www.thedailystar.net/opinion/news/the-future-bangladesh-depends-it-1772926 July 18, 2019)

Nepal 67 dead in Nepal floods NYT reports on Nepal floods. 67 dead, 30 missing in Nepal in addition to deaths in India and downstream Bangladesh. It says: “Mr. Gupta, the mayor of Gaur, said his more immediate concern was preventing a local hydropower dam from overflowing the banks of its reservoir. Preparations are underway to release water from the reservoir to avert a crisis, he added. ” But fails to mention the name of the dam. (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/15/world/asia/rains-nepal-india-flooding.html July 15, 2019)

Nepal Floods: Health issues Health experts have warned of possible outbreaks of waterborne diseases—diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis E in the flood-hit areas of the Tarai region, as most of the water resources have been contaminated by floodwaters, the report said.

– “Cases of malaria, dengue, kalajar could go up and people in the affected areas are vulnerable to snake bites as well,” said Dr Sameer Kumar Adhikari, an official at the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division. (https://indianexpress.com/article/world/nepal-appeals-to-international-agencies-for-help-in-flood-hit-areas-death-toll-5830571/, July 15, 2019)

BBC on Indo Nepal River Politics in floods India and Nepal share an open border that stretches for nearly 1,800km. More than 6,000 rivers and rivulets flow down to northern India from Nepal and they contribute around 70% of the flow of the Ganges river during the dry season. Nepal blames dyke-like structures along the border that it says block the floodwaters from flowing south into India. During an investigation in eastern Nepal two years ago, the BBC saw structures on the Indian side that appeared to do just this. Gaur, the headquarters of Rautahat district in southern Nepal, remained inundated for three days last week and officials feared clashes. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-48986799 July 16, 2019)

HIGH TIME INDIAN MEDIA AND POLITICIANS STOP MAKING STATEMENTS ABOUT NEPAL RELEASING WATER TO FLOOD INDIA Every monsoon, many Indian politicians talk about Nepal releasing water to flood India and many media stories uncritically report such statements, this is just one example. The fact is Nepal does not have too many storage dams and a few barrages on India Nepal shared rivers are mostly operated by Indian officials. So such stories are mostly incorrect. (http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2019/jul/16/deluge-in-bihar-worsens-as-nepal-releases-over-15-lakh-cusecs-of-water-2004418.html July 16 2019)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Copper mine tailing dam failure in PERU on July 10, 2019, polluting about 375 km of downstream river with toxics including cyanide. (https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2019/07/16/cobriza-mine-1/ July 16, 2019)

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

Also see: DRP NB 15 July 2019 & DRP News Bulletin 8 July 2019

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

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