DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 12 August 2019: URGENT REVIEW OF FLOOD MANAGEMENT REQUIRED

It’s great to see the top edit in THE TIMES OF INDIA today (Aug 12, 2019) calling for urgent review of flood management in India. Indeed the current floods can be a big wake up call.

TOI Edit rightly says: “Similarly, there’s also an urgent need to upgrade dam management in the region. Despite heavy rain warnings, why couldn’t Maharashtra and Karnataka coordinate to release dam waters downstream as a pre-emptive measure? We need much more proactive and punctilious supervision of dam waters.” Indeed there is need to fix the responsibilities of failures in Dam Management, including forecasting failures, Violations of rule curves, mismanagement of reservoirs and lack of information sharing and coordination.

It also very rightly says: “The interests of Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra definitely require an immediate end to the encroachment of the Western Ghats. The ecological degradation of the Ghats actually makes 6 states in the region vulnerable to landslides and flooding.”

Will the Governments at the centre and states listen?    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/toi-editorials/its-a-deluge-heavy-flooding-across-states-calls-for-an-urgent-review-of-mitigation-measures/  (12 Aug. 2019)

Study Cauvery basin at risk of repeated flooding As India stares at a heightened flood risk due to warming climate, the Cauvery basin in the south stands among the most vulnerable in the country. Among the three major southern river basins, Cauvery carries more risk when compared to Godavari and Krishna, according to a new study on future flood risk. For the country as a whole, the Brahmaputra basin is the most vulnerable.

Carried out by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, the new study suggests that the number of floods due to extremely heavy rainfall is projected to increase more rapidly. Majority of the river basins would experience more cases of extreme rainfall continuing for 3-5 days, triggering flood. The number of such cases would be 30-40 more in the coming decades compared to what used to be the average between 1966 and 2005. In comparison, the risk of flooding due to a single-day heavy downpour would be less.

In a high-emission scenario, the Cauvery basin is expected to witness around 18 such flooding incidents between 2020 and 2059 due to multiple day continuous heavy rainfall. Godavari and Krishna, on the other hand, would encounter a dozen such events.

Between 2060 and 2099, the numbers would increase for all the three basins. While Cauvery is likely to witness nearly 28 occurrences, the corresponding numbers for Godavari and Krishna would be around 20.

Among the 18 basins, the highest increase in three-day extreme rainfall event would be in the Brahmaputra basin (up to 20 and 34 events for low and high emission scenario respectively). On the other hand, the least projected increase in the frequency of extreme precipitation is likely in the Indus basin. The Ganga basin, one of the most populous and the largest basin in India, would be somewhere in between.

The researchers used weather data from the IMD and sophisticated modelling tools for the study. They also simulated the flood risk due to a single day’s extreme heavy rainfall, but concluded that multi-day flood events were projected to increase with a faster rate in the future than the singleday events, which could have strong implications for agriculture and infrastructure. The study has recently been published in the journal Weather and Climate Extremes. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/cauvery-basin-at-risk-of-repeated-flooding-753762.html  (12 Aug. 2019)

Interview Flawed embankment strategy converts Bihar into watery grave Dinesh Kumar Mishra of Barh Mukti Abhiyaan, an authority on the river network of North Bihar, speaks about the flood problems of the state, the skewed flood control policy of the government, the Kosi breach of 2008 and the gargantuan interlinking of rivers project. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/2019/08/12/flawed-embankment-strategy-converts-bihar-into-watery-grave/  (12 Aug. 2019)

Editorial Address crippling cycles of drought and flood The long-term trends for flood impact in India have been one of declining loss of lives and cattle since the decadal high of 1971-80, but rising absolute economic losses, though not as a share of GDP. It is important, therefore, to increase resilience through planning, especially in cities and towns which are expanding steadily.

Orderly urban development is critical for sustainability, as the mega flood disasters in Mumbai and Chennai witnessed in this century make clear. It is worth pointing out that the response of State governments to the imperative is tardy and even indifferent. They are hesitant to act against encroachment of lake catchments, river courses and floodplains. The extreme distress in Chennai, for instance, has not persuaded the State government against allowing structures such as a police station being constructed on a lake bed, after reclassification of land. Granting such permissions is an abdication of responsibility and a violation of National Disaster Management Authority Guidelines to prevent urban flooding. As a nation that is set to become the most populous in less than a decade, India must address its crippling cycles of drought and flood with redoubled vigour.  https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/cycle-of-extremes/article28917211.ece  (9 Aug. 2019)

On an argumentative note, the Krishna river basin (spread across the North Karnataka region) has always been prone to flash floods considering the excess discharge by the upper riparian state, Maharashtra, after heavy rains lash the Konkan region—the catchment of Krishna.

However, the current flood scenario, unprecedented in the Krishna delta at least in recent times, inflicting severe losses and literally wiping out the region’s agrarian economy has put the region back at least by a decade.

While there have been different theories doing rounds attributing the reasons for the mayhem, engineers and water experts have termed the scenario more of an administrative lapse by both the Central and State governments along with a lack of geopolitical relations and inaccurate advance forecast by weather agencies.

https://www.deccanherald.com/specials/insight/admin-lapse-poor-weather-forecast-to-be-blamed-753578.html  (11 Aug. 2019)

Also see, CWC’s Daily Flood Situation Report cum Advisories for 05-08-2019:- http://cwc.gov.in/sites/default/files/dfsrca05082019.pdf 

FLOOD 2019

SANDRP Blog Aug 2019 Krishna Basin Floods in Maharashtra – Karnataka: How dams harming rather than helping  It’s amazing. In last three days from Aug 5, no less than EIGHT places in Krishna basin, the water level has breached the previous recorded HIGHEST flood level.

CWC flood map Krishna basin Aug 8, 2019
CWC flood map Krishna basin Aug 8, 2019

It was exactly three days back that the major dams in Krishna basin were full and started releasing water, thus adding to the already flooded rivers downstream due to high rainfall event that started on Aug 1, 2019.

And no money to guess that these three days have seen the worst floods in Krishna basin… In fact, worse may yet to come if the high rainfall continues in the Krishna basin. Not sure? Please read and SHARE: https://sandrp.in/2019/08/08/aug-2019-krishna-basin-floods-in-maharashtra-karnataka-how-dams-harming-rather-than-helping/  (8 Aug. 2019)

Report by Pankaj Upadhyay of AAJTAK based on SANDRP blog on role of dams in Krishna basin flood disaster in Maharashtra and Karnataka. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gw1krMU3ngs&  (10 Aug. 2019)

India Today carries SNDRP Report on Role of dams in Maharashtra-Karnataka floods in Krishna basin: https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/dam-operators-could-have-reduced-floods-in-maharashtra-report-1579535-2019-08-10  (10 Aug. 2019)

The blog is covered by News Click also:- https://www.newsclick.in/failed-dam-management-behind-floods-maharashtra-say-experts  (9 Aug. 2019)

The Hindu carries report based on SANDRP blog:- https://www.thehindu.com/news/states/state-didnt-release-water-from-dams-in-time-says-report/article28971008.ece  (9 Aug. 2019)

Marathi version of SANDRP blog. https://www.maxmaharashtra.com/why-south-maharashtra-flooded-big-dams-or-bad-planning-sandrp-report/48629/   (10 Aug. 2019)

Some questions raised here about dam operations in Maharashtra without reference to SANDRP blog. No clear answers though. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolhapur/maharashtra-faces-questions-on-dam-management-as-backwaters-flood-nearby-towns/articleshow/70598436.cms  (9 Aug. 2019)

SANDRP Blog Krishna Basin Floods in Karnataka and the Role of Dams Belagavi district in Karnataka’s Krishna basin is facing unprecedented floods.

Gokak Falls 080819
CWC Hydrograph for Gokak Falls site along Ghataprabha River in Karnataka on Aug 8, 2019

This article explains the role of dams in the floods. Please Read and Share. https://sandrp.in/2019/08/12/krishna-basin-floods-in-karnataka-the-role-of-dams/  (12 Aug. 2019)

MoHA Situation report on Flood/Heavy Rain fall in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Assam, Bihar, Karnataka and Kerala as on 04th August 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs report of Aug 4, 2019: River Godavari at Nasik in Nasik district of Maharashtra continues to flow in EXTREME FLOOD SITUATION at 18:00 hrs on Aug. 4. At 18:00 hrs, it was flowing at a level of 563.11 m with Falling trend which is 3.51 m above its Danger Level of 559.6 m and 0.10 m above its previous HFL of 563.01 m (2016-08-02).

– In Maharashtra river Krishna is rising all along its course in Maharashtra from its source regions, River Bhima water level is also rising. Rivers in Thane, Raigad, Pune, Nasik, Ratnagiri, Palghar districts are in severe floods. In Nasik District of Maharashtra most of the dams in source regions of Godavari have started surplussing leading to Extreme Flood in Nasik on river Godavari .However, in the evening falling trends has been observed in River Godavari. https://reliefweb.int/report/india/situation-report-floodheavy-rain-fall-maharashtra-gujarat-assam-bihar-karnataka-and  (4 Aug. 2019)

Dams Floods Maharashtra; Karnataka Cracks manifest in Bhatghar Dam Detailed report on leakage from Bhatghar dam on Yelvandi river near Bhor, about 60 km from Pune. Built in 1927, the work on the dam started in 1885. It has a 16 MW power component and water supplied to Bhor, Purandar and Baramati talukas of Pune district and also eastern talukas of Satara and Solapur districts. It has storage capacity of 23.75 TMC. The leakage is so heavy that two stories of the downstream power house are now submerged and power supply has been stopped. The Water Resources dept however says there is no risk to the dam and the repair work to the value that is possibly broken can happen only in summer when dam is empty. https://punemirror.indiatimes.com/pune/civic/cracks-manifest-in-bhatghar-dam/articleshow/70560687.cms  (7 Aug. 2019)

With rains lashing several parts of Maharashtra, CM Devendra Fadnavis on Aug. 6 reviewed the flood situation and said he has written to Karnataka CM  BS Yediyurappa, requesting him to increase the discharge of water from Almatti dam in the southern state so as to mitigate the flood situation in Sangli district. https://www.firstpost.com/india/devendra-fadnavis-reviews-flood-situation-in-maharashtra-requests-yediyurappa-to-increase-water-discharge-from-almatti-dam-7118881.html  (6 Aug. 2019)

Similarly Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa on Aug. 5 wrote a letter to his Maharashtra counterpart Devendra Fadnavis urging to regulate the flood discharge from the Koyna reservoir.

“The outflow from Koyna reservoir was increased from 20,000 to 50010 cusecs and then from 50,000 to 80,000 and finally to 1.25 lakh cusecs in a span of two days. The districts like Belagavi, Vijayapura, Raichur, Kalburgi and Yadgir severely hit by the flood discharge in the Krishna River,” read the letter. https://zeenews.india.com/karnataka/bs-yediyurappa-urges-devendra-fadnavis-to-regulate-flood-discharge-from-koyna-reservoir-2225061.html  (5 Aug. 2019)

As per another report, the water level in the Hemavati reservoir increased by 7 feet in a day as the inflow in the last 24 hours was 74,140 cusecs. As on Aug. 9 morning, the water level stood at 2912.10 ft against the full reservoir level of 2922 ft. Considering the increase in the inflow, due to heavy downpour in the catchment area, the authorities started releasing water from the reservoir. Similarly, Yagachi and Vatehole dams were also full. The crest gates of both the dams were opened. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-rains-level-in-hemavati-reservoir-rises/article28922022.ece  (9 Aug. 2019)

In a tragic accident, 9 people were killed after a rescue boat overturned in flood-hit Sangli district of Maharashtra on Aug. 8. The mishap took place near Brahmanal village in Palus tehsil when the private rescue boat was carrying around 30 to 32 people. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/nine-dead-after-rescue-boat-capsizes-in-flood-hit-maharashtra/story-AgA8EwwCqXzOS1Z2shAm3M.html  (8 Aug. 2019)

As per reports, over 1.32 lakh people have been shifted to safer places in western Maharashtra with the flood situation remaining especially grim in Kolhapur and Sangli districts of the region on Aug. 7 following heavy rains. Sixteen deaths in rain- and flood-related incidents were reported from western Maharashtra in the last 7 days, officials said.  https://www.firstpost.com/india/floods-ravage-kolhapur-sangli-in-maharashtra-over-1-32-lakh-shifted-to-safer-places-road-connectivity-hit-7127411.html  (7 Aug. 2019)

NH 4 was damaged due to a landslide caused by continuous rains near Karnataka and Maharashtra border. The damaged road falls at Shiroli, near Kolhapur. In fact, heavy to very heavy rains were being witnessed in Kolhapur for the last three days. Owing to the impact of the landslide, the road was broken into parts bringing the vehicular movement on this busy stretch to a grinding halt. https://www.skymetweather.com/content/weather-news-and-analysis/the-busiest-stretch-of-nh-4-between-pune-and-bengaluru-damaged-courtesy-landslide/  (6 Aug. 2019)

Till Aug. 5 evening, more than 1 tmc ft of water was released from Kodasalli and Kadra dams on the Kali river basin. The dam authorities have issued a letter stating that they will release one lakh cusecs of water from both the dams and the people living on the banks of Kali river should be moved to safer places. The Kali river basin at Joida taluk has been receiving heavy rainfall and both Kadra and Kodasalli dams have been getting a huge inflow for the last two days.

– Due to flooding of Kali, Gangavali and Aghanashini rivers, more than 100 families have been shifted to rehabilitation centres in Karwar, Ankola and Kumta taluks. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2019/aug/06/karnataka-rains-over-100-flood-hit-families-shifted-to-rehab-centres-in-uttara-kannada-2015057.html  (6 Aug. 2019)

Here is pictorial report showing impact of flooding in Maharashtra.  https://www.news18.com/photogallery/india/maharashtra-floods-dramatic-visuals-of-monsoon-fury-2214801.html  (9 Aug. 2019)

The world heritage Pattadakal in Karnataka was also inundated by flood water https://www.news18.com/photogallery/india/karnataka-rains-world-heritage-pattadakal-inundated-in-flood-water-2264153.html  (9 Aug. 2019)

Similarly historic monuments at the World Heritage Site of Hampi have been flooded as over 2.5 lakh cusecs of water was released from the Tungabhadra reservoir in Koppal district.  https://swarajyamag.com/insta/reliance-jio-gigafiber-finally-arrives-to-hit-markets-on-5-september-service-bundled-with-amazing-offers  (12 Aug. 2019)  

The Krishna, Malaprabha and Bhima river were in spate in the state. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/krishna-malaprabha-unleash-flood-fury-in-n-k-districts-753547.html  (10 Aug. 2019)

The KRS dam which was facing low storage also got filled up significantly and started releasing water in down stream areas. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/heavy-discharge-from-krs-flood-alert-issued-753543.html  (10 Aug. 2019)

The Karnataka government has estimated loss to crops and public/private property owing to floods at ₹6,000 crore and decided to seek immediate relief of ₹3,000 crore from the Centre.   https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-cm-seeks-immediate-flood-relief-of-3000-crore-from-the-centre/article28975156.ece  (10 Aug. 2019)

DAM FLOODS IN KRISHNA BASIN: In a move to ensure that there is “co-ordination” between states along the Krishna basin, on account of the heavy rains in Maharashtra, Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa on late Sunday night shot off two letters to Maharashtra and Telangana. While one asked Maharashtra to regulate the outflow of the flood waters from Koyna, the other urged Telangana to take precautionary measures as the state will be releasing flood water from Narayanpura dam due to safety concerns for the reservoir.

– “It is hereby requested to direct the concerned authorities of your state to regulate the flood discharge from the reservoirs of Maharashtra. The discharge shall be regulated in incremental basis and not abruptly releasing water in huge quantity. The release shall be intimated to Karnataka officers well in advance on regular basis,” read the letter to Maharashtra CM. Yediyurappa recalled that the water released from the Koyna dam was increased from 50,000 cusecs to 80,000 and then from 80,000 to 1.5 lakh cusecs in a span of two days that led to floods in north Karnataka districts.

– Yediyurappa dispatched early warning to Telangana CM K C Chandrashekar Rao and forewarned him about Karnataka’s plans to release water from the Narayanpura dam up to 2.75 lakh cusecs into the Krishna river. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/flood-crisis-yediyurappa-writes-to-maharashtra-telangana-cms-urges-better-coordination/articleshow/70539090.cms  (5 Aug. 2019)

With the possibility of discharge of flood from Ujjani dam in Maharashtra constructed across Bhima river, a major tributary of Krishna, in a day or two following continuing heavy rains in the catchment areas, the water storage in Srisailam dam is in for a rapid increase coupled with flows from Almatti on the rise. “Once released at Ujjani, the flood has to travel for about 450 km in Maharahstra, Karnataka and Telangana to reach Jurala in 2-3 days.” https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/with-flood-likely-from-bhima-srisailam-storage-set-to-swell-further/article28827628.ece  (5 Aug. 2019)

Yediyurappa, who took off in a special aircraft from Toranagallu airstrip in Ballari, surveyed Raichur, Yadgir, Bagalkot and Vijayapura districts which have been reeling under floods for the past few days. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/karnataka-bsy-urges-farmers-not-to-panic-promises-compensation-for-crop-loss/articleshow/70541619.cms  (5 Aug. 2019)

Mr. Fadnavis called the Karnataka CM on Tuesday requesting an early discharge from the Almatti dam, which would ease the food-like situation near Kolhapur.

– In a tweet Mah CM said: “Spoke to Hon Union Minister @rajnathsingh for help and support with coordination and expediting flood rescue & relief efforts through various agencies like @NDRFHQ, @IAF_MCC,@IndiaCoastGuard, Army in Kolhapur & Sangli districts.”

– The Maharashtra government said only the river Panchganga is flowing above danger levels. The State government has evacuated 1,500 villages while the Army, Navy and Coast Guard are on standby. As many as six villages from Shirol, and three others near Kolhapur have been seriously affected, officials said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/maharashtra-karnataka-trade-charges-over-flood-waters/article28840489.ece  (7 Aug. 2019)

According to initial reports, approximately Rs. 5,000 crore would be required for compensation and rehabilitation purposes. As many as 30,000 houses need to be constructed, Mr Yediyurappa said, adding that a detailed survey will be conducted after a week and appropriate compensation disbursed.

– Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that Mr Yediyurappa has agreed to take steps to alleviate the flood situation in his state. “I have spoken to Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, and he has agreed to release five lakh cusecs of water from Almatti,” he said at a press conference in Kolhapur this (Aug 8) afternoon. https://www.ndtv.com/karnataka-news/bs-yediyurappa-cant-blame-karnatakas-alamatti-dam-for-maharashtra-floods-2082447  (8 Aug. 2019)

Senior Congress leader Nana Patole accused both Fadnavis and Yediyurappa for failing to ensure that water was discharged in time from the Almatti Dam in Karnataka which could have prevented the flood situation in Maharashtra from worsening and helped save precious lives. Congress leader demanded booking of Fadnavis, Yaddiyurappa for culpable homicide & under Disaster Management Act.

He claimed protocols between the two neighbouring states over Almatti Dam water discharge were not followed. Sena President Uddhav Thackeray said that if Karnataka had discharged water from the Almatti Dam at least 2-3 days earlier, the situation would not have come to such a stage as it did in south-west Maharashtra. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/book-karnataka-maharashtra-cms-for-culpable-homicide-congress-1579350-2019-08-10   (10 Aug. 2019)

https://twitter.com/dp_satish/status/1160238221852205056

River Krishna has crossed HFL at Gokak Falls in Belagavi at 1:00 PM on Aug. 6, 2019. https://www.facebook.com/sandrp.in/photos/a.400523369975342/2767153026645686/?type=3&theater 

Krishna Basin Rivers have crossed previous HFL ~568.300 meters at Shimoga by alomost half a meter setting new HFL at ~568.700. https://www.facebook.com/sandrp.in/photos/a.400523369975342/2770610409633281/?type=3&theater

– Similarly Sadalga Seasonal has crossed previous HFL ~538.900 almost by 1 metre to ~539.900 and continue to rise up. https://www.facebook.com/sandrp.in/photos/p.2770617049632617/2770617049632617/?type=3&theater

Telangana 4 gates of Srisailam lifted up to 10 metres With heavy inflows from the Krishna river reaching Srisailam reservoir, 4 gates of the dam were lifted to 10 metres height on Aug. 9 in the presence of Andhra Pradesh Irrigation Minister Anil Kumar and Telangana Minister S Niranjan Reddy and around 1 lakh cusecs from three gates water was released downstream into Nagarjunasagar.

This year the gates have been lifted early as compared to last year. Due to poor inflows, the gates were lifted on August 18 in 2018 and on October 12 in 2017. This is the first time of the season the dam was receiving constant inflows of 3.5 lakh cusecs of flood waters from the upper stream.

Due to heavy rains in the catchment areas, particularly in Karnataka, Almatti dam was brimming with inflows from where the water is released to Narayanapur and Jurala barrages. The storage capacity of Srisailam dam is 885 feet with 215 tmc ft. Water levels in the dam already reached 884 feet and there is no way of storing the water, according to Chief Engineer of Irrigation Department Narayana Reddy. https://www.thehansindia.com/telangana/4-gates-of-srisailam-lifted-up-to-10-metres-553629  (9 Aug. 2019)

There are two major dams on the Krishna River that lie on the Telangana-Andhra border – the Srisailam dam which is upstream and the Nagarjuna Sagar dam which is downstream.

Andhra Pradesh is presently also facing flash floods along the Godavari river as heavy downpour has affected thousands of people in the Godavari basin. Around 19,000 have been evacuated from low-lying areas and shifted to relief camps. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/gates-srisailam-reservoir-andhra-opened-dam-sees-huge-inflows-106973  (10 Aug. 2019)

Tamil Nadu Major reservoirs filling up fast Nearly one-third of the major reservoirs, which contribute to 70% of the surface water capacity in state, are expected to reach maximum storage in a few days if the present inflow continues, according to the Water Resources Department.

The 15 major reservoirs, monitored by the WRD, now have a storage of 66.84 thousand million cubic feet (tmc) of water against their capacity of 198.28 tmc, thanks to the recent rain in the Western Ghats areas. The department expects the storage to increase to 10 tmc by Sunday depending on the inflow. Bountiful rainfall in the catchment areas in Karnataka brought copious inflow in some of the Tamil Nadu’s major reservoirs. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/major-reservoirs-in-the-state-filling-up-fast/article28979097.ece  (11 Aug. 2019)

The catchment area of the Pilloor dam has been receiving heavy southwest monsoon rains and also an inflow of 10,000 cusecs of surplus water has been recorded in the dam. A flood alert has been sounded to the people residing on the banks of river Bhavani in Mettupalayam. https://www.news18.com/news/india/flood-alert-sounded-on-tamil-nadus-bhavani-river-as-pilloor-reservoir-to-release-excess-water-2258857.html  (5 Aug. 2019)

Flood alert issued in water-spread areas of Mettur dam The Salem district administration issued a flood alert in the water-spread areas of the Mettur dam as the inflow into the dam has been steadily increasing since the early hours of Aug. 9. According to officials, 1.25 lakh cusecs of water is being released from the Kabini and about 50,000 cusecs from the KRS dam. CM Edappadi K. Palaniswami has ordered the release of water from the Bhavani Sagar dam into the Thadapalli –Arakankottai canal and the Kalingarayan canal for irrigation, acting on a request from farmers. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/flood-alert-issued-in-water-spread-areas-of-mettur-dam/article28979091.ece  (11 Aug. 2019)

The Avalanche region in the Nilgiris received 820 mm of rain over a 24-hour period till Aug. 8 morning, the highest in Tamil Nadu’s history. Officials said that the rainfall recorded in Avalanche eclipses the previous highest recorded in the State — in Cuddalore in 1943, when 570 mm of rain was recorded in a single day.

– DAM RELEASES Officials anticipate the situation to deteriorate if the rains continue. The Kundah dam is filled to capacity, prompting the Kundah Generation Circle of Tangedco to open the sluice gates. Speaking to The Hindu, B. Haldorai, Executive Engineer, Tangedco, said that as the Avalanche dam was already full, surplus water had to be released to Kundah. “As the Kundah dam itself is quite small, we had to release water from the dam and into Pilloor dam further downstream,” said Mr. Haldorai, adding that around 2,600 cusecs of water had been released from the Kundah thus far to prevent flooding. “We are managing the situation and are sure that there is no risk of floods affecting any communities living downstream.” https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/avalanche-in-nilgiris-records-highest-rainfall-in-tamil-nadu/article28907502.ece    (8 Aug. 2019)

https://twitter.com/ravikeerthi22/status/1160587417822175232

CAUVERY DAM FLOODS: A high alert has been sounded along the downstream of Harangi and Kabini dams in areas such as Periyapatna, K.R. Nagar, Nanjangud and Suttur as thousands of cusecs of water is being released from Harangi (30000 cusecs) and Kabini (90000 cusecs) Reservoirs. Heavy rains in Kodagu have increased the inflow to Harangi, a tributary of Cauvery and Wayanad, the source of Kabini, stepping up the outflow from the dams. There is an inflow of 34,346 cusecs at Harangi, an inflow of 55,000 has been recorded at Kabini. https://starofmysore.com/floodgates-open-90000-cusecs-being-released-from-kabini-30000-cusecs-from-harangi/   (8 Aug. 2019)

Sardar Sarovar Dam Narmada dam gates opened for 1st time after installation State government on Aug. 9 opened 26 of the 30 gates at the Sardar Sarovar Narmada dam for the first time after they were installed in 2017 to maintain the water level of 131.18 m allowed by the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) in the reservoir. The gates were opened after a huge inflow of water from Madhya Pradesh owing to extremely heavy rainfall in the Narmada catchment areas in the State.

Meanwhile, with the release of water from the dam, the administration has alerted three districts downstream — Narmada, Bharuch and Vadodara — about potential flooding in low-lying villages there. According to a State government release, 168 talukas received rain in the last 24 hours and as a result, 14 dams and reservoirs had overflowed, while the total monsoon rainfall in the State stood at 66.41% in the current season. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gujarat-floods-narmada-dam-gates-opened-for-first-time-after-installation/article28930110.ece  (9 Aug. 2019)

People in submergence area asked to move to safer places The administration on Aug. 7 urged the residents of villages in the submergence area of Sardar Sarovar Dam in 4 districts of Madhya Pradesh to move to safer areas. Officials said level of the dam’s backwaters has been rising in the districts of Barwani, Dhar, Alirajpur and Khargone.

Activist Medha Patkar launched a protest in Barwani district, demanding that doors of the dam be opened to avoid submergence of houses around the backwaters. An official of the Narmada Valley Development Authority told PTI that the Narmada has crossed the danger mark at Rajghat in Barwani district. The old bridge in the Rajghat village connecting Barwani and Dhar districts is under water, witnesses said.

Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar started an indefinite `Satyagraha’ (protest) in Rajghat, alleging that thousands of people who were displaced by the dam were neither rehabilitated nor paid any compensation. The protesters demanded that the doors of the dam be opened immediately so that the level of backwaters in Madhya Pradesh can go down and submergence can be averted. https://www.news18.com/news/india/people-in-narmadas-submergence-area-of-sardar-sarovar-dam-asked-to-move-to-safer-places-2262243.html  (7 Aug. 2019)

The locals who were staging a protest ended their demonstration after the administration met them during the wee hours on Aug. 9. Led by Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) volunteers, the locals in Barwani had started an indefinite sit-in at Rajghat in Barwani district since Aug 7 opposing the submergence of 193 villages despite ‘incomplete’ rehabilitation of farmers and other locals in said areas.

The NBA in a statement said that the administration has agreed for a joint survey of affected areas, to include NBA representatives in government rehabilitation committees, a meeting with Narmada Valley Development Authority soon and to open dam floodgates open unless the rehabilitation process was completed. The organisation however affirmed that they won’t relent unless all the affected people get justice. The organisation fighting against the Sardar Sarovar project in last few decades alleged that the heavy rains also exposed the ill-arrangement of disaster management in the region. https://www.news18.com/news/india/amid-protests-26-gates-of-sardar-sarovar-dam-on-river-narmada-opened-in-gujarat-2265121.html  (9 Aug. 2019)

The water level in Sardar Sarovar Dam over Narmada at Kevadia Colony increased to 127.98 meter on Aug. 7, the highest in last two years. The level has been on the rise for the past 15 days following good rainfall in the catchment areas. On the same date (August 7) last year, the water level of Sardar Sarovar Dam was 111.30 m and water storage was almost half of the present storage. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/water-level-in-narmada-dam-rises-to-127-98-metre/articleshow/70578467.cms  (8 Aug. 2019) 

Deputy CM Nitin Patel said that the process of seeking approvals (of NCA) to fill the dam to the FRL of 138.68 metres is ongoing. “We are closely monitoring the inflow of water at the dam site and the current level is 127.90 metres and increasing as a result of rainfall in catchment areas,” Patel said. Patel added that the government will fill up the dam to a level of 131 metres. Patel said that a number of technical aspects and dam safety have to be taken into consideration before such permission is granted. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/narmada-dam-to-be-filled-only-up-to-131m-nitin-patel/articleshow/70578445.cms   (8 Aug. 2019)

In a sudden U-turn, the Gujarat government has closed down all the gates atop the Narmada dam just three days after it opened 25 of the 31 gates to “ensure” that the reservoir waters do not rise above 131 metres so that dam oustees’ villages are not submerged. Earlier, late on Saturday, it closed 10 of the 25 gates it had opened.

Taking strong exception to the move, NBA leader Medha Patkar has said the news is “shocking”, calling it a “brutal strategy to claim achievement in filling the reservoir up to 138.68 meters (full reservoir level).”  https://www.counterview.in/2019/08/gujarat-govt-closes-all-narmada-dam.html   (10 Aug. 2019)

Madhya Pradesh

https://twitter.com/ANI/status/1160759874034327557

Gujarat  One of the many floods that is not part of CWC’s flood monitoring/ forecasting work. Fifteen people — who were trapped in the flooding water of Kim river — were airlifted to safety from Kosadi and Lovara villages under Mangrol taluka in Gujarat’s Surat district on Aug. 5. Also over 10,000 people have been evacuated from Surat and Navsari districts. Rescue operations in 12 different villages on the shores of Kim river in Olpad and Mangrol taluka were on. Two teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), one of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and one SMC team are carrying out the rescue as Kim river is flowing well above its danger mark of 13 metres.

– Navsari has become the worst-affected district as water levels of Purna and Ambika are well above the danger mark and Kaveri water levels are increasing rapidly following nearly 231 mm rains on Monday morning in Wagai of Dang and 213 mm in Vasda of Navsari district in four hours. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/gujarat-floods-15-airlifted-over-10000-evacuated-from-surat-navsari-districts/articleshow/70537149.cms  (5 Aug. 2019)

The state in a release said that control release of water from the dam will be carried out to ensure that water levels do not cross the 131 mt level. A warning has also been issued for 24 villages of Karjan and Shinot Taluka in Vadodara district as the release of water is likely to raise the water level in Vadodara.  https://www.dnaindia.com/ahmedabad/report-gujarat-dam-water-to-be-released-alert-issued-2780213  (9 Aug. 2019)

At that time, the level of water in the dam was 129.65 metres with an inflow of 6 lakh cusecs. Post midnight on Aug. 8, six lakh cusecs of water is expected to be released. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/water-to-be-released-from-gujarats-sardar-sarovar-dam-24-villages-put-on-alert-5890169/lite/   (9 Aug. 2019)

Andhra Pradesh 31 fishermen stuck in Polavaram rescued A group of 31 fishermen, including 12 women, stuck in the floodwaters in the river Godavari near upper cofferdam of Polavaram Project on Aug. 9 morning, were rescued by NDRF teams with the help of the Indian Navy. The fishermen are from Jalaripeta in Dowleswaram, East Godavari district. They went for fishing in the Godavari upstream Polavaram project in 10 motorboats 80 days ago. They embarked on their return journey 10 days ago as the river Godavari was swelling with floodwater. On Aug. 9, they started from Kunavaram to Dowleswaram in their boats but got stuck near the upper cofferdam and their boats started capsizing in the river. However, they managed to swim up to the cofferdam. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2019/aug/10/31-fishermen-stuck-in-polavaram-rescued-2016851.html  (10 Aug. 2019)

Godavari river remained in spate and more than 74,000 people in the Andhra Pradesh districts were affected. 18,000 people in Godavari district were shifted to relief camps. Over 280 villages in the two districts were affected. While 52,500 people of East Godavari were affected, a total of 21,568 were hit in West Godavari.  https://newstodaynet.com/index.php/2019/08/05/ap-floods-godavari-in-spate-over-70000-people-hit/  (5 Aug. 2019)

There has rain induced flooding in parts of Goa, Kerala and Odisha states.

Dam Floods Goa: Santoestevam fields under water for the past 3 days due to water released from the Anjuvem Dam. 12 lakh Sq mts of paddy grown this year is under threat of getting damaged. (Source, Nestor Rangel FB post, 5 Aug. 2019)

State Water Resources Department Minister Filipe Neri Rodrigues said the water level of Anjunem dam in North Goa has reached its maximum storage limit. The Mandovi river in the state crossed the danger mark on Monday night, causing flooding in some villages of Sattari taluka in North Goa, another official said. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/goa-rains-flood-evacuation-1577719-2019-08-06   (6 Aug. 2019)

Goa CM said several villages in Bardez, Pernem and Bicholim talukas of North Goa district were flooded after water was released from Tillari dam following heavy showers in its catchment areas. The dam is located in North Goa along the state’s border with Maharashtra. “Sal village in Bicholim taluka was the worst affected as several houses were inundated there. The villagers have been shifted to safer places by the disaster management department team,” Sawant said. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/imd-predicts-heavy-rain-in-goa-govt-on-high-alert-1578618-2019-08-08  (8 Aug. 2019)

Kerala How changes in global weather conditions have led to extreme rain  A year after being ravaged by the worst flood in 100 years, Kerala is once again facing a deluge. Over the past week, the state has been pounded by intense rainfall.  The districts in Kerala’s north – in particular Kozhikode, Wayanad, and Malappuram –are among the worst affected.   According to the IMD, Vadakara in Kozhikode recorded the highest rainfall in the state on Aug. 9 at 296 mm, Ottappalam in Palakkad received 286.2 mm, and Wayanad’s Vythiri witnessed 210 mm in a single day. The copious amounts of rainfall have been both intense and consistent this week alone.

Data from the IMD is revealing. If one were to look at Kerala’s rainfall this monsoon season beginning June 1 until August 7, the state has recorded a deficit of 27%, with 1078.6 mm rainfall against the normal of 1482.4 mm. But between August 1 and August 7, the state saw 22% excess rainfall. Seven districts have recorded excess rainfall over this week, with Palakkad recording a massive 80% departure from the normal. Malappuram, Kozhikode, Thrissur and Wayanad have also witnessed a sharp departure from the normal rainfall, with excess at 66%, 53%, 40% and 37% respectively.      https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/explainer-how-changes-global-weather-conditions-have-led-extreme-rain-kerala-107006  (10 Aug. 2019)

https://twitter.com/dhanyarajendran/status/1160804770749112321

Doubts on ‘cloud burst’ in Chalakudy region Chalakudy region witnessed heavy rains on Aug. 6 morning with experts at atmospheric sciences department of CUSAT expressing doubts of a cloud burst. Environmentalist S. P. Ravi, resident of Pariyaram 6 km away from Chalakudy town, said,  “with the rains retrieving in the afternoon, experts ruled out the possibility of a could burst,” he said. The intensity of Charpa waterfalls from which water flows into Chalakudy river upstream Athirapally waterfalls also increased considerably.

On Aug. 5 morning, a mini-tornado had originated in Chalakudy River which travelled around 2 km and ended by moving into to the coconut farms near Vettukadavu area. A similar phenomenon of swirling winds had occurred in Chalakudy town last year during a spell of consecutive rainy days following the August deluge.  Shutters of Poomala dam in Thrissur was opened with the water level reaching 28 ft and 10 inches. The permissible level is 29 ft.  https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/060819/doubts-on-cloud-burst-in-chalakudy-region.html  (6 Aug. 2019)

The water levels at the Periyar and Muvattupuzha rivers are likely to increase by 1.5 m following heavy rain that lashed the Ernakulam district, as the authorities decided to open all the 15 shutters of the Bhoothathankettu barrage after the release of water from Idamalayar dam on Aug. 8 morning.

The water level at Bhoothathankettu dam reached 31 m, against the full reservoir level of 34.95 m on Thursday morning. Officials said that the water level in the river downstream of the barrage was also increasing continuously. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-rains-water-levels-likely-to-rise-at-periyar-muvattupuzha-rivers/article28883902.ece  (8 Aug. 2019)

On Aug. 8, the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) confirmed that 9 dams were opened, namely, Maniyar dam (Pathanamthitta), Kundala dam (Munnar), Malankara dam (Thodupuzha, Idukki), Peringalkuthu dam (Thrissur), Mangalam dam (Palakkad) and Kanjirapuzha dam (Palakkad), Kakkayam dam (Kozhikode), Kallarkutty dam (Idukki) and Pambla dam (Idukki). With the shutters of the Walayar dam opened on Aug. 9, ten dams in the state are now open. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/rains-kerala-karnataka-tamil-nadu-what-status-dams-106935  (9 Aug. 019)

Authorities decide to open all 15 shutters of the Bhoothathankettu barrage (Ernakulam dist) after the release of water from Idamalayar dam on Thursday morning. The water levels at the Periyar and Muvattupuzha rivers are likely to increase by 1.5 m.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-rains-water-levels-likely-to-rise-at-periyar-muvattupuzha-rivers/article28883902.ece  (8 Aug. 2019)

Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) on Aug. 10 said that Banasura Sagar dam will have to be opened if heavy rains continue. The total capacity of the dam is 775.6 meters. Currently the water level in the dam has reached 771.2 meters. If it reaches 773.9 meter, the excess rainwater will be released in a regulated manner. Last year, the severity of flood increased after excess water from the dam was released. Beechanahalli dam in Karnataka has been opened completely and it releases 1 lakh cusecs of water every second,which flows to Banasura Sagar Dam. https://english.mathrubhumi.com/news/kerala/banasura-sagar-dam-to-be-opened-on-saturday-kseb-1.4028090   (9 Aug. 2019)

A picture of a road in Palakkad, Kerala full of plastic bottles has been going viral on Twitter. Internet is calling it the perfect return gift from mother nature.  https://www.indiatoday.in/trending-news/story/picture-of-kerala-road-flooded-with-plastic-goes-viral-twitter-calls-it-return-gift-from-nature-1579797-2019-08-11  (11 April 2019)

Massive landslide at Puthumala in Wayanad; several feared missing A massive landslide at Puthumala near Meppadi in the Wayanad district of Kerala around 5pm on Aug. 8 buried a large area under debris, sparking fear that several people might have gone missing.

Forest officials at the spot said an entire hillslope came crushing down over several acres which housed two residential quarters (padis) of a tea estate, apart from a temple and a mosque. Heavy rain and road blockades are hampering rescue operations and there is no power supply. Wayanad received 204.3 mm rain in the past 24 hours, sparking last year’s flood fears. The highest rainfall was recorded at Vythiri at 256 mm followed by Mananthavady at 245 mm. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kozhikode/kerala-massive-landslide-at-puthumala-in-wayanad-several-feared-missing/articleshow/70594560.cms  (8 Aug. 2019)

Even as a frantic search was on in Kavalappara in Malappuram following a landslide, 63 people including 20 children are feared trapped, according to reports. Nine bodies have been found so far, and rescue operations are still on.  https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/63-people-including-20-kids-feared-trapped-under-landslide-keralas-malappuram-107027  (11 Aug. 2019)

The title is a bit misleading. It is landslide induced by heavy rains, among other factors that swept away the village. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2019/aug/09/rain-sweeps-away-an-entire-village-in-kerala-six-bodies-found-so-far-2016531.html  (9 Aug. 2019)

https://twitter.com/i/events/1159552671881158657?s=13 

https://twitter.com/TOIHyderabad/status/1159809360081481729  

Also NDTV report on national flood scenario. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbW4ZuRoUOs&feature=youtu.be  (9 Aug. 2019)

URBAN FLOODS

Dam Floods Pune, Thane, Mumbai, Kolhapur, Nasik As rainfall continues in areas around Pune, all four dams upstream of the Mutha river are filled to capacity, leading to release of water into the river from all four dams. The Temghar dam was filled on Aug. 5 night.

The Khadakwasla dam, having capacity of 1.97 TMC, was the first to fill, leading to release of water for the past ten days. The Panshet dam, with capacity of 10.65 TMC, was the next, filling last week, followed by the Varasgaon dam, which has a capacity 12.82 TMC. The Temghar dam, with 3.71 TMC capacity, was filled on Aug. 5 night.

The intensity of the flood-like situation in Pune city was increasing every day. The water resource department is trying hard to keep the damage to the minimum by limiting the release to 45,474 cusecs. Around 12,000 persons in Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) areas have been moved to safe locations. Seven bridges are closed for public use. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/pune-rains-all-four-dams-near-city-filled-to-capacity-more-water-to-be-released-into-mutha-river-5881427/  (6 August 2019)

Water from Mutha river gushed into the housing societies in the low-lying areas of Anandnagar following increased discharge from the Khadakwasla dam on Aug. 3. The catchments of the upstream dams — Varasgaon, Panshet and Temghar — received over 120mm rainfall in 24 hours ended Aug. 3 evening, following which the water release from the Khadakwasla dam into the Mutha river was increased to 27,203 cusec. Till Aug. 2, 20,300 cusec water was being released from the dam.

Among the four dams, Temghar recorded the highest rainfall of 162mm, followed by Panshet 131mm and Varasgaon 120mm, an irrigation department official said, adding that the storage in Varasgaon has surged to 94%. Officials from the department said discharge from Khadakwasla was increased because of rise in water release from Panshet dam.

Most rivers, including Mutha, Mula, Indrayani, Bhima, swelled following significant release of water from over 12 dams in the Bhima basin. Water stock in the Ujani surged to 20 TMC on Saturday. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/mutha-river-swells-as-rain-adds-to-dams-stock/articleshow/70519799.cms  (4 Aug. 2019)  

The mighty Khadakwasla dam on Aug. 5 ejected water into the Mutha river at the rate of 45,474 cubic feet per second — its highest rate of discharge in eight years. In 2011, the dam had released water at 67,212 cusec. Officials from the state irrigation department said discharge from the dam was still below the 50,000-cusec mark, but added that volume and speed could increase if rainfall in the catchment areas intensifies.

One of the highest rates of discharge from Khadakwasla dam in recent times was during the 1997 monsoon season, when it released water at 90,570 cusec. The release had caused massive flooding along the Mutha river’s banks in the city. Since 1997, the dam has released water at over 50,000 cusec only three times: 51,825 cusec in 2005; 56,630 cusec in 2006; and 67,212 cusec in 2011.

Besides dams around Pune, water release from Pavana and Mulshi continued on Aug. 5. Mulshi released water in the Mula river at rate of 32,400 cusec and Pavana in Pavana river at 18,400 cusec. Huge release of water in both rivers led to flooding in low laying areas in Sangvi, Wakad, Bopodi, Aundh, Patil Estate. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/at-45474-cusecs-water-discharge-from-khadakwasla-highest-since-2011/articleshow/70544356.cms  (6 Aug. 2019)

Tamhini ghat, one of the most popular tourist attracts in the district, was out of bounds after the district administration closed the Pune-Kolad highway to traffic on Aug. 5 afternoon. The decision to shut the highway came after water discharge from Mulshi dam into the Mula.

Also, many roads in the city and the district, including some state highways, were closed to traffic after water release was initiated from different dams, many of which had been filled to capacity, on Aug. 4 morning. These included some important roads, which had developed cracks.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/rivers-swell-many-key-roads-out-of-bounds/articleshow/70527807.cms  (5 Aug. 2019)

Over 45,000 cusecs (cubic foot per second) of water from the Khadakwasla dam, 32,000 cusecs of water from the Mulshi dam and 18,000 cusecs of water from the Pavana dam was released on Sunday morning.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/pune-news/heavy-rains-leaves-pune-gasping-for-a-life-jacket/story-Mliv2N95YXYkRQmmtGlMLI.html  (6 Aug. 2019)

Over 10 societies from Sinhagad Road and Hingane were flooded on Aug. 5 after water was released from Khadakwasla dam. While the fire brigade, police and social workers were busy evacuating residents from a few societies, many others were facing a water crisis.  Residents said they are facing water cuts despite the area being submerged under water released from Khadakwasla; PMC attributes the issue to technical problem at its Vadgaon filtration plant. https://punemirror.indiatimes.com/pune/civic/flooded-societies-on-sinhagad-rd-struggle-for-drinking-water/articleshowprint/70526691.cms   (5 Aug. 2019)

8500 people from Diva shifted as Barvi dam overflows  “Around 8,500 people from Diva were shifted to safer places after the Barvi dam started overflowing. The action was taken as a precautionary measure, in view of possibility of flooding,” chief of Regional Disaster Management Cell (RDMC) of Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) Santosh Kadam said. The operation was jointly carried out by the Army, fire brigade and the Thane Disaster Response Force (TDRF) on Aug 4, 2019. Palghar district administration said that around 800 people were rescued from different locations and shifted to safer places.

– Total 1,12,535 cusecs water was released from Modaksagar dam into the Vaitarna river and 42,000 cusecs from Tansa dam into the Tansa river, which led to flooding in Vasai, Wada and Palghar talukas in the district, they added. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/8500-people-diva-shifted-barvi-dam-overflows-1577255-2019-08-05  (5 Aug. 2019)

The Indian Navy, Army and Air Force on Sunday participated in rescue operations to assist Thane, Palghar and Kalyan district administration as Bhatsa and Barvi dams overflowed leading to Bhatsa and Ulhas rivers breaching their banks and stranding people in their homes. Waters rose up to a height of 8 to 10 feet requiring specialist assistance in evacuation. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/indian-navy-army-and-air-force-join-rescue-operations-in-mumbai/article28815761.ece  (4 Aug. 2019)

Officials claim’s excess water released from dams was found to be the prime reason for flooding in districts such as Ratnagiri, Nashik and Sangli district administration has advised people not to venture out of their homes unless it is absolutely necessary.

– In Raigad, Savitri and Gandhari rivers were flowing above the danger mark leading to flooding in many areas in the district.

– Several areas in Nashik were submerged after 36,000 cusec of water was released from Gangapur dam in the district, as it was overflowing.

– Similarly, the level of Warna river rose after 20,000 cusec of water was released from Chandoli dam, creating a flood-like situation in the adjoining areas in Sangli.

– Navi Mumbai’s Morbe dam overflowed in the early hours of Aug. 4. The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has started to release the excess water to prevent flooding in the catchment area. The dam’s catchment area received over 3,177.20mm of rainfall this monsoon. Manohar Sonawane, executive engineer, NMMC, said, “Morbe dam has overflown to full capacity at 190.89 mcm. It has crossed the 88m-water level. The level is presently at 88.2m. We have opened both the flap gates of the dam for a controlled release.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/raigad-ratnagiri-nashik-submerged/story-Jqm9656IhadczdCzvnFYWI.html   (5 Aug. 2019)

This report says water is being released from Bhatsa dam since July 29 and from Upper Vaitarna since Aug. 3. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/villagers-safety-water-being-let-out-of-dams/articleshow/70528359.cms   (5 Aug. 2019)

12 dams reach almost 100% storage According to the Aug. 5 report from the irrigation department around 6 dams had already started discharge. The heavy rainfall has resulted in all the seven automated gates of the Radhanagari dam getting opened, which are discharging as much as 9,968 cusecs of water per second, informed the district disaster management cell officials.

This is for the first time this season that all the seven gates of the oldest dam in the state has been opened owing to the incessant rains. The discharge has also caused Panchganga water level to rise 45.8 ft, highest this season, and the number of weirs submerged have also increased to 95 across the district. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolhapur/12-dams-in-dist-reach-almost-100-storage/articleshow/70527245.cms  (5 Aug. 2019)

More water discharged from Gangapur dam The Water Resources department increased the discharge from Gangapur Dam amid warnings of heavy rains through Aug. 8 and 9. Showers were also expected in the catchment areas of the dam complex. There had been rain in the catchment areas of Gangapur Dam, Gautami-Godavari and the Kashyapi Dam, all of which provide drinking water to farmlands, industry and urban areas under the Nashik Municipal Corporation.

After the increase in discharge from Gangapur Dam, the water level in the city rose from 1,845.2 feet (at 5,433 cusec) to 1,846 feet (at 7830 cusec). This volume also included the water coming in from the free catchment areas of the city. WRD said water levels in the dams would be maintained at around 85% capacity as per rotation procedures. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nashik/more-water-discharged-from-gangapur-dam/articleshow/70593962.cms  (9 Aug. 2019)

Heavy rains and release of water from Gangapur dam into the Godavari river caused a flood-like situation in some areas of Nashik district on Aug. 4. Collector Suraj Mandhare declared a holiday for schools and colleges in the district on Aug. 5, officials said.

– More than 20,000 cusecs (cubic foot per second) of water was released from the Gangapur dam on Aug. 4 morning, which led to the Godavari river flowing above the danger mark, an official at the district collectorate said. https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/mumbai/other/godavari-river-rises-above-danger-mark-results-in-flood-like-situation-in-nashik/articleshow/70523352.cms  (4 Aug. 2019)

According to Irrigation department, water from the Gangapur dam near Nashik was released at the rate of 18,909 cusecs (cubic foot per second) around 9 am on Aug. 5 and at the rate of 39250 cusecs from the Darna dam. Similarly, water has been released from Bhavali, Palkhed, Chankapur, Haranbari and Punegaon dams in the district, they said. Overflowing water of the Ahilya dam near Trimbakeshwar has flooded streets in the town as well as the premises of the Lord Shiva temple. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/west/release-of-water-from-dams-in-rain-hit-nashik-continues-752151.html  (5 Aug. 2019)

As per CWC’s Daily Flood Situation Report cum Advisories for 05-08-2019, the GODAVARI has CROSSED HFL IN NASIK by almost half meter ON AUG. 4. The previous HFL 563.01 was set on 02-08-2016 and new one is 263.500 on 4-8-19 (3-5 PM).   http://cwc.gov.in/sites/default/files/dfsrca05082019.pdf 

https://twitter.com/writemeenal/status/1158043118001745920 

Also see CWC’s Daily Flood Situation Report cum Advisories for 11-08-2019 http://cwc.gov.in/sites/default/files/dfsrca11082019_1.pdf

Vadodara Vishwamitri swells, alarm raised Vishwamitri River once again started swelling rapidly on Aug. 9 after water level increased by nearly 7 foot within hours as Ajwa Lake began overflowing at about 213 feet due to heavy rain in the catchment area. The city received nearly 90 mm rain between 6am and 8 pm on Aug. 9, leaving roads leading to four gates in the Walled City submerged for some time.

Unlike on July 31, when it was caught snoozing, the district administration claimed that it is well prepared this time for all eventualities. In Savli, 700 persons were shifted after their locality got waterlogged on Aug. 9 while 22 persons from Shinor, 51 from Malsar and 22 from Karjan taluka too were taken to safer places as water levels went up in Narmada River. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/river-swells-city-on-edge/articleshow/70612164.cms  (10 Aug. 2019)

Vishwamitri river started swelling on early hours of Aug. 10 after crossing the 29.5 foot mark following fresh inflow from Ajwa reservoir that was overflowing at 212.35 foot at 9pm. Around 1,100 people from low-lying areas of the city were shifted to nearby safer locations, mostly primary schools.

Three underpass connecting the western areas of the city to the eastern areas got waterlogged, forcing Barodians to take bridges to commute. Traffic movement of Alkapuri underpass, Jetalpur underpass and Priyalaxmi mills which got waterlogged moved over the bridges. By late evening, the Mangal Pandey bridge connecting VUDA circle to Sama, was closed even as police had started regulating traffic on all the bridges. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/swelling-vishwamitri-levels-keepvadodara-on-edge/articleshow/70624476.cms  (11 Aug. 2019)

Surat Tapi river overflows, city waterlogged Surat faced a flood-like situation on Aug. 10 after the authorities started releasing water from Ukai dam since Aug. 9. Over 200 people were shifted to safer places in Surat city. On Aug. 9 afternoon, the authorities started releasing 64,000 cusecs of water from the Ukai dam, which was increased to over 1 lakh cusecs by night and 1.9 lakh cusecs by Aug. 10 morning. 13 out of 22 gates of the dam were open.

The Tapi river was overflowing with the discharge of water from the dam, following which the flood gates of Surat city on the banks of the river were closed. Ukai dam authorities said there was no rain in the upper catchment area of the dam on Aug. 10. The upper catchment areas of Ukai dam, which lies in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, have been receiving heavy rainfall for the past few days, increasing the inflow to the dam to 5.82 lakh cusecs. On Aug. 10, rain has reportedly stopped in those areas, reducing the inflow to 4.12 lakh cusecs. The water discharged from the dam takes 8 hours to reach to Surat city. The Ukai dam is 78.5 per cent filled with water. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/gujarat-tapi-river-overflows-surat-waterlogged-5895449/  (11 Aug. 2019)

Ukai dam storage increases Water level at Ukai dam at 6pm on Aug. 9 was 329.28 feet, very close to the rule level of 335 feet, wiping out worries regarding water shortage in Surat. Increased inflow is due to heavy rainfall in middle and lower basins of Tapi River from where the water directly flows into Ukai reservoir. Authorities have started releasing water at the rate of 1,25,000 cusecs from Ukai dam from 4pm on Aug. 9. Ukai dam has been receiving water at the rate of 5.5 lakh cusecs from upper catchment areas of Tapi River for the past 10 hours.

Ukai dam’s optimum storage capacity is 345 feet or 7414 million cubic metres. At present, the dam has 4,883 MCM of water and is 65.86 per cent full. Water level at 335 feet would mean the dam has 5,714 MCM of water. More than 4,000 MCM of water has flown into Ukai dam in the past 12 days from July 26. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/ukai-dam-storage-wipes-water-worries-of-surat-city/articleshow/70611524.cms  (10 Aug. 2019)

Mysuru The Mysuru city was also flooded after water release from 4 reservoirs. Of the four, Kabini, Takara and Nugu reservoirs had overflown and over 2 lakh cusecs of water is currently being released. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/over-1000-people-mysuru-shifted-relief-camps-water-4-reservoirs-released-106982  (10 Aug. 2019)

Release of water from KRS Dam floods T. Narasipura town T. Narasipura town, on the bank of the River Cauvery, flooded as a huge quantum of water was released from Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) Dam in Srirangapatna, Mandya. The outflow is approximately 1.5 lakh cusec. The river water is overflowing on Wesley Bridge in Srirangapatna. The water entered Ninishamba Temple premises and Tumbasoge bridge damaged.

Mysuru district administration has shied people to relief centre and opened two relief centres. The flood-like situation on the Bank of the River Kapila eased as the outflow from KRS Dam having declined to 20,000 cusecs. According to the Deputy Commissioner Abhiram G Sankar, the outflow from Kabini will be maintained within 30,000 cusecs as the inflow has declined. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/karnataka-districts/release-of-water-from-krs-dam-floods-t-narasipura-town-753771.html   (12 Aug. 2019)

Jalandhar Heavy downpour for 2 hours leaves city inundated Heavy downpour which lasted for only about two hours in the morning made life of Jalandhar residents difficult. Worst-affected were the commuters who were going from PAP Chowk to Rama Mandi area on the national highway as it turned into a virtual ‘swimming pool’. Since there are deep craters near the site of an under-construction over-bridge, the motorists could not assess them in the flooded road. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/heavy-downpour-for-2-hours-leaves-jalandhar-city-inundated/815498.html  (9 Aug. 2019)    

MONSOON 2019

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Report Erratic rains new normal  In a new study, researchers at the IIT, Gandhinagar found that the current trend of intense rainfall spanning over a few days (1-5 days) triggering floods in India would increase significantly in the future with enhancement in the emission of greenhouse gases and consequent warming. The extreme precipitation has not only put agriculture and infrastructure at risk but also has implications for water resources and reservoir operations.

It is not the first warning from scientists. For close to a decade, several studies concluded that Indian monsoon would be more erratic in future bringing extreme rains on a small patch of area in a short span of time. “The nature of rain spells has changed. We now receive 15-16 cm rainfall in a span of 12-18 hours. The soil is completely soaked and the water has no place to go causing the flood,” M Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences told DH.

Indian Ocean sea surface temperature and accumulation of aerosols in upper atmosphere do contribute to localised heavy rainfall. But an equally crucial component also comes from rapid change in land cover and land use pattern primarily due to completely mindless urbanisation.  https://www.deccanherald.com/specials/insight/erratic-rain-is-the-new-normal-it-s-time-to-act-753575.html  (11 Aug. 2019)

Rivers’ dry run Ten of the 15 monitored river basins registered a dip in their reservoir levels between May 2014 and 2019.  https://www.downtoearth.org.in/factsheet/rivers-dry-run-66033  (8 Aug. 2019)

Twelve states in India received over 60 per cent surplus rains in the second week of July this year. The resultant floods in Bihar and Assam affected over 10 million and claimed 168 lives. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/factsheet/normal-rainfall-hard-to-find-66034  (7 Aug. 2019)

This monsoon has been unprecedented for Bihar. Normally, floods occur in August and September. But in 2019, the scene has reversed. In July, at least 13 districts, out of total 38, were affected by a flash flood. Experts have suggested the construction of dams along the Bihar-Nepal border which may help in curbing the annual flood problem.

But since the border falls in the seismic zone, neither India nor Nepal is willing to take such risk (of constructing dams). “It’s for the Centre to take up the matter with Nepal and come out with a long-term solution,” said a state government official. https://www.deccanherald.com/specials/insight/need-a-long-term-solution-753576.html  (11 Aug. 2019)        

The recent phenomenon of heavy rainfall in a short spell has resulted in devastating floods in many states including Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha. The deluge in Assam and Bihar, which is almost an annual event, is more pronounced.  https://www.deccanherald.com/specials/insight/drought-to-deluge-nature-s-fury-or-human-folly-753577.html  (11 Aug. 2019)

IMD had predicted heavy rainfall forecast for Aug 7-9, 2019: http://www.imd.gov.in/pages/allindiawxwarningbulletin.php 

Karnataka Rainfall 3000% above normal in a single day On August 8, Karnataka received nearly 5 times the rainfall it normally does, adding to the severity of the ongoing floods in at least 12 districts that have killed 20 people by August 9, 2019. The rain has come at a time it normally does not. In some districts it has been multiple times more than the normal for this time of the year:

Mysuru in south Karnataka received 62.2 mm absolute rainfall in a day — 3176 per cent, or 32 times, the long-term average for that day. Dharwad in the north received 85.9 mm — 2222 per cent, or 22 times, above normal. Kodagu, the worst hit, received 180.3 mm, some 700 per cent more than normal. The region is prone to flooding due to its hilly terrain and had suffered landslides and flash floods the same time last year as well. Coffee plantations there, accounting for 40 per cent of the country’s total production, was severely hit. Absolute rainfall exceeded 30 mm — more than double the usual — in seven other districts. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/karnataka-flood-trigger-rainfall-3000-above-normal-in-a-single-day-66100  (9 Aug. 2019)

As rains lash the state, Harangi, Kabini, Hemavathi and Krishna Raja Sagara reservoirs are almost filled to brim. This means Bengaluru will have enough water till January next year. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/all-reservoirs-filled-to-brim/articleshow/70634344.cms  (12 Aug. 2019)

DROUGHT 2019

Maharashtra Dams half-filled, but Marathwada is still parched Heavy rains in the last two days have resulted in levels in 3,267 dams in Maharashtra crossing the half way mark. Storage increased to 51 per cent on Aug. 6 as many parts of western and northern Maharashtra received heavy showers. Though many cities were flooded, the Marathwada region with 8 districts has remained dry. Dams in the region have just 11.77 per cent water.

Maharashtra received 781.6 mm rainfall since June 1 compared with the normal 603.5 mm. However, Marathwada, against a normal rainfall of 352.4 mm, has received 288.2 mm. Except for Aurangabad, rainfall in all other districts in Marathwada is deficient.

Dams in Pune division recorded 81 per cent water storage compared with 70.82 per cent during the same period last year. In Nashik division, dams reported 48 per cent water storage. Dams in Nagpur and Amravati divisions in the Vidarbha region recorded 28 and 17 per cent water storage, respectively.

Even as many parts of the Marathwada region remains dry, the Jayakwadi dam, one of the biggest dams in the region, recorded 31 per cent water storage on Aug. 6 as the State irrigation department released water from Nashik dams in the Godavari River which connects Jayakwadi. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/maharashtra-dams-half-filled-but-marathwada-is-still-parched/article28838037.ece  (6 Aug. 2019)

Barring Jayakwadi, other dams record low levels Benefitting from the inflows of upstream areas in Nashik and Ahmednagar districts, Jayakwadi dam came out of dead storage with live storage of over 10 percent as of Aug. 3 afternoon. However, on the other hand, other key projects — including Sina Kolegaon (-87%) from Osmanabad, Sidhheshwar (-70%) from Hingoli and Majalgaon ( -25%) and Manjra (-23%) from Beed district have been showing poorer storages — which is considered as the record low in recent years, even after the first two months of the current rainy season are over.

The collective live storage in 11 major dams supplying water to the region is only 3.77% as compared to 23% stock reported during the corresponding period last year. A senior official from the WRD, Aurangabad division, on Aug. 3 said that almost all major dams from Marathwada have witnessed the extensive lifting of water from the dead storage so far, resulting into the record low level in the recent past. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/aurangabad/barring-jayakwadi-other-dams-record-low-levels/articleshow/70516693.cms  (4 Aug. 2019)

While Maharashtra on the whole has received nearly 800 mm of rainfall since June 1 as against 600 mm in normal times, parts of drought-hit Maharashtra were still dependent on tankers for drinking water, according to information received from state government officials.

“Most of Marathwada other than Aurangabad remained dry. Beed, Osmanabad, Jalna, Nanded, Parbhani and Latur districts have received less rainfall than usual,” a state government official said. While Aurangabad has received 261 mm of rain as against the expected 406 mm, Beed with 157 mm, Jalna with 257 mm, Parbhani at 270 mm have received much less rain than expected. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/parts-of-maha-still-parched-fight-for-water-on/815642.html  (10 Aug. 2019)

The State is simultaneously facing floods and drought. Even as the State government is evacuating some two lakh people to safety in flood-devastated southern parts, it is equally busy with cloud-seeding in the parched Marathwada region, where many dams have zero storage.

With many large dams in the region running dry, the government started cloud seeding operations on Aug. 9. The State Cabinet had earlier given permission for creating artificial rain in Marathwada. Setting the process in motion in Aurangabad were a plane and a sea band doppler radar. State administration officials said the government is hoping the experiment will help avoid another drought in a row in Marathwada.

Atul Deulgaonkar, a member of the State Disaster Management Authority who was present in Aurangabad during the cloud-seeding experiment, told BusinessLine that the State should have started the effort in June. “Now, we are not getting good clouds for seeding. We were looking for cloud seeding 40 km from Aurangabad. Reports on the outcome are still awaited,” he said.

With a population of 1.87 crore, eight districts of Marathwada continue to be hit hard by a water crisis. Among the major dams in the region, Manjara, Majalgaon, Terna, Kolegaon and Dudhana have zero storage. Only the Jayakwadi dam in Paithan, Aurangabad, has 69.12 per cent water, thanks to heavy rains in the Godavari basin in Nashik. Most of Marathwada falls in the Godavari basin, but it is the only major perennial river there. As on August 8, the State had a water surplus of almost 32 per cent. However, in Marathwada, seven districts are in deficit, with Aurangabad being the exception.  https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/maharashtras-irony-battling-floods-in-one-place-cloud-seeding-at-another/article28975754.ece  (10 Aug. 2019)  

DISASTER

Jammu & Kashmir Cloudburst damages house, school in Tral A cloudburst in the wee hours of Aug. 4 damaged a residential house, a school and a road in Hajin area of south Kashmir’s Tral. As per locals, the cloudburst also damaged water supply and electricity lines in the area. However there was no report of any casualty.

The accumulation of mud and stones blocked the road causing inconvenience to the pedestrians. Last week, cloudburst hit Byari Angan area of Tral, some 40 km from Sub District Headquarter Tral, killing over a hundred sheep. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/kashmir/cloudburst-damages-house-school-in-tral/   (4 Aug. 2019)

Cloudbursts damage crops in Bandipora villages Several cloudbursts on July 27 damaged agriculture and horticulture crops in 3 villages of Bandipora district. Locals said that a cloudburst hit Hudbal locality of Ahamsharief resulting in flash floods in a nearby stream which damaged crops in the locality.

Flash floods caused by a cloudburst inundated several residential houses and also damaged horticulture and agriculture crops in the area. A footbridge was also washed away by the flash floods, the locals said. Reports also said that a cloudburst caused flash floods in Arin village which inundated houses and link roads. The reports also said that flash floods in Vij Nallah in Athwatoo village also damaged agriculture and horticulture crops. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/business/cloudbursts-damage-crops-in-bandipora-villages/  (28 July 2019)

Flash floods wash away woman, damage houses and crops in Lolab A woman died after multiple cloudbursts triggered flash floods in Lolab area of Kupwara district on July 18. According to local reports and the police, the woman identified as Shafiqa Bano (35) was washed away by the flash floods in Bera Rudi, Khordi, Bat Gagal, Surgam in Lolab at around 4:30 pm.

Locals said that there were multiple cloudbursts in Kantpora, Putshahi, and Dooniwari villages. Reports said that the flash floods caused a large-scale damage to the standing crops as well as to the residential houses in the villages. “One foot bridge connecting Shimriyal village was also washed away due to the flash floods,” said the GNS quoting reports.   https://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/kashmir/flash-floods-wash-away-woman-damage-houses-and-crops-in-lolab/  (18 July 2019)

Himachal Pradesh Flash floods in Kullu after cloudburst A car was washed away on Aug. 7 near New Sabzi Mandi in flash floods after a cloudburst at Hallan Badgran in Kullu district, police said. 2 people in the car were rescued. Sudden flow of water in the area was reported after the cloudburst, the police officer said, adding that assessment about loss to property was being done. https://www.ndtv.com/cities/flash-floods-in-himachal-pradeshs-kullu-after-cloudburst-2081611  (7 Aug. 2019)

Rains wreak havoc in Kullu, cloudburst near Manali triggers floods Landslides triggered by heavy rainfall damaged government and private property in Kullu on Aug. 7. The heavy downpour caused flash flooding at Badhagran nullah near Patlikuhl,16km from Manali. The Beas was also in spate. Two persons had to be rescued by local residents and the police after their vehicle skidded from Naggar Road, Manali, into the swelling river. An aerial operation to evacuate an injured shepherd from Bara-Bhangal village in Baijnath sub-division on Aug. 7 was foiled as the helicopter sent by the state government could not land due to bad weather. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/rains-wreak-havoc-in-kullu-cloudburst-near-manali-triggers-floods/story-tuWn6UPr62PHqAAMAXc74H.html  (7 Aug. 2019) 

Cloud burst in Kinnaur’s Pooh A cloud burst was reported in Pooh sub division of Kinnaur district due to which Nathpa Jhakri hydro power station and Rampur hydro power station were shutdown. According to sources, though the water level and discharge at Nathpa dam will be moderated, still the water level in Satluj river downstream of Nathpa may increase. Situation is on alert but very much in control and nothing to worry, officials said. All the stakeholders have been requested not to stay near the river bed for their safety and also requested to take domestic animals to safe places away from the river bed. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/cloud-burst-in-kinnaurs-pooh/articleshow/70594070.cms  (8 Aug. 2019)

Uttrakhand Cloudburst damages 5 bridges Landslides triggered by incessant rains in the hills on Aug. 7 blocked many road routes, including Rishikesh-Badrinath highway at Lambagad. A cloudburst at Gairsain in Chamoli district in the early hours on Aug 7 also damaged bridges, a school building and cowsheds, the SDRF said.

Besides blocking the Rishikesh-Badrinath highway at Lambagad, rubble from landslips has also blocked 19 motor roads in Chamoli, 7 in Uttarkashi and 8 in Pauri districts, it said. 4 cowsheds were destroyed, 5 bridges damaged and one school building was partially damaged in the cloudburst in Gairsain, it said.

Rains over 2 days in the hills and in the catchment areas of rivers increased their water levels, including those of the Ganga, Yamuna, Nandakini and Pindar. Rivers in Kumaon region, including Kali Nadi in Pithoragarh and Ramganga in Udham Singh Nagar district, were also in spate, the SDRF said. https://www.thehansindia.com/news/national/cloudburst-damages-5-bridges–552691  (8 Aug. 2019)

Heavy rainfall, flash floods cause destruction in Chamoli, Rudra Prayag:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brt4F4-Xii0&feature=youtu.be

https://twitter.com/CNNnews18/status/1160746869116399616

Cloudburst washes away four cow-shelters Heavy rainfall on Aug. 6 night and Aug. 7 morning across several districts of state led to cloudburst in around 4 am in Pathharkatta village of Gairsain area in Chamoli district. Heavy rainfall flooded a local nullah, 4 cow shelters that were located nearby were washed away. This is the second such incident of cloudburst in Chamoli district this monsoon. A similar incident in June this year had claimed the life of an 85-year-old man.

Tanakpur-Pithoragarh highway in Champawat district also remained closed due to landslide at 2 spots. Incessant rainfall has made the debris cleaning work more challenging. Meanwhile, the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra also remained suspended for at least 4 hours after roads were damaged at Dobat and Aelagad areas on Aug. 6. SDRF was rushed to 2 spots after which the route was cleared and around 55 pilgrims were evacuated. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/cloudburst-in-chamoli-district-washes-away-four-cow-shelters/articleshow/70564559.cms  (7 Aug. 2019)

Cloudburst triggers bridge collapse in Chamoli Thousands of visitors were left stranded in the region after 6 bridges collapsed on Aug. 6 due to relentless rains triggered by a cloud burst. Apart from bridges, a portion of the kitchen of a primary school also collapsed due to heavy downpour. Rescue teams have been rushed to the areas where the extent of the damage is too much. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/cloudburst-bridge-collapse-chamoli-1577836-2019-08-06  (6 Aug. 2019)

2 killed in cloudburst in Tehri According to information, a cloudburst was reported in Tehri on Aug. 9. 2 people were reportedly killed in the incident. The cloud burst occurred in Theti village of Ghansali in Tehri at around 2 p.m. The incident has added to the woes of the locals due to heavy debris in the area.

In Rudraprayag, it has been raining heavily since Aug. 7 night. The village and market of Augustmuni Shili in Rudraprayag were flooded due to heavy rains. The district administration instructed people not to stay indoors late in the night due to the torrential rains. The water level of Alaknanda and Mandakini river was also above the danger level. On August 6, a cloud burst on the Mayali-Tehri road in Rudraprayag due to heavy rains. The Met department issued an alert for continuous and heavy rain in Rudrapprayag. https://english.newstracklive.com/news/two-people-died-in-tihri-by-cloud-bursting-heavy-rain-fall-in-uttarakhand-mc23-nu-1027447-1.html  (9 Aug. 2019) 

DTE Hindi report on increasing cloud burst events in the state. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/hindistory/what-is-the-reasons-of-cloudbursts-in-uttarakhand-66103  (9 Aug. 2019)

Another DTE Hindi report says there were three cloud burst incidents in the state in the intervening night of 8 and 9 Aug. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/hindistory/cloudbrusts-in-three-places-of-uttarakhand-66097  (9 Aug. 2019)

ऋषिकेश बद्रीनाथ हाइवे 58 पर फरासू के पास भूस्खलन.. भूस्खलन के बाद दोनों तरफ लगा था जाम…सड़क खुलने के इन्तजार में खड़े थे लोग….अचानक सड़क का पुस्ता टूटा…जिसमें युवक लैंडस्लाइड की चपेट में आ गया,युवक ने बचने की कोसिस की काफी देर तक लोग उसका वीडियो बनाते रहे लेकिन नदी के तेज जलस्तर में फिर वो डूब गया,पुलिस मौके पर खोजबीन जारी।  https://www.jagouttarakhand.com/live-video-of-death/  (8 Aug. 2019)

Dave Petley has updated his top landslide video post with inclusion of six videos from Bhutan and one more from Solan, HP, India. https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2019/07/31/2019-landslide-videos/  (31 July 2019)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Assam Activists slam NGT for ‘nod’ to Subansiri HEP Activists have slammed the NGT for virtually paving the way for a mega dam that was left incomplete in 2011. The NGT had earlier this week dismissed petitions seeking reconstitution of a 6-member expert committee that they claimed was biased towards environment-threatening big dams.  Activists said that the dismissal of the pleas was a move by the Centre to resume work on the 2000 MW Lower Subansiri Hydropower Project (LSHP) at Gerukamukh on the Arunachal Pradesh-Assam border.

“The Centre had formed a six-member panel to study the project and give a report. Three of the members, who are from Assam, dissuaded construction in an earthquake-prone area. The three other members endorsed the project. Following this, the Centre formed another panel with members from the government. This committee’s legality was thus challenged,” said Akhil Gogoi, leader of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti that has been opposed to the dam.

“The people of Assam will not accept the NGT order. How can a committee with questionable legality submit a report, based on which an expert appraisal panel approve environment clearance,” he asked. The AASU said the Centre should first ensure the safety and security of the people living downstream of the dam before giving its nod. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/activists-in-assam-slam-ngt-for-nod-to-2000-mw-dam/article28810917.ece  (4 Aug. 2019)

Himchal Pradesh SJVNL shutdowns productions after cloud burst in Pooh Satluj Jal Vidhut Nigam Limited decided to shut down the production of 1500 mw Nathpa Jhakri Hydro Power Station and 450 mw Rampur HPS after cloud burst in Pooh sub division of Kinnuar district along India-China international border.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Rampur, Abhimenu Verma confirmed the information that after cloud burst in pooh sub division of Kinnnaur district NJHPS and Rampur HPS would be shutdown with effect from 20:15 hrs one by one machine in each time block of 15 minutes. He said that although the water level or discharge at Nathpa dam would be moderated still the water level in river Satluj downstream of Nathpa may increase.  http://www.uniindia.com/sjvnl-shutdowns-productions-after-cloud-burst-in-pooh/north/news/1692883.html  (8 Aug. 2019)

Jammu & Kashmir Will reorganization help hydro power projects? Its doubtful if this hopes of NHPC in pushing hydropower projects in J&K will fructify. https://www.livemint.com/industry/energy/post-j-k-becoming-a-ut-india-hopes-to-expedite-hydropower-projects-1565057239295.html  (6 Aug. 2019)

However, NHPC hopes to either quickly start work or speed up major projects in the Chenab Basin after the reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir into a union territory. As per NHPC CMD Balraj Joshi said the path had been smoothened for the construction of the Ratle, Pakul Dul and Kiru hydro-electric projects.   https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/jammu-kashmir/reorganisation-of-jammu-and-kashmir-to-speed-up-nhpc-hydel-projects/815938.html  (10 Aug. 2019)

Report Is hydropower back in play in India’s energy mix? Apart from J&K, some of the new hydropower projects in India on which the work is expected to start in full swing include; 2,880 MW Dibang and 2,000 MW Lower Subansiri hydropower projects in Arunachal Pradesh and 500 MW Teesta-VI project in Sikkim.

“With the projects given to private firms not getting constructed, the state government of Arunachal Pradesh wants NHPC to take up these projects. We are interested if there are no legacy burdens,” added Joshi.

“There is no other way to put it. The private sector has terribly failed in constructing hydropower projects in India and particularly Arunachal Pradesh. Everyone jumped in, thinking that it was a gold rush,” said a former chief executive of a private hydropower firm requesting anonymity.

At present, India has an installed power-generation capacity of 357,875 MW, of which around 13% or 45,399.22 MW is generated through HEPs. Executing a hydropower project is time-consuming and tedious and involves a thorough survey and investigation and detailed project reports.

As part of the new hydro policy, large hydropower projects have been declared as renewable energy sources, making them a part of the renewable purchase obligation, which requires power discoms to buy a fixed amount of renewable energy to cut reliance on fossil fuels.

The average tariff from NHPC’s hydropower projects in Rs3.34 per kWh. In comparison, wind and solar power tariffs plunged to record lows of Rs2.64 per unit and Rs2.44 per unit respectively. However, given the new uncertainties hitting the green energy economy, these tariffs have now firmed up. https://www.livemint.com/industry/energy/is-hydropower-back-in-play-in-india-s-energy-mix-1565407657407.html  (10 Aug. 2019)

MoEF Minutes of the EAC held on July 19, 2019 now upload. Decisions:

  1. Lakhwar Multipurpose project: GRANTED TORC
  2. Mekedatu Reservoir and Drinking Water Project by Karnataka on Cauvery: More info sought and resolution of issues with TN asked for.
  3. 44 MW Jakhol Sakri HEP in Tones Basin in Uttarkashi dist of Uttarakhand: Info sought.
  4. Banda Major Irrigation Project in Sagar Dist, MP: More info sought.
  5. Damanganga–Vaitarna-Godavari Intrastate Link project by at Thane district, Maharashtra- Regarding Fresh ToR: PP requested to defer the discussion.
  6. Rahi Chu HEP (25 MW) in North Sikkim District of Sikkim by M/s. Sikkim Engineering Pvt. Ltd-Regarding Fresh Environmental Clearance: Info sought.
  7. Parbati (Rinsi) major Irrigation Project in Rajgarh district of Madhya Pradesh by NARSINGHGARH EE- Fresh Environmental Clearance: Info Sought.
  1. Discussion on the report – Operational Procedures for Assessing and Managing Environmental Impacts in Existing Dam projects: The EAC recommended the Operational Procedures for Assessing and Managing Environmental Impacts in Existing Dam projects for its implementation after approval of the competent authority
  1. Teesta-IV HEP (520 MW) project in North Sikkim District of Sikkim by M/s. NHPC Ltd- Regarding Amendment in Environmental Clearance: the EAC recommended for amendment of e-flow condition as proposed by PP http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/06082019J47QYERS25thEACMoMFinal.pdf

DAMS

Mekedatu Dam Centre for ‘amicable’ solution to Mekedatu The contentious Mekedatu Balancing Reservoir project, which aims to augment the Cauvery water supply to Bengaluru much to the opposition of Tamil Nadu, has not been granted clearance by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).

Apart from voicing environmental concerns over the submergence of 52.5 sqkm of forest land, including core areas of the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) on River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects constituted by the MoEF has said the proposal can be reconsidered only after Tamil Nadu and Karnataka reach an “amicable solution.”

While the EAC meeting was conducted on July 19, the minutes were released recently. Karnataka had sought granting of Terms of Reference (ToR), which is the first stage of the environmental clearance process, for the ₹9,000-crore project. The project intends to divert 4.75 tmcft of drinking water towards the Bengaluru Metropolitan Region and for the generation of 400 MW of hydro-electric energy. The Tamil Nadu government has sought scrapping of the project through multiple legal and political fora while Karnataka CM B.S. Yediyurappa on Aug. 6 requested PM Modi to grant permission to build the balancing reservoir. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/centre-for-amicable-solution-to-mekedatu/article28874057.ece  (6 Aug. 2019) 

Polavaram Dam Assembly panel to meet PM An all-party Assembly committee headed by Odisha Speaker Surya Narayan Patro has been constituted to take up the issue of unilateral construction of Polavaram dam project by neighbouring Andhra Pradesh with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Announcing the formation of the 16-member committee before adjourning the Budget session of the Assembly sine die on Saturday, the Speaker said representatives of the panel will visit Delhi and meet the Prime Minister. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2019/aug/06/assembly-panel-to-meet-pm-modi-over-polavaram-project-2014828.html  (6 Aug. 2019)

Ramanamma fears that once she leaves her village to escape the current floods, the government will not allow her to return as Devipatnam will be affected once the dam is constructed. Like Ramanamma, scores of people in 18 villages affected by the floods too want to stay back. They fear that once they vacated their villages, they will not get compensation under Polavaram project in their lifetime.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vijayawada/we-will-not-leave-the-village-till-release-of-polavaram-project-compensations/articleshow/70594781.cms  (9 Aug. 2019)

Sardar Sarovar Dam MP, Gujarat on collision over Narmada water The Gujarat government has contended that for testing gates of the dam it is essential that the dam is filled to its optimum level of 138.68 meters.  However, MP’s Narmada Valley Development minister Surendra Baghel says Gujarat is getting water which is due to the state as per the accord. The minister said releasing additional water for the dam is fraught with the grave risk of inundating 6,000 families of 76 villages in the catchment area. “Until displacement of the affected families is completed, additional water cannot be released”, he asserted.

– In three letters to the NCA chairman, Madhya Pradesh chief secretary S R Mohanty has pointed out that Gujarat has neither supplied power nor paid compensation in lieu of power as was agreed upon in the accord. As a result, the MP government is forced to spend additional Rs 228 crores, the letter said. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/west/mp-gujarat-on-collision-over-narmada-water-752243.html   (5 Aug. 2019)

Why MP, Gujarat arguing over Narmada water. This does not really explain since it remains silent on the role of Govt of India, its MoWR and NCA. It also has errors when it mentions 6 cusecs release and says R&R means rules and regulations! It ends with seemingly one sided comment about political design, not mentioning the state of tens of thousands of affected people. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-why-gujarat-mp-arguing-over-narmada-water-hydro-power-5890515/  (9 Aug. 2019)

Madhya Pradesh सिंगरौली में ऐशपॉन् टूटा, चार किलोमीटर तक फैले जहरीले रासायनिक तत्व मध्‍य प्रदेश में कोयले का गढ़ कहे जाने वाले सिंगरौली जिले में स्थित एस्सार थर्मल पावर प्लांट का ऐशपॉन्‍ड यानी राखड़ के तालाब का बांध टूट गया। ऐशपॉड टूटने से राखड़ का सैलाब इस कदर फूटा कि पानी व राखड़ में मौजूद जहरीले रासायनिक तत्व करीब 4 किलोमीटर तक फैल गये। इन तत्वों के का रण इलाके में तमाम तरह की बीमारियां फैलने की आशंका बढ़ गई है। और तो और चार किलोमीटर के दायरे में उगाई गई फसल पूरी तरह बर्बाद हो गई। https://hindi.oneindia.com/news/india/ashpond-s-boundary-breaks-in-the-singrauli-ash-spreads-in-4-km-519527.html  (9 Aug. 2019)

Centre Govt to send dam safety bill for scrutiny The government has proposed to send four legislations, including Dam Safety Bill to a standing committee or a select committee. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/government-offers-to-send-4-bills-for-scrutiny/article28838900.ece   (6 Aug. 2019)

The government informed the Opposition leaders in Rajya Sabha that the government is not in a hurry to pass these bills. DSB is passed by Lok Sabha.   https://www.deccanherald.com/national/national-politics/govt-ready-to-sent-bills-to-panels-oppn-says-too-late-752606.html  (7 Aug. 2019) 

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Ganga Falgu Link New DPR for Ganga-Falgu interlinking, says agri min Some useful information here:- Fresh DPR would be prepared to bring Ganga water to Falgu as a long term solution to the perennial water crisis in Gaya town and neighbouring areas, said Gaya town MLA and agriculture minister Prem Kumar on Aug. 3. “There was enough surplus water in Ganga that goes waste to the Bangladesh side and this surplus water can be channelised to Falgu river. The project will also benefit Nalanda district,” said Kumar.

Fatuha has been identified as the point from where Ganga can be harnessed for use in Gaya and Nalanda. “The DPR was made by a central government agency more than 10 years back when he was the PHED minister,” said Kumar. As he was subsequently shifted to the urban development department, the inter-linking project was subsequently shelved. Recent developments and acute water shortage in Gaya has once again brought the issue into focus. The earlier DPR estimated to cost Rs 1100 crore for the project execution has now become redundant and a fresh DPR would be required.

Ganga-Falgu inter linking was not the only project under consideration. The proposal to construct a low height barrage on Falgu near Bitho village was also under active consideration. “A group of engineers was working on the barrage design that has to take into consideration the uniqueness of Falgu that mostly flows sub-surface and for that reason water retention and prevention of water leakage through the highly porous river bed is somewhat difficult. Once approved by the group of engineers, the barrage project would be executed,” said Kumar.

Asked whether former MP Hari Manjhi’s proposal to link Falgu with Sone river was also under consideration, the minister said that Sone -Falgu linking was not feasible as, unlike Ganga, there was no surplus water in Sone. Gaya town MLA and former Gaya MP, both belonging to the BJP, it may be recalled, had been at loggerheads on river linking issue and this tug of war has further delayed solution to Gaya’s water problem, says activist Shri Bhagwan Bhaskar. “Whereas, Prem favoured Ganga -Falgu linking, Manjhi lobbied for Sone-Falgu linking,” said the activist.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/new-dpr-for-ganga-falgu-interlinking-says-agri-min/articleshow/70525552.cms  (5 Aug. 2019)

Kosi-Mechi Link Centre approves Rs 4,900-crore project to link rivers  The Rs 4900 Cr Kosi-Mechi project secured the approval from MoEFCC to provide irrigation to 2.14 lakh ha spread across the districts of Araria, Kishanganj, Purnia and Katihar in north Bihar and help moderate floods. “This interlinking project envisages diversion of part of surplus water of Kosi river through existing Hanuman Nagar barrage to the Mahananda basin,” explained Bihar’s WRD minister Sanjay Kumar Jha.

Mechi is an important tributary of Mahananda river. Its basin however remains mostly deficient in providing adequate water for irrigation. The entire command area is contiguous to India-Nepal border. “Its environmental approval note clearly states that ‘the project involves no displacement of population and there is no acquisition of any forest land. The total land requirement is about 1,396.81 hectares. No National Park, Wildlife Sanctuary, Eco-sensitive areas, etc. are present within 10 km radius of the project’,” Jha said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/bihar-centre-approves-rs-4900-crore-project-to-link-kosi-mechi-rivers/articleshow/70513655.cms   (3 Aug. 2019)

Godavari-Cauvery Linking Tamil Nadu to get just 83 tmcft from project Tamil Nadu has been allotted 83 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of water under the proposed Godavari-Cauvery link, according to a draft DPR of the National Water Development Agency (NWDA), a Central government organisation entrusted with the task of preparing proposals for linking rivers.

The allotment has not provided comfort to the State government, as Tamil Nadu has been demanding 200 tmcft of water, a quantity mentioned in a memorandum submitted by CM Edappadi K. Palaniswami to PM Modi in June. A senior Tamil Nadu official, who is aware of the subject, said a letter will be sent soon, requesting the NWDA to revise the figure to at least 125-150 tmcft of water.

A senior NWDA official said the organisation is awaiting views of States. The allocation for Tamil Nadu can go up in the subsequent phase when the diversion of surplus water from Mahanadi is taken up. Also, when the peninsular component gets integrated with the Himalayan component, the amount of water meant for Tamil Nadu will increase, the official added. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tn-to-get-just-83-tmcft-under-godavari-cauvery-link-project/article28873671.ece  (8 Aug. 2019)

Damanganga-Panjal Link “The issue of compensating the neighbouring state for the quantity of water contributed from its catchment area and for the rehabilitation of the project affected will come up at some point. We will also need their consent for construction of the dam in Karpada. An MoU will have to be executed with them,” said a senior official. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/maharashtra-damanganga-pinjal-river-link-will-still-have-a-gujarat-component-5890419/   (9 Aug. 2019)

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS

Manthan Govt violating norms The Manthan Adhyayan Kendra has alleged that the Inland Waterways Authority of India has been carrying out capital dredging to maintain an assured draft in the navigation channel for National Inland Waterways in violation of the country’s environmental law. https://www.counterview.in/2019/08/capital-dredging-in-inland-waterway.html  (6 Aug. 2019)

URBAN RIVERS

Mula-Mutha, Pune Living river as next century infrastucture  Columbia’s Spring 2019 Urban Design Studio, in partnership with 100 Resilient Cities and the Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes, took a second look at the Mula-Mutha River Conservation and Riverfront Project, and proposed alternatives to the current proposal that attempt to address the systemic ecological and social challenges that Pune faces. https://www.arch.columbia.edu/books/reader/420-water-urbanism-pune#reader-anchor-1   

https://twitter.com/Jeevitnadi/status/1160554238474194945

Kamwari; Bhiwandi Polluted river floods Bhiwandi with problems  A video of Bhiwandi Nizampur City Municipal Corporation’s (BNCMC) garbage truck dumping waste into the flooded Kamwari river went viral last week. Residents said they started recording the incident to force the civic body employee from dumping waste. But, he continued to do so. After the video went viral, the Shelar gram panchayat reportedly issued a notice to the employee asking him to explain his action. The incident has highlighted the plight of the water bodies in Bhiwandi. Students of Shree Halari Visa Oswal College in Bhiwandi have been working on reviving the Kamwari river for a year.

After the floods in the city last week, principal of the college, Snehal Dhonde, asked the Thane collector to join hands with the college and take immediate action against defaulters for encroachment on the river. Areas such as Khoni, Mitpada, Shelar, Jaiitunpura, Motherchalla idgah, Saudagar mohalla, Ambika Nagar and Brahman Ali were severely flooded owing to heavy rain. The effluents from the textile units located on the bank of Kamwari river are severely polluting the river. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/polluted-river-floods-bhiwandi-with-problems/story-h2EetvgWHYN3mgPZPv4cNP.html  (10 Aug. 2019)

RIVERS

Centre River Basin Management bill to be taken in next parliament session River Basin Management Bill, 2019 – bill to address the larger issue of conservation, capacity building and distribution of water resources by adopting river basin approach – is expected to be introduced in Parliament during its next (winter) session later this year. This proposed law relates to management of all 13 river basins in the country by setting up exclusive authority and making separate master plan for each of them.

The authorities will be set up for river basins of Ganga, Indus, Godavari, Mahanadi, Mahi, Narmada, Pennar, Cauvery, Krishna, Tapi, Subarnrekha, Brahmani-Baitarini and Brahamaputra- Barak-inter-state rivers of north-east. It would replace the River Board Act, 1956. “The proposed exclusive authority for each river basin will have a council where chief ministers of basin states will have roles in developing the entire basin as unit for conservation and water distribution through consultations at political level,” said an official. Under the proposed law, each of the 13 river basin authorities will have a two-tier system, consisting of a Governing Council and an Executive Board. The council will comprise of chief ministers of all states within particular basin. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/modi-2-0-third-bill-on-water-issues-to-be-taken-up-in-next-session-of-parliament/articleshow/70519764.cms  (4 Aug. 2019)

DTE Report India has 20 river basins, all over-exploited Over 60 years after the country got its first plan to rejuvenate the rivers, not a single basin has been spared from overexploitation. All the 20 river basins of the country share the story of the Cauvery: how human interference has changed every river’s form and flow pattern over the past few decades. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/water/india-has-20-river-basins-all-over-exploited-65929  (8 Aug. 2019)

GANGA Centre CPCB directs 4 state to take action against ganga polluters Taking strict note of effluent and industrial waste being discharged into the Ganga river, the CPCB has directed four state pollution control boards to take action on units, including closing them, if they don’t comply with environmental norms. In separate letters to the chairmen of the Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar pollution control boards, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has directed them to process reports of inspections within 15 days. It said action, including the closure of industries violating norms, will be taken within 15 days of submission of the inspection reports. https://www.asianage.com/india/all-india/020819/pollution-control-board-directs-4-state-to-take-action-against-ganga-polluters.html   (2 Aug. 2019)

Bihar Work on new bridge over Ganga from next year The work 4-lane bridge parallel to the Mahatma Gandhi Setu — among the country’s top-3 longest bridges — is all set to begin early next year with the Union ministry of road transport and highways initiating the bidding process for its construction across the Ganga connecting Patna and Hajipur.

The project is a part of PM Modi’s special package for Bihar, which he had announced prior to the assembly elections in the state in 2015. The total length of the new bridge from Zero Mile in Patna to Ramashish Chowk in Hajipur, including the approach road, is 14.5 kms. However, the length of the extradosed bridge structure will be 5.63kms.  The new bridge, which will be located barely 38m from the existing Gandhi Setu, will be built at an estimated total cost of of Rs 2,926.42cr, with the civil expenses amounting to Rs 2411.50cr. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/work-on-new-bridge-over-ganga-from-next-year/articleshow/70593558.cms  (9 Aug. 2019)

Report Plastic, poverty and paradox: experts head to the Ganges to track waste India’s most sacred river is also its most polluted, with plastic a major culprit. Now moves are afoot to monitor the flow of rubbish and assess its link to poverty. It is also one of 10 rivers responsible for 90% of the plastic that ends up at sea. The team of 18 – with researchers from organisations including the Wildlife Institute of India, University of Dhaka and Zoological Society of London (ZSL) – completed the first round of the expedition this spring to collate pre-monsoon plastic levels. In October, the team will take two months to retrace the same route, travelling up and around the Ganges by boat, road and train, collecting post-monsoon pollution levels in the air, water and sediment, and in species in and around the river. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/aug/05/plastic-poverty-and-paradox-experts-head-to-the-ganges-to-track-waste     (5 Aug. 2019)

YAMUNA Delhi NGT: Look into encroachment complaints along Yamuna NGT asked DDA and Yamuna Monitoring Committee on Aug. 8 to look into a complaint alleging encroachments on the floodplain of river Yamuna at Kilokri village in Maharani Bagh. The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by the general secretary of “Evershine Nyay Munch”, seeking action against unauthorised encroachments in the area. The plea alleged that various motor mechanic workshops, denting and painting businesses were operating on the floodplain at Kilokri village.

Last month, expressing dissatisfaction with cleaning of the Yamuna river, NGT had directed DDA to deposit Rs 50 lakh as performance guarantee for its failure to protect the environment. The chairperson’s bench said the failure of authorities is affecting life and health of citizens and threatening the existence of Yamuna. NGT asked DDA to deposit it within two weeks and warned that in case of failure, it would summon its vice-chairman. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/ngt-look-into-encroachment-complaints-along-yamuna/articleshow/70595078.cms  (9 Aug. 2019)

Delhi will not survive without Yamuna, says NGT chairman Saying that Delhi will not survive without the Yamuna, Green Tribunal has given one more “opportunity” to authorities to list steps taken to rejuvenate the river within 2 weeks. “Killing Yamuna will ultimately kill Delhi — if not today, then tomorrow,” observed NGT Chairman Adarsh Kumar Goel.

The four-member bench led by Goel was hearing a bunch of petitions on reviving the Yamuna earlier this month. The NGT order said Rs 10 crore performance guarantee deposited by the Delhi, Haryana and UP governments each, and Rs 50 lakh by DPCC “may have to be forfeited” for not implementing its directions. https://indianexpress.com/article/delhi/delhi-will-not-survive-without-yamuna-says-ngt-chairman-5840887/  (22 July 2019)

‘Don’t let Bakrid blood flow into the Yamuna’ North Delhi Municipal Corporation has issued directions to prevent the blood of animals slaughtered on Bakrid from flowing directly into the Yamuna. In an order dated August 5, the civic body said the Ghazipur abattoir under East Delhi Municipal Corporation remains functional on Eid and any person “intending to offer sacrifice of sheep, goat and buffaloes on the religious occasion should utilise the facilities provided at the slaughterhouse”. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/dont-let-bakrid-blood-flow-into-the-yamuna/articleshow/70562047.cms  (7 Aug. 2019)

Centre, Delhi govt launch pilot project for groundwater recharge Delhi government and the central Jal Shakti Ministry on Aug. 9 launched a pilot project to create natural reservoirs to conserve rainwater in the Yamuna floodplains. The project was launched by Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/centre-delhi-government-launch-pilot-project-for-groundwater-recharge-1565355506482.html  (9 Aug. 2019)

Uttar Pradesh ‘Centre neglecting Yamuna’ Scottish-Indian entrepreneur and well-known philanthropist Poonam Gupta, wants to lend a helping hand to clean up Yamuna to save precious heritage assets like the Taj Mahal. Gupta said the government was doing a lot for the Ganges, but river Yamuna, which is the life line of so many cities, is still neglected.  https://www.ndtv.com/indians-abroad/scottish-indian-entrepreneur-poonam-gupta-to-help-clean-yamuna-2080208  (4 Aug. 2019)   

SAND MINING

Punjab ‘Goonda tax’ on sand, gravel jams work on corridor An artificially created scarcity of mining material, including sand and gravel, has forced the company engaged in building the 4.5 km-long Kartarpur corridor to halt construction even as the October 31 deadline is fast approaching.

Owing to this unauthorised collection of this tax, sand prices have skyrocketed, adversely impacting demand. Subsequently, a majority of the crushers have reduced their capacity. Many of them are even finding themselves on the verge of closure.

Teams of goons, allegedly backed by local politicians, gather at exit points of quarries and collect “tax” at sites along the Mirthal road, Sundarchak road, Narot Jaimal Singh road, Madhopur road and Kirrian road, issuing a “receipt” that neither carries any signature nor an official stamp. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/-goonda-tax-on-sand-gravel-jams-work-on-corridor/815095.html  (9 Aug. 2019) 

Tamil Nadu SHRC begins probe against woman tahsildar The state human rights commission (SHRC) has initiated inquiry against a woman tahsildar over her alleged involvement in sand mining from Kollidam river in Trichy district. The proposed inquiry on Aug. 9 was put off apparently after demands to summon more people were made by the petitioner.

Petitioner moved SHRC demanding to book Renuga Devi and slap Goondas Act on her for allegedly facilitating sand mining from Kollidam near Manpidimangalam around midnight on October 11 last year. Anbuchezhian demanded that four more people in the local area who witnessed the sand mining be summoned too. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/trichy/shrc-begins-probe-against-woman-tahsildar-in-illegal-sand-mining-case/articleshow/70612672.cms  (10 Aug. 2019) 

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Maharashtra Panje not a wetland, says mangrove committee The state wetland and mangrove committee on Aug. 6 said that despite Panje in Navi Mumbai possessing characteristics of a wetland, it cannot be considered one because the area is not designated as such in the National Wetland Atlas. However, the committee recognised Bhendkhal is a wetland and directed Raigad district administration and City Industrial Development Corporation Ltd. (Cidco) to remove debris from the site. Cidco said Bhendkhal will be restored within two weeks.

Experts pointed out that the National Wetland Atlas is not up to date. “There are millions of wetlands across the country that have not been identified in this atlas,” said Dr Asad Rahmani of Wetlands International South Asia. “This does not mean we can alienate these zones and begin construction activity. Updating such lists of wetlands is a continuous process and cannot be left to eight-year-old studies.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/panje-not-a-wetland-says-maharashtra-mangrove-committee/story-RWGxpZm6JyaV4dboNTHc2M.html  (8 Aug. 2019)

Uttar Pradesh Extreme heat affects bird breeding in wetland The Surajpur Wetland in Greater Noida which boasts a diversity of water birds witnessed low summer breeding. According to the findings of the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC), 2019 there were more numbers of resident and migratory species and the numbers have gone up from 1,920 in 2018 to 3,034 this year. However, the ecologist TK Roy claimed that prolonged summer and extreme heat has affected the annual summer breeding. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/delhi/2019/jul/16/extreme-heat-affects-bird-breeding-in-wetland-2004378.html  (16 July 2019) 

Tamil Nadu Ex-Google man restoring water bodies Chennai-based environmentalist Arun Krishnamurthy has cleaned and restored at least 93 freshwater bodies across 14 Indian states. The community-led movement grew into the Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI), a non-profit wildlife conservation and habitat restoration group. Since its inception in 2007, it has removed garbage and harmful botanical species from these lakes and ponds that are crucial for maintaining ecological balance of nature.

The organisation has been successful in clearing trash, invasive weeds, and strengthening the bunds in several water bodies including the Egatoor pond in Chennai, the Kinathukadavu system ponds, Pei Kulam at Tuticorin and others. Making an impact in cities like Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Puducherry, Thiruvananthapuram, Bengaluru, Tirunelveli and Ahmedabad, the EFI is currently working on 39 active projects. It will soon start full-time operations in Vijayawada, Mysuru and Kanyakumari.  https://www.livemint.com/news/india/ex-google-man-restoring-india-s-water-bodies-93-and-counting-1564948193421.html  (5 Aug. 2019)

WATER OPTIONS

Gujarat Vadnagar town had over 50 water bodies! More details of water conservation around Vadnagar in Mehsana district, surviving for 2200 years, thanks to water conservation work. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/water-conservation-is-secret-of-vadnagars-longevity/articleshow/70528005.cms   (5 Aug. 2019)

GROUNDWATER

Depleted groundwater levels raises questions on nationwide viability of PM- KUSUM The varying and depleting ground water levels has raised questions on the nationwide viability of the subsidised solar pump distribution schemes. These programs are presently being implemented by state governments (such as Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh).

The centre is rolling out the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) for the distribution of solar irrigation pumps. Farmers are keen on acquiring more pumps as it relieves them from the erratic agricultural power supplies from Power Distribution utilities. But some of them, including the farmers of Jalgaon , are also wary of fast depleting groundwater levels that may render the entire scheme ineffective. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/depleted-groundwater-levels-raises-questionson-nationwide-viability-of-pm-kusum/article28943145.ece  (9 Aug. 2019)

Karnataka Groundwater dips in 80% of wells in State Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) monitors 1,098 wells in the State, and compared to the levels recorded in pre-monsoon of 2019, with the decadal average between 2009 and 2018. Of Karnataka’s monitored wells, just 217 — or 19.76% wells — recorded a rise in levels, while 881 wells recorded a decline in groundwater levels.

This is far above the national average of 61% of wells having a decline, with even drought-prone Maharashtra (75%) and Telangana (66%) recording a lower decline rate, shows the data which was presented in the Lok Sabha recently. The numbers also point to a significant decline in groundwater even when compared to pre-monsoons of 2018. Last year, before the monsoon, just 40% of wells had registered a decline when compared to the average levels between 2008 and 2017. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/groundwater-dips-in-80-of-wells-in-state/article28454870.ece  (16 July 2019)  

URBAN WATER

Chennai Govt plans industrial zone on dam catchment area At a time when Chennai is facing a severe water crisis, a State agency is trying to build a huge industrial zone on the catchment area of Red Hills reservoir, a primary water source for the city. Tamil Nadu Small Industries Development Corporation Limited has applied for reclassification of 53 acres of the catchment area of Red Hills reservoir to build an industrial zone for women entrepreneurs, according to officials. The application has been submitted on August 3 to the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), the planning authority of the city.

Spread across 4,500 acres, Red Hills (also known as Puzhal Reservoir) is one of Chennai’s largest water source. With a total capacity of 3,300 Million Cubic Feet, this reservoir has been providing water for the city even during times of drought. A part of Krishna River water which is released from Andhra Pradesh is also stored in this reservoir. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2019/aug/06/tamil-nadu-plans-industrial-zone-on-catchment-area-of-one-of-chennais-biggest-water-reservoirs-2015094.html  (6 Aug. 2019) 

Krishna River water to Chennai Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan Mohan Reddy on Aug. 9 accepted the request from Tamil Nadu government to release water from Krishna river to Chennai to overcome the grave drinking water scarcity in the city  and ordered the state government officials to take necessary actions with immediate effect. https://www.news18.com/news/politics/jagan-reddy-accepts-tamil-nadu-govts-request-to-release-krishna-river-water-to-chennai-2265191.html  (9 Aug. 2019)

Mumbai City to need 71% more water by 2041 say BMC study The study (not in published domain) seems to be a work of dam lobby if they have justified need for more dams for Mumbai as this engineer is saying: Ashok Tawadia, chief engineer, BMC’s hydraulic department, said, “The upcoming Gargai Dam project, the Pinjal Dam project, and the Damanganga- Pinjal river-linking project will add 2,891MLD to Mumbai. These projects are expected to be completed by 2028 and bring a lot of relief to Mumbai.” Mumbai, if it manages its existing supply, rainwater and sewage water, should not require any more water than it is getting now.

– WELCOME: The BMC has recently also floated tenders to appoint consultants to come up with a master plan for reusing wastewater treated at eight treatment plants in the city. Once the plants are ready by 2025 for tertiary treatment of wastewater, Mumbai will have 496.8MLD of treated waste water to use for non-potable purposes.

– Moreover, municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi now directed the administration to ensure implementation of the rule that all new constructions need to be set up to harvest rainwater. It is now a mandatory clause for obtaining an occupation certificate. He also made it mandatory for buildings to set aside 10 to 25% of their total plot for open grounds, of which 50% should be an urban forest. This will help increase the groundwater resources of the city. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/mumbai-to-need-71-more-water-by-2041-bmc-study/story-NS3k4KIB5CTZX3CwPUWDYL.html  (7 Aug. 2019)

Pune City’s annual water quota released in just one month About 20 TMC water, 5 TMC more than the city’s annual quota, was released from the Khadakwasla dam into the Mutha river and canal in the past one month, especially after bountiful rain in the catchments of the four reservoirs.

This is not the first time that such a huge water discharge was allowed from the Khadakwasla dam. Even during August last year, similar quantum of water was released, which was arrested in September after rainfall subsided. Still, the city and the rural parts had to cope up with less supply during the later part of the year. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/punes-annual-water-quota-released-in-just-one-month/articleshowprint/70612086.cms  (10 Aug. 2019)

Amritsar Water contamination, choked sewer: Residents fume Contaminated water supply and blocked sewage at Focal Point are crying for the attention of the authorities concerned. Residents say survival in such an environment is a Herculean task as waterlogging and contaminated water supply may result in diseases. Foul smell emanates from the waterlogged area round the clock, but the authorities concerned are busy in the blame game. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/amritsar/water-contamination-choked-sewer-residents-fume/800907.html  (12 July 2019)

WATER POLLUTION

Punjab In Fazilka, groundwater contamination worsens, farmers at receiving end Farmers who rely on tubewells for irrigation in the absence of canal water, blames for this the untreated sewage of 21 municipalities of Punjab’s Malwa belt flowing through various drains into the district, leading to a widespread contamination of groundwater here.

Residents of the area also rue that Pakistan frequently regulates the drain carrying effluents from entering into its territory. As a result, water emitting foul smell is deteriorating quality of groundwater in the border area. Officials admit that poor functioning of STPs run by various local bodies was ignored by the Punjab State Pollution Control Board (PSPCB) and the irrigation department for years. https://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab/in-fazilka-groundwater-contamination-worsens-farmers-at-receiving-end/story-bY3hfXk5uYxbq4UeggTqrM.html  (5 Aug. 2019)

Charged in water pollution case, Ludhiana Mayor, MC chief get bail The Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Prabhjot Singh Kaleka on Aug. 9 granted bail to city Mayor Balkar Singh Sandhu and Commissioner of Municipal Corporation KP Brar in a pollution case. However, Sanyam Aggarwal, Additional Commissioner, MC, was stated to be out of station. His personal presence was exempted for today.

The court has ordered him to remain present on October 5. Others who were granted bail include Rajinder Singh (superintending engineer), Ranbir Singh (executive engineer), Parshotam Lal (SDO) and Gurjeet Singh (manager of Jamalpur STP). The persons were summoned by the court in a complaint moved by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) through its Assistant Environment Engineer Jaspal Singh. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/charged-in-water-pollution-case-ludhiana-mayor-mc-chief-get-bail/814984.html  (9 Aug. 2019)

Haryana IOCL pays Rs17.3-cr relief for causing air, water pollution On NGT’s order, Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) refinery has deposited Rs17.31 crore in compensation with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for causing air and water pollution. The amount was deposited after the Supreme Court had dismissed an IOCL’s appeal against the NGT’s order.

Satpal Singh, sarpanch of the district’s Singhpura Sithna village, had filed a complaint in the NGT in 2018, alleging that the IOCL refinery was causing air and water pollution around Bohli, Dadlana and Sithana villages. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/iocl-pays-rs17-3-cr-relief-for-causing-air-water-pollution/807897.html  (26 July 2019)

CSE Indian fertiliser sector’s record on water pollution is a cause for concern The government will look into excessive groundwater use and nitrogen pollution caused by fertiliser plants and will find a way to address the issues, Minister for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar said at an event here.

Javadekar, while releasing a report on green rating project (GRP) on Indian fertiliser industry by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on July 29, said that groundwater pollution is a serious problem and the plants are need to be made accountable. The Minister praised CSE for carrying such third-party auditing of industry and said that the exercise is of immense help for the government in tackling governance issues.  https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/indian-fertiliser-sectors-record-on-water-pollution-is-a-cause-for-concern-cse/article28756903.ece  (30 July 2019)  

WATER

WRI Report Quarter of humanity faces looming water crises From India to Iran to Botswana, 17 countries around the world are currently under extremely high water stress, meaning they are using almost all the water they have, according to new World Resources Institute data published Aug. 6.

In those countries are several big, thirsty cities that have faced acute shortages recently, including São Paulo, Brazil; Chennai, India; and Cape Town, which in 2018 narrowly beat what it called Day Zero — the day when all its dams would be dry. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/06/climate/world-water-stress.html  (6 Aug. 2019)

“In fact, the government data has not been updated for the last five to 10 years, because there is a lot of pressure on the CGWB not to update any new region as water-stressed,” Shekhar said. https://www.indiaspend.com/why-india-with-plentiful-rains-rivers-is-on-list-of-worlds-most-water-stressed-countries/   (6 Aug. 2019)

Of the 17 countries facing the highest level of water stress – where 80% of water available is used up annually – India receives the maximum annual rainfall, according to an India Spend analysis of a new study by the World Resource Institute. All other countries on the list belong to the arid and semi-arid regions of Africa, West Asia and South Asia, and receive almost half of India’s annual rainfall and have fewer natural water sources.

Even within India, all nine states and union territories that report the worst water stress lie in the Indo-Gangetic plain, which has a web of big and small rivers and lakes. Chandigarh tops this list, as per the World Resource Institute, followed by Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. https://scroll.in/article/933124/despite-plentiful-rains-and-rivers-why-does-india-rank-among-worlds-most-water-stressed-nations  (8 Aug. 2019)

Centre Govt plans to integrate land and water schemes to tackle land degradation The Government of India wants to converge various land and water schemes to mainstream land degradation issues in national programmes, said Anuradha Singh, Director, Desertification Cell in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. “Nearly 30 per cent of India’s land is degraded and we are committed to addressing this challenge,” she said, adding, “India is committed to the goal of land degradation neutrality. The exercise of voluntary target setting is still on.”

The 14th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 14) to the UNCCD will be held from September 2-13 in New Delhi where Governments are expected to agree on strategic and effective land use and sustainable land management goals. The annual economic costs of land degradation and land use change in the country have been estimated at Rs 3,17,739 crore, which is 2.54 per cent of India’s GDP in 2014-15 and about 15.9 per cent of the GVA from agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors. Almost 82 per cent of the estimated cost is on account of land degradation and only 18 per cent due to land use change.

The land area that is likely to be degraded in 2030 under two different scenarios is projected at 94.53 mha and 106.15 mha. The area affected by water erosion and area under open forests (as compared with moderately dense and very dense forests) is projected to rise in both scenarios, suggesting that India will need to strengthen reclamation efforts in these sectors. The TERI report titled ‘Economics of Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought in India’ stated that while loss of productive land for forests, wetlands, range lands and other ecosystems is a concern, a larger concern is the degradation of existing ecosystems.  https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/govt-plans-to-integrate-land-and-water-schemes-to-tackle-land-degradation/article28830722.ece  (6 Aug. 2019)

Piped water to be Modi 2.0 priority, the blueprint is in place To receive central funds for water projects, the states and their district administrators will have to fulfil some tough conditions — create an underground storage facility with a sustainable source of water, ensure that the water is piped to households and devise ways for treatment and reuse of discharged water in activities like agriculture. The blueprint for the Jal Jeevan Mission, which has been publicised with the tagline “har ghar, nal se jal”, translating as “water from the tap in every home,” is ready and has already been approved by the Expenditure Finance Committee, government officials said. Only cabinet approval is pending.

Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Shekhawat said: “The day the scheme is approved, we will start working on it. The blueprint of this is absolutely ready.” “Whichever state does the maximum amount of work, will get the maximum amount of funds,” he said. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/piped-water-to-be-modi-2-0-priority/story-9Krig1zhvREYzuT6VHmwrM.html  (3 Aug. 2019)

Jal Shakti ministry is set to oppose the environment ministry in the NGT over a clutch of radical recommendations on ground water usage like banning new commercial as well as residential projects and levying a water charge on farmers with larger holding in water stressed areas. Jal Shakti ministry has begun hectic inter-ministerial consultations ahead of NGT’s August 23 hearing. Jal Shakti believes that there’s ambiwguity in the recommendations, which it alleges were made without adequate consultation with all stakeholders. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/jal-shakti-ministry-to-oppose-environment-ministrys-ground-water-suggestions/articleshow/70594773.cms  (8 Aug. 2019)

In a countrywide effort to enhance water security, especially in water stressed districts, the Centre initiated Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA) has claimed over 3.5 lakh water conservation measures in 256 districts have been taken up. Out of these, 1.54 lakh are water conservation and rain water harvesting measures, 20,000 relate to the rejuvenation of traditional water bodies, over 65,000 are reuse and recharge structures and 1.23 lakh are watershed development projects. An estimated 2.64 crore people have already participated in the Abhiyan and about 4.25 crore saplings were planted too. The outcome of the first phase of the Jal Shakti Abhiyan was claimed at a review by Cabinet Secretary in New Delhi.  http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetailm.aspx?PRID=1581206 

Meghalaya Finding Local Solutions to India’s Water Crisis National Water Policy, though progressive in some ways, fails to take into consideration many important features of the unique Indian demographic. While there have been attempts from certain parts of the country to do so, Meghalaya being a great example, the country has a long way to go. We delve into the details of water policies at the central as well as state level and evaluate the future of sustainable development for the water sector. https://thebastion.co.in/politics-and/environment/meghalaya-finding-local-solutions-to-indias-water-crisis/  (9 Aug. 2019)

DELHI WATER

DU student spots two turtle species new to city 25-year-old Gaurav Barhodiya, a Delhi University student, on a biodiversity assessment project at DDA’s Kamla Nehru Biodiversity Park (KNBP) as part of his PhD thesis, sighted two turtle species that have never been recorded in Delhi before. Barhodiya began recording flora and fauna at KNBP nine months ago. While he found that Flapshell turtle (Lissemys punctata) was a common sighting recorded in 2016 as well as 2018, the two others — the Indian roofed turtle (Pangshura tecta) and Indian black turtle (Melanochelys trijuga) — had no mention in Delhi’s historical books.

“Both the turtles were sighted at khooni jheel, a waterbody that remains flooded throughout the year and has been known to feed the Yamuna in the past through its many streams,” said Khudsar. The restoration of waterbodies, particularly khooni jheel, may have played a part in attracting turtles to the Ridge, Khudsar said. The jheel was also visited recently by DDA VC Tarun Kapoor. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/du-student-spots-two-turtle-species-new-to-city/articleshow/70527594.cms  (5 Aug. 2019)

An initial pilot project in Rajokri by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) is going to be the template for this rejuvenation. Rajokri, on the Delhi-Gurgaon border, had a pond filled with sewage from an unauthorised colony adjacent to it. The DJB cleaned it up, put in a sewage treatment plant, constructed a wetland and landscaped the area. Local residents were thrilled. The ecological benefits from the project are likely to be considerable. One offshoot could be a cleaner Yamuna. Interview of Ankit Srivastava, technical adviser with the DJB about their plans for water bodies. https://www.civilsocietyonline.com/interviews/we-will-bring-water-bodies-back/

ENERGY OPTIONS

Uttar Pradesh Govt clears state’s first floating solar power project on Rihind dam The state cabinet cleared the project that will fetch investment of Rs 750 crore with installed capacity of 150 MW and to be completed in 21 months. It will be the first water surface floating solar power plant of Uttar Pradesh and biggest in the country. While M/s Renew Solar Power Private Limited will produce 100 MW, Shapoorji Pallonji Infrastructure Private limited will generate 50 MW from this project. UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) has made power purchase agreement for next 25 years at Rs 3.36 per unit which will benefit people of the state.  https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/up-govt-clears-states-first-floating-solar-power-plant-on-rihand-dam/70558345   (6 Aug. 2019)

Shade of solar trees Helping farmers produce solar energy can help realise the government’s target of doubling farmers’ incomes. https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/india-farmers-solar-energy-doubling-farmers-incomes-5878303/   (5 Aug. 2019)

Also see, very useful source of information for Renewable Energy Data. http://www.prayaspune.org/peg/re.html    (July 2019)

ENVIRONMENT

Centre Govt tells states to apply for forest clearances on behalf of companies In a significant deviation from current practices the Centre has asked states to apply for forest clearances, on behalf of unidentified, prospective mining companies. This major step in environment regulatory practice is being undertaken to avoid a disruption in mineral production and its impact on the economy. This occurs as the Modi government rushes ahead with auctions of mineral deposits.

The existing norm, upheld by several Supreme Court orders, has been for the user agency – the miner in this case – to apply for forest clearances, and for these clearances to be strictly co-terminus with the lease period. In 2015, while its national mineral policy was still being drafted, the Government decided to auction all future mineral rights; hundreds of leases older than fifty years would have to come to an end on 31 March 2020, or on 31 March 2030 if captive.  https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/indl-goods/svs/metals-mining/centre-tells-states-to-apply-for-forest-clearances-on-behalf-of-companies/articleshow/70633981.cms  (11 Aug. 2019)

Jairam Ramesh urged govt to reject Kasturirangan committee report “In a Zero Hour Mention today I urged the @moefcc to reject both the methodology & conclusions of the Kasturirangan Committee and use the earlier Gadgil Committee for notifying ecologically sensitive zones in the Western Ghats, and implement them without further delay.” https://twitter.com/Jairam_Ramesh/status/1158384800962682880 

https://twitter.com/Jairam_Ramesh/status/1158384800962682880

SOUTH ASIA

Bhutan PM visit to Bhutan PM Modi will travel to Bhutan on August 17 for a two-day visit during which the two strategic partners will strengthen ties with the inauguration of the 720 MW Mangdechhu hydropower project. PPA for the project would also be signed on the day. Sankosh project is also likely to be discussed. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/pm-modi-visit-bhutan-hydropower-rupay-rollout-defence-1579324-2019-08-10   (10 Aug. 209)

Bangladesh Transboundary cooperation key to enforcing rivers’ legal rights Bangladesh will face a number of political, administrative, social, economic and environmental hurdles while implementing the decision at the domestic level as well. Despite being daunting, they are well within Bangladesh’s control. However, it can do little about the challenges posed by a stronger upper riparian like India who is not as motivated to jointly conserve and protect transboundary rivers, despite its beneficial relationship with the downstream riparian.

The only way Bangladesh can mitigate the impact on its forward-looking decision is by engaging India assertively and steadfastly in meaningful transboundary cooperation. For this, it must push for comprehensive treaties promoting joint efforts for all-round and sustainable development of the basin, stimulate and bolster multi-track diplomacy, and leverage the geopolitical realities of South Asia and beyond to strengthen its bargaining power. It is only with India on board, and a fair, efficient and sustainable framework of joint river basin governance in place, that Bangladesh has a realistic chance of effectively enforcing the legal rights it has granted to its rivers. The sooner Bangladesh acts on this reality, the more effective the implementation of its decision will be. https://www.thedailystar.net/opinion/environment/news/transboundary-cooperation-key-enforcing-rivers-legal-rights-bangladesh-1784641  (11 Aug. 2019)

Nepal Banjaraha locals want Indian dam in Lalbakaiya River removed Locals of Banjaraha at Ishnath Municipality on Aug. 4 demanded that the embankment constructed in the Lalbakaiya River be removed as they did want inundation and flooding in Rautahat. Locals had demanded removal of the dam when a government team led by CDO Kiran Thapa and security forces visited Banjaraha. Locals complained that they had been facing the problem of inundation and flooding ever since India constructed a tall embankment in the river eight years ago. Flood in Lalbakaiya River on July 11 and 12 had inundated Banjaraha village and around 500 bigha land in the village is still under water. https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/banjaraha-locals-want-indian-dam-in-lalbakaiya-river-removed/  (4 Aug. 2019)

Newly-discovered lake in likely to become world’s highest A newly-discovered lake in Nepal is likely to set a new record of being the world’s highest lake replacing Tilicho, which is situated at an altitude of 4,919 metres in the Himalayan nation and currently holding the title.

The Kajin Sara lake in Manang district was discovered about a few months ago by a team of mountaineers, the Himalayan Times reported. It is located at Singarkharka area of Chame rural municipality. https://www.news18.com/news/world/newly-discovered-lake-in-nepal-likely-to-become-worlds-highest-2265521.html  (10 Aug. 2019)  

Pakistan Indus Delta becoming no man’s land The 1960s was the decade of dam building in Pakistan — Guddu Barrage and Mangla Dam in 1962, and Tarbela Dam in 1968 were the biggest. All affected water flow to the Indus delta and the sea in theory. In fact, until the 2010 flood, the Indus had not reached the sea for decades.

Reports that the Pakistan government is planning more dams upstream in the Indus and its tributaries have scared residents further, says Mirbaher. In Kharo Chhan, Mirbaher used to make a living through fishing. He is doing the same in Ibrahim Hyderi. “The only difference is, I owned my house there, here we live in a rented house.” https://www.firstpost.com/long-reads/pakistans-indus-delta-becoming-no-mans-land-with-sea-level-rise-and-dams-upstream-7081341.html   (July 2019)

Restore rivers, handle floods, droughts and climate change Managing river systems can help Pakistan manage floods, deal with droughts, create engines for a green economy, as well as help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions more effectively and more cheaply than big dams, argue Hassan Abbas and Asghar Hussain https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/2019/07/12/restore-pakistans-rivers-handle-floods-droughts-and-climate-change/  (12 July 2019)

Myanmar Troops help flood rescue after landslide kills 51 Every year monsoon rains hammer Myanmar and other countries across Southeast Asia, submerging homes, displacing residents and triggering landslides. But this year’s deluge has tested the government’s ability to respond after a fatal landslide on Aug. 9 in south eastern Mon state was followed by heavy flooding that reached the roofs of houses and the tops of street signs in nearby towns.

Floodwaters have submerged more than 4,000 houses in the state and displaced more than 25,000 residents who have sought shelter in monasteries and pagodas, according to state-owned Global New Light of Myanmar. https://www.rte.ie/news/2019/0811/1068197-myanmar-troops-deployed-to-help-as-landslide-kills-51/  (11 Aug. 2019)

Heavy rains pounded other parts of Mon, Karen and Kachin states, flooding roads and destroying bridges that crumbled under the weight of the downpour. But the bulk of the relief effort is focused on hard-hit Mon, which sits on the coast of the Andaman sea. About two-thirds of the state’s Ye township remained flooded, an administrator said, as drone footage showed only the tops of houses, tree branches and satellite dishes poking above the waters.

Climate scientists in 2015 ranked Myanmar at the top of a global list of nations hardest hit by extreme weather. That year more than 100 people died in floods that also displaced hundreds of thousands. Every year monsoon rains hammer Myanmar and other countries across south-east Asia, submerging homes, displacing residents and triggering landslides.

A typhoon wreaked havoc in southern China over the weekend killing at least 33 people. Rescue workers used rubber dinghies to evacuate people left stranded as swift currents swept through villages. Among the dead were 23 people killed when a landslide blocked a river and then engulfed a village in Yongjia county. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/12/myanmar-scrambles-to-rescue-flood-victims-as-landslide-kills-dozens  (12 Aug. 2019)

CHINA

MEKONG Damming Mekong basin to environment hell Interesting piece by Brahma Chellaney. Replace China by India and Indian rivers in place of Mekong and most of it is also true: Dam construction on the Mekong River poses a serious threat to the region’s economies and ecosystems. The only way to mitigate that threat is to end defiant unilateralism and embrace institutionalized collaboration focused on protecting each country’s rights and enforcing its obligations – to its people, its neighbors, and the planet.

Major dam construction projects have become a favorite pastime of some autocratic governments, with China leading the way. But, far from protecting against water shortages, as supporters promise, large dams are contributing to river depletion and severely exacerbating parched conditions. https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/china-dams-mekong-basin-exacerbate-drought-by-brahma-chellaney-2019-08  (2 Aug. 2019)

Thailand Drought reveals lost temple submerged by dam 20 years ago As the reservoir reaches less than 3% of capacity, the remains of Wat Nong Bua Yai, a modern temple submerged during construction of the dam 20 years ago, have become visible in the middle of dry ground. The dam, with capacity of 960 million cubic meters, normally irrigates more than 1.3 million acres of farmland in four provinces, but drought has cut that to just 3,000 acres (1,214 hectares) in the single province of Lopburi.

The meteorological department says Thailand is facing its worst drought in a decade, with water levels in dams nationwide having fallen far short of the monthly average. Yotin Lopnikorn, 38, headman of the Nong Bua village that used to be near the temple, recalls visiting it with friends as a child, before dam construction forced the villagers out. The ruins have reappeared before, after a drought in 2015.  https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/drought-reveals-lost-temple-in-thailand-submerged-by-dam-20-years-ago-2080816  (6 Aug. 2019)

CLIMATE CHANGE

IPCC Report Link between global warming, land use change The overlapping crises of climate change, mass species extinction, and an unsustainable global food system are on a collision course towards what might best be called an ecological land grab.

Coping with each of these problems will require a different way of using Earth’s lands, and as experts crunch the numbers it is becoming unnervingly clear that there may not be enough terra firma to go around.

A world of narrowing options threatens to pit biofuels, forests and food production against each other. Experts who once touted “win-win” scenarios for the environment now talk about “trade-offs”. This looming clash is front-and-center in the most comprehensive scientific assessment ever compiled of how global warming and land use interact, to be released by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Aug. 8.  https://www.firstpost.com/tech/science/new-ipcc-report-due-8-august-to-thoroughly-examine-link-between-global-warming-land-use-7110471.html  (7 Aug. 2019)    

IPCC’s landmark report has taken two years to prepare. But experts believe we have far less time – about 18 months, not 12 years as previously calculated – to act to limit rising temperatures. The report brings into sharp focus one big way that human beings can limit damage to the planet. Change the way we use land.

There’s a double whammy for mega-cities like Delhi-NCR, which could worsen heatwaves. A combination of “global warming and urbanisation can amplify warming in cities and their surroundings (heat island effect), especially during heat waves.

Land may be less than 30% of the surface of the Earth but it’s heating up faster than the sea. The land mean surface temperature has risen by an alarming 1.53°C since the late 19th century. In comparison, the global mean surface temperature has risen by about 0.87°C. https://www.ndtv.com/blog/land-use-and-diets-need-to-change-now-warns-un-report-2082141  (8 Aug. 2019)

ICD Hottest summer exposes 65% Indians to heat waves July 2019 was the hottest July ever in recorded Indian meteorological history, and 65.12% of India’s population was exposed to temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius between May and June, 2019, the most widespread over four years, according to a new analysis.

In 2016, 59.32% of India’s population faced a heat wave, the number rose to 61.4% in 2017 and fell to 52.94% in 2018, according to an analysis by Raj Bhagat Palanichamy, an earth observation expert at the World Resource Institute (WRI) in India. It was only in 2016 that satellite data improved enough to yield such a detailed analysis, according to Palanichamy. But 2015 saw the worst heat wave in India since 1992, striking areas from Delhi to Telangana and killing 2,081 people. It was the fifth deadliest in world history.

On June 25, 2019, temperatures were as much as 5.1 degrees above normal in parts of Jharkhand, Assam and Meghalaya, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) which classified this as “markedly above normal”. Temperatures were 3.1 degrees above normal in the sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim or, as IMD put it, “appreciably above normal”. https://indiaclimatedialogue.net/2019/08/12/hottest-summer-exposes-65-indians-to-heat-waves/  (12 Aug. 2019)

Netherlands Heatwave in July led to hundreds of extra deaths, statistics suggest Almost 400 more people died than usual during a single week in the Netherlands during the recent record-breaking heatwave. In total, 2,964 people died during the week starting 22 July, Dutch national statistics agency CBS reported on Aug. 9. This is around 15 per cent more deaths than average for a summer week in the country. About 300 of the additional fatalities were among people aged 80 years and older.

Temperature records tumbled across Europe during late July’s heatwave, with the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands sweltering under their highest temperatures ever recorded. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/netherlands-heatwave-record-temperatures-july-deaths-statistics-a9050206.html  (10 Aug. 2019)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

UK British town evacuated over fears of dam collapse British authorities have ordered 6,500 people in northwest England to evacuate a town over concern a dam wall holding a reservoir could burst following days of heavy rain. The Environment Agency has issued a severe flood warning for the area, saying river levels in the River Goyt which runs through the town could rise rapidly.

 “This is not a decision that has been taken lightly and we appreciate that there is significant impact on this community, however, this is an unprecedented, fast-moving, emergency situation.” The 19th-century dam wall holding the Toddbrook Reservoir above the town has been damaged by several days of rain this week following a heat wave that struck large parts of Europe. https://indianexpress.com/article/world/british-town-evacuated-over-fears-of-dam-collapse-5871333/  (2 Aug. 2019)

Flood warning as two-thirds of August rainfall lands in two days The southern half of Scotland was on flood alert on Aug. 11 after some areas were drenched with two-thirds of August’s rainfall in two days. The Queen’s Drive area of Kilmarnock was expected to flood after downpours swelled the River Irvine. Lesser flood alerts were in force in ten areas covering the southern half of Scotland, with Sepa warned of “heavy, persistent rain” continuing into early today. https://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/flood-warning-as-two-thirds-of-august-rainfall-lands-in-two-days-1-4981494  (12 Aug. 2019)

US Historic 2019 Mississippi River flood officially done For the first time this year, there are no flood warnings on the southern Mississippi River, marking a historic 226-day span with the river in flood.

The gauge at Red River landing dropped below the minor flood stage of 48 feet at 8:00 a.m. Aug. 10 for the first time since last December. During that time, a number of milestones occurred, including the longest time for the Baton Rouge gauge to record flood levels at 211 days, outlasting the 135-day record in 1927.

The operation of the Bonnet Carre Spillway to manage flood waters down river also marked several firsts. It was the first time the system operated in back-to-back years when it was opened in February. Then, the gates were completely closed by April, but heavy rains in the northern and central Mississippi River Valley prompted the first time it would be opened a second time in the same year.

The second opening lasted 79 days, surpassing the record for the longest number of calendar days the spillway was continuously open, which was previously 75. The combined openings set a new benchmark for days open during the calendar year. It was also the first time the spillway was deployed during a tropical event. https://www.ksla.com/2019/08/11/historic-mississippi-river-flood-officially-done/  (11 Aug. 2019)

Whether to open a spillway can be an agonizing decision. When the Bonnet Carré is activated, the rush of fresh water can decimate the Gulf’s saltwater ecosystems and seafood industry. Another spillway, the Morganza Floodway, has been used so infrequently (only twice since it was built in 1954) that many people farm within its boundaries. When the Army Corps considered opening it earlier this year, ranchers scrambled to move their cattle out of harm’s way.

Over its first 80 years in operation, the Bonnet Carré spillway was activated just 10 times. Then something changed. The river hit the trigger point in 2011, 2016, 2018 and—for the first time ever in back-to-back years—February this year. Economists calculated that the opening in 2011 cost the Mississippi economy $58 million over the next few years, largely due to the reduced oyster harvest. But when the trigger point is hit, the Corps is legally bound to open the spillway, but recently, rising waters have forced the issue before it’s required.

The Big Flood, though, will not be due to climate change alone. A paper published in Nature last year attributed up to three-quarters of the increase in flooding on the Mississippi to human engineering, especially the levees, which squeeze the river, raising its height.

There is, too, the unpredictability of man-made flood-control structures. Hudson, the Leiden University hydrologist, worries that any attempt to tame a river is a trial-and-error operation. Infrastructure is built on a much faster time scale than the river’s sedimentary processes. Once engineering is installed, the river changes—depositing new mud here, eroding banks there—and old calculations go out the window. “You’re kind of constantly keeping up with these unintended consequences,” says Hudson. It doesn’t help that much of the MR&T was designed before scientists fully understood the science of this river’s flow.

Consider one stretch of southern Louisiana where three rivers—the Mississippi, the Atchafalaya and the Red—tangle together. In the 1830s, the Corps attempted to tame the mess, straightening the path of the Mississippi. By the 1950s, scientists noticed the consequences: more water was going down the Atchafalaya River, a distributary of the Mississippi. The Corps determined that within a decade, the Atchafalaya, around a tenth as powerful as the Mississippi, might become the bigger river.

That change—which remains possible today—would devastate New Orleans. Seawater would trickle up to fill the emptied riverbed, putting the city at the edge of a brackish bayou and cutting off its access to drinking water and the riverine highway that drives its economy. The effects would ripple up the Mississippi Valley, whose farms and refineries depend on the Louisiana ports.

The response: build more “improvements,” as the Corps once dubbed its engineering. In 1959, the Corps inaugurated a new element of the MR&T, the Old River Control Structure, at the intersection of the three rivers. The structure is a massive complex that includes 11 steel gates, embedded in a concrete wall, which are lifted and dropped by an overhead crane, regulating the flow of water from the Mississippi into the Atchafalaya, ensuring 70% stays in the bigger river. The thing looks straight out of the frozen rebel base in The Empire Strikes Back.

A massive flood in 1973 put this system to the test. A wall built to steer water toward the gates collapsed; Army Corps employees felt the structure shuddering, and scrambled to open a floodway downstream to relieve pressure. The Old River Control Structure held, but could no longer support the same capacity of water for which it was designed, so the Corps added a Band-Aid.

The MR&T Project engineering has not yet been pushed to its limit: one of its four floodways has never been used. Still, the hydrologists I spoke to agreed that the system is unlikely to keep up with the increasing flooding. One model suggests that under worst-case scenarios for global heating and increasing land use, the river’s -discharge—the volume of water it carries each second—could grow by 60% before century’s end.

There is no way to predict when the Big One will come, or what element of the system might fail. But this year’s high water signals that the Corps’ “project design flood” is already distressingly out of date. The engineering was designed around discharge readings in 1927, but today, perhaps because the flood-prevention structures have narrowed the river, the same discharge often leads to higher water than it did 90 years ago. In May, the Corps was forced to open Bonnet Carré before the discharge trigger was met because the water had risen so high. https://time.com/5635375/mississippi-river-flooding/  (7 Aug. 2019)

The problem with levees In particular, the U.S. needs to scrutinize and resist the temptation to rely single-mindedly on levee protection—the “levees only” engineering strategy that failed the country so catastrophically in the past century. Rewind to the 1849 flood on the Lower Mississippi, which devastated New Orleans, captured national attention and launched two competing Congressionally-funded studies of how our new country should address crippling flooding along the rivers of its western frontier.

– National faith in the levees-only approach came to an abrupt end in 1927. Water levels on parts of the Mississippi had already risen above flood stage by January, followed by snowmelt from the Missouri basin and heavy rainfall through the spring and summer. After decades of straight-jacketing by the Corps of Engineers, the Mississippi River broke through its levees from Memphis to the Gulf of Mexico, inundating millions of acres of floodplain and killing between 1,000 and perhaps 3,000 or more people.

– Levee protection is supplemented by dams and bypasses as well as nonstructural measures, such as under the National Flood Insurance Program to limit and mitigate development on flood-prone land. The U.S. has also begun a few experiments with giving back “room for the rivers,” whereby localized levee setbacks can increase flood safety for nearby population centers and provide broad environmental and recreational benefits.

– The 2019 flood season began early, with record-breaking crests already in March on portions of the Missouri River and its tributaries. Since then, flood damages have covered many rivers and broad areas of the central and south-central U.S. Repair bills and total flood damages remain unknowable at present, but just on the Missouri River between Omaha and the confluence with the Mississippi River, 160 levee breaches will cost $1.9 billion to repair (according to Maj. Gen. Spellman testimony to Congress on July 10, 2019).

– In reality, levees always leave what is called a “residual risk” of flooding in the protected area, and no floodplain resident should sleep at night believing that their flood risk is completely gone. [Nicholas Pinter holds the Shlemon Chair in Applied Geosciences and serves as Associate Director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California, Davis.] https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-problem-with-levees/   (1 Aug. 2019)

US GROUNDWATER Groundwater supplies drinking water to more than 120 million US citizens, provides nearly half of all water used for irrigation and is used for industrial purposes such as energy production in USA. Until recently, no one had mapped groundwater well locations and information across the nation. In a recently published study, the authors of this article produced the first map of groundwater wells across the United States, and show that groundwater wells are being drilled deeper than ever. Deeper drilling is a band-aid solution that cannot go on forever.

– As climate change intensifies, groundwater is likely to become even more important because it is generally more resilient to climate variations than river flows are.

– In the U.S., groundwater use is regulated mainly at the state level. Many states do not require groundwater metering, monitoring or reporting, so they have limited information about groundwater use. There is no national standard or requirement for collecting information about groundwater wells, and a handful of states either do not collect well data or do not make it publicly available. Where data are collected, it may be handled by a statewide agency or by county or regional agencies.

– Authors conclude that improving groundwater governance and protecting the quality of our deep groundwater will become increasingly important if wells continue to be drilled deeper. Protecting it from pollution and overuse will help to ensure future generations have access to reliable and high quality groundwater resources. https://theconversation.com/drilling-deeper-wells-is-a-band-aid-solution-to-us-groundwater-woes-121219  (6 Aug. 2019)

UN Smart wastewater management can help reduce water, air pollution Kathmandu is not an isolated example of poor wastewater management. All big cities, especially those in developing countries with rapidly expanding populations, face similar problems. Heavily polluted urban waterways emit toxic gases such as methane and nitrous oxide which are also greenhouse gases, and a recent global study found that concentrations of antibiotics in some of the world’s rivers exceed safe levels by up to 300 times. No one wants pollution and there is growing awareness about the danger it poses.

In September 2017, Member States of the United Nations adopted the report Towards a pollution-free planet. For example, 3.5 billion people depend on oceans as a source of food, yet oceans are used as waste and wastewater dumps. Humans are critically dependent on clean freshwater for drinking, cooking and for use in agriculture and industry. Even when groundwater gets polluted, we are also in trouble, as many countries use groundwater for irrigation. And yet, over 80 per cent of the world’s wastewater is released to the environment without treatment.  https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/smart-wastewater-management-can-help-reduce-air-pollution  (16 July 2019) 

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 5 Aug. 2019 & DRP News Bulletin 29 July 2019

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

2 thoughts on “DRP News Bulletin 12 August 2019: URGENT REVIEW OF FLOOD MANAGEMENT REQUIRED

  1. Hi Sir,

    There is small correction otherwise it was wonderful compilation as always. Love your blog posts.

    So the issue is below
    Similarly historic monuments at the World Heritage Site of Hampi have been flooded as over 2.5 lakh cusecs of water was released from the Tungabhadra reservoir in Koppal district. https://swarajyamag.com/insta/reliance-jio-gigafiber-finally-arrives-to-hit-markets-on-5-september-service-bundled-with-amazing-offers (12 Aug. 2019)

    As we can see link seems to be pasted wrong and correct link can be below

    https://swarajyamag.com/insta/karnataka-flooding-hits-world-heritage-site-hampi-purandara-mantapa-and-chola-mantapa-submerged

    Like

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