DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 02 September 2019: Dam Floods due to SARDAR SAROVAR and other Dams

Different kinds of Dam Floods is affecting India this monsoon. Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) Dam, thanks to decision of the Govt of India and its Ministry of Water Resources, Narmada Control Authority including its Chairperson UP Singh (Secretary, Union Ministry of Water Resources), Gujarat Govt is flooding hundreds of villages in Madhya Pradesh, displacing Thousands of families, whose rehabilitation has not been done even as per the Madhya Pradesh government. Medha Patkar and 1000 other women of Narmada Bachao Andolan are on indefinite fast. As we finslise this, the water level of Narmada at SSP Dam is already at 134.99 m and Gujarat Chief Minister has said it will be taken to Full Reservoir Level of 138.68 m this year. The Prime Minister declared his joy when water level crossed 134 M and he will shortly have occasion to celebrate again as water level crosses 135 m. There is not a word of concern for the thousands of victims of this joyous achievement from any of them. The Photo Blog by Parineeta Dandekar provides one perspective of the Narmada Valley events.

In Maharashtra, the govt has set up a committee to investigate the role of dams in floods in Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur district in August 2019, but it does not seem to have people who can speak up independently and do not hesitate to call spade when they see one.

Karnataka is yet to set up such a committee for the Krishna basin floods in that state that happened the same time and a few days latter while Maharashtra was suffering. As SANDRP has written, there seems also a case of Dam induced floods in Uttara Kannada district too in Karnataka, that will require a separate investigation. We hope that too happens soon.

The Goa Chief Minister has written to his Maharashtra counterpart that Tillari Dam of Maharashtra created floods in Goa.

The IMD Pune office has started a new initiative to provide expected water volume for each of the 101 sub basins for the next four weeks, but it is seriously doubtful if it will serve the stated objective of achieving reduction in floods due to mismanagement of dams.

SANDRP Photo Blog Rivers for Life: Narmada Rally at Badvani, July 2019 “As I write this, around 1000 people are on a hunger strike in a small village on the banks of Narmada river in Badwani District, one of the most fertile and culturally rich part of Madhya Pradesh.

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The hunger strike which started with 5 women and leader of Narmada Bachao Andolan, Medha Patkar is now in its 6th day on Aug 31, 2019.” Photo blog based on visit to Narmada Valley by Parineeta Dandekar​. Photos by Abhay Kanvinde.  Plz Read, Share and do spread the word. The movement really needs and deserves this. https://sandrp.in/2019/08/31/photoblog-rivers-for-life-narmada-rally-at-badvani-july-2019/  (31 Aug. 2019)

Sardar Sarovar Dam Patkar begins fast to protest Gujarat govt refusal to open Narmada dam gates Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar has begun fast, with 24 women at Chhota Badda village in Badwani district of Madhya Pradesh, against the refusal of the Gujarat govt to open Sardar Sarovar dam’s gates to keep the reservoir level less than 130 m.  https://www.counterview.in/2019/08/medha-patkar-begins-fast-to-protest.html  (26 Aug. 2019)

Health of NBA leader Medha Patkar, on a hunger protest for the past eight days seeking rehabilitation of those displaced by the Sardar Sarovar Dam project, has deteriorated, some of her fellow protesters claimed on Sept. 1.  https://www.news18.com/news/politics/on-hunger-strike-against-sardar-sarovar-dam-medha-patkars-health-deteriorates-supporters-2293123.html  (1 Sept. 2019)

The CPI has written to PM Modi seeking his intervention to protect the lives of activist Medha Patkar and the villagers who are agitating against the move to close the shutters of Sardar Sarovar dam and raise its water levels. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/politics/cpi-seeks-pm-modis-intervention-to-save-life-of-sardar-sarovar-dam-protesters-4395861.html  (2 Sept. 2019)

PTI story on Aug 28, 2019: B S Kalesh, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Dhar, said in the last 22 days,about 15,000 people or 3,261 families from 21 villages were shifted to safer places. 1,338 families were still living in the submergence area in Dhar district and their evacuation was in progress. The Narmada Bachao Andolan led by activist Medha Patkar continued its protest against the Centre and the governments of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat at Chhota Badda.

– “We have relocated about 1,500 people from 360 families to safer places in past 22 days, evacuating houses and shops from Rajghat, Chhota Badda and other places located in the submergence area,” said Barwani district collector Amit Tomar. Twenty-three families were still living in higher areas of Rajghat village which has now become an island. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/over-16-000-evacuated-in-22-days-as-ssd-backwaters-rise-in-mp/story-Ah0Jw55Up01j9X1QrSfR1N.html  (29 Aug. 2019)

Struggle against use of illegal submergence as a weapon by the Central and State governments (Gujarat and others) and Narmada Control Authority continues.  https://www.counterview.in/2019/08/medha-patkar-rejects-chief-minister.html   (29 Aug. 2019)

At the same time, local people of 150 villages from five districts surrounding the Little Rann of Kutch, have strongly protested from people, against Gujarat Govt’s Rann Sarovar Project. https://www.counterview.in/2019/08/farmers-fisherfolk-agariyas-oppose-rann.htm  (27 Aug. 2019) 

SANDRP Blog Unprecedented Dam flood situation in Uttara Kannada in Aug 2019 This is absolutely unprecedented. The New Indian Express published a most remarkable report on Aug 24, 2019. It said, among other things: That the Uttara Kannada district administration, frustrated by the dam mismanagement by KPCL engineers, took over the operation of Kadra Dam in first week of August to reduce the impact of dam releases on the flood disaster in the district.

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Screenshot of Kali River Basin Map from WRIS report

The blog analyses available information and finds that while KPCL dam operators definitely mismanaged the dam, leading to contributing to flood disaster, the district officials also seemed to be at fault on a number of counts.  Plz read, Share and help us spread the message. https://sandrp.in/2019/08/31/unprecedented-dam-flood-situation-in-uttara-kannada-in-aug-2019/  (31 Aug. 2019)

Qurban Ali of Dhyeya IAS Channel talking with Prof CK Varshney and SANDRP Coordinator on Floods in India. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E75O7gnYIXo  (2 Sept. 2019)

DAMS FLOODS MAHARASHTRA Probe panel could emerge with vital lessons for India INTERESTING DEVELOPMENTS: Maharashtra govt sets up a panel to investigate into the causes of W Mah floods of Aug 2019, role of dams and lessons for future. The committee, interestingly is headed by same person that headed a committee post 2005 floods: Nandkumar Wadnere. That committee report is still not out, nor it is known what the govt did about the recommendation of the committee. The list of members of the new committee, to submit report by end of Nov 2019 is not out, but it is not clearly if there are any members who have track record of taking INDEPENDENT STAND. This article also reveals:

– On August 21, former BJP MP Nana Patole and Mumbai-based social activist Sanjay Lakhe Patil wrote to chief justice Pradeep Nandrajog of the Bombay High Court demanding the setting up of an expert committee by the court to look into the floods. Describing the floods as “a man-made disaster” caused by inaction and delayed response, Patole sought the court’s intervention to set up an experts’ committee to establish the truth and also to suggest preventive measures for the future.

– Another intervention was sought from the very same court by two flood-affected residents of Kolhapur. The petitioners, Raosaheb alias Narsappa Annappa Alase and Rajendra Shivgonda Patil, filed a public interest litigation (PIL) pleading for fixing of responsibility and action against officials responsible for “dereliction of duty.” The petitioners have charged that the ‘Guidelines for Preparing Operation and Maintenance Manual for Dams’ issued by the Central Water Commission (CWC) were not followed by central and state officials leading to the disaster. https://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/maharashtra-floods-probe-panel-could-emerge-with-vital-lessons-for-india-opinion/story-2uzZR3mgKfPAsk6hwkkVzH.html  (1 Sept. 2019)

DAM FLOODS GOA CM to write to Fadnavis over release of Tillari dam water CM on Aug 27, 2019 said he will write to Maharashtra CM about sudden and without warning water releases from Tillari Dam in Maharashtra leading to flooding of two villages of Goa. http://www.uniindia.com/goa-cm-to-write-to-fadnavis-over-release-of-tillari-dam-water/west/news/1710914.html  (27 Aug. 2019)

On August 12, release of water from the dam over the Tillari river in Maharashtra caused a flood-like situation in two border villages in Goa — Sal and Ibrahimpur. Though located in south Maharashtra, some canals of the Tillari dam flow into the North Goa district to irrigate the region`s agricultural areas. https://zeenews.india.com/india/goa-cm-pramod-sawant-to-talk-to-maharashtra-counterpart-devendra-fadnavis-over-tillari-dam-water-release-2230286.html  (27 Aug. 2019) 

SANDRP Blog IMD forecast of Water Volume in River Basins: Can it help prevent Dam floods? IMD Pune has recently announced a new initiative to publish sub basin wise forecasts of rainfall and expected water volume for next four weeks, starting Aug 1, 2019, we learn. The basic objective is to achieve better operation of dams to reduce possible flood disasters.

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A review of available information about this on IMD Pune website here shows that while this is a welcome initiative, there a lot of questions about how useful it will for its objective of achieving better dam management to reduce floods in the downstream area. Plz Read, Share and send feedback.   https://sandrp.in/2019/08/27/imd-forecast-of-water-volume-in-river-basins-can-it-help-prevent-dam-floods/   (27 Aug. 2019)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Assam Mega dam plan leads to fury at border Tribal organisations in Assam such as the Takam Mising Porin Kebang and All Assam Chutia Students’ Union have stepped up their anti-mega dam movement with NHPC planning to restart work on the 2000 MW Lower Subansiri Project, halted due to people’s movement since Dec 2011. “Our prime concern is people’s safety. Unless the government takes adequate measures to ensure safety and livelihood of the affected people, along with protection of biodiversity, there is no question of restarting construction,” the organisations said in a joint statement. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/mega-dam-plan-leads-to-fury-at-assam-border/article29281581.ece  (29 Aug. 2019)

Himachal Pradesh CM AGREES LARGE HYDRO IS UNVIABLE Setting up of hydropower projects are becoming unviable due to escalated cost and local resistance. This was acknowledged by chief minister Jai Ram Thakur on aug 28, 2019. He informed the state assembly that cost incurred on setting up the project has increased to Rs 15 crore per MW. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/hydel-projects-becoming-unviable-matter-of-concern-himachal-pradesh-cm/70890224  (29 Aug. 2019)

Also see, Mansi Asher writes on decade long struggle for forest rights of Lippa villagers. https://caravanmagazine.in/lede/himalayan-villages-struggle-assert-forest-rights  (1 Aug. 2019)

Arunachal Pradesh PRIVATE SECTOR NOT INTERESTED IN HYDRO 103 private hydropower projects in Arunachal Pradesh totalling about 35 gigawatts (GW) requiring $3.5 trillion are still to take off. The Arunachal Pradesh government has already issued termination notices to 21 such projects totalling around 2.5GW. Strangely, the article author, in a bid to push unviable projects, even raises China bogey. 

– The state government has now approached the Centre to explore whether state-run power producers such as NHPC Ltd would want to take over the projects. https://www.livemint.com/politics/policy/103-private-hydro-projects-fail-to-take-off-in-arunachal-1567105798510.html 

WII Report Dams, climate Change impacting over 150 native fish Important research from Wildlife Institute of India that mentions dams as a major reason for this situation. https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/climate-change-may-severely-impact-over-150-native-fish-species-in-himalayan-states-it-s-alarming-374519.html  (28 Aug. 2019)

DAMS

Polavaram Dam Authority says project not under Andhra panel purview The Polavaram Project Authority (PPA), a body constituted by the Union Jal Shakti ministry that oversees the Rs 50,000 crore Polavaram irrigation project, has found fault with the Andhra Pradesh government’s review of the project by appointing an expert committee. In an 18-page report submitted to the Union Jal Shakti ministry, the PPA said that the Polavaram project — which holds national project status — doesn’t come under the scope of the expert committee appointed by the YS Jaganmohan Reddy-led government.

“As per its constitution, the Polavaram project did not come under the purview of the expert committee as the project is being funded by the government of India, being a national project and also because physical progress in the project is more than 25%,” said PPA CEO RK Jain in his report to the Union Jal Shakti ministry. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/polavaram-authority-says-project-not-under-andhra-panel-purview/70837350  (26 Aug. 2019)

In other relevant development, the Andhra Pradesh vigilance department has launched an investigation into the main dam contract related expenses of the Polavaram dam.  https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/news/india/andhra-pradesh-vigilance-department-begins-probe-into-polavaram-project/articleshow/70844972.cms  (26 Aug. 2019)

Maharashtra 4-way discharge continues from Jaikwadi hydropower dam Water discharge at a rate of 1,600 cusec is taking place from the Paithan Left Bank Canal System towards the Khadka barrage. From there, the water is lifted for the use of the Parli thermal plant. The Paithan Right Bank Canal System is releasing water for the Majalgaon major irrigation project in Beed district at 900 cusec. The outlet from the hydropower plant is releasing water at 1,581 cusec towards Apegaon and Hiradpuri barrages.

All the gates of the dam were operational on Sunday afternoon with total discharge of 4,192 cusec. Two gates were first opened at 1 pm on August 15. Two more gates opened at 3 pm. A total of six gates were opened by 6 pm on that day. The water release from a total of eight gates has been on since 10 pm on August 16. The dam is filled with 88.24 per cent live stock on Aug 25, 2019, with a month of monsoon still left. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/aurangabad-four-way-discharge-continues-from-hydropower-dam/70838339  (26 June 2019)

Tamil Nadu Step up water release from Mettur dam, urge farmers Expressing concern over the meagre flow of water in many of the irrigation canals in the tail-end areas of the irrigation canals in the delta region of Cauvery, the farmers in Tiruchi district flagged the issue at the monthly grievances meeting held on Aug. 30. They demanded that the discharge from the Stanley Reservoir in Mettur dam be increased to 20,000 to 25,000 cusecs from the current level of 10,000 cusecs. A section of farmers led by P. Ayyakannu, president, Desiya Thennindia Nadigal Inaippu Vivasayigal Sangam, staged a protest in front of the Collector’s Office in Tiruchi to highlight their charter of demands, including increasing the quantum of water released from Mettur.

“It was regrettable that even 17 days after the opening of the Mettur dam, water has not reached the tail-end areas of many irrigation canals”, Mr. Ayyakannu said. While one of the association members participated in the demonstration by holding a knife to his throat, another held a dead rat in his mouth as symbolic protests to highlight the plight of farmers. The deputy secretary of Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association, ‘Koundampatti’ R.Subramanian, said the 17 irrigation canals between Mettur and Grand Anicut require about 4,000 cusecs of water and urged the PWD to ensure release of water to the full capacity of irrigation canals. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/step-up-water-release-from-mettur-dam-urge-farmers/article29301069.ece  (30 Aug. 2019)  

Jharkhand Konar irrigation Project of current day Jharkhand was started in 1978 with envisaged to be completed in 5 years with project cost of Rs 12 Crores.

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Ultimately it is completed now after 41 years, with project cost of Rs 2500 Cr, to irrigate 62895 Ha in 85 villages of Bokaro, Giridih and Hazaribagh districts. https://www.bhaskar.com/jharkhand/ranchi/news/hazaribagh-news-konar-irrigation-project-will-inaugurated-by-chief-minister-raghuvar-das-01627085.html  (28 Aug. 2019)

https://www.jagran.com/jharkhand/hazaribagh-jharkhand-chief-minister-raghubar-das-inaugrated-konar-irrigation-project-in-hazaribag-jharkhand-today-19525775.html  (28 Aug. 2019)

One of the embankments of a branch canal in Jharkhand’s Giridih district collapsed on Wednesday night, hours after Chief Minister Raghubar Das inaugurated the Konar river irrigation project, and a senior official said it is possible that rat holes damaged the embankment. The embankment collapsed near Bagodar in Giridih district, flooding fields in at least six villages, including Barwadih, Pratapur, Ghoskodih and Khataia. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/embankment-collapses-hours-after-inauguration-rat-holes-blamed-5952792/  (31 Aug. 2019) 

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Nar-Par-Tapi river linking  Water meant for Marathwada not going to Gujarat: Fadnavis Stating that no water from the Konkan region intended for Marathwada is going to Gujarat, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Aug. 29 said his government is committed to giving the arid region 52 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of water through the Nar-Par-Tapi river linking project.

“We are not giving even a single drop of water to Gujarat… our government is determined to save the water that drains from the Konkan region into the sea and bring it to Marathwada. Five rivers are to be linked for this project for which our Cabinet has already given its approval,” he told reporters during the course of the BJP’s Mahajanadesh Yatra in Jalna district.

The State Cabinet in July had given its nod to complete the Nar-Par-Tapi and the Damanganga–Pinjal river linking projects to mitigate the water woes of Marathwada and areas of Mumbai city. The projects have been hanging fire for years owing to technical disputes over water sharing with Gujarat. https://www.thehindu.com/news/states/water-meant-for-marathwada-not-going-to-gujarat-fadnavis/article29293807.ece  (30 Aug. 2019)

Maharashtra Marathwada Water Grid: Govt invites global tenders for project For the Marathwada Water Grid project of Maharashtra govt, the Global Request For Qualification notice (on the Hybrid Annuity Model on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis) was published for the Rs 4,251-crore first component of the Rs 16,000-crore project on Aug 28, 2019. The project proposes to connect 11 major dams in Marathwada through large pipelines, including a primary loop connecting the reservoirs to enable water to be pumped from water surplus dams to areas serviced by reservoirs with low storage levels, and a secondary grid of pipelines to convey water to the region’s 76 talukas.

“Tenders for package 1, which covers Aurangabad and Jalna, were floated today. Tenders for package 2, which covers Beed district, will be invited in a week’s time,” said P Velrasu, member secretary of the Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran (MJP) that is handling the project. The concessionaire will raise 60 per cent of the project cost via debt and equity, while the government will pay the remaining 40 per cent in tranches. Budgeted revenue support from the government for the concessionaire over 15 years will be required. Tenders for the remaining three packages, covering the remaining five districts, will be floated soon after the Assembly elections, due in October, officials said.

– Concessionaires for each package will lay the primary pipelines for bulk water from the reservoirs, the secondary grid of pipelines for treated water, and water treatment plants. For Aurangabad alone, the project foresees 192 km of primary pipelines and 490 km of secondary pipelines. In Jalna, pipelines for bulk water will run 132 km and 293 km for treated water. Four treatment plants in Aurangabad will process 396 million litres daily, and three plants in Jalna will process 149 mld.

– Meanwhile, activists and independent experts in the water and irrigation sectors wrote last week to CM Devendra Fadnavis opposing the Rs 16,000-crore project saying they doubt its need and feasibility. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/marathwada-water-grid-govt-invites-global-tenders-for-project-5946116/  (29 Aug. 2019)

URBAN RIVERS

SANDRP Blog Pune Riverfront Development Project: Encroachment in the name of Rejuvenation? Amruta Pradhan provides excellent detailed analysis of the proposed Pune River Front Development Project and also raises many questions about its real objectives, questionable assumptions and better alternatives.

6- Existing condition of Mula Mutha Rivers (Source- DMP Pune River Rejuvenation Project p.144)
Existing condition of Mula Mutha Rivers (Source- DMP Pune River Rejuvenation Project p.144)

Please Read, Share and Help disseminate. https://sandrp.in/2019/08/28/pune-riverfront-development-project-encroachment-in-the-name-of-rejuvenation/   (28 Aug. 2019)

Ludhiana Buddha Nullah turned from a stream into a stinking drain Originating at village Koom Kalan of Ludhiana and running for 47 kms till Walipur Kalan where it merges with River Sutlej, this stream carrying fresh water was earlier known as ‘Buddha Dariya’. Over the years, the name got changed to Buddha Nullah (drain) owing to the sewage, industrial and domestic waste that is dumped into it in the 14-km stretch within Ludhiana city municipal corporation limits beginning from Tajpur road.

There are three major sources polluting Buddha Nullah – untreated sewage waste from Ludhiana city Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), untreated industrial effluents from 228 dyeing units, and 16 ‘outlets’, which are directly releasing sewage and industrial waste into the stream. Of these 16 outlets, 11 are “MC disposal points” through which the civic body is directly releasing untreated sewage waste into the stream.

As per the Action Plan for Clean River Sutlej-2019 prepared by directorate of environment and climate change, department of science and technology, Government of Punjab: Of 2,423 industrial units in Punjab polluting the Sutlej, the majority 2,028 are in Ludhiana including 228 dyeing and 1,649 electroplating and surface treatment units which directly or indirectly release untreated waste in Buddha Nullah. PPCB too has been accused of not taking action against these units.

The untreated sewage waste from Ludhiana’s Jamalpur and Balloke STPs also goes into it. Against the capacity to treat 48 MLD, Jamalpur STP gets 205 MLD on an average daily. The Balloke STP gets 268 MLD against 257 MLD capacity. Both STPs mostly remain dysfunctional. The excess untreated waste also goes into the stream. Some industries also release untreated waste into MC sewage, which too goes into the nullah, says the document. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-how-buddha-nullah-turned-from-a-stream-into-a-stinking-drain-now-polluting-river-sutlej-5943332/  (28 Aug. 2019)

RIVERS

SANRP Blog Aug. 2019 Yamuna Floods; Floodplain encroachment exposed again On August 21, 2019, the first big flood spell of monsoon season 2019 has passed through Delhi. Three days earlier, 8.28 lakh cusecs of water was released from Hathnikund barrage, the highest ever recorded release from that site.

Yamuna Flood Aug. 2019
A woman going through flooded street in Basanpur Part II. The illegal settlement has come recently on Yamuna floodplain near Jaitpur Extension.

During floods, Bhim Singh Rawat​ of SANDRP travelled along the river and flood plain to mark some very important points, take pictures, videos and talk to people. This blog provides the evidence collected. It provides yet another wake up call to protect remaining flood plain of Delhi. Else, the signs are there to to see, what may be in store. Please Read and share. https://sandrp.in/2019/08/30/aug-2019-yamuna-flood-floodplain-encroachments-exposed-again/  (30 Aug. 2019)

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Also see, Life by Yamuna before its degradation https://m.hindustantimes.com/cities/life-by-the-yamuna-before-its-degradation/story-C0XO6sOVeeu0FQNm9ljyNL.html  (31 Aug. 2019)

CPCB Excessive fertiliser use is poisoning Yamuna river The CPCB reporting the excess use of fertilisers, which contains trace amounts of these metals as micronutrients for crops, and pesticides contributing to polluting the river water, groundwater and the floodplain soil, however, is a first. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/excessive-fertiliser-use-is-poisoning-yamuna-river-cpcb/story-sxP0QO3csxGg5uoawhwHjN.html  (29 Aug. 2019)

India Rivers Week 2019 Nominations invited for Bhagirath Prayas Samman (BPS) and Anupam Misra Memorial Award (AMMA) https://indiariversforum.org/nominations-open/ 

Report RIVER RALLY IGNORES REAL ISSUES OF RIVER DECAY Planting of trees to save a river rather seems impractical and unscientific. Unfortunately, many people, including celebrities, bureaucrats, politicians, educationists, business people, industrialists and commoners have fallen prey to such hype either knowingly or unknowingly.

As of now, we know very little about the ecology of a river. We don’t know how many species need open spaces and how many actually need trees. Crocodiles lay their eggs on the banks of the river and Otters too come to the banks. Similarly, many other species flourish on the river banks of which we have no knowledge. Studying all these essential factors is a must before embarking on any ambitious campaigns.

Trees don’t belong everywhere and it’s just not about trees too. Each region is diverse and a careful study of the regions are quintessential. Rivers are complex, and it flows through many regions and levels ranging from evergreen forests to deciduous to scrubs to dry areas and at many stages, all have an equal role to play in the complex ecology of the river. If this campaign has involved the Cauvery riparian states and done a proper scientific study involving the concerned state governments as also river ecologists, let it be put on public domain. Nobody is opposing the tree plantation proposal but the need for scientific studies and involvement of concerned states in such a massive program is necessary.

Some of the actual issues which are plaguing rivers are construction of back to back dams. In the case of river Cauvery, the proposal to construct a reservoir in Mekedatu will be an ecological disaster. This will destroy a massive chunk of 4795 ha or 48 sq km of pristine forests and will obstruct the free flow of water for ecological needs.  There will be an increase in human-wildlife conflict, deforestation and other significant environmental damages.

There are already 96 dams in the Cauvery river basin with 15 major hydroelectric and 50 irrigation projects which have not thoroughly addressed the issues of drinking water, power and irrigation. Mekedatu will only add salt to injury. Likewise, there are many dams in other river basins, which will have devastating impacts on human life and environment.

Deforestation:- From the past two years, the Western Ghats region of Karnataka and Kerala has witnessed heavy rainfall and devastation due to landslides. The reasons attributed to landslides are increase in deforestation in the Kodagu region. Forests act as a sponge for the rainwater to percolate when it is is cut for a non-forestry purpose, the soil tends to erode.

When the catchment areas get affected the rivers get affected too. In a bid to provide better connectivity, there is a proposal to construct a road between Dakshin Kannada and Chikkamagaluru under the Bharatmala project. The road will cost Karnataka a river as it cuts through the catchment area of River Netravathi where several rivulets take their birth.

Illegal Sand mining:- There are ample reports of illegal sand mining continuing in the Cauvery basin in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Sand mining has grave consequences where it depletes groundwater levels, roots do not get water, erosion, affects flora and fauna etc. Indiscriminate extraction of groundwater has led to ground water depletion in both the states.

River Inter-linking project:- People in power strongly believe river water which enters the sea is a waste, but the fact is it they are natural phenomena and has a range of benefits. The river meets sea either through deltas or estuaries, and it is not a waste. The plan of linking a river which has excess water to the river which has deficient water by halting the excess water meeting the sea is not good science.

Linking waters of the Godavari, Krishna, Pennar and Cauvery will alter the landscape forever and creates more room for disasters. It is terrible for ecology but good for business. Had that been a fact- some parts have too much water, Sohra or Cherrapunjee the rainiest place today suffers water shortage and has very little water to drink.

The project of making rivers compatible for transportation of goods and passengers would cause more harm for aquatic animals as it involves dredging of rivers. Of all the threats as mentioned above, the solution for revival of rivers is not so simple. https://greenminute.in/2019/08/28/sadgurus-river-rally-ignores-real-issues-of-river-decay/  (28 Aug. 2019)

GANGA Centre ‘We have to convince farmers about importance of shifting from water-guzzling crops to water efficient crops’ Union Water Minister Gajendra Shekhawat in this interview says: A committee has deliberated on the issue (of brining water into concurrent list) and found that there is no need for it. So, there is no such proposal pending with the government as of now. Even my personal opinion is that this is not the solution. It’s not as if doing that will end all problems.

– GANGA CLEANING: Efforts to clean the river had begun in the mid-1980s, but no one had then treated the issue in a holistic manner. Over Rs 4,000 crore was spent on it during 1985-2014. Whatever little infrastructure was created had stopped working as states could not do it in absence of an operation and maintenance mechanism. [HIS CLAIM THAT MODI GOVT IS DOING IT DIFFERENTLY HAS NO BASIS.]… You cannot clean Ganga without cleaning Yamuna and you cannot clean Yamuna without cleaning Kali and Hindon… Primarily, states will have to execute it. The river Ganga can’t be clean in a few years…  I can tell you confidently that the river water would certainly be clean from Devprayag (origin) till Haridwar-Rishikesh in Uttarakhand by end of this year… If you look at water parameters, Ganga is still the cleanest river of the country barring four-five stretches in UP and Bengal. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/the-interviews-blog/we-have-to-convince-farmers-about-importance-of-shifting-from-water-guzzling-crops-to-water-efficient-crops/   (16 Aug. 2019)

New ₹9.3 crore study to check antibiotic resistance The govt has commissioned a ₹9.3 crore study to assess the microbial diversity along the entire length of the Ganga and test if stretches of the 2,500 km long river contain microbes that may promote “antibiotic resistance”. The project, expected to last two years, is to be undertaken by scientists at the Motilal Nehru Institute of Technology, Allahabad; the NEERI, Nagpur; Sardar Patel Institute of Science & Technology, Gorakhpur, as well as start-up companies, Phixgen and Xcelris Labs. The latter two provide genome sequencing services which in this case will involve mapping the genomes of the microbes sampled.. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ganga-mission-study-to-check-for-antibiotic-resistance-in-river/article29281152.ece  (29 Aug. 2019)

Uttar Pradesh Lord Ram’s Ayodhya statue to be world’s tallest The proposed statue of Lord Ram in Ayodhya will now get taller, in fact it will be the tallest in the country. UP CM Yogi Adittyanath said the statue would be 251 metres tall and would be installed on a 100 acre site. This was decided at a meeting held in Lucknow late on July 22. The Sardar Patel statue in Gujarat is 183 metres tall. An MoU will be signed with the Gujarat government for technical assistance.  For the site survey of the project, environmental assessment and feasibility study, assistance will be sought from IIT Kanpur and Nagpur-based NEERI a constituent laboratory of CSIR.  https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/lord-rams-ayodhya-statue-to-be-worlds-tallest/articleshow/70340141.cms  (23 July 2019)

SAND MINING

Karnataka Koppal: Sand heap comes crashing – 3 children buried alive 3 children died on August 28 after a sand heap came down crashing on them at Navali village in Kanakagiri taluk of Koppal district. The deceased were children of migrant labourers from Kolad, Raigad district, Maharashtra. It is learnt that illegal sand mining was conducted in a land belonging to a person from the village named Gurushanthayya.

When the police came there to investigate, the villagers took them to task, and told them that sand mafia was responsible for this disaster. They wanted to know from the police why they did not take action although sand mining was going on openly. They demanded immediate suspension of revenue inspector and strict action against sand mafia. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay.aspx?newsID=619188  (29 Aug. 2019)

Punjab 2 labourers killed in illegal sand mining operation Two labourers, who were illegally mining sand from a field, died after a portion of the sand they had dug out fell on them at Chak Aul village in Ajnala sub-division on Aug. 26. The victims, Ghuman Singh and Kulwinder Singh, had been hired by one Sukhraj Singh to dig out sand from his agricultural field, police said. Chak Aul village is located near Ravi and often sand is found below fields, which is illegally mined and sold. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/2-labourers-killed-in-illegal-sand-mining-operation/story-3gS2M45yYkrp4iKqeaYvqL.html  (27 Aug. 2019)

Madhya Pradesh Minister’s Stunning Charge About Sand Mafia Triggers Row Minister Govind Singh on illegal sand mining in the state: “In the last 15 years, five to six people have been killed by the mining mafia in Bhind alone but no action has been taken. I have appealed to Chief Minister Kamal Nath to put an end to the prevalent illegal mining in the state but nothing has been done so far”. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/madhya-pradesh-ministers-stunning-charge-about-sand-mafia-triggers-row-2092627   (29 Aug. 2019)

Bihar Cabinet approves new sand mining policy Bihar government today approved new sand mining policy to regulate the supply and marketing of sand in the state in transparent manner. Principal Secretary of Cabinet Department Sanjay Kumar said that a decision to this effect was taken in state cabinet meeting this evening chaired by CM Nitish Kumar. The new sand policy approved by the cabinet would be enforced from January 1, 2020, he added. http://www.uniindia.com/cabinet-approves-new-sand-mining-policy-in-bihar/east/news/1697391.html  (13 Aug. 2019)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Manipur Loktak Lake LLFU hails HC order  The Manipur High Court on Aug 7, 2019 intervened and ruled that no projects or works can be taken up in the lake without approval from the Court. Fisher people have welcomed this order. https://www.thesangaiexpress.com/Encyc/2019/8/27/IMPHAL-Aug-26-The-Loktak-Lake-Fishermen-Union-LLFU-has-lauded-the-August-7-order-issued-by-the-High-Court-of-Manipur-for-the-conservation-and-protection-of-the-State-s-wetlands-.html  (27 Aug. 2019)

WATER OPTIONS

Bundelkhand ‘Water women’ quench thirst of central India’s parched villages How women in villages in Jhansi district and around in Bundelkhand are collectively doing water conservation and the change it is bringing. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-environment-water/water-women-quench-thirst-of-central-indias-parched-villages-idUSKCN1VH0ZQ  (27 Aug. 2019)

Maharashtra Marathwada mandarin wants farmers to shun cane  The Aurangabad Divisional Commissioner Sunil Kendrekar has decided to recommend to the State government that farmers in the Marathwada region be dissuaded from planting sugarcane and persuaded to shift to others crops in view of the recurrent droughts and acute water scarcity in the region. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/marathwada-mandarin-wants-farmers-to-shun-cane/article29286138.ece  (29 Aug. 2019)

Welcome move by Aurangabad Div Commissioner, will the govt see how this can be implemented? https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/mumbai/other/ban-sugarcane-production-in-marathwada-says-divisional-commissioner-sunil-kendrekar/articleshow/70907193.cms   (30 Aug. 2019)

GROUNDWATER

SANDRP Blog Groundwater & the tragedy of the commons in Marathwada Guest Blog by Kalyani Thatte “Our borewells are drying up fast. We have reached to 400-450 ft deep but it is futile most of the times. There are very few wells that are having water throughout the year. The water levels are dropping every year.

Barafpada, Thane (Photo BhushanNeve)
Barafpada, Thane (Photo Bhushan Neve)

Tankers are regular in summers. We are not even able to take a Kharif crop at times as it hardly rains and that too when it is required for the standing crops”, this was the narrative told in the first village named Zinnar in Osmanabad. https://sandrp.in/2019/08/31/groundwater-the-tragedy-of-the-commons-in-marathwada/  (31 Aug. 2019)

Interview Recognise Groundwater As Lifeline: Himanshu Thakkar Interview of SANDRP coordinator by The Weather Channel on Groundwater. https://weather.com/en-IN/india/news/news/2019-08-27-recognise-that-groundwater-is-our-lifeline-himanshu-thakkar  (27 Aug. 2019)

Gujarat Govt’s water conservation drive gets monsoon boost Govt claims it efforts at increasing water holding and recharging capacity in local water structures due to desilting done in last year has helped this year to store and recharge more water and that groundwater levels have gone up. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/sujalam-sufalam-jal-abhiyan-states-water-conservation-drive-gets-monsoon-boost-5957407/  (2 Sept. 2019)

URBAN WATER

Chennai 9,000 houses get notices to install rainwater harvesting systems Greater Chennai Corporation has sent notices to 9,000 houses without rainwater harvesting structures. The notices were reportedly issued after officials from the Corporation conducted inspections in around 2.72 lakh houses, since August.

Almost 70,000 houses that did not have rainwater harvesting structures, and notices have been sent to 9,000 in the first round. Since a lot of the homes identified without rainwater harvesting structures — especially in north Chennai — have wells, the Corporation has reportedly instructed its engineers to guide the residents to connect the run-off water outlets to the wells. Those who were served notices have been directed to set up rainwater harvesting structures in their buildings within 15 days.

Around 1.62 lakh houses that were inspected had rainwater harvesting structures in place, and around 38,000 needed minor repairs to the existing structures. The Corporation Commissioner has also instructed the inspection teams to set up percolation pits on the streets within a week. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/9000-houses-issued-notices-chennai-corp-install-rainwater-harvesting-systems-108206  (2 Sept. 2019)

WATER POLLUTION

Study Community Participation in Effective Water Resource Management The initiation of the growth process in the rural economy in India, which is predominantly agriculture-based, needs optimum allocation and careful management of scarce water resources for irrigation. Using primary data, the impact of a tripartite institutional framework—comprising a non-governmental organisation, the funding agency, and the people (forming a community-based organisation)—on rural sustainability is examined. Tobit analysis is used to evaluate the impact of participation on rural sustainability. The results establish that community participation is critical in enhancing rural sustainability in terms of managing indigenous water harvesting structures like johads.   https://www.epw.in/journal/2019/54/special-articles/community-participation-effective-water-resource.html  (31 Aug. 2019)

DELHI WATER

Chunavnama 2019 with HT on Delhi’s Water issues  Chunavnama speaking to SANDRP coordinator about Delhi Water Issues. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnZSVqf9U8U&feature=youtu.be  (30 Aug. 2019)

DJB clears Rs 10 cr plan for British-era sewer line in Old Delhi The accidental discovery of British-era abandoned drain during Chandni Chowk redevelopment project may prove to be a boon for sewage management in the entire area. Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has cleared a revised Rs 10 crore project for rehabilitation of this ‘brick barrel’ sewer line from Fatehpuri Masjid to Lal Quila.

An official said that the structural capacity of the drain will be improved so that its life span is increased by at least 50 years. “This will solve the problem of sewage overflow. The project will also curb pollution in Yamuna as sewage will now reach the Okhla treatment plant,” the official added. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/djb-clears-rs-10cr-plan-for-british-era-sewer-line-in-old-delhi/articleshow/70900815.cms  (30 Aug. 2019)

DJB knew about a defunct, 1.2km-long line but officials believed it was a smaller, more recent drain. The agency decided to renovate it as part of work on sewer lines under the Shahjahanabad redevelopment project. That was when they made the stunning discovery – it was a five-foot-wide, brick barrel drain line, unmistakably from the Raj period, running from Red Fort to Fatehpuri mosque.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/huge-raj-era-drain-found-in-old-delhi/articleshow/70668002.cms  (13 Aug. 2019)  

MONSOON 2019

IMPORTANT PAPER Weakening of Indian Summer Monsoon Rainfall due to Changes in Land Use Land Cover Weakening of Indian summer monsoon rainfall (ISMR) is traditionally linked with large-scale perturbations and circulations. However, the impacts of local changes in land use and land cover (LULC) on ISMR have yet to be explored. Here, we analyzed this topic using the regional Weather Research and Forecasting model with European Center for Medium range Weather Forecast (ECMWF) reanalysis data for the years 2000–2010 as a boundary condition and with LULC data from 1987 and 2005.

Figure 1

The differences in LULC between 1987 and 2005 showed deforestation with conversion of forest land to crop land, though the magnitude of such conversion is uncertain because of the coarse resolution of satellite images and use of differential sources and methods for data extraction. We performed a sensitivity analysis to understand the impacts of large-scale deforestation in India on monsoon precipitation and found such impacts are similar to the observed changes in terms of spatial patterns and magnitude.

KEY CONCLUSION: We found that deforestation results in weakening of the ISMR because of the decrease in evapotranspiration and subsequent decrease in the recycled component of precipitation. https://www.nature.com/articles/srep32177   (24 Aug. 2016)

Interview Weather forecasting to move from information-based to impact-based forecast IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mahapatra: Studies are showing that the number of days with heavy rainfall (more than 15 centimetres) is increasing and the number of days with light and moderate rainfall is decreasing. These changes are especially being experienced in places like central India, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Gujarat etc.

– Our accuracy in detecting whether there will be heavy rainfall in an area in the next 24 hours is 72 percent. It was about 50-60 percent till five years ago. Our target is that by the next five years,  in case of heavy rainfall events we are looking at an improvement of 10-15 percent in our accuracy. It is because the forecast difficulty for heavy rainfall is more than a tropical cyclone.

– The model that we have at present has a resolution of 12 kilometres. In the next five years, we are planning to provide the forecast at the block level. For this purpose, we will go further to improve the modelling to a five to seven km resolution. On the regional scale, we have a model whose resolution is three kilometres and our plan is to improve it to a one kilometre level which will be very important for the forecasts in urban areas.

– In the next five years, our target is to have one weather observatory every 25 X 25 kilometres which at present is in every 50 X 50 kms. Right now, we have about 550 such observatories across India. We have a network of about 675 automatic weather stations, 1,350 automatic rain gauges and 50 upper air observation systems. We want to increase the numbers of these observation systems. Our target is to have one upper air observation system for every 100 X 100 km and have about 76 such upper-air observation systems.

– The country has about 26 doppler weather radars and our target is to increase it to 56 in the next five years. In the immediate future, by 2021, we are planning to have 11 more doppler weather radars. These 11 radars will be installed in data-sparse regions like western Himalayas (Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand) and in the northeastern Himalayan region.

– Our target is that in the next five years, in phase two of the National Monsoon Mission of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), we will try to give the long-range forecast on the state level. Our objective is that over the next five years, we move from information-based forecast to impact-based forecast … from what the weather will be to what the weather will do. https://india.mongabay.com/2019/08/interview-weather-forecasting-to-move-from-information-based-to-impact-based-forecast/   (27 Aug. 2019)

Monsoon revving up for another peak as it readies for the final leg IMD has delayed till Aug. 29 the timeline for genesis of a fresh low-pressure area in the Bay of Bengal even as the monsoon continued to set up a punishing spell across Central, West and North-West India on Aug. 27. And more is in store, as a building typhoon (named ‘Podul’) in the North-West Pacific/South China Sea charges in, and sends in a remnant across Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar into the Bay of Bengal. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/heavy-rains-predicted-for-gujarat-rajasthan-central-india/article29268207.ece  (27 Aug. 2019)

As on Aug. 26, the country received 681.3mm of rainfall compared to the normal of 674.7mm, recording an excess of 1%. Out of all the 36 sub-divisions, 21 have witnessed normal showers, while excess rainfall was recorded across eight sub-divisions, primarily in the western coast and parts of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Rainfall has, however, been deficient in seven remaining sub-divisions, which include parts of north-west India.

“The rainfall deficit has come down from 33% in June to +1% excess in last two months. But we still have to wait for one more month to find out if the season ends with a normal monsoon. Our forecast is 96% LPA with model error of +/-4 %,” said IMD director general M. Mohapatra. As per IMD’s prediction, the overall rainfall is likely to be 94% of LPA over north-west India, 100% of LPA over central India, 97% of LPA over south peninsula and 91% of LPA over north-east India, all with a model error of 8% at the end of September. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/how-imd-got-its-monsoon-forecast-right-1566810971781.html  (27 Aug. 2019)

FLOOD 2019

Urban Floods Vadodara Alert sounded as Vishwamitri river level rises Vadodara facing flood situation for the third time this August. Orsang is overflowing, 23 gates of SSP are open to release 4 lakh cusecs, all six turbines of RBPH and three of CHPH are running, 15000 cusecs is being released into the Narmada Canal. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/alert-sounded-in-vadodara-as-vishwamitri-river-level-rises-5946183/  (29 Aug. 2019)

Gujarat Miraculous escape for three from gushing stream Key Message: Authorities had to release water from Kadana, Panam and Sukhi dams as well as the Ajwa reservoir in the region due to incessant rain in the upstream.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/gujarat-miraculous-escape-for-three-from-gushing-stream/articleshow/70867647.cms  (28 Aug. 2019)

An early flood warning system that helps save lives Simple, effective system. Valsad District Collector C R Kharsan was recognised under the category ‘Inclusive Innovation’ at the first The Indian Express Excellence in Governance Awards.  https://indianexpress.com/article/india/valsad-district-collector-award-category-inclusive-innovation-an-early-flood-warning-system-that-help-save-lives-in-gujaratc-5955158/   (1 Aug. 2019)

Andhra Pradesh No Lesson Learnt This article describes the Andhra Pradesh floods of Aug 2019 and the politics around it.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/lessons-not-learnt/article29246833.ece  (24 Aug. 2019)

The metal boat stuck in a crest gate of the Prakasam Barrage was removed on Aug. 26 afternoon following several hours of efforts by various salvage teams. The 68th gate in which the boat was stuck has finally been shut after a gap of about 10 days. While the boat is over 60 ft wide, the gate is about 40 ft wide. The metal boat was used to carry sand.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/boat-stuck-in-prakasam-barrage-crest-gate-removed-at-last/article29254292.ece  (26 Aug. 2019)

Kerala Jurno’s book studies reasons behind floods Journalist Viju B travelled through the states across the Western Ghats, to study the bigger picture of what caused the floods and to find a way forward. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/lament-western-ghats-kerala-journos-book-studies-reasons-behind-floods-108178  (1 Sept. 2019)

Research has highlighted that in Kerala, floods in 2018 triggered by heavy rain has left reservoirs and dams highly prone to earthquakes. The state has 43 dams and reservoirs predominantly located in the highly deformed and fractured Western Ghats. Of these 21 are now highly prone to tremors, a phenomenon called reservoir-induced seismicity (RIS), according to the latest geographic information system (GIS) analysis. S.M. Ramasamy of the Tamil Nadu-based Bharathidasan University, led the study, which also involved researchers from Alagappa University. The findings were published in the journal Natural Hazards. After the floods, the research team studied the geology of the Western Ghats and found them to be highly deformed with folds and faults caused due to tectonic movements.

– “The cracks are very active. With flooding going to become a recurring phenomenon, we need to study the hydro-dynamics of these dams and optimize their storage and water release to avert major disasters,” said Ramasamy. The 21 reservoirs that are prone to dam induced tremors include the Parambikulam reservoir, Peringalkuthu dam, Idamalayar dam, Mattupetty dam, Mangalam dam, Siruvani dam, Pothundi dam, Idukki dam, Chulliyar dam, Sagar dam and the Mullaperiyar dam. “There is urgent need for effective water management strategies, especially for these 21 reservoirs,” said Ramasamy. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/2018-flood-has-left-dams-reservoirs-in-kerala-prone-to-earthquakes-1567362311011.html   (2 Sept. 2019) 

DROUGHT 2019 

Study Not just El Nino, pollution too worsening drought An Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) study has revealed that during El Nino years, pollutants from south Asian countries can amplify the effect of the climate cycle on the monsoon, worsening an ongoing drought situation. IITM researcher T P Sanin, also the co-author of this study, said El Nino itself led to a decrease in rain over India, with a monsoon rainfall suppressed by 2mm to 6mm per day.

“Add to this the effect of aerosols, and the decrease in rainfall is around 17% over central India,” the study showed. “We estimate that aerosol loading in 2009 and 2015 has induced a rainfall deficit of 1-7mm per day (14%) over central India. The combined effect of El Nino and the increased aerosol loading can led to a rainfall deficit of approximately 4-12 mm per day over India,” Suvarna Fadnavis of IITM, Chief author said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/not-just-el-nino-pollution-too-worsening-droughts-study/articleshow/70884584.cms  (29 Aug. 2019)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Desertification and the role of climate change Mihir Shah: India must learn from the ecological pioneers and carefully adapt the learnings to our own conditions. https://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-desertification-and-the-role-of-climate-change  (6 Aug. 2019)

Hand book of climate change resilience BUILDING RESILIENCE TO CLIMATE CHANGE: WATER STEWARDSHIP IN RAINFED AGRARIAN VILLAGES IN MAHARASHTRA: Author(s): Eshwer Kale and Marcella D’Souza, Handbook of Climate Change.

In rain-dependent drylands of India, unseasonal rainfall and decrease in precipitation cause losses in agriculture-related livelihoods and water scarcity for humans and livestock. Traditional knowledge and local water governance practices of rural communities are unable to cope with these newer risks and losses. Hence, it is necessary to equip people with knowledge and tools to take informed decisions at the farm, enterprise, and community levels that enhance resilience and adaptive capacities.

This chapter is based on lessons learnt and observations from implementing a Water Stewardship Initiative (WSI) that seeks to facilitate a cognitive and organizational shift by bringing science, policy, and governance together at the level of practice and community action. This initiative was launched by the Watershed Organisation Trust, a not-for-profit organization, in 100 villages in Maharashtra State, India.

In the WSI, the approach adopted is of “co-production of knowledge for behavioral and institutional change” toward building the communities’ knowledge and capacity to effectively face varying weather conditions. This chapter presents the approach, key concepts, and a process applied in the WSI and highlights its potential to be taken forward in other similar regions. It has the potential to influence state policies in the water sector.  https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-3-319-93336-8_51  (13 Aug. 2019)

SOUTH ASIA

China tells India, no activities on dams happening in Tibet  Interesting Chinese govt statements, since they are rare. Nothing new as far as Tibet/ Brahmaputra is concerned. They are justifying everything they have done in the past.  https://www.tibetsun.com/news/2019/08/27/china-tells-india-no-activities-on-dams-happening-in-tibet   (27 Aug. 2019)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

USA Miami officials at odds with Senator over dam releases as flood cause Sounds a bit familiar in India? Miami Senator Jack Dalrymple said, “GRDA (the Grand River Dam Authority) says there’s no backwater effect. But all the studies have been made since 1940 to present date say there is a backwater effect and it effects 12 thousand acres that GRDA should own.” The city manager Dean Kruithof agreed and said, “GRDA knowingly built the lake without the proper easement with the idea that it would be cheaper to pay for flood damage than to buy the easements.”

– And want to make that case during the GRDA’S relicensing with FERC. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licenses GRDA because the lake was created with the Pensacola hydroelectric dam. A FERC rule curve shows that the lake is supposed to be no higher than 744  feet above sea level. Dalrymple tracked it online and said, “They’re always out. They’re always above 745.”

– The city manager said May flooding could have been prevented by better control of Pensacola dam releases. Kruithof said, “The lake was at 4 feet below the highest level that lake can go at 755.  It was at 751, five days before the rain. We had the predicted rain in Kansas. It was gonna run down the Neosho (river) and into the lake and instead of  lowering the lake level, the Corp of Engineers policy is to leave the  lake alone. So, when the water started flowing in, there was nowhere for it to go other than flood Miami.”  https://www.koamnewsnow.com/news/politics/miami-officials-at-odds-with-senator-over-dam-releases-as-flood-cause/1114350786  (28 Aug. 2019)

THIS TOO HAPPENS IN USA: But drive just a few dozen miles north, and the festivity dissolves into fear over flooding in Miami (pronounced My-am-uh), a city of 13,000 where one in four people live in poverty. For years, the town has fought a losing battle against the wealthy community at the lake, where high water makes for better boating but leaves little room for overflow when it rains. With heavy rains this year, the city of Miami and local Native American tribes say they were again left to pay the price when floodwater clogged upstream, damaging their homes, businesses and ceremonial grounds. Local leaders had pinned their hopes on a rare chance to ask a federal agency to help stop the flooding. But Mr. Inhofe — a top Republican who is known to swim and fly planes around the lake, where his family owns a vacation home — quietly introduced legislation in June that would hamstring that agency.

– Mayor Rudy Schultz, whose full-time job is running a furniture store company, said he felt like he was in a fight to save his town. “Your amendment is a direct threat to the health and safety of thousands of your constituents,” Mr. Schultz wrote in a letter to Mr. Inhofe last month. “The fact that you own a home on Grand Lake,” he added, “makes your involvement even more inappropriate.”

– Richard Glick, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, cautioned that there was a reason the commission regulates about 1,700 hydroelectric dams across the country. “If you take the umpire out of the baseball games and let the pitcher call the strikes and balls,” he said, “what do you think the pitcher is going to do?” https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/27/us/grand-lake-oklahoma-inhofe.html  (27 Aug. 2019)

CALIFORNIA GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT: WHAT CAN INDIA LEARN FROM THIS? The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) of 2014 represents a historic transition to collective groundwater resource management and has the potential to significantly reduce groundwater overdraft in California. A total of 260 groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) recently formed to collectively manage groundwater resources in the 127 high and medium priority groundwater basins of the state. The simultaneous formation of hundreds of new governing agencies is an unprecedented institutional effort with very few examples to learn from. This report provides a summary of the survey: https://environmentalpolicy.ucdavis.edu/sites/g/files/dgvnsk6866/files/inline-files/SGMA%20Survey%20report_CEPB.pdf 

The findings suggest that while participants support the actions to reduce groundwater overdraft, the SGMA participants have little trust in SGMA’s capacity to achieve environmental and social outcomes, which is key for its success. Climate change events such as drought and governance are perceived as the two most pressing challenges for groundwater management.  https://environmentalpolicy.ucdavis.edu/news/implementing-sgma-results-stakeholder-survey  (26 Aug. 2019)

South Africa Proposal to destroy Murchison Falls National Park submitted by the Bonang Power and Energy Co. rejected South Africa’s Bonang Power and Energy has been courting Ugandan elite and seeking hydropower contracts at least from 2015. Thus its web-site refers to official report of the Uganda State Palace on talks between the country’s President Yoweri and a delegation of an International Consortium of Companies from Russia and South Africa on May 29, 2015. The Russian based energy company – Gidroenergostroy (the RwB failed to identify specific company involved), along with Bonang Power and Energy Ltd from South Africa, were expected to establish additional generating capacity of 200 to 300 MW from Kiira 2 Hdro-Power Station as well as securing the long term sustainable operation of Nalubaale Hydro-Power Station with increased capacity, among others. Generation on those plants was reported in 2006-7 as main factor causing water level drop in Lake Victoria.  http://www.transrivers.org/2019/2819/  (31 Aug. 2019)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 26 Aug. 2019 & DRP News Bulletin 19 Aug. 2019  

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

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