DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 30 Sept. 2019: Constitutional status of Water a state subject under threat

Under India’s constitution, water is supposed to be STATE subject. That seems to be under serious threat. First it happened with Waterways Act in 2015 (this was opposed by a number of ministries at centre and number of states, but the bill still got passed). Now the three new bills, as listed below are further threatening this. The advocates of centralisation, including the World Bank and the Central govt big dam lobby, have been wanting to change the constitutional status, but they have not succeeded so far, but now effectively, they could achieve that objective if all these bills are passed.

3 Water Bills Threatening Federalism Three Bills are presented by the Centre in the recently concluded session: a) River Basin Management Bill, 2019 proposing 13 River Basin Authorities for various river basins in our country, b) River Water Disputes Bill, 2019, to have a dispute resolution committee DRC, and c) Dam Safety Authority Bill, 2019, which significantly shift rights and authority of the States over rivers to the Centre.

With these Bills staring at federalism, the new question emerging is: Who will have final say on the water in rivers; the Centre or the States, the Peoples’ representatives or bureaucrats? https://countercurrents.org/2019/09/three-water-bills-threatening-federalism  (25 Sept. 2019)

The Interstate River Water Dispute Bill is making it mandatory for the Central government to make such scheme. Under the Act, the Central government maintains a data bank and information system at the national level for each river basin. The Bill provides that the Central government will appoint or authorise an agency to maintain such data bank.

This amendment Bill is a mix of some good provisions which are very much required, and over-centralisation of power. Some States like Tamil Nadu and Odisha have expressed apprehension of appropriation of more powers by the Centre. https://countercurrents.org/2019/09/interstate-river-water-dispute-bill-2019-more-centralisation-of-centres-power   (26 Sept. 2019)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Himachal Pradesh Efforts on Chenab hydropower projects After private sector abandoned these project as non viable, now the govt is putting public money on these projects that will also destroy rivers, forests, biodiversity and communities. While state-run NHPC Ltd signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Himachal Pradesh state government for developing 449 megawatt (MW) Rs4,112 crore Duggar project, India’s largest power generation utility — NTPC Ltd — inked MoUs for Seli (400 MW) and Miyar(120 MW) projects. Strangely, the report calls it an investment of Rs 25000 crores? https://www.livemint.com/industry/energy/india-steps-up-efforts-to-develop-hydropower-projects-on-chenab-river-1569462129636.html (26 Sept. 2019)

NTPC inks pact to set up hydropower projects of 520 MW NTPC on Sept. 25 said it has signed a pact with the state govt to set up 2 hydropower projects totalling 520MW in the state. The MoU was signed by Himachal Pradesh Principal Secretary (Energy) Prabodh Saxena and NTPC Director (Commercial) A K Gupta in the presence of CM Jai Ram Thakur, according to a statement by NTPC.

– Seli and Miyar hydroelectric projects are located in Chenab Basin at the state’s Lahaul and Spiti district. While Seli plant (400 MW) is a run-of-the-river project with pondage scheme, Miyar plant (120 MW) is a run-of-the-river project without pondage scheme, on Miyar tributary of Chenab River. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/ntpc-inks-pact-to-set-up-hydropower-projects-of-520-mw-in-himachal-pradesh-4475231.html  (25 Sept. 2019)

Arunachal Pradesh Tarang Warang, One of Many Hydel Projects That Were Never Constructed Story of non progress in even a 30 MW hydropower project given to India Bulls in Oct 2007. Confirms non viability of hydropower projects. https://www.thecitizen.in/index.php/en/NewsDetail/index/13/17597/Tarang-Warang-One-of-Many-Hydel-Projects-That-Were-Never-Constructed  (23 Sept. 2019)

NEEPCO claims that two (of the four) 150 MW units of Kameng HEP are going to be commissioned in Nov 2019, a decade after due commissioning date of Dec 2009. No explanation is forthcoming about  the remaining two units, even if the claim about the first two units turns out to be correct.

– Situated in West Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh, the project would utilize the flows from Bichom and Tenga Rivers, both tributaries of Kameng River, over a gross head of 536 m available in downstream of the confluence of the River Bichom with Kameng. The Project comprises of two dams – Bichom and Tenga and water is transported through a Head Race Tunnel (HRT) and HPT / Penstock into the Kimi Power House for driving four Vertical Frances Turbines of 150 MW each. The design energy of the project is 3353 MU in 90 per cent dependable year. The CCEA clearance of the project was obtained in Dec 2004 at Rs 2496.90 crore with a time of completion of 5 years. However owing to a range of factors, beyond the control of NEEPCO including, major design change of primary structures, geological surprises, devastating flash floods, contractual issues, law and order problems, the commissioning has been delayed. The Revised Cost Estimate of the project is Rs. 6179.96 crore. https://www.sentinelassam.com/north-east-india-news/arunachal-news/kameng-hydro-electric-project-units-ready-for-commissioning-neepco/  (28 Sept. 2019) 

DAMS

Sardar Sarovar Project NBA PR  SC hearing regarding increase in water level Today, on the September 26th, the Supreme Court heard the Writ Petition under Article 32 of the Constitution, filed by the Project Affected Families (PAFs) in Madhya Pradesh. The Petitioners averred that the filling of the Sardar Sarovar Reservoir was illegal and in violation of law, State policies and the judgements of the Hon’ble Court. The States of Gujarat and Maharashtra, in addition to the State of Madhya Pradesh, and the inter-State body of Narmada Control Authority, were impleaded through an interim order passed by Justice Ramana and Justice Ajay Rastogi on the September 18, 2019. The reply affidavits filed by the Union of India and the Narmada Control Authority has rejected, among others, the plea for reducing the water level in the Sardar Sarovar to 122m by keeping the gates open. The affidavits have also claimed that the Narmada Control Authority and its various subgroups, for Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) as well as environment, have already granted all the requisite permissions for filling of the reservoir to FRL in 2017 itself. The State of Gujarat has also contended that the Supreme Court’s order of 8.2.2017, had directed all the PAFs to vacate the villages by 31st July, 2017 and that this should have been complied with.

The Petitioners, on the other hand, submitted that thousands of families, as indicated in the letter by the Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh dated 27.05.2019, have been residing in 76 villages, and their R&R remains pending. The said letter stated that about 3000 applications by the claimants are pending, for the land entitlement or 60 lakh rupees package, granted by the Supreme Court itself in its 2017 order. It was also accepted that a number of tasks related to R&R remain pending and the civic amenities as per NWDTA & State policy, such as drinking water, roads, drainage and others, were not in place.

Today, a Bench comprising of Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Krishna Murari heard the Senior Counsel for the Petitioners, Sanjay Parikhji, who pointed out the gravity of submergence affecting human life and livelihood and requested that on account of the fact that R&R has not been completed, the rise in water levels was not in accordance with law and therefore, it should be brought down so that human sufferings are lessened. Senior counsel for the M.P. government, Kapil Sibal sought time to file an affidavit pointing out the status of R&R. He also asserted that the impact of submergence is much more severe than what has been presented. Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General, submitted on behalf of the Union and NCA that water level in reservoir has been raised as per the procedure in the award.

The Court, after hearing all the parties, directed the State of Madhya Pradesh to file an affidavit by 30th September and fixed the matter for hearing on 1st October. The Court also drew attention of the Solicitor General to the provision in NWDTA regarding a Review Committee meeting suggested in the interim order and observed that a decision should be taken in the meanwhile. It may be pointed out that the Review Committee comprises of the Chief Ministers of the 4 States- Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan as members, chaired by the Minister for Water Resources of the Union of India. The present controversy arose because the State of Gujarat wanted to increase the water level to 138.68 m in spite of State of Madhya Pradesh resisting it on the ground that the pending rehabilitation, submergence cannot be done and the R&R of thousands of families still pending. Because of the rise in water level in Sardar Sarovar, 176 villages have been submerged severely impacting their life and livelihood- islands/tapoos have been created, roads have been submerged and communication is severely affected. https://www.facebook.com/sandrp.in/posts/2864691000225221?__tn__=K-R   (26 Sept 2019)

Dams await Narmada waters, 6 months after PM launched SAUNI pipeline phase Six months ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated phase-II of link-I canal of SAUNI, which connects the Sardar Sarovar dam to these dams, yet the work remains incomplete. The amount of floodwater being discharged from the Sardar Sarovar dam in a day to manage the water level in the reservoir can fill up dozens of dams in Saurashtra, but dams such as Sani, Ghee, Gadhaki and Vijarkhi served by link-I of the project have not got Narmada waters this monsoon, as the work to set up a pumping station has been delayed. As of Tuesday (Sept 24, 2019) morning, the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) was releasing 59,755 cusec (cubic feet per second) or around 5,158 million cubic feet (mcft) per day.

Dams await Narmada waters, 6 months after PM launched SAUNI pipeline phase
The amount of floodwater being discharged from the Sardar Sarovar dam in a day to manage the water level in the reservoir can fill up dozens of dams in Saurashtra, but dams such as Sani, Ghee, Gadhaki and Vijarkhi served by link-I of the project have not got Narmada waters this monsoon, as the work to set up a pumping station has been delayed. (Source: TIE/File)

– The SAUNI project is divided into four pipeline links. Link-I offtakes from Machhu-II dam in Morbi district and tails into Sani river upstream and to Sani dam in Kalyanpur taluka of Devbhumi Dwarka district. Machhu-II dam is fed by Narmada project’s Morbi branch canal, which in turn offtakes from Dholidhaja Dam. The Dholidhaja dam is landing point of Saurashtra Branch canal of Narmada project. Link-II offtakes from Limdi Bhogavo-II dam near Vadod village in Wadhwan taluka of Surendranagar and tails into Raydi dam in Khambha taluka in Amreli district. Link-III offtakes from Dholidhaja dam and tails into Venu-I dam in Upleta taluka of Rajkot district. Link-IV also offtakes from Limdi Bhogavo-II and tails into Hiran-II dam in Talala taluka of Junagadh district.

– Work on the 57.67 km-long phase-I (from Machhu-II to Aji-III dam) of link-I had begun in February, 2014 and the PM had inaugurated it on August, 30, 2016. The same day he laid the foundation stone of the 122.33 km-long phase-II of this link. This phase-II of link-I begins from Aji-III dam and culminates in Sani river. It entailed laying 85.57 km long parallel pipeline and setting up pumping stations at Aji-III, Und-I, Kankavati, Pipartoda and Gadhaki to directly pump or flow with gravity water into nine dams of Jamnagar and 11 of Devbhumi Dwarka. The project cost was Rs 814.83 crore and it was due to be completed in May this year even though Modi formally inaugurated it in March this year by releasing water into Ranjitsagar dam, a source of drinking water for Jamnagar city.

– However, the irrigation department is not able to operate link-I to pump water to Sani and Ghee. “The work of setting up a pumping station at Pipartoda has been delayed due to land acquisition issues. While the matter is still pending before the Gujarat High Court, we are hopeful of completing the work soon,” says Kamlesh Mehta, an executive engineer with Rajkot irrigation (projects) circle of state irrigation department. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/rajkot/dams-await-narmada-waters-6-months-after-pm-modi-launched-sauni-pipeline-phase-6025756/  (25 Sept. 2019)

BBMB Sediments reduce storage capacity of Bhakra Dam by 23% Facing the challenge of sediment deposition, which has reduced water storage capacity at the Bhakra Dam by almost 23 per cent, the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) has roped in Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee, and IIT, Ropar, to conduct studies to identify the areas from where the sediment was coming and its possible use. Besides, the BBMB was also seeking help from the World Bank under the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement project (DRIP). This was disclosed by DK Sharma, Chairman of the BBMB. BBMB organised a workshop on ‘Sediment Management for Sustainability of Large Storage Reservoirs and Run-of-River Projects’ in Chandigarh, on Sept 27, 2019. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/sediments-reduce-storage-capacity-of-bhakra-dam-by-23/839276.html  (28 Sept. 2019)

Polavaram Dam Andhra govt claims Rs 780 cr saving Only one tender came and there was no provision to award contract to single tender, but AP decided to go ahead. Officials said the fresh contract is awarded to Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Limited (MEIL), which came up with a proposal, costing 12.6 per cent less than an earlier contract. The MEIL bid for the works for Rs 4,358 crore. The government saved Rs 628 crore through this re-tendering. Additional saving for an amount of Rs.152 crore was realized in Part-B (PIP Hydro Electric Project). Thus overall saving is around Rs 780 crore. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/polavaram-hydropower-plant-re-tendering-andhra-claims-rs-780-cr-saving/71269201  (24 Sept. 2019)

New Contractors Among Top 99 Richest Indians MEIL is the frontrunner for bagging Polavaram Remaining Dam Works and Hydel Project Contract in Reverse Tendering. MEIL’s P Pitchi Reddy with a net worth of 13,400 Crore and MD, PV Krishna Reddy with a net worth of 12,900 Crore are among Top 99 Richest Indians. https://www.mirchi9.com/politics/polavaram-project-new-contractors-among-top-99-richest-indians/   (26 Sept. 2019)

Maharashtra Interesting from Prakash Ambedkar, leader of Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi: The VBA leader said if brought to power, his party would divert the water from hydropower projects to supply for drinking and agriculture. “The equitable distribution of water, which will ensure sufficient water availability for farming in drought-prone areas and drinking water supply, will be our priority,” he said. Not clear if he meant Koyna and Tata hydropower projects that divert westward the waters of East flowing rivers Bhima and Krishna for hydropower generation. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/vba-to-contest-elections-only-on-public-issues-prakash-ambedkar-6022798/  (24 Sept. 2019)

Maharashtra Irrigation Scam Scams galore in Cong tenure, investigations get nowhere in BJP tenure This provides some details of progress in irrigation scam in Maharashtra. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/scams-galore-in-cong-tenure-investigations-get-nowhere-in-bjp-tenure/articleshow/71363567.cms  (30 Sept. 2019)

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Ken-Betwa Interlinking Project may be economically unviable The CEC’s report raised fundamental questions not only about the appropriateness of the wildlife clearance given to the Ken-Betwa project but also its viability, optimality and desirability, said Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of SANDRP. “This a massive setback for the Ken-Betwa project. We hope the govt wakes up to the reality and shelves the project and immediately goes for more viable, quicker, cost-effective and less damaging options for Bundelkhand,” said Thakkar. https://thewire.in/environment/ken-betwa-river-linking-project-may-be-economically-unviable-says-sc-committee  (26 Sept. 2019)

From Ken Betwa to Mumbai to Karnataka… Nature encroached everywhere. https://thewire.in/environment/cauvery-wildlife-sanctuary-mekedatu-dam-grizzled-giant-squirrel  (22 Sept. 2019)

Godavari Krishna Andhra Telangana plan to interlink Chief Engineers and officials of departments of Irrigation and Water Resources of both states met on Tuesday to determine an interlinking point where the pumped Godavari river waters can meet Krishna River. “So far, we have not been able to identify that point. If Andhra Pradesh suggests one place, Telangana officials say they may not benefit much from it; when Telangana officials suggest a place, Andhra officials say they may not benefit equally from it… so talks are going on,’’ an official said. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/andhra-telangana-work-on-plan-to-interlink-godavari-krishna-6026142/  (25 Sept. 2019) 

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

Kerala and Tamil Nadu 25 Taken into Custody for Protesting Against CMs’ meeting Nearly 25 people who arrived in the city to protest against the high-profile meeting between the CMs of Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been taken into preventive custody, police said.

Those arrested claimed that they belong to a Tamil Nadu-based river water retrieval committee and have come to Thiruvananthapuram to submit a memorandum to both the chief ministers with regard to river-water sharing issue. https://www.news18.com/news/politics/25-taken-into-custody-for-protesting-against-meeting-between-cms-kerala-tamil-nadu-2322217.html  (25 Sept. 2019) 

States review PAP Water Sharing Agreement after 60 years The decision was taken in a meeting between Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami and Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan in Thiruvananthapuram on Sept. 25. “A 10-member committee will be formed compromising of five members each from both the states. Members of the committee and the venue of the meeting date will be decided in a week. The committee will decide further course of action and will finalise the decision. The Chief Secretaries of both the states will convene meetings and review the progress once in six months” Pinarayi Vijayan said.  He also added that his Tamil Nadu counterpart Edappadi Palaniswami had initiated the move and thanked him for that.

The Parambikulam-Aliyar Project (PAP) agreement accomplishes the diversion and integration of 8 west-flowing rivers, 6 in the Anamalai hills – Anamalaiyar, Sholayar, Thunacadavu, Nirar, Peruvaripallam and Parambikulam – and 2 in the plains – Aliyar and Palar – for the benefit of the drought-prone areas in the Coimbatore and Erode districts of Tamil Nadu. When all the components of diversion and storage works contemplated in the agreement are completed, 30.5 TMC of water will be diverted to Tamil Nadu from Kerala annually. With disagreements between the two states on the deal in the past, this meeting aims to iron out differences. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/kerala-and-tn-review-parambikkulam-aliyar-water-sharing-agreement-after-60-years-109515  (26 Sept. 2019) 

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS

Gujarat Ro-Ro Ferry Service Suspended Due to Heavy Siltation in Narmada High amount of silt brought by the Narmada River water stops the ferry service from Dahej to Ghogha as available depth of water comes down, according to this report, from five mts to one meter.  https://www.news18.com/news/india/ro-ro-ferry-service-suspended-in-gujarat-from-tomorrow-due-to-heavy-siltation-in-narmada-2320027.html  (23 Sept. 2019)

URBAN RIVERS

Pune State panel wants clarity on PMC’s riverfront development initiatives The state panel has asked what alternatives PMC has in the tow when it razes the road for its project as it predicts that traffic situation will go haywire.

Image result for State panel wants clarity on PMC’s riverfront development in  Read more at: https://punemirror.indiatimes.com/pune/civic/state-panel-wants-clarity-on-pmcs-riverfront-development-initiatives/articleshowprint/71283349.cms

Civic body received nod in 2018; environment clearance committee demands answers on traffic management, parking Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) ambitious riverfront development project — carved on the lines of Ahmedabad’s initiative — has found itself at the questioning end of state government’s environment clearance committee. It has asked the civic body how it is going to manage the traffic once it razes the roads from the riverbed. The panel has also sought explanation on the availability of parking. The civic officials have said that they will be filing a detailed reply soon. https://punemirror.indiatimes.com/pune/civic/state-panel-wants-clarity-on-pmcs-riverfront-development-initiatives/articleshow/71283349.cms  (25 Sept. 2019)

Bengaluru Yellowish water in Vrishabhavathi river sparks panic The already polluted Vrishabhavathi water on Sept. 23 turned yellowish, sending police and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board into a tizzy. While some suspected the water to have become muddy following rain, a few alleged chemicals were let into the river. Residents living in the river’s vicinity panicked and made calls to police stations at Byatarayanapura, Kengeri and Kumbalgodu to complain about how the otherwise grey water had turned yellowish. In fact, the river had made news on Sept. 22 as well when hundreds of people undertook a Save Vrishabhavathi campaign.

Image result for Bengaluru: Yellowish water in Vrishabhavathi river sparks panic

Meanwhile, speculations were rife that yellow discharge from a dyeing unit at Kambipura had got mixed with the river water. However, KSPCB officials claimed all dyeing units alongside Vrishabhavathi have been closed. Another explanation offered was that waste, including mud stored at Anchepalya where National Highways Authority of India is constructing a bridge, could have got washed away by the rain, in turn mixing with the river water. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/yellowish-water-in-vrishabhavathi-sparks-panic/articleshow/71266062.cms  (24 Sept. 2019)

Adiyar Chennai River of Sorrow? Despite crores of rupees being allotted from time immemorial for ‘beautification’ of the Adyar river, this is its condition today, as seen from Kotturpuram bridge. How much more of taxpayers’ money will go down the drain is anybody’s guess! https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/citizen-reporter/stories/riverofsorrow/articleshow/71268278.cms  (24 Sept. 2019)

Kerala Survey finds rampant encroachments The Kerala Nadhi Samrakahsna Samithi has found that there is widespread encroachment on the river Chaliyar and that the encroachers are mostly businesspersons. A fact-finding team of the samithi started travelling along the river banks on September 20 covering the stretches that come under Feroke and Ramanattukara municipalities, Olavanna and Pantheerankavu villages in Kozhikode district and Vazhayur in Malappuram district. The initiative was in the wake of the destruction caused by the Chaliyar throughout its course during the recent floods.

Threatened: The Chaliyar at Mavoor in Kozhikode.

These encroachments amounted to contempt of court as the Kerala High Court has ordered in 2001 to measure the banks of all the rivers in the State and to protect the ‘purambokku’ land using ‘jhendas’. It also stated that land, at least 4 metres wide, close to the rivers should be set aside for the public to access the river, even if it was private property. The price of the land along the banks of the river had also escalated in the recent years. “The encroachers know that the river would soon be part of the National Waterway and all the structures are in view of the situation”, Mr.Rajan said. The Nadi Samrakshana Samithi plans to move court against these encroachments and hold the district collectors in all the districts responsible for clearing them, Mr.Rajan said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/survey-finds-rampant-encroachments/article29513290.ece  (25 Sept. 2019)  

RIVERS

CAUVERY Rally for Rivers 95 civil society groups ask Leonardo DiCaprio to withdraw support for ‘Cauvery Calling’ In the letter compiled by Leo Saldanha, it was also stated that, “It (Cauvery Calling) comes across as a method that promotes a monoculturist paradigm of landscape restoration which people of India have rejected long ago. Besides, such a program could create unintended and unforeseen social and ecological consequences, as planting trees in certain regions (grasslands and floodplains for instance) could result in drying up of streams and rivulets, and destruction of wildlife habitats”.

– A PIL in the Karnataka High Court has raised questions about how the foundation was collecting funds from the public for the campaign. This was also mentioned in the letter by environmental groups and individuals, sent to DiCaprio.

– The environmentalists also raised questions over the credibility of Isha Foundation. “Isha Foundation has very low credibility in conforming with Indian laws protecting human rights and environment. No less an authority than the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, a constitutional body, has reported that the foundation has built its headquarters into an elephant corridor and on land belonging to Adivasis (original inhabitants of India, who are indigenous communities)”, reads the letter. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/95-civil-society-groups-ask-leonardo-dicaprio-withdraw-support-cauvery-calling-109468  (25 Sept. 2019)

See the full text of letter here. https://thewire.in/environment/leonardo-dicaprio-cauvery-calling-civil-society-groups  (25 Sept. 2019)

Good to see Guardian covering this. Hope this bring some sense. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/sep/26/leonardo-dicaprio-urged-to-end-support-for-indian-river-project  (26 Sept. 2019)

Himachal Pradesh Govt to rejuvenate Sutlej, Chenab, Beas The state government is geared up to rejuvenate the Sutlej, Chenab and Beas and planning to reduce pollution levels, soil erosion, illegal mining and waste dumping. Scientists expressed concern over the state of rivers. They said there was a need to take quick measures to protect the water bodies. It was observed that due to increasing human activity near the rivers, the pollution levels had assumed alarming proportions. Illegal mining, direct dumping of waste and soil erosion have disturbed the ecology of these rivers.

The Beas water has turned muddy due to the four-laning work between Mandi and Kullu-Manali. At many points, the construction material is dumped into the river. Due to poor garbage disposal in Kullu district, tonnes of garbage is being dumped directly into the Beas from the Manali and Manikaran side. The situation is no better in Lahaul-Spiti and Sutlej basin. The authorities are mum over the issue because a majority of offenders are associated with politicians. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/govt-to-rejuvenate-sutlej-chenab-beas/834277.html  (28 Sept. 2019)

2 Beas tributaries turned into garbage dump The Bhiral and Mol khuds, two major tributaries of the Beas passing through Palampur town, are a major source of drinking water for people in the lower areas of Palampur. These water bodies have been turned into garbage dumps. The IPH Department lifts water from the Bhiral khud near Thural for its water supply schemes.

Image result for A video of a tempo dumping garbage in the Mol Khud had gone viral three days ago

Three days ago, a tempo owner was caught dumping garbage in the local Mol khud, a video of which went viral on the social media. Complaints were also lodged with the Palampur SDM and the DSP, but no case has been registered. The tempo owner has also not been summoned by the police.

Department officials have been passing the buck to the Pollution Control Board even as the latter has categorically stated that the SDM and the DSP have the power to act and register cases under different laws. Till date, no appropriate steps have been taken to check the overflow of sewerage lines and contamination of water channels. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/water-contamination-goes-unchecked-in-palampur/840334.html  (30 Sept. 2019)

KRISHNA Andhra Pradesh Demolition of structures on banks of Krishna begins For the first time after the demolition of ‘Praja Vedika’, an “unauthorised conference hall” built by the TDP government, 3 months ago, the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority initiated action against other private properties that were built in the Krishna River’s flood plain area in Undavalli village of Guntur district on Sept. 23.

CRDA demolishing illegal constructions on Krishna river bed at Undavalli near Vijayawada on Monday, VIJAYAWADA, ANDHRA PRADESH, 23-09-2019

The demolition of the 17-meter long concrete ramp constructed unauthorisedly from the agriculture land owned by Pathuri Koteswara Rao has been initiated. At least, 10 meters of the ramp was protruding into the river with the support of pillars laid in the water. Workers engaged by the CRDA had to wear life jackets while demolishing the structure piece by piece with sledgehammers. There is also a small structure with roof adjoining the ramp, officials said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/demolition-of-unauthorised-private-structures-on-the-banks-of-krishna-river-begins/article29490753.ece  (24 Sept. 2019)

GANGA Cleaning the Ganga Rethinking Irrigation Is Key Tushar Shah: “Prioritising aviral dhara (uninterrupted flow) over nirmal dhara (unpolluted flow) can deliver quick outcomes in the Namami Gange Programme. Treating human, municipal and industrial waste released into the Ganga is a long-term project requiring vast resources and political energy, besides behavioural change on a mass scale. But, Ganga’s dry season flows can be quickly improved by basin-scale conjunctive management of the surface water and groundwater. A multipronged protocol is outlined to manage the old canal network and new hydropower storages in order to maximise irrigation benefits and improve dry season river flows by moving away from tube wells as a source of irrigation in the Ganga basin.” https://www.epw.in/journal/2019/39/special-articles/cleaning-ganga.html  (28 Sept. 2019) 

Uttar Pradesh NGT orders action against university run by MP Azam Khan The NGT has directed action against a private university run by Samajwadi Party MP Azam Khan, following a plea which alleged that it was an encroachment on the floodplain of river Kosi. A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel observed that concerned statutory authorities should take appropriate action as river Kosi is a tributary of the Ganga.

Kosi River.png

The FIR reveals that Mr. Khan, who represents Rampur in Lok Sabha, and his close aide allegedly ‘grabbed land’ from 26 farmers for the construction of the Mohammed Ali Jauhar University, the plea added. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ngt-orders-action-against-university-run-by-mp-azam-khan/article29493310.ece  (24 Sept. 2019)

Ensure there is no illegal dismantling of e-waste along Ramganga: NGT The Green Tribunal has directed the Uttar Pradesh government to ensure that there is no illegal dismantling of e-waste along the banks of the Ramganga river in Moradabad, an important tributary of the Ganges. A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said any dismantling or recycling has to be done in accordance with the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016.

The tribunal said the direction be circulated by the CPCB to all concerned and status of compliance may be filed before it. During the proceedings, Uttar Pradesh chief secretary submitted a report stating that an action plan will be executed in two stages. The green panel had earlier imposed an environment compensation of Rs 10 lakh on the Uttar Pradesh government for failing to take action on disposing e-waste from the banks of the Ramganga. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/ensure-there-is-no-illegal-dismantling-of-e-waste-in-up-ngt/articleshow/71293836.cms  (25 Sept. 2019)

YAMUNA Delhi L-G Anil Baijal directs DDA to finish Yamuna revival work in 2 years  While reviewing the plan prepared by the DDA, the L-G said that the land-owning agency should prepare details of areas in the floodplains transferred to various agencies for temporary usage. “These areas should be assessed and taken back by DDA wherever the required purpose has been fulfilled. The complete riverfront of Yamuna should be planned to carry out holistic development,” the release from the L-G office read.

During  meeting, the DDA had presented its plan for the revival of the riverfront. The revival of the 1,476 hectare of the Yamuna floodplain has been divided in 10 packages. The DDA has also been asked to take measures to address basic issues of civic amenities like public access to the river, waiting sheds, pathways, sitting benches and other public conveniences.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/l-g-directs-dda-to-finish-yamuna-revival-work-in-two-years/story-wgYLFn0OueFSBf4eGtp41K.html  (3 Sept. 2019)

RIVERS BIODIVERSITY

USAID and MoEFCC Launch “Forest-PLUS 2.0” to Improve Status of India’s Forests and Rivers Interesting to see water and rivers being mentioned in the context of forest management. This program is to be taken up in Kerala, Telangana and Bihar. https://in.usembassy.gov/usaid-and-moefcc-launch-forest-plus-2-0-to-improve-status-of-indias-forests-and-rivers/  (25 Sept. 2019)

Giant earthworm found at the foot of Western Ghats Prof. Sreepada told The Hindu that this was the first time such a large earthworm had been sighted in the Western Ghats and the coastal belt. “We are studying it,” he said. Mr. Hasyagar said that when stretched, the earthworm measures 950 mm (more than 3 feet) and is 20 mm in width. He said that in India, J.M. Julka (2008) had reported the largest earthworm — Drawida nilamburensis, which belongs to the Moniligastridae family. That specimen, from the Nilgiris, measured up to 1,000 mm in length.

K.S. Sreepada, professor of Applied Zoology at Mangalore University, with the giant earthworm found in Dakshina Kannada district earlier this year.

– Mr. Nishant said he had found a similar type of giant worm in the same area about 10 years ago when he was in class 8. “I too had believed it to be a snake,” he said. Sreepada said the giant earthworms begin migrating at night during the pre-monsoon and post-monsoon periods. The sighting of the giant earthworm in Kollamogaru calls for deeper study from different angles, including the landslips in Kodagu this year and last, he said.  https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/giant-earthworm-found-at-the-foot-of-western-ghats/article29493954.ece  (24 Sept. 2019)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Hilsa changes route, migrates to Bangladesh waters The king of fishes is changing its migration route. Faced with a mesh of nets at the mouth of the Hooghly and a highly silted riverbed, shoals of hilsa are taking flight to Bangladesh. That is one of the main reasons why the hilsa catch in Bengal’s rivers is drastically declining, pushing up prices, say experts. In 2002-03, the total hilsa catch in the Hooghly was 62,600 tonnes. Within a decade and a half (2017-18), that came down to 27,539 tonnes — a sheer drop of 56%. During the same period, the catch in Bangladesh increased from 1,99,032 tonnes to 5,17,000 tonnes — a rise of 160%.

“The hilsa stock that congregate in north Bay of Bengal mainly takes three routes for their upstream journey during the spawning season: the Hooghly estuary, the Meghna in Bangladesh and the Irrawaddy in Myanmar. But, due to high siltation and virtually unrestricted fishing in the Hooghly, the fish has been changing its migration route and is moving up mostly through the Meghna,” says Utpal Bhaumik, retired divisional head of Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/hilsa-changes-route-swims-bangla-waters/articleshow/71250754.cms  (23 Sept. 2019)

Fishermen worry as Hilsa export nosedives

Hilsa catch in Odisha has dwindled this year: According to a recent study report, between 2002 and 2015, Hilsa catch went up by 13 per cent although the number of boats engaged in fishing increased by 25 per cent. Although the yield was progressively growing down over the years in Odisha, the price has shot up making the fish go beyond the reach of the common man’s dining table. According to an official of Bahabalapur fishing centre, Hilsa yielded about 388 tonne in the district last year while the yield stood at 150 MT this year. https://www.orissapost.com/fishermen-worry-as-hilsa-export-nosedives/ (25 Sept. 2019)   

SAND MINING

Goa Locals wary of weak Tiracol river bank The banks of the Tiracol river have seen a lot of topographical changes over the past few years. While some locals attribute this to rampant soil erosion, others say flooding has taken a toll on mangrove patches and other plantations on either side. Many even claim that road-widening work had caused the soil to get washed off and get deposited into the riverbed, raising its water level. At some points, the newly-constructed concrete embankment for the highway had itself collapsed due to destabilised soil caused by sand extraction.

Image result for Locals wary of weak Tiracol river bank

A government study conducted in the village of Uguem in 2017, had warned of extensive sand extraction taking a toll on the river’s banks. It had stated that due to deep sand mining, soil around the bank had been rendered unstable and many trees in the area had collapsed. At some stretches, the width of the river had widened by about 2-3 metres due to damage caused to the banks by water gushing into plantations.

The August floods had further damaged the already ruined banks at some stretches. Locals have even expressed apprehension over the stability of the railway bridge at Uguem, as five of its pillars standing in the river now lie exposed. Konkan Railway officials, however, have downplayed any such threat and have stated that checks and inspections are conducted regularly by technical experts. A local, however, said that never in the past were the pillars exposed and attributed the phenomenon to excessive sand extraction. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/locals-wary-of-weak-tiracol-river-bank/articleshow/71249984.cms  (23 Sept. 2019)

Tamil Nadu PWD mining permit to be extended The EAC of the MOEF has recommended a three-year extension of the Environmental Clearance (EC) given to the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department for river sand mining on the Cauvery bed in Tiruchi and Karur. The project involves mining more than 30 lakh cubic metres of river sand in the upstream and downstream areas of the Kattalai Bed Regulator on the Cauvery.

In May 2015, the Public Works Department was given the EC for the project with a validity of three years. The Department approached the Committee for an extension citing its inability to mine the requisite quantity of sand “due to flow in the river and storage of water in the newly constructed barrage”. The PWD submitted that the project could not be completed in three years. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/sand-mining-pwd-permit-to-be-extended/article29495916.ece  (24 Sept. 2019)

The Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam  has strongly opposed the recommendation of the EAC for granting a three-year extension of EC given to the PWD for mining sand from the Cauvery bed in Tiruchi and Karur districts.The Department approached the Committee for an extension citing its inability to mine the requisite quantity of sand “due to flow in the river and storage of water in the newly constructed barrage.”

Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam members staging a demonstration in front of Tiruchi Collectorate on Friday.

Claiming that indiscriminate sand mining on the Cauvery and Kollidam rivers over the past 10 years has caused severe depletion of groundwater table and affected water sources of drinking water schemes located on the riverbeds, the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam urged the government to reject the recommendation of the EAC. The association alleged that sand was mined for a depth of up to 30 metres in violation of the stipulation that mining should be restricted to three metres. It also alleged that the partial collapse of the regulator across Kollidam at Mukkombu was triggered by sand mining in its vicinity.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/move-to-extend-permission-for-sand-mining-on-cauvery-opposed/article29533776.ece  (27 Sept. 2019)   

Uttar Pradesh Stop illegal mining in Loni: NGT to Ghaziabad DM NGT has directed the district magistrate of Ghaziabad to stop illegal sand mining being carried out in Loni area. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel perused a report filed by the UP PCB which found irregularities in mining operations and for which a penalty was imposed twice under the relevant minor mineral rules. The NGT noted that mining lease was given without any assessment by the State Environment Assessment Authority, a violation of the tribunal’s order. The bench was hearing a plea filed by Ghaziabad resident Vinod Kumar Tyagi seeking action against illegal sand mining being carried out by one Omkar Lakshmi Shubham Private Limited. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ghaziabad/stop-illegal-mining-in-loni-ngt-to-ghaziabad-dm/articleshow/71314453.cms  (26 Sept. 2019)

Punjab 1 held for illegal sand mining Harjinder Singh of Panniwala Fatta village in Muktsar district has been arrested for illegal sand mining near Tarewala village of Fazilka district. Investigating Officer Gurnaib Singh said a police patrol party nabbed Harjinder Singh, who was carrying a sand-laden tractor-trailer after excavating sand from a seepage drain near Tarewala village. The police have also impounded tractor-trailer and booked the accused. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/1-held-for-illegal-sand-mining/838225.html  (26 Sept. 2019) 

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Maradu CRZ Violation Case Case filed against builders of 3 apartments The builders of Kochi’s Maradu apartments that are ordered to be demolished by the Supreme Court, who have so far remained untouched by the legal proceedings and turmoil, have now begun to feel the heat with the city police registering a case against them. As per the report, no complaint was filed by the residents of the fourth apartment building Golden Kayaloram and hence no case has been registered against its builders.

According to the report, the builders have been booked under sections 406 (Punishment for criminal breach of trust) and 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the Indian Penal Code. A total of 50 bank accounts of the three builders have been frozen following filing of case against them. Meanwhile, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) disconnected the power supply to the four apartment buildings on Sept. 19 morning. According to sources in Kerala Water Authority (KWA), the water connection to these apartments has also been disconnected. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/case-filed-against-builders-3-apartments-kochi-s-maradu-bank-accounts-frozen-109524  (26 Sept. 2019)

Kerala Warehousing corp godown project in wetland at Purakkad under scanner A major construction project of the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) in an ecologically sensitive zone in central Kerala has come under the lens just as the filling of wetlands is directly blamed for the back-to-back flood which swamped the state. The CWC project at Purakkad village in Alappuzha is being undertaken in brazen violation of an expert committee report that warns of severe flooding if construction is allowed at the proposed site.

As major irregularities with regard to allocation of wetland for the construction have come to the fore, Purakkad grama panchayat had on June 11, 2019, issued stop memo to the CWC directing it to suspend the work and submit all necessary permissions which they have availed for construction of the 6,048 sq m godown at the proposed site. Even an RTI reply given by the state government on July 10, 2019, shows CWC was not given the nod to fill the wetland. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2019/sep/05/warehousing-corp-godown-project-in-wetland-at-purakkad-under-scanner-2028959.html  (5 Sept. 2019)

Maharashtra Protect Panje even if it is not a wetland: State panel to Cidco The state committee appointed by the Bombay high court (HC) to protect wetland and mangroves, has directed the City Industrial Development Corporation Ltd (Cidco) to protect Panje area in Navi Mumbai from development, even if it is not officially recognised as a wetland. The decision was taken during the committee’s last meeting on Sept. 20. Other members of the HC-appointed committee said directions issued act only as an advisory. “Officially notifying Panje as a wetland does not rest with the committee as it is not our mandate to notify wetlands. It has to be done by the Maharashtra government only,” said Stalin D, director, Vanashakti.

On August 8, the committee had said that despite Panje possessing characteristics of a wetland, it cannot be considered one because the area is not designated as such in the National Wetland Atlas, 2011. Spread across 213 hectare (ha) core or foraging area and 157 ha buffer area for a migratory bird roosting zone, Panje is home to around 50,000 birds (migratory and resident) during winter. The state wildlife board had decided to declare the area a bird sanctuary in 2015, but the notification was never published. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/protect-panje-even-if-it-is-not-a-wetland-state-panel-to-cidco/story-HKNSf3tpNjjngD1xW5vaJL.html  (22 Sept. 2019)

Bullet Train An entire ecosystem at risk from Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train Massive impact of Bullet Train project on entire ecosystem. The construction of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Railway (MAHSR) project will not only lead to the loss of mangroves, but will destroy an entire eco-system, according to a report. 11 types of mangrove species, the habitat of 177 species of resident and migratory birds, otters, turtles, fish, crabs, oysters, wild boar, monkeys, flying fox, fishing cats, civets, mongoose, wild cats etc. frequently entering the mangroves for feeding and shelter — will be directly affected.

These details were revealed as part of a yet to be released 85-page project report by the Mangrove Society of India from June 2018 on the environmental impacts of the bullet train, accessed by environmentalists from The Nature Connect and Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishtan under RTI response from MoEF. At an estimated cost of Rs1.10-lakh crore, the bullet train that will run at 320kmph and cover the Mumbai-Ahmedabad distance in an expected three hours. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/an-entire-ecosystem-at-risk-from-mumbai-ahmedabad-bullet-train/story-Nn8dCGAujs1FHV2hnRsaHM.html  (22 Sept. 2019)

Karnataka NGT panel submits report, abuse going on NGT committee to oversee the protection and rejuvenation of Agara, Bellandur and Varthur lakes has submitted its report to the tribunal. “If the report is accepted and implemented, agencies that have not followed the rules and regulations can be penalised. We have studied the lakes in detail and have prepared the report after taking into consideration the ground realities,”said Justice (retd) N. Santosh Hegde who headed the committee. He added that it is up to the NGT whether or not to accept the report.

A fire broke out in Sadaramangala lake near K.R. Puram on Sept. 28 night leaving citizens and residents worried. Residents allege that the BBMP has not fenced the lake because of which lorries dump garbage and construction debris. According to local residents, it’s only recently that trucks have resumed dumping debris in the lake. They urged the BBMP to finish the rejuvenation work as soon as possible and appoint security guards. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/ngt-appointed-committee-submits-report-on-lakes/article29550271.ece  (29 Sept. 2019)  

Madhya Pradesh Idol immersions continue unabated in Bhopal wetland Almost 200 tonnes of waste was generated in the lake due to the recent Ganesh Chaturthi, said Pawan Kumar Singh, Additional Commissioner, BMC. And yet for the next festival three sites along the Lower Lake, a major repository of the city’s sewage, and one along the Upper Lake, which meets the city’s 40% drinking water, have been designated for immersions.

Wooden structures and puja materials on the banks of the Upper Lake in Bhopal.

In 1995, the State launched a conservation project with a ₹2.5 billion aid from the Japanese Bank For International Cooperation. Upon the project’s completion, a State Lake Conservation Authority was set up, but in 2011-2012 it was merged with the State government’s Environmental Planning and Coordination Organisation, thereby losing credence and teeth.

Even as the Bhopal Municipal Corporation continued as the wetland’s custodian, the State Human Rights Commission in 2013 called upon the State to set up an autonomous commission to protect water bodies. In light of the Kedarnath floods, it had issued fiery commentary: “The administration is not worrying, people are silent. Will this silence break only when Bhopal drowns as a result of some grave tragedy?” https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/idol-immersions-continue-unabated-in-bhopal-wetland/article29503073.ece  (25 Sept. 2019) 

WATER OPTIONS

Uttar Pradesh ‘Jal Budget Gaon’ setting example with ‘water budgeting’ model Farol Nagariya, a remote village in the Firozabad district of Uttar Pradesh, has declared itself a ‘Jal Budget Gaon’. The title is prominently displayed — painted on a wall — outside the panchayat office. This village, which has just about a hundred households, has adopted a mix of budgeting and conservation techniques to tackle its water woes and improve the groundwater table. Such is their success story, that the Firozabad district administration has now ordered replication of Farol Nagariya’s community-driven rationing and management model in six water-stressed development blocks of the district. An order to this effect was issued by the chief development officer of Firozabad, Neha Jain.

The ‘Jal Budget Gaon’, Farol Nagariya, in Firozabad district of Uttar Pradesh.

Firozabad has nine development blocks, out of which six are categorised as dark zones (areas demarcated by the government where over-exploitation of groundwater is acute and depletion exceeds rate of recharging). “Not only do we ration water, our ‘Jal Budget’ model also involves replenishing the groundwater table,” said village council head Ajiram Rajpoot. “Each household has created soak pits for putting the waste water from the kitchen and the bathroom back into the ground. Besides, soak pits have also been created near hand-pumps. We have also planted trees around the hand-pumps,” he explained. https://www.hindustantimes.com/lucknow/this-up-village-is-setting-an-example-with-its-water-budgeting-model/story-zEfHIE50AMT8fKC1hotQzK.html  (23 Sept. 2019)

Karnataka Bengalureans win award for reviving and protecting Jakkur Lake The 160-acre Jakkur Lake is setting an example, not just for lakes in the city, but for lakes across the country. Bengaluru’s Jalaposhan Trust has won the second prize under the ‘promotion of citizen and state action for water conservation, augmentation, and preservation’ category by National Water Mission (NWM) for rejuvenating, conserving and preserving the 200-year-old Jakkur Lake.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/bengalureans-win-award-for-reviving-and-protecting-jakkur-lake/articleshow/71319835.cms  (28 Sept. 2019)

GROUNDWATER

Study UNCOVERING THE ON-GOING GROUNDWATER CRISIS IN SOUTH INDIA Several studies over the past few years have been talking about groundwater stress and depletion in the north and east India. In contrast, water levels are reported to be rising in south India. Tejasvi Hora, Veena Srinivasan and Nandita Basu, authors of a recent study, ‘The groundwater recovery paradox in South India’ published in Geophysical Research Letters, have tried to explain this disagreement by highlighting methodological limitations in conventional long-term trend analyses of groundwater levels. https://www.firstpost.com/tech/science/groundwater-levels-uncovering-the-on-going-groundwater-crisis-in-south-india-7423881.html  (30 Sept. 2019)

Punjab Falling groundwater levels driving farmers to move away from paddy This season, farmers in Punjab have sown 3 lakh hectares less of paddy. That means, they saved water enough to meet an entire month’s consumption in the whole country, said Sutantar Kumar Airi, the director of agriculture in the state. It is still an experiment and the success of it depends on the yield and remuneration they get. But farmers of the ilk of Singh have already started contributing in another way to a larger cause.

To produce a kilogram of rice, 2,500-5,500 litres of water is needed, as per the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. This insatiable need for irrigating paddy crops is believed to have contributed to the depletion of groundwater in 80% of Punjab, according to the state agriculture department.

In several pockets in the districts of Mansa, Sangrur, Ludhiana, Bathinda, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Moga, Pathankot and Patiala, groundwater has gone very deep. “The groundwater that was around 10 metres deep before the Green Revolution has depleted to 40- 50 meters in central Punjab and paddy growing districts,” a senior official at Central Ground Water Board said. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/falling-groundwater-levels-driving-farmers-in-punjab-to-move-away-from-paddy/articleshow/71341938.cms  (27 Sept. 2019) 

Explained: Why are tubewells in some Punjab villages drawing up muddy water?

Why are tubewells in some villages drawing up muddy water? While villagers blame highly polluted Chitti Bein, which carries toxic industrial affluent from several cities, for getting flooded and polluting the groundwater source. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-why-are-tubewells-in-some-punjab-villages-drawing-up-muddy-water-6019605/  (23 Sept. 2019)

Haryana Parts of state have salty groundwater and rains add to the salt content In Haryana, salinity has tinkered so deeply with economic sustainability in the southernwestern districts of Rohtak, Jhajjar, Sirsa, Jind, Bhiwani, Sonepat, Fatehabad and Mewat that farmers there call themselves the “poor cousins” of those inother districts where the quality of soil and water is better.

The problem has affected productivity on more than 3.2 lakh hectares, or around 10% of the total cultivated area in Haryana. In Punjab, high salt content in the groundwater is affecting crops in the districts of-Fazilka, Abohar and Muktsar. The groundwater is salty in the affected areas and when it rains, the groundwater level comes up, bringing more salt to the surface. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/parts-of-haryana-have-salty-groundwater-and-rains-add-to-the-salt-content/printarticle/71342070.cms  (27 Sept. 2019)

National Water Conservation Fee; Resolving or increasing the crisis The Centre creates legal provisions for groundwater abstraction under the guise of water conservation fee. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/water/water-conservation-fee-resolving-or-increasing-the-crisis–66872    (23 Sept. 2019) 

URBAN WATER

Chennai Andhra releases Krishna river water  Telugu Ganga Project (TGP) Chief Engineer R.Muralinath Reddy formally released water from the Kandeluru reservoir around 10.30 am, where the storage went up to 12.28 tmcft on Tuesday. “Initially, 500 cusecs will be released. The discharge will be scaled up to 2,000 cusecs gradually after assessing the canal carrying capacity and for any breaches en route,” explained TGP Superintending Engineer K. Harinarayana Reddy.

– Officials of Tamil Nadu WRD said the volume of discharge from the reservoir would be stepped up to 2,000 cusecs by Wednesday evening. Water would reach Poondi reservoir, which is the storage point of Krishna water in five or six days through Kandaleru Poondi canal. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/andhra-pradesh-releases-krishna-water-to-chennai/article29506677.ece  (25 Sept. 2019)

Warm welcome: Ministers S.P. Velumani and P. Benjamin offering flowers as water flows through the Kandaleru-Poondi canal.

The much-awaited Krishna water, released from the Kandaleru reservoir in Andhra Pradesh, reached the Tamil Nadu border in Uthukottai, Tiruvallur district, ahead of schedule.  Officials of the Water Resources Department said that the entry point of the 152-km long Kandaleru-Poondi canal, in Uthukottai, received 85 cusecs (cubic feet per second) of water initially. This gradually increased to 250 in the afternoon, and is expected to go up. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/krishna-water-reaches-tamil-nadu-border-minister-for-municipal-administration-and-water-supply-sp-velumani-rural-industries-minister-p-benjamin-kandaleru-reservoir-kandaleru-poondi-canal-poondi-reservoir/article29544763.ece  (29 Sept. 2019) 

WATER POLLUTION

Gujarat  NGT asks Gujarat chief secretary to investigate PCB’s conduct The NGT has directed Gujarat’s chief secretary to look into the conduct of Pollution Control Board after it failed to take stringent action in a case related to illegal disposal of waste in Kadodara creek. Two workers of Ayushi Enterprise, a transport company, had died in the process of illegal disposal of hazardous spent acid in the Kadodara creek in February. The spent acid was handed over to the transporter by Prahit Pigment LLD situated at Jaghadia GIDC in Bharuch. The Kadodara police had registered an FIR for the accidental death of the workers of the transport firm and for the illegal disposal of hazardous chemical waste in the creek.

The complaint was lodged by the Surat unit of the GPCB after which a closure notice was issued to the company. However, the closure was revoked on March 19, 2019 on basis of the industry’s reply and after taking bank guarantees of Rs 10 lakh and Rs 2 lakh, respectively. President of the Brackish Water Research Centre (BWRC), MHS Shaikh had filed a complaint with the NGT against the Surat chemical company and the GPCB. Considering the allegations, the tribunal directed the GPCB to recover compensation of Rs 50 lakh from the chemical company located in Jaghadia and pulled up the GPCB for withdrawing the closure notice in spite of deaths of two workers. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/ngt-asks-gujarat-chief-secretary-to-investigate-gujarat-pollution-control-boards-conduct/articleshow/71356711.cms  (29 Sept. 2019) 

WATER

NGT slams MoEF for delay in issuing notification to ban RO purifiers NGT has rapped MoEF for the delay in issuing a notification to ban RO purifiers where TDS in water are below 500 milligrams per litre. The green court said that the plea of the ministry seeking 8 months time is unreasonable. The tribunal said that its order was based on a report of an expert committee, which also comprised representative of the MoEF, and is enforceable without permission of any other authority with penal consequences.

The tribunal also directed the Central Ground Water Authority to furnish data with regard to availability of groundwater within a week, failing which the Member Secretary of CGWA will be liable to pay Rs 1 lakh cost. The member secretary, CGWA, and the MoEF joint secretary concerned may remain present in person, along with compliance reports on the next date, the bench said while posting the matter for hearing on November 4. The tribunal has also asked the government to make it mandatory to recover more than 60 per cent water wherever RO is permitted across the country. https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/ngt-slams-moef-for-delay-in-issuing-notification-to-ban-ro-purifiers/1627011  (25 Sept. 2019)

National TWRIS, Nagarjunasagar aquifer management get national awards Telangana Water Resources Information System (TWRIS) and Nagarjunasagar Aquifer Groundwater Management System developed as part of Nagarjunasagar project modernisation bagged the National Mission Awards for 2019 at a special function held in New Delhi on Sept 25, 2019.

Nagarjunasagar modernisation project director G. Malsur receiving the award from Union Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister of State Ratan Lal Khattar and water resources secretary U.P. Singh in New Delhi on Wednesday.

– TWRIS was developed with the help of ISRO’s National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) where the government got access to geo-spatial data of the entire irrigation systems on the web. It has also helped the department to utilise the satellite maps to prepare ‘capacity tables’. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/twris-nagarjunasagar-aquifer-management-get-national-awards/article29512408.ece  (25 Sept. 2019)

Interview of Union Water Minister: “But our water holding capacity over the surface is very low, about 250 billion cubic metres per year – only 8 per cent. Our total requirement for drinking water is only 50-60 billion cubic metres per year. Our surface holding capacity is very less and after processes like evaporation and others, our usage capacity is only around 200 billion cubic metres. The water what we are getting as replenished water every year is more than 400 bc3/year. But the water we are drawing from under the ground is very high, around 750 billion cubic metres per year… Creation of water holding capacity over the ground and under the ground is the challenge.”

– “As far as water holding capacity over the ground is concerned, we started a programme last time — AIPB (Accelerated Irrigation Programme Benefit).” FACT: AIPB was started in 1996.

– “In 72 years, we have created infra to provide drinking water through taps to 3 crore households, which is only 20 per cent of the total households.”

– On Ganga: “First of all, I absolutely disagree with the notion that the Ganga is a dirty river. It is one of the cleanest rivers in the country from source to end and among the 10 cleanest rivers in the world…. We have started cleaning of tributaries also and I can say with full confidence that before the Kumbh in January 2021, no untreated sewage and industrial effluents will flow into the Ganga, right from the Gangotri to Rishikesh.”

– On Ken Betwa: “Inter-linking is a big challenge but very soon we will see work on it start… It is the country’s requirement. There were many issues and we have got all statutory clearances and compliances.” http://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2019/sep/29/interview–depleting-water-reserve-a-challenge-says-gajendra-singh-shekhawat-2040559.html  (29 Sept. 2019)  

Secretary, Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation UP Singh said that National Water Policy of 2012 needs major updating in the light of new challenges especially the ill-effects of climate change. India Water Week was inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind on September 24 with a theme of “Water cooperation: Coping with 21st Century Challenges”. “Hydrological boundaries rather than administrative or political boundaries should become part of the water governance structure in the country,” said Union Water Minister GS Shekhawat while speaking at the valedictory session of the 6th India Water Week-2019. “For this consensus-building among the states within the Constitutional framework is a necessary pre-condition.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/centre-to-soon-come-out-with-an-updated-national-water-policy-minister/articleshow/71353097.cms  (28 Sept. 2019)  

DELHI WATER

Use of thermocol to clean Naini lake absurd’ “National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has placed 23 floating planters in the lake. The floating sheet with plants to absorb pollution was created using thermocol inviting criticism from concerned public.

Image result for harshwardhan naini lake

Earlier, after environmentalists raised concerns over the declining BOD levels in the lake and demanded that desilting work be carried out there, a joint team of the health and family welfare ministry and NEERI paid a visit to the site and collected water samples. The matter was also taken up at NGT. “The decision on deep desilting will be taken on the basis of NEERI’s report,” the official said.

Juhi Chaudhary, a resident who is running a campaign called Save Naini Lake, said unless deep desilting was done, there was no point in resuming boating. “The place stinks. The steps taken by the corporation are cosmetic,” she said, adding that using thermocol to create a floating wetland system was absurd. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/work-starts-to-breathe-fresh-life-into-naini-lake/articleshow/71366535.cms  (30 Sept. 2019)

MONSOON 2019

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Monsoon Officially Ends on Sept. 30, But Rainfall Still Active in Parts of Country The four-month monsoon season is officially ending on Sept. 30, but it is unlikely that it will withdraw in the coming week, IMD Director General Mritunjay Mohapatra said on Sunday. The monsoon season officially begins on June 1 and ends on September 30. It reaches Ganganagar in west Rajasthan, the last post for the monsoon in the country, on July 15 and starts retreating from September 1.

However, the monsoon has not shown signs of withdrawal. Instead, active monsoon still prevails over parts of Rajasthan, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan are getting rainfall due to a low pressure area and this could continue until October 5, Mohapatra said. The IMD in its forecast until October 3 sees “large excess rainfall” likely over Bihar and adjoining areas of east Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Gangetic West Bengal and “above normal” rains over Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, interior Maharashtra, north Odisha, Gujarat, Mizoram, Tripura, Kerala and Lakshadweep. https://www.news18.com/news/india/monsoon-officially-ends-on-monday-but-rainfall-still-active-in-parts-of-country-2327231.html  (29 Sept. 2019)  

India’s monsoon gets a new and lower ‘normal’ On Sept. 30, India will get a new ‘normal’ — the benchmark that categorises ‘status’ of its summer monsoon. This ‘normal’, derived as long period average (LPA) of 50 years, has now been revised downward from 89 cm to 88 cm. “The LPA of 88 cm is now the new normal. The IMD)will release its final monsoon report, using this new normal,” the ministry of earth sciences secretary (MoES), Madhavan Rajeevan.

The IMD had arrived at 89 cm figure based on average monsoon (June-September) rainfall over the country as a whole during 1951-2000 period. The new average figure of 88 cm, on the other hand, is based on the rainfall during 1961-2010 period, reflecting decline in average rainfall in India.

The LPA normal of 89 cm was used by the IMD to make its model forecasts for this year’s monsoon. The weather agency will, however, now use the 88 cm as benchmark to give its final verdict on status of the monsoon.

The IMD has five categories to tell the ‘status’ of monsoon. Quantitatively, rainfall range of less than 90% of the LPA normal is considered ‘deficient’ (category-wise) monsoon; 90-96% of the LPA as ‘below normal’, 96-104% of the LPA as ‘normal’, 104-110% of the LPA as ‘above normal’ and more than 110% as ‘excess’. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/indias-monsoon-gets-a-new-and-lower-normal/articleshow/71355989.cms  (29 Sept. 2019)

This year’s monsoon retreat set to be most delayed in 60 years The monsoon this year is refusing to be gone soon. After late-September deluges in Hyderabad and Pune, the Met department has warned of intense rainfall in Bihar till September 29, with “extremely heavy” rains at a few places on Sept. 28, even as the monsoon is set for the most delayed withdrawal since at least 1960. “There is no indication of monsoon’s withdrawal in our weather models till October 5. In fact, the west Rajasthan region, from where the withdrawal begins, is likely to receive some more rain over the next few days,” said Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, IMD’s director general of meteorology. Monsoon normally begins its retreat, starting from west Rajasthan, around September 1.

If IMD’s model forecasts hold true, this would be the first time in at least 59 years that withdrawal would begin after end-September. IMD’s monsoon reports say the most delayed withdrawal so far (since 1960) was in 2007, when it began on September 30. Not only is the monsoon’s retreat likely to be delayed by over a month, the system has been showing high activity till very late in the season. The all-India average rainfall in September so far is 37% above normal. The month has had just two days of below-normal rains so far. In fact, average daily rainfall has picked up again this week in all regions except northwest India. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/this-years-monsoon-retreat-set-to-be-most-delayed-in-60-years/articleshow/71320518.cms  (27 Sept. 2019)

At 107%, the total rainfall this year has recorded the highest departure from its average in a decade and, with more than two weeks to go before the monsoon starts receding, it might turn excess, said the weatherman.  From June 1 to September 27, the country received an actual rainfall of 931.6 mm – a 7% rise from the normal of 869.4 mm for this period. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/indicators/rainfall-reaches-107-met-fears-excess-deluge/articleshow/71346820.cms  (28 Sept. 2019)

Hyderabad Despite Torrential Rains, Water Reservoirs Receive No Inflow  Officials of the Hyderabad Meteo Waster and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) have flagged the encroachment of the reservoirs’ catchment areas as a possible reason for the absence of water inflow. HMWSSB officials told the New Indian Express that the water level in Osmansagar and Himayatsagar reservoirs has not increased “even by an inch” over the past ten days. These reservoirs supply 25  and 15 million gallons per day (MGD) of water respectively.

The water level in the reservoirs was already low, forcing supply to be cut by half. “Though monsoon has been bountiful in different districts of the state, the catchment areas of these crucial reservoirs have not received enough rains,’’ officials told the newspaper. The officials said that even if the catchment areas do receive rainfall, illegal encroachments and constructions could prevent the reservoirs from receiving any inflow. “The state government has failed to initiate any action against illegal encroachments,” officials told the New Indian Express.

The state government also began to depend increasingly on water from the Krishna and Godavari rivers to provide water to Hyderabad, reducing the significance of several reservoirs. Activists have expressed concern over the viability of drawing water from these rivers. “[The government is] not taking into account that the flow in the river Krishna has been coming down each year and water levels in the Nagarjunasagar dam are depleting further annually,” K. Purushotham Reddy, an activist and former Osmania University professor, told The News Minute. https://thewire.in/urban/hyderabad-torrential-rain-osmansagar-himayatsagar-reservoir  (30 Sept. 2019)  

Cloudburst leaves Hyderabad in knee deep water Midnight cloudburst which began in late hours of Sept. 26 has left several parts of the city in knee high water, and caused widespread disruption of power supply and water logging on roads. Breach of Balkapur nala, which empties into Hussain Sagar lake, has resulted in inundation of the slum at MS Makta. The breach is attributed to collapse of retaining wall under water pressure. According to information from GHMC, about 200 homes in the locality had rain water entering them.

As per the data received from automatic weather stations, the rainfall in the city up to 8.30 a.m. on Sept. 27 ranged between 11-15 centimetres. The Gudimalkapur station in Asifnagar mandal recorded the highest rainfall at 15 centimetres. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/cloudburst-leaves-hyderabad-in-knee-deep-water/article29527737.ece  (27 Sept. 2019) 

Hyderabad has received a record amount of rain this month – the most in over 100 years – according to KT Rama Rao, Telangana’s Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development. The city has already received more than 110 mm of rain this month, according to private weather forecasting service Skymet, compared to the average of 133 mm, and more than 75 mm of rain in a 24-hour period ending at 8.30 am. https://www.ndtv.com/telangana-news/hyderabad-breaks-100-year-old-monsoon-rain-record-for-september-2106894  (25 Sept. 2019)

The twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad witnessed torrential rains for nearly 12 hours from Sept. 24 evening bringing normal life to a grinding halt. According to data available with the IMD’s Hyderabad centre, the rainfall ranged from 7.5 cm to 13.2 cm at different locations. “The maximum rainfall received was 13.2 cm at Trimulgherry in Secunderabad cantonment area, which is a record in the month of September in the last 111 years,” Director of IMD, Hyderabad, Y K Reddy.

– The previous highest rainfall in Hyderabad in the month of September was 15.32 cm in 1908. “Usually, the rainfall in the month of Sept. will be less as the monsoon season will conclude by the month-end. That way, witnessing such a huge rainfall in this month is rather unusual phenomenon,” Reddy said. The IMD official, however, said Hyderabad had witnessed huge rainfall of this magnitude several times in the past. As per the official records, the highest rainfall received by the state capital in a span of 24 hours was 24 cm on August 25, 2000. The earlier highest figure was 35.51 mm in October, 1916.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/hyderabad-records-highest-ever-september-rainfall-in-100-years/story-9WValzIEqff6oFdeM4dgfO.html  (25 Sept. 2019)

– KT Rama Rao statement claiming highest Sept. rainfall in Sept. in Hyderabad is incorrect as per official records. IMD Hyderabad told that against an average of 157mm in September, the city has received a cumulative average rainfall of 215.4mm up to September 25 this month.

– “This cumulative figure is the average of the IMD rain gauge at Begumpet, whose reading is 193.4 mm, and the state government Automatic Weather Station at Golconda, which got 237.4 mm as on Wednesday morning,” an official from the IMD’s Hyderabad office said.

– While 215 mm represents a 37% surplus in rainfall up to September 25, it has NOT reset the all-time monthly record for the city. According to the IMD’s records, in September 2016, Hyderabad got 439.7 mm over the course of the entire month and 231.1 mm in September 2010. Even considering that the Minister might have been referencing the Golconda gauge, it is unlikely that the all-time record set in 2016 will be broken this month. https://weather.com/en-IN/india/monsoon/news/2019-09-25-hyderabad-gets-37-percent-surplus-rain-in-september  (25 Sept. 2019)

Maharashtra Nasik gets 200% of its annual rainfall Nasik Taluka has received 200% of rainfall this season, the Nasik district has received 154%. Only Deola Taluka has received below normal (87%) rainfall of its normal rain of 570 mm. Nagaskya dam that supplies water to Manmad and Nandgaon has only now started getting inflows.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nashik/city-receives-200-of-its-annual-rainfall/articleshow/71342779.cms  (28 Sept. 2019)

Gujarat Green drought irks farmers All kind of crops in all districts in Gujarat have been damaged due to excess rains. https://www.dnaindia.com/ahmedabad/report-gujarat-green-drought-irks-farmers-2793402  (30 Sept. 2019)

FLOOD 2019

SANDRP Blog Man made National Crisis at Gandhi Sagar Dam in Sept 2019 Its not everyday that Government of India’s National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) meets. It’s even rarer when the NCMC meets to deal with issues related to a dam. And that too on a Sunday. The National Crisis So when on Sunday, Sept 15, 2019, the Cabinet Secretary chaired the NCMC meeting to discuss the issues surrounding the Gandhi Sagar Dam on Chambal river in Madhya Pradesh (close to Rajasthan border) and called it a National Crisis, it signified how serious was the situation. In an unprecedented turn of events, the water level in the reservoir had crossed maximum allowed water level and there was risk of water flowing over the dam.

Mandwara Chambal 150919
CWC hydrograph for Mandwara site along Chambal river in Rajasthan for Sept 15, 2019, showing how HFL is crossed.

The article shows how the Gandhi Sagar Dam had violated the rule curve and prudent dam management rules, how CWC had failed to guide it and how that contributed to the disaster that unfolded. Plz Read and Share. https://sandrp.in/2019/09/24/man-made-national-crisis-that-gandhi-sagar-dam-faced-in-sept-2019/  (24 Sept. 2019)

CWC FS North India 2019

SANDRP Blog Overview of CWC Flood Forecasting Sites 2019: North India Flood forecasting is an important activity during monsoon, considering the huge and increasing flood prone area, flood frequency, intensity and flood damages. Accurate and timely flood forecasting can hugely help reduce the damages due to floods. Central Water Commission (CWC) is the only agency responsible for flood forecasting in India. To understand the CWC’s flood forecasting better, we have compiled the list of the various flood, inflow forecasting sites and flood monitoring sites in India.  https://sandrp.in/2019/09/25/overview-of-cwc-flood-forecasting-sites-2019-north-india/   (25 Sept. 2019)

Ganga Floods Bihar CM asks Centre to discharge 18 lakh cusec water through Farakka CM Nitish Kumar on Sept. 23 said around 16 lakh cusec of water was being currently discharged through Farakka barrage to ease out further spread of flood waters in different parts of the state alongside Ganga river. “We are getting discharged 16 lakh cusec of water through Farakka barrage,” he said in response to a media query about flood situation in the state.

The water discharge through Farakka barrage was increased substantially after Nitish on Sept. 21 spoke to Pramod Kumar Mishra, the principal secretary to PM Narendra Modi, over phone and asked him to ensure that discharge through Farakka barrage is increased to optimum level to save riverine areas alongside Ganga from the impending threat of major flood. It was the second time in the last week that Bihar CM discussed the matter of congestion of flood waters in Ganga due to Farakka barrage, with the Centre. Earlier on Sept. 19, Nitish spoke to the Union minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and urged him to ensure maximum discharge of water through Farakka barrage.

Responding to the CM’s request, the officials of the Central Water Commission (CWC) on Sept. 23 fully opened 55 of total 109 gates of the Farakka barrage to allow maximum discharge of flood water, sources in the state government told TOI. The rest gates have been partially opened. Meanwhile, Bihar’s water resources minister Sanjay Kumar Jha on Sept. 23 called on Shekhawat in Delhi and urged him to ensure regular discharge of at least 18 lakh cusec water through Farakka barrage till entire spillover of flood waters in Bihar are drained out. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/bihar-asks-centre-to-discharge-18-lakh-cusec-water-through-farakka-barrage-over-ganga/articleshow/71264711.cms  (23 Sept. 2019)

In view of the extreme rainfall forecast given by IMD and present hydrologic condition in  river systems in Bihar, maximum care should be taken next 7 days in most of the river systems including main river Ganga and its north and major south bank tributaries.  https://twitter.com/CWCOfficial_FF/status/1177231864139927552  (26 Sept. 2019)

Heavy rain continues to batter Patna where three days of unprecedented downpour has flooded homes and hospitals, bringing life to a standstill for thousands of people. 13 people have died in Bihar, including four in Patna, as heavy rain caused flooding in several districts in the last three days.  A red alert, indicating likelihood of “heavy to very heavy rainfall”, has been issued for Patna and other districts. The weather office has predicted heavy rainfall for the state capital till September 30.  https://www.ndtv.com/patna-news/heavy-rain-in-patna-floods-hospitals-schools-shut-rescue-teams-on-job-2109023  (29 Sept. 2019)

Over 120 dead in four days due to heavy rains across country; Patna worst hit Over 120 people died in rain-related incidents across the country in the past four days, with Uttar Pradesh reporting the maximum deaths, while incessant rainfall in Bihar has badly hit normal life, with almost all areas of capital city Patna under knee-deep waters and people struggling to meet their daily needs.

In what the weather department said could be the longest delayed withdrawal of monsoon, rains continued to lash several states including Bihar, where at least 13 people have died over the past 48 hours, while large swathes are inundated, affecting railway traffic, healthcare services, schools and disrupting power supply.

IMD Director General Mritunjay Mohapatra said on Sept. 28 the four-month monsoon season which is officially ending on Monday is unlikely to withdraw even till the weekend. The IMD said active monsoon still prevails over parts of Rajasthan, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. According to the weather department, the city received more than 200 mm rainfall since Sept. 27 evening, which Disaster Management Department Principal Secretary Pratyay Amrit described as “totally unexpected”.  https://www.livemint.com/news/india/over-120-dead-in-four-days-due-to-heavy-rains-across-country-patna-worst-hit-11569777180969.html  (29 Sept. 2019)

Even as the release of 2.75 lakh cusecs of water from the Indrapuri barrage across the Sone river on Sept. 29 caused panic among people living in localities around Patna-Danapur road regarding the likely threat of flood from the Ganga, the Centre acted timely by opening all 119 gates of the Farakka barrage to ensure speedy discharge of the river water.

The work to plug the gaps along the Patna town protection wall started in the evening to prevent any likely entry of floodwater from the Ganga into the city due to sudden intake of water from the Sone river. This, along with the news regarding the release of 2.75 lakh cusecs of water from Indrapuri barrage, made the panic real.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/sigh-of-relief-as-centre-opens-all-119-farakka-gates/articleshow/71364847.cms  (30 Sept. 2019)

Heavy rains continue to lash the state of Bihar with three-digit rains being observed in the last 24 hours, worsening the flood situation in many parts of the state.  https://www.skymetweather.com/content/weather-news-and-analysis/no-relief-from-bihar-floods-in-view-of-heavy-rains-showers-to-reduce-from-tomorrow/  (30 Sept. 2019)

CAUVERY FLOODS Brimming Mettur releases water despite low inflow Mettur dam is full and is releasing the entire inflow of 40000 cusecs on Sept 26 and 27500 cusecs on Sept 27 to the downstream area.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/salem/brimming-mettur-releases-water-despite-reduced-inflow/articleshow/71324015.cms  (27 Sept. 2019)

Mettur dam surpluses for 2nd time this year The water level in Stanley reservoir in Mettur exceeded its full level mark of 120-feet for the second time this irrigation season on Sept. 24 with renewed heavy rainfall in Cauvery’s catchment areas and consequently upper riparian Karnataka discharging more water from its dams.

The PWD sources said as at 4 pm this evening, the water level at Mettur was 120.18 feet, with the storage being 93.758 tmcft. With increased inflows into the reservoir, the authorities have stepped up the discharge from Mettur dam 32,500 cusecs by this evening. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/250919/salem-mettur-dam-surpluses-for-2nd-time-this-year.html  (25 Sept. 2019)

The advisory has been issued to the district collectors of Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Salem and Erode. This follows the catchment areas of the Shimsha river — Mandya and Tumakuru (Tumkur) districts in Karnataka — receiving heavy rainfall.

Mettur dam in Salem district of Tamil Nadu is expected to receive inflow of approximately 30,000 cusecs (cubic feet per second) from Tuesday evening, which will increase to 50,000 cusecs by Tuesday midnight and remain steady thereafter. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/centre-warns-of-huge-inflow-of-cauvery-water-into-mettur-dam-in-tamil-nadu/articleshow/71273586.cms  (24 Sept. 2019)

The water level in Stanley reservoir in Mettur exceeded its full level mark of 120-feet for the second time this irrigation season on Sept. 24 with renewed heavy rainfall in Cauvery’s catchment areas and consequently upper riparian Karnataka discharging more water from its dams. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/250919/salem-mettur-dam-surpluses-for-2nd-time-this-year.html  (25 Sept. 2019)

River Shimsha at T K Halli in Mandya Dist Karnataka is rising rapidly in association with very heavy rainfall in Tumkur and Mandya Districts and releases from Markonahalli Dam. It is flowing almost 2.5 m above its Danger Level. https://twitter.com/CWCOfficial_FF/status/1176364887246688256

River Shimsha at Thoreshettahalli in Mandya, flowing in Extreme Flood situation. It crossed previous HFL (622.86m only set last year on 25 Nov. 2018) at 8PM on 23 Sept. and reached peak 623.42m at 12 PM on Sept. 24 and for last over 60 hours flowing above HFL at 623.17m. https://twitter.com/CWCOfficial_FF/status/1176719415137591299

Markonahalli Dam is built across the river Shimsha in the Kunigal Taluk of Tumkur district. It was built by Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, the king of Mysore under the guidance of his Diwan, Sir M Visweswaraiah. It was built to irrigate 6,070 hectares of land and has a masonry structure of 139 m and a pair of earth dams extending to 1,470 metres on either side.

The reservoir has a catchment area of 4,103 km2 (1,584 sq mi) and can hold a volume of 68 million m³ of water at a full reservoir level of 731.57 m above the mean sea level. In 2000, a part of the dam had to be demolished to prevent floods and save 25 villages. Water started overflowing the dam and only 1 crest gate could be opened. Nearly 150 feet of the dam was demolished to allow excess water to flow out. https://www.karnataka.com/tumkur/markonahalli-dam/  (30 Aug. 2013)

Krishna Floods Basin projects may witness more floods The inflows into all major reservoirs in the upper reaches of Krishna and most of its tributaries have increased with the catchment areas experiencing heavy rains on Sept 24-25, 2019. With the discharge of over 71,000 cusecs flood at Jurala and nearly 1.4 lakh cusecs at Sunkesula across Tungabhadra river, the inflows into Srisailam could cross over 2 lakh cusecs by Sept 26 morning, the crest gates of Srisailam are likely to be lifted one more time this flood season on Thursday.

– “This water year, starting from June 1, is proving to be one of the best flood years during the last two decades. Over 1,012 tmc ft water has already been let into river from Jurala till 6 am on Wednesday this year and only three years, 2005-06 to 2007-08, during the last 20 years have seen more discharge of flood from Jurala”, an irrigation engineer monitoring flood at Jurala stated.

– In the Godavari baisn, Sriramsagar has been getting considerable inflows during the last three weeks and its storage is approaching 60 tmc ft against its capacity of 90.31 tmc ft. However, two major reservoirs in the basin, Singur and Nizamsagar remain starved of flood so far this season. Heavy flood to Godavari from Yellampally and below all through this season has resulted in over 3,074 tmc of water flowing to the sea already. Similarly, over 454 tmc ft has gone to the sea from the Krishna so far this season. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/krishna-basin-projects-may-witness-more-flood-days/article29512360.ece  (25 Sept. 2019)

River Krishna is in spate again following heavy rain in the upper catchment areas in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Consequently, the crest gates of major dams that were already full to the brim in Andhra Pradesh had to be opened for the third time in the last couple of months to let out floodwater into the Bay of Bengal.

On Sept. 28, the Srisailam reservoir received an inflow of 2.73 lakh cusecs from upstream and 3.20 lakh cusecs was discharged downstream, maintaining a flood cushion of about 1.31 tmc ft. The 2.91 lakh cusecs that flowed into Nagarjuna Sagar has been let out downstream into the Dr K L Rao Sagar where the outflow was 2.78 lakh cusecs. The Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada recorded an inflow of 2.58 lakh cusecs and an outflow of 2.23 lakh cusecs, according to the SDMA. The flood trend, according to the SDMA, was rising though there was no threat of submergence. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/280919/andhra-river-krishna-in-spate-again-dam-gates-opened.html  (28 Sept. 2019)

Maharashtra Pune rains: Mutha swells as discharge from Khadakwasla rises Water was released from Khadakwasla dam at a rate of 13,981 cusec into the Mutha river on Sept. 25 night following heavy showers in its catchment. The discharge increased the level of water in Mutha river, which almost engulfed Baba Bhide bridge. The Khadakwasla dam recorded 87mm rainfall in 24 hours ended Sept. 26 morning. Water stock in the dam reached to its capacity on Wednesday evening.

The state irrigation department also initiated water release from Panshet and Varasgaon reservoirs. The downpour in the catchment of Nazare dam near Saswad, about 40 km from Pune, also triggered water discharge at the rate of 85,000 cusec into the Karha river late on Sept. 25 night, inundating areas of Purandar and Baramati. Located in the parched area of Pune district, Nazare is a small dam with a storage capacity of 0.60 TMC. The catchment area of the dam recorded 59mm rainfall in 24 hours ended Sept. 26 morning.

“The water release from the dam was increased in a phased manner from Wednesday evening as its storage had already reached maximum capacity. The release reached the maximum rate of 85,000 cusec around 1am, flooding the downstream areas,” an irrigation department official said. Incidentally, it is for the first time that water was released from the dam at such a high rate continuously. As per irrigation department records, water level in Nazare dam has reached to full capacity for the first time in 8 years after 2011. The water discharge from various dams prompted the irrigation department to increase release from Ujani dam up to 1 lakh cusec on Sept. 25 night. “The discharge was brought down to 40,000 cusec on Sept. 26 afternoon,” an irrigation department official said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/mutha-swells-as-discharge-from-khadakwasla-rises/articleshow/71320209.cms  (27 Sept. 2019)  

“Over 10,000 people from low-lying areas in Baramati were shifted to safer places after water was released from Nazare dam, built on the Karha river near Jejuri,” Patil said. Besides, more than 500 people stranded in low-lying areas of the city were also rescued, Ranpise said. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/seven-killed-in-rain-related-incidents-in-pune/article29516463.ece  (26 Sept. 2019)

Ghaggar Floods Villages along Ghaggar put on high alert FOLLOWING HEAVY rain on Sept. 29, the district administration put villages along Ghaggar river on high alert after the water level in Sukhna seasonal rivulet rose and it was to be drained into Ghaggar river.  Meanwhile, the heavy rain again choked Mohali as waterlogging was witnessed on all the major roads, especially on the Airport Road. The low- lying areas in the city, including Mohali village, Phase 11, Sohana, Kumbra and Phase V, were submerged due to heavy rainfall. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/villages-along-ghaggar-put-on-high-alert-no-untoward-incident-reported-6039882/  (30 Sept. 2019)

Chhattisgarh लगातार बारिश से बिफ़री लीलागर नदी ने दीपिका खदान को लिया आग़ोश मे कोरबा में मौजुद SECL की दीपिका खुली खदान में बिलकुल करीब से बह रही नदी का पानी बढ़ा और बाढ़ के पानी ने दीपिका ओपन कास्ट माइंस को डूबो दिया। लीलागर नदी के पानी से समूचे माइंस इलाक़े में पानी भर गया है। कोरबा ईलाके में बीते तीन दिनों से लगातार बारिश हो रही है। दीपिका खदान इलाक़े के बहुत करीब से नदी का प्राकृतिक बहाव है, लगातार और तेज बारिश से लीलागर नदी के बहाव में बहुत तेज़ी आ गई और नदी का पानी बिलकुल पास मौजुद खदान में जा समाया।

खनन क्षेत्र से प्राकृतिक जल स्त्रोत की सुरक्षित दूरी को लेकर नियम क़ायदे हैं।पर्यावरण की सुरक्षा और उद्योग प्रियता के विरोध में लगातार आंदोलन करने की वजह से चर्चित सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता आलोक शुक्ला इसे खनन का सीधे तौर पर दूष्प्रभाव क़रार दे रहे हैं। आलोक शुक्ला ने NPG से कहा “ अनियंत्रित और नियमों की अवहेलना के साथ होने वाला उत्खनन से नदियों की दिशा और स्थिति बदल रही है।केचमेंट और बहाव क्षेत्र तो खत्म हो जा रहे हैं, रायगढ़ स्थित गारे पेलमा 2 का जो खनन प्रस्तावित है उसके तो बीच से केलो नदी प्रवाहित होती है.. सोचिए कि खनन शुरु होने के बाद केलो नदी का क्या होगा” https://newpowergame.com/81217/due-to-the-incessant-rains-the-lilagar-river-took-deepika-mine-into-the-fire-water-filled-the-entire-mine/  (30 Sept. 2019)  

ENERGY OPTIONS

What the low electricity price in spot market tells us about power demand Prices so far this month on the Indian Energy Exchange has been the lowest for 2019. Electricity prices are lower despite a significantly large amount of thermal capacities seeing maintenance shutdowns. As on 17 September, 90,095 megawatts (MW) are under maintenance shutdowns, data from Central Electricity Authority of India shows. Last year, 72,193MW of capacity was under maintenance shutdowns during this time. The drop in electricity generation underscores weak demand conditions, reflective in slowing automobile sales and production cuts at manufacturing plants. India Ratings and Research said in a note that electricity demand growth in states with higher manufacturing base is notably lower than the overall demand growth in India. https://www.livemint.com/market/mark-to-market/what-the-low-electricity-price-in-spot-market-tells-us-about-power-demand-1569171274789.html  (23 Sept. 2019)

Report Solar, Wind Now Cheaper Than Coal In Most Of World This week Bloomberg reported on the once unthinkable phenomena of solar and wind subsidies disappearing across the world because the industry has outgrown the need for them. “On sun-drenched fields across Spain and Italy, developers are building solar farms without subsidies or tax-breaks, betting they can profit without them. In China, the government plans to stop financially supporting new wind farms. And in the U.S., developers are signing shorter sales contracts, opting to depend on competitive markets for revenue once the agreements expire,” Bloomberg said. https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Renewable-Energy/Solar-Wind-Are-Now-Cheaper-Than-Coal-In-Most-Of-The-World.html  (28 Sept. 2019)  

DISASTER

Kerala Hungry rains Dave Petley on Kerala’s vulnerability to landslides, largely for man made reasons of changing land use pattern and how it is likely to get worse before any positive change occurs. What is applicable to Kerala is also applicable to rest of western, Eastern Ghats and the Himalayas.  https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2019/09/23/kerala-1/   (23 Sept. 2019)

Gujarat Cyclone Hikaa Turns Into “Very Severe Storm”  Cyclone Hikaa has turned into a “very severe storm” while moving westward in the Arabian Sea and is likely to cross the Oman coast on Tuesday night, the weather office has said. It asked fishermen in Gujarat not to venture out to the sea as the weather would remain “very rough” till Sept. 25 morning. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/cyclone-hikaa-turns-into-very-severe-storm-gujarat-fishermen-told-to-stay-put-2106166  (25 Sept. 2019) 

ENVIRONMENT

Centre Green norms for project expansion could be relaxed In a move that could turn out to be a bonanza for the mining and infrastructure sectors, the environment ministry is considering a number of relaxations in the environment impact assessment (EIA) process that is carried out for development projects, including mining, before they are given the go-ahead. In a draft of the Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2019, circulated for “internal discussion,” the expansion of development projects with a production capacity increase of up to 25% has been exempted from EIA.

It has also exempted projects with a proposed capacity expansion up to 40% from the requirement of public consultations, with certain riders. If approved, the EIA Notification 2019 will replace the EIA Notification 2006 which made prior EIA, environmental clearance and public consultations mandatory even for expansion of projects. All projects concerning national defence and security or involving other strategic considerations, as determined by the Centre, will also be exempted from public consultations, and so will all linear projects such as highways or expressways, pipelines and so on, in border states. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/green-normsfor-project-expansion-could-be-relaxed/story-7U5jJWksawUM918h3isH3H.html  (30 Sept. 2019)

Report Even If Data Is Legit, Swachh Bharat Will Have Failed Its Open Defecation Goal  On October 2, the government of India is due to announce that the country is “open defecation free”, based on a central-government programme that provides funds to build toilets. Here is a climate change perspective on why this is not just a lie but also makes open defecation hard to eradicate. There are two countries in our neighbourhood with similar per capita incomes and which have done much better: Bhutan and Bangladesh. In both cases, the successes with fighting open defecation came from moving decision-making closer to the people. The striking thing about the example of Bangladesh – poorer than us when it declared itself “open-defecation-free” in 2016 (closer to the basic model that Bhutan has surpassed) – is that it was led by an NGO, local government actors and empowered local citizens. In stark contrast, the Indian approach has been highly centralised and so disempowering that children are being killed. Whatever we say on October 2, the shit is going to stick to us for some time. https://thewire.in/environment/even-if-data-is-legit-swachh-bharat-will-have-failed-its-open-defecation-goal  (30 Sept. 2019)

Haryana NGT asks govt to submit report on pollution due to fly ash in Faridabad The Green Tribunal has sought a report on a plea alleging release of fly ash in the environment by a thermal power plant operated by the Haryana Power Generation Corporation Limited in Faridabad district. The tribunal directed them to submit a factual and action taken report in the matter within a month by e-mail.

The tribunal reiterated that order of NGT is binding as a decree of court and non-compliance is actionable by way of punitive action including prosecution, in terms of the NGT Act, 2010. The matter is listed for further consideration on January 7, 2020. The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Haryana resident Sagar Bhutani alleging release of fly ash in the environment by the thermal power plant operated by Haryana Power Generation Corporation Limited causing breathing problems at Sector 49 in Faridabad. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/coal/submit-report-on-pollution-due-to-fly-ash-in-faridabad-ngt/71286244  (25 Sept. 2019)

Tripura HC Bans Animal/Bird Sacrifice In Temples High Court, in a judgement on Sept 27, 2019, has banned animal and bird sacrifices at temples in the state, observing that animals too have fundamental right to life under article 21 of the constitution. https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/tripura-hc-bans-animal-bird-sacrifice-in-temples-148529  (27 Sept. 2019)

CLIMATE CHANGE

IPCC Report Sea levels rising faster, Indian cities at high flood risk  Four Indian coastal cities — Kolkata, Mumbai, Surat and Chennai — will be severely threatened due to sea level rise while several others in the north India will be exposed to acute water crisis due to melting of Himalayan glaciers by the end of the century, a UN body on climate change hinted on Sept. 25.

Sounding another alarm for urgent action to slow down the pace of global warming, a new IPCC report released in Monaco on Sept. 25 said increasing warming of the oceans and accelerated sea level rise would lead to widespread death of marine life leading to a seafood crisis and increasingly destructive cyclones. Marine heatwaves have likely doubled in frequency between 1982 and 2016, the report said, warning that the pace of change was accelerating. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/sea-levels-rising-faster-indian-cities-at-high-flood-risk-ipcc/articleshow/71302892.cms  (26 Sept. 2019)

IPCC ‘Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate’ (SROCC), released on Wednesday, 25 September, pointed that ocean levels will rise 10 times faster and most mountain ranges could lose 80 percent of their glaciers by 2100. According to current predictions, the regional temperature is likely to increase between 3.5°C and 6°C by 2100, leading to significant losses in glacier volume, from 36 to 64 percent, depending on the warming scenario. This will impact the flow of water and its availability. Which means currently the rise in sea-levels is at 3.6mm every year, by 2100 it is expected to be 15mm every year. This is ten times the rise that has been recorded over the last century. This means sea-level will rise to about 84 cm by 2100. https://www.thequint.com/news/environment/ipcc-report-on-ocean-and-cryosphere-climate-change  (26 Sept. 2019)

National Draft National Forest Policy detrimental to effective climate action For effective climate action, India should withdraw the draft National Forest Policy of 2018, which seeks to usurp the powers of Gram Sabhas over community forest resources, said Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) on Sept. 24.

“The draft National Forest Policy of 2018 is nothing but a means to usurp the powers of the Gram Sabhas over the community forest resources and commercialise the afforestation programmes to take control over the compensatory afforestation funds which stood at ₹90,000 crore, or about $15 billion, as on April 2018,” said ACHR Director Paritosh Chakma here.

Chakma, who released a report ‘Draft National Forest Policy 2018: A Conspiracy to Deny the Rights of the Scheduled Tribes’, said as of 2015, a total of 1,18,213 Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs) had been set up with control over 2.29 crore hectare of forest area, which is about a third of the country’s forested landscape. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/draft-national-forest-policy-is-detrimental-to-effective-climate-action-says-ngo/article29501851.ece  (24 Sept. 2019) 

Rainfed agency to make action plan for drought-prone districts The NRAA will develop similar action plans for other districts in a list of 151, including in Maharashtra, identified as drought-prone according to a study by ICAR based on parameters set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/rainfed-agency-to-make-action-plan-for-drought-prone-districts-6019454/  (23 Sept. 2019)

Report Of the Classes of Environmental Regulation, Grasslands Are Poorest of the Poor The Government of India has used the prompt to deal with climate change as an invitation to blindly plant more trees at the expense of grasslands. Grasslands in all their forms – there are reportedly 11 types in India alone – occupy 25% of India by area and provide 50% of the fodder to the country’s 500 million livestock.

Of the Classes of Environmental Regulation, Grasslands Are Poorest of the Poor

Gujarat and Rajasthan are covered in a vast, dry expanse of grass and thorny scrub. This unforgiving environment, which spans the edge of the Rann right up to Rajasthan’s border with Pakistan, is crucial to an entire ecosystem that includes several wild species, many of which are disappearing. These include indigenous wolves, foxes, chinkara, blackbucks, the long-eared caracal, the critically endangered great Indian bustard and the endangered lesser florican.

But in spite of how critical they are to grazing communities and for wild species, grasslands have languished in the blindspot of Indian environmental regulation, and are now being threatened by it. The blinkered focus of environmental conservation on climate change runs the risk of drowning out other concerns, and in some cases actually exacerbates them. Some of the more well-funded strategies to combat climate change, like aggressive afforestation and a focus on green energy, pose serious risks to biodiversity and as a result to the environment as a whole. This is particularly true for grasslands. https://thewire.in/environment/grasslands-afforestation-bustard-biodiversity-unccd  (29 Sept. 2019)

SOUTH ASIA

India-Nepal As Deadly Floods Engulf Nepal Border, Anger Turns to India  This years’s floods played out differently on the Indian side. Embankments blocked swollen upstream rivers from emptying south, leaving Nepal to deal with two or three times more flooding than India in some areas, according to local officials. Now, India has become a chief target of anger and bitterness in Nepal as border communities take stock of losses from the floods. In recent decades, India has tried to protect low-lying areas by building hilly buffers stretching hundreds of miles along a porous border. During the rainy season, which lasts from June to September, Nepal’s Himalaya-fed rivers can overflow and rush toward India with enough force to wipe out entire villages.

– Nepali officials say they have little control over many of these projects and that India — its bigger and richer neighbor — has been constructing them unilaterally for years, violating international guidelines on transboundary water sharing. The embankments are built largely near Indian border towns or in the buffer zone between the countries. In an interview, Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Nepal’s foreign minister, said officials from India and Nepal released a joint report in August concluding that inundation, which affects both countries, was linked to India’s embankments and inadequate drains.  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/29/world/asia/nepal-india-flood-dam.html  (30 Sept. 2019)

SJVN to invest ₹7,000 crore in commissioning Nepal’s Bhakra Dam Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) is investing about ₹7,000 crore in power generation and transmission in Nepal, a top company official said on Sept. 28. The amount, which is equivalent to 11,200 crore Nepalese rupees, is the highest ever invested so far in Nepal by any company in the world, SJVN chairman and managing director Nand Lal Sharma said. A joint venture of the Central government and the Himachal Pradesh government, SJVN is investing ₹5,724 crore in power generation and ₹1,236 crore in power transmission in Nepal, Sharma said.

SJVN is executing the Arun-3 hydro electric project (HEP) on the Arun river in the Sankhuwasabha district of eastern Nepal with a generation capacity of 900 MW, he added. Work for the Arun-3 HEP began on full swing after PM Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli jointly laid its foundation stone on 11 May 2018. It will be commissioned in 2023-24, he added. https://www.livemint.com/politics/policy/sjvn-to-invest-rs-7-000-crore-in-commissioning-nepal-s-bhakra-dam-11569677728348.html  (28 Sept. 2019)

Nepal Forgotten Farmers When Nepal is finally poised to take advantage of its water and hydropower potential, the benefits are going to the rich instead of poor farmers and the discarded agricultural sector.  https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/forgotten-farmers/  (24 Sept. 2019)

Editorial Ensure competition The govt’s bid to award licenses to build hydropower projects to both government and foreign firms by skirting competitive bidding through a new Electricity Bill is likely to discourage the Nepali private sector while endorsing direct negotiations with foreign firms.

The new licensing policy plan has been provisioned in the draft of the new Electricity Bill, which was made public by the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation for discussion on Sunday. The govt is awaiting feedback and suggestions on it from the stakeholders within 15 days, but the private sector is already alarmed. This will invite corruption and end transparency in all government dealings. If the competitive bidding process is tedious, let us streamline it. The process is as important as the end result. https://thehimalayantimes.com/opinion/editorial-ensure-competition/  (24 Sept. 2019)

Story of Gandaki river Interesting video on significance of Kali Gandaki river in Nepal. Leading aside the religious aspects, the river is so beautiful and the stories that swami ji says are so interesting. Thanks, Ratan Bhandari for sharing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwDjGgpDgB8  (26 Sept. 2019)

Water, disasters and people Most of the GLOFs recorded in Nepal have occurred in the Koshi basin. Eight of 22 GLOFs reported in the basin between 1935 and 2016 were recorded in Nepal; the remaining 14 were recorded in China. At present, 42 glacial lakes in the Koshi basin—18 in Nepal and 24 in China—are identified as potentially dangerous.

– There have been about 6,872 landslides recorded in the basin from 1992 to 2015. The relatively recent Jure landslide, which happened in Sindhupalchok in 2014, resulted in 156 casualties, displacement of 436 people and damage of 165 houses. The estimated economic loss was more than 130 million rupees.

– Then there are floods, which happen almost on an annual basis. Between 1954 and 2014, Nepal experienced 41 flood events, which killed almost 6,500 people, and cost the nation billions of rupees in economic losses. https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/water-disasters-and-people/  (28 Sept. 2018)

Bhutan One of four turbines down at Chukha hydro project  One of the four 86 MW (actual generation upto 92 MW when there is sufficient water) units of Chukha HEP of Bhutan is out of operation since Aug second week. The cost of the power sold to Indian states is now at Rs 2.55 per unit, since 2017, the sixth revision since the commissioning of the 336 MW project in 1986, the first hydropower project of Bhutan.  http://www.kuenselonline.com/one-of-four-turbines-down-at-chukha-hydro-project/  (27 Sept. 2019)

Pakistan  The Mirpur earthquake: images of lateral spreading The 24th September 2019 M=5.6 Mirpur earthquake in NW Pakistan appears to have generated some large lateral spreads along the banks of the Jhelum River.  https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2019/09/25/mirpur-earthquake-1/  (25 Sept. 2019)

Dave Petley on the impacts of the Mirpur earthquake of Sept 24, 2019: “Interestingly, the area with the highest intensity of shaking coincides with both the banks of the major Jhelum River and the margins of  part of the huge Mangla reservoir.” https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2019/09/25/mirpur-earthquake-1/  (25 Sept. 2019)

India, Nepal, Bhutan to count tigers in high altitude With studies earlier this year reporting the presence of tigers in high altitude regions in India, experts from India, Nepal and Bhutan — under the aegis of their governments — will next year begin a detailed assessment on how entrenched tigers are, in these regions. A study jointly conducted by experts from three countries had, in a report this month, established that there were potentially 52,671 square kilometres of tiger habitat in high altitudes — or Himalayan habitats — of India, Nepal and Bhutan. 38,915 square kilometres of this habitat lay in India.

In previous years, tigers have been reported in Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal at elevations of 1765m, 3274 m and 2400 m respectively. Bhutan had recorded the presence of a tiger at 4,210 m. As part of a “high altitude tiger master plan”, gathering background information on land attributes, ascertaining status of protection and engaging local communities in tiger conservation is critical. Potential high altitude tiger landscapes include the Valmiki-Chitwan-Annapurna (India-Nepal), Manas-Royal Manas-Jigme Dorji (India-Bhutan); Neora Valley-Torsa-Buxa-Phibsu (India-Bhutan); Askot-Pithoragarh-Nandhaur-Suklaphanta (India-Nepal); and Arunachal-Sikkim-bordering Bhutan (India-Bhutan). https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/india-nepal-bhutan-to-count-tigers-in-high-altitude/article29533822.ece  (28 Sept. 2019)

ASIA

Mekong record low raises hydropower questions  MRC put this down to low rainfall and a reduction in water being discharged from the Jinghong Dam in China’s Yunnan province, as scheduled maintenance work took place in July. Estimates of the amount of river water that reaches Chiang Khan via the dam vary from 10 to 30% of the total. Determining what proportion of the historic low is due to the drought and what proportion the dam is extremely difficult. Migratory fish species at risk of extinction. Robert Mather, former head of IUCN Southeast Asia, identified the impacts of the Xayaburi dam on the lower Mekong in Laos as another factor contributing to the drought. https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/11529-Mekong-record-low-raises-hydropower-questions  (23 Sept. 2019)

Turkey Ancient Turkish town begins to disappear underwater The small town of Hasankeyf, in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority south-east, is doomed to disappear in the coming months after being inhabited for 12,000 years. An artificial lake, part of the Ilısu hydroelectric dam project, will swallow it up.

Hacire Yalcin, 55-years-old walks with her sister and her sister in-law (R) in the middle of old Hasankeyf cemetery as they search for one of their relatives’ graves which will be moved to the new Hasankeyf cemetery

The huge dam, Turkey’s second largest, is being filled further down the Tigris River, despite protests that it will displace thousands of people and risks creating water shortages downstream, namely in Iraq. Residents are being moved from the ancient town to New Hasankeyf nearby, while historic artefacts have also been transported out of the area. https://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2019/sep/23/ancient-turkish-town-of-hasankeyf-begins-to-disappear-under-water-in-pictures  (23 Sept. 2019) 

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Report World’s Major Deltas Threatened By Climate Change – And Also By How We Develop Hydropower River deltas—like those at the mouth of the Mississippi, Nile, or Ganges—barely rise above sea level.  Among the regions most imperiled by climate change, they barely rise to the level of public attention. That’s unfortunate, because deltas—which form where large rivers deposit sediment as they flow into the ocean—are home to half a billion people. They also support some of the planet’s most productive agricultural regions and fish harvests.

Binh Hoa in the Mekong Delta.

The IPCC report states with “high confidence” that deltas will face “high to very high risks” in the future from rising sea levels, even under scenarios where the world rapidly reduces emissions of greenhouse gases and minimizes the rise in global temperatures and the subsequent melting of ice sheets and glaciers.

But the report also identifies other threats to deltas, including the loss of the sediment needed to replenish them and keep them above the rising seas.  And while climate change requires a global solution, sediment loss has solutions that are far more local and arguably more tractable in the short term.  Ironically, a key contributor to this more local threat is often billed as one of the solutions for climate change: hydropower dams. To understand this threat, and potential solutions, we first have to understand how rivers work to create deltas and how hydropower dams interfere with that work. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffopperman/2019/09/27/worlds-major-deltas-threatened-by-climate-change-and-also-by-how-we-develop-power-systems/#147ec1b560e1  (27 Sept. 2019)

US Could Massive Storm Surge Barriers End the Hudson River’s Revival? As threats from major storms increase, authorities are proposing surge barriers to protect New York Harbor. Some ecologists are concerned these giant barriers could have serious consequences for the Hudson, now hailed for its much-heralded recovery, and for other area waters.

– Not two months earlier, Lipscomb told me, American Rivers had named the Hudson the second most endangered waterway in the nation. It wasn’t pollution that put the river on the conservation group’s 2019 watchlist, though parts of it are, in fact, polluted. Nor was the river particularly imperiled by diversions or urban sprawl, like others on the list. For the first time in its history, American Rivers had singled out a waterway solely on the possibility that massive in-river storm surge barriers could rise in its lower reaches, representing an existential threat to a river in the midst of much-heralded ecological recovery.  https://e360.yale.edu/features/could-massive-storm-surge-barriers-end-the-hudson-rivers-revival  (24 Sept. 2019)

How long before wild Chinook salmon are gone? ‘Maybe 20 Years’ Fantastic Report on an endangered fish, a lot like our Hilsa:- “The best thing you could do to get more spring Chinook for the orcas is to remove those four lower dams,” said Don Chapman, a retired fisheries scientist who worked as a consultant to the hydropower industry and defended the dams and mitigation efforts. He has since changed his mind about the dams: “They kill too many juveniles going downstream and some adults going back.

While farming, logging and especially the commercial harvest of salmon in the early 20th century all took a toll, the single greatest impact on wild fish comes from eight large dams — four on the Columbia and four on the Snake River, a major tributary.

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For decades, experts have tried to ameliorate the loss of the Columbia’s wild fish by installing ladders that allow the fish to swim around the dams, and by placing them in barges and trucks for transport around the dams. The massive efforts have not stemmed the decline, despite the fact that more than $16 billion has been spent on recovery over the last several decades.

Now most scientists come down on the side of removing the dams. Last fall, orca researchers urged Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington and the Southern Resident Orca Task Force, a state government panel, to begin removing the four dams on the Snake River to aid the starving whales.” https://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/state/article235283367.html  (24 Sept. 2019)

California INNOVATIONS IN STORMWATER CAPTURE ALTERNATIVE DELIVERY A new white paper released today by the Southern California Water Coalition’s Stormwater Task Force aims to further the discussion through its provision of nine case studies of successful stormwater capture projects from California to New York. The case studies and analysis provide critical insights into the elements of success for innovative local water supply projects, which will likely play a key role in California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Water Resilience Portfolio initiative. https://www.socalwater.org/files/scwc_2019_whitepaper_innovations_in_stormwater_capture_59332.pdf

Report Thousands of ships fitted with ‘cheat devices’ to divert poisonous pollution into sea Global shipping companies have spent millions rigging vessels with “cheat devices” that circumvent new environmental legislation by dumping pollution into the sea instead of the air, The Independent can reveal. More than £9.7m has been spent on the devices, known as open-loop scrubbers, which extract sulphur from the exhaust fumes of ships that run on heavy fuel oil. This means the vessels meet standards demanded by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) that kick in on 1 January.

However, the sulphur emitted by the ships is simply re-routed from the exhaust and expelled into the water around the ships, which not only greatly increases the volume of pollutants being pumped into the sea, but also increases carbon dioxide emissions. The change could have a devastating effect on wildlife in British waters and around the world, experts have warned.

A total of 3,756 ships, both in operation and under order, have already had scrubbers installed according to DNV GL, the world’s largest ship classification company. Only 23 of these vessels have had closed-loop scrubbers installed, a version of the device that does not discharge into the sea and stores the extracted sulphur in tanks before discharging it at a safe disposal facility in a port. https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/shipping-pollution-sea-open-loop-scrubber-carbon-dioxide-environment-a9123181.html  (29 Sept. 2019)

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

Also see DRP News Bulletin 23 Sept. 2019 & DRP News Bulletin 16 Sept. 2019

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

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