India’s environmental Legal system is in deep trouble. Ritwick Dutta shows this through two brilliant articles, but this is also apparent from the failure of pollution control mechanism and people, rivers and environment continues to suffer as is apparent from the poisonous Hindon river basin water that people of over a hundred villages are forced to drink while the cases have been going on in National Green Tribunal. The Yettinahole verdict of the Supreme Court now and NGT earlier seem to have completely ignored all the illegalities and falsehoods involved in the case. The verdict thus also ignored the severe vulnerabilities of the Western Ghats that is getting worse with such mindless developmental interventions. And the government seems happy to destroy the independence status of the NGT through problematic appointments, as Ritwick Dutta shows through another article. What is the hope when the judiciary itself is blind to such glaring disasters?
Peculiar case of Yettinahole RITWICK DUTTA is at his brilliant best highlighting the illegalities involved in Yettinahole project in Nethravati basin in Western Ghats and how Judiciary just ignored them all: – Absurd as it may sound, the MoEF&CC stipulated that ‘study on ecological impact’ on downstream ‘may’ be initiated. This, in simple terms, would mean that only if the project proponent (Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd) voluntarily wants to do an ecological assessment after the project is completed, it may do so. This is not an ecological assessment but a post-mortem study of ecology. If the executive, led by KFD and the MoEF&CC had completely disregarded statutory rules and regulations as well as environmental considerations, it is imperative for the judiciary, as an institution to uphold to rule of law, to strike down decisions of the executive which are arbitrary, capricious, whimsical and improper besides being illegal. The forest clearance granted to Yettinahole satisfied all these grounds, yet the judiciary dealt with all the illegality with only one central idea, that all the wrongs can be overlooked because it is a drinking water project. The manner in which the NGT dealt with this is worth highlighting.
– While overemphasising the ‘drinking water’ benefit of the Yettinahole project, the judiciary overlooked the fact that the Western Ghat itself is nature’s own and irreplaceable drinking water project, created over millions of years, supplying water to millions of people and sustaining life. It amounts to a blatant breach of public trust when both the executive and judiciary fail to protect this unique biodiversity hotspot and attempt to replace nature’s creation with a series of dams and pipelines for short term benefit. https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/in-perspective/the-peculiar-case-of-yettinahole-767063.html (8 Oct. 2019)
Woes of the NGT: Are the recent appointments unconstitutional? Ritwick Dutta explains how govt is appointing expert members to NGT in violation of law and spirit of the NGT act having already clipped its wings:- – Unfortunately, the NGT is today only a fraction of what it was a few years back – the four regional benches in Chennai, Bhopal, Pune and Kolkata are non-functional. Against a minimum strength of 10 judicial members and 10 expert members, there are only 4 judicial members and two expert members. In such a situation, the recent decision of the government to appoint two new expert members could be seen as a ray of hope for the institution. However, rather than reviving the institution, the recent appointments will end up destroying the NGT both as a judicial body as well as an expert body on the environment.
– The recent appointments do not augur well both for the NGT and for those who are seeking environmental justice. If the members are subject to executive control in the manner done recently, it will not be long before even the NGT as an institution will be on a permanent ‘mute setting’. https://barandbench.com/new-appointments-national-green-tribunal-unconstitutional-judicial-independence/ (9 Oct. 2019)
Uttar Pradesh Hindon pollution affected villagers organize ‘mahapanchayat’ Despite NGT order, UP Govt fails to provide clean drinking water to villagers suffering from surface and groundwater pollution due to industrial effluents in Hindon, Krishni, Kali rivers:- Hundreds of people from 6 districts of western UP assembled at a ‘mahapanchayat’ in Baghpat district on Oct. 8 to protest against non-availability of fresh drinking water. They were also protesting against pollution in rivers flowing from their area. In several western UP districts, the toxic river water has also contaminated groundwater, which has led to hundreds of deaths from cancer, renal failure and skin diseases in the last 10 years.
The visiting villagers also brought drinking water samples, for which special lab was set up. The samples will now be sent to Delhi for testing. Several tributaries of Yamuna, including Kali, Krishni and Hindon rivers have been found containing disturbing levels of toxins. People living in hundreds of villages, situated on the banks of these tributaries, are forced to drink toxic water.
Several cases were registered in the NGT in the last six years resulting in considerable number of orders, including a direction to UP government to provide potable drinking water to the villagers. NGT in its September 20, 2019 order observed, “With regard to status of piped water supply, it is stated that out of 148 villages, water supply has been made available in 41 villages.” There has been no progress since July, the NGT noted. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/meerut/seeking-safe-drinking-water-hundreds-attend-mahapanchayat-in-ups-baghpat/articleshow/71503810.cms (10 Oct. 2019)
यह कहानी सिर्फ बागपत के गागनौली गांव तक सीमित है। बल्कि इस कहानी में पश्चिमी यूपी के 6 जिलों (सहारनपुर, शामली, मुजफ्फरनगर, मेरठ, बागपत, गाजियाबाद) के 154 गांव शामिल हैं। इन 154 गांव के रहने वाले लाखों लोग तीन छोटी नदियों के प्रदूषण से परेशान हैं। यह नदियां हैं- हिंडन, कृष्णा और काली नदी। गांव वालों का कहना है कि इन नदियों में इंडस्ट्री का कैमिकल वाला पानी बहाया जाता है, जो कि रिस-रिसकर भूगर्भ जल से मिल गया है। ऐसे में इलाके का भूगर्भ जल पूरी तरह से खराब हो गया है। https://www.gaonconnection.com/desh/people-from-148-villages-of-western-uttar-pradesh-are-drinking-toxic-water-46448 (11 Oct. 2019)
Punjab Toxic pollution in Sutlej waters puts one crore lives at stake across three states Satluj tributaries like Sarsa has been turned into toxic drain:- “Industrial discharge from the Common Effluent Treatment Plant along with direct effluent discharge by the industries, dumping of untreated sewerage and garbage, along with unchecked sand mining has turned the Sarsa into a dead, toxic river.” http://citizenmatters.in/toxic-pollution-of-sutlej-river-cancer-threat-punjab-haryana-rajasthan-14121 (6 Oct. 2019)
NGT Reconstitutes Sutlej Committee NGT Principal Bench has directed reconstitution of a Monitoring Committee to deal with the pollution of river Sutlej and its tributaries, and solid waste management issues in the Punjab, by substituting Justice Jasbir Singh (former Judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court), in place of Justice Pritam Pal. Justice Pritam Pal (former Judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court) is the Chairman of the ‘Executing Committee’ constituted by the NGT.
The Committee was constituted with the purpose of overseeing the execution of orders of the NGT to remedy the pollution of River Ghaggar. The river Ghaggar originates in Himachal Pradesh and ends in Rajasthan, and is included by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in the list of 351 polluted river stretches of the country, ‘priority – I category’. To execute a remedial plan for the river, the NGT has been considering the matter for more than five years. Monitoring Committees for execution of the NGT’s orders, with reference to pollution of certain rivers including Ganga, Yamuna and Sutlej, have been set up following earlier orders of the Tribunal. https://www.livelaw.in/environment/ngt-reconstitutes-committee-to-check-pollution-of-sutlej-river-and-its-tributaries-in-punjab-148860 (10 Oct. 2019)
– In Sept. 2018, the NGT appointed justice Pritam Pal as chairman of the executing committee monitoring pollution in the Ghaggar. But in March this year, he was also made the head of monitoring committee to look into pollution in the Sutlej and Beas in Punjab.
– The NGT order came following a letter by justice Pritam Pal, wherein he suggested that looking at the magnitude of work, the tribunal could form another panel which could monitor progress and oversee preventive and remedial action to restore quality of river water to the prescribed level in Punjab. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/river-pollution-ngt-forms-separate-monitoring-panel-for-punjab/story-HRe01aIP9DmiQoOqKmPvzH.html (7 Oct. 2019)
Chhattisgarh Coal mines causing river pollution People living around the Dipka mine – the site is in the spotlight since it was flooded on Sept. 29 after the Lilagar river flowing nearby changed its course – are exposed to critical levels of air and water pollution, according to residents and experts. “You can see the water in the river. Sometimes it turns black. Even cattle avoid entering in Lilagar,” says 21-year-old Rohit Kashyap, who lives in one of four resettlement colonies that were made to accommodate those displaced by the coal mine. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/in-coal-town-dipka-mining-pollution-takes-a-heavy-toll-on-nature-as-well-as-public-health/story-rZRpKexS668GVt3SIGmLyL.html (9 Oct. 2019)
Coal mines near rivers polluting waters “The instances where floodplains or rivers have been impacted because of these are obvious because we have assessed their environment clearance documents. But in Chhattisgarh there are many such cases where mining has destroyed the river catchment completely or has devastated floodplains,” said Alok Shukla, convener of the Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan.
Coal mines have a heavy water demand, using millions of litres each day to wash off impurities – the effluents are invariably diverted back downstream. “The destruction of river catchment and floodplains is dangerous. We are already seeing heavy pollution and siltation. There will be more disasters in future,” Shukla added. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/mines-near-rivers-polluting-water-affecting-flow-in-chhattisgarh/story-Z2m2WlEPRdfjN1geJ2xybO.html (9 Oct. 2019)
GANGA Uttar Pradesh PCB report finds Ganga water unfit even for bathing According to UPPCB Prayagraj regional officer JB Singh, the excessively high level of Coliform and Fecal Coliform bacteria in the Ganga was due to untreated sewage water in the river in different parts of state, including Prayagraj.
– “Currently, of the 70 drains within the city limits, 20 big and small drains were still dumping several million litres per day (MLD) of sewage in the Ganga, which was the sole reason for the presence of such a high level of bacteria. There are seven sewage treatment plants (STPs) functional in the city, while 3 STPs are under construction and will soon become functional,” he added. https://www.hindustantimes.com/lucknow/ganga-water-unfit-for-bathing-says-up-pollution-control-board-report/story-XtqaqdKMFv6CbM6moYN9HM.html (8 Oct. 2019)
YAMUNA Delhi No reduction in Yamuna pollution NGT Monitoring Committee has slammed multiple government bodies, including the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), South Delhi Municipal Corporation and the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) for pollution of storm water drains in the city. The storm water drains are supposed to carry away excess rainwater, but many of them carry untreated sewage and flow into the Yamuna due to lack of proper mechanism to treat sewage.
Following court orders and health concerns raised by some residents, the committee had inspected residential areas in Greater Kailash 1, Defence Colony, and Nizamuddin (west), through which Barapulla and Kushak drains pass. “The DJB had submitted its action plan to the NGT for trapping sewage flowing into Barapulla and its tributaries in 2014 according to which most of the work was to be completed by 2017. However, very little appears to have been done on the ground with no improvement in terms of containment of pollution,” the MC said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/yamuna-pollution-ngt-body-slams-delhi-jal-board-ndmc/article29621867.ece (9 Oct. 2019)
Ulhas, Mumbai Ulhasnagar nullah still pollutes Ulhas river The project of stopping Khemani nullah water flowing into the Ulhas river has failed despite several efforts by local activists and residents to build pressure on the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC). The polluted Khemani nullah water mixes with the Ulhasnagar river water, which is a source of drinking water for lakhs of population in Kalyan-Dombivli, Ulhasnagar and Ambernath.
– Last year, UMC had taken up the work of stopping the Khemani nullah water entering the Ulhas river by diverting it to a pumping station and then sending it to a treatment plant. The work was completed but there is no proper functioning of the pumping station due to huge amount of plastic waste dumped into the nullah. Activists said the ₹37-crore project is a waste of money as the nullah water continues to enter the river. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/treatment-plant-project-fails-ulhasnagar-nullah-still-pollutes-ulhas-river/story-eskkheU8WMRmu98tybADqM.html (11 Oct. 2019)
Coonoor, Nilgiri Coonoor sets river cleaning example On September 22, the World Rivers Day, Clean Coonoor, a local NGO, started the second phase of the Coonoor River clean-up drive. Coonoor is a small town of around 45,494 people in the Nilgiri mountains in the state of Tamil Nadu in Southern India.
– The Coonoor River flows out of the town. The drinking water supply comes from Raliah Dam and the streams, including tributaries of the Coonoor River, in its upper reaches. A survey undertaken by the Kotagiri-based NGO, the Keystone Foundation, states that Coonoor has been blessed with a large number of wetlands and more than 75 perennial streams.
– It took 42 days of hard labour to clear 12 tonnes of soil, plastic and other debris, including an autorickshaw and a couple of sofas, in the stream. Taking a step further, the Nilgiri District Administration has issued an order that power and water supply would be cut to households that do not segregate their garbage even after three warnings. The municipality has erected a tall wire mesh netting to prevent people from throwing garbage into the river and this has had its effect: the amount of garbage being dumped into the river has come down considerably. https://scroll.in/article/939248/over-42-days-and-41-nights-coonoor-set-an-example-for-the-rest-of-india-by-cleaning-up-its-river (7 Oct. 2019)
Report Perennial rivers turning seasonal – Most of the major river basins in India are going through difficult times — declining flows, increased pollution loads and rampant habitat degradation. But the policy response from both the Centre and the states have been poor. Various schemes and policy strategies hardly evoked any major restoration plan on the ground. Even India’s water policy fails miserably to formulate a solid plan to restore many of its degraded river systems.
– The focus has mainly been on building dams and canals using limited river water. The management of rivers by default has gone to the irrigation department whose engineers do not talk about restoration of flows and conservation of river ecosystems. They do not understand the difference in the valuation of water infrastructure and having water in the river with healthy ecosystem functions. Maintenance of water infrastructure is given topmost priority while ignoring the very source of natural water resources, the catchments and many natural channels that feed them. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/water/perennial-rivers-turning-seasonal-a-disturbing-trend-66778 (7 Sept. 2019)
Andhra Pradesh Stakeholders discuss rejuvenation of rivers There is no life without wildlife and the concept of linking wildlife, forests, ecological balance and river rejuvenation needs to be understood in a holistic manner, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests N. Prateep Kumar said on Oct 10, 2019. Mr. Kumar was addressing a stakeholders’ consultation meeting on preparation of DPR for Rejuvenation of Krishna and Godavari rivers in Vijaywada. The meeting was organised by the Institute of Forest Biodiversity (IFB) and Institute for Wood Science and Technology (IWST). In the inaugural session, IFB Director D. Jayaprasad reiterated the significance of the project and emphasised on the role of forestry interventions and contribution from other stakeholders.
– MoEF had awarded the work of preparing DPR for rejuvenation of nine major rivers in India through forestry interventions to the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Dehradun. IFB, Hyderabad, one of the nine institutes under the Council, was entrusted with the task of preparing a DPR for Godavari. IWST, Bengaluru, will prepare the DPR for Krishna River. The project development phase (DPR preparation) will last one year (2019-20) followed by a five-year implementation phase. The project would look into both quantity and quality of river discharge adopting a riverscape and multi-disciplinary approach. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/stakeholders-discuss-rejuvenation-of-rivers/article29650909.ece (11 Oct. 2019)
To rid Kali Bein of pollutants, govt to increase water flow With only a month to go for the 550th Gurpurb celebrations at Sultanpur Lodhi, dumping of effluents continue intothe Kali Bein even as it readies to host lakhs of devotees. Meanwhile, unable to rid the Bein of effluents at such a short notice, the state government is now planning to adopt other options. The flow of water into the Bein shall be increased from 250 cusecs to 400 cusecs apparently in a bid to drain out polluted water and sodium oxychloride is being put at the Kapurthala STP to decrease the level of E-coli and B-coli in the untreated water which is going out of the STP and mixing into the Kali Bein near the STP. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/to-rid-kali-bein-of-pollutants-govt-to-increase-water-flow/843990.html (8 Oct. 2019)
Leaders vow to clean Buddha Nullah, villagers don’t buy it Despite becoming a poll issue many times in the past few decades, the menace of Buddha Nullah polluting the Sutlej remains unaddressed as the successive governments failed to do the needful. The polluted nullah has contaminated the groundwater in various areas located near the river and as well as the drain.
The highly polluted water of Buddha Nullah flows into the Sutlej River near Walipur Khurd village in Dakha, causing serious health problems to people not only from areas in Ludhiana district, but also various other parts of the state and even Rajasthan.
Untreated waste from factories and MC sewers is dumped into Buddha Nullah, which was once known as Buddha Dariya, at various locations. It is difficult to stand near its banks as foul smell emanates from the nullah. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/leaders-vow-to-clean-buddha-nullah-villagers-don-t-buy-it/845464.html (11 Oct. 2019)
Interview Ganga basin covers nearly 40% of India, has big role in carrying trash from source to sea In an interview with the indianexpress.com, National Geographic fellow and marine biologist Heather Koldewey speaks at length about the scope and impact of plastic pollution in our waterways, while offering simple alternatives to be part of the change. https://indianexpress.com/article/world/single-use-plastic-india-national-geographic-plastic-pollution-oceans-marine-scientist-heather-koldewey-6059354/ (10 Oct. 2019)
YAMUNA Delhi At a time when country is unofficially facing extended monsoon, Yamuna river at Nigam Bodh Ghat, Delhi has turned flowless and lifeless.
Free guide tour along Yamuna This is interesting initiative from Yamuna Monitoring Committee, implemented by BNHS: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/free-guides-tours-along-the-yamuna-to-begin-tomorrow/articleshow/71547908.cms (12 Oct. 2019)
No Durga idol immersed in Yamuna Probably for the first time since Durga Puja celebrations began in the capital more than 100 years ago, city authorities ensured that no idols were immersed in the Yamuna by setting up multiple layers of barricades blocking all routes to Delhi’s most popular ghats. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/a-first-for-delhi-no-durga-idol-immersed-in-yamuna/articleshow/71496439.cms (9 Oct. 2019)
Delhi Pollution Control Committee says there has been huge improvement in water quality of Yamuna at all locations with respect to various parameters between 2018 and 2019 post Ganesh Chaturthi, thanks to idol immersion only at ponds outside Yamuna. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/proof-of-how-yamuna-can-still-be-saved/articleshow/71548258.cms (12 Oct. 2019)
Video report on Gomati river by Gaon Connection
HYDRO POWER PROJECTS
SANDRP Blog Major disaster at Kopili dam of NEEPCO in Assam The 275 MW Kopili Dam Power House of NEEPCO in Assam suffered major disaster on Oct 7, 2019. The penstock pipe that takes water from the Umrangso dam to the hydropower house burst during early hours in Assam’s Dima Hasao district, and massive quantity of water erupted, a lot of it entered the power house, where four employees of NEEPCO are feared to have been trapped/ washed away. Plz Read, help us spread the word. https://sandrp.in/2019/10/08/major-disaster-at-kopili-dam-of-neepco-in-assam/ (8 Oct. 2019)
No trace of the missing persons, the fountain of water continues to flow out and NEEPCO CMD shockingly (though expectedly) says that Kopili disaster was an accident and not due to negligence. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/east-and-northeast/bhakra-dam-experts-at-assam-hydel-project-mishap-site-767207.html (9 Oct. 2019)
Opposition congress blamed the centre for tragedy. The centre government did not release Rs 200 crore meant for maintenance of the plant in 2014. “Major repairing of the project was due in 2014. The pipeline expired its life span in 2014. However, it could not be done as the BJP led NDA government had not released the amount approved by the UPA government,” said Senior Spokesman of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee, Durga Das Boro. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/congress-blames-centre-for-not-releasing-money-for-upkeep-of-neepcos-power-plant-in-assam/71513708 (10 Oct. 2019)
No change in situation at Kopili HEP of NEEPCO in Dima Hasao district of Assam. Bhakra experts have arrived at the site. But 100 ft high water fountain continues to flow. No access to power house. NEEPCO officials are not able to stop water flowing through the broken penstock, which is also inundating the power house and surrounding areas. https://www.eastmojo.com/assam/2019/10/10/assam-hydel-plant-mishap-bhakra-dam-experts-to-aid-rescue-ops (10 Oct. 2019)
CM has instituted an inquiry. DIG South Assam Division P.K. Dutta has been asked to carry out the inquiry. Sonowal asked Minister in charge of Hill Areas Development, Mines and Minerals Sum Ronghang to visit the accident site with a high-powered team to take stock of the situation. The situation at the site remained same till Oct 11 evening, with water still flowing out and power house remaining inaccessible. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/inquiry-ordered-into-kopili-hydro-power-project-pipeline-rapture/71549658 (12 Oct. 2019)
NEEPCO blames Meghalaya mine for pipeline burst NEEPCO’s independent director Vijay Kumar Gupta said coal mining in Meghalaya has turned water of the Kopili acidic, resulting in damage to materials used in the 275MW hydel project in Assam, including burst of a pipeline that led to extensive damage in and around the site.
The Garo National Council has opposed the proposed Kulsi multipurpose dam project at Ukium village in Kamrup district, bordering Meghalaya.
OPPOSITION to 55 MW DAM PROJECT IN KAMRUP DIST IN ASSAM: The council’s Kamrup district president Enindra Marak told a gathering of residents of 35 villages of Assam and Meghalaya at Ukium, about 75km from Guwahati, on Friday that the dam would generate 55MW of electricity, but destroy the aquatic ecosystem of the area and would turn Ukium villagers refugees. The villagers and several organisations resolved not to allow construction of the project under any circumstances. Kamrup district zilla parishad member Golap Medhi and leaders of Garo Women’s Council and Garo Youth Council attended the meeting. https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/north-east/neepco-blames-meghalaya-mine-for-pipeline-burst/cid/1711282 (13 Oct. 2019)
A high-powered team of the Assam government on Sunday (Oct 13, 2019) inspected the pipeline burst site of NEEPCO’s 275 MW hydro-electric project at Umrangso in Assam’s Dima Hasao district. https://nenow.in/north-east-news/neepco-tragedy-assam-govts-high-powered-team-visits-project-site.html (13 Oct. 2019)
Subansiri HEP Assam steps up efforts for strategic lower Subansiri hydro project in Arunachal Another misleading piece in MINT, this seems like working like a hydro lobby. Pushing Lower Subansiri project wont give any prior user rights, China has no plans to divert Lower Subansiri. In any case, such rights are of no use as there is no credible international agency that can force China on such matters. Why push unviable projects using such bogey? https://www.livemint.com/industry/energy/assam-steps-up-efforts-for-strategic-lower-subansiri-hydro-project-in-arunachal-11570762749755.html (11 Oct. 2019)
Sikkim PTC India seeks fresh bids for 300 MW Panan project Update on 300 MW Panan Hydropower project in Sikkim, which, following strong protest from the local communities, has not been achieve financial closure, since it was awarded to the company in 2005. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/companies/ptc-india-seeks-fresh-bids-for-300-mw-panan-project-in-sikkim/article29625537.ece (9 Oct. 2019)
NHPC takes over Lanco Teesta Hydro Power Ltd NHPC on Oct. 9 said it has completed formalities for taking over 500 MW Teesta VI hydro power project, which it has bagged under corporate insolvency resolution process. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/nhpc-takes-over-lanco-teesta-hydro-power-limited-4517271.html (9 Oct. 2019)
Power Ministry States asked to forego free power to make hydro projects viable Ministry of Power accepts that hydro seems like bad debt and still keeps making for concessions to make them viable, but this is not going to help.
– Himachal Pradesh recently exempted 10 projects from supplying free power in the initial years. It also waived its share of state GST for the projects. On September 25, the Himachal Pradesh government signed agreements with state-run NTPC, NHPC and SJVN for setting up 10 hydropower projects of 2,917 MW on Chenab river entailing an investment of about Rs 28,000 crore.
– The main relaxation in the agreements signed by Himachal Pradesh government is that 12% free power benefits will be staggered or deferred on project-to-project basis in a manner that no or minimum burden is felt in the initial years of loan repayment period, during which tariff is generally high.
– Further, 50% of state GST would be reimbursed to the developers, the official said. The Jammu & Kashmir government also exempted NHPC’s 624 MW Kiru project from toll tax, state GST, free power in a decremental manner and water usage charges for 10 years. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/states-asked-to-forego-free-power-to-make-hydro-projects-viable/71485977 (8 Oct. 2019)
Op-Ed Rethinking water management issues Pathetic is the best word here. Chetan Pandit should have added that he has been part of the system that lead the FAILURES of past policies that he lists here. In fact people like him has been the reason. And now he is lecturing the nation to push for more of the same: More big projects that have failed to deliver, close down whatever remaining space exists for democratic functioning. https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/rethinking-water-management-issues/article29620863.ece (9 Oct. 2019)
Sardar Sarovar Dam 34 years of the Narmada protests Detailed article on Narmada movement, illegal submergence in 2019 and protests. https://caravanmagazine.in/communities/narmada-bacaho-andolan-sardar-sarovar-dam (14 Oct. 2019)
Polavaram Dam Delhi HC asks Centre to act on complaints of irregularities Delhi High Court has directed the Ministry of Jal Shakti to consider the writ petition filed by economist and writer Pentapati Pulla Rao on the implementation of the Polavaram Irrigation Project (PIP) as a representation and take necessary action as expeditiously as possible after duly hearing his plea on illegalities, corruption and deviations in the project execution. The court questioned why was the Ministry not taking action on the allegations by the petitioner, and rejected the argument by the advocate for the Union of India and the Polavaram Project Authority that the Delhi HC had no jurisdiction over it since the issue pertained to Andhra Pradesh. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/polavaram-delhi-hc-asks-centre-to-act-on-complaints-of-irregularities/article29630314.ece (10 Oct. 2019)
Mekedatu Dam Tamil Nadu CM again objects to the project CM K Palaniswami wrote to Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and his Environment Ministry counterpart Prakash Javadekar, reminding them of pending court cases in this matter. The letters dated October 9 were released by the state government on Oct. 10. https://www.news18.com/news/india/karnatakas-mekedatu-project-untenable-ought-to-be-rejected-outright-says-tamil-nadu-cm-palaniswami-2340337.html (10 Oct. 2019)
Kerala Dam safety authority recommends roof over Idukki Chairman of Kerala Dam Safety Authority, Justice CN Ramachandran Nair, says that the exponential rise in temperature, induced by climate change, will adversely affect the dam in the long run if it is not conserved properly. He recommends that a roof over the dam will act as a shade and protect the concrete structure from the heat of the sun. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/better-durability-kerala-dam-safety-authority-recommends-roof-over-idukki-arch-dam-110420 (12 Oct. 2019)
Maharashtra Assembly Election 2019 Majalgaon dam comes out of dead storage Majalgaon Major Project in Beed district has sufficient water now to take care of drinking water need of Beed and Majalgaon cities till next June. It received water from Jaikwadi Right Bank canal and returning monsoon. According to this report, it has 11 TMC in live storage. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/aurangabad/majalgaon-dam-comes-out-of-dead-storage/articleshow/71484383.cms (8 Oct. 2019)
After five years of the BJP-Sena rule in Maharashtra, people in Vidarbha are not excited about the ruling parties. Farmers are grappling with agrarian crisis, with drought aggravating it. Farm loan waiver should have brought relief to farmers, but they are not happy with the implementation. The agrarian community is still not getting proper remuneration for their produce. The probe into the irrigation scam is yet to be completed. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/maha-polls-will-vidarbha-support-bjp-sena-again/story-e7zxwmNPcfbluLDoykipnN.html (13 Oct. 2019)
After not acting on Irrigation scam for five years in any credible way and pushing the same scam tainted projects, now the rulers of last five years is talking about irrigation scam. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/uddhav-says-congress-ncp-to-blame-for-farm-crises/articleshow/71547820.cms (12 Oct. 2019)
“If you look at the agenda of 2014 and 2009, it’s a copycat. There is nothing new. What we are now projecting is, on a fundamental issue, should water be used for the generation of electricity or water should be used for drinking and agriculture? We have raised the issue of Tata dams and the additional water that is available in the Ukai Dam in Jalgaon district. Why not use this water to feed the drought prone areas?” asked Prakash Ambedkar. https://www.thequint.com/news/politics/maharashtra-assembly-election-is-between-vba-and-sena-bjp-says-prakash-ambedkar (12 Oct. 2019)
INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES
Krishna River Water Sharing Dispute TS, AP officials meeting ends-up in disagreement A meeting between irrigation engineers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh held on Oct 10, 2019 by the Krishna River Management Board on water utilisation by the two States, particularly Andhra Pradesh, ended up in disagreement. There has been disagreement between the two sides on water discharge and its entry in records pertaining to the utilisation from Pothireddypadu head regulator and K.C. Canal system as also diversion of Godavari water to Krishna Delta through Pattiseema lift irrigation project, when huge quantity of water has been flowing waste into the sea from Prakasam Barrage.
– The engineers from Telangana argued before the KRMB officials that the difference between the water drawn from Pothireddypadu and recorded was 18 tmcft, while their AP counterparts contended that it was only 3 tmcft. Similarly, the difference between the water drawn from K.C. Canal head regulator and the volume recorded was 8.5 tmcft according to Telangana engineers while the AP engineers put it at only 2.26 tmcft. “Over 538 tmcft of Krishna water has gone waste into the sea from Prakasam Barrage till 6 a.m. on Oct. 10 and the claims of water diversion with such a scenario sounds absurd,” sources said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/ts-ap-meeting-ends-up-in-disagreement/article29650069.ece (10 Oct. 2019)
“Though AP officials claim only 18 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) from Pothireddypadu and 8.5 tmcft from KC canal was drawn, actually more water was drawn,” a chief engineer of Telangana irrigation department said. The AP officials, however, dismissed the allegations and said they used excess water from NSP left canal due to on and off system due to huge inflows. The AP and Telangana governments have decided to hold a meeting of engineers–in–chief on October 15 and finalise allocations by discussing the indents submitted. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/more-water-drawn-by-ap-from-krishna-river-telangana-govt/articleshow/71534458.cms (11 Oct. 2019)
Arunachal Pradesh 6 rare butterfly species discovered in Ledum village A minimum of six rare species of butterflies were discovered out of the total 133 which were documented during the third edition of Pasighat Butterfly and Biodiversity meet at Ledum village under East Siang district. https://www.eastmojo.com/arunachal-pradesh/2019/10/12/6-rare-butterfly-species-discovered-in-arunachals-ledum-village (12 Oct. 2019)
Sikkim State sees surge in butterfly biodiversity Study finds indigenous farming methods are helping in enriching butterfly biodiversity. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/sikkim-sees-surge-in-butterfly-biodiversity/article29667459.ece (12 Oct. 2019)
FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS
West Bengal Hilsa polulation under Durga pooja stress A recent study found out that first spawners (or adults who spawn for the first time) have a 75% probability of being targeted by the fishing industry. “The situation in Kolkata has gotten worse, with trawlers standing right at the river mouth, waiting to catch juveniles on their way to the ocean,” Karnad adds.
– Based on the available data, computing models and the life cycles of hilsa, experts have concluded that 25,440 tons per year is the maximum sustainable yield. Beyond this, the fish will not have time to breed, grow and rejuvenate the population. While more than 13,000 tonnes caught in 2018, hilsa catch was as high as 57,991 tonnes in 2017 in West Bengal alone. With state government struggling to enforcement regulations, hilsa faces a bleak future. It is estimated that there are between 3,571 and 3,987 boats, a study found out. “It can be inferred that hilsa fishery in the BoB (Bay of Bengal) is being unsustainably exploited,” says a study titled “Present Status of the Sustainable Fishing Limits for Hilsa Shad in the northern Bay of Bengal, India”.
– Of the 20,000 tonnes of hilsa caught in India in 2018, 13,827 tonnes or nearly 70% was caught in West Bengal, according to data from the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI). In West Bengal, hilsa constitutes about 9% of all fish caught in the state. https://weather.com/en-IN/india/news/news/2019-10-04-hilsa-population-under-durga-pujo-stress (4 Oct. 2019)
Assam NPSSFW (INLAND) PR:- Assam Fisheries Development Corporation (AFDC) organised a brainstorming workshop on 11-12 October, 2019 at Guwahati, to assess the possibilities of rejuvenation of 95 beels and work out an action plan. The workshop was inaugurated by Sri Ramakanta Deuri, MLA & Chairman of AFDC. It was attended by eminent experts and community representatives.
– Assam is a state of wetlands. Wetlands popularly called beels in Assam are 3,513 in number and together they cover 1012.25 Sq. Km. Source of livelihood for thousands of fisher people, these gifts of nature have irreplaceable role in maintaining ecological balance with flora and fauna, water supply, aquifer recharge, flood abatement and regulating climate impact. Besides these, the beels of Assam are associated with distinct cultural service, both religious and seasonal.
– The beels of Assam are in mortal danger. Their connection with rivers or streams are blocked, catchment and drainage areas are encroached, siltation and weed infestation, dumping of solid waste and release of waste water into the wetlands have resulted in steady decline of fish stock. Diminishing catch, in its turn, are driving the fishers away. Powerless to protect the natural resource base of their livelihood the poor fishers are being compelled to migrate out to different other sectors in distant places.
Uttar Pradesh Sand mafia killed in encounter A man involved in illegal sand mining was killed in an encounter on the intervening night of October 5 and 6 in Gursarain area of Jhansi district around 80 kilometres away from the district headquarters. The deceased Pushpendra Yadav had shot at station officer, Moth, Dharmendra Singh Chauhan, a few hours before the encounter on Kanpur-Jhansi highway. SSP, Jhansi, OP Singh said Pushpendra Yadav was involved in illegal sand mining and was annoyed at the station officer as he had seized some of his sand-laden trucks on September 29. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kanpur/sand-mafia-killed-in-encounter-soon-after-attacking-jhansi-so/articleshow/71470973.cms (7 Oct. 2019)
Haryana 15 booked for attacking cop Sand mining mafia attacked police officials in Pinjore. The attack was against raiding team actions of seizing a tractor involved in illegal mining in Ghaggar river. Police have booked as many as 15 men for allegedly attacking a police official and snatching a tractor seized by a team of the mining department during inspection regarding illegal sand mining, in Pinjore on Oct. 8. As per the officials, when the team was about to take the tractor trolley from the spot, around 15 to 20 men came there with stones in their hands and surrounded the tractor. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/illegal-sand-mining-15-booked-for-attacking-cop-stealing-impounded-tractor-in-pinjore/story-gjf2imxXZ6D7AMX36VGCuJ.html (9 Oct. 2019)
Punjab Illegal miners attack Ex MLA in Anjala There is no doubt there is a lot of illegal mining happening along Ravi river in Punjab as per this report. But is this meant to be some serious action or political game? https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/illegal-miners-attack-ex-mla-in-ajnala/845904.html (12 Oct. 2019)
Karnataka Illegal mining wreaks havoc in Bengaluru suburbs, coastal districts Karnataka is one of the leading states, after Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra to witness rampant illegal mining.
– Between 2014 and 2019, the Department of Mines and Geology registered 2,030 cases of illegal sand mining, 34,786 cases of illegal sand transportation and about 1,049 case of illegal sand storage across the state. A total of 14,786 cases have been lodged in these five years. A total of ₹77 crore fine was collected. Contractors use heavy metal objects to dig 15-25 feet trench to mine sand violating CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) rules in the coastal districts. https://thefederal.com/analysis/2019/10/08/illegal-sand-mining-wreak-havoc-in-bangalore-suburbs-coastal-districts/ (8 Oct. 2019)
WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES
Punjab 5 more wetlands set to get Ramsar site tag Sites for which the international tag has been sought under the Ramsar convention include 185 km stretch of the Beas conservation reserve, Ranjit Sagar conservation reserve, Nangal wildlife sanctuary, Keshopur-Miani community reserve and Hussainiwala wetland. At present, Punjab is home to three—Harike, Kanjli and Ropar—international sites spread in an area of 56.48 square kilometer.
Confident of all the five proposed sites getting international tag, Dr Kuldip Kumar, principal chief conservator of forests, wildlife and chief wildlife warden of Punjab said the process is near completion and all the proposed sites fulfil the laid down conditions. “We have put in best efforts and are confident of positive results,” said Dr Kumar. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/5-more-wetlands-in-punjab-to-get-international-tag/articleshow/71471062.cms (7 Oct. 2019)
Telangana AMD finds high levels of uranium in groundwater samples Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD) has red-flagged the startling findings of AMD on high uranium concentration around Lambapur-Peddagattu region to various government agencies, which include the department of atomic energy, ministry of forests and environment, water resources, pollution control agencies and the PMO that supervises the atomic energy activities. These startling findings have come even as the civil society bodies and political outfits were raising concerns over high levels of uranium concentration found in the groundwater around Tummalapalle in Andhra Pradesh’s Kadapa district, where uranium is mined.
Also the latest findings come at a time when the civil society bodies and opposition parties were up in the arms against the proposed uranium mining in the Nallamala forest region. “If the latest findings of AMD on high uranium concentration in groundwater is valid, then the government agencies should immediately get into action to arrest further contamination of groundwater that could potentially affect the Krishna River waters, which are now being consumed by crores of people in the capital cities of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh,” said Dr Donthi Narasimha Reddy, who did his doctorate on Nuclear Energy Policy. “People in the Nalgonda region already suffer from serious fluorosis for decades. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/science/red-alert-telangana-sitting-on-atomic-time-bomb/articleshow/71533084.cms (11 Oct. 2019)
Tamil Nadu HC asks govt to bring law to curb illegal groundwater tapping throughout state A division bench of the Madras High Court has directed the State government to bring out a legislation to effectively ensure that persons involved in illegal and indiscriminate extraction of groundwater are dealt with firm and iron hands.
– “This court is aware that a writ cannot be passed directing the State government to bring out the legislation. However, this court requests the State to pass the legislation to cover the entire State of Tamil Nadu to combat the issue of depletion of groundwater,” the bench of Justice S Manikumar (since promoted as Chief Justice and posted to Kerala High Court) and Justice Subramonium said. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2019/oct/13/bring-law-to-curb-illegal-groundwater-tapping-throughout-tn-hc-2046602.html (13 Oct. 2019)
Report Logical Bias Could Be Keeping Us From Noticing South India Groundwater Crisis It’s pretty ubiquitous and we need to pay attention to it. https://thewire.in/environment/a-logical-bias-could-be-keeping-us-from-noticing-south-india-groundwater-crisis (10 Oct. 2019)
Chennai Recycled water for industries 2 tertiary water treatment plants, run by private sector companies for the utility, Metrowater, will take partly treated sewage, process it to drinking water standards and pipe the water to the industrial hubs. The recycled water will be sold to industrial units by Metrowater. Metrowater had bid out these projects to private sector EPC contractors who will operate and maintain the plants for 15 years. Apart from benefiting industry, the projects also address Chennai’s drinking water shortage significantly. Together, the 2 units’ capacity is about 90 mld, equal to 15-20 per cent of the drinking water being supplied to the city. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/specials/clean-tech/chennai-water-water-everywhere-and-all-of-it-for-industry-to-use/article29620490.ece (9 Oct. 2019)
Does Chennai style RWH works Excellent piece on Chennai water situation with lot of useful information. Its skepticism of rainwater harvesting and individual actions is problematic though. https://www.newsclick.in/why-chennai-style-rainwater-harvesting-doesnt-work (9 Oct. 2019)
Bengaluru Water board to make individual water meters a must for apartments BWSSB chairman Tushar Girinath disclosed this at the 26th edition of Indian Plumbing Association’s annual conference on Oct. 11. At present, most apartment complexes in the city don’t have individual water meters. Water charges are included in the monthly rent, leaving occupants/tenants with no idea about consumption. Even in flats where the board supplies Cauvery water, only a bulk water meter is installed for the complex as a whole. The BWSSB chairman also reiterated their plan to make RWH mandatory for all residential units spread over an area greater than 1,200 sqft. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/individual-water-meters-to-be-a-must-for-apartments/articleshow/71546729.cms (12 Oct. 2019)
Report भारत में ज्यादा बारिश के बाद भी क्यों सूख रहे हैं तालाब? Excellent report on why village tanks are drying up in this times of surplus monsoon. वहीं, SANDRP के कॉर्डिनेटर हिमांशु ठक्कर का कहना है, ”तालाबों में पानी का स्तर गिरने के अलग-अलग क्षेत्र में अलग-अलग कारण हो सकते हैं। अगर ग्राउंड वॉटर टेबल नीचे है तो छोटे तालाब जल्दी सूख सकते हैं। पहले ग्राउंड वॉटर का लेवल ऊपर था तो तालाब रिचार्ज होते थे, उनमें पानी रहता था। अब हर जगह ग्राउंड वॉटर का स्तर नीचे गया है, ऐसे में तालाब रिचार्ज की जगह डिस्चार्ज हो रहे हैं।”
– हिमांशु ठक्कर इस स्थिति से बचने के उपाय बताते हुए कहते हैं, ”इसके लिए कई चीजें करनी होगी। सबसे पहले तो ग्राउंड वॉटर के रिचार्जिंग मैकेनिज्म को समझना होगा, इसे प्रोटेक्ट करना होगा। इसके बाद रिचार्ज बढ़ाना होगा और कहीं पर आर्टिफिशियल रिचार्ज भी करना होगा। इन सबसे महत्वपूर्ण बात है कि ग्राउंड वॉटर के इस्तेमाल को रेगुलेट करना होगा। तब कहीं जाकर ग्राउंड वॉटर का लेवल ऊपर आएगा और तालाबों को बचाया जा सकेगा। असल में यह काफी टेढ़ी खीर है, ”क्योंकि जो रिचार्जिंग मैकेनिज्म है वो हर जगह से नष्ट हो रही है। सबसे बड़ी बात है कि ग्राउंड वॉटर हमारे देश के पानी की जीवन रेखा है और सरकारें यह मानने को तैयार नहीं हैं। सरकारें अगर एक बार यह स्वीकार करें कि भूजल हमारे पानी की जीवन रेखा है तो उनकी प्राथमिकता होगी कि इस जीवन रेखा को कैसे बचाएं, लेकिन वो स्वीकार ही नहीं कर रहे हैं। ऐसे में भूजल को बचाने के लिए हम कुछ खास नहीं कर रहे हैं। इस तरह यह स्थिति और विकराल होगी।” https://www.gaonconnection.com/desh/why-ponds-are-drying-up-after-good-rain-in-india-monsoon-2019-46435 (10 Oct. 2019)
Photo Blog India’s water wisdom in times of climate crisis Excellent Photo Feature by Shailendra Yashwant, of India’s traditional Water Systems. https://indiaclimatedialogue.net/2019/10/11/indias-water-wisdom-in-times-of-climate-crisis/ (11 Oct. 2019)
Op-Ed Water Federalism The only key message from this write up on development of India’s water institutions is this: “The third tiers of the governments, Municipalities and the Panchayats are entirely missing from the picture, where most water usage takes place.” Otherwise its biased towards more centralisation. https://www.thestatesman.com/opinion/water-federalism-1502808445.html (10 Sept. 2019)
Andhra Pradesh Govt launches water grid project Under the plan, drinking water will be supplied to 46,982 rural area habitations and 99 urban area habitations. The project aims to provide 1418.49 million litres of water daily to about 110 urban local bodies in the state. Under the water grid system, water from rivers and canals would be sent to reservoirs which would then supply it to households. Botsa said the priority would be cover the Rayalaseema region, which frequently reels under water scarcity.
Officials said the water grid project is estimated to cost Rs 46,675 crore — Rs 37,475 crore is to be invested in the first phase and Rs 9,200 crore in the second phase. A loan of Rs 2,500 from Asian Development Bank will kick-start the project, officials said. The state government has decided to use Jal Jeevan and MGNREGS schemes to execute the project. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/andhra-govt-launches-water-grid-project-6067660/ (14 Oct. 2019)
Tamil Nadu Water-management infrastructure predominated in the Keeladi finds The different types of channels allude to different qualities of water being transported — the flat, broad, open channel could have been used to carry fresh water perhaps, where smell was not a concern. One possibility is that the closed channels were used to carry away smellier liquids — sewage or effluent, maybe. During an earlier dig in Keeladi, archaeologists unearthed four parallel water channels — which implied the movement of a lot of water — far more than a single household could use. And the sheer numbers of channels discovered now — there were several crisscrossing a 300 sq mtr stretch — suggest that this was an intense water-using site. The Keeladians were moving water strategically from place to place for some function.
But one thing is for sure: Both the Indus Valley residents and the Keeladians were masters at water management. Moving to the present, water is the foundation of our prosperity as it was for the Keeladians. We use it in our factories today, much like they did, even as we discover the power of recycling it. We use wells like their ringwells — deeper and more powerful, to be sure, but ours are reaching their limits and coming up dry, like theirs did before they perished. Today, as the peripheries of our cities experience a seasonal ‘Day Zero’ and our water future looks to become decidedly more temperamental, the Keeladi site almost serves as a ‘Back to the Future’ moment for our cities: Manage and cherish your water or perish. https://www.firstpost.com/india/findings-from-keeladi-excavation-site-have-a-clear-message-for-modern-cities-cherish-your-water-or-perish-7478731.html (14 Oct. 2019)
SANDRP Blog Marathwada in times of SW Monsoon Even as the monsoon continues to linger after its official closure on Sept 30 and that too after highest rainfall of 25 years, with biggest contribution of rainfall from Central India, the water scarcity concern from Marathwada, from the same Central India continues to Linger. This article looks at some dimensions of that situation. Please do read, Share. Feedback is welcome. https://sandrp.in/2019/10/07/marathwada-in-times-of-2019-surplus-sw-monsoon/ (7 Oct. 2019)
Interview Climate change is increasing number of days with heavy rainfall: IMD chief EXCELLENT INTERVIEW WITH IMD MD:- In an interview, Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, the director general of the department, explained why the forecast was not accurate. He said the number of heavy rainfall days was increasing because of climate change, which was making predictions more difficult.
– We also issue an extended range forecast. This is a forecast that indicates the expected rainfall for the coming four weeks. It is provided for each meteorological subdivision. The seasonal forecast is provided for the country as a whole. The extended range forecast augments the seasonal forecast. The performance of this extended range forecast is good for up to two weeks. The accuracy of our extended range forecast that is up to four weeks is not so good. We need to improve on that. We plan to issue it on a district basis.
– The long-range forecast we issue is for planners, it is not meant for the general public. It cannot be applied at the district or state level. It will not benefit a farmer. We do not have the capacity for that. It is for the country as a whole for food supply chains. In that sense, there are challenges to improve the long-range forecast so that it can be provided at the state level. We are planning that in the next five years.
– The short to medium range forecast is for up to seven days. We earlier issued warnings up to three days and now we are issuing warnings up to five days. Our warning accuracy has increased in the last five years. Now, heavy rainfall can be predicted with 74% accuracy, as it was in this monsoon. Still, there is 26% missing and there could be false alarms also. These are our challenges. Our target is to improve [accuracy for warnings] by 10%-15% in the next few years.
– The country is divided into 36 different meteorological subdivisions. And all of them show different trends. The number of days with light to moderate (upto 7 cm in 24 hrs) rainfall is decreasing in Odisha, the Gangetic [parts of] West Bengal, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. But the number of days with extremely heavy and very heavy rainfall (above 15 cm in 24 hours) in these states is increasing. This has been attributed to climate change.
– Studies show that the prediction of heavy rainfall events is becoming difficult. This means that if we have the accuracy of three days, then it will become one and a half days under the influence of climate change. We have to improve our mechanisms to detect heavy rainfall early. We need better observation networks and radars. Once we get these observations, they need to be ingested in the numerical models. The computing power needs to be improved. We have to explain these physical processes in the presence of climate change. We also need more studies on this.
– For farmers, we have a special bulletin called the Farmers’ Weather Bulletin. This is issued twice a week and it provides a forecast for the next five days. Along with that, the Ministry of Agriculture provides information on agriculture so it goes as a joint bulletin. On a pilot basis, we are trying to do this at the block level. We have issued advisories to 700 blocks for five days. Our target in the next five years is to cover 7,000 blocks. We are also disseminating text messages to around 40 million farmers registered with us. https://scroll.in/article/939819/interview-climate-change-is-increasing-number-of-days-with-heavy-rainfall-says-imd-chief (10 Oct. 2019)
Tap Artificial Intelligence to predict weather, address climate change It will be great if this becomes a reality:- The Weather Company to launch later this year the Global High-Resolution Atmospheric Forecasting System (GRAF) model capable of predicting a thunderstorm virtually anywhere on the planet every hour. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/science/tap-artificial-intelligence-to-predict-weather-address-climate-change/article29625343.ece (9 Oct. 2019)
Report Monsoon starts withdrawing The most delayed withdrawal in the past years has been recorded on 1st October in 1961, followed by 30th September in 2007, the IMD added. https://www.news18.com/news/india/monsoon-starts-withdrawing-after-marking-longest-recorded-delay-of-over-a-month-imd-2339703.html (9 Oct. 2019)
Strong Monsoon Not Necessarily Good News for Indian Farmers A prolonged dry spell resulted in significantly below-average rainfall at the start of the season, prompting farmers to delay the sowing of summer crops and leaving others wilting. By the end of July, rainfall was so heavy that rivers flooded and crops were damaged. The combination of a prolonged dry spell followed by heavy rainfall increased pest infestation and disease, forcing farmers to spend more on pesticides. https://www.news18.com/news/india/why-strong-monsoon-rains-are-not-necessarily-good-news-for-indian-farmers-2341211.html (11 Oct. 2019)
While rain would normally cheer the agricultural heartland, the monsoon was erratic and has left many crops damaged. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/why-strong-monsoon-rains-are-not-necessarily-good-news-for-indian-farmers/articleshow/71534104.cms (11 Oct. 2019)
Telangana People panic of safety over MMD leakages in Karimnagar Issue of quality of work of the Mid Manair Dam (MMD) (part of the Kaleshwaram project) and its safety clearly seems to be substantial and no answers are forthcoming from Telangana govt or the CWC ideologues who were singing poems in favour of Kaleshwaram project. https://thehansindia.com/telangana/people-panic-of-safety-over-mmd-leakages-in-karimnagar-571100 (9 Oct. 2019)
Repair of Mid Maniar Dam being taken up:- By deploying heavy machinery, the authorities were removing the earth a 200 m section — from the 2475 metres point to 2675 metres point — of the earth dam and in area where the leak was suspected to be present. The authorities were shocked to see the soil very loose in the area. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/repairs-being-taken-up-at-mmd-reservoir/article29660749.ece (12 Oct. 2019)
Andhra Pradesh Srisailam reservoir opens gates 6th time in 2 months Torrential rains in the past few days in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka states flooded the Srisailam reservoir necessitating lifting of four crest gates on Oct. 13. This is the sixth time that these gates have been opened in a span of two months. Srisailam dam Superintendent Engineer Chandrasekhar Rao said that historically the month of October often sees floods in Srisailam upto October 14. “We are geared up for any eventuality,” he said.
Water in the reservoir recorded 884.80 feet against the total reservoir height of 885 feet. The present storage capacity is 214.8450 tmc against its maximum holding capacity of 215 tmc ft. Instant inflow at source for Srisailam at Jurala was 1,35,597 cusecs while the realised inflows at the dam site was 1,47,573 cusecs. Four gates of the Srisailam dam were lifted to a height of 10 feet letting out 1,11,932 cusecs. Outflows through AP Power House was 26982 cusecs while Telangana State Power House let out 42378 cusecs. Pothireddy padu head regulator discharged just 7000 cusecs on Sunday, the engineer said. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/141019/srisailam-reservoir-opens-gates-6th-time-in-2-months.html (14 Oct. 2019)
Karnataka Water level increases in Kelavarapalli, KRP reservoir In the wake of heavy rains in Karnataka, water levels in Kelavarapalli and KRP reservoirs have risen and the outflow from the KRP reservoir has been increased.
– In view of this and the rainfall in the water shed areas of Thenpennai river, the Public Works Department has issued a flood alert in the river. Public are advised against bathing in lakes, ponds, tanks and canals that have filled up in the district. Further, people living along the banks of Thenpennai river have also been asked to evacuate to safer locations. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/water-level-increases-in-kelavarapalli-krp-reservoirs/article29630232.ece (9 Oct. 2019)
Gujarat Ukai dam water level touches danger mark Ukai dam water level reaches Full Reservoir Level of 345 after 13 years. Last time it reached that level in Aug 2006, it brought disaster to Surat. This time, since it has happened on Oct 8, it may not. Inflow of 24000 cusecs is being released to downstream. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/ukai-dam-water-level-touches-danger-mark-6059695/ (9 Oct. 2019)
SANDRP Blog Overview of CWC Flood Forecasting sites 2019: West India The 5 states of West India, namely Rajasthan (47), Gujarat (40), Madhya Pradesh (152), Maharashtra (97), Goa (2) thus have total of 338 sites on CWC’s FF website. These are comprised of 23 Level Forecasting, 273 Level Monitoring and 42 Inflow Forecasting sites. Also the hydrographs for most of Inflow Forecasting sites are incomplete. District names are repeated making accessing and assessing information difficult for uses.
In 2018, CWC FF website had 173 sites in West India comprised of 17 Level Forecast, 130 Level Monitoring and 26 Inflow Forecast sites. In 2019, CWC has started several new sites mainly Level Monitoring in these states. In total CWC has added 165 new sites in the region of which 6 are Level Forecasting, 143 are Level Monitoring and 16 are Inflow Forecasting sites. https://sandrp.in/2019/10/13/west-india-overview-of-cwc-flood-forecasting-sites-2019/ (13 Oct. 2019)
Urban Floods; Patna:- 330mm rains washed away 15 years of development The water logging or urban floods in the city of Patna are not at all a natural calamity as is being claimed by ‘Sushasan Babu’ and his administration.
For long, Nitish has been called by this epithet for his able administration. These floods, however, exemplify how man-made disasters are created by a lacklustre, almost non-existent municipal corporation and corrupt urban development authorities. https://thewire.in/urban/how-330-mm-of-rain-flushed-down-15-years-of-urban-development-in-bihar (9 Oct. 2019)
Madhya Pradesh Fly ash spills across 30 acres after breach in NTPC power plant dyke This report gives details of damage to crops over 30 acres in Chandal, 15 cattle washed away and water supply of half a dozen villages contaminated. The people of Chandal had warned NTPC about possibility of breach 15 days ago, but that did not help.
It also says: “On August 7, cracks had developed in a fly ash dyke of Essar Power MP Ltd’s 1,200 MW coal-based thermal Mahan power plant near village Bandhaura. The fly-ash leaked from the dyke reportedly turned into mudslide and affected nearby villages. Five children trapped in it were rescued by the district administration, the police had claimed. Later, Singruali collector KVS Chaudhary asked the company to pay Rs 50 lakh compensation to farmers whose crops were damaged while the MP Pollution Control Board sought an interim fine of Rs 10 crore from the power company for damage caused to environment due to spillage of fly ash. While it paid the compensation to the farmers it has requested the MP Pollution Control Board to waive the fine.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/fly-ash-spills-across-30-acres-after-breach-in-ntpc-power-plant-dyke-in-mp-s-singrauli/story-ko8FT3D057Rnauo3ijyXvM.html (7 Oct. 2019)
Breach at NTPC plant ash dyke in Singrauli There was a breach in an ash dyke at the NTPC’s power plant in Singrauli on Oct. 6, resulting in spillage of ash, but no loss of life was reported, NTPC and district authorities said on Oct. 7.
The breach, in the wall of the ash pond, was noticed around 5 pm. The company said a preliminary investigation revealed that the damage to V 1 ash dyke was caused by development of high hydrostatic pressure on the bund which was consequently damaged. The build-up of hydrostatic pressure was caused by heavy rains in the region for the last few days, the company said in a statement.
Denying reports that ash slurry had entered nearby villages and agriculture fields, the company said it had been contained within NTPC premises and no loss of life or property had been reported. However, the company admitted that NTPC’s equipment and property have suffered some damage. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/breach-at-ntpc-plant-ash-dyke-in-singrauli-6058322/ (8 Oct. 2019)
Assam 4.3 magnitude earthquake rocks Assam A 4.3-magnitude earthquake, with epicentre in Bhutan, rocked Assam at 6.05 pm on Monday (Oct. 7), the meteorological office here said. – Last week, an earthquake of 4.8 magnitude, with epicentre in Manipur’s Imphal district, had hit parts of the northeast region. https://www.newslivetv.com/assam/4-3-magnitude-earthquake-rocks-assam/ (7 Oct. 2019)
Become climate action fellow, join Youth ki awaaz Are you someone who is working on or is keen on working toward action on climate change issues? Then this program is for you!
As part of the team that will be supporting this network, I invite all young people between the ages of 18-30yrs who are eager and enthusiastic to act on these critical issues to apply. If you want to learn key campaigning, policy action and public narrative building skills, this unique opportunity to learn and scale your impact oriented campaigns/ projects is for you!
Accepting applications pan India. At the end of the bootcamp, we will also be selecting 10 of the most promising participants to receive a seed grant to help execute their ideas. Apply now! This round of applications closes this week! PS: do share with anyone you think might fit the bit. Back ground no bar. https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/actionnetwork/climateaction/
Methane SOS Global warming is on speed, especially in northern latitudes where an international team of scientists led by Igor Semiletov of Tomsk Polytechnic University, Russia’s oldest technical institution, recently made a startling discovery aboard the Academic Mstislav Keldysh, the kind of discovery that sends chills down the spine, i.e., “methane bubbles boiling in water.” https://countercurrents.org/2019/10/methane-sos (10 Oct. 2019)
Also see The Dangerous Methane Mystery https://countercurrents.org/2019/06/the-dangerous-methane-mystery (20 June 2019)
India-Nepal India agrees to allow Nepal use 3 waterways India has agreed in principle to allow Nepal to use three inland waterways, thus expanding its transit options to the sea. Nepal can even operate its own vessels on the Ganges River that runs parallel to the southern border, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies said. India has consented to grant access to the Kolkata-Kalughat, Raxaul; Kolkata-Sahebgunj, Biratnagar and Kolkata-Varanasi-Raxaul routes during the trade talks held recently in New Delhi. Officials of the two countries sat down for the third round of talks to review the bilateral treaty of trade in New Delhi last (Sept. 26-27. https://kathmandupost.com/money/2019/10/03/india-agrees-to-allow-nepal-to-use-three-inland-waterways (3 Oct. 2019)
India- Bangladesh Hasina-Modi agreements on shared rivers: What did Bangladesh get? Both India and Bangladesh should realise that unless this basic problem of diversion of flow and destabilisation of Bangladesh’s rivers is addressed, it will be difficult to meet India’s need for water routes through Bangladesh to its seven northeastern states. Maintaining the proposed river routes will require enormous and perpetual dredging, which at some point will become simply untenable. India’s plan to divert Brahmaputra water, under its River Linking Project, will aggravate the situation further.
Without this basic realisation, efforts to reach agreements regarding sharing of rivers will not be fruitful. The unpleasant fact is that the 1996 Ganges Treaty has not increased the winter flow of the Padma River and has not stopped the process of destabilisation of this river.
Similarly, assurances of a Teesta sharing agreement are not of much value, because Bangladesh has been getting such assurances for many years now, and more importantly because, by the time any such agreement may be reached, there will be hardly any flow left of the Teesta River beyond the Gajoldoba Barrage in winter.
Against this backdrop, it is ironic that the only concrete river-related outcome of the Hasina-Modi meeting was Bangladesh’s agreement to allow India to withdraw part of the Feni River flow. The quantity is small, but the symbolism is large. It shows that, as far as shared rivers are concerned, India gets what it wants while Bangladesh keeps on pleading.
It is indeed unfortunate that Bangladesh fails to raise the demand for the removal of diversionary structures built by India, when there is an increasing recognition that the Farakka Barrage has failed to achieve its stated goal of desilting the Kolkata port and has instead become a problem even for India now, causing upstream flooding in the Indian state of Bihar. As a result, there is a growing demand inside India for demolition of the Farakka Barrage.
Given the experience of Farakka, the idea of constructing a Ganges-Padma Barrage of the usual type inside Bangladesh with India’s help does not make much sense. Such a barrage will provide justification for the Farakka Barrage and cause similar downstream and upstream harms as Farakka has already caused. https://www.thedailystar.net/opinion/farakka-hasina-modi-agreements-shared-rivers-what-did-bangladesh-get-1811053 (8 Oct. 2019)
One good turn deserves another This article throws light on MoU signed between India and Bangladesh earlier this month of Oct 2019 for India being allowed to take water from Feni river. It ends with this statement: “The foreign minister is reported to have described the state of Bangladesh-India relationship as that of a husband and wife. If that be so, then only one party seems to be benefitting from the relationship.” https://www.thedailystar.net/opinion/strategically-speaking/news/one-good-turn-deserves-another-1812013 (11 Oct. 2019)
Water sharing agreement draws criticism in Bangladesh There is resentment in Bangladesh about recent MOU about water issues with India. Bangladesh has around 400 rivers and its rural economy is dependent on agricultural production. “People in Bangladesh depend on rivers for their livelihood. Rivers are their identity, their lives,” Sheikh Rokon, Secretary-General of Riverine People, a civil society organization dedicated to river issues in Bangladesh said. https://www.dw.com/en/water-sharing-agreements-with-india-draw-criticism-in-bangladesh/a-50796103 (11 Oct. 2019)
Bangladesh Ban on Ilish catching, selling from Oct. 9-30 The government has banned ilish catching, selling, transporting, hoarding and marketing for 22 days from October 9-30 to protect mother ilish for ensuring safe breeding. “For the first time, under the directives of the Prime Minister, a total of 4,14,784 fishermen families of coastal fishery areas were provided with 35,948 metric tons of food assistance during the 65 days of fishing ban”.
– About 80% of the total ilish produced in the world is derived from the rivers, estuaries and seas of Bangladesh. https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/rules-and-regulations/2019/10/07/ban-on-ilish-catching-selling-from-oct-9-30 (7 Oct. 2019)
Risky trips through rivers Frequent movement of unauthorised vessels, hidden islands and narrow channel have made around 50 kilometres of Dhaka-Barishal naval route extremely risky. Between January and August this year, at least eight accidents happened in the 50-kilometre stretch that killed two people and injured 50 more, said an official of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) seeking anonymity. https://www.thedailystar.net/backpage/news/risky-trips-thru-rivers-1811131 (9 Oct. 2019)
Encroachment puts Haor river in death throes Unabated encroachment has turned the Haor river, near Benapole land port, into a stagnant waterbody that now resembles a narrow canal. The vital river is now in a chokehold as influential locals built numerous structures — including large buildings and fish enclosures — on both sides of it. The encroachers with the connivance of unscrupulous land officials made false deeds to claim ownership of the river’s land, alleged locals. They also said their longstanding demand of conducting drives to reclaim the river by rooting out the illegal occupiers fell on deaf ears.. https://www.thedailystar.net/country/news/encroachment-puts-haor-river-death-throes-1811284 (9 Oct. 2019)
Bhairab river on deathbed Once flowing Bhairab river and several canals in Kachua upazila of Bagerhat are heading towards virtual death, thanks to illegal occupation and garbage dumping for years. “Influential people have built illegal establishments occupying lands on both sides of the Bhairab river, the lifeline of Kachua. Besides, mindless dumping of rubbish is gradually filling up the river and causing dangerous pollution to the water,” said Afzal Hussain, a retired teacher. Along with navigability problem, locals are facing problem as they cannot use the polluted water of the Bhairab and several canals for household purposes, said Kondokar Niaz Iqbal, president of Kachua Press Club. https://www.thedailystar.net/country/news/bhairab-river-deathbed-1811281 (9 Oct. 2019)
Wrath of the Jamuna river Over the years, multiple educational institutions, public property, arable land and homestead have been lost to the river, leaving nearby residents and others in miserable conditions. Unfortunately, the erosion is not limited to the rainy season only, but continues to destroy long after monsoon has passed. Despite the extensive news coverage regarding the worsening conditions, it seems that those who can do something about it are turning a blind eye to it. I cannot help but wonder, how many more people need to suffer for the matter to be dealt with urgently? https://www.thedailystar.net/letters/news/wrath-the-jamuna-river-1811056 (9 Oct. 2019)
MEKONG ‘Our River Was Like a God’: How Dams and China’s Might Imperil the Mekong – The Mekong’s headwaters spring forth high in the Tibetan plateau, but in China the river holds little utility for humans. The Lancang, as the Mekong is known there — a name that means “turbulent” — is too fast and steep to do much more than power turbines. Seven dams have been built on the Mekong’s upper reaches since 2000.
– But for the downriver nations, the Mekong is a lifeblood. Like the Nile, the Tigris and the Yangtze, the Mekong watered empires. Two capitals, Vientiane of Laos and Phnom Penh of Cambodia, stand on its banks.
– The world’s most productive rice growers, in Thailand and Vietnam, depend on the Mekong’s generosity in depositing rich alluvial soil during the rainy season. The river network is the world’s largest inland fishery. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/12/world/asia/mekong-river-dams-china.html (12 Oct. 2019)
THE REST OF THE WORLD
Research Groundwater pumping could ‘devastate’ river system Abstract: “Groundwater is the world’s largest freshwater resource and is critically important for irrigation, and hence for global food security. Already, unsustainable groundwater pumping exceeds recharge from precipitation and rivers, leading to substantial drops in the levels of groundwater and losses of groundwater from its storage, especially in intensively irrigated regions. When groundwater levels drop, discharges from groundwater to streams decline, reverse in direction or even stop completely, thereby decreasing streamflow, with potentially devastating effects on aquatic ecosystems.
Here we link declines in the levels of groundwater that result from groundwater pumping to decreases in streamflow globally, and estimate where and when environmentally critical streamflows—which are required to maintain healthy ecosystems—will no longer be sustained. We estimate that, by 2050, environmental flow limits will be reached for approximately 42 to 79 per cent of the watersheds in which there is groundwater pumping worldwide, and that this will generally occur before substantial losses in groundwater storage are experienced. Only a small decline in groundwater level is needed to affect streamflow, making our estimates uncertain for streams near a transition to reversed groundwater discharge. However, for many areas, groundwater pumping rates are high and environmental flow limits are known to be severely exceeded. Compared to surface-water use, the effects of groundwater pumping are markedly delayed. Our results thus reveal the current and future environmental legacy of groundwater use.” https://phys.org/news/2019-10-groundwater-devastate-river.html (2 Oct. 2019) Environmental flow limits to global groundwater pumping https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1594-4 (paid access)
Research Global unsustainable virtual water flows in agricultural trade From Abstract: “Here we evaluate unsustainable irrigation water consumption (UWC) associated with global crop production and determine the share of UWC embedded in international trade. We find that, while about 52% of global irrigation is unsustainable, 15% of it is virtually exported, with an average 18% increase between year 2000 and 2015. About 60% of global virtual transfers of UWC are driven by exports of cotton, sugar cane, fruits, and vegetables. One third of UWC in Mexico, Spain, Turkmenistan, South Africa, Morocco, and Australia is associated with demand from the export markets. The globalization of water through trade contributes to running rivers dry, an environmental externality commonly overlooked by trade policies. By identifying the producing and consuming countries that are responsible for unsustainable irrigation embedded in virtual water trade, this study highlights trade links in which policies are needed to achieve sustainable water and food security goals in the coming decades.”
– About 70% of the global UWC is contributed by India (28%), China (16%), Pakistan (13%), and US (12%) alone. In many countries a big share of irrigation water consumption is unsustainable as in the case of India (54% of national irrigation water consumption or 157 km3/y), China (66% or 91km3/y), Pakistan (61% or 71 km3/y), and US (62% or 69 km3/y). In India, at 32%, wheat is a major contributor to UWC ,says the report. UWC increased by 8% in fifteen years, from 525 km3 in year 2000, to 569 km3 236 in 2015, mostly because of irrigation expansion in India (+32 km3) among other countries. The United States is the largest exporter, with 22% (19.7 km3) of global unsustainable virtual water transfers, followed by India (19%). India, the United States, Pakistan, Spain, Turkmenistan, Egypt, Uzbekistan, and Australia consistently act as net exporters of UWC-based crops, while Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, China, Turkey, Russia, and Indonesia act as net importers of UWC-based crops. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ab4bfc (8 Oct. 2019)
Europe “Danube:Life of a River” Got this in SANDRP inbox: “The China Global Televison Network just completed and incredible in-depth look at the Danube River and spoke with a number of WWF in Central and Eastern Europe’s experts on the issues affecting the Danube River and the Green Heart of Europe: sturgeon and the caviar mafia, microplastics, culture and local economy, hydropower and dams, and rewilding. See CGTN’s “Danube:Life of a River” 6-part series here. Navigate through the episodes with the tabs at the top.” https://news.cgtn.com/event/2019/danube-life-of-a-river/index.html
California Recharging depleted aquifers no easy task India suffers from the same problem:– It’s not a new problem, but one that is emblematic of California’s long-standing separation of surface water and groundwater in its management oversight. Until the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in 2014, there was no statewide governance regulating groundwater pumping. California was the last state in the West to address its groundwater crisis with regulation. A key challenge is inadequate conveyance for moving storm flows to suitable recharge locations. There is “significant potential” to increase MAR on farmland if local agencies adopt better incentive systems and water accounting.
– Idaho decided to tackle managed aquifer recharge from a state perspective because of the scale of the project (10,000 square miles), the aversion to a new tax and the realization that the cost of doing nothing was not acceptable. Obviously without a stable water supply, the prospect of future growth is slim. https://www.watereducation.org/western-water/recharging-depleted-aquifers-no-easy-task-its-key-californias-water-supply-future (10 Oct. 2019)
Brazil Vale speeds dam decommisoning Brazilian mining company Vale SA has paid 860 million reais ($210 million) in emergency damages relating to the Brumadinho tailings dam disaster, it said in a presentation on Oct. 1. Vale also said it is accelerating decommissioning of its tailings dams, with $1.9 billion set aside for nine bigger dams, and $100 million for smaller structures. It added that work to secure its Barragem Sul Superior tailings dam will be complete by December. https://in.reuters.com/article/us-vale-sa-disaster/brazils-vale-details-damages-payments-speeds-dam-decommisoning-idINKBN1WN1G6 (8 Oct. 2019)
Compiled by SANDRP (email@example.com)