Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 08 June 2020: Banda Satyagaraha shows tip of the Sandberg

Feature image: Women in Banda performing Jal Satyagrah against illegal sand mining in Ken river. (PARI) 

Sand mining menace has been a very dark spot on India’s governance. It affects not just the river beds or flood plains, but also water security, livelihood security, biodiversity, groundwater recharge among many other aspects. Banda Satyagarah provides a striking picture to highlight this issue, but the worrying fact is that we have no real sustained positive story on this front. Even major interventions by the highest judiciary has completely failed to make any major dent on ground.

SANDRP has been bringing out statewise updates on sand mining issues for several years now as we continue to do this year too, with the link to Kerala sand mining 2020 overview can be found below. These overviews make a rather dismal readind state after state, year after year. Occasionally we get stories like the NOIDA collector Durga Shakti Nagpal fighting sand miners in 2013 or 17 year girl from Kerala awakening us in 2018 or Sandhya Ravishankar getting Goenka award for exposing the Sand mining nexus in Tamil Nadu in 2019 or now the Banda women waking us up to this dark reality. Will we wake up to our collective failure in dealing with this SANDBERG?

Uttar Pradesh बांदा में माफिया के खिलाफ किसानों का जल सत्‍याग्रह  बांदा जिले में केन नदी के किनारे खप्‍ट‍िहाकलां गांव स्‍थ‍ित है। इस गांव की रहने वाली सुमन सिंह इन दिनों बालू माफिया से काफी परेशान हैं। दरअसल, बालू खनन करने वाली कंपनी और माफिया मिलकर उनके गांव की जमीन पर अवैध खनन कर रहे हैं और शिकायत करने पर जान से मारने की धमकी देते हैं।

-इन्‍हीं परेशानियों से आजिज आकर 1 जून को सुमन और उन जैसे अन्‍य किसान केन नदी में उतरकर जल सत्‍याग्रह करने को मजबूर हो गए। किसानों के जल सत्‍याग्रह करने की बात जब अध‍िकारियों तक पहुंची तो मौके पर उपजिलाध‍िकारी और पुलिस का दस्‍ता पहुंचा और किसानों को समझा बुझाकर जल सत्‍याग्रह खत्‍म कराया गया।  https://www.downtoearth.org.in/hindistory/river/river-projects/jal-satyagrah-by-farmers-in-banda-uttar-pradesh-71510  (02 June 2020)

Also see PARI’s detailed pictorial report on the issue

The resistance to the quarrying has seen an unlikely alliance of Dalits like Mathuriya and small Thakur farmers like Suman Singh Gautam, a 38-year-old widow with two children. The miners have extracted sand from part of the single acre she owns. “They have even fired in the air to intimidate us,” she says. https://ruralindiaonline.org/articles/footprints-of-protest-in-the-sands-of-a-mine/  (06 June 2020)

Please see SANDRP blog on Ken river mining

Sand Mafia Build Illegal Bunds In Ken River

And Why indiscriminate river bed mining is wrong, dangerous and unethical

Here are links for SANDRP’s annual overview for the year 2019-20 for following states

J&K Riverbed Mining 2020: Rivers exposed to mechanized mining

Himachal Pradesh sand mining 2020: No Replenishment study, district foundation

Uttarakhand Riverbed Mining 2020: Rivers, People, Revenue Robbed

Punjab Sand Mining Overview 2019: Story of Political Patronage & Goonda Tax

Haryana Riverbed Mining 2019: Yamuna Robbed of Minerals, Flows

UP riverbed mining overview: NGT, CBI, Govts cannot stop the menace

Rajasthan River Sand Mining Overview 2019: SC Ban Remains, Police-Mafia Gang Rules

Madhya Pradesh River Sand Mining 2019: Rivers mined Dry; Govt not bothered

Maharashtra Riverbed Mining Overview 2019: Mining Posing Bigger Threats As Government Fails To Act

Goa Riverbed Mining Overview 2019: Civil Societies Form Network To Curb Mining Menace

Kerala 2020 Sand Mining: Don’t forget floods, fisherfolks & vanishing villages

SAND MINING

SANDRP Blog Kerala 2020 Sand Mining: Don’t forget floods, fisherfolks & vanishing villages  

Kerala villagers form human chain to mark 1 year of protests against beach sand mining
Image source TNM

The 2019 overview of sand mining in the Kerala showed how illegal mining of rivers had played its part in aggravating 2018 flood situation. Reports revealed that several rivers in the state turned dry and water level adjoining them dropped significantly soon after floods, despite excess rainfall, which was partly because of excessive mining and washing away of sand deposits which used to help recharge ground water.  https://sandrp.in/2020/06/03/kerala-2020-sand-mining-dont-forget-floods-fisherfolks-vanishing-villages/  (03 June 2020)

Uttarakhand यमुना नदी, वन भूमि और सरकारी संरक्षण में जारी अवैध खनन Activist Vijay Mahar shares how Yamuna river flowing through Dhoulatapad forest range is being illegally mined by an influential miners from Himachal Pradesh having good political connection in both state, while the areas lies in Uttarakhand. Now the miners have started building makeshift bridge across the river without any permission from forest dept and Uttarakhand govt. A miner from same area was punished few years back for same illegalities. But now the forest department and both state governments are taking no action.

“देहरादून जिला कालसी वन प्रभाग क्षेत्र तिमली रेंज के अंतर्गत धोलाथप्पड़ रिजर्व वन भूमि जो कि यमुना नदी के किनारे पर स्थित होने के कारण जहां पर अपार संख्या में खनिज संपदा की भरमार है जैसे रेत बजरी पत्थर आदि वही यमुना नदी के दूसरे छोर पर स्थित तहसील पौंटा साहिब हिमाचल प्रदेश की बतामंडी के निकट एक स्टोन क्रेशर लगा हुआ है वर्ष 2018 में स्टोन क्रेशर के मालिक द्वारा उत्तराखंड की सीमा में स्थित धोलाथप्पड़ की रिजर्व वन भूमि में अवैध रूप से खनन का काम किया जा रहा था कालसी वन विभाग द्वारा सूचना मिलने पर स्टोन क्रेशर के मालिक के खिलाफ अवैध खनन का मुकदमा दर्ज कर जुर्माना भी वसूला गया था लेकिन कुछ दिनों पूर्व स्टोन क्रेशर के मालिक द्वारा यमुना नदी के ऊपर से अवैध रूप से एक तटबंध (अस्थाई पुल) का निर्माण जेसीबी एवं पोकलेन की मदद से किया जा रहा है ताकि आने वाले दिनों में अवैध रूप से तैयार किया गया तटबंध ( अस्थाई पुल) के रास्ते उत्तराखंड की सीमा लगे रिजर्व वन भूमि में अवैध रूप से खनन कर सके” (Vijay Mahar, 04 June 2020) https://youtu.be/S5-v0l-Mno8  (05 June 2020)

To protect water sources, rural road alignment changed in Chamoli. Nainital HC continues ban on mechanized riverbed mining in Saryu river in Bageshwar.  https://epaper.livehindustan.com/imageview_121996_115841932_4_1_05-06-2020_11_t_1_sf.html  (05 June 2020)

रीवर ट्रेनिग से सेना के मैदान पर मंडराया खतरा रीवर ट्रेनिग के नाम पर कोटद्वार की खोह नदी में चल रहे खनन कार्य से स्टेडियम के बाद अब सेना के कौड़िया स्थित मोटर ट्रेनिग ग्राउंड को खतरा पैदा हो गया है। शुक्रवार को सिचाई विभाग व प्रशासन की टीम ने मौके पर पहुंचकर खनन कार्य का निरीक्षण किया। साथ ही पट्टाधारकों को नदी के तट में किसी तरह का खनन न करने के निर्देश जारी किए।

रीवर ट्रेनिग से सेना के मैदान पर मंडराया खतरा
Dainik Jagran

नायब तहसीलदार राजेंद्र ममगाई ने बताया कि पट्टाधारकों को नदी के मध्य से उपखनिज उठाने को कहा गया है। साथ ही नदी तट पर किए गए गड्ढों को भरने के निर्देश भी पट्टाधारकों को दिए हैं।  https://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/pauri-garhwal-danger-hovering-on-the-army-ground-from-river-trekking-20354602.html  (05 June 2020)

08062020 Au 3

Govt promoting riverbed mineral mining under River Training (Channelization) Policy in the name of flood protection measure.

Tamil Nadu Illegal sand miners make hay during lockdown With the authorities being busy in managing the lockdown, the sand mafia has stepped up its activities to rob the rivers. Illegal sand mining is rampant in the private lands on the bank of river Vaipar.

The locals alleged that the sand mafia, with the help of local politicians, revenue and police officials, have been quarrying river sand and stashing it at Navalakkanpatti near Ettayapuram. Despite repeated petitions from various political parties and the public, the district administration turned a blind eye to the issue, they claimed. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2020/jun/05/illegal-sand-miners-in-tamil-nadu-make-hay-during-lockdown-2152363.html  (05 June 2020)

Madhya Pradesh NGT vacates stay on mining The petitioners contended that following auction of 1,400 mines across 38 districts of the state, the new contractors should have acquired a fresh environmental clearance (EC), but the state government transferred the existing EC given to panchayats for sand mining.

-The central bench had stayed mining of sand across the state while issuing notices to the respondents seeking a response as to why new contractors were not asked to get a fresh EC after contract was awarded to them following auction. Counsel for M P Mining Development Corporation, Omshankar Shrivastava, however, contended that the environmental clearance could well be transferred if there was no change in the quantity of sand to be mined. If a panchayat has the EC for mining of 1 lakh cubic feet over a period of 4 years and the contract is transferred to a different party after the panchayat in question had mined 50,000 cubic feet, the rest can be mined by the new contractor without having to obtain fresh EC, he said.

-The notification providing for EC to get mining right also provides for transfer of EC to a new contractor if the operation of excavation was not being expanded. He further urged the tribunal members that 10 lakh migrant workers have returned to MP due to Covid crisis and the easiest way to provide them alternative jobs is to accelerate construction and infrastructure activities for which sand is an essential ingredient. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/ngt-vacates-stay-on-sand-mining-in-madhya-pradesh/articleshow/76159235.cms  (02 June 2020)

चंबल के राजघाट से रेत का खनन व परिवहन बढ़ा है लेकिन वन विभाग से लेकर टास्क फोर्स के अफसर घाट पर चल रही जेसीबी, हाइड्रा व ट्रैक्टर-ट्रालियों को जब्त करने मौके पर नहीं पहुंच रहे हैं। जबकि रेत के उत्खनन को रोकने के लिए आर्म्ड फोर्स की एक कंपनी डीएफओ के पास 2 साल से है।

चंबल के घाट पर गीले रेत को भरने के लिए मशीनों का उपयोग किया जा रहा है। चश्मदीद लोगों का कहना है कि रेत कारोबारी इस समय चंबल के घाटों से रेत को इकट्ठा करके उसे अपने गांवों में डंप कर रहे हैं ताकि 20 जून के बारिश शुरू होते ही चंबल का जलस्तर बढ़ेगा और रेत की उपलब्धता खत्म हो जाएगी। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/gwalior/morena/news/jcb-machines-dug-sand-at-chambal-rajghat-no-action-is-being-taken-127378713.html  (06 June 2020)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Arunachal Pradesh Analysis of Etalin Hydro Project by Ashwini Chitnis & Shripad Dharmadhikary finds there is no economic / financial rationale for project. Analysis has been submitted to the MoP requesting to consider this for its response to the FAC.

– Pwr tarrif of Etalin is likely to be Rs 7-9/ unit, though DPR claims levelised tariff at Rs 4.32 (2013 prices). Recent study estimates pwr price from solar PV system + battery storing 25% of PV energy ₹ 3.94/kWh (2020), ₹ 3.32/kWh (2025), ₹ 2.83/kWh (2030). ETALIN IS UNVIABLE.

– Existing Hydro is not utilised effectively for Peaking. All hydro suffer huge cost and time over runs, making their cost even more unviable. No discom will sign PPA for such costly power when cheaper options are available. Etalin is not part of National Electricity Plan for 2027.

Read PR & Submission: https://www.manthan-india.org/submission-to-the-ministry-of-power-regarding-the-financial-viability-related-issues-for-the-proposed-etalin-hydro-electric-project-ehep/

Why Etalin HEP Is Flawed  

Image Source: The Science Wire 

Uses the submission of Chintan Sheth to FAC in first half while looking at seismic and glacial risks. Without acknowledging the source.  https://science.thewire.in/politics/rights/etalin-hydroelectric-power-project-engineering-dibang-valley-idu-mishmi/  (02 June 2020)

Paving way for next pandemic By pushing unviable projects like Etalin Hydro project in Dibang Valley and destroying rare biodiversity rich forest and river, we are paving the way for the next pandemic.  https://theecologist.org/2020/may/27/paving-way-next-pandemic  (27 May 2020)

Why Etalin hydel project can be a worry A lawyers’ body, “Indigenous Lawyers Association of India” (AILA) urged the Centre and Arunachal Pradesh government to cancel the Etalin Hydropower Project.  https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2020/jun/05/arunachal-hydropower-project-that-entails-felling-of-27-lakh-trees-irks-lawyers-body-2152618.html  (05 June 2020)

Northeast Makes it Amply Clear That Ecology Is Political

A traditional Mishing folksong (Oi: Nitom) which depicts a vision of a life lived well:

O’ dear, let’s build a house

Even if big or small

Near the bank of Bornoi (Brahmaputra)

By our paddy fields

That will protect us

from the ray

of the Sun and the Moon. https://thewire.in/environment/northeast-india-resource-frontier-ecology-politics  (02 June 202o)

Assam-based Balipara Foundation has pushed for “rural futures” on World Environment Day as green groups appeared divided on the issue of coal mining near a rainforest reserve in Assam while an indigenous lawyers’ collective called for scrapping a mega-dam project in Arunachal Pradesh. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/world-environment-day-amid-mining-dam-issues-in-northeast-conservation-group-banks-on-rural-futures/article31757539.ece  (05 June 2020)

Assam Lower Subansiri Project: How safe are down-stream people? Legally speaking, the government of Assam, the NHPC authorities as well as the Central government which is the ultimate authority of the power PSU, must be held responsible and answerable for the brunt of any loss of life, property, sufferings, damage environmental disaster and ecological imbalance that the people as well as animal life in the down-stream belts may have to bear in due course on account of the controversy-ridden mega dam at Gerukamukh.

At this stage it may be pertinent to recall as to why such massive protests against the dam construction erupted in north-eastern Assam for years together.  The project site being located in a highly seismic zone, the technical experts from Assam always regarded the same as a source of threat to the down-stream region and accordingly forwarded their recommendations to make the project safe.

So far as the present structure and design of the project is concerned, besides the size of the dam, the Assam experts recommended changes in the structural design of the dam, the height of the dam and several other technical aspects to withstand the fury of nature like earthquake, heavy downpour, landslides and the like. The Assam experts were highly apprehensive that even the slightest of construction error by the NHPC might bring down an avalanche of destruction, including countless deaths for the down-stream people. https://nenow.in/environment/natures-fury-and-helpless-lower-subansiri-project-how-safe-are-down-stream-people.html/amp  (06 June 2020)

Telangana Govt mulls 3960 Mw hydel project 906 hectares of Forest land to be diverted for one more mega project in Telangana. The developer Greenko has a dubious reputation in mini hydel project development in Karnatka Western Ghats. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/telangana-likely-to-have-3960-mw-hydel-project/article31744654.ece  (04 June 2020)

Edit Absurd editorial in ET Such a nonsensical EDIT in The Economic Times. There is no real action on hydropower front, but the Edit takes solace from the fact that NHPC is trying to restart a nonviable 500 MW project in Sikkim that has stalled for 15 years. It talks about peaking power, without knowing how much of the hydropower generation provides peaking power and if anyone is optimising it. It does not mention either peak management or options available in terms of cheaper storage.  https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/blogs/et-editorials/welcome-action-on-hydropower-front/  (31 May 2020)

Here is another story in line with Utpak Bhaskar’s hydro lobbying efforts. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/india-s-power-grid-gears-up-for-21-june-solar-eclipse-11591084693972.html  (02 June 2020)

DAMS

Gujarat Ukai water level crosses 319 feet in June after 46 years Ukai dam authorities are happy that the pre monsoon water level of the dam on Tapi river upstream of Surat city in South Gujarat as on June 3 is at 319.86 ft, for the first time in 46 years. In 1974, pre-monsoon 318.45 ft. On June 3, 2019 it was 275.65 ft, in 2018, the water level at the end of monsoon was 319.07 ft, last year it reached the FRL of 345 ft during the monsoon.

Yearly around 3000 MCM (Million Cubic Metre), is used for irrigation, 580 MCM for drinking, and 230 MCM for industry. With the present level of water, Ukai dam is at 44.64 per cent storage capacity. The live storage of water in the dam is 3004 MCM (Million Cubic Meter).

Let us hope the dam does not bring dam induced floods to Surat. The worst floods Ukai brought to Surat was in early Aug 2006.

Similarly SSP level was 123.02 m as on June 3, 2020, with live storage of 1765 MCM.  https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/ukai-dam-water-level-crosses-319-feet-in-june-after-46-years-6441293/  (03 June 2020)

After trying for 46 years, Tuwa villagers to finally get road, water facilities In 1974 during the construction of the Panam dam, these 50 families, who lost their lands which submerged, were rehabilitated to Tuwa village in Panchmahals from Mahisagar. They are now likely to get drinking water. This is yet another story showing that the dams NEVER help provide any benefit to the affected people.  https://indianexpress.com/article/india/gujarat-after-trying-for-46-years-tuwa-villagers-to-finally-get-road-water-facilities-6437737/  (01 June 2020)

Kerala KSEB lists measures to regulate water in dams The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) on June 4, 2020 informed the High Court that in the event of an extreme rainfall which results in higher water levels in reservoirs than stipulated and which cannot be brought down even by increased power generation, the water would be released through spillways.

In an affidavit filed in a suo motu case relating to regulation of water in the dams, the KSEB submitted that in case of such exigencies, the protocol for water release from the reservoirs would be put in place for early warning and evacuation of people in the downstream. The water levels are monitored daily and all possible contingencies have been taken into account in the preparation of the emergency action plan.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kseb-lists-measures-to-regulate-water-in-dams/article31751774.ece  (04 June 2020)

Water to be released from dams CM Edappadi K Palaniswami said he had directed officials to release not more than 1,156 million cubic feet water for 146 days depending upon the storage and inflow. Water from Aliyar dam will be released into five old channels, benefiting 6,400 acres of agriculture lands in Anamalai. 241.92 million cubic feet water will be released from Bhavanisagar dam for 19 days to benefit 24,504 acres lands in Gobichettipalayam, Bhavani and Andhiyur. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/coimbatore/water-to-be-released-from-dams/articleshow/76225091.cms (06 June 2020)

Water levels in dams highest in 5 years There is high water level in Kerala dams as rains have started and inflows into the dams are high, power consumption is low. The storage is close to double that last year and highest in five years.  https://english.mathrubhumi.com/news/kerala/water-level-in-kerala-dams-highest-in-5-years-as-rains-continue-unabated-1.4809887  (06 June 2020)

Unfortunately even Kerala does not accept the reality of dam induced floods. There is no freedom from dam induced floods as long as we are in denial mode.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/floods-not-due-to-unregulated-water-release-govt-tells-hc/article31759112.ece  (05 June 2020)

IMD has predicted a normal monsoon of 94 to 104 per cent this year which does not require immediate release of water from dams, the state submitted before the Kerala High Court on June 5. 

‘TN refused to share Mullaperiyar details’ Kerala government has been demanding to provide Gate Operation Schedule of Mullaperiyar Dam since 2014, however Tamil Nadu has not shared the details till date. Kerala had taken up the matter with the CWC & MoWR several times. Though the Centre had issued specific directions, Tamil Nadu failed to comply with it, the report said. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2020/jun/06/no-need-to-release-water-from-dams-now-kerala-tells-hc-2152832.html  (06 June 2020)

BBMB पंडोह डैम में जलस्तर बढ़ने से खोला जाएगा गेट लगातार बारिश और पहाड़ों पर बर्फ पिघलने से मंडी स्थित पंडोह डैम का जलस्तर काफी बढ़ गया है। ऐसे में डैम के गेट खोलकर पानी छोड़ा जाएगा। इसे लेकर बीबीएमबी की ओर से अलर्ट जारी कर दिया गया है। इसका असर ब्यास नदी के आसपास रहने वालों पर पड़ेगा। ऐसे में उनको नदी से दूर रहने की चेतावनी दी गई है। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/himachal/news/bbmb-administration-issued-water-release-alert-as-pandoh-dams-water-level-rises-127366579.html  (02 June 2020)

Uttarakhand 7 UP districts alerted over ‘flood situation’ after Kalagarh dam release water Interesting that R K Agarwal, the Superintendent Engineer of Ramganga dam agrees dam releases can cause flood in the downstream areas: According to the dam officials, sudden release of water from the dam causes flooding of the plain. Floods had wreaked havoc in the plain in 1998, 2000 and 2010, they added. He has written to to the administration of seven UP districts — Bijnor, Amroha, Rampur, Bareilly, Shahjahanpur, Moradabad and Farrukhabad.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/meerut/7-up-districts-alerted-over-flood-situation-after-water-release-from-dam-in-monsoon/articleshow/76238721.cms  (07 June 2020)

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

Krishna Godavari Water Sharing Dispute Telangana asked to stop work on all Godavari projects The Godavari River Management Board (GRMB), in a letter to the Telangana government, has ordered it to stop Kaleswaram and all irrigation projects it was taking up on the Godavari river. GRMB member P. S. Kutiyal in a letter dated May 30, asked the Telangana government not to go ahead with any new project on the river. Saying that the letter was being written as per the directions of the Ministry of Jal Sakthi (Water Resources), the GRMB asked the Telangana government not to go ahead with the new projects as they did not have the permission of the Apex Council as defined in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.

– The A.P. government in its complaint letter to GRMB (GRMB referred to the letter) listed Kaleswaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (LIS), GLIS Phase-III, Sita Rama LIS, Tupakulagudem, Telangana Drinking Water Supply Project (TDWSP), Ramappa Lake to Pakhal Lake Diversion and three barrages on Lower Penganga River all utilising over 450 tmcft as new projects that were not approved by the Apex Council.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/telangana-asked-to-stop-work-on-all-godavari-projects/article31734248.ece  (02 June 2020)

No new projects taken up on Godavari, asserts Telangana The Telangana government on June 5, 2020 informed the Godavari River Management Board (GRMB) that it has not taken up any new irrigation projects on the Godavari river. All projects grounded on the river within the State were conceived in the combined Andhra Pradesh. The stand of Telangana was made clear at a meeting of GRMB held in the backdrop of Andhra Pradesh government expressing concern last month that Telangana was executing nine new projects without furnishing the DPRs to the board and taking the approval of the apex council headed by the Union Minister for Water Resources. Therefore, the board, headed by J. Chandrasekhar Iyer, set a deadline of June 10 for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments to submit detailed project reports (DPRs) of irrigation projects constructed by the two States on the river. Both States were also asked to furnish agenda items for the apex council meeting immediately.

– Besides citing nine (Kaleswaram lift-irrigation scheme, Godavari lift-irrigation scheme phase – III, Sita Rama lift irrigation scheme, Tupakulagudem, Telangana drinking water supply project, barrages on lower Penganga river at Rajupet (Bhimkund), Chanakha – Korta and Pimparad – Parsoda and Ramappa lake to Pakhal lake diversion.) new projects, the AP government also informed GRMB that it learnt about Telangana enhancing the utilisation under the Kaleswaram lift irrigation scheme from 225 tmcft to 450 tmcft and Sita Rama lift-irrigation scheme from 70 tmcft to 100 tmcft.

– Telangana Principle Secretary recalled in this context that Sriramsagar and Nizamsagar projects were entitled to 240 tmcft but they never got 60 tmcft. So, areas served by the two projects were supplemented. Later, Mr. Rajat Kumar told media persons that the State was entitled to use 967.14 tmcft water as per the allocation by the tribunal and the same was approved by the government of N. Kiran Kumar Reddy in erstwhile State.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/no-new-projects-taken-up-on-godavari-ts/article31761841.ece  (05 June 2020)

Krishna board directs Andhra, Telangana govts to submit reports of new projects The states were directed to submit the DPRs for appraisal and technical clearance by the KRMB and Central Water Commission (CWC) and for sanction by the Apex Council, sources said.

-The two states said they would submit the DPRs. The KRMB held a meeting in Hyderabad on Thursday, which was attended by officials of both states. On sharing of water during the current (water) year, the sources said water was shared in the ratio of 66 and 34 between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana during the last three years, excluding minor irrigation and diversion of Godavari water. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/krishna-river-board-directs-andhra-telangana-govts-submit-reports-new-projects-125942  (05 June 2020)

IRRIGATION

Haryana Strict policy for discharge of extra irrigation water from canals for Kharif 2020 Paddy growers in Haryana will have to make optimum use of water for paddy cultivation with the government putting in place a stricter policy for rice shoots for the kharif season-2020. Now, strict norms will govern obtaining the rice shoots—temporary openings on water channels for paddy crop—by farmers during the upcoming kharif season with no new rice shoots allowed on any main line, branch line or feeder channel.

The policy, released on June 3, said a maximum of 25% additional discharge would be allowed in the Western Jamuna Canal System, during the kharif season. The highest number of rice shoots, both traditional (in existence for three years) and new rice shoots, are allowed in the Western Jamuna Command area, considered to be the rice bowl of the state. Similarly, only 10 per cent of authorised discharge would be made available for rice shoots in the Bhakra Command System for the upcoming kharif season. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/strict-policy-for-discharge-of-extra-irrigation-water-from-canals-for-kharif-2020-95396  (06 June 2020)

URBAN RIVERS

Waldhuni, Mumbai River turned red, locals filed complaint  Waldhuni, a river that provides drinking water to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) has turned red due to discharge of untreated industrial effluents. On Tuesday, members of the Ulhasnagar Citizens Forum, a residents’ body, filed a fresh complaint with the CPCB attaching photographs of the polluted river turning red (see image).

“After decisions have been taken to allow industries to function during lockdown-3, there has been a surge in production, but at the same time CETPs are dysfunctional,” said Satyajit Burman, member of the citizen’s forum.

“Despite repeated complaints, government bodies are violating the law along with industries dumping chemical effluents directly into the river leading to serious health problems for the entire Thane district,” said Burman. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/waldhuni-river-turns-red-locals-files-fresh-complaint-with-cpcb/story-JEH15rIi2uHszeC8G7M1EK.html  (13 May 2020)  

Pollution fall by unprecedented levels: PMC report According to environment officer Mangesh Dighe, the PMC carried out this survey in March and April, and some of the data was collected till May 15. “We have received surprising results and Mutha river quality is getting improved drastically and some parameters are better than the norms given by CPCB,” Dighe said. “The main reason for this is commercial establishments, offices, hotels have closed down so the sewage generation has reduced,” Dighe added.

Before March 2020, the BOD level was 61.61 in Mula-Mutha river which came down to 32.09 in April during the lockdown. The COD level was 159.68 before lockdown which came down by 67.7 per cent. “The pollution control board expects it below 150 but it came down drastically. The dissolved oxygen level improved from 3.19 to 4.6 which is good. If all these levels are maintained, the river would remain clean and pollution-free,” Dighe said. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-pollution-at-a-record-low-readings-better-than-cpcb-recommendation/story-jjSg2HSylBriIJ3cmue2rN.html  (19 May 2020)

 

Bengaluru Only marginal change in pollution level in Bellandur, Varthur lakes SPCB on June 04 told the High Court that there was only a marginal change in pollution level of water in Bellandur and Varthur lakes, and Vrushabhavathi river, and the quality of water has not improved, except at Hampapura village as per water analysis done during COVID-19 lockdown period.

“It is true that due to COVID-19, non-essential industrial activities are closed, and even working population is out of town. The volumetric load is considerably reduced, resulting in lean flow. The water quality of lake reveals that there is marginal change in the parameter concentration,” the KSPCB said in its statements.

Pointing out that water samples were collected and analyzed at 26 stations all along the Vrushabhavathi valley before and during the COVID-19 lockdown period, the KSPCB said that the reports of analysis reveal that the quality of water has not improved except at Hampapura village.

Meanwhile, the Bench directed the KSPCB to clarify whether the NGT-appointed committee has jurisdiction or power to inspect apartments and industrial units in Bellandur and Varthur lake area and whether the committee has taken any steps to stop illegal discharge of effluents. On construction of bund in Bellandur lake area by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), the Bench asked the BDA to clarify whether the appointed committee had authorised construction or opinion of any expert was taken before commencing the work. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/only-marginal-change-in-pollution-level-in-bellandur-varthur-lakes-kspcb-tells-hc/article31749728.ece  (04 June 2020)

Gomti, Lucknow चार महीने में फिर गंदी हुई गोमती चार महीने पहले तक साफ नजर आने वाली गोमती फिर गंदी हो चली है। कूड़ा, कचरा और पूरे शहर का गंदा पानी इसे फिर गंदा करने लगा है। स्थिति यह है कि तीन दिन पहले हुई बारिश से इतना कचरा आ गया कि नदी के कई हिस्से दलदल की तरह नजर आने लगे हैं।

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गोमती नदी में अब भी दो दर्जन से ज्यादा नालों का गंदा पानी सीधे गिर रहा है। फरवरी में डिफेंस एक्सपो के दौरान कई नालों के मुहाने पर जालियां लगाई गई थीं। इसके साथ इनकी सफाई कर कूड़ा-कचरा भी हटा दिया गया था। इसके अलावा सरकार और शासन की मंशा के मुताबिक अफसरों ने कुछ नाले डायवर्ट भी करवा दिए थे। नगर निगम के ही एक अफसर के मुताबिक, डिफेंस एक्सपो के दौरान 17 नाले गोमती में सीधे गिरने बंद हो गए थे। इसके अलावा शारदा नहर से नदी में पानी भी छोड़ा गया था। इसी कारण फरवरी में नदी का पानी साफ नजर आ रहा था, लेकिन एक्सपो के बाद स्थिति पहले की तरह हो गई है।  https://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/metro/lucknow/development/after-four-months-gomti-again-polluted-in-lucknow/articleshow/76169863.cms  (03 June 2020)

Another video report finds that lockdown has not made any difference to Gomti river. https://english.newsnationtv.com/videos/india/exclusive-report-of-news-nation-on-gomti-river-8/61782  (05 June 2020)

RIVERS

 

On Rivers That Flow And Dams That Stow Interview of Parineeta Dandekar of SANDRP on Dams, Rivers, E flows, Free flows: https://www.natureinfocus.in/save-every-drop/on-rivers-that-flow-and-dams-that-stow  (29 May 2020)

Ajay Chandramouli on FB post comment ‘There are policies to build dams but there are no policies that say rivers should have water in them’ – How true and sad is this! I have been wondering about this too over the past few years, after all what is a river without flow? Coming from Tamil Nadu, a lower riparian state with respect to many rivers, it has been very sad for me to see the major rivers of the state turn to just sand beds, mining sites, and dump yards for most part of the year. Such a shame that even celebrations like kaveri pushkaram that honor the rivers have been reduced to blind, thoughtless rituals and are conducted on artificial tanks constructed in the rivers due to lack of water. The plight of small rivers is even pitiful! A good reminder that a flowing river is much more than just water wasted into the sea

Truly enjoyed reading through the interview. Thanks for also posting link to the primer on e-flows, very glad to find a document detailing the importance of flow in rivers.

05062020 elaunch

On world environment day, the elaunch of the ebook about ten (among many) Indian champions who are trying in diverse ways to save the planet. It includes Parineeta Dandekar of SANDRP.

This is the fourth book in The Tens series–10 Indian Champions Who Are Fighting to Save the Planet–and will be out in print later in the year.

This book tells the stories of ten Indian conservationists working in diverse ways to save the world from human destructiveness, often facing seemingly insurmountable odds.

Romulus Whitaker

Parineeta Dandekar

Rohan Arthur

Vidya Athreya

Aparajita Datta

Jay Mazoomdaar

Minal Pathak

Rohan Chakravarty

Kavitha Kuruganti

Lakshmi Kamble

Bijal Vachharajani and Radha Rangarajan write about the inspiring lives of people who are striving to solve the most pressing problems on this planet—from climate change to habitat degradation, and from food insecurity to species loss.

Rivers of Memory: India Paper: Evolution of modern river systems: an assessment of ‘landscape memory’ in Indian river systems

Authors: Vikrant Jain, Sonam, Ajit Singh, Rajiv Sinha, S. K. Tandon

“A river cuts through rock not because of its power, but because of its persistence.”

The Alaknanda river meanders before it joins the Ganges – both rivers originated centuries before the Himalayas rose, and continued to carve their way through the mountains.
Photo credit: Tarkeshwar Rawat (CC BY-SA)

The rivers of the Indian subcontinent bear witness to forces that shaped them over millennia – and a recent publication in the Journal of International Geosciences traces the evolution of India’s river systems at different time scales. https://geobites.org/rivers-of-memory-india/  (04 June 2020)

Rajasthan Impact of lockdown on rivers, lakes RSPCB collected water samples at the end of April 2020 from 45 locations — at least 14 were from rivers; four from canals; 16 from lakes and 11 from dams.

-The BOD, COD and DO levels in river Chambal at Akelgarh, Kota, River Kali Sindh near M/s CFCL, Kota improved, according to the report. Similarly, water quality improved in Pushkar lake, upstream of Chhapi Dam and Piplaz dam.

-SPCB concluded that the improvement was due closure of industries during lockdown and reduction of community bathing and washing activities in canals and the rivers. The lakes of Udaipur and Mount Abu were cleaner as tourism came to a halt here. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/water/covid-19-lockdown-was-a-breather-for-rajasthan-s-lakes-rivers-report-71340  (25 May 2020)

शेरगढ़ क्षेत्र में सीज की गई अवैध फैक्ट्री से निकल केमिकल युक्त पानी खेतों में बिखरा हुआ मिला।
शेरगढ़ क्षेत्र में सीज की गई अवैध फैक्ट्री से निकल केमिकल युक्त पानी खेतों में बिखरा हुआ मिला। Dainik Bhaskar 

मारवाड़ की कपड़ा छपाई इकाइयों से निकलने वाले केमिकल युक्त पानी की समस्या दिनों दिन विकराल होती जा रही है। पाली, बालोतरा व जोधपुर में एनजीटी की संख्ती के बाद ये इकाइयां ग्रामीण क्षेत्र में सक्रिय हो गई है और वहां खेतों में केमिकल युक्त पानी डाल उनका खराबा कर रही है। एनजीटी के आदेश पर गठित एसटीएफ की टीम ने June 06 को जोधपुर जिले के शेरगढ़ क्षेत्र के रामगढ़ में एक खेत में ऐसी ही एक फैक्ट्री का पता लगा उसे सीज किया। साथ ही इस खेत के मालिक के खिलाफ मामला दर्ज किया गया। लॉक डाउन से छूट मिलने के बाद यह पहली फैक्ट्री पकड़ी गई है। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/rajasthan/news/as-soon-as-the-exemption-in-lock-down-the-rural-area-started-the-work-of-washing-clothes-illegally-a-factory-seas-127380855.html   (06 June 2020)

J&K Improvement in Tawi health Tawi is among the nine rivers in J&K whose polluted stretches have been identified in pursuance to the directions issued by the NGT and they have been placed accordingly in the priority list by the CPCB.

-River Tawi has 5 km long polluted stretch from Surajpur to Belicharana and BOD of this stretch range from 5 milligrams per litre to 8.3 milligrams per litre as such it has been placed at fourth place in the priority list.

-As per the figures of the J&K PCB, which have also been shared with the CPCB, the quarterly average BOD level below Tawi Bridge between January and March 2020 was at 2.4 milligrams per litre while as the same at Bhagwati Nagar was 7.3 milligrams per litre. At Belicharana and Surajpur, the same was 0.4 and 0.3 milligrams per litre respectively.

-However, in the month of April this year when there was strict COVID-19 lockdown, the BOD level reduced significantly at all these four locations. Below Tawi Bridge the BOD was recorded at 1.5 milligrams per litre while as at Bhagwati Nagar the same registered decline to 3.0 milligrams per litre. At Belicharana and Surajpur the same was recorded at 0.2 and 0.1 milligrams per litre. https://www.dailyexcelsior.com/health-of-river-tawi-improves-significantly-during-lockdown/  (01 June 2020)

Gujarat VECL dumping effluents in Mahi river despite SC order

The J Point of Mahi river, where the sample was taken. Counter View 

Untreated, toxic industrial effluents from Vadodara continues to be dumped into Mahi river, despite SC contempt notice in 2017, write Paryavaran Suraksha samiti to MoEF. https://www.counterview.net/2020/06/vadodara-effluent-channel-dumping.html  (02 June 2020)

Andhra Pradesh Collector detained by SIT probing Amaravati land scam The sub-committee presented the first part of its report highlighting various “procedural, legal and financial irregularities and fraudulent transactions” related to Amaravati in December last year.

-It alleged that just before Chandrababu Naidu declared Amaravati as the capital in 2014, around 4,075 acres of land was purchased by senior politicians and businessmen close to the TDP chief.  https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/andhra-deputy-collector-detained-sit-probing-amaravati-land-scam-125867  (04 June 2020)

Uttarakhand About Basanti Bahan work in Dhaula Devi block Almora regarding protection of Kosi river:-

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प्रसिद्ध गांधीवादी राधा बहन से प्रेरित हो बसंती बहन ने समाजसेवा की शुरुआत अल्मोड़ा जिले के धौलादेवी ब्लाक में बालबाड़ी कार्यक्रमों के माध्यम से की। यहां उन्होंने महिलाओं के संगठन बनाए। 2003 में राधा बहन ने उन्हें कोसी घाटी के गांवों में महिलाओं को संगठित करने की सलाह दी। बसंती बहन के प्रयासों से बोरारो घाटी के कौसानी से लेकर लोद तक 200 गांवों में महिलाओं के सशक्त समूह बनाए। 27 मई 2007 को कोसी के उद्गम के बाद आने वाले प्रथम संगम पर कोसी मां के पूजन के साथ ही मुहिम शुरू की गई। कोसी नदी के जल को हाथ में लेकर करीब 300 महिला-पुरूषों ने संकल्प लिया कि नदी बचाने के लिए हरसंभव प्रयास करेंगे। तब तीनों घाटियां ‘कोसी बचाओ, जीवन बचाओ’ के नारों से गूंज उठी थी। वर्ष 2008 को ‘नदी बचाओ वर्ष’ के रुप में मनाया गया। एक जनवरी 2008 से सभी नदीघाटियों में पदयात्रएं शुरू हो गई और यह आज तक चल रही हैं। महिला मंडल ने नियम बनाए कि कोसी के दोनों जलागमों के आरक्षित वनों से बांज वृक्ष की पत्तियां नहीं काटेंगी। अन्य चौड़ी पत्ती वाले वृक्षों से भी बिछाने के लिए भी हरी पत्तियां नहीं काटेंगी। ईंधन के लिए केवल सूखी लकड़ियाँ एकत्र करेंगी, कच्ची नहीं काटेंगी। वनाग्नि से इन वनों को बचाने के लिए हर वक्त तत्पर रहेंगी।

 

GANGA Uttarakhand Unlock 1 poses challenge SP Subodhi, member secretary Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board (UEPPCB)  said they have again taken samples from Ganga to check what is the status in the pollution levels with Unlock 1.0 underway. “Earlier, we had taken samples in April in which we saw significant improvement in the water quality during the lockdown. Based on the new findings which will come in a few days, we will make suggestions to the state and Central government on how to keep the water quality of Ganga consistent,” said Subodh.

Last time during April, when UEPPCB had taken samples from Ganga, it had found a 47% reduction in fecal coliform observed at Lakshmanjhula, 46% at the barrage downstream in Rishikesh, and 25% at Bindughat (upstream of Haridwar), besides 20% reduction in biochemical oxygen demand at Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/environment-man-animal-conflict-unlock-1-poses-challenge-for-uttarakhand/story-kJhpDZCbWXMKR6whaZUk8O.html  (05 June 2020)

Govt planning Marine Drive (River front development) along Alaknanda river in Srinagar.

08062020 au 6

Uttar Pradesh

-विशम्‍भर नाथ मिश्रा कहते हैं, “बनारस में 90 फीसदी रॉ सीवेज घरों से आता है। कानपुर का मामला अलग है क्योंकि वहां इंडस्ट्री है। लोग अब अपने घरों में हैं। जो बाहर थे वे भी अपने घर लौट आये हैं। ऐसे में लॉकडाउन रहे या ना रहे, ये गंदगी गंगा में तो आनी ही है। गंगा में फीकल कोलीफार्म की उपस्थिति का मतबल ही यही होता है गंगा में सीवेज का पानी आ रहा है। ऐसे में अब यह कहना है कि लॉकडाउन की वजह से गंगा जी प्रदूषित नहीं हैं, यह ठीक बात नहीं है। https://www.gaonconnection.com/gaon-connection-tvvideos/how-clean-ganga-water-was-in-lockdown-in-varanasi-what-is-the-reality-47658  (05 June 2020)

YAMUNA Delhi Less bird species seen in Garhi Mandu One of 42 existing city forests under North Forest Division of Delhi covering approximately 890 acres of land area surrounded by natural wetland located along the left bank of River Yamuna close to Wazirabad Barrage in Northeast District recorded only 35 resident terrestrial bird species this time.  https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/delhi/2020/jun/05/only-35-resident-terrestrial-bird-species-seen-in-garhi-mandu-forest-2152535.html  (05 June 2020)

“DPCC has been asked to conduct a study on water and air pollution levels during these three phases — pre-lockdown, lockdown, and post-lockdown. Accordingly, measures will be taken to check pollution in the national capital,” Rai said.

-According to a DPCC study conducted in the first phase of the lockdown, pollution in the Yamuna river dipped by up to 30% and the quality of waste water in drains improved by up to 80%. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/dpcc-asked-to-study-lockdowns-impact-on-air-water-pollution/articleshow/76219766.cms  (05 June 2020)

Can’t create SPV on Yamuna: DDA The NGT in March had directed that DDA may constitute a special purpose vehicle within two weeks for rejuvenation of the Yamuna river. The DDA said the word “may” was used by this tribunal in its order since it considered it appropriate that taking into account all the attendant circumstances DDA should consider the option whether or not to constitute an SPV.

“In light of the provisions of DDA Act, it is submitted that as per section 52 of the Act, DDA may delegate powers exercisable by only to officers, local authority or committees. There is no enabling provision under the Act to either constitute a society or a special purpose vehicle or to delegate its powers to an entity or other person not specifically mentioned in section 52 of the Act.

“It is submitted that since DDA has been created under DDA Act, it cannot operate beyond the limits set by the said Act. It shall not be out of place to mention here that already a mechanism is in place in order to monitor the Yamuna. This includes Upper Yamuna River Board and Unified Centre for Restoration and rejuvenation of River Yamuna,” DDA said its report filed in the NGT. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/delhi-development-authority-says-cant-create-special-entity-for-yamuna-2239030  (01 June 2020)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

INLAND FISHEIRES FORUM PR: 020620 Mangrove Destruction at Kakinada

NGT Admits Petition Moved by DTFWF Activists

Orders Submission of Report Before August 18, 2020

Facilitated by LIFE, Democratic Traditional Fishers Workers Forum (DTFWF) activists moved a petition at the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to take immediate action against destruction of mangroves as well as reclamation of creek and coastal wetland at Kakinada in the district of East Godavari of Andhra Pradesh. The NGT has admitted the petition on 29.05.2020 and directed the Committee constituted by NGT to submit a consolidated report on the observations made and objections raised by the petitioners.

The fisher people of Dummulpeta, Parloipeta and adjacent wards of Kakinada are deeply concerned about the destruction of nearly 300 acres of mangroves and reclamation of a creek that provide anchorage for thousands of small fishing boats to accommodate “Pedalandariki Illu” programme of the state govt and a container depot for Indian railways. The area, lying beside the Kakinada port, is a coastal wetland with mangrove cover. It should have been protected by the Govt, instead it is being destroyed by Govt projects.

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

J&K Ramsar sites, a case of silent death

Image source Greater Kashmir 

The plight of Ramsar Wetlands in Kashmir, a land once famed for its beautiful lakes.  https://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/opinion/kashmirs-ramsar-sites-a-case-of-silent-death/  (05 June 2020)

Maharashtra Amid threats, flamingos’ make year’s 1st visit to Panje While there have numerous reports of lesser flamingos spotted at Talawe wetlands, Panje remained dry throughout this year, as most of the high tide inlets to the site had blocked by construction, said environmentalists alleging that work for the Navi Mumbai Special Economic Zone was allowing environmental violations to happen. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/flamingos-make-their-way-to-panje-wetland-first-time-this-year/story-hwcGFgsVSx5BlHqjxm7WwJ.html  (06 June 2020)

Tamil Nadu 40% of Vedanthangal bird sanctuary to become ‘commercial’? About 30 hectares of Vedanthangal lake and 5 km of revenue land around the lake was notified as Vedanthangal Birds Sanctuary on July 8, 1998.  Now, the 5 km buffer is being reduced to 3 km. The present proposal is the 5 km zone surrounding the main lake area of 29.51 hectares of Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary to be brought down to 3 km in which first 1 km zone may be notified as Core Zone, including the lake. The next 2 km boundary may be notified as buffer zone and outer 2 km zone of the existing 5 km shall be de-notified.  https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2020/jun/03/40-per-cent-of-vedanthangal-bird-sanctuary-to-become-commercial-2151556.html   (03 June 2020)

WATER OPTIONS

 

SANDRP Blog WED 2020: Uttarakhand workers return to revive traditional water sources  Traditional water sources have been water life line for most of villages in hill areas of Uttarakhand. Known as Panyar, Naula, Chhoi, Dhara these fresh water sources, springs have been serving rural population with potable and other domestic water requirements since time immemorial. We thought this is possibly an appropriate story on this World Environment Day 2020 on June 5 with appropriately fitting theme “Time for Nature”.  https://sandrp.in/2020/06/04/wed-2020-uttarakhand-migrant-workers-revive-traditional-water-sources/ (04 June 2020)

Also see the blog in Hindi here. https://bit.ly/3gVJ76s

India Water Portal has republished the Hindi report. https://hindi.indiawaterportal.org/content/uttarakhand-ke-pokhari-gaon-mein-jal-sroton-ka-sanrakshan/content-type-page/1319335745  (05 June 2020)

Gaon Connection has carried the report in English.  https://en.gaonconnection.com/people-living-in-pokhri-village-in-uttarakhand-are-making-the-most-of-the-lockdown-by-reviving-traditional-water-sources/  (06 June 2020)

SANDRP Blog Groundwater in Bundelkhand: Unique geological faetures in upper Ken River catchment need to be conserved In this EXCELLENT Guest Blog, Seema Ravandale of People’s Science Institute, Dehradun describes unique groundwater structures of Upper Ken Basin, called Bharka, or Kund, which have been serving the people for centuries.

Only perennial spring as drinking water source in Kathayi village, June 2019 (Pic Credit Seema Ravandale)

There are some unique management systems that people follow and when these are violated as happened in Kathayi (Shahnagar, Panna district), a ST (Scheduled Tribe) dominated village the structure stands destroyed. The CGWB or Madhya Pradesh WRD seems to have not studied this or developed sustainable ways for these structure. Please, do Read and Share.  https://sandrp.in/2020/06/06/groundwater-in-bundelkhand-unique-geological-features-in-upper-ken-river-catchment-need-to-be-conserved/  (06 June 2020)

Bundelkhand Villagers prepare for another summer Bharat Dogra captures well the initiative and the community’s response in the villages of Bundelkhand in conserving the water sources. https://www.newsclick.in/Bundelkhand-UP-MP-Water-Crisis-Climate-Change-Ken-River  (03 June 2020)

URBAN WATER

Bengaluru Only marginal change in pollution level in Bellandur, Varthur lakes SPCB on June 04 told the High Court that there was only a marginal change in pollution level of water in Bellandur and Varthur lakes, and Vrushabhavathi river, and the quality of water has not improved, except at Hampapura village as per water analysis done during COVID-19 lockdown period.

“It is true that due to COVID-19, non-essential industrial activities are closed, and even working population is out of town. The volumetric load is considerably reduced, resulting in lean flow. The water quality of lake reveals that there is marginal change in the parameter concentration,” the KSPCB said in its statements.

Pointing out that water samples were collected and analyzed at 26 stations all along the Vrushabhavathi valley before and during the COVID-19 lockdown period, the KSPCB said that the reports of analysis reveal that the quality of water has not improved except at Hampapura village.

Meanwhile, the Bench directed the KSPCB to clarify whether the NGT-appointed committee has jurisdiction or power to inspect apartments and industrial units in Bellandur and Varthur lake area and whether the committee has taken any steps to stop illegal discharge of effluents. On construction of bund in Bellandur lake area by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), the Bench asked the BDA to clarify whether the appointed committee had authorised construction or opinion of any expert was taken before commencing the work. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/only-marginal-change-in-pollution-level-in-bellandur-varthur-lakes-kspcb-tells-hc/article31749728.ece  (04 June 2020)

Beautification does not mean restroration Karnataka Tank Conservation and Development Authority (KTCDA) and Urban Development Department have given a go-ahead to the DPRs submitted by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for works mainly related to beautification, de-silting and strengthening of the bund.

-Of the 27 lakes, 13 lakes have received a green signal for taking up beautification works such as construction of pathways, installation of benches etc. Some of them are Begur, Dorekere, Attur, Allalasandra, Puttenahalli, Uttarahalli, Devarakere, Byrasandra, Sowl kere, Sigehalli, Chinnapanahalli and Munneholalu. The remaining lakes will see core works such as improvement of wetland, de-silting, removal of weeds, construction of yoga platform, kalyani, fencing the lake etc. Some of the lakes are Jimkenahalli, Gunjur Playa, Siddapura, Kaggasandrapura, Bairasandra, Hoodi Giddanakere, Yellenahalli, Gubbalalu, Basapura, Konappana Agrahara, Kammanahalli, Gowdana Palya, Vasanthapura, Chikkabasti, Nallurahalli etc.

-A total of Rs 315 crore has been earmarked for the development of these works under CM’s Nagarothana grants allocated to the BBMP for the year 2020-21. It’s learnt that the KTCDA has also approved construction of STPs in four lakes including Seegehalli, Vibhuthipura, Chikkabasavanapura and Munenakolalu.

-The BBMP had also prepared DPRs for the development of lakes in JP Park, Halgevaderahalli, Nagarbhavi and Mallathahalli. It’s however not sure if the government has approved the tenders floated for the development of these lakes. Other than Bellandur and Varthur lake, BBMP has been tasked with the responsibility of maintaining all the lakes falling under its limits. With sewage freely entering into all waterbodies due to the absence of STPs or its ineffective functioning, the lakes in the City have been neglected for years. Officials said that the Rs 350 crore is too less to maintain all the lakes.

-Meanwhile, citizens have urged both the BBMP and KTCDA to be more transparent while proposing development works for any lakes in the City. “So many approvals for lake developments are given during Covid-19 but nothing has been made public. Just like the state environment clearance wing, the KTCDA should also put up its proceedings on its website. I have also sought documents under the RTI to understand what projects are proposed for lakes,” V Ramaprasad, convener of Friends of Lake, a network of volunteers, said.  https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/civic/27-lakes-to-get-a-new-look/articleshow/76185729.cms  (04 June 2020)

Minister for Minor Irrigation JC Madhuswamy said that transporting about 300 trucks of silt daily from Bellandur Lake is going to be a challenge. The minister also foresees a resistance from the public when the transportation of silt begins. “Silt has been accumulating in the lake for the last 40-50 years. It has to be transported about 25-40 km away from the lake. It’s a huge task,” the minister said.

-BDA has identified three quarries in a village in Mylasandra near Bannerghatta as dumping sites for the silt. The deposit is estimated to be around 19 lakh million tonnes in quantity. The authority has already engaged a contractor to take up rejuvenation work.

-Prof TV Ramachandra of IISc, Bengaluru, said that the rejuvenation work should be handed over to the Army if the government is not prepared for it. “The lake has not been maintained over the last four decades. It has become a septic tank. The groundwater in the surrounding areas has been affected. The onus is on the government to provide a clean environment,” he said. The professor, who is also part of the committee constituted by the NGT, said the Army’s green warrior wing should be roped in for the task. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/transporting-silt-daily-from-bellandur-lake-is-a-challenge/articleshow/76203547.cms  (05 June 2020)

2 lakes in the city are all set to become recreational centres. The BBMP’s Yelahanka division has planned to build an indoor badminton court, a musical fountain, gym facilities and sculptures around Yelahanka and Allalasandra lakes. The move is likely to draw ire from environmentalists as the plan violates the High Court order.

-The project wing in the zonal office of Yelahanka plans to spend about Rs 35 crore towards works such as the installation of words and the alphabet as well as gym equipment in the premises of Allalasandra and Yelahanka lakes, a musical fountain at the Yelahanka lake and construction of a badminton court on the edge of Allalasandra lake boundary. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/palike-puts-the-yella-in-yelahankas-two-lakes/articleshow/76224352.cms  (06 June 2020)

Chennai Metrowater resumes pilot project on indirect use of reclaimed water -The pilot projects for indirect potable reuse of recycled wastewater are aimed at blending tertiary treated wastewater into Porur and Perungudi lakes also. Water drawn from the lakes would again be treated and distributed through the existing drinking water supply network.

-Though the projects were slated to be completed by September, there would be a delay due to the lockdown period, officials said.

-While the wait continues for imported materials such as treatment units and ultra-filtration membranes, the water agency plans to complete the civil work by mid-July. “Transportation of materials from other parts of the country is another challenge and supply is expected to resume in July,” an official said.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chennai-metrowater-resumes-pilot-project-on-indirect-use-of-reclaimed-water/article31729047.ece  (02 June 2020)

Vishakhapatnam Meghadri Gedda Reservior water unfit for use CSIR-NEERI team conducted a bioassay test with samples collected from the reservoir following the styrene gas leak from the LG Polymers plant at RR Venkatapuram on May 7, and found that either activated carbon adoption method or combined ozone activated carbon method can be used to remove the organic content in the reservoir.  https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2020/jun/03/meghadri-gedda-reservior-water-unfit-for-use-2151520.html  (03 June 2020)

Jalandhar Waste woes -Even after completing half of its tenure, the Congress-led Municipal Corporation has not been able to ensure proper disposal 500 tonnes waste generated in the city daily.

Jalandhar suffers from waste disposal woes
A youth sells masks along the banks of Bist Doab Canal which is filled with waste in Jalandhar. Photo: Sarabjit Singh

-About a decade ago, the MC had conceived a plan to set up solid waste-to-energy plant at Jamsher village that falls in the Jalandhar Cantonment constituency. But the villagers began opposing it after getting support from MLA Pargat Singh. After change of government, the project was shelved off. It has taken nearly 3.5 years for the incumbent government to plan the project afresh, but execution still remains a far-fetched dream.

-According to the plan, waste collection and processing is to be decentralised for which 1,200 pits are to be set up by the MC across the city. The bio-decomposable waste would be used for production of manure for farmers and residents. As of now, only three pits have been readied.  https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/jalandhar/jalandhar-suffers-from-waste-disposal-woes-94857  (05 June 2020)

Centre UHUA ministry releases advisories on waste management The Union Housing and Urban Affairs (HUA) Ministry on June 5 released advisories for effective waste management on the occasion of WED. HUA Minister Hardeep Singh Puri released documents covering material recovery facilities for municipal solid waste, landfill reclamation and on- and off-site sewage management practices, prepared by the Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation (CPHEEO), as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban). https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/centre-releases-advisories-on-waste-management/article31762529.ece  (06 June 2020)

WATER

Uttarakhand चमोलीः वनसंपदा और गांव के एकमात्र जलस्रोत को तबाह कर बनाई जा रही सड़क ग्रामीणों का कहना है कि दमुथोल तोक से आगे फ़णा गदेरा है, जो सरकोट ग्राम सभा का एकमात्र पानी का प्राकृतिक स्रोत है, जिस पर 50 परिवार आश्रित हैं। वर्ष 1972 से जल संस्थान द्वारा बनाई गई पाइपलाइन से ही पानी पी रहे हैं, जो इस गदेरे पर ही बनी है। गांव वालों के अलावा पूरे जंगल में जीव-जंतुओं के लिए पानी का एकमात्र स्रोत ये गदेरा ही है। इसी ये यहां की जैव-विविधता बनी हुई है। ग्रामीण कहते हैं कि सर्वे में सड़क से स्रोत की दूरी 225 मीटर बताई गई है, जबकि दूरी 50 मीटर से भी कम है। बांज और बुरांश के सैंकड़ों पेड़ों को काटा जाएगा। ये पेड़ भूजल रिचार्ज करने और मृदा अपरदन को रोकने में अहम योगदान देते हैं।  https://hindi.indiawaterportal.org/content/natural-water-springs-uttarkhand/content-type-page/1319335710  (19 May 2020) 

Also see, पानी और जमीन की चुनौतियों से जूझेगी उत्तराखंड की नई राजधानी गैरसैंण  https://hindi.indiawaterportal.org/content/paanai-aura-jamaina-kai-caunaautaiyaon-sae-jauujhaegai-utataraakhanda-kai-nai-raajadhaanai/content-type-page/1319335465  (12 March 2020)

Madhya Pradesh किसान ने अपने खर्च पर तालाब और कुआं खुदवाया, सचिव ने मजदूराें के नाम पर फर्जी तरीके से निकाल लिया भुगतान  काेराेना संकट के दाैर में दूसरे राज्याें से लाैटकर अपने गांवाें में अाए प्रवासी मजदूराें के लिए प्रदेश सरकार मनरेगा काे संजीवनी बता रही है। लेकिन शिवपुरी जिले में मनरेगा कामों का फायदा मजदूरों की बजाय सरपंच और सचिव उठा रहे हैं। जिला मुख्यालय से लगी ग्राम पंचायत दर्रोनी में किसान ने अपने खर्च पर खेत तालाब और कुआं खुदवाया लेकिन पंचायत के सचिव का फर्जीवाड़ा देखिए कि उसने इसी खेत तालाब पर मस्टर रोल जारी कर दिए।

दर्रोनी का वह खेत तालाब, जिसके नाम पर किया गया फर्जीवाड़ा
दर्रोनी का वह खेत तालाब, जिसके नाम पर किया गया फर्जीवाड़ा (Dainik Bhaskar) 

 

यानी किसान ने अपने खर्च पर खेत तालाब और कुआं खुदवाया और सचिव ने उस पर भी फर्जी तरीके से मजदूरी का भुगतान ले लिया। वहीं करैरा जनपद की ग्राम पंचायत आंडर के खैरा कोटिया गांव में सरपंच और सचिव ने बिना मस्टर रोल जारी किए जेसीबी और ट्रैक्टर-ट्रॉलियों से मुरम की कच्ची सड़क बनाने लगे। ग्रामीणों ने फर्जीवाड़े के पोल खेल दी तो सरपंच-सचिव अब इस कार्य को कराने से ही इनकार कर रहे हैं। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/gwalior/shivpuri/news/the-farmer-dug-a-pond-and-a-well-at-his-expense-the-secretary-took-out-a-fake-payment-in-the-name-of-majduran-127379004.html  (06 June 2020)

मनरेगा में दूसरे राज्याें से आए प्रवासी मजदूराें के लिए राेजगार ताे छाेड़िए उन लाेगाें काे भी काम नहींं मिल रहा है, जाे पंचायताें के स्थायी निवासी हैं। जिला पंचायत और जनपद का दावा है कि सभी 225 पंचायतों में मनरेगा का काम चल रहा है। शुक्रवार काे जब दैनिक भास्कर ने इसकी पड़ताल की तो पता चला कि जिले के दाेनाें विधायकाें की पंचायताें में ही मनरेगा के काम बंद हैं। जब इस संबंध में सरपंच और सचिवाें से बात की ताे उन्हाेंने दावा किया कि काम चालू हैं।  https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/gwalior/sheour/news/the-ponds-and-pits-in-the-mlas-villages-remained-in-the-papers-work-stopped-on-the-mache-leave-the-migrant-laborers-unemployed-only-as-permanent-residents-127378843.html  (06 June 2020)

Maharashtra Jalayukta hijacked by JCBs owners On paper, the programme mandates 11 types of works, ranging from compartment bunds, CCTs and small check dams. But on the ground, said Shripad Dharmadhikary of Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, the entire focus of Jalyukt Shivar has been on nala kholikaran or the desilting of streams.

“Desilting is important,” said Dharmadhikary, “but they are redoing the riverbed instead with JCBs.” Earthmoving machines are popularly called JCBs, after a leading company that makes them. Across villages and districts, the machines have been at work, digging up the beds of streams and rivers, creating mounds of the excavated soil which in many places, still line the banks.

Pradeep Purandare of the Water and Land Management Institute in Aurangabad said: “The scheme right now has been hijacked by JCB owners.” In itself, desilting streams is not a flawed concept, say experts. But when it is done in excess, the indiscriminate digging may remove a layer of sand in addition to silt, thereby exposing aquifers, which are fissures in the ground where water is stored.

Sand is a percolation agent – it helps soak water, replenishing the groundwater tables. Without sand, water might fill up in the streams, but is unlikely to percolate and more likely to evaporate. There is more. If the layer of sand is removed, subsequent siltation could permanently plug the openings of aquifers. And water that enters these aquifers will no longer get naturally filtered through layers of sand. What worries ecologists the most, however, is that not only rivulets and streams but even rivers are being dug up in Maharashtra. https://scroll.in/article/812718/can-maharashtra-prevent-drought-by-digging-rivers  (9 Aug. 2016)

MONSOON

6 RBWC 01-07062020

SANDRP Blog State wise rainfall Pre Monsoon 2020 & Post monsoon 2019 India Meteorological Department (IMD) divides a water year (June 1 to May 31) into four seasons: Monsoon: (June 1 to Sept 30), Post monsoon (Oct 1 to Dec 31), Winter (Jan 1 to Feb 28/9) and Pre Monsoon (March 1 to May 31). For rainfall during all these seasons, IMD’s hydro-meteorological website[i] provides a lot of data on daily basis, including daily district wise rainfall, state-wise, sub division wise and river wise daily rainfall maps among many other weekly, monthly and seasonal products. https://sandrp.in/2020/06/05/india-received-20-excess-rains-in-pre-monsoon-2020/  (05 May 2020)

IMD Forecast for SW Monsoon 2020 on June 1, 2020 – Quantitatively, monsoon rainfall is likely to be 102% of the LPA (88 cm) with a model error of ±4%.

– The rainfall is likely to be 107% of LPA over North-West India, 103% of LPA over Central India, 102% of LPA over South Peninsula and 96% of LPA over North-East India, all with a model error of ± 8 %.

– The monthly rainfall is likely to be 103% of its LPA during July and 97% of LPA during August, model error of ± 9 %.

– Forecast probability is 5% for deficit monsoon (<90%); 15% for below normal (90-96%); 41% for normal (96-104); 25% for above normal (104-110%); and 14% for excess (>110 %).  https://mausam.imd.gov.in/Forecast/marquee_data/Press%20Release%20Long%20Range%20Forecast%20Update%20for%20southwest%20monsoon%2001.06.2020.pdf 

Editorial Monsoon bounty on IMD’s weather forecast The Key message of the Hindu Editorial on MONSOON: “The IMD should work at disseminating more precise localised weather forecasts”.  https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/monsoon-bounty-on-imds-weather-forecasts/article31734047.ece  (03 June 2020)

Himachal Pradesh 3 locations receive highest ever summer rainfall Pre monsoon (March-May) rainfall in Himachal: In the last 17 years, the state has recorded above-normal summer precipitation only four times. During the last two years, the seasonal precipitation was below normal by more than 40 per cent, and it was also below normal in 2017. The highest deficit of 63 per cent was recorded in 2004, when the state received only 90 mm of rainfall during March to May. The state witnessed the second-highest precipitation this summer since 2004. The highest was in 2015, when the state recorded an excess rainfall of 39 per cent, the report said.

– Sundernagar (Mandi dist) received 98.7 mm rain on Sunday, the highest-ever recorded there during a single day in the summer season. The previous highest of 90.1 mm rain was recorded on May 25, 1987. Bangana (Una dist), too, recorded the highest ever rainfall in a day during summer while the RL 1700 weather station at the Bhakra Dam in Bilaspur received 88.5 mm rain, the highest since 2006. Shimla (63.4mm) and Berthin (58.8mm) received the second-highest summer rainfall in a single day.

– SNOWFALL: Keylong received 132 centimetres of snow during the season, and Kothi in Kullu district received 103.5 cm snow. Gondla in Lahaul and Spiti recorded snowfall of 160.5 cm till March 19, after which it could not be recorded. Shimla received 13 cm snow from March to May, while Kalpa in Kinnaur received 81.4 cm. Kufri and Dalhousie received 73.3 cm and 47 cm respectively. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/himachal-three-locations-receive-highest-ever-summer-rainfall-sunday-6437675/  (01 June 2020)

पिछले चार-पांच दिनों से लगातार हो रही बारिश के कारण कुसुम्पटी में एक इमारत आज गिर गई। यह इमारत एक ठेकेदार की ओर से बना कर लोगों को इसके फ्लैटों को बेचा गया था। आसपास रहने वाले लोगों के अनुसार आज सुबह 10 बजे के करीब एकाएक इमारत के गिरने की आवाज आई और कुछ समय बाद ही इमारत एक तरफ दब गई। हालांकि जिस समय इमारत गिरी, उस समय इसमें कोई मौजूद नहीं था। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/himachal/news/newly-constructed-five-storey-building-collapsed-in-kusumpati-shimla-no-loss-of-life-127380691.html  (06 June 2020)

J&K Houses damaged, vehicles washed away in flash floods in Poonch Some houses were damaged and several vehicles were washed away in the flash floods triggered by a cloudburst that took place here in Dingla village in Poonch district on June 5, 2020. https://www.devdiscourse.com/article/headlines/1081331-houses-damaged-vehicles-washed-away-in-flash-floods-in-j-ks-poonch  (06 June 2020)

पुंछ में बादल फटा, दो किमी लंबी सड़क टूटी: कार और ट्रैक्टर भी बहे  https://www.bhaskar.com/national/news/houses-damaged-as-cloud-burst-today-in-jammu-kashmir-poonch-127380693.html  (06 June 2020)

Uttarakhand भारी बारिश से टूटे रास्ते, जनजीवन अस्तव्यस्त 28 मई से उत्तराखंड के कई हिस्सों में बारिश की स्थिति बनी हुई है। पौड़ी में भी 28 मई को हुई तेज बरसात से थलीसैंण ब्लॉक के कई गांवों में मुश्किल हालात पैदा हो गए। यहां पूर्वी नयार नदी को जाने वाला गदेरा उफान पर आ गया। बारिश के साथ गदेरे मे बह कर आए गाद और मलबे से गांवों के रास्ते टूट-फूट गए। ब्यासी, कुनेथ, रौली समेत कई गांवों के रास्तों पर बड़े-बड़े बोल्डर आ गए। https://www.downtoearth.org.in/hindistory/natural-disasters/flood/heavy-rains-in-uttarakhand-71462  (30 May 2020)

Chandigarh Hailstorm turns road white Heavy rain accompanied by hailstorm lashed Chandigarh and its neighbouring areas on June 4 afternoon, leading to a drop in temperature.  https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/in-pictures-roads-turn-white-as-heavy-rain-hail-lash-chandigarh-panchkula-94460  (04 June 2020)

FLOOD

SANDRP Blog Maharashtra Upper Krishna Basin Flood 2019 Vadnere  Committee-2: A report with “difference”! In BRILLIANT analysis in this Guest Blog, Pradeep Purandare, a member of the Vadnere Flood Studies committee-2 till he resigned, shows that the Vadnere-2 report is “full of erroneous data, strange analysis & weird logic” and “This is used by the committee to suggest that dams did not contribute to flood disaster.

Cover page of Vadnere Committee-2 report, Vol 1

However, it is shown below how factually wrong these figures are and hence, all their conclusions based on such wrong data are clearly baseless.” Clearly, committee’s attempt to show that dams did not contribute to flood disaster completely fails. As Purandare says, “I earnestly request the distinguished members of the committee, especially those who are from the premium institutes like IIT, IITM, IMD, CWC, MRSAC & MWRRA to give their honest, studied opinion in this matter.” https://sandrp.in/2020/06/06/maharashtra-upper-krishna-basin-flood-2019-vadnere-committee-2-a-report-with-difference/  (06 May 2020)  

Maharashtra Report on 2019 floods: Panel member alleges cover-up Excellent report by Lyla Bavadam in Frontline on the Wadnere report cover up and how Pradeep Purandare had to resign.  https://frontline.thehindu.com/the-nation/article31721774.ece  (05 June 2020)

DISASTERS

Assam 20 Dead In Landslides, Several Injured Among those dead are seven people in Cachar district, seven in Hailakandi district and 6 in Karimganj district, sources said. The dead are largely from three different districts of the Barak valley region in southern Assam. Dead include 3 women, 11 children, most are from three families. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/20-dead-in-landslides-in-south-assam-several-injured-2239288  (02 June 2020)

J&K Evolution of co-seismic landslides: 2005 Kashmir earthquake Dave Petley here says that Oct 2005 earthquake in Kashmiar (Pakistan and India) lead to increased landslides. It took 13 years for the annual landslide rate to come back to pre earthquake level.  https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2020/06/02/kashmir-earthquake-landslide-evolution/  (02 June 2020)

ENVIRONMENT

Interview Green approval given online are a mockery Projects are getting environmental clearances online. Discussion, debates, public hearings and site visits are being given the go-by, says Ravi Chellam in a revealing interview.  https://www.civilsocietyonline.com/interviews/green-approvals-given-online-are-a-mockery-of-the-system/  (28 May 2020)

Maharashtra Licence for mining in green zone renewed: RTI The Bombay HC in 2013, based on 2011 petition by Awaaz Foundation, had directed the Union environment ministry and state government to ensure that the corridor is protected as an ecologically-sensitive area (ESA), where mining and red-category industries are prohibited and need to be phased out. The HC had reiterated its order in 2018, based on Vanashakti’s petition in 2016, declaring the entire belt as a ‘no tree-felling zone’. Based on the HC order, the forest department had recently approved a study worth ₹83 lakh, directing the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, to assess the exact boundaries of the ESA and analyse the presence of tiger and elephant movements.

-According to the RTI response, MPCB has issued the consent to renew operations to handle 7.5 lakh metric tonnes of iron ore for a year till March 31, 2021, across the 32.25-hectare (ha) area at Kalne, falling in Dodamarg taluka of Sindhudurg district. The area forms a part of the corridor that connects the Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary in Kolhapur to Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/despite-hc-s-order-licence-for-mining-in-green-zone-renewed-rti/story-22UBSKqEQyAwZKwhoFpZRM.html  (01 June 2020)

Online Petition Ban mining in Western Ghats Western Ghats as ecologically sensitive, a high-level panel has recommended that “destructive” activities such as mining, thermal power, major construction, and some hydel power projects should not be allowed there.

The Gadgil report had wanted the entire area of the Ghats to be graded into three levels of eco-sensitive zones, each of which would have different restrictions. It had faced uproar from State governments and industries which were alarmed by the curbs on development in almost 70 per cent of the biodiverse range of mountains spanning six States. https://www.greenpeacex.in/petitions/ban-mining-in-western-ghats  

CLIMATE CHANGE

Cyclone Nisarga Why Mumbai facing 1st cyclone in June Unplanned urban development and destruction of mangrove forests have contributed to climate change, making cyclones more intense and frequent, according to researchers. Climate scientists say with a rapidly warming Indian Ocean, severe cyclones are projected to increase in number on both the east and west coast of India.

-Climate change is increasing the damage that cyclones like Nisarga and Amphan cause in several ways, like increasing sea surface temperatures that can make cyclones more powerful, increasing the rainfall intensity during the storm and rising sea levels, which increases the distance inland that storm surges reach.

– Roxy Mathew Koll, scientist with the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology and lead author of the IPCC Oceans and Cryosphere, said in the case of both the recent cyclones — Amphan and now Nisarga — the anomalously warm ocean temperatures are proving to give them a major boost. While temperatures in the Bay of Bengal were between 30-33 degrees Celsius prior to Amphan, surface temperatures over the Arabian Sea recorded 30-32 degrees prior to the depression which is now evolving as Cyclone Nisarga. Such high temperatures aid rapid intensification of these cyclonic systems, which many weather models fail to capture, he said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/why-mumbai-is-facing-its-first-cyclone-in-history/articleshow/76151123.cms  (02 June 2020)

Cyclones rise as climate change heats up Indian ocean -Like Nisarga and Amphan, a growing proportion of tropical cyclones develop quickly due to factors that are linked to climate change. The warm water of the Indian Ocean is one of the main factors driving this rapid intensification. This makes it difficult to provide early warnings of cyclones.

A satellite image showing temperature anomalies in north Indian Ocean on May 19, a day before Cyclone Amphan made landfall in eastern India. There was a variation of more than 2C on May 19 in the Bay of Bengal (Image by PODACC/NASA)
A satellite image showing temperature anomalies in north Indian Ocean on May 19, a day before Cyclone Amphan made landfall in eastern India. There was a variation of more than 2C on May 19 in the Bay of Bengal (Image by PODAAC/NASA)

-The number of storms that intensify rapidly just before landfall could increase substantially by the end of this century, leading to higher rates of injury and death, recent research shows.

-“Our research shows that high ocean temperatures are conducive for rapid intensification of cyclones in the north Indian Ocean,” Koll said. For example, some of the buoys in the Bay of Bengal registered maximum surface temperatures of 32-34 degrees Celsius consecutively for the first two weeks of May, he said. “These are record temperatures driven by climate change. These high temperatures can supercharge a cyclone since tropical cyclones primarily draw their energy from evaporation at the ocean surface.” https://indiaclimatedialogue.net/2020/06/05/cyclones-rise-as-climate-change-heats-up-indian-ocean/  (05 June 2020)

USA Climate Change Threatens Ancient Wild Rice Traditions of the Ojibwe The Ojibwe people of modern-day Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin have for 1,000 years adhered to a spiritual prophecy to live “where food grows on the water.”

That food is native wild rice, or “manoomin” in the Anishinaabe language of the Ojibwe.

But with an increasingly unpredictable climate across the “Five Freshwater Seas,” as the Great Lakes are known, the Ojibwe’s ancient wild rice traditions are being undermined. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/climate-change-threatens-the-ancient-wild-rice-traditions-of-the-ojibwe/  (01 June 2020)

SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan Legal expert warns about Diamer-Bhasha dam’s impact on climate change Meanwhile, warning the impact of the dam on climate change, Fazila Amber, Advocate of High Court Pakistan, wrote in his Op-ed in Daily Times: “Water storage worsens the impact of climate change by releasing greenhouse gases, depriving ecosystems of nutrients, destroying habitats, increasing sea levels, wasting water, and displacing poor communities. If poorly maintained, it increases flood risk endangering lives and putting a significant financial strain on local governments and industry”.  https://www.indiablooms.com/world-details/SA/24476/pakistani-legal-expert-warns-about-diamer-bhasha-dam-s-impact-on-climate-change.html  (01 June 2020)

China to construct 1,124 Mw power project in PoK China under the multi-billion-dollar CPEC will set up a 1,124-megawatt power project on Jhelum River in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir despite India’s objection to it, according to a media report on Tuesday (June 2, 2020). The details of the USD 2.4 B Kohala hydropower project was presented in the 127th meeting of the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) chaired by Energy Minister Omar Ayub on Monday. The Express Tribune reported that the meeting was informed that a tripartite agreement has been finalised among China’s Three Gorges Corporation, the authorities in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and the PPIB to implement the 1,124-megawatt Kohala hydroelectric power project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework.  https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/business/china-to-construct-1124-megawatt-power-project-in-pok-under-cpec/articleshow/76153010.cms  (02 June 2020)

Nepal Covid-19 threatens to plunge power sector back into dark ages Strange Title! Some interesting facts:

– About 1,000 megawatts (MW) from 50 new power plants was due to be added to the system this year alone . But this was before the Covid-19 pandemic hit Nepal. “It has now dropped to about 355 MW,” said Prabal Adhikari, a spokesperson at the NEA. Power demand across the country has dropped to 15 million units per day from 21 million units before the lockdown.

– Since March, two small power plants with a generation capacity of 8 MW have shut down due to lack of spare parts as supply chains have been disrupted. “It has also become impossible to dispatch technicians due to the lockdown. Many more power plants may shut down soon,” said Surya Prasad Adhikari, executive chairman of Barahi Hydropower.

– In the next few years, 131 hydropower projects with generation capacity of 2,490 MW will be added to the national grid. There is currently about 7,000 MW worth of electricity projects under construction or in the pipeline about to achieve financial closure. The private sector, which contributes nearly half of the country’s energy supply, is unhappy with the government.

– The question is whether Nepal will be able to sell electricity in the competitive Indian market, where energy costs are lower. In March, electricity rates per unit in India fell to about INR 2.49 (USD 0.033) due to low demand caused by the lockdown. The current rate in Nepal is more than INR 5 (USD 0.066) in the wet season, when Nepal has more energy to sell due to the fast-flowing rivers. https://www.thethirdpole.net/2020/06/04/covid-19-threatens-to-plunge-nepals-power-sector-back-into-dark-ages/  (04 June 2020)

Myanmar Recent evolution of Irrawaddy Delta & impacts of anthropogenic activities: A review and remote sensing survey With the help of Landsat images recorded over the past 44 years and the published literature, this study provides a comprehensive survey and review of the evolution of the entire Irrawaddy Delta, including its distributary channels and frontal areas. Overall, the delta’s front accreted with an average shoreline change rate of 10.4 m/year from 1974 to 2018, whereas 42% of its shoreline was subject to erosion. The holistic data contain significant regional differences in the average figures. Most of the western coastline area was subjected to erosion, and only the Yangon lobe accreted prominently. However, the changes in shoreline and area did not exhibit significant trends within the delta. Notably, however, the Irrawaddy mainstream has become less braided and some tributaries have become increasingly straightened in the Lower Basin since 1974.

Fig. 1

This finding suggests that dam construction and sediment extraction most likely have caused an effective reduction of the sediment supply and alterations to the hydrological regime, although deforestation and terrestrial mining also contributed considerable amounts of fine sediment. The channel’s geomorphology has undergone evident adjustments within the delta region, thereby implying that the diversions of water and sediment into the distributaries are likely to have changed. At the same time, the rising sea level has led to increasing ocean dynamics. Consequently, the delta’s current equilibrium state will, in all probability, be disturbed in the near future. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169555X20302038  (15 September 2020)

CHINA

Can Shanghai’s New Law Save the Endangered Chinese Sturgeon? Shanghai is enacting a law to protect the critically endangered Chinese sturgeon, marking the first time a provincial-level region has passed legislation to safeguard a single species.

The regulation, which goes into effect on June 6, bans the production, sale, transport, and advertisement of Chinese sturgeon, and prohibits people from consuming the fish or related products. It also calls for greater regional protection of the species and suggests that conservation officials could face criminal charges if found to be negligent in their duties.

Chinese sturgeon are said to have lived in the Yangtze River for as long as 140 million years, even outliving most species from the time of the dinosaurs, according to Zhuang Ping, director of the East China Sea Fisheries Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences. However, the sturgeon expert said the large fish is now on the verge of extinction.

Can Shanghai's New Law Save the Endangered Chinese Sturgeon?
Image source: Sixth Tone 

The Chinese sturgeon is listed as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and is protected under China’s national wildlife law. But human activities such as dam building, pollution, and climate change have resulted in the drastic decline of its wild population — from thousands in the 1980s to hundreds in the 2010s.

“Due to increased development in the Yangtze River estuary of Shanghai, the ecological environment has changed significantly, resulting in a shortage of food resources (for Chinese sturgeon),” Zhuang told Sixth Tone, adding that a dam has also blocked the species’ spawning grounds in the upper reaches of the Yangtze.

After spawning, young sturgeon migrate to the ocean to mature, and Shanghai, where the river meets the sea, is a critical passage for the migratory fish. But Zhuang estimated that there are only a handful of Chinese sturgeon — no more than 10 — laying eggs every year.

“The scale of the spawning area has been greatly reduced,” Zhuang said. “They don’t spawn continuously every year, which is a very bad sign.”

In December 2019, scientists at the Yangtze River Fisheries Research Institute declared that the near extinction of the giant Chinese paddlefish was the result of overfishing and fragmentation of their habitat, and called for urgent action.  http://www.sixthtone.com/news/1005766/can-shanghais-new-law-save-the-endangered-chinese-sturgeon%3F  (05 June 2020)

ASIA

Russia Arctic river will take decades to recover from fuel spill: official State fishing agency said on June 2 an Arctic river would need decades to recover after 20,000 tonnes of oil products spilled out of a power station in the industrial city of Norilsk last week.

A fuel tank at the power station lost pressure on May 29 and leaked out fuel and lubricants, causing a fire and spreading across an area of 350 square metres, the Investigative Committee, a law enforcement agency, said.

The spill leaked into the river Ambarnaya, something that Dmitry Klokov, a spokesman for the Rosrybolovstvo state fishing agency, described as an ecological catastrophe. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/arctic-river-fuel-spill-recovery-1.5595203  (02 June 2020)

-Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has declared a state of emergency after 20,000 tonnes of diesel oil leaked into a river within the Arctic Circle. The spill happened when a fuel tank at a power plant near the Siberian city of Norilsk collapsed on June 05. The power plant’s director Vyacheslav Starostin has been taken into custody until 31 July, but not yet charged. The plant is owned by a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel, which is the world’s leading nickel and palladium producer. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-52915807  (04 June 2020)

Nickel mine blamed as Russian river turns blood red A small river in the northern part of Siberia has turned blood red, raising the eyebrows of the local citizens and infuriating environment activists.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/daldykan-river-siberia-russia-red-1.3753659  (09 Sept 2016)

Russian hydropower construction spreads COVID-19 in Karelia A large outbreak of coronavirus was detected in Karelia, at the construction site of the Beloporozhskaya hydropower station, with number of COVID-positive patients hospitalized from the construction site coming to 79 by the morning of June 4. Two months ago Eugene Simonov –international coordinator of the Rivers without Boundaries coalition published a warning to Karelia authorities insisting that precautions should be taken and construction should not be rushed to meet deadlines, unless the authorities want to risk of developing a COVID hotspot.  Hydropower construction was rushed to launch the plant by centennial anniversary of Karelia Republic and coronavirus arrived as predicted.  http://www.transrivers.org/2020/3089/  (04 June 2020)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Brazil Communities ‘River of Unity’ tested by dams, climate change The Pixaim Quilombo is one of many traditional communities made up mostly of Afro-Brazilian descendants of runaway slaves. It sits at the mouth of the São Francisco River, one of Brazil’s most important waterways.

The Sobradinho reservoir. Water storage by the watershed’s many dams has greatly reduced flow and ended seasonal pulses that many fisheries species relied on. Photo credit: NASA Johnson on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC. 

Once a thriving community, it has been struggling for decades due to the impacts of upriver dams which reduce the river’s flow and alter aquatic migrations. As a result, one of the community’s two chief livelihoods has been sharply curtailed — the river’s fishery is in steep decline.

Now, climate change threatens to make those struggles even greater, further changing fish populations, reducing river flow even more, and dangerously elevating the salinity of the stream as seawater intrudes. Rice, which once provided Paixim’s second major livelihood, can no longer be grown in the delta’s saltier marshes.

Pixaim is seeing a major outmigration as subsistence livelihoods becomes more difficult. Residents there count among 18 million people residing in the São Francisco River watershed, impacted by a steadily dwindling water resource.  https://news.mongabay.com/2020/06/communities-on-brazils-river-of-unity-tested-by-dams-climate-change/  (02 June 2020)

USA Old dams under stress As dams age, maintenance costs rise. The average age of U.S. dams is 56 years, and seven in 10 will be over 50 by 2025. The American Society of Civil Engineers classifies 14% of the nation’s 15,500 high hazard potential dams – those whose failure would cause loss of human life and significant property destruction—as deficient in their maintenance status, requiring a total investment of US$45 billion to repair.

Like the failed Michigan dams, which were built in 1924, older dams may pose growing risks. Downstream communities can grow beyond thresholds that determined the dams’ original safety standards. And climate change is increasing the size and frequency of floods in many parts of the U.S.

These factors converged in 2017, when intense rainfall stressed the Oroville Dam in Northern California, the nation’s tallest dam. Although the main dam held, two of its emergency spillways—structures designed to release excess water—failed, triggering evacuations of nearly 200,000 people. https://phys.org/news/2020-05-problems-people-nature.html  (09 May 2020)

 

Australia Clouds become water entitlements in ad hoc river plan, paper finds “The credit rule is essentially allocating clouds – water that hasn’t even fallen in the catchment yet,” said Celine Steinfeld, lead author of the paper published in the Journal of Hydrology. “It was clear that water in the Macquarie had been overallocated.”

The Macquarie was treated as a “credit” river, with allocations based on historic records of rainfall and run-off into the main Burrendong dam. During the recent drought, the river’s water-sharing plan was suspended.

For rivers such as the Macquarie, “if you start to get into a dry period that’s not expected, you’re in trouble”.

“This is the most pernicious part of it because we’re getting more dry periods,” with climate change, he said.

Policymakers then rush to “drought-proof” the rivers. The NSW government is examining a plan for a new weir near Narromine that would likely degrade the Macquarie Marshes further, and looking at raising the Wyangala Dam wall on the Lachlan.

“Taxpayers pay for building these dams and upkeep and maintenance,” Professor Kingsford said. “[And] once again, the environment and the people downstream have to pay the price of risky water management.” https://www.smh.com.au/environment/sustainability/clouds-become-water-entitlements-in-ad-hoc-river-plan-paper-finds-20200605-p54zut.html  (06 June 020)

Oysters brought in to restore a river! Billion Oyster Project and Brooklyn-based developer Two Trees Management have teamed up to implement Oyster Research Stations at Domino Park and River Street to clean, restore, and protect the local ecosystem. On June 2, the organization welcomed over 1,000 juvenile oysters to the Williamsburg waterfront reefs at Domino Park. The Billion Oyster Project, along with local school and community groups, will monitor the oysters’ health, keeping tabs on water quality and associated marine organisms that are attracted to the cage. https://brooklyneagle.com/articles/2020/06/03/billion-oyster-project-brings-over-1000-juvenile-oysters-to-domino-park-waterfront/  (03 June 2020)

Study Rivers help lock carbon from fires into oceans for thousands of years -The study, published today in Nature Communications, calculates how much burned carbon is being flushed out by rivers and locked up in the oceans.

-“We know that this burned carbon takes about 10 times longer to break down in the oceans than on land. Rivers are the conveyor belts that shift carbon from the land to the oceans, so they determine how long it takes for burned carbon to break down. So, we set out to estimate how much burned carbon reaches the oceans via rivers.”

-Based on a large dataset of 409 observations from 78 rivers around the world, the researchers analysed how the burned fraction of dissolved carbon in rivers varies at different latitudes and in different ecosystems. They then upscaled their findings to estimate that 18 million tonnes of dissolved burned carbon are transported annually by rivers. When combined with the burned carbon that is exported with sediments, the estimate rises to 43 million tonnes of burned carbon per year. https://phys.org/news/2020-06-rivers-carbon-oceans-thousands-years.html  (03 June 2020)

Report Enthusiasm But Obstacles in Using Sewage to Monitor Coronavirus Health departments and researchers in hundreds of cities worldwide are turning to sewage to better understand the spread of the new coronavirus in their communities. This is an option because people infected with SARS-CoV-2 shed virus particles in their stool. Generally these are non-infectious strands of genetic material rather than active viruses, but the information is useful nonetheless. A group of leading wastewater scientists argued in the journal Science of the Total Environment that standardized methods are needed. The science is still not fully developed.   https://www.circleofblue.org/2020/world/enthusiasm-but-obstacles-in-using-sewage-to-monitor-coronavirus/  (04 June 2020)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 01 June 2020 & DRP News Bulletin 25 May 2020

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

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