Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 22 June 2020: Seven years after Uttarakhand Disaster: Any lessons learnt?

This past week we just completed seven years since the worst ever flood disaster in Himalayas, the Uttarakhand-Himachal Flood disaster that got launched with the massive unseasonal rainfall during June 15-17, 2013, along with the Glacial Lake Outburst Flood from Chorabari glacier upstream from Kedarnath. It was a massive wake up call.

To briefly recall, that unprecedented rainfall occurred when monsoon had not even set in Uttarakhand and neighbouring Himachal Pradesh. The first thing that strikes about this disaster where by official accounts over 6000 people died and by unofficial accounts over 20 000, is that we do not even have a comprehensive report from the government about this disaster. It would have told us a lot of things, including what we can learn from this disaster.

Second big thing that strikes is that big dams and hydropower projects, both due to their construction and operation impacts, both completed and under construction projects played a big role, as brief SANDRP video films in English and Hindi shows. But we continue to play with the Himalayas, the Ganga and lives of the lakhs of people by pushing more dams and such destructive activities (e.g. Char Dham Highways) in the fragile mountains without even honest impact assessments.

Thirdly, we continue to push massive projects that would make huge contributions to climate change. The recent coal mining activities that no one really needs or the completely unviable and unwanted hydropower and dams projects that the Prime Minister’s office pushes, like Athirapally, Bodhghat, Cauvery (Mekedatu), Dibang, Etalin, to name a few. All this in the name of short term flogging of the economic growth, but as past records show even that won’t be really achieved.

Fourthly, as we see the onset of monsoon this month through most of the nation, the remaining parts expected to cover before the end of the month, what strikes one is the business as usual approach in terms of preparedness and disaster management plans or programs. The big reservoirs monitored by Central Water Commission had unprecedentedly high storage, even before the monsoon starts. With dam induced floods happening every year with increasing frequency and intensity, the high storages are major risk for dam induced disasters. Shockingly, the big dam lobby at the Central Water Commission or Ministry of Water Resources refuses to accept even the existence of dam induced floods.

Lastly, but most significantly, the Government this week came out with a report “Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region: A report of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Government of India”, that does not mention the Uttarakhand Flood Disaster as an example of anthropogenic climate Change impact, nor does it talk about lessons that we need to learn from such events. This when a number of international agencies have concluded that there is role of anthropogenic climate change in the Uttarakhand disaster. To illustrate, University of Utah (USA) has concluded in in its study that: “In addition, a regional modeling diagnosis attributed 60-90% of rainfall amounts in the June 2013 event to post-1980 climate trends.”

Its tragic that we do not see almost any footprint of the lessons that we may have learnt from this massive unprecedented disaster. The Uttarakhand citizens used to jokingly say soon after the disaster that this is only trailer, “Picture abhi Baaki hai, dosto!” One only hopes that picture never gets released.

SANDRP blog hits cross three million today, June 18, 2020!

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SANDRP Blog MoWR report on “Assessment of E-Flows” is welcome, needs urgent implementation. https://sandrp.in/2015/04/15/mowr-report-on-assessment-of-e-flows-is-welcome-needs-urgent-implementation/  (15 April 2015)

Also see, CEA’s new report on Optimal Generation Capacity Mix for 2029-30 has been published: http://cea.nic.in/reports/others/planning/irp/Optimal_mix_report_2029-30_FINAL.pdf

Report Risky Business of Large Hydropower Dams As of 2020, delays in hydropower projects have cost the project proponents overruns up to ₹53,739 crores. Some of the dam projects have extended to as much as 148% of its initial costs. Despite this, the government is encouraging private and state developers to meet India’s hydropower potential by offering various financial incentives. Is there really a demand for hydropower projects? What makes hydropower such a risky business?  https://thebastion.co.in/politics-and/environment/renewable-energy/the-risky-business-of-large-hydropower-dams/  (17 June 2020)

Return of mega hydropower projects “There are a series of such projects, which are stuck from years, and are getting the push from various governments now. Besides Athirapally, Bodhghat, Cauvery (Mekedatu), there is Dibang multipurpose project & Etalin Hydro project in Arunachal Pradesh, Teesta-6 project in Sikkim, a couple of them destroyed in 2013 floods in Uttarakhand. The Teesta project was constructed halfway already but was abandoned by Lanco and now it was bought by state-controlled NHPC. This is nothing but old wine in a new bottle. It is unfortunate such unviable projects are being pushed especially when there are better alternatives available,” Thakkar told Mongabay-India. https://india.mongabay.com/2020/06/the-return-of-the-mega-hydropower-projects-across-india/  (17 June 2020)

Kerala Controversy Returns to Athirappilly In the face of criticism, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan told journalists in an interaction that there is no decision to take the project forward as of now. Terming the NOC as a routine procedure, he said the project is on hold.

-In a statement in Thiruvananthapuram, Ramesh Chennithala has made it clear that the opposition in the state would not allow the government to implement the project. “We are quite aware of the environmental and livelihood concerns. The state needs effective flood management plans than new dams,’’ he said.

-Binoy Viswam, who always stood against the project, had asserted that the project would not be implemented in Athirappilly as the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) leadership had earlier decided to abandon the project keeping in view of the human and environmental costs involved. “The new developments are purely bureaucratic. Officials with no concern for the environment are behind the fresh move. If implemented, the project would be an environmental disaster. Financially also, it’s unviable,’’ he added.

More dams? According to top sources in the KSEB, the aim of the board is not just materialising the Athirappilly project but also the establishment of two more dams in the same river – the Chalakudy-Sholayar tail-race and Peringalkuthu Right Bank. They will be located upstream of the proposed Athirappilly dam in the river, which already has six reservoirs impounded in the basin.

If implemented, Peringalkuthu Right Bank scheme will cause submergence of hundreds of hectares of forest land forming part of the buffer zone of Parambukkulam Tiger Reserve. The Sholayar tail-race project aims at utilising the tail-race discharge from the Sholayar Powerhouse, spill from the Sholayar dam and the seasonal rainfall.

“The board is claiming that the new dams would prevent floods. It is a sheer misconception that dams can stop floods,” said Ravi, who elaborated on the heavy floods, that occurred in the Periyar river basin in 2018 despite the presence of major large-capacity dams. https://science.thewire.in/environment/kerala-athirappilly-hydel-project-proposal/  (17 June 2020)

-After the political uproar, Power Minister M M Mani clarified the issuance of no-objection certificate for the project was a routine affair and it will be implemented only if there’s a consensus. What he must understand is that a political consensus, even if the government manages one, cannot negate the ecological cost of the project. The government must listen to the advice of experts and the fervent pleas of its people, and abandon the plan once for all. Kerala needs projects that satisfy the rules of sustainable development, not those that will damage its fragile well-being.

-The Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel, headed by environmentalist Madhav Gadgil, had specifically mentioned in its report that the hydel project was undesirable. Gadgil is of the opinion that the project is also financially unviable as there won’t be enough water to generate electricity. Besides, the 23-metre-high dam across the Chalakudy river will be built upstream of the famous Athirappilly waterfalls, and there’s an apprehension that the tourist attraction could lose some of its charm. https://www.newindianexpress.com/opinions/editorials/2020/jun/12/athirappilly-hydel-project-keralas-new-dam-project-is-unwanted-and-untimely-2155499.html  (12 June 2020)

KSEB proposal to control flooding of Chalakudy basin:- The KSEB had proposed to construct a dam with a capacity of 200 MCM at Poringalkuthu to contain floodwaters released from upstream dams. Another proposal was to deepen the 7-km long canal from Vachumaram to Idamalayar dam so that floodwaters could be diverted to Idamalayar, which has a storage capacity of 1,000 MCM. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2020/jun/11/chalakudy-needs-flood-mitigation-not-dams-2154943.html  (11 June 2020)

Arunachal Pradesh Kameng HEP’s 1st unit commercially operational NTPC on June 17 said the first 150 MW unit of its Kameng hydropower project is commercially operational. The remaining three units of 150 MW each, totalling 450 MW power generation capacity of the plant, are expected to be commercially operational within this fiscal year in a staggered manner. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/ntpc-kameng-projects-first-150-mw-unit-commercially-operational/76435902  (18 June 2020)

Gujarat Riverbed powerhouse resumes operation The Riverbed Powerhouse (RBPH), located underground the Sardar Sarovar Narmada dam in Kevadia Colony in Narmada district has resumed operations after the water level in the dam reached 128 metres June 17 with a live storage of 2,700 MCM, due to the steady inflow from Madhya Pradesh, which generates hydro power at its Indirasagar and Omkareshwar dams on the upstream of Narmada. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/narmada-dam-water-level-reaches-128-m-riverbed-powerhouse-resumes-operation-6464257/  (18 June 2020)

MoEF Agenda of Meeting of Expert Appraisal Committee for River Valley Projects to be held on June 24, 2020:

  1. Dugar Hydroelectric Project (449 MW) in Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh, NHPC Ltd – ToR
  2. Integrated Kashang HEP (243 MW) in the district Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh by HP Power Corp Ltd. FOR: Extension of validity of EC.
  3. Brutang Irrigation Project in Village- Manjari, Tehsil- Daspalla, DistNayagarh, Odisha – Regarding ToR
  4. Expansion of Tubachi – Bableshwar Lift Irrigation Scheme (CCA: 52,700 ha) in Bagalkot District of Karnataka by M/s Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd., FOR: Env Clearance. http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Agenda/19062020Q6M7UKSJ33AgendaRVP.pdf


Telangana Palamuru-Ranga Reddy project, cost escalated from Rs 32,500 cr to Rs 60, 000 cr: Congress The Congress has charged CM K Chandrasekhar Rao of intentionally not taking up works on Palamuru-Rangareddy lift irrigation scheme aimed at irrigating over 13 lakh acres in the districts of Mahbubnagar, Ranga Reddy and Nalgonda. The project completed 5 years since the foundation stone was laid on 11 June 2015. The TRS government has not even completed ten percent of works with nearly 4,000 acres of land acquisition still pending. The project cost has escalated from Rs 32,500 crore to Rs 60,000 crore as on date. The State government has spent about Rs 7,000 crore on the project in the last five years,” Vamshi Chand said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/telangana-govt-sitting-on-palamuru-ranga-reddy-project-cost-escalated-from-rs-32500-crore-to-rs-60000-crore-congress/articleshow/76407990.cms  (16 June 2020) 

Chhattisgarh Re-consider Bodhghat project, says BJP VERY INTERESTING to see BJP talking about environment! “Construction of a dam, proposed to be at a height of 90 metres, would lead to submergence of vast forest area, causing adverse impact on wildlife, flora and fauna and rich bio-diversity, which is exclusive for this region.”  https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/chhattisgarh-re-consider-bodhghat-project-says-bjp-citing-its-adverse-impact-on-environment-in-bastar/76502196  (22 June 2020)


Medigadda Barrage Maharashtra govt panel to probe issues The committee will also take up with the Telangana govt the issue of compensation for farmers in Sironcha (Dist Gadchiroli) whose lands were submerged as per Mah-Telangana agreement of 2016. The Nagpur divisional commissioner Dr Sanjeev Kumar will be heading the panel, along with collector of Gadchiroli district Deepak Singla, the Gondia district collector Dr Kadambari Balkawade, chief engineer of water resource, Nagpur, Superintending Engineer of Irrigation Project Investigation Board of Nagpur will be included as a members. While the member secretary of the panel will be the engineer of the Irrigation Project Board of Chandrapur.

– According to the term of reference, the panel would find out whether the provisions of the inter-state agreement between Maharashtra and Telangana have been breached. The state has also asked the panel to investigate whether Mantralaya had issued a No Objection Certificate (NOC) after submission of a report of the forest land that will be submerged (due to the project).  https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/150620/maharashtra-govt-panel-to-probe-issues-related-to-medigadda-barrage.html  (15 June 2020)

Krishna river water sharing dispute TPCC to take to people issue of AP diversion of Krishna water Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee has decided to take the issue of Andhra Pradesh plans to divert 8 TMC of Krishna water every day from Srisailam reservoir by explaining the huge blow it is going deal not only on the farmers in South Telangana but also for other sections. First meeting of the ‘Krishna Nadi Jalaala Parirakashana Committee’ (Krishna River Water Protection Committee) of the TPCC was held here on June 15, 2020.

– Speaking at the meeting Mr. Uttam Kumar Reddy said the plans of the AP government to increase the water drawal capacity of Pothireddypadu head regulator from the existing 44,000 cusecs to 80,000 cusecs and taking up Rayalaseema Lift Scheme to draw another 3 tmc ft water a day from Srisailam reservoir would result in deficiency in Krishna water availability to farmers and others depending on the river water for irrigation and drinking needs through the projects/canal systems based on water stored in Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar reservoirs.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/tpcc-to-take-to-people-issue-of-ap-diversion-of-krishna-water/article31834989.ece  (15 June 2020)

The Apex Council meeting called by the Union ministry of Jal Shakti with CMs of Telangana and AP, which was supposed to be held later this month, may not take place now. Official sources said both the govts are yet to send their agenda points to the Centre. Since the states have not responded, the Centre has not decided on any date for convening the meeting. A repeat of what happened in Jan 2020. Last apex council meeting happened in Sept 2017. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/apex-council-meeting-on-water-row-unlikely/articleshow/76452411.cms  (19 June 2020)

Andhra Pradesh Pumping of water begins at Pattiseema scheme The Water Resources Department started pumping 1,050 cusecs of Godavari River water by running three of the 24 pumps of the Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Scheme to the Krishna Delta on June 18, 2020. More pumps will be switched on as the flood in the Godavari River increases until the scheme pumped a maximum of 8,500 cusecs into the Polavaram Left Main Canal that carries water to the Krishna River upstream Prakasam Barrage.

– In the first year, the scheme lifted 4.20 tmcft using only four pumps that were operational in 2015. The 2016, all 24 pumps became operational and the scheme pumped 55.57 tmcft in 137 days. It managed to pump 151 tmcft in 2017 in just 161 days. The scheme worked for 165 days in 2018 pumping 96.4 tmcft. It pumped 42.99 tmcft in 90 days in 2019. The scheme utilised the maximum of 29,98,17,000 kilowatt hours of power to lift 151 tmcft in 2017 and 27,10,80,000 kilowatt hours of power to lift 96.4 tmcft in 2018. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/pumping-of-water-begins-at-pattiseema-scheme/article31863885.ece  (18 June 2020)


जलमार्गों पर पर्यावरण नियमों में संशोधन पड़ सकते हैं भारी चूंकि अंतर्देशीय जलमार्गो की परियोजनाएं अपने किस्म की पहली परियोजनाएं हैं, इसीलिए नदियों पर प्रस्तावित की गई इन सारी परियोजनाओं के लिए बेसलाइन अध्‍ययन सहित पूरी तरह से पर्यावरणीय प्रभावों के आकलन की विशेष जरुरत है। इसलिए जरुरी है कि ईआईए अधिसूचना 2020 में अंतर्देशीय जलमार्ग सम्बंधित सारी परियोजनाओं को प्रवर्ग–क में शामिल किया जाए, ताकि इनके पर्यावरणीय और सामाजिक प्रभावों का विस्तृत मूल्यांकन हो सके।

-जलमार्गों के सामाजिक और पर्यावरणीय विपरीत प्रभावितों के संदर्भ में इनके विकास और संचालन को समावेशी और टिकाऊ बनाने के लिए व्‍यापक जनविमर्श और जन सुनवाई अनिवार्य होना चाहिए। इसके अलावा केपिटल ड्रेजिंग की परिभाषा में नदियों में होने वाली ड्रेजिंग जोड़ना और रखरखाव ड्रेजिंग से सम्बंधित उपरोक्त प्रावधानों से मिली छूट को वापस लेना जरुरी है। https://www.downtoearth.org.in/hindistory/river/river-projects/the-draft-environment-impact-assessment-eia-notification-2020-and-inland-waterways-71803  (17 June 2020)


Odisha Govt gets only 1.2% of Centre’s aid While Odisha has the potential to bring more area under micro-irrigation scheme of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana to enhance water use efficiency, its coverage in last five years has been 29,134 ha. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment has made an allocation of Rs 45 crore for Odisha under Centrally sponsored ‘Per Drop More Crop’ component of PMKSY- PDMC for 2020-21, which is 1.2 % of the Central budget of Rs 3,445 crore under the scheme. States like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have cornered Rs 400 crore each. Achievement of Andhra Pradesh during the same period is over 7.43 lakh ha whereas, it is 9.25 lakh ha in Karnataka, 6.11 lakh ha in Tamil Nadu, 5.41 lakh ha in Maharashtra and 7 lakh ha in Gujarat. Even neighbouring Chhattisgarh could cover about 87,000 ha under the scheme. 8,500 ha was brought under micro-irrigation system in 2019-20 in the State while states like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh covered more than one lakh ha each during the same period.  https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bhubaneswar/2020/jun/16/odisha-gets-only-12-per-cent-of-centres-irrigation-aid-2157109.html  (16 June 2020)

Haryana Even after a month of augmentation canal breach incident in Karnal, affected villagers say govt has provided no compensation against damages to around 50 houses and crop losses to about 1000 acres of farmland. On the contrary, it is being said that under some colonial law, the irrigation department is working out amount to fine the farmers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuFuGt1TmSw  (21 June 2020)


Ulhas, MumbaiTextile finishing dye turns Ulhas River water turquoise’ Despite the SC being apprised of high pollution levels in Ulhas and Waldhuni rivers, untreated effluents continue to be discharged by industries in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). An inspection report submitted in SC by the environment group Vanashakti, on June 12 showed pollutant discharge at the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) area at Sonarpada, Dombivli, had turned the river water turquoise (see image) with foam.

Indutrial discharge turn Ulhas river water turquoise with foam
Indutrial discharge turn Ulhas river water turquoise with foam(Vanshakti)

-“Effluents are being discharged by industries at unauthorised locations entering stormwater drains and polluting a 1.5-km stretch of Ulhas. The violations are going unnoticed as there is the preferential treatment meted out to Dombivli MIDC textile and chemical industries,” said Stalin D, director, Vanashakti.

-In May, a section of Waldhuni river had turned red due to water pollution forcing MPCB to issue a ₹5 lakh penalty on the Badlapur wastewater treatment plant. Ulhas and Waldhuni are among 53 of the most polluted rivers from Maharashtra, highest for any state among 351 most polluted rivers in India, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Ulhas supplies drinking water to over 30 lakh residents of the Badlapur-Thane belt. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/textile-finishing-dye-turns-ulhas-river-water-turquoise/story-vPDfGlKIAQGNS0g5yRAHUO.html  (13 June 2020)

Hindon, Yamuna, NCR खादर में अवैध इमारत तोड़ने के आदेश सिंचाई विभाग ने गाजियाबाद, नोएडा और ग्रेटर नोएडा में हिंडन और यमुना नदी के खादर में बानी तमाम इमारतों को तत्काल प्रभाव से तोड़ने के आदेश जारी किया है।   https://tricitytoday.com/news/order-to-demolish-illegal-buildings-in-hindon-yamuna-khadar-of-ghaziabad-noida-and-greater-noida-9303.html  (15 June 2020)


Study The Pace of Human-Induced Change in Large Rivers: Stresses, Resilience, and Vulnerability to Extreme Events The world’s large rivers are changing fast. As home to over three billion people and harboring some of the planet’s most diverse ecosystems, large rivers are hotspots of resources, agriculture, trade, and energy production. Many large rivers flow through developing nations, where much of the population is vulnerable to environmental and ecological stresses. Especially in areas near the poverty boundary, both subsistence and cash elements of the economy tend to rely disproportionately on the ecosystem services associated with the water and nutrient fluxes delivered by large rivers to floodplains and deltas.

Figure thumbnail gr1

However, the demands posed by burgeoning population growth are placing unprecedented stresses on the world’s great rivers; without urgent interventions, some face ecosystem collapse in the coming decades. These anthropogenic stressors operate on a range of timescales, and we argue that their effects potentially amplify the risks posed by extreme climate events and thereby increase the likelihood that key resilience thresholds will be crossed.

Moreover, the strong link between ecosystem services and livelihoods (associated with the unifying nexus of water, energy, and food security) means that, along many large rivers (such as the Ganges, Mekong, and Nile), these stressors are inhibiting efforts to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. https://www.cell.com/one-earth/fulltext/S2590-3322(20)30257-8  (21 May 2020)

Goa River Sal gets new lease of life in lockdown The River Sal has been a source of dumping of untreated sewage water, waste water from the residential areas, industries, scrapyards, servicing centres etc, which gushes down into the blessed river and connected tributaries to it which led the water to lose its saltiness, disappearance of species, cause of water borne disease and the emitting foul smell which keep us far from our livelihood. -During the lockdown days, one could see in the certain areas of the river, water quality has improved. Flow of water has been considerably changed thus paving a new life for the living creatures. https://www.heraldgoa.in/Goa/Citizen-Herald/River-Sal-gets-new-lease-of-life-in-lockdown/161851  (15 June 2020)

Bihar Lockdown proves boon for waterbodies SPCB has already studied the impact of lockdown on the quality of Ganga river water near Patna and found that almost all the parameters indicating high level of pollution of the river have subsided during the lockdown period. After making a comparative analysis of the data collected before and during the lockdown period, it has been found that the amount of DO has increased considerably, while those of COD, BOD, TSS, TDS, TC and FC have reduced drastically during the lockdown, said BSPCB chairman Ashok Kumar Ghosh. “Since all major polluting industries situated in cities located on the banks of the Ganga were closed, the toxic load remained off the river. Besides, the amount of municipal and domestic wastes was also checked during the lockdown,” Ghosh added.

-Though routine groundwater level measurements of different observatory wells for the pre-monsoon period have not yet been completed by the state’s minor irrigation department or the CGWB owing to restrictions in the movement of field staff during the lockdown, the water level must have gone high this summer as compared to last year, assert CGWB scientists.

-Satellite data indicate that there are nearly 28,000 water bodies having an area above 0.5 hectare in the state. But, only 14% of them are perennial and the remaining smaller water bodies are seasonal. The lockdown has had a positive impact on all these water bodies and they are likely to contribute to the sustainable water resource development in near future, said Geological Survey of India retired director N Dayal. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/lockdown-proves-a-boon-for-water-bodies-in-state/articleshow/76374308.cms  (15 June 2020)

Himachal Pradesh NGT orders 5 Baddi textile units to stop operations NGT on June 18 has directed 5 textile industries based in the Baddi industrial area to stop their operations with immediate effect until conduits carrying their effluents to the CETP were made functional. The case pertains to pollution in the Balad river in Baddi due to leakage in the CETP.

-The units were directed to resume operations only when their in-house effluent treatment plants start functioning satisfactorily; the State Pollution Control Board would monitor the performance of the treatment plants every month. Aditya Negi, Member Secretary, SPCB, said that these textile industries would be issued notices to comply with the NGT orders.  https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/ngt-orders-5-baddi-textile-units-to-stop-operations-101739  (20 June 2020)

NARMADA Madhya Pradesh Cultural Geographies of River at Mandla Sneha Khulge vividly shares cultural heritage experiences gained through Narmada river walks in Mandla:

-Mandla and its riverscape has evolved over various eras, to give it the identity that it holds today. The dependency of the settlements on the river is quite intricate and complex. Communities have evolved, survived over the years and the river has been a perpetual spectator to the changing times. Settlements rooted themselves into these river banks, water being the significant community resource. Forts, temple complexes, pilgrim sites, spaces of worship, ghats and palaces form an integral part of the riverscape, and unfold the story of the city.

Image source: Veditum India

With every layer that annexed the existing fabric, the riverscape negotiated spaces to accommodate and adapt to the influences. The activities, rituals, customs and traditions revolving around the river are often camouflaged under the guise of the sacredness of the river. However, they are highly governed by the social, political and economic factors. Through history, rivers being an important resource have always faced issues of social access and discrimination, protests, boundary disputes, conflicts over development and community displacement. River becomes a central space for segregation, congregation, celebration, demonstration, subsistence, recreation and relaxation. http://www.veditum.org/urban/cultural-geographies-of-river-narmada-at-mandla/  (17 June 2020)

GANGA Uttarakhand Binnu a second order stream of Ramganga river and one of free flowing streams in Thailisain block of Pouri Garhwal. It emerges from Dudhatoli forest range along with East & West Nayaar & joins Ramganga system. Video by Vivekanand Kala.  https://www.facebook.com/sandrp.in/videos/675034386385989/?t=0   (19 June 2020)

Last year on June 23, 2019 a flash flood spell in Binnu stream following a cloud burst like incident in Chauthan had taken Deghat residents by surprise. https://sandrp.in/2019/06/26/cloud-burst-in-chouthan-no-rain-says-disaster-control-room-pouri-garhwal/  (26 June 2019)

Uttar Pradesh 

YAMUNA Uttarakhand Mesmerizing view of Yamuna river at Katapathar hills taken by Nishant Panawr on June 15, 2020.

Haryana All bleaching units in Panipat unregistered: RTI report All the 150-200 bleaching units in Panipat are unregistered, reveals RTI reply from Haryana Pollution Board. It also reveals that out of some 20 000 industrial units in the district, 523 have consent to operate.

– HSPCB has poor defence: Shailender Arora, regional officer, HSPCB, said, “We sealed 13 illegal units this year. This is a continuous process,” he added. Another officer said that Rs 6 lakh fine has been imposed on 3 units in 2019-20. In all 62 units have been sealed in last five years, it was claimed. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/all-bleaching-units-in-panipat-unregistered-reveals-rti-report-100977  (19 June 2020)

Some action claimed following above report, but its effectiveness is seriously doubtful since there is no real will or independent committee working on this. Its impossible that the powers that be did not know about the existence of these units. So they may go through the motions of taking some action. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/panel-set-up-to-take-action-against-illegal-bleaching-units-in-panipat-101501  (20 June 2020)



West Bengal State expects big Hilsa harvest As pollution in the river Ganga and its tributaries is less this year because of the lockdown, it could attract schools of Hilsa to migrate upstream to breed.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/with-cleaner-rivers-after-lockdown-bengal-expects-big-hilsa-harvest/story-oLX7JuorYlqSto6hIgrzfI.html  (16 June 2020)


SANDRP Blog Andhra Pradesh Riverbed Mining 2020: Quicksand of mismanagement In 2019 overview, we saw the state of Andhra Pradesh experiencing all the key problems associated with sand mining; growing demand and prices, inadequate supply, illegal excavation affecting rivers and villagers and inactive govt bodies. Reports revealed Krishna and Vamasdhara rivers facing large scale mechanized mining while indiscriminate mining in Nagavali river affecting drinking water schemes in Regidi mandal. Srikakulam district and beaches particularly suffered.

Andhra Pradesh Sand Scarcity
This cartoon in The Hindu by Surendra highlights the problem of Andhra Pradesh sand scarcity. (31 Oct. 2019) https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/cartoon/cartoonscape-october-31-2019/article29834931.ece

There were reports showing political parties involved or facilitating illegal mining. Like other states, the Andhra govt was seen rallying on technological solutions to manage the mining. The following overview since then show a whole range of developments. Unsustainable excavation of riverbed minerals & mismanagement show no end. https://sandrp.in/2020/06/19/andhra-pradesh-riverbed-mining-2020-quicksand-of-mismanagement/  (19 June 2020)

Telangana Riverbed Mining 2020: Tribals, Godavari robbed In 2019 overview, we found at least three people had died in Telangana due to illegal sand mining related incidents amid growing number of cases of illicit excavation of riverbeds. The state govt was seen laying stress on technological solutions to curb illegal sand mining and even reportedly had taken significant steps towards manufacturing and use of M-sand as a viable alternative, while its viability and impacts on environment during production remain to be fully studied and understood. https://sandrp.in/2020/06/21/telangana-riverbed-mining-2020-tribals-godavari-robbed/  (21 June 2020)

Telangana Illegal sand mining rampant under guise of supply for KLIP Illegal sand mining on the pretext of transporting it for Mallannasagar project is dealing a serious dent to the State exchequer and harming the environment in the catchment areas of Moyathummeda rivulet in Bejjanki mandal. On the pretext of transporting sand to Kaleshwaram project, the sand mafia is reportedly moving sand illegally to the real estate ventures in Hyderabad and Karimnagar. Though villagers are up in arms against the illegal transportation of sand, the ‘sand mafia’ is threatening to kill them under the speeding wheels of tractors and trucks.

-Already, the sand mafia completed lifting sand from Gagillapur village and presently sand is being transported from Devakkapalli and Thotapalli villages. Every day hundreds of huge trucks and tractors transport the sand illegally from the rivulet in collusion with the local representatives, police and revenue officials. Several hundreds of trucks and tractors are seen waiting in serpentine queues adjoining Rajiv Rahadhari near Thotapally to load the sand and transport it illegally to Hyderabad, Siddipet and Karimnagar.

-Janardhan Reddy, a villager from Bejjanki mandal, said that they were scared of stopping illegal sand mining in the Moyathummeda rivulet as the sand mafia was in collusion with the authorities concerned. “The online booking of sand is a farce as the sand mafia is supplying the material at the doorsteps of the realtors. In the wake of monsoons the sand is being stored at various locations and dumps illegally in Karimnagar town and other places,” he alleged. Ironically, it is being done right in front of the LMD police station on Rajiv Rahadhari in Thimmapur mandal, said Bhaskar Reddy. The government is losing several crores of rupees through illegal sand mining in the region, he added. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/illegal-sand-mining-rampant-under-guise-of-supply-for-klip/article31845897.ece  (16 June 2020)

Rajasthan Another village youth killed by vehicle involved in illegal sand mining in Bhilwara अवैध रेत के वाहनों से आम जनता की जान जा रही है. पुलिस और प्रशासन इनको रोक पाने में नाकाम है. मामला माण्डल थाना इलाके के आरजिया गांव का है, जहां पर अवैध रेत के ट्रेक्टर ने एक बाईक को टक्कर मार दी. घटना में एक 17 वर्षीय छात्र की मौत हो गई. भीलवाड़ा में गत दिनों बजरी माफियाओं ने पहले एसडीएम के चालक की जान ली. फिर नायब तहसीलदार व टीम को कुचलने का प्रयास किया और आज बाइक सवार एक किशोर को कुचल दिया.  https://zeenews.india.com/hindi/india/rajasthan/mining-mafia-has-tremendous-dominance-police-and-administration-failed-to-stop/694433  (11 June 2020)

Uttarakhand In this mesmerising video clip Nishant Panwar shows impact of excessive minining on River Yamuna flowing pattern upstream Dak Pathar Barrage in Vikas Nagar. The upstream mining and Vyasi HEP on one hand have been increasing silt loads in Dak Patar and Asan Barrage on the other hand these rampant mining activities downstream stretch and use of Dakpathar barrage road to transport RBM through heavy vehicles have been undermining structural safety of the barrage .   https://www.facebook.com/sandrp.in/videos/1047227465679114/?t=0  (15 June 2020)

Uttar Pradesh Despite monsoon ban period sand mining continues in Yamuna river at Mamor area, Kairana in Shamli district. DM is not aware of prohibition on mining activities during monsoon.  https://rashtriyajungtimes.page/article/kairaana-maamaur-mein-taak-par-niyam-kaayade-yamuna-par-asthaayee-pul-baandhakar-kiya-ja-raha-khanan/dHf7Xj.html  (16 June 2020)

यमुना खादर के मामौर में खनन माफियाओं ने तमाम नियम-कायदों को दरकिनार कर यमुना नदी पर अस्थायी पुल बांध दिया है। इतना ही नहीं, प्रतिबंधित मशीनों से जलधारा के बीच से रेत निकालकर यमुना में कुंड बनाए जा रहे हैं, जिसके चलते यमुना की धार भी मोड दी गई है। इससे बरसात के मौसम में बाढ़ की आशंका बढ़ गई है। https://www.livehindustan.com/uttar-pradesh/shamli/story-mining-mafia-turned-yamuna-39-s-edge-in-mamaur-3283791.html  (15 June 2020)

सहारनपुर में यमुना नदी को अवैध खनन से बचाने के लिए अब प्रशासन ने बरथा जोन में पीएसी तैनात कर दी है। शनिवार को डीएम अखिलेश सिंह ने यमुना नदी में अवैध खनन के हालात देखने के बाद यह निर्णय लिया गया था। गौरतलब है कि यमुना नदी में रात दिन अवैध खनन चल रहा था। एसडीएम स्तर से इसे रोकने की कवायद की गई, लेकिन हरियाणा से आने वाले खनन माफिया अपनी जेसीबी आदि मशीनों से अवैध खनन करते रहे।  https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/saharanpur-pac-deployed-to-stop-illegal-mining-in-yamuna-river-20396218.html  (15 June 2020)

Punjab Teachers Deployed To Stop Illegal Sand Mining Around 40 govt teachers will now guard prominent checkpoints of Phagwara in Kapurthala district between 9 pm and 1 am to stop illegal sand mining in the area, the state government said in an order. This order comes a month after the state revoked a similar order that deployed 24 school teachers to guard distilleries in Gurdaspur. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/after-liquor-duty-punjab-teachers-deployed-to-stop-illegal-sand-mining-2249248  (20 June 2020)

Facing criticism from teachers and opposition party SAD, authorities in Phagwara on June 20 withdrew its order of deputing government schoolteachers to check illegal mining. More than 20 govt teachers had been deputed to keep a check on trucks and trolleys, carrying sand, during night hours, according to the teachers’ association. https://www.news18.com/news/india/authorities-withdraw-order-deputing-govt-teachers-in-punjabs-phagwara-to-check-illegal-mining-2678889.html  (20 June 2020)

Kerala Concerns over sand mining N. Badusha, president of Wayanad Prakruthi Samrakshana Samithi, said civic bodies in the district had started sand mining from rivers and rivulets following the directive. But the major reason behind the flood-like situation the district witnessed in the past two years was the large-scale felling of trees on hill slopes for granite mining and construction of resorts, which resulted in landslips and flash floods, Mr. Badusha said. Unscientific filling of paddy fields for construction and opening of shutters of reservoirs like Banasura Sagar also resulted in it, he said.

-Some grama panchayats had started to remove silt and debris by bulldozing banks of rivers, Thomas Ambalavayal, secretary of the organisation, said. A sand audit had been conducted by the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) in 2014 in Kabani river and its tributaries, and had recommended a total ban on sand mining. Moreover, sand mining without a sand audit was against the existing norms and it would result in further depletion of groundwater level and lead to acute water shortage during summer, Mr. Ambalavayal said.

-The organisation was not against removing silt or debris but details of the identified areas for the purpose should be published and it should be done under the supervision of biodiversity committees in each civic bodies, he added.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/greens-express-concern-over-sand-mining-in-rivers-in-wayanad/article31822972.ece  (13 June 2020)


Assam Baghjan Blowout, Critical Wetland Habitat Burning The situation at Maguri Motapung beel only highlights India’s lack of concern for its wetland ecosystems. The fire and oil leak in Tinsukia district, where the Baghjan oil well is located, is happening in the midst of numerous ‘development’ projects that the Indian government has mooted in an effort to industrialise the northeast. At the same time, wetlands themselves bear much of the brunt of India’s industrial tendencies across the country. Two recent examples include land appropriation for housing development projects, which will damage the mangroves of Kakinada Bay on the Godavari river, and Tamil Nadu mulling denotifying a part of the Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary in Chengalpattu district to benefit a pharmaceutical company, in violation of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. https://science.thewire.in/uncategorised/baghjan-oil-blowout-maguri-motapung-beel-wetlands/  (11 June 2020)

PCB tells OIL to shutter Baghjan ops In a letter addressed to the Resident Chief Executive, Oil India Limited (OIL), the Pollution Control Board (PCB) directed the company to close down production and drilling operations of all installations of Baghjan oilfield in Tinsukia district.

-The development was confirmed by Y Suryanarayana, chairman, PCB. “We had earlier [on June 10] issued a show cause notice to OIL. They had asked us for an extension of time to reply. But we issued the closure notice after one week,” said Suryanarayana, adding that the notice applies to all wells under the Baghjan oilfield.

-As per the closure notice from PCB — issued on June 19 — OIL has been operating Baghjan oil field installation “without obtaining prior consent to establish/consent to operate from Pollution Control Board Assam, which is a serious violation of the provisions of the Water Act, 1974, Air Act, 1981 as well as Environment Protection Act, 1986.”

-Tridiv Hazarika, OIL spokesperson said that the company did not want to comment “as of now.” However, a source from OIL said that they will seek legal recourse on the matter.

-The Baghjan oilfield has 21 functioning wells — out of which four are gas wells (including the one that reported the blowout) and 17 are oil wells. As per Hazarika, the wells are extremely high yielding reservoirs. https://indianexpress.com/article/north-east-india/assam/pollution-control-board-assam-issues-closure-notice-to-baghjan-oilfield-ops-6468411/  (21 June 2020)

Maharashtra Lonar lake: HC seeks report on colour change The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court has sought reports on the EIA of Lonar lake from NEERI and the Geological Survey of India. The Bench said a court-appointed committee, including the judges themselves, would visit the site. The Bench directed NEERI and Agarkar Research Institute to submit their reports to the court within four weeks.

-The forest department also informed the Bench that since the area is an eco-sensitive zone, the construction of Lonar-Kinhi road would be a problem, as there is a large quantity of a unique material called ejecta blanket, which contains is a substance found on the moon.

-The court accepted this argument and directed the Buldhana district collector to take immediate steps to protect the material from possible theft and pilferage. It also prohibited construction of the Lonar-Kinhi Road until further orders, and posted the matter for hearing on June 29. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/lonar-lake-hc-seeks-report-on-colour-change/article31846881.ece  (17 June 2020)

Lonar Lake Tries On a Rosy Color:- Lake Hillier in Australia, for example, is thought to get its hue from Halobacteriaceae, a pink-colored microorganism that thrives in water with high salinity. The Lake, however, is persistently pink and does not change over the span of a few days.

One explanation for the rapid change in India’s Lonar Lake could be a rapid rise in salinity as evaporation during warm, dry weather in the area has caused water levels to drop.

A similar phenomenon happens to Iran’s Lake Urmia during spring and summer, when the lake grows smaller and saltier prompting the microorganisms show their colors. https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/146859/lonar-lake-tries-on-a-rosy-color 

PMO asks govt to check Uran garbage dump “This is the case of continuous reckless dumping of garbage and medical waste, unmindful of the coronavirus risk to over 3,000 residents in the vicinity in Uran, despite the revenue officials registering an FIR against the Uran Municipal Council,” said B N Kumar, director of NatConnect Foundation which had earlier complained to the prime minister office, besides other told state authorities.

-Kumar further added that with the Unlock 1.0 phase currently on, the volume of garbage being thrown into the mangroves has increased, with far more frequency which further endangers this wetland.

-“It is also a violation of the Bombay high court appointed Mangrove Protection and Conservation Committee direction which had asked the municipal council to stop the dumping and told local planner Cidco to find an alternative site,” Kumar said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/pm-asks-maharashtra-govt-to-check-uran-garbage-dump-on-mangroves-issue/articleshow/76471483.cms  (19 June 2020)

Forest department has approved and published an official document showing six ecologically sensitive areas in the MMR as wetlands. The Thane creek flamingo sanctuary (TCFS) management plan 2020-2030, sanctioned by the state’s chief wildlife warden (CWLW) on June 18, has officially designated six sites – Bhandup (11 ha) in Mumbai, Panje (124 ha), Belpada (30 ha), Bhendkhal (8 ha) in Uran, Training Ship Chanakya (13 ha), NRI Complex (19 ha) in Navi Mumbai – as wetlands.

-The areas have been listed as ‘satellite wetlands that need to be protected within a 50km radius of TCFS’, the document read. This is the first time the state has also officially declared its intent to protect each site as either conservation or community reserves. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/6-sites-in-mmr-are-now-wetlands/story-7bjQTy3CoLdn8dXZmfwqUI.html  (22 June 2020)


Bundelkhand Unique water bodies Gaon connection has republished SANDRP’s guest blog by Seema Ravandale: -Many bharkas/kunds – naturally occurring ponds within a river bed – are common in almost all the villages of the upper catchment of the Ken river, one of the major rivers in the region.  https://en.gaonconnection.com/bundelkhand-the-unique-water-bodies-need-to-be-conserved-to-preserve-groundwater/  (20 June 2020)


Punjab Time for policy overhaul A comprehensive policy overhaul is urgently needed to impede the juggernaut of Punjab’s groundwater depletion.  https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/groundwater-depletion-punjab-time-major-policy-overhaul-0  (17 June 2020)  

Book PDF link of one of the best textbooks on hydro-geology ‘Groundwater’, by Freeze and Cherry is available here for interested in learning the basics of hydro-geology.  https://www.un-igrac.org/sites/default/files/resources/files/Groundwater%20book%20-%20English.pdf 


Bengaluru NGT imposes Rs 10 Lakh Fine Over Lake Pollution NGT has imposed an interim penalty of Rs 10 lakh on the govt over pollution in the Kithiganahalli Lake, near Bommasandra suburb in Bengaluru, saying criminal offence is being committed by the authorities in not stopping the discharge of pollutants into the water bodies. The tribunal also slapped a fine of Rs 5 lakh on the municipal council of Bommasandra for failure to discharge its duties.

-“Failure of important constitutional obligation by the municipal council as well as… defiance of orders of this tribunal and the Supreme Court by state authorities is at the cost of environment and public health and is very unfortunate for which prompt remedial actions must be taken and accountability of erring officers fixed,” the bench said.

-The NGT said only writing a letter is not compliance of the law and the stand taken by the authorities concerned can hardly be described as a responsible one. Discharge of untreated sewage into water bodies causes a huge damage and the prevention of the same is the duty of the state authorities as the trustees of people’s rights, the tribunal said, adding that such duty is being clearly breached. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/national-green-tribunal-imposes-rs-10-lakh-fine-on-karnataka-government-over-kithiganahalli-lake-pollution-2249860  (21 June 2020)

No road construction near lakes A ban on construction of roads and commercial activities in the 30-metre buffer zone of the lakes are among the 18 guidelines mentioned in the new circular by BBMB.

-The circular, issued by the BBMP Commissioner BH Anil Kumar, has banned construction of road, flyover or any other structures both on the waste weir or inside the lake. Any kinds of activities, be it commercial, recreational, are also banned in the 30-metre buffer zone of all lakes.

-Currently, around 200 lakes in the city are in BBMP custody, except Bellandur and Varthur, whose development has been entrusted with the BDA. “Only the maintenance of the lake has been handed over to the BBMP,” the order has stated.

-Among other instructions, the BBMP commissioner said that the lake water should not be used both for irrigation or human consumption. He also instructed the BWSSB and BBMP’s solid waste management division to come up with a plan to stop flow of waste into the lake.

-The BBMP has instructed its lake department not to hand over any work to the infamous Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Limited (KRIDL). All work, the circular states, should be taken up as per the KTTP Act by floating tenders. All the work must have approval from the Karnataka Tank Conservation and Development Authority (KTDCA) before bids are floated for it.

-V Ramaprasad, founder of Friends of Lake, said the ground realities are different. “The KTCDA has been given the authority to approve all projects pertaining to lakes. The technical committee should be revamped by appointing environmental and hydrological engineers. Presently, the BBMP is only focusing on beautification of lakes,” he said. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/no-road-construction-near-lakes/articleshow/76413634.cms  (17 June 2020)

In this informative piece S. Vishwanath rightly says that we need a multi-pronged approach to make water use sustainable in the city which once had its tanks providing drinking water. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/our-water-story-can-the-paradise-be-regained/article31881200.ece  (21 June 2020) 

In the 1890s, when taps began supplying water from lakes outside the city, several water bodies inside the city were drained and converted to open grounds, and later to build areas Harini Nagendra points to a bane that ails Bengaluru and all cities. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/look-to-the-past-for-a-better-future/article31881098.ece/amp/  (21 June 2020)

A special team constituted to crack down on buildings in Bengaluru that discharge their waste water into the storm water drains (SWD) or lakes has so far identified 338 violators. As the violators are yet to get a notice, the team has now decided to issue notices on the spot to those who are yet to connect their sewage pipelines with the common sewer network running across the city. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2020/jun/21/bwssb-kspcb-to-issue-notices-on-the-spot-2159313.html  (21 June 2020)

During lockdown that the BWSSB realised that it did not have a database of its consumers. So now, it has started the exercise to put together a database of all its 20 lakh consumers, including households and establishments, to be completed in two months. Currently, the Board supplies about 1,400 MLD of water to about 20 lakh connections and earns about Rs 100 crore a month as revenue from water bills.

The BWSSB officials, clarified that they have no plans to penalise those who do not have automatic water level control system. “We are only penalising those establishments (measuring above 1,200 sq.ft. and constructed after 2009 or measuring above 2,400 sq.ft and constructed before 2009) without the rainwater harvesting facility and those who did not submit occupancy certificate. The automatic water level control system rule applies only to the newly constructed houses,” a senior BWSSB official said  https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/bwssb-is-building-a-database-of-consumers/articleshow/76500637.cms  (22 June 2020)

Noida NGT slaps Rs 25 lakh fine on 2 units Noida Golf Course and Advant Navis Business Park have to pay an interim compensation of Rs 25 lakh, which may be deposited with the CPCB within one month, the tribunal said. The green panel was perusing a report filed by a committee of the CPCB and UP Pollution Control Board, which said that groundwater is being illegally drawn and the allegation that misuse of groundwater for horticulture purpose is taking place is not disputed.

-The NGT had earlier directed a committee to submit a report on a plea alleging illegal extraction of groundwater by the Noida Golf Course without requisite permission from the Central CGWA. The tribunal’s order came on a plea filed by environment activist Vikrant Tongad alleging illegal extraction of groundwater without requisite permission by the Noida Golf Course in Sector 43 in Gautam Buddh Nagar. https://www.firstpost.com/india/ngt-slaps-rs-25-lakh-fine-on-two-noida-units-for-unauthorised-extraction-of-water-says-depleting-groundwater-may-cause-irreversible-damage-8508351.html  (21 June 2020)

Nagpur Govt Spinning Dysfunctional Water Project as a Success Story Nivedita Khandekar digs up the realities about Nagpur privatised water supply that was once a model even for Gadkari and NITI Ayog https://thewire.in/government/nagpur-dysfunctional-water-project-spin-success-story  (20 June 2020)

Manipur Only STP in North-East inaugurated  The Imphal Sewerage Project Phase-I with a capacity of 27 MLD was constructed with a cost of Rs 345.43 crore and was launched in 2005. PHE Minister Losii Dikho said the project will benefit thousands in the Imphal area. “About 3,000 households have been connected by the Imphal Sewerage project so far and we’re targeting to provide the facilities to around 12,000 households,” the CM said in a video clip which was shared with the media after the inauguration.

-CM said that the New Development Bank has sanctioned Rs 3,000 crore to provide potable water to every household, adding that all the necessary processes including tenders, issue of work order etc have been completed. He also informed that major water supply schemes at Tamenglong, Senapati and Churachandpur districts will also be inaugurated soon.

– Mentioning that water is precious, he said that the Nambul River Rejuvenation project which aims to control river pollution by intercepting and treating urban waste between Iroisemba and Heirangoithong through a treatment plant at Mongsangei, has been started. The estimated cost of the project is around Rs 95 crore.

-The Integrated Water Supply Project for Imphal Planning Area Phase-I at Porompat in Imphal East District was constructed at a cost of Rs 636.19 lakh while the Integrated Water Supply Project for Imphal Planning Area Phase-I at Iroisemba Hilltop in Imphal West District was constructed at the project cost of Rs 736.77 lakh. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/only-sewage-treatment-plant-in-north-east-inaugurated-in-manipur/story-NN7qf4IGGtqwYugOMFGClN.html  (16 June 2020)

Kapurthala First of its kind project to treat wastewater Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) and the district administration Kapurthala on June 20 inaugurated the first of its kind ‘in–situ remediation project’ in Kapurthala to clean the domestic waste water. The pilot project has been launched at Bhulana drain, which carries wastewater of 27 colonies and village and eventually converges into Holy Bein near village Hussainpura in Kapurthala. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/punjab-in-kapurthala-first-of-its-kind-project-to-treat-wastewater-6468835/  (21 June 2020)

Banda This is how sewage and water drains are being abused by dumping of solid waste across the country. This pic is from Artara Nagar Palika area in Banda. The Palika has constructed 28 big drains extending to the length of 21050 meter. A huge budget is spent on desilting and cleaning of drain. This year too, the Palika has claimed that drains have been desilted whereas the pic shows the other story. These choked drains leads to flooding during monsoon. (Dainink Jagran, 09 June 2020)

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Jal Shakti bats for control of 50% finance panel grants for rural local bodies  “50% of the FC Grants to PRIs for water supply & sanitation to be placed with DDWS (Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation), M/o Jal Shakti. This should be dovetailed at GP level in the Village Action Plan with focus on water and sanitation service delivery,” the Jal Shakti Ministry said in the presentation to FC-XV. The presentation was done by Bharat Lal, Additional Secretary, DDWS.

– During the presentation, ministry officials also cited the shortfall in the financing of the Centre’s ambitious Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM). The ministry pegged the requirement of an amount of about Rs 82,000 crore as a part of “sectoral allocations for infrastructural development” to achieve drinking water security.  https://indianexpress.com/article/india/jal-shakti-bats-for-control-of-50-finance-panel-grants-for-rural-local-bodies-6465795/  (19 June 2020)

-The Jal Shakti Ministry also wished to take more direct control of the Commission’s grants to panchayats. In its interim report for 2020-21, the Commission had allocated ₹30,375 crore as tied grants to rural local bodies for drinking water and sanitation “in order to ensure additional funds to the local bodies over and above the funds allocated … under the Centrally sponsored schemes, Swachh Bharat and Jal Jeevan Missions.”

This kind of centralisation would be a regression from the 14th Finance Commission’s move to empower panchayati raj institutions, says N.R. Bhanumurthy, professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy. “We cannot go back to a situation of putting strings on panchayat funds. It is true that there are issues at the panchayat level, with some having huge unused funds, but there must be other ways to deal with that,” he said.

Earlier, in a February 2020 meeting of the FC’s own advisory council, some members also offered caution against excessive conditions being placed on grants in their feedback on the 2020-21 recommendations. According to an FC note on the meeting, economist and council member Indira Rajaraman felt that, “Performance conditionalities are very difficult to assess in real-time. Either the payment gets delayed or it is not made at all.” Fellow council member Manoj Panda also felt that, “Too many conditions should not be imposed on grants.”. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/additional-funds-sought-for-jal-jeevan-mission/article31884021.ece  (21 June 2020)

Centre has slammed the Telangana govt for not sharing information on its flagship programme JJM in the state. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/t-govt-not-sharing-info-on-jal-jeevan-mission-says-centre/articleshow/76473394.cms  (20 June 2020)


Karnataka Inflows low in key reservoirs, Almatti getting copious inflows State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) scientist SSM Gavaskar said the monsoon is weak in the current phase due to lack of any systems. “We had low pressure areas in the first two weeks of monsoon progression in Karnataka and however since then it has been weak, “he said, IMD in charge director Geetha Agnihotri said that the monsoon had covered the whole of Karnataka by June 11. However, the met experts say that they predict a revival of monsoon soon. While Gavaskar said that one can expect the revival of monsoon in one week, Agnihotri said that one can expect heavy rainfall in the state from June 24 onwards.

-On the other hand, state’s biggest reservoir Almatti is receiving copious inflows due to heavy downpour in Maharashtra. In the last two days, the reservoir has received more than 8.5 TMC of water. Almatti has 512.62 metres of water stored in the reservoir, which has a FRL of 519.60 m. The inflows to the reservoir has been increasing at 57,346 cusecs of water. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/inflows-low-in-key-reservoirs-but-experts-say-monsoon-revival-likely/articleshow/76498810.cms  (22 June 2020)


DAM FLOODS Jharkhand Tenughat dam releases water for monsoon Tenughat dam releases water to downstream Damodar River with warning in Bokaro, Dhanbad and further downstream W Bengal, opening one of the radial gates. “This has raised the water level in Damodar river. There are 10 radial gates and eight sluice gates in Tenughat dam situated at Gomia block under Bermo sub-division. As per requirement, we will release water during the monsoon by opening gates,” said Pankaj Kumar, nodal officer of flood control cell, Tenughat. He said the water level in the dam has been decreased to 845.50 feet from 853.45 feet in the past 15 days. However, the dam has a capacity to store 852 feet of water.  https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/jharkhand/tenughat-dam-releases-water-for-monsoon/cid/1781383  (16 June 2020)

Dam Floods Manipur Press Release from local group in Manipur after death of a 19 yr old person on June 13, due to sudden release of water in Leimatak River from NHPC’s 105 MW Loktak HEP in Manipur. The PR narrates that such incidents have been happening since many years, giving instances since 2014. It demands compensation to the family of the victim and proper arrangements for warning.

22062020 m

Assam River Dikhow at Sibsagar has crossed previous HFL 94.23 attained on Augt. 01, 2018 this time on June 22, 2020 by 0.01 m around 01:00 hours. Only 10 sites out of 118 in the state has highest flood level dates in the month of June.


Bihar Bagmati floods leads to washing away of several bridges, large number of villages cut off. https://www.bhaskar.com/local/bihar/muzaffarpur/news/boom-in-bagmati-river-teen-chachari-bridge-at-airai-and-pipa-bridge-at-katra-demolished-127421013.html  (18 June 2020)

Maharashtra ‘Sign pact with Karnataka to avoid 2019-like flood’ BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on June 18 said Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray should sign an agreement with neighbouring Karnataka to avoid a repeat of flood in part of the state like it happened in August last year. If water is not released from the Almatti dam in time, it will cause flooding in border areas of Maharashtra such as Kolhapur and Sangli. The dams in the state already have sizeable water stock. It would be better if the chief minster schedules a meeting with the Karnataka CM regarding the same (agreement), the Leader of Opposition in the assembly said.  https://www.deccanherald.com/national/west/sign-pact-with-karnataka-to-avoid-2019-like-flood-devendra-fadnavis-851184.html  (19 June 2020)

Himachal Pradesh No threat of breach in Parechu Lake: Scientists Seems like well researched report, but strangely is silent about the Aug 2000 flood that came from China via Sutlej, even as it mentions 1975 landslide dam flood.  https://indianexpress.com/article/india/hp-no-threat-of-breach-in-parechu-lake-say-scientists-6467076/  (19 June 2020)

BBMB Bhakra dam’s levels brought down to prevent floods Key information here is that advance action has been taken to deplete the water level in Bhakra dam, which is welcome. The report makes a number of misguided statements, but this is the crux. It should have however mentioned that now Bhakra level is going up, Pong is 40% full and Ranjit Sagar dam is 56% full. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/bhakra-dam-water-levels-brought-down-by-41-ft-to-prevent-floods-this-year-6467736/  (20 June 2020)

Punjab बाढ़ से सबक नहीं लिया सरकार ने, धुस्सी बांध इस बार भी टूट सकते हैं Dhusi bund along Satluj have not been maintained despite promises made last year when multiple breach in the bund led to floods in more than 300 villagers. Illegal sand mining is among reasons impacting the bund strength.

ये हुआ था नुकसान 1700 करोड़ रुपए का कुल नुकसान हुआ था सूबे में बाढ़ से। जिसमें आम जनता और सरकार दोनों की हानि शामिल है।

300 से ज्यादा गांव प्रभावित हुए थे बाढ़ से।

25000 लोग बेघर हुए थे। 2000 ने घर की छतों पर समय गुजारा था।

06 की मौत बाढ़ में छत गिरने व करंट से हुई।

12 से ज्यादा इस रूट की ट्रेनें रद्द की गई थी।

अभी भी ये कमियां – धुस्सी बांध पर तमाम गांवों का ट्रैफिक चलता है। आज तक सरकार ने कंक्रीट से पक्का नहीं किया है। कई जगह धंस गया है।

– धुस्सी बांध को बचाने के लिए बने बोल्डर के स्टड की मेंटेनेंस के लिए कोई कदम नहीं उठाया है।

– कई जगह पर बांध के किनारे जमीनों के अंदर ट्रैक्चर ले जाने के लिए बांध खोद रास्ते बना रखे हैं।

– अवैध खनन से धुस्सी बांध के नजदीक रेत के गहरे खड्‌डे हैं। इनमें पानी भरने से धुस्सी बांध की तरफ बरसात के पानी का दबाव बढ़ता है। जो बांध को तोड़ता है। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/punjab/news/government-did-not-learn-from-floods-dhushi-dam-can-break-this-time-too-127397121.html  (11 June 2020)

Karnataka Govt launches app for real time info on rains, flooding The app is launched at a time when Bengaluru, among other parts of the state, has been receiving heavy rains that has once again revealed the chinks in civic infrastructure in India’s technology capital.

-A dedicated portal, Varunamitra, was also launched that aims to leverage technology driven solutions to manage and mitigate the Urban Floods, the BBMP said in a statement on Saturday. The Government of India has set aside ₹200 crore for disaster mitigation, BBMP said.

-Bengaluru, Karnataka’s growth engine and home to over one third of the state’s population, witnesses flooding, tree fall, overflowing of sewage and roads falling apart each year due to the rains that bares the chinks in its grossly inadequate civic infrastructure. “Urban flood normally occurs due to lack of adequate storm water drainage system in the urban areas and / or blocking of storm water drains either by silt deposition / garbage.

-Encroachment to natural drainages, Concretisation and little open soil space left for the rain water to percolate in to the ground, more than 80% of rain water turns in to surface runoff and causes inundation or floods,” the statement adds.

-The district administration said that Bengaluru has taken up a demand driven Project on “Urban Flood Model (UFM) for the city which includes providing a hydrologic model and associated systems for issuing flood / inundation forecasts for Bengaluru city for different rainfall quantum and intensity. https://www.livemint.com/politics/news/karnataka-govt-launches-app-for-real-time-info-on-rains-flooding-in-bengaluru-11591462188305.html  (06 June 2020)

Kerala History of Breaches and Politics of Moolathara Regulator According to climate scientists, who studied the cause of the breach, the arrival of irregular monsoon resulted in the breach of the regulator. “Earlier, the heavy South-West monsoon winds arrived by the end of May. Also, the monsoon starts in June and continues until the end of October. The North-East monsoon begins by November first week. But now the arrival of the monsoon has changed to a great extent” said Dr K Saravanakumar, a PhD holder in ‘Climate change and groundwater’.

-According to him, the difference in the climate altered the continued process of water flow through the dams in Tamil Nadu via Moolathara regulator. The arrival of rain became irregular and during heavy rains, it became uncontrollable resulting in sudden water flow through the regulator. “Moreover, in the absence of renewal of the Parambikulam-Aliyar Project agreement, Tamil Nadu began to store water in their dams and during floods they opened all the dams without prior information resulting in the breach,” Saravanakumar added.

-In all the three years when the regulator broke, Tamil Nadu received excess rainfall and the dams were filled. The water in the dams including Aliyar and Thirumoorthy were open at once due to the excessive storage and the regulator shattered. https://kochipost.com/2020/06/20/the-history-of-breaches-and-politics-of-moolathara-regulator/  (20 June 2020)

Gujarat Govt to increase water flow from SSP to Narmada Canal, from 11000 to 13000 Cusecs and have started releasing water in ten canal enroute rivers like Heran, Deo, Karad, Koon, Vatrak, Meshvo, Sabarmati, Rupen, Pushpavati and Banas. On Friday 1806 cusecs water was released in eight of the ten rivers. https://www.patrika.com/ahmedabad-news/gujarat-news-deputy-cm-narmada-water-river-electric-city-6209806/  (20 June 2020)


Green certificate sales down 55% to 3.33 lakh in May Sales of renewable energy certificates dropped over 55 per cent to 3.33 lakh units in May compared to 7.5 lakh in the same month a year ago, according to official data. According to official data, a total of 2.78 lakh RECs (buy bids for 31 lakh) were traded on the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) in May, compared to 5.5 lakh in the same month of 2019. Power Exchange of India (PXIL) recorded sales of 0.55 lakh RECs (buy bids for 16 lakh) in May as against around 2 lakh earlier.  https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/green-certificate-sales-down-55-per-cent-to-3-33-lakh-in-may/76501884  (22 June 2020)


Opinion No, SC Didn’t Cause the Economic Slowdown Ritwick Dutta so BRILLIANTLY shows how wrong Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi are. And now Salve himself has been the architect of several of the decisions the kind of which he finds fault with now. Salve and Rohotgi are so mindlessly arguing for COAL! In 2020!! This is what Ritwick refers to in the end: “one of the first Indian words to enter the English language was ‘loot’. It had never been used outside North India but became a common term across Great Britain in the late 18th century. The British looted India for nearly two centuries, of its natural resources. Today, the state-sponsored corporate plunder of India’s natural resources, and the resultant impoverishment of its people, is not ‘loot’. It’s being called ‘sustainable development’.” Please Read, Share. https://thewire.in/political-economy/supreme-court-environmental-clearance-economic-slowdown  (15 June 2020)

Assam SC directs Centre to seek alternative mining site The Supreme Court had on June 11 directed the Centre to come out with a proposal for an alternative site in three weeks. The standing committee of NBWL had earlier on April 7 accorded in-principle approval to North Eastern Coalfields of Coal India Limited for mining in the Saleki PRF – something that was widely criticised by wildlife activists. Saleki’s total lease area of 98.59 hectares is situated within the 10-km eco-sensitive zone of the 111.19-sq km Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary and also near to an elephant corridor.

-The sanctuary comprises around one-fifth of the State’s last vestiges of rainforests spread over some 500 sq km, much of which lies fragmented and degraded today. But conservationists assert it is still possible to expand the sanctuary considerably before further damage is done to its surrounding forests. http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp  (19 June 2020)


Rattan Lal: ‘Soil a living being, can boost farm output, mitigate climate change’ Good to see World Food Prize going for soil scientist: “The soils in northern states are depleted of organic matter present in the top layer. This matter should comprise around 2-3 per cent of the top soil but in the highly depleted Indian soils, its percentage is about 0.1-0.2 per cent. We practice extractive farming, take away everything, and don’t use cow dung manure… Sand mining is very bad for soil. Carve out specific mining sites, don’t touch the rest of the land… the government should reward farmers for ecosystem services with an equivalent of $16 a year per acre. Farmers who follow good practices, grow a crop cover and let it mulch should be rewarded. Farmers not only produce healthy food but also mitigate climate change, and improve water quality… Soils are carbon sinks — if you increase the organic matter by photosynthesising CO2 from the atmosphere and build up the organic matter in India to 2 -3 per cent in the next 20-30 years, many problems related to climate change will be alleviated. A healthy soil will protect you from flooding in the monsoon and drought in the summers.”  https://indianexpress.com/article/india/world-food-prize-winner-rattan-lal-soil-a-living-being-can-boost-farm-output-mitigate-climate-change-6470075/  (22 June 2020)

Report Hotter, rainier days The projected rapid changes in India’s climate will place increasing stress on the country’s natural ecosystems, agricultural output, and fresh water resources, the report says. “This trend in AOD is subject to seasonal variability. The rate of increase in AOD is significantly high during the dry months of December-March,” the report The report Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region prepared by the MoES notes.

-Roxy Mathew Koll, Scientist at the IITM and associated with IPCC scientific report, said in a statement that an observed change of 0.7°C in average temperatures over India, had already registered a spike in extreme weather events over the region.

-“Rainfall patterns have changed, with longer dry spells intermittent with heavy rainfall events. The frequency of very severe cyclones has increased over the Arabian Sea. Over the Himalayas, the glacier retreat is going at a fast pace. Glacier melt and ocean warming are raising the sea level across the Indian Ocean. Recent records show a sea level change of 3cm per decade along the Mumbai coast while it is above 5cm per decade along the Kolkata coast. Now, with the temperatures projected to rise by 2.7°C by 2040 and 4.4°C by the end of the century, we should be ready to face a further increase in the intensity, frequency and extent of these extreme weather events,” Dr Koll said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/climate-report-predicts-hotter-rainier-days/article31845582.ece  (16 June 2020)


India China PLA bid to block Galwan river “China has made several military structures in the Galwan valley. It has also attempted to build a barrier in the Galwan river so that it can hold and release water at will which can possibly threaten bridges on the 255-km Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie road.” https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/pla-bid-to-block-galwan-river-100967   (19 June 2020)

India Today report shows how China changed ecosystem of Galwan Valley in last two years. https://www.indiatoday.in/news-analysis/story/how-china-channelled-galwan-river-to-claim-territory-1691142-2020-06-21  (21 June 2020)

India Nepal Rift on bund Nepal has stopped Bihar from strengthening a stretch of a decades-old Lalbakeya river embankment claiming it lies on no-man’s-land in Dhaka block of East Champaran district around June 4, 2020. Uma Nath Ram, superintending engineer for the department’s flood control and drainage circle, Motihari, said the Lalbakeya caused floods almost every monsoon season, and the mud embankment was repaired or strengthened every year. “We were to strengthen it and raise its height along a stretch of 4.1km and had completed the job along 3.6km. We were raising the embankment’s height to around 12 feet,” Ram said. The Lalbakeya originates in Nepal, flows along the India-Nepal border and then flows into the Bagmati river in Bihar’s Sitamarhi district.  https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/nepal-rift-tells-on-bihar-bund/cid/1782577  (20 June 2020)

Report A water crisis looms for 270 million people as glaciers shrink Melting ice is crucial to the thirsty Indus River region. But now the flow is projected to decline, posing risks for agriculture and a growing population. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2020/07/water-crisis-looms-for-270-million-people-south-asia-perpetual-feature/  (16 June 2020)



Report Dams, Deaths Squads and the Murder of Berta Cáceres FASCINATING TALE: “They build dams and kill people.” These words, spoken by a witness when the murderers of environmental defender Berta Cáceres were brought to trial in Honduras, describe Desarrollos Energéticos SA (DESA), the company whose dam project Berta opposed. DESA was created in May 2009 solely to build the Agua Zarca hydroelectric scheme, using the waters of the Gualcarque River, regarded as sacred by the Lenca communities who live on its banks. As Nina Lakhani makes clear in her book Who Killed Berta Cáceres?,[1] DESA was one of many companies to benefit from the 2009 coup d’état in Honduras, when the left-leaning President Manuel Zelaya was deposed and replaced by a sequence of corrupt administrations.

– The Agua Zarca dam project has not been officially cancelled although DESA’s phone number and email address are no longer in service.[21] Other environmentally disastrous projects continue to face opposition by COPINH and its sister organisations representing different Honduran communities. And a full answer to the question “Who Killed Berta Cáceres?” is still awaited.  https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/06/18/dams-deaths-squads-and-the-murder-of-berta-caceres/  (18 June 2020)

USA A River Transformed After Dams Come Down The Edwards Dam on the Kennebec River (Central Maine) came down in 1999 after the federal government ordered its removal, saying the ecological costs outweighed the benefit of the power it provided. Gail Wippelhauser is a fisheries biologist with Maine’s Department of Marine Resources, and has been working in the Kennebec watershed since 1995. She’s had a river-level view of the recovery. Wippelhauser says in some places, it looks like this river is paved with fish, just like in historical accounts from before the Industrial Revolution.

– “And the expression is you could walk across the river on the backs of fish,” Wippelhauser says. “And it looks like you could, because it’s solid fish, all the way across, and all the way downstream for as far as you can see.” Wippelhauser says after two dams came down — the large one in 1999 and a smaller at the mouth of the Sebasticook in 2008 — fisheries managers helped the fish over other dams further upriver. Then the alewife population exploded. “The increase was just amazing,” she says. “From 400,000 to like a million, then three million, five million, just amazing.”

– Dave Scott lives nearby and has fished along the Sebasticook River for 19 years. Although he’s fished all over the state, he says this is one of his favorite spots because, since the dams came down, there is always something to see. Sometimes he just puts his rod down and watches. “Right about two miles from my house is one of the best nature shows,” Scott says. “I just come down here to relax sometimes, just to watch the birds fly.” A count in mid-June found 190 eagles along the river. It’s quite a change from a dozen years ago, when the lower Sebasticook was a pretty, but unremarkable dammed river. Steve Brooke says the Sebasticook shows what could happen elsewhere, when other dams come out, to bring back free-flowing rivers and wild, native fish. https://www.npr.org/2020/06/21/880539021/one-of-the-best-nature-shows-a-river-transformed-after-dams-come-down  (21 June 2020)

NILE Egypt calls on UN to intervene after impasse in Nile dam talks Egypt has called on the United Nations Security Council to intervene to restart talks on the $4.6bn hydroelectric dam being built by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile near the border with Sudan.

The move on June 19 came as tensions run high after multiple rounds of talks over the years between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan failed to produce a deal for the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/06/egypt-calls-intervene-impasse-nile-dam-talks-200620034331540.html  (20 June 2020)

Zimbabwe Wetlands construction triggers conservation worries Years of drought in Zimbabwe have led to water shortages. And in many urban areas, landowners are being blamed for invading and building on wetlands. Environmentalists say this has led to a drastic decline in groundwater levels. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEkV5WikcOc  (21 June 2020)

Australia Scientists discover unusual underwater rivers along coastline Scientists from The University of Western Australia have discovered underwater rivers along most of Australia’s continental shelf that are unique and do not occur at this scale anywhere else in the world. The research has been published today in Nature Scientific Reports.

-The discovery was made using UWA-operated ocean gliders – autonomous underwater vehicles that propel themselves through the water and collect important data about our oceans. The gliders are also part of the national Integrated Marine Observing System.

-The underwater rivers form in winter months and are currently at their peak. They occur when heat loss causes shallower water to cool, resulting in dense water forming in the inner shelf. The water then flows offshore along the seabed and forms the underwater river.

-UWA co-author Dr Yasha Hetzel said simultaneous cooling of near-shore waters across the whole of Australia from heat loss had not been documented before. “The coastal ocean is the receiving basin for suspended and dissolved matter that includes nutrients, plant and animal matter and pollutants and represents an important component of the ocean environment, connecting the land to the deeper ocean,” he said.

The scientists say the study highlights the importance of underwater rivers, which are a significant conduit transporting pollutants and plant and animal matter offshore.  https://phys.org/news/2020-06-scientists-unusual-underwater-rivers-australia.html  (17 June 2020)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 15 June 2020 & DRP News Bulletin 08 June 2020  

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

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