Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 6 July 2020: Dear NGT, Yamuna Monitoring Panel needs extension

In July 2018, the National Green Tribunal appointed a Yamuna Monitoring Panel for Delhi, the term of this panel is over and it has submitted its final report. NGT had also appointed similar committees for Haryana and Uttar Pradesh stretch of Yamuna, but those panels never functioned as actively as did the Delhi panel. We urge NGT to accept the petition now filed by Manoj Mishra to give extension to the Delhi Yamuna Monitoring Committee (DYMC) and direct that this committee will continue to function and monitoring and compliance panel for Yamuna river in Delhi.

There is a lot one can say positively about this committee, but arguably the biggest factors are its activeness, responsiveness and transparency. This can be easily seen visiting its website or its twitter page (https://twitter.com/ngtmcyamuna2). The committee also acted as a bridge between various institutions dealing with Yamuna in Delhi and ensured better coordination. The committee’s work is also evident in the number of reports it has submitted, all available on its website. There is always room for improvement in functioning of any such organisation, but this a lot and there are very few cases where one can say this.

The NGT application rightly stated that the committee had been extremely active in the last two years overseeing several orders and actions, while also carrying out field visits. It says: “It is submitted that the applicant herein has been following the tremendous work and efforts of Yamuna Monitoring Committee since its constitution by this tribunal. Its constitution was a much-awaited step taken to ensure that the pending process of implementation of the judgment dated January 13, 2015 could begin with a right intent and approach.”

We can say from ourt own experience that a few months back when we tweeted the photos of fresh dumping of construction debris on Yamuna riverbed in Delhi and tagged DYMC, the committee promptly responded and asked DDA to take action and put up action taken report. Similarly in early April, the committee promptly asked the DPCC and CPCB to test Yamuna waters in Delhi post lockdown and submit reports. The committee promptly came out with a report of its own, using the observations submitted by DPCC and CBCB.

It is not everyday that we come across such exemplary institutional innovations that actually delivers some results in time bound manner. There is a lot that will be required in terms of creating coordination, quick action oriented responses and transparency in achieving rejuvenation of Yamuna river in Delhi. Particularly as far as rivers are concerned we have no such success story. We hope NGT will ask the DYMC to continue its work and DYMC will agree to continue the good work started, there is a long way to go before we can see a rejuvenated Yamuna in Delhi.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/activist-seeks-tenure-extension-of-panel/articleshow/76804009.cms

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/saving-the-yamuna-why-river-needs-a-fresh-start/articleshow/76804000.cms

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/960-hectares-of-yamuna-floodplain-taken-over-by-squatters-monitoring-panel/articleshow/76804672.cms (July 6, 2020)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Tamil Nadu Residents fear Sillahalla HEP will lead to loss of farmlands, impact wildlife The 1000 MW Sillahalla Pumped Storage Hydro-Electric Project may submerge more than 315 hectares of forest, private and government lands when the reservoirs are fully constructed. The project near Udhagamandalam town will affect 15 villages.

– The Sillahalla Pumped Storage Hydro-Electric Project envisages the construction of an upper reservoir measuring more than 260 feet in height in Bembatti village along the Sillahalla stream, a tributary of the Kundah River. A lower reservoir, which will be more than 350 feet in height, will be built further downstream, past the existing Kundah Palam dam. The two dams would be connected by a tunnel and water from the lower dam will be pumped to the upper dam, and used to generate electricity.

– M. Sivalingam, who is leading the opposition to the project, said that the Sillahalla Social and Cultural Protection Committee estimates that more than 10,000 people live along the course of the Sillahalla stream will be either directly or indirectly affected by the project. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/residents-fear-sillahalla-hydro-electric-project-will-lead-to-loss-of-farmlands-impact-wildlife/article31970473.ece  (02 July 2020)

Arunachal Pradesh Govt seeks ”special consideration” for its power sector under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan Deputy CM Chowna Mein spoke about the Arunachal Pradesh government”s plan of developing 135 small hydropower projects with a total capacity of 356 MW across 25 districts, the concept paper of which was submitted to the Union ministry. Once completed, the projects will be able to mitigate the peak power demand in the state, Mein said. He requested that government buildings in the Northeast be given subsidy for grid-connected rooftop solar projects. Mein urged that the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) may be pulled up to complete the Comprehensive Transmission Scheme in the state which was started in 2015 and is still incomplete. He said the state has harnessed hydropower from Ranganadi project (405 MW), Pare project (110 MW), Kameng (300 MW), Dikshi (24 MW) and 128 small hydro projects with a total capacity of 63.4 MW. https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/arunachal-seeks-special-consideration-for-its-power-sector-under-atma-nirbhar-bharat-abhiyan/1885608  (04 July 2020)

2nd 150 MW unit of Kameng HEP of NEEPCO commissioned by NTPC on July 1 2020. https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-cm/ntpc-declares-commercial-operations-of-150-mw-unit-of-kameng-hydro-electric-project-120070100299_1.html  (01 July 2020)

DAMS

Vyasi HEP June 2020
Image of Vyasi HEP on Yamuna river at Juddo, Vikas Nagar.

How India Manages Dams is a Sure Prescription for Disaster: Himanshu Thakkar Interview of SANDRP Coordinator on Dam operations in India in flood season:  https://www.newsclick.in/India-management-for-dams-is-disaster  (04 July 2020)

Uttarakhand Lakhwar dam on Yamuna cleared, ignoring laws Largest dam on the river, in a quake-prone biodiversity hotspot, will risk one of the few habitats left for the endangered golden mahseer. A number of large hydropower projects are underway; arresting the river, forcing it through tunnels, thrusting it forward through barrages. The Yamuna basin has at least 12 operating hydropower projects with installed capacity of 495 MW, at least five are under construction, and 31 more are proposed according to Himanshu Thakkar of the SANDRP. https://www.thethirdpole.net/2020/07/06/lakhwar-dam-on-yamuna-cleared-ignoring-laws/  (06 July 2020)

Kaleshwaram Project Time for an expert review The overall objective of entire KLIP is to pump 2 TMC (per day) of water from Godavari to irrigate18 lakh acres and provide water to industries. The KLIP is very complex, with nearly 11 stage pumping transporting water through canals, tunnels and storing water in massive water tanks. In Telangana, Godavari water is at lower level water needs for irrigation is at much higher level, so water need to be lifted through pumps and lift irrigation is capital intensive. The project is nowhere near completion and promised water for irrigation has not yet delivered, except a fraction of it. Investment  is Rs 5.5 lakh per acre and O&M won’t be less than Rs 50000 per acre.

– Kodapochampalli is water tank, built over 4,400 ac, evacuating three villages. A circular bund with 15.8 km with nearly 40 m hight has been built at the cost of Rs. 3,500 crores. All this infrastructure is only useful provided the capacity to pump water before this stage has been established. Water will have to come nearly 300 km away after passing through 11 pumps to reach 620 metres RL. In order to irrigate 2,85,000 ac, as stated, at least 45 TMC of water is required. This means the tank has to be filled three times at least. In order to pump 1 TMC of water from Medigadda at least Rs.50 crores of electricity is required at Rs.5 unit cost. This means in order to get the required water, 45 TMC to irrigate 2,85,000 ac, the electricity cost would be close to Rs. 2,200 crores. That means every ac of irrigated with this water, Government is going to spend Rs. 80,000 on electricity alone. If we include all other costs, without capital costs, it would exceed Rs.1,00,000 an ac per season. Though the project has been inaugurated, its utility is nowhere near.

– As and when this project is completed, this would be one of the most expensive water ever used for irrigation in entire world. The operation and maintance costs of water delivery far irrigation, may far exceed the entire value of crops. So every year, Government of Telangana has to spend two times more money over the projected benefits to the farmer. It might lock the state in a permeant financial crisis for decades to come.

– Publish white paper. Declare source of money and terms. Do an independent midterm review. Complete the ongoing work, do not take up new one. Complete the water distribution networm. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/opinion/op-ed/040720/kaleshwaram-lift-irrigation-project-time-for-an-expert-review.html  (04 July 2020)

Chhattisgarh In a meeting with local and state level representatives, tribals people form two committees to study full impact of Bodhghat dam project.  https://bhumkalsamachar.com/?p=6068  (05 July 2020)

Jharkhand Strange statement about Tilaiya Dam on Barakar river, Damodar Valley Corporation in Koderma dist with 96 MW capacity: Kumar added that last year, the dam had shifted it’s bed away from the intake well on its catchment area and they had to manage it with the help of earthmovers to bring water into the intake well. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/monsoon-spell-lights-up-hopes-of-power-generation-from-telaiya-dam/76682179  (29 June 2020)

Farmers complaining of lack of irrigation water supply from Chandil dam सुवर्णरेखा बहुद्देश्यीय परियोजना के तहत चांडिल डैम से घाटशिला होकर बंगाल व ओडिशा तक नहर निर्माण हुआ है, ताकि किसानों को सिंचाई की सुविधा मिले. हालांकि दुर्भाग्य है कि डैम से 13 किलोमीटर दूर तक ही मुख्य नहर में पानी उपलब्ध है. चांडिल के चिलगुडीह में मुख्य नहर पर गेट निर्माण कराया गया है. यहां गेट बंद कर पानी रोक दिया गया है. इसके कारण चाकुलिया, शहरबेड़ा, एदलबेड़ा, कान्दरबेड़ा, रामगढ़, बिरिगोड़ा, आसनबनी आदि गांवों के खेतों में सिंचाई नहीं हो पा रही है. इस समय क्षेत्र के किसान खेत जोताई व धान रोपनी में जुटे हैं. नहर में पानी नहीं आने से किसान काफी चिंतित हैं. किसानों को डर है कि सिंचाई के अभाव में धान के बिचड़े सूखकर मर जाएंगे. 

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https://www.prabhatkhabar.com/state/jharkhand/giridih/water-flowing-into-suvarnarekha-river-due-to-closure-of-canal-gate-in-chilgudih-dozens-of-village-farmers-deprived-of-irrigation  (03 July 2020)

Gujarat Amazingly, Gujarat govt is still DISCUSSING completion of Kutch Branch Canal, three years after PRIME MINISTER MODI declared that the project is complete! And the whole project was justified in the name of Kutch! https://www.patrika.com/ahmedabad-news/cm-vijay-rupani-kutchh-narmada-canal-gujarat-water-6240067/  (03 July 2020)

Statue of Unity protests, Statue of Unity Gujarat, Kevadia protests, Kevadia land acquisition, Indian Express
A board put up by SSNNL after fencing a land parcel in Kevadia village, on June 12, 2020. (Express Photo: Bhupendra Rana)

Meanwhile, the Statue of Unity (SoU) site in Kevadia village is in the spotlight again, after the Gujarat govt tightened vigil around it to prevent villagers from protesting by farming on land acquired by it for building various infrastructure to boost tourism. On June 17, the Narmada district administration formed five teams to keep vigil on the acquired farmlands in six villages around the SoU recently fenced by the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd. (SSNNL). Since then, four cases of trespassing have been registered against villagers in Gora, Navagam and Limdi. The villages that protested in May and June when SSNNL began fencing the land after the Gujarat High Court dismissed their petitions, include Vaghadiya, Kevadia and Kothi. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/statue-of-unity-gujarat-kevadia-village-land-acquisition-ssnnl-6487778/  (05 July 2020)

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Interlinking Ken-Betwa Will Not Solve Bundelkhand’s Water Crisis Possibly the most detailed and comprehensive report ever on the subject of Ken Betwa Project. SANDRP’s Thakkar pointed out that the project’s intention has never been to increase the water availability in downstream districts such as Panna or Banda. “The Detailed Project Report says upfront that the main purpose is to feed water to Vidisha and Raisen districts in Madhya Pradesh [in the Upper Betwa basin],” said Thakkar. “All this talk–that Bundelkhand is getting more water and [that the project] will help solve the water crisis–is pure propaganda to help their cause. This part of the region will suffer almost all the damage, with paltry benefit.” https://www.indiaspend.com/pipe-dreams-why-interlinking-ken-betwa-will-not-solve-bundelkhands-water-crisis/   (04 July 2020)

35000(पैंतीस हजार) करोड की लागत से बनाए जाने वाली केन-बेतवा लिंक परियोजना- ‘बनाम” स्थाई समाधान के लिए 20,000 (बीस हजार) करोड़ सुझाव गौरतलब From Pushpendrabhai in Banda (UP):

1-5000 करोड़ की लागत से-

5(पांच) लाख खेत तालाबों में 150-200 करोड़ घनमीटर वारिस के पानी का संरक्षण।

2-1250 करोड़ की लागत से-

5 लाख गोबर गैस निर्माण ।

3-250 करोड़ से –

5 लाख नाडेप गड्ढों का निर्माण ।

4-7500 करोड़ की लागत से-

5 लाख सौर्य ऊर्जा पम्प।

5-3,250 करोड़ लागत से-

5 लाख किसानो की सुरक्षा बाड।

6- 5 हजार करोड़ की लागत से-

किसानो के खेतों पर भवन/गौशाला के लिए आर्थिक सहयोग , ब्याज रहित बैंक लोन।

परिणाम्

>10 लाख हेक्टेयर क्रषि भूमि की जरूरत का पानी ।

>5 लाख किसान परिवारों की आजीविका सुनिश्चितता ।

>10 लाख हेक्टेयर भूमि में जैविक उत्पादन ।

>10 लाख हेक्टेयर भूमि में कार्बन संतुलन ।

>10 लाख गोवंश का संरक्षण /संवर्धन ।

>5 करोड़ पौधों से सुसज्जित वन -बाग आच्छादन ।

>10 लाख परिवारों के लिए जैविक सब्जियां (5 लाख किचन गार्डन)

>5 लाख युवाओं के लिए रोजगार स्रजन ।

>20 लाख लीटर दूध का उत्पादन।

>15 लाख किलोवाट (सौर्य ऊर्जा) विद्युत उत्पादन।

>5 लाख परिवारों के लिए गैस/ ईंधन की उपलब्धता।

>बुंदेलखंड में भूजल संतुलन

>बुंदेलखंड के पेयजल श्रोतों /सिंचाई जल श्रोतों में पानी की बढोत्तरी ।

>सूखा, बाढ,अकाल,पलायन,कुपोषण,बेरोजगारीऔर किसान आत्महत्या जैसी आपदाओं में नियंत्रण।

>पन्ना टाइगर नेशनल पार्क, वन, और 2000 परिवारों के विस्थापन से पूर्णतः निजात।

बहुत सी ऐसी योजनाएं भी हैं जिनसे कनवर्जेंस भी संभव है-

स्थाई समाधान चाहिए या कुछ और—बिचार करें फिर प्रसार.   https://www.facebook.com/100033701740992/posts/306324677167588/?sfnsn=wiwspwa&extid=QMBlmHmUT0HpTwlv

One more report on Bundelkhand water issues.  https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/reflection-multi-faceted-drought-bundelkhand-region

ORF Virtual Water Trade in water intensive agriculture commodities This article suggests that in stead of physical linking of rivers, water may be transferred through virtual water trade.  The key aspect is will the people on ground have any say either way? https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak/virtual-water-trade-water-intensive-agriculture-commodities-68811/  (30 June 2020)

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

Godavari river water sharing disputes CWC officials to lift Babli gates Central Water Commission (CWC) officials will lift the Babli project gates on June 24 in compliance with the Supreme Court directions that the gates should be lifted on July 1 every year. The gates are kept open till October 28 to allow free flow of inflows of river Godavari into Sri Ram Sagar Project. https://telanganatoday.com/central-water-commission-officials-to-lift-babli-gates-on-wednesday  (30 June 2020)

IRRIGATION

Telangana Kondapochamma Sagar canal breaches month after inauguration by KCR  The left canal of the Kondapochamma Sagar project breached on Tuesday (June 30) morning flooding several houses in Sivaruvenkatapur village and destroying around 25 acres of farmland in Siddipet district. The canal carries Godavari river water to several reservoirs. The project was inaugurated by the state’s Chief  Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on May 29.

-The 5 feet breach took place in the Jagadevpur canal originating from the Kondapochamma project. The incident took place at around 6 am, and the villagers were taken by surprise and were forced to flee with whatever little they could salvage from their homes. Several households in low lying areas sustained property damage. Many standing crops such as cotton, sweet corn, chilly and tomato spread across 25 acres of farmland were also destroyed in the flooding.

-The Engineer in Chief for KLIS, B Hariram Nayak told TelanganaToday that water was being released into the canal on a trial run and breaches during such trial runs were common. Water was first released into the canal on June 24.

-The Kondapochamma Sagar is the last reservoir to finish work under the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme. The reservoir has a 15 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) capacity and is filled by the Godavari river with water after the water travels a distance of 274 km. The canal that breached on Tuesday can carry 11,500 cusecs of water and fills the tanks at Markuk and Jagadevpur mandals of Gajwel assembly constituency represented by the CM. The water from the canal also fills up tanks at Aleru assembly constituency of Yadadri district. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/kondapochamma-sagar-canal-breaches-telangana-month-after-inauguration-kcr-127683  (01 July 2020)

Video shared by Ravethi, a journalist with Mojo TV shows that in morning hours of June 30 there has been a breach in the canal of Kondapochamma Sagar irrigaton project flooding nearby Venkatapuram village. The project was inaugurated on 26th May and there has reportedly been several leakage incidents at pumphouses.

Repurposing microirrigation to deal with water woes Micro-irrigation does not often bring about a change in cropping patterns, with farmers continuing with water-intensive crops.  https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/repurposing-microirrigation-deal-water-woes  (30 June 2020)

RIVERS

Cover of UNRULY WATERS by Sunil Amrith

SANDRP Blog Review Essay on UNRULY WATERS: How Mountain Rivers & Monsoons have Shaped South Asia’s History In this Guest blog Dr. Ruchi Shree essays critical commentary of now famous book “Unruly Waters: How Mountain Rivers and Monsoons Rains Have Shaped Asia’s History” (by Sunil Amrith (2018), Penguin/ Allen Lane, New Delhi) as the book unfolds the mysteries of monsoon in countless ways. It is written by Sunil Amrith, a historian and professor at Harvard University and the book has much more to offer to numerous other disciplines ranging from geology to ecology and political economy to name a few. Plz read, Share. https://sandrp.in/2020/07/02/review-essay-on-unruly-waters-how-mountain-rivers-monsoons-have-shaped-south-asias-history/  (02 July 2020)

Also see Prof JAYANTA BANDYOPADHYAY article on Himalayan Rivers where he argues why Himalayan rivers must be lynchpin of India’s new water policy https://www.orfonline.org/research/himalayan-rivers-must-be-lynchpin-of-indias-new-water-policy-68980/  (02 July 2020)

Act against Discharge of Sewage and Waste in Sea: NGT -After hearing the matter, the tribunal directed: “Let the State PCBs and PCCs of the states and UTs and Chief Secretaries of the concerned coastal States and UTs take further remedial action and furnish an action taken report to the CPCB.” The Central Pollution Control Board has been asked to file a consolidated report in the matter by September 21, the next date of hearing.

-Oberoi, in his plea, asserted that over 80 percent of marine pollution is from land-based sources – industrial, agricultural, and urban. “Municipal sewage is the main source of pollution,” the plea stated. The applicant said that despite a direction that aquafarms which have area of five hectares and above should have Effluent Treatment System (ETS), discharge of untreated sewage and effluents is continuing in large scale in sea.

-“Pollution of marine coastline is on gradual increase in the same way as 351 polluted river stretches in the country,” it stated. Oberoi added that the National Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) was constituted on October 9 but the problem of marine pollution remains untackled. In a report dated March 11, the CPCB had submitted that most of the generated sewage both treated or untreated sewage and industrial effluents are disposed of through 171 major drain outfalls in the coastal areas. https://www.news18.com/news/india/act-against-discharge-of-sewage-and-waste-in-sea-ngt-tells-coastal-states-2692853.html  (29 June 2020)

Gujarat Industry group seeking to ‘hide’ effluent discharge point of river? Following a video taken by well-known environmentalist Rohit Prajapati taken from Vishala bridge in Ahmedabad, and published in Counterview, showing how untreated effluent is being discharged into Sabarmati river, efforts appear to have begun to “cover-up” such discharge points by allegedly seeking to hide the top spots of discharge points.

Image source: Counter View

https://www.counterview.in/2020/07/industry-group-seeks-to-beautify.html  (03 July 2020)

Telangana Opposition to new pharma city in Hyderabad Citizens Against Pollution, a Hyderabad-based organisation, has opposed the Telangana Government’s plan to set up a separate Hyderabad Pharma City saying that the existing pharma industry is responsible for severe pharma pollution and existence of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in the city’s water bodies. The organisation comprises of environment policy experts, former scientists, and environment activists. The organisation said that pharmaceutical companies across Telangana, as experience shows, have a negative impact on local economy, eroding resources and destroying livelihoods.  https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/hyderabad/citizens-against-pollution-oppose-new-pharma-city-in-hyderabad-6488752/  (03 July 2020)

Tamil Nadu Check dam near Tiruttani to bolster water supply Water Resources Department (WRD) has proposed to construct three check dams across various waterways in Tiruvallur district. One of them, built at Illupur, about 20 km upstream of the Poondi reservoir, will help augment Chennai’s water supply. The department has submitted the proposal to build two check dams across Kusa river in Pallipattu taluk at Sangeethakuppam and Kumarajapet and another structure in Illupur at a cost of ₹26.75 crore.

Officials of the WRD said the project to build the 230-metre long check dam will be implemented across the Nagari river at Illupur near Tiruttani. This will partially fulfil the city’s drinking water demand by providing 30 million cubic feet of water. The ₹18-crore storage structure will increase the groundwater potential in agricultural wells located within a 3-km radius and stabilise irrigation on 296 hectares of land.

Lava and Kusa rivers are tributaries of the Nagari river that originates in Andhra Pradesh. Of the 17-km-long Kusa, about 4 km flows within Tamil Nadu limits. Both rivers join near Pallipet to become the Nagari and flow for 69 km till the Poondi reservoir. The reservoir mainly gets its inflow from these waterways apart from the Kosasthalaiyar.

Following the 2015 floods, farmers of Sangeethakuppam, Venkatarajukuppam, and Veliyagaram villages made representations for two check dams to prevent floods in the Kusa that inundated several agricultural fields. Officials said the 66-metre check dam at Sangeethakuppam, nearly 65 km upstream of the Poondi reservoir, would help recharge 58 agricultural borewells around it and benefit nearly 53 hectares.

Similarly, an 80-metre check dam to be be built at Kumarajapet to enhance groundwater potential would help recharge about 40 agricultural borewells. The flood banks of the Kusa would also be strengthened. “We have already constructed four check dams upstream of the Poondi reservoir. The aim is to build such facilities at every 3-4 km of the rivers to store water. We plan to start work for new check dams in a few months,” the official added. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/check-dam-near-tiruttani-to-bolster-chennais-water-supply/article31997092.ece  (05 July 2020)

SANDRP Blog Travelling through Ramganga and Nayaar Rivers Basin

IMG_20200629_161153

Fed by Dudhatoli forest range, the Ramganga West and Nayaar East and West in Uttarakhand are perennial rivers of immense scenic beauty amid emerging and looming threats. This photo blogs highlights some of the charms and concerns of these non-glacial rivers of the Ganga Basin. https://sandrp.in/2020/07/05/travelling-through-ramganga-and-nayaar-rivers-basin/  (05 July 2020)

GANGA NGT raps NMCG over pollutants in Ganga, says no meaningful action NGT on June 29 apped National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) over its failure to control pollutants entering river Ganga and other water bodies saying its report does not show any meaningful action.

The green panel said NMCG report merely refers to certain meetings and field visits by the officials of the Ministry of Jal Shakti. However, there is no mention of compliance of law and rigorous steps which are expected against law violators when violations are rampant and patent, it said.

– The implementation timelines are unsustainably long which are in complete defiance of orders of the Supreme Court and the seriousness of the problems, the NGT said. “The Water Act was enacted 46 years ago and still discharge of pollution is taking place with impunity and inaction and tolerance by monitoring and statutory authorities has led to total lawlessness.

– “The higher authorities must record failures in ACRs as already directed and recover compensation as per laid down scale. Every State/UT in the first instance must ensure that at least one polluted river stretch in each category is restored so as to meet all water quality standards upto bathing level. This may serve as a model for restoring the remaining stretches,” the bench said. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/environment/ngt-raps-nmcg-over-pollutants-in-ganga-says-no-meaningful-action-5477831.html  (29 June 2020)

Uttar Pradesh नदी को जीवन देने के साथ 800 लोगों को दिलाया रोजगार बाराबंकी के डीएम आदर्श सिंह ने ग्राम पंचायत मवैया, विकास खंड फतेहपुर में कल्याणी नदी को पुनर्जीवित करते हुए 800 लोगों को इसके माध्यम से रोजगार भी उपलब्ध कराया है। सिंह ने बताया कि फतेहपुर ब्लॉक के मवइया गांव के निकट कल्याणी नदी ढाई किलोमीटर की परिधि में साफ हो गई है। मनरेगा से यह काम संभव हुआ है। हमने इसे पायलट प्रोजेक्ट के तौर पर शुरू किया है। भविष्य में इसे 171 किलोमीटर तक बेहतर और पुनर्जीवित करेंगे।  इसके पहले चरण के लिए 59 लाख रुपये का बजट मिला। इस प्रोजेक्ट को दो भागों में बांटा गया- पहला 2.6 किलोमीटर का मवैया का स्ट्रेच और दूसरा हैदरगढ़ का डेढ़ किलोमीटर का स्ट्रेच। https://www.jagran.com/news/national-ias-officer-barabanki-dm-adarsh-singh-gave-new-life-to-the-kalyani-river-and-provided-employment-to-800-people-20468634.html  (03 July 2020)

YAMUNA Haryana July 4 Khojkipur image shows after lock down relaxation industrial pollution has started reaching Yamuna river via drain number 2.

Image
Image by Balraj Bapoli

Delhi NGT tells DPCC to recover ₹4.5 lakh from dyeing unit Following a plea alleging the operation of illegal dyeing units in a residential area in the city, the NGT has directed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to recover an environmental compensation amounting to ₹4.5 lakh. A Bench headed by NGT chief Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel took note of a report furnished by the pollution control body and directed recovery of Environmental Damages Compensation (EDC) from the violating units.

-In its report, the DPCC had said, “During field visit, one unit was found engaged in the activity of jeans dyeing. As the unit was found operational and engaged in the activity of jeans dyeing in a non-conforming area, the unit was effectively closed on the spot by the team.” The pollution control body also informed the Tribunal that an environmental compensation had been imposed on the unit which it was yet to pay following which the NGT directed recovery of the same. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/ngt-tells-dpcc-to-recover-45-lakh-from-dyeing-unit/article31966319.ece  (01 July 2020)

Uttar Pradesh Momnathal villagers in Greater Noida continue to lament ever increasing pollution in Hindon river.

Large parts of Yamuna river bed has turned bone dry u/s Gokul barrage in Mathura. People say water has been diverted to Agra canal via Okhala barrage Delhi to conduct dredging work at ghats in Mathura.

This video report says the dredged silt is being again dumped into the Yamuna river.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qo2wBhADW6M&feature=youtu.be  (05 July 2020)

RIVERS BIODIVERSITY

The rare sharks of Ganga The Ganges shark, often mistaken for the more common bull shark, is a critically endangered shark species. Unlike many other species of sharks, the Ganges shark is regarded as a true river shark and is only found within the middle and lower reaches of freshwater, inshore marine, and estuarine ecosystems.

Sketches of the Ganges river shark. The shark is typically found in the Ganga, Hooghly, Mahanadi, and Brahmaputra. Photo courtesy Müller & Henle/Public domain.
Sketches of the Ganges river shark. The shark is typically found in the Ganga, Hooghly, Mahanadi, and Brahmaputra. Photo courtesy Müller & Henle/Public domain.

The Ganges shark remains under-researched and with challenges like low population size, long gestation period and small litter sizes that prevent deeper study about it. https://india.mongabay.com/2020/06/the-rare-shark-of-the-ganga/   (24 June 2020)

Bihar A conservation group, with the local community, helped strengthen gharial numbers by protecting vulnerable nests in remote places along the Gandak river. https://scroll.in/video/966386/eco-india-how-india-s-critically-endangered-gharial-bounced-back-from-the-brink-of-extinction  (05 July 2020)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Assam Fish die in Baghjan wetland The official said fish have died in huge numbers in the past few days in the Maguri-Motapung Beel (wetland) as floodwaters turned “acidic” after mixing with the condensate, a form of crude that has been spewing from the gas well since May 27. The chemical spray has affected nearby water bodies, grassland, paddy fields and tea plantations.

-The death of fish compounds the problems for locals as around 40 per cent of them are involved in the fishing business. Around 9,000 residents are living in 10 relief camps since the well blowout and subsequent fire. https://www.telegraphindia.com/north-east/fish-die-in-wetland-near-assam-blowout-site/cid/1784791  (30 June 2020)

The June 30 viral video on social media shows fish carcass being collected from Maguri Beel (Wetland). The fish has died due to oil pollution. The well is still on fire.

-An avid birdwatcher and photographer, Gogoi has explored the fauna in and around Assam’s Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and the Maguri-Motapung wetland, locally called Beel.

A cartoonist is using satire to spotlight Assam’s biodiversity – and its destruction

This is near the site of the recent devastating oil well explosion in Baghjan, Tinsukia. He said the wetland is like his second home and he learnt birdwatching there. https://scroll.in/article/966090/a-cartoonist-is-using-satire-to-highlight-assams-biodiversity-and-its-destruction  (04 July 2020)

First edition of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Newsletter “Matsya Sampada” Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Giriraj Singh launched the first edition of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Newsletter “MATSYA SAMPADA” published by the Department of Fisheries, Ministry for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, and the Operational Guidelines of the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY).

The Newsletter “MATSYA SAMPADA” is an outcome of the endeavours of the Department of Fisheries to reach out to the stakeholders especially fishers and fish farmers through various means of communication, and to inform and educate them about the latest developments in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. It would be published on a quarterly basis starting from the first quarter of the year 2020-21. https://www.5dariyanews.com/news/298386-Giriraj-Singh-launches-the-first-edition-of-the-Fisheries-and-Aquaculture-Newsletter-%E2%80%9CMatsya-Sampada   (30 June 2020)

SAND MINING

Kerala People’s barricade against mineral sand-mining Local residents under the aegis of Janakeeya Samara Samithi organised a ‘people’s barricade’ against mineral sand-mining at Thottapally on July 03 (Friday). It was inaugurated by Dheevara Sabha general secretary V. Dinakaran.

Tension prevailed in the area after several protesters, including women, jumped into the downstream of the Thottappally spillway channel demanding that the removal and transportation of sand from the Thottappally pozhi be stopped. They were later removed by the police. A large contingent of police was deployed at Thottappally in view of the protest.

The protest is simmering at Thottappally for some time now over sand removal. According to the government, the sand is being removed to widen and deepen the mouth of the pozhi to ensure the smooth flow of water from Kuttanad through the Thottappally spillway to sea. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/peoples-barricade-against-mineral-sand-mining/article31984524.ece  (03 July 2020)

Punjab HC asks Ludhiana DC and D&SJ to submit report Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed Ludhiana’s Deputy Commissioner as well as its district and sessions judge to visit the sites, where illegal sand mining is alleged to be taking place and submit a report within fifteen days. “In any case the resources of the state are limited, which need to be preserved,” said a division bench of the HC in an order released June 29. The case has been adjourned for next hearing on July 14.

-A Ludhiana resident Balvir Singh, in the petition filed through advocate Ferry Sofat, submitted that illegal sand mining is taking place in villages Mattewara, Jhungian, Mangli, Ror, Boothgarh and Gandisheru. The petition also alleges heavy vehicular movement, which is posing a threat to the embankment and dam over river Sutlej in the villages. “In case the dam over the river Satluj breaks, it will flood thousands of acres of land of the petitioner and others,” the petition states. A Rajasthan-based company has been named in the petition, alleging the mining was taking place at its behest. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ludhiana/high-court-on-ludhiana-illegal-sand-mining-6481868/  (29 June 2020)

Uttar Pradesh NGT directs committee to submit report on mining in Saharanpur NGT on June 29 directed a committee formed by it to submit a factual report before July 15 on a plea alleging sand mining in contravention to rules in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh during the lockdown period. “The nodal agency will be SEIAA, Uttar Pradesh, for coordination and compliance. The applicant may serve a set of papers to the District Magistrate, Saharanpur and SEIAA, and file an affidavit of service by email,” the bench said.

-The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by local resident Pramod alleging that District Survey report for riverbed sand mining in District Saharanpur has been finalised without conducting replenishment study as required under the Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2020. The plea alleged that mining sites are within 1 km from Kalesar National Park and Elephant Reserve which is prohibited as per Ministry of Environment and Forests order. Mining is being carried also in the prohibited area which is upstream of Hathnikund Barrage in Saharanpur and sand excavation has been continuing even during the locked down period, the plea said. https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/ngt-directs-committee-to-submit-report-on-plea-alleging-sand-mining-in-saharanpur/1880474   (29 June 2020)

Andhra Pradesh NGT committee to study ‘illegal’ sand mining in East Godavari NGT has ordered constitution of a committee headed by MoEF members to look into the allegations of environmental damage due to illegal beach sand mining, sand mining in assigned lands and illegal and unauthorised aqua/fish ponds in East Godavari district and submit its findings in 3 months. The matter will be heard on Oct. 08, 2020. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2020/jul/02/ngt-committee-to-study-illegal-sand-mining-in-east-godavari-2164296.html  (02 July 2020)

Gujarat Sand mafia attacks officials A mining supervisor and a security personnel were injured in an alleged attack by around 15 people in Chhota Udepur district on July 01 afternoon when the officials were trying to stop illegal sand mining. One person has been detained in connection with the case. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/gujarat-mining-supervisor-security-personnel-probing-illegal-sand-mining-attacked-one-detained-6487704/  (03 July 2020)

Bihar बदुआ के तटबंधों से अवैध बालू खनन जारी मुंगेर जिले के राणाडीह व शंभूगंज प्रखंड के 28 बालू माफियाओं पर प्राथमिकी होने के बाद भी बदुआ नदी के सुरक्षा तटबंधों को ध्वस्त कर बालू का अवैध खनन करने का कारोबार बंद नहीं है। इस कारण बाटो, बग्घा, सिलौटा आदि कई गांवों के पास बदुआ नदी के तटबंध पूरी तरह से ध्वस्त हो गया है। यहां के गांवों के किसानों में बरसात के दिनों में आने वाली बदुआ नदी में बाढ़ की चिंता अभी से ही सताने लगी है। बता दें कि बांटो, सिलौटा, बग्गा, छत्रहार समेत कई गांवों के पास बदुआ नदी के सुरक्षा तटबंधों को ही बालू माफियाओं ने बालू के अवैध खनन करने के लिए ध्वस्त कर बालू का बड़े पैमाने पर कारोबार किया है। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/bihar/bhagalpur/banka/news/illegal-sand-mining-continues-from-badua-embankments-even-after-fir-on-28-mafias-127457897.html  (29 July 2020)

अरबों के तटबंध पर लगी बालू माफिया की नजर
बांका। लॉकडाउन में बालू खनन शुरू होते ही जिला भर में बालू माफिया सक्रिय हो गए हैं। नदी में बालू कम हो जाने पर उनकी नजर अब चांदन नदी पर अरबों की लागत से बने तटबंध पर लग गई है। (Dainik Jagran) 

लॉकडाउन में बालू खनन शुरू होते ही बांका जिला भर में बालू माफिया सक्रिय हो गए हैं। नदी में बालू कम हो जाने पर उनकी नजर अब चांदन नदी पर अरबों की लागत से बने तटबंध पर लग गई है। दोमुहान से लेकर अमरपुर घोघा बियर के नीचे प्रतिबंधित घाट तक बालू माफिया सक्रिय हो गए हैं। घोघ बियर से नीचे जहां बालू उठाव वर्षों से प्रतिबंधित है, वहां भी उसी रफ्तार में बालू का उठाव हो रहा है। रात की कौन पूछे दिन में भी तटबंध काट कर बालू उठाव किया जा रहा है। नदी का तटबंध कटना आने वाले बरसात में प्रशासन के लिए बड़ी मुसीबत खड़ी कर सकता है। पुलिस केवल अभी तमाशा देख रही है। कोई अधिकारी इसके खिलाफ कभी जरा सी कोशिश करते हैं तो माफिया उन्हें सबक सिखाना नहीं भूलते हैं। सोमवार को बांका थाना क्षेत्र के लखनौड़ी में खनन पदाधिकारी महेश्वर पासवान पर हमला भी माफिया की ही करतूत है। बांका थाना क्षेत्र में ही गोहालू और करमा घाट का तटबंध लगातार काटा जा रहा है, जबकि प्रशासन ने इस जगह लाखों रुपये खर्च कर बालू की बोरी से बांध बंधवाया है। https://www.jagran.com/bihar/banka-need-to-take-action-20285854.html  (19 May 2020)

Haryana सिंचाई के लिए बनाए डैम का तटबंध खनन माफियाओं ने उखाड़ा हिमाचल सीमा से सटे गांव धनौरा के अंतिम छोर पहाड़ों की तलहटी में कांड़ी परियोजना के तहत किसानों की फसलों के सिंचाई के बनाए गए डैम की दीवार बीती रात अवैध खनन माफिया ने तोड़ दी। जिससे लेकर ग्रामीणों ने रोष जताया। डैम की दीवार तोड़ने को लेकर ग्रामीणों ने रणजीतपुर चौकी में भी शिकायत दे दोषियों के खिलाफ सख्त कारवाई करने की मांग की। ग्रामीणों का कहना है कि खनन माफिया जानबूझ का बांध की दीवार तोड़ी, ताकि बारिश होने पर नदी से मलबा बहकर आगे आ जाए।

embankment uprooted
Amar Ujala 

वहीं मामला हरियाणा हिमाचल सीमा से जुड़ा होने के कारण हिमाचल के गांव देववाला के भी कुछ लोग मौके पर पहुंच गए उनका कहना था कि उन्होंने नदी पर पानी के कुंए बना रखे हैं। जिनसे वे खेतों में सिंचाई करते है व पीने के लिए भी इस्तेमाल करते हैं। यदि बांध को कोई नुकसान होता है तो उनकी भूमि के पास से भी कटाव शुरू हो जाएगा। जिससे उनके गांव को भी खतरा है। https://www.amarujala.com/haryana/yamuna-nagar/embankment-uprooted-yamuna-nagar-news-knl362826197  (04 July 2020)

-गांव में सिंचाई के लिए कांडी परियोजना के तहत 1997 में सोमनदी पर तटबंध बनाया गया था। जिससे पानी को रोक कर सिंचाई के काम में लिया जाता था। इससे धनौरा गांव की सैकड़ाें एकड़ जमीन की सिंचाई की जाती है। ग्रामीण जसबीर सिंह, होशियार सिंह ने बताया कि शुक्रवार रात एक कंपनी के कारिंदों ने पोकलेन मशीन की मदद से तटबंध की करीब सौ फीट दीवार को उखाड़ दिया। जिससे तटबंध पूरी तरह से टूट गया। रात में ही सीमा पर लगे पुलिस नाके से हिमाचल पुलिस मौके पर पहुंंची। इससे पहले आरोपी फरार हो गए। सुबह ग्रामीणों ने मामले की सूचना पुलिस, वन विभाग व सिंचाई विभाग को भी सूचना दी गई।

-ग्रामीणों का कहना है कि खनन माफिया ने इस नीयत से बांध को उखाड़ा है कि नदी से मलबा बहकर पानी के साथ आगे धनौरा गांव की सीमा में आ जाए ताकि उन्हें रेत व अन्य सामग्री निकालने में आसानी हो। हिमाचल के देववाला के लोगों का कहना है कि यदि बांध को जल्द ठीक नही किया गया तो सोमनदी के पानी के साथ मिट्टी का कटाव शुरू हो जाएगा। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/haryana/ambala/yamunanagar/news/mining-mafia-breaks-dam-of-kandi-project-in-dhanaura-village-127477253.html  (04 July 2020)

Himachal Pradesh After public outcry, panchayat refuses to allow mining in Neugal In the wake of public outcry, Bathan panchayat (Thural) in the Sulaha constituency on June 29 refused to issue a no-objection certificate for the allotment of a part of the Neugal river for mining and setting up a stone crusher. The residents of Thural and Bathan panchayat had lodged a protest over the government’s decision to open a part of the river for mining activities and setting up a stone crusher subject to the issuance of an NoC from the panchayat and local environmental groups.

After public outcry, panchayat refuses to allow mining in Neugal
This part of the river was earlier proposed for mining by the government. TRIBUNE Photo: Ravinder Sood

The Bathan panchayat called a special meeting to discuss the issue and seek public opinion. However, it unanimously rejected the proposal and said it would not allow environmental degradation in the area. The panchayat members said since mining was banned in the river, they had no other option but to deny the proposal. The panchayat members said if they allowed mining activities, it would damage water supply schemes, bridges, roads, village paths and cremation grounds, besides leading to the outbreak of various diseases.

In Jaisinghpur where mining is under way round the clock, there had been outbreak of pulmonary diseases and many residents were suffering from chest and lungs ailment. Even children had developed breathing troubles. They threatened to launch a mass agitation if the government tried to overrule the panchayat’s decision allegedly under the pressure of the mining mafia. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/after-public-outcry-panchayat-refuses-to-allow-mining-in-neugal-106168  (30 June 2020)

Mining scam in Nurpur comes to fore, forged forms used A mining scam has come to the fore in Nurpur in which lease holders were using duplicate and tampered mining forms (M-forms) to supply illegally mined material out of the state.

-Sources here said Nurpur mining officer had submitted details of hundreds of fake and tampered M-forms used by the lease holders. They said by this way, the mining mafia had caused loss worth crores to the state exchequer in terms of royalty and GST.

-The sources said a BJP leader from Nurpur, who had mining leases in his name, was suspect. Most of the mining leases and stone crushers here are owned by politically influential persons.  https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/mining-scam-in-nurpur-comes-to-fore-forged-forms-used-104441 (25 June 2020)

A case under Section 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of Indian Penal Code has been registered against four stone crusher units, including New Shiva Stone Crusher, Kandwal, Bhandral Stone Crusher and Mankotia Stone Crusher, Damtal and Jai Hari Stone Crusher Indora. A BJP leader from Nurpur, who has a mining lease in his name, is also under the scanner.

It is learnt that the mining lease holders were using forged M-forms for transporting minerals to Punjab as the Himachal police has adopted a tough approach towards illegal mining. By using forged documents, the mining mafia had caused loss worth crores to the state exchequer in terms of royalty and GST. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/fir-against-four-stone-crushers-in-kangra-for-using-forged-mining-forms/story-mWnUg8OTeVr0PZSONXFBtI.html  (26 June 2020)

Himachal Pradesh Lease cancelled, illegal mining goes on unabated in Palampur Though the state govt has cancelled various lease permits for mining in the Neugal river, illegal mining and quarrying is going on unchecked in lower areas of Palampur such as Sulaha and Thural. This has resulted in large-scale environmental degradation in the region. This illegal activity is not only creating environmental imbalance but also causing huge losses to the state exchequer, as the state is losing royalty in several crores of rupees every year.

-Illegal and unscientific mining in Dheera and Jaisinghpur subdivisions has also resulted in deforestation, landslides and flash floods. Over 25,000 hectares have been affected by such activities in the region, resulting in drastic reshaping of the landscape.

-Illegal mining is also posing a serious threat to irrigation and drinking water supply schemes, local paths, village roads, bridges and cremation grounds in the region. Bridges on rural roads have become vulnerable due to continuous mining in riverbeds nearby. A newly constructed bridge near Bair Ghatta in Thural sub-tehsil is under threat as heavy machinery can be seen extracting sand and stones in the Neugal river.

-Cases related to illegal mining in the Kangra valley are already in various courts and the NGT, still government agencies have allegedly become mute spectators and are allowing the mafia to extract stones and sand from rivers and rivulets.

-Awa, Binwa and Neugal rivers in the Palampur region have turned into gold mines for the mining mafia, which has been extracting material in broad daylight though their lease agreements with the state government had been cancelled. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/lease-cancelled-illegal-mining-goes-on-unabated-in-palampur-105334  (27 June 2020)

Uttarakhand  Opposition to mining extension Now, however, rivers are being mined even in higher reaches of Uttarakhand, irrespective of ecological sensitivity of the area. Most of the mining is happening in the Bhabhar area, which is a crucial geographical location for groundwater recharge. “Without conducting any district survey – made compulsory by MoEF guidelines –the state government has been encouraging unsustainable riverbed quarrying practices. In a sheer invitation to disaster, the government has allowed mining within 1km reach of structures and bridges on the rivers, which was prohibited by the Nainital high court. It has also increased depth for mining from 1.5 metres to upto 3 metres, without even conducting the scientific replenishment study. Such brazen mining operations will aggravate flood situations,” said Bhim Singh Rawat of SANDRP. “The government is brazenly increasing the mining period amid the looming monsoon season and ongoing pandemic, undermining environmental norms ,” added Rawat. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/ukhand-government-extends-permission-to-pick-up-mining-material-from-river-banks-till-july-31st-environmentalists-fear-illegal-mining/articleshow/76757266.cms  (03 July 2020)

 In a shocking move state govt has allowed riverbed mining for one more month upto July 31. This is second such extension this year. The official time for mining activities has ended on May 31. But the state govt on May 28 sought permission to allow same for one month upto June 30 from MoEF citing lockdown period affecting livelihoods of mining labours.

The MoEF approved the request on June 4 saying its only one time for this year. That approval came to an end on June 30. But now state govt has once again extended it for full one month. Its not known whether permission has sought from MoEF as its monsoon season and mining activities in rivers are prohibited.

All this is being done in the name of livelihood of mining labors under river training policy which has clearly undermined the procedures and sustainable mining practices.  https://khabarpahad.com/dehradun-big-news-a-months-break-to-mining-businesses-read-the-full-news/  

Even during the lockdown, Dehradun witnessed illegal mining activities round the clock. https://en.gaonconnection.com/yamuna-riverbed-mining-miners-governments-throw-rule-book-in-river/  (29 June 2020)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Uttar Pradesh Ramgarh Lake first notified wetland The Ramgarh Lake in Gorakhpur spread over 737 hectare will be the first notified wetland in the state under Wetland Management Rules, 2017. After Yogi became CM, the lake was developed as a tourist spot and a zoo is under construction near it. A water sports park is also under construction there. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/ramgarh-lake-ups-first-notified-wetland/articleshow/76458625.cms   (19 June 2020)

Gorakhpur Divisional Forest Officer Avinash Kumar said the over 700-hectare lake will be the first wetland to be notified under the Wetland Management Rules, 2017. On June 15, authorities had issued a notification seeking people’s response till June 30 after which a final notification will be issued, the official said.

-Chief Conservator of Ramgarh Tal Lake, Deepak Kumar, said after the notification declaring it a wetland, the lake will be conserved in its original form. He said no industry will be allowed within 50 metres of it. There will be restrictions on the disposal of toxic waste, dirty water and non-biodegradable materials, he said. https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/up-plans-to-notify-gorakhpur-lake-under-wetland-management-rules/1870076  (18 June 2020)

WATER OPTIONS

Rajasthan Bridging gender gap through groundwater monitoring

The hydrogeological data crowd-sourced from MARVI project’s network of farmer-researchers in Dharta and Meghraj is uploaded on the MyWell app, which also comes in a Hindi version for the ease of use of the farmer-researchers/Bhujal Jaankars. Photo from MARVI.

A group of trained farmer-researchers, ‘Bhujal Jaankars’ in two Rajasthan and Gujarat watersheds monitor groundwater levels under a village-level project for groundwater sustainability. https://india.mongabay.com/2020/06/bridging-the-gender-gap-through-groundwater-monitoring-in-a-rajasthan-village/  (29 June 2020) 

Maharashtra Ecosystems-based adaptation keeps water running in Bhojdari even in dry months Bhojdari, in Ahmednagar district, is a village in the rain-shadow region of the Western Ghats; it is in the upper catchment and has no river, dam or canal nearby, but has sufficient water even in dry months. “Even though our village has no major water body and is partly hilly, we have been tanker-free and self-sufficient in our water needs since the early 2000s,” said Pushpavika Hande (45), Bhojdari.

– The project was implemented by the Pune-based Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR), as part of the Indo-German Watershed Development Programme. The land in Bhojdari is said to be hard, and the geology of the village does not support groundwater recharge, said Niraj Joshi, Senior Researcher with the WOTR Centre for Resilience Studies (W-CReS). “In an EbA-based approach, on the other hand, you look at land use capability classification, i.e. using land as per its capability, and restoring land back to its land capability classification such as grassland or shrubland, as opposed to converting it all into cropped land.” Joy said. https://india.mongabay.com/2020/06/ecosystems-based-adaptation-keeps-water-running-in-bhojdari-even-in-dry-months/  (29 June 2020)

Gujarat 1000 schools to harvest rain CM Vijay Rupani on June 29, 2020 called for rainwater harvesting in government schools and offices while dedicating 1,000 such completed projects through video conferencing. “Because of it (Sujalam Sufalam scheme), we have been able to increase water storage capacity by 40,628 lakh cubic feet in three years” CM said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/1k-schools-set-to-harvest-rainwater/articleshow/76698518.cms  (30 June 2020)

GROUNDWATER

Haryana As govt once again attempts to curb area under paddy to save groundwater, farmers point out flaws in its efforts. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/water/paddy-puzzle-why-haryana-farmers-govt-fight-over-the-water-guzzling-crop-71960  (03 July 2020)

URBAN WATER

Hyderabad Medieval-era, Hati Bauli well turns into a dump yard Writer and academician Syed Ali Asgar Bilgrami, in his monumental book called ‘Landmarks of the Deccan’, documented,”There is a big well called Hati Bauli, the water of which was formerly drawn by elephants”.

Heaps of garbage mar the historic well near Toli Masjid in Hyderabad. (Photo| S Senbagapandiyan, EPS)

The book also depicts a garden — that is no longer in existence — by the name of Khas Bagh. “The Khas Bagh outside the Sarai is still in bloom and is even now watered by the old Hati Bauli,” Bilgrami wrote in 1927. The Sarai or rest house, is attached to the mosque and served as stop for weary travellers back in the day.

-Sadly, the well is now a dumpyard. In fact, there are several other wells, like the one in Tolichowki Mosque, and hundreds of stepwells across Telangana, that require immediate attention. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/hyderabad/2020/jun/29/once-a-water-source-in-medevial-era-hati-bauli-well-near-hyderabad-is-now-a-dumpyard-2162812.html  (29 June 2020)

Chennai Residents of VV Colony, Adambakkam, Vadapalani facing reverse sewage flow reportedly due to rising road and manhole level and malfunctioning of pumping stations.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/chennai-reverse-flow-of-sewage-irks-vv-colony-residents/articleshow/76742386.cms  (02 July 2020)

JJM RURAL WATER SUPPLY

Bihar Over 4 lakh ‘Nal Se Jal’ connections in April-June period Despite lockdown, Bihar has provided the second highest number of functional tap water connections to rural households, behind Telangana. Between 1 April and 30 June 2020, Bihar has provided functional tap water connections to 4.39 lakh households, the second-most of any state or union territory in India, as against its target of 1.5 crore households for the full financial year 2020-21. The pan-India figure between 1 April and 30 June stands at 19.58 lakh tap connections, as against the full-fiscal target of 5.98 crore.

– However, not all states and union territories are doing well. Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, Puducherry and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands have not provided a single tap connection this fiscal. The states of the Northeast, along with West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Punjab are also far behind their targets. West Bengal, for instance, has been able to provide 7,356 household taps so far as against the target of 32 lakh this fiscal. Assam has provided 11,919 household taps against the target of 13 lakh, while Odisha’s figures stand at 11,657 and 17 lakh, respectively. https://theprint.in/india/bihar-has-provided-over-4-lakh-nal-se-jal-connections-in-april-june-period-of-election-year/454168/  (04 July 2020)

Haryana Centre asks govt to form village panels to manage water Centre has told gvot to form village water and sanitation committee in each village with 50% women members. The proposed committee will be tasked with the responsibility of planning, designing, implementing, operating and maintaining of village water supply systems. Shekhawat stressed that all villages have to prepare a Village Action Plan (VAP) which essentially will comprise development/ augmentation of drinking water sources, water supply systems, grey-water re-use and operation and maintenance component. Appreciating the initiatives of Haryana in grey water management through the waste stabilisation ponds popularly known as “five-pond system”, Shekhawat urged the adoption of similar approach for managing household waste water and domestic waste for every village.  https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/form-village-panels-to-manage-water-centre-tells-haryana-government-108681  (04 July 2020)

WATER

Low cost drinking water technology – rainwater harvesting with solar purification As a result of scarcity and deteriorating quality of drinking water especially in rural India, more attention is being paid to rainwater harvesting. A very simple and low cost drinking water technology (DWT) has been developed which uses appropriate rainwater harvesting methodology and solar purification. The costliest item in DWT is the storage tank. A possible mechanism for reducing this cost by the government of India scheme has been indicated in the article. With cost reduction, this DWT can become a viable and economical solution for potable water in rural households.  https://www.currentscience.ac.in/Volumes/118/06/0872.pdf 

Dr. Eshwer Kale’s new book “Patterns of Social Exclusion in Watershed Development in India” is published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, UK and the Forward for the book is written by K.J.Joy. https://www.cambridgescholars.com/patterns-of-social-exclusion-in-watershed-development-in-india

”Cholera and Coronavirus: why we must not repeat the same mistakes” In our incessant struggle with the current pandemic, we have overlooked the persistence and threats posed by the longest running pandemic in the world- Cholera.

Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated. Fundamentally, cholera is an outcome of a lack of adequate safe water and sanitation.

However, despite being a preventable and manageable disease, it continues to kill millions of poor people globally, making it the most fatal disease to affect the world. Its impact is highly iniquitous.

While the Global North has largely beaten the disease over the years, it remains endemic in more than 47 poorer nations of the Global South due to the poor status of public health infrastructure and lack of political will.

The global map of Cholera is essentially the same as the map of extreme poverty. For instance, Yemen, the country facing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world is also ravaged by Cholera with more than 50 suspected cases of cholera reported for every hour of the last five years.  https://www.waterpractitioners.org/post/cholera-and-coronavirus-why-we-must-not-repeat-the-same-mistakes  (03 July 2020) 

AGRICULTURE

Odisha Govt set to introduce locally produced millets into ICDS, PDS  Locally cultivated ragi will be part of the Integrated Child Development Services scheme for the first time in Odisha, with Keonjhar district introducing it as part of the pre-school meal from July 2020 onwards. Additionally, 14 districts — a part of the state’s Millet Mission — will provide ragi through the public distribution system from Sept, the state agriculture department said.  https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/odisha-set-to-introduce-locally-produced-millets-into-icds-pds-72039  (30 June 2020)

MONSOON

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State wise, Sub division wise, River basin wise cumulative rainfall maps from June 1 to July 6, 2020 

SANDRP Blog District wise rainfall data in June 2020 Here we present the rainfall figures from India Meteorological Department in the just concluded month of June 2020, the first month of SW Monsoon 2020. The overall rainfall at all India level in June 2020 was 196.2 mm, 18% above normal rainfall in the month at 166.9 mm. State wise rainfall Three states had large excess rainfall (above 60% surplus rainfall), namely Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Sikkim. https://sandrp.in/2020/06/30/district-wise-rainfall-in-india-in-june-2020/  (30 June 2020)

Uttarakhand This says monsoon rainfall to pick up in Uttarakhand state in coming days. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6RhuDPfsaY&feature=youtu.be   (04 July 2020)

Monsoon rain to take another week to drench the state seems from Vikram Singh director, IMD Dehradun statements. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAVhwOZdzsY&feature=youtu.be  (30 June 2020)

FLOOD

Dam floods Assam The flood situation worsened with neighbouring Bhutan releasing over 2700 cumecs of excess water from Kurichu dam, about 30km from Barpeta Road in lower Assam on Thursday (June 25) that led to the swelling of Beki, Manas, Pagladia, Kaldia and Pohumara rivers, affecting lower Assam districts.

– Last year, the minister of state for Jal Shakti Rattan Lal Kataria informed the Lok Sabha that Assam has nine of the 39 most flood-prone districts in the country and Dhubri tops this list. The minister was referring to a report submitted by a committee headed by the Ganga Flood Control Commission (GFCC) while answering to a question by Dhubri MP Badruddin Ajmal. According to the report, the nine most flood-prone districts of Assam are Dhubri, Lakhimpur, Morigaon, Dhemaji, Barpeta, Jorhat, Goalpara, Sivasagar and Nalbari.

– On May 26 part of a guard wall of the 2000 MW Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHP) breached. Moreover, erosion at the dam site created panic and riparian anxiety as a coffer dam was washed away. The NHPC authorities issued a clarification on local newspapers on Sunday stating that breach of downstream coffer dam and river flowing above the dam during monsoon is a normal event. The clarification also stated that slope failure in diversion channel along left bank road is due to prolonged flow of water in diversion structures and is in no way related to the safety of the dam. The slopes shall be repaired after monsoons during the balance construction period after which the Diversion Tunnels shall be plugged. Earlier, the NHPC stated that the erosion site was 500 metres away from the main dam and would not make any impact. https://nenow.in/environment/a-himalayan-challenge-for-assam.html  (30 June 2020)

This year, the floods wreak havoc against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. It’s a crisis that calls out for necessities like safe water, sanitation and physical distancing to be in order, a flood like situation definitely compounds the vulnerabilities of the people.

For the communities who have lived alongside rivers for decades, the disaster is not merely the rushing waters of flood, but also the reduced capacity to cope with them.

In our recent photo feature, a film-maker and photographer based out of Assam, captures this lived reality of the people in Matia and Simlitola areas of Goalpara district. These photographs tell a story of the indomitable spirit of the people in their struggle for survival against all odds in North East India.  https://www.waterpractitioners.org/post/covid-19-and-floods-a-double-whammy-for-assam  (01 July 2020)

Assam 24 killed, 1.3 million affected as flood hits 25 of 33 districts Flooding has also affected two national parks in the state. In Kaziranga, 146 of the total 203 camps used by forest personnel have been affected and 9 of the vacated. In Orang, 22 of the total 40 camps are affected, said an ASDMA release.

-There were reports of damage to embankments at 12 places due to floods and sections of 86 roads in eight affected districts have been damaged, washed away or submerged due to flooding. One bridge was washed away in Barpeta district, another submerged in Nalbari and one damaged in Baksa.

-According to the Central Water Commission (CWC), the Brahmaputra was flowing above the danger mark at Nematighat, Tezpur, Guwahati, Goalpara and Dhubri. Seven other rivers were also flowing over the red mark at several places. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/24-killed-1-3-million-affected-as-flood-hits-25-of-33-districts-in-assam/story-JnEJp8IOX1umenaPLVNLTO.html  (30 June 2020)

North East Early monsoon floods show climate change impact Landslides, cloud bursts events marking beginning of Monsoon rains in several parts of north east in India and neighboring countries:- The 2020 summer monsoon has just about started but is already flooding large parts of Assam, Meghalaya, northern Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sikkim and Nepal. An estimated 50 people have been killed in these parts of South Asia, including 23 in Assam and 18 in Nepal. Around 100 more people were killed by lightning strikes in Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh as the monsoon reached these areas. https://www.thethirdpole.net/2020/06/29/early-monsoon-floods-show-climate-change-impact-in-south-asia/   (29 June 2020)

Sikkim Rains trigger flash floods in Passingdang, North Sikkim Incessant rains have caused flash floods and landslides in Passingdang area of Upper Dzongu in North Sikkim since Saturday (June 27) night. The flash floods have destroyed several houses and properties. However, there has been no reports of casualty so far. Sources from the spot report that flash floods started around 8 pm on Saturday (June 27) night. So far, 19 houses have been fully damaged, and a small bridge has been washed away. https://www.eastmojo.com/sikkim/2020/06/28/in-photos-rains-trigger-flash-floods-in-passingdang-north-sikkim  (28 June 2020)

Uttarakhand  2 women drown in swollen Kosi river, 1 missing Three women, all residents of Chamadiya Tonk in Lohali Gram Panchayat, were swept away while trying to cross the overflowing Kosi River in Nainital district on Sunday morning (July 5). The women had gone to the forest to collect fodder for cattle and on their way back, they tried to cross the river which had swelled due to rains. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/two-women-drown-in-swollen-kosi-river-one-still-missing/articleshow/76802279.cms  (06 July 2020)

Gujarat 434 mm rainfall in Khambhalia tehsil Several districts witnessed heavy rains on Sunday (July 5), with Khambhalia tehsil in Devbhoomi Dwarka district receiving as much as 434 mm rainfall during the day, 292 mm between 6 and 8 pm alone, which led to major water-logging in Khambhalia town, officials said.

Heavy rains also lashed parts of Porbandar, Gir Somnath, Junagadh and Amreli districts in Saurashtra region, as well as Valsad and Navsari districts in south Gujarat throughout the day. Ranavav in Porbandar received 152 mm rainfall, Porbandar 120 mm, Sutrapada in Gir Somnath 103 mm, Chikhli in Navsari 99 mm, and Pardi in Valsad received 98 mm rainfall from morning till 8 pm Sunday (July 5). https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/parts-of-gujarat-receive-heavy-rains-434-mm-rainfall-in-khambhalia-tehsil/story-ofBVGQq9qjLRL51bVi3FKL.html  (06 July 2020)

Uttar Pradesh River Chandan at Thoothibari level monitoring site (Nichlaul) in Ganga basin in Mahrajganj district has crossed its previous HFL 100.15 (date unknown) by 0.70 metre and attained new HFL 100.85 metre on 29 June 2020 around 03:00 hours.

29062020 Chanda HFL UP

West Bengal After narrowly missing the HFL of 40.5 metre by 0.3 metre, on June 25, 2020 at Ambari site in Coochbehar district, river Kaljani a tributary of Torsa has today (July 02, 2020) touched the HFL around 15:00 hours. Previous HFL was attained on August 12, 2017.

02072020 Ambari WB

Bihar This helps explain what embankments are doing to Kosi and its silt and floods. https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1277252836288417792.html

Kerala 2018 flood on mind, houses in backwaters region now on stilts Kuttanad region (including parts of Alappuzha, Kottayam and Pathanathitta districts) is generally about 2.2 m below sea level. Here, after the 2018 floods, people are rebuilding their houses on stilts, without any advise or regulations from the govt. Besides, Kothumbu Vallam, a country craft is being replaced by motor boats.  https://indianexpress.com/article/india/kerala-2018-flood-on-mind-houses-in-backwaters-region-now-on-stilts-6484055/  (01 July 2020)

URBAN FLOODS

Mumbai Despite crores spent on desilting, Mumbai could still see flooding “Desilting is an annual money-spinning exercise,” says Debi Goenka, environmentalist and activist. “Given the fact that the natural drainage system of the city has been destroyed, desilting is no solution to prevent flooding, yet there is convenient silence on this subject given the large sums of money involved. Instead of protecting the natural drainage systems and water bodies, money is being spent on pumping rain water into the sea.”

-“Every year, about Rs 700 crore is spent in just two months, April and May, on desilting; shouldn’t the drains be kept clean round the year? Why is this done only just before the monsoons?” said Gopal Jhaveri, co-founder, Rivers March, a citizens’ initiative to save the rivers of Mumbai.

-The 2006 report of the Madhav Chitale committee, set up after the unprecedented flooding on 26 July, 2005, which claimed 546 lives, noted that while budgetary allocations to the Storm Water Drain (SWD) department (the SWD got Rs 912.10 crore as capital expenditure, which is six percent of allocations in BMC’s 2020-21 budget) were largely ignored and there seemed no issues with allocating funds for desilting work.

-Today, with the city facing climate change leading to change in rainfall patterns and rising sea levels, a sustained hydrology-based city planning system, including flood management, is the need of the hour. If the BMC doesn’t listen to its experts, reiterating the same advice time and again will provide no relief to the maximum city this year either.

-Not just private builders, the government too is guilty of reclaiming land in catchment areas at Gorai, Charkop and Versova to build bus depots, public housing projects and had allowed private colleges and even a theatre (IMAX), all of which have encroached on wetlands, creeks, coasts and mudflats aggravating the risk of flooding. https://www.firstpost.com/india/despite-hundreds-of-crores-spent-on-desilting-why-mumbai-could-still-see-flooding-this-monsoon-8534601.html  (28 June 2020)

Pune Torrents of rain today could trigger urban flood, landslips WARNING: Anupam Kashyapi, head of weather, IMD, Pune told TOI that weather systems akin to last year when very heavy rains were experienced over parts of Konkan and north Madhya Maharashtra in July were brewing. These include an upper air circulation over Gujarat and its neighbourhood appearing on July 4, coupled with strong westerly winds from the Arabian Sea. “This system is likely to develop into a mid-tropospheric cyclonic circulation around July 5-6, which may cause very heavy to extremely heavy rain in isolated places in North Maharashtra and Gujarat. The westerly winds are likely to get stronger on July 4 and 5. A pressure gradient force over Knkan-Goa and West Madhya Maharashtra is also likely to aid widespread rainfall,” he said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/torrents-of-rain-today-could-trigger-urban-flood-landslips/articleshow/76777898.cms  (04 July 2020)

Karnal Water logging on roads. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJSzOQyx85c   (05 July 2020)

LANDSLIDES

Manipur Heavy rains trigger landslide Due to the heavy rainfall in the state for the past few days, Manipur has witnessed massive landslide in several areas including Noney and Tamenglong district, official reports said on Sunday (July 5). The officials informed that almost all rivers in the two mountain districts are flowing above the danger level. https://nenow.in/north-east-news/manipur/heavy-rains-trigger-landslide-in-manipur.html  (05 July 2020)

Karnataka Two children feared trapped in debris after a landslide in Gurupura Two children are believed to have been trapped under the debris of a landslide which took place in Banglagudde, near Gurupura on Sunday noon (July 5). According to police, two houses have been completely damaged due to a landslide and so far and two children—a girl and a boy, are trapped. The rescue teams have reached the spot and efforts are on to rescue them. Police also added that landslides continued in the spot, making rescue operation difficult. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mangaluru/karnataka-two-children-feared-trapped-in-debris-after-a-landslide-in-gurupura/articleshow/76796650.cms  (05 July 2020)

Visuals of the landslide show houses sliding down. At least two houses were reduced to rubble according to local residents. The landslide occurred in an area with uneven terrain.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGihSvZSF60  (05 July 2020)

ENERGY OPTIONS

Ladakh Solar plan to make Leh self-reliant hanging fire over free power People familiar with the matter said SECI, the Central agency implementing the National Solar Mission, had in March submitted the proposal to build a 50 mw solar power plant with 60 mw battery storage.

-The project is estimated to cost Rs 400 crore and guarantees at least 16 hours of green power at Rs 6 per unit, which is 25-30% cheaper than power supplied to Leh by NHPC or from diesel generators. Power from storage-based solar projects cost more as they over-ride the photo-voltaic projects’ dependence on the Sun.

-SECI had conducted a survey in the January-February period and identified a parcel of land at Phyang, 19 Kms from Leh. But things got stuck after the administration sought free power on the lines of inter-state hydel projects.

-SECI argued against free power since the project will supply only to Leh and not any other state. “The so-called free power will raise tariff as the cost will be added to the total outlay,” one official said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/solar-plan-to-make-leh-self-reliant-hanging-fire-over-free-power/articleshow/76698628.cms  (30 June 2020)

THERMAL POWER

Andhra Pradesh Govt pulls out of PPAs with NTPC Citing poor plant load factors of these units – Kudgi recorded 21.586 per cent of PLF and Vallur, 45.822 per cent (as against the normative PLF of 85 per cent) – the government said that these power plants are plunged into reserve shutdown for prolonged periods and if at all operating, maintaining technical minimum limits for most of the time.

-This dismal operational performance of the plants was causing the overall per unit cost of power (fixed and variable) surging to Rs 10/unit. This was causing AP DISCOMS unbearable financial burden, particularly, during this critical financial period. The government also pointed out that as a result of the same, the DISCOMS were forced to purchase power from costly sources to substitute the expected generation from the two plants.

-It may be recalled here that only recently the State government had a row over the Union Finance Minister’s ‘irrational’ claims over high power tariff for the industry and criticised her for leveling baseless allegations while forcing the State government to buy power at higher tariffs. https://www.thehansindia.com/andhra-pradesh/andhra-pradesh-pulls-out-of-ppas-with-ntpc-630822  (30 June 2020)

ENVIRONMENT

EIA Notification 2020: simplified and explained This video explains in simple terms the problems with the Draft EIA Notification 2020. The video is based on our article at South Asia Network on Dams Rivers and People. Please Watch, Share widely. https://youtu.be/wzINXmOHRGI  (28 June 2020)

This video, NOW DUBBED IN HINDI, explains in simple terms the problems with the Draft EIA Notification 2020. The video is based on our article at South Asia Network on Dams Rivers and People. Please Watch, Share widely. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7upciCPqZw   

This report extensively quotes SANDRP critique of Draft EIA notification 2020: https://www.thehindu.com/news/states/draft-eia-notification-fosters-non-transparency-encourages-environmental-violations/article31941635.ece  (29 June 2020)

Environmental activists and people’s organisations from across Himachal have written to the MoEF&CC to scrap the 2020 draft amendments to the EIA Notification proposed by it.  https://himachalwatcher.com/2020/07/06/himachal-pradesh-proposed-eia-draft-amendments-2020/  (06 July 2020)

All details about how Prakash Javadekar and Dr Harshvardhan ensured that a diluted EIA notification is prepared. https://bit.ly/31Ebb99  (03 July 2020)

Study Deforestation, ecosystem destruction increases risk of pandemics The study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Policy, presents the hypothesis that disease risks are “ultimately interlinked” with biodiversity and natural processes such as the water cycle. The researchers at the University of the West of England, and the University of Exeter in the UK used a framework designed to analyse and communicate complex relationships between society and the environment.

-They conclude that maintaining intact and fully functioning ecosystems and their associated environmental and health benefits is key to preventing the emergence of new pandemics. The loss of these benefits through ecosystem degradation — including deforestation, land use change and agricultural intensification — further compounds the problem, according to the researchers. This happens by undermining water and other resources essential for reducing disease transmission and mitigating the impact of emerging infectious diseases, they said. https://www.hindustantimes.com/more-lifestyle/deforestation-ecosystem-destruction-increases-risk-of-pandemics/story-XNxde1smILh2hiS6utn2ZJ.html  (29 June 2020)

Report Shonajhurir Bhoot and the spirit of the forest Incongruity is woven, intricately and inextricably, into the images, sounds and experiential spectrum of Shonajhurir Bhoot (Ghost of the Golden Groves), an independent, strikingly original Bengali narrative feature directed by first-time filmmakers Aniket Dutta and Roshni Sen.

– An absurdist sensibility drives the experimental film, which taps into Bengal’s hoary tradition of ghost stories and fantasies to dwell upon the dual bane of deforestation and displacement caused by an unthinking process of industrialization that has its roots in the mid-20th century, when the world was emerging from the destruction wreaked by World War 2 and India was only beginning to find its feet as a newly-independent nation. https://www.civilsocietyonline.com/cinema/spirit-of-the-forest/  (03 July 2020)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Himachal Pradesh Big glacial lakes in Himalayan region worrisome The increasing number of glacial lakes in the Sutlej, Ravi, Beas and Chenab basins in the Himalayan region could be a potential threat to human life in the downstream areas, necessitating the need for greater alertness and disaster preparedness. A study undertaken for 2019 by the State Centre on Climate Change under the aegis of the State Council for Science, Technology and Environment says the formation of these lakes, especially the bigger ones, need to be monitored constantly. “Besides this, other lakes in each basin with an area between 5-10 hectares can also cause considerable damage if anyone of these bursts,” the study indicates. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/big-glacial-lakes-in-himalayan-region-worrisome-105973  (29 June 2020)

Glacier studies in Ladakh, Himachal flag stark climate change impact For the Ladakh study, published in the Journal of Glaciology on May 18, the team found that the Stok glacier is facing as much mass loss as its western Himalayan counterparts, despite being in a higher altitude zone between the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges.

The paper projects that a 27% increase in snow or rain is required to compensate for the mass loss due to 1 degree Celsius rise in temperature over pre-industrial era levels.
The paper projects that a 27% increase in snow or rain is required to compensate for the mass loss due to 1 degree Celsius rise in temperature over pre-industrial era levels.(Bloomberg)

– The Stok glacier was in a balanced condition during the late 20th century — around the 1980s — due to sufficient winter precipitation, or snowfall. However, it was followed by a severe loss during the early 21st century — prior to 2009 — and a moderate loss after 2011. “This is mainly because of reduced winter snowfall in the arid Himalayan region. This must be also affecting water availability in villages in and around Stok and Indus river, which must be studied,” said JNU’s Professor AL Ramanathan, the corresponding author of the paper. The paper projects that a 27% increase in snow or rain is required to compensate for the mass loss due to 1 degree Celsius rise in temperature over pre-industrial era levels. “Accelerated temperature rise over the western Himalayas has significantly reduced the amount of snowfall received and also aggravated glacier mass loss,” he added.

– Another paper published in the same journal on June 23 is a study — conducted between 2002 and 2019 — of the Chhota Shigri glacier in HP. The team found over the past two decades, on average half a metre of water equivalent of ice has been drained from this glacier in the Indus river. The glacier is in an imbalanced condition because it has melted more than gained, the paper said. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/glacier-studies-in-ladakh-himachal-pradesh-flag-stark-climate-change-impact/story-xljIuWttGnK3WaD5Vt9GrK.html  (30 June 2020)

Study 60% of fish species could be unable to survive in current areas by 2100 Sixty per cent of studied fish species will be unable to survive in their current ranges by 2100 if climate warming reaches a worst-case scenario of 4-5C (7.2-9F) above pre-industrial temperatures, researchers have found. In a study of nearly 700 fresh and saltwater fish species, researchers examined how warming water temperatures lower water oxygen levels, putting embryos and pregnant fish at risk.  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/02/fish-species-survival-climate-warming-study  (02 July 2020)

SOUTH ASIA

IndiaNepal Friction casts shadow on proposed Pancheshwar dam project The discussion between two countries is now stuck around existing and future usage of water from the Mahakali River. Last meeting happened in Nov 2019 when UP Singh, Secretary, MoWR travelled to Nepal. According to hydrological studies, the Mahakali has an average annual water availability of 18 billion cubic metres (bcm), of which 13 bcm is currently being used. India is drawing 12 bcm while Nepal is drawing 1 bcm.

– India draws 7 bcm of its 12 bcm from the upper Sarada barrage located on the India-Nepal border, for irrigation purposes in Uttar Pradesh. The remaining 5 bcm comes from the lower Sarada barrage, which is 150 km downstream on the Indian side. “Our contention is that this 5 bcm should be part of India’s existing usage. But Nepal wants this to be treated as part of India’s future usage (once the dam is built),” the official quoted earlier said. “If the 5 bcm becomes part of future usage, India will effectively not get anything when the dam comes up.”

– India’s stand is that when the dam comes up, of the remaining 5 bcm water available for use, Nepal’s share should be 3 bcm while the remaining 2 bcm should come to India. “Nepal is objecting to this, saying the 5 bcm India is drawing from the lower Sharada barrage should be part of India’s future usage, taking its total to 12 bcm. While Nepal should get the remaining 5 bcm,” the official added. “It’s only after the water sharing issue is settled that we can move ahead and discuss issues like where to arrange funding for the project and the share of each country, etc.,” the ministry official added. https://theprint.in/india/india-nepal-friction-casts-shadow-on-proposed-pancheshwar-multipurpose-dam-project/452200/  (01 July 2020)

नेपाल ने ….. नदी का बहाव रोक दिया This details how ongoing tense relationships between India and Nepal has impacted water releases from rivers and maintenance of water sources:

नेपाल ने गंडक नदी के इस पार सुस्ता गांव में पुल निर्माण शुरू किया। भारत ने आपत्ति जताई तो निर्माण बीच में ही रोकना पड़ा।

नरकटियागंज के भिखनाठोड़ी में एक जलस्रोत राेक दिया, ताकि एसएसबी के जवान परेशान हों। इनका कैंप जलस्रोत से 50 मीटर दूर है। यहां बोरिंग से पानी आता है। हालांकि, पानी बंद होने से आम लोगों काे परेशानी हो रही है।

जून के शुरू में वाल्मीकिनगर में त्रिवेणी घाट के पास बांध मरम्मत का नेपाल ने विरोध किया। भारत के कड़े रुख और एसएसबी के दखल से मामला शांत है। लेकिन स्लुइस गेट का निर्माण ठप है।

पूर्वी चंपारण में बलुआ के पास बांध मरम्मत का काम नेपाल ने रोक दिया। नो मेंस लैंड पार कर ऊंचाई बढ़ाने का आरोप लगाया। जबकि, यहां वर्षाें से बांध है।

सीतामढ़ी के बैरगनिया के पास भी बांध निर्माण पर तनातनी है।

सीतामढ़ी से भिट्‌ठामोड़ जा रही सड़क पर नवाहीं गांव के पास एप्रोच रोड पर नेपाल ने विरोध जताया। अब निर्माण ठप है। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/bihar/news/nepal-launches-troops-on-border-captures-our-land-stops-river-flow-127455158.html  (28 June 2020)

India Bhutan Pact for first joint venture hydropower project  India and Bhutan took a major step for the 600 MW Kholongchhu project in Bhutan’s less developed eastern region of Trashiyangtse. The project’s “Concession agreement,” was signed in the presence via video-conference of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar in Delhi, and Bhutan’s Foreign Minister Tandi Dorji and Economic Affairs Minister Loknath Sharma in Thimphu. It marks a shift as it is the first time an India-Bhutan hydropower project will be constructed as a 50:50 joint venture, not as a govt-to-govt agreement. The JV Partners are Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam and the Bhutanese Druk Green Power Corp. Project foundation stone was laid by PM Modi in Apr 2014, but got delayed because of Dec 2016 India’s power tariff guidelines for cross border electricity trade that stalled it, till it was amended by GOI. According to the agreement signed, the project is to be completed by second half of 2025. Once the project is commissioned, the JV partners will run it for 30 years, called the concession period, after which the full ownership will transfer to the Bhutan government, which will receive power from the project as a “royalty” in the interim. Power tariffs, a sticky issue, will be negotiated closer to the completion of the project. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-bhutan-sign-pact-for-first-joint-venture-hydropower-project/article31945878.ece  (29 June 2020)

The EDIT in Kuensel, newspaper of Bhutan, sees the signing of the Joint Venture agreement for the 600 MW Kholongchhu HEP in EASTERN Bhutan (most of the hydropower projects so far are concentrated in Western Bhutan) as a great achievement. It says “electricity from Kholongchhu would help the power deficit in India” But the trouble is, there is NO deficit, India is power surplus…. the tariff is not yet agreed on. It implies that the signing has taken six years since Indian PM laid foundation stone for it in 2014, but does not ask why it took so long. It of course does not mention the painful cases of delay in Punatsangchu I and II.  https://kuenselonline.com/kholongchhu-a-great-achievement/  (03 July 2020)

China-Pakistan Tensions can derail fragile water treaties VERY SHARP, INTERESTING: There is a glaring paucity of debate on how the ongoing crises, including the stand-off at the Line of Actual Control with China, might shape and influence the trajectory of South Asia’s transboundary water security. Water policies on shared rivers have far-reaching consequences for India and the entire neighbourhood. As populations grow, the climate becomes increasingly erratic and demand for water expands, the stress on shared waterways will prove even more contentious. Without strong bilateral and multilateral institutions to manage, the shared waterways and river systems are often subject to the vagaries and uncertainties of geopolitics. The absence of strong policies, treaties and agreements, opens the door for mistrust and tension to spill over in other spheres.

Ganga-Brahmaputra delta
With over 1,000 people per square kilometre, the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta is one of the most populous deltas in the world | Twitter | @PNASNews

– This problem is not unique to South Asia. A 2016 UN Commission report places the GBM Basin as the most vulnerable in the world based on indicators of water quality, quantity, ecological impact, lack of governance, socioeconomic indicators and others. The region is also a black hole for data as highlighted by the fourth and fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. The lack of cooperation in this and other spheres only serves to exacerbate the situation.

– The concern should not only be that water will cause war — theory and practice tell us otherwise — but that it can and will be used as a proxy tool to fight other conflicts; far more likely and far more dangerous. https://theprint.in/opinion/tensions-with-china-pakistan-can-derail-fragile-water-treaties-but-india-wont-talk-about-it/455196/  (06 July 2020)

Pakistan Experts oppose dam construction on Indus  Social activists, water experts and politicians staunchly opposed on June25, 2020, the construction of dams on Indus River, maintaining that the move would cause further damage to the already dying Indus Delta. They expressed these views during an online session organised by the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF), which works on issues pertaining to fishermen, peasants, water and environment. Speaking on the occasion, PFF chairperson Muhammad Ali Shah noted that stopping the flow of the Indus River by constructing dams had pushed the communities residing along it to the wall, both socially and economically. “Water, which would bring along silt for the growth of fish population, replenished lakes and enriched the soil, has either been constrained or dried up,” he lamented. https://tribune.com.pk/story/2251239/1-experts-oppose-dam-construction-indus   (27 June 2020)

Myanmar At least 113 killed as jade mine collapse buries workers A landslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar killed at least 113 people, with more feared dead, authorities said on Thursday (July 2) , after a heap of mining waste collapsed into a lake, triggering a wave of mud and water that buried many workers. The miners were collecting stones in the jade-rich Hpakant area of Kachin state when the “muddy wave” crashed onto them, after heavy rain, the fire service department said in a Facebook post.

-Deadly landslides and other accidents are common in the poorly regulated mines of Hpakant, which draw impoverished workers from across Myanmar, but this is the worst in more than five years. About 100 people were killed in a collapse in 2015, which strengthened calls to regulate the industry. https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/at-least-113-killed-as-myanmar-jade-mine-collapse-buries-workers/story-rOmvKZEghqLnOrpHSQ9YxH.html  (02 July 2020)

CHINA

Rainstorms Leave Yangtze River Cities Flooded Radio Free Asia Report on China floods in Yangtze basin where the Three Gorges Dam is also located. Torrential rains in the Yangtze river basin coupled with the release of floodwater from the massive Three Gorges hydroelectric dam upstream have left major cities along the river submerged. Floods have left at least 12 people dead and more than 10 million people affected.

– In the Yangtze river city of Yichang, residents blamed recent releases of water from the Three Gorges and Gezhouba dams upstream of the city for flooding in their backyard. A resident said: “Yet the flood season isn’t even here yet; the main flood season in the Yangtze river basin is usually July and August.” https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/flooded-06292020143610.html  (29 June 2020)

China continues to suffer serious flooding both upstream and downstream from the Thee Gorges Dam. https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3956817  (01 July 2020)

China’s longest river, the Yangtze, had its first flood peak of the year, with the Three Gorges Dam experiencing peak inflows of 53,000 cumecs at 2 p.m. Thursday (July 2, 2020) local time. The water level reached 146.97 m, and the dam released 35,500 cumecs. https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-07-03/Flood-peak-at-Three-Gorges-Dam-ROIb7R5lM4/index.html  (03 July 2020)

ASIA

Japan Cause of abnormal groundwater rise after large earthquake Increases in groundwater levels and volumes after large earthquakes have been observed around the world, but the details of this process have remained unclear due to a lack of groundwater data directly before and after an earthquake strikes.

-A comparison of the before-and-after sets of stable isotope ratios revealed that, prior to the earthquake, groundwater in the Kumamoto City area came mainly from low-elevation mountain aquifers, soil water in recharge areas, and seepage from the central Shirakawa river area. After the earthquake, the researchers believe that seismic fractures on the west side of Mt. Aso increased the permeability of the mountain aquafer which released groundwater toward the recharge area of the flow system and increased water levels. Furthermore, groundwater levels in the outflow area that had dropped immediately after the main shock were nearly restored within just one year. https://phys.org/news/2020-07-abnormal-groundwater-large-earthquake.html  (02 July 2020)

Severe flooding in southern Japan Torrential rains in the south have caused widespread flooding and mudslides, killing at least 16 people, according to public broadcaster NHK. Another 17 were feared dead. Thirteen others were reported missing. The flooding overnight was centered in the prefectures of Kagoshima and Kumamoto on the southern island of Kyushu. The two prefectures ordered the evacuation of 75,000 residents. The Kuma River in Kumamoto was flooded and one of its bridges washed away.  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/04/world/asia/japan-rains-flooding-landslides.html  (04 July 2020)

Scary Landslides and Floods in Japan Authorities in parts of Kyushu, southwestern Japan, have issued evacuation orders following reports of landslides and flooding. Several houses have been flooded in Ashikita and Tsunagi towns, Kumamoto Prefecture. In Ashikita, a woman in her 80s was reported to have been buried under mud early on Saturday morning. She was later rescued. Authorities say the Kuma River in Kuma village, also in the prefecture, is overflowing. Several landslides have also been reported in Kagoshima Prefecture.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOrmyTZgv2E  (04 July 2020)

Turkey Ancient valley lost to progress The archaeological gem of Hasankeyf town in Turkey on the banks of the Tigris River, which was submerged beneath the rising waters of the Ilisu Dam, the latest of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s megaprojects. NYT reporter and photographer visited the area several times for half a year to witness the disappearance of the valley. Over 70 000 were displaced.

– “There was something exceptional about Hasankeyf that made visitors fall in love with the town on first sight. Graced with mosques and shrines, it lay nestled beneath great sandstone cliffs on the banks of the River Tigris. Gardens were filled with figs and pomegranates, and vine-covered teahouses hung over the water. The golden cliffs, honeycombed with caves, are thought to have been used in Neolithic times. An ancient fortress marked what the edge of the Roman Empire was once. The ruins of a medieval bridge recalled when the town was a wealthy trading center on the Silk Road. Now it is all lost forever, submerged beneath the rising waters of the Ilisu Dam, which flooded 100 miles of the upper Tigris River and its tributaries, including the once-stunning valley.” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/05/world/middleeast/turkey-erdogan-hasankeyf-Ilisu-dam.html  (05 July 2020)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

SANDRP Blog The magic of 24th June: Water Worship around the World Parineeta Dandekar, while participating in JOYFUL Jan Joao festival on June 24, 2019 inadvertently starts an AMAZING journey of discovery of similar traditions connected on that day with water, wells and rivers around the world. She describes that FASCINATING journey here that takes her to Iran-Iraq to Sweden-Denmark-Norway-Germany-England to Mexico to Peru to Arizona and so on. It connects her to Jordon to Rhine to Amazon to numerous other rivers and water.

13

She says: My journey that started as a colourful festival of wells and rivers in Goa flowed and branched out to discovery of so many people and cultures across faiths, ages and geographies. What links them together is a sense of wonder about changing seasons, an optimism about harvest and rain and a reason to celebrate water. Just as the rivers bind the land, connecting mountains to the seas, water traditions bind people, across continents, ages and religious beliefs.

You may like to flow with her!! Plz Read, Share and add to this festive knowledge if you can! https://sandrp.in/2020/07/04/the-magic-of-24th-june-water-worship-around-the-world/  (04 July 2020)

England -Water companies in England discharged raw sewage into rivers on more than 200,000 occasions last year, according to data obtained by the Guardian. The analysis reveals untreated human waste was released into streams and rivers for more than 1.5m hours in 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/01/water-firms-raw-sewage-england-rivers  (01 July 2020)

USA New data reveals hidden flood risks -Nearly twice as many properties may be susceptible to flood damage than previously thought, according to a new effort to map the danger. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/06/29/climate/hidden-flood-risk-maps.html  (29 June 2020)

A small tailings dam associated with a mine run by Ecuadorean firm Austro Gold has collapsed, Ecuador’s government said on Friday (July 3), sending mining waste into a nearby river. https://in.reuters.com/article/ecuador-mining-collapse/small-tailings-dam-collapses-in-ecuador-communities-denounce-pollution-idINKCN24503R  (04 July 2020)

The coastline of famed Mexican beach resort Acapulco was sullied in June last week by a large discharge of raw sewage, the ugly scene captured in a viral video, which has prompted local officials to promise an investigation and fix broken drains. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-acapulco-dark-water/nauseous-sewage-spill-in-mexican-beach-resort-captured-in-viral-video-idUSKBN24131H  (30 June 2020)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 29 June 2020 & DRP News Bulletin 22 June 2020

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

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