DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 07 June 2021: Local Water Options Stories from Five states

(Feature image A big main pond that has been constructed in the Phular village, Damoh. (Pic: Shahroz Afridi, News 18))

This week we would like to highlight some remarkable local water option stories from five states spread across India: Madhya Pradesh from Central India, Punjab from North India, Karnataka from South India, Rajasthan & Maharashtra from western India. These are stories just from this week among many others that show that local water options exist, they are the cheapest, sustainable, equitable, democratic and with least impacts and most appropriate in the climate change context. In a country like India where groundwater has been India’s water lifeline for over four decades now, these options are best suited for ensuring optimum recharge of groundwater aquifers at local level and sustaining those lifelines. Particularly when South West Monsoon is on our doorstep to gift its annual bounty to India. As UN starts the International Decade for Ecosystems Restoration with the theme of preventing, halting, reversing the degradation of ecosystems, these become even more important.     

WATER OPTIONS

Madhya Pradesh Tribal in Damoh Fought for its Land & Rejuvenated it  The residents of Phular had networked with water experts during the Janadesh Yatra of 2009 who had recounted the many benefits of creating small water structures and practising rainwater harvesting. Upon returning to their hamlet, the villagers levelled the fields, created small ponds, and constructed boundaries to catch rainwater.

Vimla Bahin, who has been the unsung guardian of Phular — for she had constantly resisted the government efforts to usurp their lands before FRA came into force — took the lead among the women in charting and creating these water bodies.

The water catchment has created the scope for farming all year round. It has helped many of the villagers stay home, rather than go to places like Delhi, Punjab, Guna and Ashoknagar in search of labour opportunities. https://www.news18.com/news/india/how-a-tribal-village-in-damoh-fought-for-its-land-and-rejuvenated-it-3811823.html  (05 June 2021)

Bharat Dogra on Traditional Wisdom and Community Involvement Contribute Best to Saving Precious Drops of Water. https://countercurrents.org/2021/06/saving-precious-drops-of-water/  (02 June 2021)

Rajasthan Tamlore village: An oasis in the heart of Thar Desert A dusty village in the midst of the mighty Thar desert has managed to survive water scarcity through its unique recharging wells for over a century now.

Tamlore village in Barmer has no water body or tap connection to fulfil its drinking water needs. It is from the small dry wells known as ‘Beria’ that the villagers have quenched their thirst for so long. The village with a population of just over 2,000 is among the few in the region where such wells of 2-meter diameter recharge every 24-48 hours giving 20-40 litres of water. The wells are divided among 300 households on the basis of caste and have proven to be a boon for women in the region for providing ease to fetch water within the limits of the village. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/tamlore-village-an-oasis-in-the-heart-of-thar-desert/articleshow/83247490.cms  (05 June 2021)

Bengaluru Water campaign fetches student Forbes honour Environmentalist Garvita Gulhati, a 21-year-old student of PES University, was nominated for ‘Forbes 30 under 30 Asia 2021’. After learning that millions of litres of water are wasted each year in India, left unsipped in glasses in restaurants, Garvita started her youth-led organisation. The movement was meant to bring a paradigm shift in the mindsets and habits of people towards conservation of water.

The team ran campaigns, petitions and workshops, and reached 10 million people since its launch in 2015. After noticing that 14 million litres of water were going waste each year because of patrons leaving water in their glasses, Gulhati reached out to restaurant managers and urged them to fill just half the glass with water, unless the customer asks for more. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2021/jun/01/water-campaign-fetches-student-forbes-honour-2310154.html  (01 June 2021)

Punjab DC drives tractor to spread info on DSR Amid the Covid pandemic when officials are overburdened, Sangrur Deputy Commissioner (DC) Ramvir and other officials of the Agriculture Department are visiting villages and motivating farmers to adopt the direct sowing of rice (DSR) technique for paddy transplantation to save groundwater.

The DC himself runs the tractor to show how to use DSR while other officials share vital information. For many, it is an unprecedented sight. The officials are hopeful of getting positive results in the coming days. On May 29, the department organised a programme at Balwarh Kalan village to encourage farmers to adopt DSR. “Since I come from a family of farmers, I know their problems and mindset. I am driving the tractor in fields with officials to convince farmers to adopt DSR,” DC Ramvir said. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/dc-drives-tractor-to-spread-info-on-direct-rice-seeding-260574  (30 May 2021)

Maharashtra How ecological restoration helped transform a degraded land parcel. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/wildlife-biodiversity/how-ecological-restoration-helped-transform-a-degraded-land-parcel-in-maharashtra-77202  (01 June 2021)

From India Water Portal on June 5, 2021, World Environment Day: Meet these real-life heroes, who with their consistent and tireless efforts created an impact and turned their local areas into examples to follow. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/article/not-all-heroes-wear-capes-some-fight-amongst-us  (04 June 2021)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Uttarakhand Pre-Monsoon Rains Expose Threats to NTPC Barrage Pawan Rana, a resident of Raini village, who lost his grandmother to that disaster, told Newsclick  that the debris of the Rishi Ganga hydro power project – which crumbled in the catastrophe – has been fragmented in some places due to rains. Since this solid mass of concrete debris could neither be dug up nor removed, the villagers are of the view that around 34 dead bodies, of those who worked in project, still lie buried. Last month, the body of Rana’s grandmother had slipped out after a heavy downpour.

– “The level of the Rishi Ganga river had gone up a lot due to the accumulation of debris left by the disaster in the region; that the pre-warning alarm which was set up after the disaster to give time for preparedness to villagers as well as the management of NTPC’s Tapovan Vishnugad Hydro Power project (520 MW) to access safety during such a situation, proved completely ineffective. Nobody could hear it,” he said. A new bridge which was built after the disaster to connect the local people of Gangapar to Joshimath was also washed away by the swelling river. In a way, these systems, which were meant to sustain long-term, could not bear the impact of a couple of days of rain.

– The Tapovan Vishnugad project site faces danger in the given situation. The single-approach road which leads to the project tunnel has eroded to a large extent. The remaining portion could give way. “This road is the only way to reach the tunnel. The lives of workers navigating this road is in jeopardy. If this road is gone the tunnel work will also come to a halt, which will mean that a project worth hundreds of crores will go kaput,” revealed a reliable source. There is a growing resentment among workers and contractors against their management which they said was found sleeping through this crucial period. “There was a four-month period for preparation and to deal with the challenges of the upcoming monsoon after the disaster struck in February. The banks of the river in close proximity with the structure could have been strengthened as could have been the approach road. But nothing was done,” the source added.

– However, R.P. Ahirwar, head of the project said the project would take two and half years to start and ruled out the possibility of a collapse of the approach road. However, in wake of massive erosion, he said that a new alternate approach road is being built close to the de-silting chambers area of the site. Insiders are questioning the efficacy of this alternate road. https://www.newsclick.in/Pre-Monsoon-Rains-Expose-Threats-to-Dams-in-Uttarakhand%E2%80%99s-Chamoli (05 June 2021)

Vishnugad Pipalkoti HEP wokers sitting on agitation demanding wages unpaid for past six months. Work of project is stopped. Amar Ujala, June 2, 2021)

The WB as usual is acting like a lobby for big hydro and big dams that it has always been. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/heres-how-black-carbon-deposits-causing-glaciers-snow-melt-in-himalayan-ranges-101622789118845.html  (04 June 2021)

Arunachal Pradesh Human activity disturbs habitat of black-necked cranes Sightings of the black-necked crane, once regularly spotted in Sangti and Zemithang Valleys during its non-breeding time, have drastically reduced. Both locals and state officials comment on the rise in human settlements, power grid construction wires, hydroelectric projects that cross the bird’s wintering sites.

The region’s changes in agricultural practices including a shift from paddy to maize cultivation happen to endanger the habitat of this bird. Experts state that marshy wetlands are its primary feeding site, increasing pressure on the land leads to competition and this hampers the space for the birds.

Free-ranging dogs, stone cutting noises, quarry, rising visitors, photographers chase the black-necked cranes away. Moreover, the increasing temperatures are interfering with their wintering schedules as they come down to the valleys during the harshness of winter. https://india.mongabay.com/2021/06/human-activity-disturbs-quiet-habitat-of-black-necked-cranes-in-arunachal-pradesh/  (02 June 2021)

DAMS

Tamil Nadu State scores hat-trick in Cauvery water realisation  This was the second time in the last 20 years that the State recorded, at least for three consecutive years, higher realisation than its due. The previous occasion was the period from 2005-06 to 2011-12, when Tamil Nadu received a minimum of about 210 tmc ft in 2008-09 and a maximum of around 384 tmc ft in 2005-06. On an average, the annual realisation during those seven years was around 269 tmc ft.

It remains to be seen whether the State’s luck would continue this year, too. There is an expectation among water experts in the State that the realisation during the year would be good, considering the favourable forecast on the southwest monsoon (June-September). Of the State’s overall share of 177.25 tmc ft, the four months account for 123.14 tmc ft.

The government is yet to announce whether it would commence water supply from Mettur for irrigation on the scheduled date of June 12. As on date, the water level stands at 97.22 ft (full level: 120 ft), with storage being 61.3 tmc ft (capacity: 93.47 tmc ft). Though the Cauvery Water Management Authority and Water Regulation Committee have not yet informed the States of the Cauvery basin about their customary meetings at the beginning of the water year, they are expected to have their deliberations shortly.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tn-scores-hat-trick-in-cauvery-water-realisation/article34711915.ece  (03 June 2021)

Mettur dam to open on traditional date for farming For second year in row, the Mettur dam gates to be opened for farmers on June 12  to benefit 2.11 lakh Ha in Theni, Thanjavur, TIruvarur, Nagapatinam, Ariyalur, Perambulur, Pudukottai, Cuddolore districts. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2021/jun/03/for-second-consecutive-year-mettur-dam-to-open-on-traditional-date-for-farming-2311304.html  (03 June 2021)

According to a press release, the State government has ordered to release 6,739 mcft from Vaigi dam for irrigating 45,041 acres of ayacut of double-crop area between Periyar main canal, 1,797 acres in Nilakkottai taluk, 16,452 acres of Vadipatti taluk, 26,792 acres in Madurai North taluk.

The water will be released for 120 days from June 4. The government, in another press release, ordered for the release of 850 cusecs per second from Perunchani, Pechiparai, Chithar 1 and 2 dams from June 4 to February 28 next year. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2021/jun/02/water-to-be-released-from-perunchanivaigai-dams-for-irrigation-2310616.html  (02 June 2021)

Poor upkeep of shutters in Sothuparai dam led to water wastage, farmers say  The poor upkeep of the shutter of the Sothuparai dam near Periakulam in Theni district by the Public Works Department engineers has resulted in the depletion of water, farmers have charged.

About two days ago, when the inflow was steady, the water level in the dam had reached the maximum level. Since continuous rain was witnessed, the engineers had planned to discharge the inflow in full into the river. However, the shutters appeared to have not worked properly. As a result, at least five feet of water may have gone waste into the river due to official apathy, the farmers claimed.

Attempts to repair the shutters failed and when the issue was taken up with the senior officers, they immediately organised manpower and the faulty shutters were repaired on a war-footing, a senior official said. According to the PWD engineers, the storage at 6 a.m. on Wednesday was 120.96 feet against the maximum level of 126.28 ft.

The farmers appealed to District Collector H. Krishnanunni to direct the PWD engineers to keep a vigil and ensure that such mistakes did not recur and urged him to check the shutters in other dams as both farmers and residents depended on the water for irrigation and drinking purposes. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/poor-upkeep-of-shutters-in-sothuparai-dam-led-to-water-wastage-farmers-say/article34541407.ece  (12 May 2021)

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Ground report from Ken Betwa link site interviews few of the affected villagers who question the project saying it would benefit them in no way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-r13PtvGKY  (03 June 2021)

2 lakh trees and water security at stake Over 200,000 trees are expected to be cut in the Buxwaha forest for the diamond project. Environmentalists fear that the mining project would result in loss of biodiversity as well as air and water pollution. https://india.mongabay.com/2021/06/two-lakh-trees-and-water-security-at-stake-in-buxwahas-bunder-diamond-mining-project/  (04 June 2021) The report can also be seen in Hindi here. https://hindi.mongabay.com/2021/06/04/bunder-diamond-block-of-madhya-pradesh-faces-opposition-over-ecological-concerns/;  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhP4ZpVX7Lw 

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

Telangana-Karnataka Telangana to write to CWC over Upper Bhadra project The Telangana Irrigation Department officials will write another letter to the Union Jal Shakti Ministry opposing the Upper Bhadra Irrigation Project in Karnataka. Telangana had already raised its objections to the construction of the project in March, 2021. Responding to this, Central Water Commission (CWC) director N Mukherjee, in a letter addressed to the Irrigation Department on June 2, said that 734 tmcft of water in Krishna was allocated to Karnataka, and that the master plan for the project was prepared by the government based on this allocation.

– They recalled that cases were pending before the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal. Telangana had told the CWC that the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-1 had not made any allocation for Upper Bhadra, and that the KWDT-2 had allocated only 9 tmc for the project at 65 per cent dependability. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2021/jun/05/telanganato-write-to-cwc-over-upper-bhadra-project-2311890.html  (05 June 2021)

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS

Interview Grand, Flawed, Expensive Waterway Project Speaking on Manthan’s findings and recent developments, Shripad Dharmadhikary and Avli Verma say the project was “greenwashed” into existence, meaning that environmental benefits were touted to push through an ecologically harmful and economically non-viable project. https://www.newsclick.in/Modi-Government%E2%80%99s-Grand-Flawed-Expensive-Waterway-Project  (05 June 2021)

IRRIGATION

URBAN RIVERS

Call for Application: Nagar-Nadi Fellowship People’s Resource Centre (PRC), an independent research organisation based in Delhi, is conducting research on infrastructure development on riverbanks in Indian cities, with a particular focus on riverfront development projects. These projects focus on transforming riverbanks into recreational spaces with an aim to ‘beautify’ cities.

Many of these projects are inspired by the purported success of the Sabarmati Riverfront Development project in Ahmedabad. This has attracted the attention of the political class and the corporate elite in other parts of India which has led to strong interest in getting government and corporate control over the management of riverbanks and adjacent urban resources. All major cities situated on the banks of a river are now planning for or developing riverfronts on the urban stretches of the rivers. https://prcindia.in/announcements/cfa-nagar-nadi-fellowship/  (06 June 2021)

Pune PMC looks abroad to rejuvenate its rivers  The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided to peruse the revival of major rivers and water bodies in six world-class cities before executing its ambitious Rs 200-crore plan to rejuvenate the Mula and Mutha rivers. This is happening while the persisting problem of debris and garbage dumping continues to draw the ire of citizens, with a prominent activist saying the aforementioned plan is one of beautification more than rejuvenation.

It may be noted that several such plans have been made earlier too that saw no fruition. These remained on paper as the sorrowful journey of the rivers continued, and citizens wrung their hands helplessly. Over the years, the only thing that has happened is PMC’S failure to keep the river pollution in check, making the much-touted rejuvenation a distant dream as of now.

The six global cities the PMC is taking a cue from are Beijing and Paris, and the other cities inspiring the move include Copenhagen, Kansas City, Rome, Kyoto and Bilbao. The common thread noted after studying the water bodies in these cities was there are no settlements along the river banks and water bodies which prevents garbage dumping. https://punemirror.indiatimes.com/pune/civic/pmc-looks-abroad-to-rejuvenate-its-rivers/articleshow/83095408.cms  (31 May 2021)

Moran; Rajasthan Images show obstruction of flow to beautify riverfront. https://www.designboom.com/architecture/temple-precinct-reconstruction-stone-platform-moran-river-india-05-13-2021/  (31 May 2021)

RIVERS

SANDRP Blog Water on Wheels to Dying Fishes in Ganga River Basin in Bhagalpur  Guest Blog by Dr. Ruchi Shree Last year, I wrote three stories on dying Champa river in Bhagalpur and challenges/ prospects of its rejuvenation. That exercise helped me in exploring the city through a river which used be an important waterbody in this region but now at the verge of extinction. Situated at the banks of river Ganga, the Bhagalpur city faces three to four major problems related to water and sanitation, namely, arsenic contaminated groundwater, falling water level, recurrent floods, open drainage, etc.

Bhagalpur Map (Source: CGWB Profile of Groundwater of Bhagalpur, 2013)

This year, I pedalled (cycling) in the local vicinity to make sense of ‘piped water’ and its limitations in the city. One more concern was to document the growing ecological crisis in the university area as captured and reflected in this blog. This photo essay is based on my observations over a period of last three months in Nathnagar block of Bhagalpur (south-west part of the city). Bhagalpur, a “smart city” of south Bihar is close to Jharkhand. I visited the ward no. 13 and ward no.17 of the Nathnagar block to write this story. Two pictures (near Ganga) towards the end of the blog were taken in a different part of the city i.e. in Adampur area of Bhagalpur. https://sandrp.in/2021/06/04/water-on-wheels-to-dying-fishes-in-ganga-river-basin-in-bhagalpur/  (04 June 2021)

Haryana Govt to launch revival of Saraswati river Govt has approved a project for revival of Saraswati river, under which Saraswati Dam, Saraswati Barrage and Saraswati Reservoir will be constructed at Adi Badri. Besides this, interlinking of Markanda and Saraswati rivers through Kainthla supply channel will also be done. On completion of this project, around 894 hectare metres of flood water will be diverted to Saraswati reservoir. The dam is being designed by the Central Water Commission.

CM Manohar Lal Khattar said this while addressing a seminar on ‘Saraswati River-New Perspectives and Heritage Development’ during the ongoing International Saraswati Festival-2021 being organised at Adi Badri in Yamunanagar district, Monday (Feb. 15). The seminar was organised by Vidya Bharti Sanskriti Sansthan and Haryana Sarasvati Heritage Development Board through video-conferencing.

He added, “At present more than 70 organisations including ISRO, GSI, SOI, ASI, ONGC, NIH Roorkee, BARC and Saraswati River Research Institute are engaged in research work of Saraswati river heritage. Based on research, documents, reports, and scientific facts, it has been proved that Saraswati River is still flowing underground from Adi Badri and upto Kutch in Gujarat.” https://indianexpress.com/article/india/saraswati-river-revival-haryana-7190173/  (15 Feb. 2021)

Opinion Eastern Ghats Are Older; Richer But Less Studied Manoj Misra says, while ‘The Eastern Ghats’ is a generic name given to the region it is actually some 25 ranges/hills with individual names which constitute it. Prominent amongst them are Simlipal, Garhjat, Madugula konda, Maliya, Papi, Kondapalli, Velikonda, Nallamala, Thirumala & Mettur hills. Arma Konda at 1680 m in Madugula Kondas range in the Visakhapatnam district (AP) is the highest peak. Other well-known peaks are Mahendragiri and Malaygiri in south Odisha.

Due to an eastwards tilt in the Indian landmass, most of the peninsular rivers cut across the Eastern Ghats to reach the Bay of Bengal. These include Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri. Some picturesque gorges have resulted from this passage. Satkosia Gorge (22 km) created by the river Mahanadi in Odisha is one of the most famous of them. 

The Eastern Ghats themselves have given birth to several rivers like Baitarni, Budhabalanga and Rushikulya in Odisha; Vamsdhara, Palar and Nagavali in Andhra Pradesh; Sabari and Sileru in Chhattisgarh and Vellar and Penna rivers in Tamil Nadu. https://thedialogue.co.in/article/OIEBZjzj7KFv4EPst3cG/eastern-ghats-are-older-and-richer-than-western-ghats-but-less-studied-one  (05 June 2021)

GANGA Uttarakhand 1st state in country to introduce GEP Uttarakhand is set to become the first state in the country to assign monetary value to four of its critical natural resources — air, water, forest and soil. The quality and quantity of these natural resources would determine the Gross Environment Product (GEP) of the state which would be used in evaluating the state’s Gross Domestic Product GDP).

The announcement to this effect was made on the occasion of World Environment Day on Saturday (June 5) by CM Tirath Singh Rawat and state forest and environment minister Harak Singh Rawat.

The demand to incorporate GEP in the state’s evaluation mechanism had been pending for the past few decades and many academicians and environmentalists had been pressing for it. The calculation put forward by green activists estimates that Uttarakhand, through its biodiversity, gives services to the tune of Rs 95,112 crore per year to the nation. The state has over 71% area under forests. It is also home to the Himalayas, is the origin point of rivers like Ganga, Yamuna and Sharada as well as home to wildlife reserves like Corbett and Rajaji Tiger Reserves. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/uttarakhand-first-state-in-country-to-introduce-gross-environment-product-gep-forest-air-water-soil-quality-and-quantity-to-be-measured-assigned-monetary-value/articleshow/83288278.cms  (07 June 2021)

Dehradun admin gave permits to flatten 14 hillocks in 6 years The findings, in a report by the Dehradun municipal commissioner and Mussoorie Dehradun Development Authority (MDDA) vice-chairperson, were placed before the Uttarakhand high court on Thursday (May 27). The high court has since May 3 been hearing a PIL by Dehradun-based activist Reenu Paul who contends that though the state’s bylaws, amended in 2015, prohibit construction wherever the natural slope is more than 30°, the rule is being flouted. The report, a copy of which is with TOI, was prepared and submitted on the direction of the high court.

Besides the damage to ecology, the other concern is geological stability. Both Dehradun and Mussoorie lie in seismic zone IV, of high risk. Geologists have often warned that Uttarakhand is due for a major earthquake, much more intense than the Kangra quake of 1905. Hill-cutting makes the terrain more unstable. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/doon-gave-permits-to-flatten-14-hillocks-in-6-years/articleshow/83014220.cms  (28 May 2021)  

CM Tirath Singh Rawat has announced the revival of ponds and other water bodies in the state within one year. To address climate change, the hill state will also start climate budgeting. https://en.gaonconnection.com/world-environment-day-uttarakhand-to-revive-water-bodies-in-rural-areas-within-a-year-tirath-singh-rawat/  (05 June 2021)

Uttar Pradesh अत्याधिक दोहन से खत्म हो रहा नदीभूजल का रिश्ता  भूजल भंडारों से नदियों में पहुंचने वाले प्राकृतिक प्रवाह में 60 फीसद तक की कमी। भूजल स्तर नीचे जाने से प्राकृतिक प्रवाह बेहद कम हो गया। नतीजतन छोटी नदियां तालाब -पोखर भूजल से पोषित न होने के कारण सूखते गए।

गंगा बेसिन क्षेत्र में बड़ी संख्या में मौजूद तालाब, पोखरों, झील और छोटी व सहायक नदियों (सतही जल स्रोतों)  व भूजल के ‘कनेक्टेड ईको सिस्टम’ का पारस्परिक रिश्ता बेहिसाब दोहन, चौतरफा अतिक्रमण व संरक्षण कार्यों की अनदेखी के चलते धीरे-धीरे टूटता जा रहा है। https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/lucknow-city-river-and-groundwater-relationship-ending-due-to-excessive-exploitation-in-uttar-pradesh-jagran-special-21709675.html  (05 June 2021)

Hindon, Kali, Gomti rivers have been turned into a sewage canal in the state. Out of 700 MLD, Lucknow is treating only 400 MLD sewage. https://www.patrika.com/lucknow-news/lucknow-world-environment-day-gomti-hindon-kali-river-oxygen-finish-6880036/  (05 June 2021)

Varanasi administration on May 25 deployed four unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drones to ensure regular monitoring of Ganga ghats in the temple town. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/now-drones-to-help-keep-ganga-clean-in-varanasi-101621956911751.html  (25 May 2021)

147 projects under Namami Gange completed Of the ₹29,972 cr sanctioned, ₹11,025 cr has been used to complete various projects. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/147-projects-under-namami-gange-completed/article34718407.ece  (03 June 2021)

Bihar CM asks to expedite construction of nine mega bridges over Ganga CM Nitish Kumar on May 22 asked the officials of the road construction department (RCD) to expedite construction of nine mega bridges over the Ganga and complete them within the stipulated timeframe. While chairing a high-level meeting to review the progress of different mega bridge projects via videoconferencing, the CM also asked the officials to complete the construction of the remaining 650-metre-long approach road to the Munger Ghat rail-cum-road bridge. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/expedite-construction-of-nine-mega-bridges-over-ganga-nitish/articleshow/82867039.cms  (23 May 2021)

Gaya DM inspects progress of Ganga water lift project Land acquisition to lay pipeline in 31km out of 42km for the ambitious Ganga water lift project has been completed in Gaya district. Work is in progress to acquire land for laying the pipeline in remaining 11km.

District magistrate Abhishek Singh, who conducted spot inspection of the project at Tetar panchayat under Mohra block on Tuesday (June 1), issued instructions to the engineers to ensure storage of raw materials and the required equipment before the onset of monsoon so that the work can continue without any hindrance.

During the inspection, water resources department executive engineer (EE) informed that 40% work of the reservoir is complete, while the work of horizontal filter is about to be completed. Work on pump house is going on. The side pitching work of the reservoir is likely to be completed by the year end.

The EE informed that 20 million cubic metre (MCM) water of Ganga will be brought at the storage point at Tetar panchayat in Gaya district from Giriyak in Nalanda district. From this storage point, 18.6 MCM water will be released for Abgila in Manpur block. However, in view of expected population growth in future, a survey is being conducted to identify other storage points. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/gaya-dm-inspects-progress-of-ganga-water-lift-project/articleshow/83184446.cms  (03 June 2021)

YAMUNA Delhi NGT declines plea seeking to revive YMC “The news item published subsequent to the disposal of the case cannot be made a ground to recall or review the order. The interim order is merged with the final order passed in original application. No justifiable ground has been made out for the maintainability of the review application. The review application is devoid of any merit and deserves to be dismissed,” the bench said.

The tribunal was hearing a plea seeking to review and recall the order Jan 27, 2021, after the disposal of the original application with the prayer to revive or continue the YMC. The green panel had directed the Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh govts to take expeditious action on sewage management, industrial pollutants and solid waste being discharged in the river. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/delhi/2021/jun/02/national-green-tribunal-declines-plea-seeking-to-revive-yamuna-monitoring-committee-2310755.html  (02 June 2021)

Toxic foam was seen floating in the polluted water of Yamuna river in the national capital. https://zeenews.india.com/video/india/world-environment-day-2021-toxic-foam-seen-floating-in-yamuna-river-2366941.html  (5 June 2021)

NMCG says significant progress in all projects Two major projects related to sewage management have been completed, including the rising main (the pipeline carrying the pump discharge of water to the distribution chamber) from Bharat Nagar to Pitampura, which will ensure that the sewage generated from areas such as Karol Bagh, Shastri Nagar, Gulabi Bagh, Rampura, Ashok Vihar and Keshavpuram is prevented from entering the Yamuna.

Another major project completed is the rehabilitation of the trunk sewer in Jhilmil colony. Nearly 50 % work for the Rithala & the Kondli sewage treatment plant has been completed and the projects are expected to be completed by Dec 2022, the statement said.

The rehabilitation work of a peripheral sewer in Rithala is expected to be completed by April. “The STP for Okhla is also progressing well. This will be the largest STP in India with a capacity of 565 MLD. A total of 13 projects for 1384.5 MLD have been taken up in Delhi for the cleaning of the Yamuna,” the statement said. https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2021/mar/03/nmcg-reviews-work-on-yamuna-rejuvenation-says-significant-progress-in-all-projects-2271734.html  (03 March 2021)

On the World Environment Day 2021, CitySpidey spoke to Manoj Mishra, convener of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan. https://www.cityspidey.com/news/13864/you-aren-t-a-proud-delhite-without-yamuna (5 June 2021)

Uttar Pradesh यूपीडा ने केन नदी की जलधारा पर बनाया पुल  गौरतलब हैं बुंदेलखंड एक्सप्रेस वे की कार्यदाई संस्था यूपीडा हैं। इस एजेंसी ने केंद्र सरकार व राज्य सरकार से अनापत्ति प्रमाण पत्र लेकर जहां 1 लाख 90 हजार पेड़ काट लिए है। वहीं एनजीटी व सुप्रीम कोर्ट के आदेश ताक पर रखकर बहती केन जलधारा को पुल बनाकर बांध रखा है।

एजेंसी के डिसप्ले बोर्ड पर आज्ञा से जिलाधिकारी बाँदा का हवाला दिया गया हैं। स्थानीय बाशिंदों व पर्यावरण कार्यकर्ताओं के मन मे बरबस यह सवाल उठता हैं कि यह विशेषाधिकार यूपीडा को क्या मुख्यमंत्री योगी जी के आदेश पर मिला है ? या राज्य सरकार केंद्र को गुमराह करके यह पुल आवागमन के लिए बनाया गया हैं ? मौरम माफियाओं के पुल पर फौरी कार्यवाही करने का माद्दा रखने वाले फिलहाल वक्त बुंदेलखंड एक्सप्रेस-वे के इस स्पेशल परिवहन पुल पर पूरी तरह खामोश व चुप्पी लिए है। जनता के विकास को बनाया जाने वाला बुंदेलखंड एक्सप्रेस वे जनता के पानी व पेयजलापूर्ति को बाधित करने की शर्त पर निर्मित हो तो फिर अतिश्योक्ति कैसी कि यहां मौरम ठेकेदार बेखौफ अवैध पुल कैसे बना लेते हैं? http://www.voiceofbundelkhand.in/uncategorized/banda-upeida-the-executive-body-of-bundelkhand-expressway-built-a-bridge-over-the-ken-river-stream/  (05 June 2021)

RIVER BIODIVERSITY

Tamil Nadu A new tiger reserve holds hope for revival of Vaigai According to Rajkumar, there would not be any water in Vaigai in the future if Meghamalai is not protected. He said there must be a civil society movement for conservation, and it must work along with the forest department. He also says he hopes the tiger reserve status would help protect the remaining shola forests of Meghamalai, and that would help increase water flow.

According to a medical practitioner turned river protection activist M. Manivannan, the river and Meghamalai have a significant history of protecting civilisations. The erstwhile Pandya rulers had utilised every drop of the river to meet the drinking and irrigation needs of the region, he pointed out. Ancient river civilisations existed in 153 spots on the river’s course, and the one at Keezhadi is 2300 years old as per carbon tests, he said.

But the biggest challenge the proposed tiger reserve is facing in Meghamalai is 12,436 acres of private plantations. As per preliminary estimates, 150 sq km of forests have been infringed. Water theft from rivers, indiscriminate dumping of plastic wastes, wild animals getting killed by speeding vehicles, hunting, and grazing, are also killing Meghamalai, say, forest officials. https://india.mongabay.com/2021/06/a-new-tiger-reserve-holds-hope-for-revival-of-vaigai-river-in-madurai/  (02 June 2021)

Uttar Pradesh One more gangetic dolphin stranded in Sharda canal killed by locals. Irrigation depertment, NMCG need to address this frequently happening and avoidable death of national aquatic animal. Both Hindi, English media mentioning it as ‘fish’ shows there is great need of awareness among local people.

घटना रविवार (May 16) शाम छह बजे की बताई जा रही है। दहिरापुर व तकिया सुल्तानपुर के कुछ लोग नहर के 31-32 किमी के बीच पुल के निकट जाल डालकर मछलियां पकड़ रहे थे। इस दौरान नहर में पानी का संचालन बंद है। इस कारण नहर में पूर्व का भरा पानी स्थिर है। ग्रामीणों के जाल में बड़ी मछली फंसी। इसे कई ग्रामीणों ने मिलकर पानी से बाहर निकाला और उसे बाइक पर बांधकर कहीं लेकर भाग गए। नहर से मछली निकालने और बाइक पर बांधने का वीडियो इंटरनेट मीडिया पर किसी ने वायरल कर दिया। https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/lucknow-city-fir-lodged-over-more-than-12-villagers-for-killing-dolphin-stuck-in-shard-canal-of-sitapur-21651668.html  (17 May 2021)

शारदा सहायक पोषक नहर के तकिया सुल्तानपुर गांव के पास पुल (घटनास्थल) हरगांव से करीब 30 किमी दूर है। यहां ग्रामीण आए दिन नहर में जाल डालकर मछली पकड़ते हैं। रेंजर समर पाल सिंह यादव ने बताया, मछली बरामद तो नहीं हो पाई है पर वायरल वीडियो में दिख रही मछली डॉल्फिन ही है। इसकी आयु करीब तीन से चार वर्ष की होगी और वजन करीब दो क्विंटल का होगा। https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/sitapur-sharda-killed-dolphin-caught-by-tributary-canal-21653026.html  (18 May 2021)

जानकारी के अनुसार तहसील क्षेत्र के ग्राम सुल्तानपुर तकिया के निकट शारदा सहायक नहर से कुछ लोग डॉल्फिन मछली को पकड़ कर लाये थे और उसे भगौतीपुर गांव के निकट काट दिया सूत्रों की माने तो डॉल्फिन मछली लगभग 2 कुंतल की थी https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytpuz_T8Ago (18 May 2021)

Dolphin killed by villagers in Sitapur In  bizarre incident, some villagers caught a mammoth dolphin that strayed into Sharda canal and later had a fish party in Sitapur on Sunday (May 16) evening. Upon learning of the incident, the Forest department lodged a case against a dozen persons, including a father-son duo, and one was arrested. Further investigations are on.

As per reports, some residents of Dahirapur and Takiya Sultanpur hamlets in Hargaon police station area of Sitapur were fishing in Sharda canal when they caught a dolphin which had strayed into the stream on Sunday (May 16) evening. The villagers later cut the fish and distribute it among themselves. When a video of the fish party went viral, officials of the Forest department sat up to take cognizance on Monday (May 17) evening.

Earlier in January this year, three persons were arrested for beating a Gangetic dolphin to death with rods and axes at Kothariya village in Nawabganj police station of Pratapgarh on December 24. 2020. After a video their brutal act went viral on social media two days later, action was initiated against them. https://www.dailypioneer.com/2021/state-editions/dolphin-killed-by-villagers-in-sitapur.html  (19 May 2021)

Video reports on some previous such incidents. Dolphin killed in Pratapgarh.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VbwXcKsOEY  (31 Dec. 2021) शारदा नहर पहुंची Dolphin Fish की मौत https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkvRLcvDPGE  (11 Feb. 2020) शारदा नहर में पहुंची डॉल्फिन, उमड़ी सैकड़ों की भीड़ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UWtZJerP1c (25 Dec. 2017)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Maharashtra Committee formed to review environmental impact of inland aquaculture NGT has formed a six-member committee to study the sustainability of inland aquaculture practices and submit a report on the same within three months. The move comes in response to a petition filed by Vanashakti, a city-based NGO. The order was passed by the principal bench of NGT on Monday (May 31) and made public on Wednesday (June 2). The committee will comprise members of the Union environment ministry, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), Union ministry of fisheries, state fisheries department and a member from Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute. The committee will also undertake study of the existing consent regime under the Water Act, and suggest appropriate improvements for the same. Consent to establish and operate are granted for various industries by state pollution control boards based on compliance with the Water Act and Air Act, depending on the nature of the enterprise. Environment group Vanashakti had filed the petition last year against fresh water aquaculture being carried out in Vadivale Lake in Maval taluka of Pune district. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/ngt-forms-committee-to-review-environmental-impact-of-inland-aquaculture-101622661126239.html  (03 June 2021)

SAND MINING

Uttar Pradesh From Banda to Shamli sand mafia ravaging rivers in UP while govt largely been ineffective. Also shares info on violent attack on Bareilly SDM recently. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEYcRSN3a4A  (01 June 2021)

Instream, mechanized mining in Yamuna river where a bund is being created to divert the flow which is prohibited by law is going on in full swing in Yamuna river in Kairana, Shamli. https://fb.watch/5YqNB_LjFC/  (01 June 2021)

Large scale instream illegal mining happening in Yamuna in Shamli district where JCB machines are digging far deeper than permitted limit and also resorting to divert, impound  flowing course of river.  June 2 reports in local media.

Bareilly SDM, team attacked by goons Goons of mining mafia allegedly opened fire at a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) and his team and attacked them with knives and batons when they raided an illegal mining site in Izzatnagar area of Bareilly district.

The SDM impounded two tractor-trollies laden with “illegally-mined” soil and an excavator, said police, adding that no one injured in the attack. An FIR was registered under IPC section 307 (attempt to murder) and other relevant sections at Izzatnagar police station, said police, adding that one accused was picked up.

Sadar SDM Vishu Raja said, “After receiving complaints of illegal mining, we raided two tractor-trolleys. The drivers told us that they were coming from Rajpura Mafi village, following which we raided the spot, where a few people intercepted our vehicles and attacked us. Fortunately, no one was injured. We have lodged a complaint with police in this connection.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bareilly/sdm-his-team-attacked-by-goons-of-mining-mafia-in-ups-bareilly/articleshow/83118820.cms  (01 June 2021)

नकटिया नदी किनारे चावड़ गांव में खनन की सूचना पर एसडीएम विशु राजा सोमवार सुबह करीब छह बजे धरपकड़ करने पहुंचे। पहचान छिपाने के लिए वह निजी कार से थे, मगर पीछे बैठे अर्दली को देखकर खनन के आरोपित मामला समझ गए। तीन युवक आनन-फानन बुल्डोजर, टै्रक्टर-ट्राली लेकर नदी के पार निकल गए। https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/bareilly-city-mining-mafia-attqacked-on-the-convoy-of-sdm-in-bareilly-21696510.html  (01 June 2021)

चित्रकूट: पुलिस टीम पर हमला, छह घायल चित्रकूट जिले में June 2 को बाघे नदी किनारे बालू का अवैध खनन कर रहे लोगों ने वीडियो बना रहे पुलिस कर्मियों पर हमला कर दिया, जिसमें तीन पुलिस कर्मियों समेत छह लोग घायल हो गए। पुलिसकर्मियों की बाइकें भी तोड़ डाली। सूचना पर पहुंचे पुलिस बल ने 12 लोगों को पकड़ लिया और घायलों को अस्पताल भिजवाया। https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/chitrakoot/attack-on-police-team-in-chitrakoot-illegal-mining  (02 June 2021)  

पोकलैंड मशीन के खनन से केन नदी के गहरे पानी में दो बच्चे फंस गए। वहां मौजूद केवटों ने उन्हें बाहर निकालकर जिला अस्पताल पहुंचाया। घटना से बच्चे सहमे हैं। ग्रामीणों ने रोष जताया कि मशीनों से पानी के अंदर से बालू निकालने पर नदी में गहरे कुएं बन गए हैं। डूबने की अक्सर घटनाएं हो रही हैं। घटना मटौंध थाना क्षेत्र के भूरागढ़ पुलिस चौकी अंतर्गत दुरेड़ी गांव स्थित बालू खदान की है।

घटना को लेकर ग्रामीणों में गहरा आक्रोश है। परिजनों और ग्रामीणों का कहना है कि पोकलैंड मशीन से मोरंग का खनन होने से नदियों में बड़े-बड़े गड्ढे हो गए हैं। आए दिन इन गड्ढों में लोगों के डूबने की घटनाएं हो रही हैं। खनन पट्टाधारक खुलेआम मानकों का उल्लंघन कर रहे हैं। दिन-रात नदी पोकलैंड मशीनों से नदी की जलधारा से बालू निकाली जा रही है। इससे नदी के अस्तित्व के साथ जान का भी खतरा बना है।

हाल ही में 5 मार्च को पैलानी क्षेत्र में बालू टीला ढहने से तीन मजदूर दबकर मौत हो गई थी। ये सभी कुकुवाखास गांव के थे। यहां भी नदी किनारे मशीनों से खनन किए जाने पर गहरी खाईं हो गई थी। इस घटना को लोग अभी भूले नहीं थे, शनिवार को तीन बच्चों की जलसमाधि होते बच गई। https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/banda/two-children-trapped-in-deep-water-by-ken-survived-drowning-banda-news-knp6174386196  (13 March 2021)

HC Orders Govt to Investigate Case of ‘Missing’ Police Officer The Allahabad high court on May 27 directed the state government to file a reply in response to a habeas corpus writ petition seeking the production of Mani Lal Patidar, an IPS officer and the former superintendent of police (SP) in Mahoba, Uttar Pradesh.

Patidar has been missing since November 27, 2020, and according to the petition, is not traceable. He was suspended from his position as the SP of Mahoba in September 2020, after a stone crusher dealer named Indramani Tripathi released a video that accused him of demanding bribes. The Uttar Pradesh police some time ago issued a ‘look-out’ notice for him and offered a reward of Rs 50,000 to anyone who can share his whereabouts. https://thewire.in/law/allahabad-high-court-uttar-pradesh-government-investigate-ips-officer-mani-lal-patidar-case  (29 May 2021)

In the petition, the former SP’s lawyer Mukut Nath Verma claimed that his client was falsely implicated in the case as he had been acting against the mining mafia, and as a result his relationship with a certain section of the state administration had soured. The petitioner claimed that the respondents were high-ranking state administration officials who might have done “something foul” because of which the former police officer was missing and traceable. Verma also claimed that Patidar was going to unravel foul play in the administration, and his life might be in danger. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/lucknow/death-of-businessman-up-police-team-sent-to-rajasthan-to-track-down-former-sp-of-mahoba-7337388/  (31 May 2021)

NGT orders govt. to take action on illegal sand mining Taking note of an earlier order passed by the Tribunal, a Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “…this application stands disposed of with a direction to the Chief Secretary and District Magistrate Hamirpur to look into the matter and take remedial action following due process of law.”

Earlier, in a similar matter, the green panel had said, “The Environment department may also develop an appropriate mobile app for receiving and redressing the grievances against the sand mining, including connivance of the authorities, and also a mechanism to fix accountability of the officers concerned. Recommendations of the Oversight Committee for the State of U.P.…may be duly taken into account.”

The directions came when the green panel was hearing a plea moved by petitioner Suresh Kumar who alleged sand mining in a “submerged water area” in Hamirpur district in violation of existing laws and guidelines. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ngt-orders-up-govt-to-take-action-on-illegal-sand-mining/article34702878.ece  (01 June 2021)

Bihar 20 arrested after 4 police personnel injured  20 persons were arrested till Tuesday (June 1) morning for allegedly involved in heavy stone pelting on a joint raiding team of police and mines and geology department during a crackdown against illegal sand mining going on at the banks of river Sikri at village Paura under Kadirganj police station outpost in Nawada district on Monday (May 31) night. Four police personnel were injured in the attack. They are havildar Mahesh Paswan and constables Rahul Kumar, Shailesh Kumar and Shiv Kumar. The havildar has received a head injury from heavy stone pelting. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/bihar-20-arrested-after-four-police-personnel-injured-during-raid-on-illegal-sand-mining/articleshow/83148917.cms  (01 June 2021)

Jammu & Kashmir Illegal Sand Mining in Rivers Unabated sand mining has been taking place in different regions of Kashmir, where heavy machinery is being used to extract sand from rivers and canals. With disastrous consequences for the environment, much of this activity has been taking place in the Rimbiara and Veshav rivers, which also function as tributaries to the Jhelum. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeFWBSu1PKM&feature=emb_title

With the scrapping of the region’s semi-autonomous status in August 2019, changed rules have given an opportunity to outside players to flood the mining sector in the region, spelling doom for locals and the environment.

Many irrigation canals and water channels crisscrossing the apple-rich belts of Shopian are running dry due to illegal and unchecked mining of rivers. Locals living near river beds fear that their villages could get washed away in case of a flood in the future and if mining continues. https://science.thewire.in/environment/watch-environmental-catastrophe-illegal-sand-mining-in-kashmirs-rivers/  (04 June 2021)

दोरंगली नदी में डूबने से एक व्यक्ति की मोत पुंछ जिले के नंगाली गांव में रविवार (June 6) दोपहर को दोरंगली नदी में नहाते समय डूबने से एक व्यक्ति की मौत हो गई है। कई घंटों की मशक्कत के बाद स्थानीय तैराकों ने रस्सी की मदद से करीब 15 मीटर गहरे गड्डे से शव को बाहर निकाला।

इस हादसे से क्षेत्र के लोगों में नदियों से अवैध खनन करने वालों के खिलाफ भारी रोष है। लोगों का आरोप है कि अवैध खनन करने वालों ने जेसीबी मशीनों की सहायता से नदियों से रेत, बजरी और पत्थर निकाल लिए हैं। यह दुर्घटना उसी काम का अंजाम है। खनन से नदियों में बड़े बड़े गड्डे बन जाते हैं। उन गड्डों से अंजान व्यक्तियों की नदी में नहाते समय मौत हो जाती है। लोगों ने नदियों में मशीनों की मदद से खनन करने पर रोक लगाने और अवैध रूप से खनन करने वालों के खिलाफ कड़ी कार्रवाई करने की मांग की है। https://www.amarujala.com/jammu-and-kashmir/poonch/death-poonch-news-jmu2367800149  (07 June 2021)

Uttarakhand व्यासी परियोजना की आड़ मे बड़े पैमाने पर अवैध खनन https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9rGTqOJvcE  (04 June 2021)

Tamil Nadu 5 members of family killed Five members of a family died after the car they were travelling in rammed a sand truck at Padalam in Kancheepuram district in the early hours of Tuesday (Feb. 9). Police said that the family had gone to Samayapuram temple in Trichy on Monday (Feb. 8) and was returning when the accident happened. The family was travelling in their own car and Paul Dinakaran was hired to drive it.

When the vehicle was going on Trichy-Chennai National Highway near Athimanam village at Madurantakam in Chengalpet district around 2.30am, the driver of a sand truck that was moving in front of the car applied sudden brake. Paul lost control and rammed the truck. All the occupants in the car died on the spot and the car was completely damaged. Soon after the accident, the truck driver escaped abandoning the vehicle. Passersby alerted the highways patrol police who with the help of the registration number of the sand-laden truck arrested its driver P Thangasami, 31, from Manapparai. Police said that the driver had to apply brake as another car moving ahead of him suddenly slowed down. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/five-members-of-family-killed-as-car-truck-collide-one-arrested/articleshow/80775421.cms  (10 Feb. 2021)

West Bengal Mining pollution is threatening indigenous groups  Most of those people live in Totopara, a village in the Alipurduar district. It lies on the fringes of Jaldapara National Park – a protected forest known for its population of tigers and gaur (or Indian bison), in an ecosystem typical of the Himalayan foothills known as the Terai. On the outskirts of the village is one of many India-Bhutan border checkpoints. Just beyond this, on the Bhutan side, is a stone-crushing operation: the main source of the Totos’ problems.

 “The mining in Bhutan has been making life difficult for us but no one seems to be bothered,” said Reshma. “The natural streams that once remained full of water have died. We have to depend on a lone active stream inside the forest for our daily water needs. But it also fails to fulfil our requirements during the extreme summers.”

In some places, stream beds have become wider due to soil erosion, though they are dry except during the monsoon. When it rains, the stream near Totopara rages so close to homes that villagers have had to place boulders in wire meshes to stop the soil from being washed away. Ashok Toto, 53, pointed to the stream and said: “It was so small that we used to jump and cross it in our childhood. It used to be at least 45 feet [about 15 metres] from the village. Now it is just eight feet away, forcing us to take measures to save ourselves.” https://scroll.in/article/995857/in-west-bengal-mining-pollution-is-threatening-one-of-the-worlds-smallest-indigenous-groups  (02 June 2021)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Maharashtra Saving wetlands during pandemic While the citizens have been writing to various authorities and ministries, due to the pandemic, the issue is getting side-lined. The citizens claim that this is helping the private and government officials to complete their developmental project activities.

Just like the Panje area, other wetlands and mangroves areas in the MMR region have been facing environmental issues too.

While there has been a lot of complaints on debris being dumped in the mangroves, now the Maharashtra Mangrove Cell has planned to use drones and CCTV cameras to keep track across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) on mangrove burials.

Environmentalists have been requesting to declare Panje as a bird sanctuary to the state authority. But the request has been pending with the environment ministry. BN Kumar, said, “The State Mangrove Foundation has been asking to transfer the Panje and other wetlands of Belpada and Bhendkhal so that they can be conserved properly.” https://mumbai.citizenmatters.in/environmentalists-fight-to-stop-concrete-destruction-24343  (04 June 2021)

West Bengal Govt forms Rs 120 cr plan to protect EKW The government has chalked out a Rs 120 crore plan, to be executed over five years, to protect and nurture East Kolkata Wetlands (EKW), a 12,500 hectare zone, a top official of the environment department said Saturday.

The government has also set a programme to protect the coastline of the state which was damaged during cyclones Amphan and Yaas in 2020 and last month respectively, Additional Chief Secretary (environment) Vivek Kumar said at a function held on the occasion of the World Environment Day.

The plan to protect EKW has components like ways to stop encroachment, prevent contamination of water by pesticides used in farming and effluents from tanneries, besides creating awareness about the wasteland, a designated Ramsar site, Kumar said. https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/bengal-forms-rs-120-cr-plan-to-protect-east-kolkata-wetlands/2096662  (05 June 2021)

Uttar Pradesh Govt to promote wetlands as tourism, water sports hubs Govt plans to promote major wetlands in the state as tourism, educational, recreation and water sports hubs. These include eight sites designated as wetlands of international importance (Ramsar Sites). UP has the maximum eight number of Ramsar sites among the 42 in India and Punjab, with six sites, is next to UP.

The development plan includes the construction of roads for easy accessibility, boarding and lodging facilities, movement around the area, recreational activities like boating and water sports and online facilities, said a senior forest department official.

“The sites will be developed under the financial collaboration of the central and the state governments (the central government will bear 60% of the cost and the balance will be borne by the state government). Most of the project proposals have been sent to the central government,” said the official.

“It’s difficult to comment on the timeline for the project because of the interruptions due to the Covid pandemic. But these sites should be developed in a couple of years. Otherwise, most of the sites are still very attractive for tourists and nature lovers,” he added. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/lucknow-news/uttar-pradesh-to-promote-wetlands-as-tourism-water-sports-hubs-101622909304602.html  (05 June 2021)

There are over 42 Ramsar sites in India. These are wetlands of “international importance” under the Ramsar Convention, an international agreement promoting the conservation and judicious use of wetlands. It is the only global treaty focusing on a single ecosystem – wetlands. India joined the Ramesar Convention on Feb 1, 1982. The country’s wetlands or Ramesar sites cover an area of 1,081,438 ha. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/world-environment-day-2021-know-about-the-wetlands-of-india-and-their-importance-2456068  (05 June 2021)

GROUNDWATER

Rajasthan Water in 20% wells unsuitable for drinking Groundwater table in every fifth well (20%) in the state has gone below the alarming level of 40 metres, making it largely unfit for drinking. The water below 40 metres contains sulphur, chlorine and fluoride more than the permissible limit, posing health hazards when consumed constantly.

Ministry of Jal Shakti’s latest groundwater report on Rajasthan 2019-2020 says that five districts had more than 40% of their wells recording water level below 40 metres in January 2020. The figure comes in stark contrast with the fact that annual rainfall in the state increased by 29.5% in 2019 from 2010-2018 (average). The situation doesn’t appear better even this year as rainfall in 2020 was slightly higher and intense, but took place over a less duration. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/water-in-20-wells-of-raj-unsuitable-for-drinking/articleshow/83247518.cms  (05 Jan. 2021)

Uttar Pradesh Fluoride, arsenic detected in GW in 3 districts Fluoride contamination in groundwater was found to be alarmingly high in Sonbhadra, the second-largest district, while high arsenic toxicity has gripped eastern districts of Gonda and Basti. In all three districts, the volume of contaminants in groundwater is alarmingly high with values recorded several times higher than permissible limits, reveals a study conducted by the Geological Survey of India (GSI), northern region, Lucknow. The study was conducted by a team of five geologists led by GSI director (geology) Abhinandan Srivastav. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/fluoride-arsenic-detected-in-groundwater-in-3-dists/articleshow/83218226.cms  (04 June 2021)

URBAN WATER

Surat 4 die, 72 fall ill drinking gutter-laced drinking water At least four people have died and 72 hospitalized after gastroenteritis breakout in Kathore village on the outskirts of the city since May 30, 2021. Preliminary investigation by Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) health department revealed that the patients are suffering from gastroenteritis and they developed the illness due to consumption of contaminated water.

During inspection SMC officials found that a drainage line water was getting mixed with a water supply line at a particular spot. “Drainage water is getting mixed with the drinking water pipeline. The drainage and drinking water pipeline network were laid by the gram panchayat and after identifying the fault SMC teams are repairing it,” said an SMC officer. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/four-die-72-fall-ill-drinking-gutter-laced-drinking-water/articleshow/83152614.cms  (02 June 2021)

Chennai Need to fill data gaps to save water: Report By 2025, the population of Chennai will stand at around 8 million and the city will see increased water demand of 2,236.5 MLD, which is nearly twice the current requirement, according to a report launched by the Mahindra-TERI Centre of Excellence on water sustainability.

Considering the existing urban growth trend in Chennai City, the built-up area is estimated to increase and waterbodies will continue to shrink. The region is going to experience an unpredictable pattern of rainfall over the coming years due to rapidly changing climate, the study assessed. The study also highlights the concerns related to unavailability of updated groundwater data, thus leading to inefficient regulation of groundwater use by the administration, resulting in continuous exploitation. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2021/jun/06/need-to-fill-data-gaps-to-save-water-in-chennai-report-2312374.html  (06 June 2021)

Going by the present urban growth trend, the report estimated that the built-up area was likely to increase to 708.3 sq.km in 2025, from 608.3 sq.km. in 2019, becoming three-fold of what it was in 1997. However, waterbodies would shrink to 38.4 sq.km by 2025, against 50.7 sq.km in 2019, which would be one-third of their coverage in 1997.

The shrinking waterbodies and reduction in catchment areas, due to expanding built-up area, poorly planned urbanisation and encroachments, would prove to be potential risks for water sustainability and result in increased intensity of floods. The unpredictable rainfall pattern, owing to climate change, could also bring in challenges of fluctuating water storage in reservoirs.

Similarly, the quantity of sewage generated was estimated to increase to 1,789.2 mld in 2025. There was a need to upgrade the sewage treatment plants’ capacity to 1,878.6 mld from the existing 727 mld as it would otherwise lead to more pollution of waterways, the study said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chennais-water-needs-to-touch-22365-mld-by-2025-says-study-by-mahindra-teri-centre-of-excellence/article34741489.ece  (05 June 2021)

Bengaluru New areas to get Cauvery water next year As many as 110 villages on the outskirts were added to the then Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, making it BBMP. The CM said the authorities has completed laying of pipelines in all 110 villages, of which 51 villages are already getting Cauvery water. The remaining 59 villages will get it by December 2022. The sewage network is in the completion stage in these villages.

Regarding the additional 775 MLD of water to the city, the CM said Rs 5,550 crore worth  project under Cauvery fifth phase will be completed in 2023. He also directed the officials to the complete project on time. The CM also directed the BWSSB officials to bring down water wastage from 36 per cent to 20 per cent. He told them to prepare a blueprint for it and take it up on priority.  He also checked about the BWSSB’s monsoon preparedness. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2021/jun/02/new-areas-in-bengaluru-to-get-cauvery-water-next-year-2310612.html  (02 June 2021)

Faridabad Residents want district declared dark zone for water extraction Around 150 residents of Faridabad, demanding that the district be declared as a dark zone for water extraction, wrote to the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) – Jal Shakti Ministry, district administration and state government.

The letter, a copy of which was accessed by HT, states, “This (excessive extraction of groundwater) is going to create an uncontrollable crisis situation in Faridabad as the amount of groundwater being extracted in a day is approximately 300,000-litre groundwater per day from the boundary areas of the NIT only.” The letter was sent under the banner of Save Aravalli Trust, an NGO.

At present, areas under the jurisdiction of the municipal corporations of Faridabad and Ballabgarh are notified for regulation of groundwater development by the CGWB. The residents alleged that the underground water is being extracted illegally from areas outside the municipal corporation’s jurisdiction. According to the records of the agriculture department, Faridabad has been over-withdrawing water by almost 70% for the past few years. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/gurugram-news/faridabad-residents-want-district-declared-dark-zone-for-water-extraction-101622483149403.html  (31 May 2021)

WATER POLLUTION

Study Challenges in planning FSM systems A recent paper ‘Planning fecal sludge management systems: Challenges observed in a small town in southern India’ presents the findings, challenges and possible ways ahead from a study conducted to provide data for Fecal Sludge Management (FSM) planning for a small town in a state in southern India. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/article/challenges-planning-faecal-sludge-management-systems  (30 May 2021)

JJM/ RURAL WATER SUPPLY

‘5 states, UTs to get tap water by 2022, ahead of deadline’ The Union government has decided to fully implement its programme of providing tap water to every household in five northern states and union territories by end of the current financial year, instead of the earlier deadline of 2024 and has allocated of ₹8216.25 crore for 2021-22, according to an official statement.

These states and federally-administered territories estimated to have complete coverage under the Centre’s Jal Jeevan Mission by end of FY22 are Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The amount allocated for quickening the project in these five states is four times the allocation in the previous year. When completed, an estimated 50 million people will have access to a functional tap water connection in these five states. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/5-states-uts-to-get-tap-water-by-2022-ahead-of-deadline-101622917825206.html  (06 June 2021)

WATER

Opinion Water Policy Should be Based on Equal Access and Ecology, While Avoiding Disruptive Projects Bharat Dogra One of the most important development priorities without any doubt is  to ensure the access of essential norms of water supply to all people. However the experience of recent years has been that several factors led by ecological ruin and injustice in various forms are depriving an increasing number of people of access to essential supplies of clean water. https://countercurrents.org/2021/06/water-policy-should-be-based-on-equal-access-and-ecology-while-avoiding-disruptive-projects/  (02 June 2021)

Madhya Pradesh Tribals Risk their Lives Every Day for Water Several villagers from Ghoghra — a small hamlet with a population of around 500 in the Hata block of Damoh district — have been making this difficult trip just to fetch water.

Women and children walk 3 kms up and down a steep, rocky slope to fetch water from this well at the edge of the reserve. (Pic: Naresh Kumar Mishra)

Villagers have been making this journey for water for several years. Many hand pumps haven’t been working due to low groundwater levels in the region. Three years ago, a solar-powered borewell was installed in the village. However, due to machine failure in early 2020, it has also been inoperative. https://www.news18.com/news/india/tribals-in-this-mp-village-risk-their-lives-every-day-for-water-3814376.html  (06 June 2021)

AGRICULTURE

Sundarban Farmers Need a Rice Variety That Is Salt-Tolerant But Also Marketable The increasing frequency of cyclones means growing high-yielding varieties – which do not grow well on saline soil – is no longer an option. https://thewire.in/agriculture/sundarban-farmers-need-a-rice-variety-that-is-salt-tolerant-but-also-marketable  (02 June 2021)

Himachal Pradesh Are anti-hail guns the answer to problem of crop damage due to hailstorms To help out horticulturists who face crop damage due to hailstorms, the government will be testing the use of indigenously developed ‘anti-hail guns’. State Horticulture Minister Mahender Singh Thakur had said on Tuesday (June 1) that ‘anti-hail guns’ developed in India will be installed at 8 to 10 locations in some areas on a trial basis.

In 2010, the state government had imported three anti-hail guns from the United States and installed them in three separate villages in the apple-growing belt of Shimla, where hailstorms in summer cause severe damage to the fruit every year. Two of the machines are currently functional while the third one was rejected by local residents. State horticulture department officials, responsible for operating the machines, maintain that since the installation of the guns, hail has occurred very few times in the two villages of Deorighat and Braionghat.

A few years ago, residents of around five villages in Shimla imported similar guns from New Zealand on a collective basis, but these machines have reportedly not worked so well. “Maybe it works, but we still see hail from time to time. Hailstorms occurred this year as well,” said Pramod Kumar, a resident of Ratnadi where a gun has been installed. “Perhaps the state government should take over the machine so that it is operated optimally and we can be spared the high costs of running it,” he added.

The state government has subsidised anti-hail nets but even these can fail in the face of storms. This April, hail and snow accumulated over the nets in many parts of Shimla after days of extreme weather, causing the nets to break down and damage the apple trees, fruits and branches underneath. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/anti-hail-guns-himachal-pradesh-hailstorms-crop-damage-7344802/  (05 June 2021)

Report Nano urea liquid is expected to potentially replace 13.7 million tonnes of conventional urea usage by 2023. IFFCO has also started field trials of the nano version of DAP fertiliser. https://theprint.in/india/what-is-nano-urea-indias-21st-century-product-aiming-to-revolutionise-world-agriculture/673151/  (07 June 2021)

MONSOON 2021

SANDRP Blog Pre Monsoon 2021 season – State Wise, District Wise Rainfall In the just concluded pre monsoon season (March 1 to May 31, 2021) India received 155.2 mm rainfall, 18% above the normal rainfall of 131.7 mm as per the India Meteorological Department (IMD). This is similar to the case in 2020 when India received 158.5 mm or 20% above normal rainfall. https://sandrp.in/2021/06/01/state-wise-rainfall-pre-monsoon-2021-season/  (01 June 2021)

Bengaluru Wettest day in seven years on June 3 Thursday (June 3) was Bengaluru’s wettest day in June in seven years, according to data recorded by the IMD. The weather station in Bengaluru city had recorded 52.44 mm rainfall in the 24 hours ending 8:30 am on June 4. The Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) which has a total of 49 rainfall recording stations across Bengaluru observed that all five taluks of the city recorded excess rainfall. In comparison, the IMD has only three recording stations within the Bangalore Urban district. While Bengaluru East taluk saw a departure by 499%, there was only 15% departure in Anekal taluk, said the KSNDMC report. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/bengaluru-saw-its-wettest-day-seven-years-june-3-150106  (04 June 2021)

Telangana Heavy rainfall in large parts of Telangana on June 3, with the onset of monsoon over Kerala. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/heavy-rain-lashes-dists-water-enters-houses-in-chandur/articleshow/83215578.cms  (04 June 2021)

DTE Normal monsoons becoming rarer Apart from the overall erratic nature of rainfall during the monsoons of the past few years, the distribution across regions and over time has also been uneven. This has led to a flood-and-drought cycle for many areas. The primary example of this is the north eastern region of India, which has been undergoing an extended spell of dry weather for many years now alongside intermittent floods.

During 18 of the last 19 years (2001-2019), the monsoon rainfall received by North East India was less than normal, with an exception of 2007 (110 per cent of normal), according to an IMD report from 2019. The dry periods have been interspersed with heavy rainfall periods leading to floods, sometimes even in areas which have never witnessed floods before. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/normal-monsoons-becoming-rarer-despite-forecasts-to-the-contrary-77238  (02 June 2021)

FLOOD 2021

Assam NEEPCO releases excess waters from Ranganadi dam Water Releases by NEEPCO’s Ranganadi Dam puts downstream Assam on flood alert. NEEPCO is releasing 605.25 cumecs of water through its Gate No. 4 of the dam of the hydro-electric project at 5 pm on Saturday causing rise of water level alarmingly on the downstream of Ranganadi river in Lakhimpur district. Waters from NEEPCO’s RHEP dam devastated Lakhimpur with deluge on many occasions including in 2008 and 2017. On Saturday (June 5), the rising waters of Ranganadi swept away a bridge at Gobarisali.  https://nenow.in/north-east-news/assam/assam-high-alert-sounded-in-lakhimpur-as-neepco-releases-excess-waters-from-ranganadi-dam.html   (06 June 2021)

Govt to take up dam-induced flood issue with Bhutan, sister States The decision was taken at a high-level meeting attended by Water Resources Minister Pijush Hazarika, Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya and Agriculture Minister Atul Bora on Wednesday (June 2). The meeting was held to discuss various flood and erosion-related issues, including the impact on Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, with Assam already experiencing pre-monsoon showers.

“Release of water from Doyang (Nagaland), Ranganadi (Arunachal Pradesh) and dams in Bhutan causes largescale inundation in Assam, and the authorities concerned need to be told not to release water simultaneously,” Mr. Bora said on Thursday (June 3).

Since one of the dams (Kurichhu) was in Bhutan, the matter would be taken up at the level of the Chief Minister for further communication with the country, he added.

Mr. Hazarika said the government would take up measures to protect Kaziranga from erosion. The Brahmaputra runs between two segments of the park, the larger swathe on the southern bank more prone to erosion. Ensuring a flood and erosion-free Assam was one of the electoral promises of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its regional allies. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/assam-to-take-up-dam-induced-flood-issue-with-bhutan-sister-states/article34714889.ece  (03 June 2021)

Maharashtra Plan to drain excess water from dams ready: Jayant Patil  State irrigation minister Jayant Patil on Monday (May 31) said the plan to discharge excess water in a phased manner from dams during the four months of monsoon — to avoid floods in Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara districts — is ready.

Patil conducted an online meeting with ministers, MPs, MLAs and government officials from the three districts. “Excess rainfall in catchment areas of the dams causes flooding in Krishna and Panchaganga rivers. In 2019, the region witnessed high rainfall which led to unprecedented floods in these districts,” he said.

“We are in touch with officials of Almatti dam along Krishna river in Karanataka. The discharge of dams will be carried such in such a way that there is no flooding to rivers in the downstream area. Soon we will hold a meeting with our counterparts in Karanataka to ensure effective coordination between irrigation authorities of both states,” he added.

Meanwhile, former chief minister and Karad MLA Pruthviraj Chavan said grampanchayat officials and staff must be given training to read flood maps in order to arrange rehabilitation and ensure less damage to properties along the river banks. He also demanded a special meeting to be held in Karad to discuss flood management. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolhapur/plan-to-drain-excess-water-from-dams-ready-jayant-patil/articleshow/83123732.cms  (01 June 2021)

Kolhapur: Dams have enough stock The major dams in the district currently have around 40% stock of live water that can be brought to use for various purposes. Considering the erratic nature of monsoon, the irrigation department has ensured that adequate stock is maintained in the dams. Usually, the demand for water from the dams is high during summer.

The irrigation department struggles to keep adequate quantity after the release of water for irrigation. For three months, the usage of water from the river is high and the department has to release water from the dams. Mahesh Surve, superintendent engineer of water resources department, said, even if there are dry spells in June, the district will not be water scarce due to adequate stock in the dams. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolhapur/kolhapur-dams-have-enough-stock/articleshow/83211866.cms  (04 June 2021)

Arunachal Pradesh 8 villages, over 300 people affected by flood, erosion in ICR At least eight villages and 312 people in the Itanagar capital region (ICR) were affected on Monday due to flood and erosion caused by incessant rainfall over the past few weeks. As per details available with the district disaster management authority, seven OBT houses and 24 huts in Lekhi village under Naharlagun were also damaged.  https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2021/06/01/8-villages-over-300-people-affected-by-flood-erosion-in-icr/  (01 June 2021)

Uttar Pradesh As the Sarayu rises, hopes of sand farmers in Purvanchal drown Every summer, lakhs of farmers raise gourds, cucumbers and watermelons on the sandy banks of rivers. However, last month, many rivers rose following unseasonal rains due to cyclones Tauktae and Yaas, drowning the crops. https://en.gaonconnection.com/farmers-uttar-pradesh-cyclones-tauktae-yaas-sarayu-farming/  (05 June 2021)

Uttarakhand Framers stranded on Ganga island rescued Around 72 farmers were rescued by the SDRF and police on Friday (May 21) after the Ganga’s water level rose due to rains. The rescued persons were all residents of Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh and harvested watermelon, cucumber etc. on a land strip in the middle of the river near Balabali Chowki in Laksar. After water level in the river increased, the farmers, along with their cattle and agricultural equipment like tractors, were trapped. They raised an alarm on Friday morning. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/framers-stranded-on-ganga-island-rescued-by-police-sdrf/articleshow/82840315.cms  (22 May 2021)

URBAN FLOODS

Hyderabad Residents worried over rerun of nightmarish 2020 floods Notwithstanding the last year’s floods which exposed the city’s urban infrastructure, development and maintenance of drains, which is crucial for preventing floods, is progressing at a snail’s pace. With hardly any time left for the monsoon to arrive, residents are worried about a rerun of the 2020 flood situation.

In Toli Chowki’s Nadeem Colony, which bore the brunt of all the major floods in recent years — 2000, 2008 and 2020 — residents continue to live amidst overflowing drains, choked outlet channels, blatant dumping of debris and narrowing of inlet and outlet channels due to rampant constructions and encroachments.

SNDP chief engineer C Vasantha said, “Although we are heading towards monsoon, it will take some time since we have to do the technical study, estimation, procurement of material, etc, for implementation of the project.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/residents-worried-over-rerun-of-nightmarish-floods-in-2020/articleshow/83097275.cms  (31 May 2021)

DISASTERS

Kerala Declare Coastal Erosion As Natural Disaster: Govt Kerala govt on Thursday (May 27) urged the Centre to declare coastal erosion as a natural disaster and also to double the disaster relief amount in view of loss and damage in the state’s coastline which is exposed to rogue waves. CM Pinarayi Vijayan said he has written to PM Narendra Modi in this regard. He said Kerala has a coastline of 590 km spread across nine coastal districts. https://www.ndtv.com/kerala-news/declare-coastal-erosion-as-natural-disaster-kerala-government-to-centre-2450773  (28 May 2021)

CLOUD BURSTS

SANDRP Blog Uttarakhand ‘cloud bursts in May 2021 Undoubtedly, the extreme rainfall events are happening across the state with increased intensity and frequency at the same time the monitoring, prediction and mitigation work by concerned departments and state government as a whole is lagging miles behind. https://sandrp.in/2021/06/03/uttarakhand-cloud-bursts-in-may-2021/  (03 June 2021)

This rightly demands redefining the cloud burst definition for the Hill areas. https://en.gaonconnection.com/uttarakhand-rainfall-cloudburst-floods-damage-pauri-garhwal-chamoli/  (01 June 2021)

This video report dated June 1 says that there a cloud burst in Chaka stream catchment under Banma patti in Jakholi block Rudrapryag causing flashflood. The stream is a tributary of Mandakani river. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLl2MobdTU0  (01 June 2021)

Himachal Pradesh Cloudburst Damages Homes, Roads  A cloudburst on June 1 afternoon in Mugla village in Chamba district caused considerable damage to a few houses. It led to an overflow of drains and the water entered the homes of villagers. A lot of debris entered the temples and many two-wheelers were washed away.

In similar incident same day, Kandhar village in Solan district experienced maximum destruction where homes were damaged, and debris entered the buildings. However, no causality has been reported. Victims have demanded relief from the administration.

Earlier this week, the meteorological centre in Shimla said the state has received 105.5 mm rainfall from March to May this year. The rainfall was 11% less than the last season, said director Manmohan Singh. However, this precipitation comes in the normal range, he added. https://www.news18.com/news/india/cloudburst-damages-homes-in-himachal-pradesh-village-roads-blocked-in-other-parts-3806120.html  (03 June 2021)

There has been heavy damage due to cloudburst in Kandhar village of Mangal, Gram Panchayat of Arki Tehsil of Solan. Here the vehicles were washed away and the debris entered the houses. People have demanded the administration to provide relief.

Eyewitnesses say that after it rained at 4 o`clock in the evening, the water from the drain went into the houses of the people. A lot of debris has entered inside the Mugla Shiva temple. Many scooters and bikes got washed away in the water. There is a lot of anger among the people due to the lack of proper drainage in the drain. https://www.nyoooz.com/news/shimla/1581883/heavy-rains-before-pre-monsoon-cloud-bursts-and-landslides-block-highway/  (03 June 2021)

मंगलवार (June 1) दोपहर को प्रदेश के कई इलाकों में भारी बारिश हुई. चंबा और सोलन में दो जगहों पर बादल फटे और काफी नुकसान हुआ. मंडी, शिमला समेत कई इलाकों में ओले गिरे हैं. सोलन जिले में मंगलवार (June 1) को भारी बारिश हुई. सोलन की अर्की तहसील की ग्राम पंचायत मांगल के कन्धर गांव में बादल फटने से भारी नुकसान हुआ है. यहां गाड़ियां बह गईं और मलबा मकानों में घुस गया. लोगों ने प्रशासन से राहत मुहैया कराने की मांग की है.

चंबा के साथ लगते मुगला वार्ड में बादल फट गया. गनीमत यह रही कि यहां पर कोई जानी नुकसान नहीं हुआ. प्रत्यक्षदर्शियों का कहना है शाम 4 बजे बारिश होने के बाद एकदम नाले से पानी लोगों के घरों में चला गया. मुगला शिव मंदिर के अंदर बहुत ज्यादा मलबा घुसा है. कई स्कूटी और बाइक पानी में बह गई. नाले में निकासी सही न होने की वजह से लोगों में काफी रोष है. कुल्लू की बंजार घाटी में तेज बारिश से बाह्य सराज को जोड़ने वाला औट-आनी-सैंज हाईवे-305 लारजी के पास पहाड़ी से मलबा आने से बंद हो गया. https://hindi.news18.com/news/himachal-pradesh/shimla-heavy-rain-in-himachal-cloud-burst-in-chamba-and-solan-hpvk-3608667.html  (03 June 2021)

मुगला वार्ड में लोगों घरों में 4-5 फ़ीट मलबा पानी भर जाने से काफी नुकसान हुआ है। https://himachal.punjabkesari.in/himachal-pradesh/news/cloud-burst-in-mugla-ward-of-chamba-1393557  (02 June 2021)

हिमाचल प्रदेश के मैदानी और मध्य पर्वतीय 10 जिलों के लिए जारी भारी बारिश, अंधड़ और ओलावृष्टि के ऑरेंज अलर्ट के बीच जानमाल का भारी नुकसान हुआ है।

भरमौर की पूलन पंचायत में भी रविवार (May 9) देर रात एक बजे भारी बारिश के बाद गड़ा नाले में बाढ़ आ गई जिसके मलबे में दबने से 30 भेड़-बकरियां दबकर मर गई। दस भेड़-बकरियां घायल भी हुई हैं। नाले में बढ़े जलस्तर को देख भेड़पालक परिवार ने वहां से भागकर अपनी जान बचाई।

एडीएम भरमौर पृथी पाल सिंह ने कहा कि बादल नहीं फटा है बल्कि भारी बारिश से जलस्तर बढ़ने से यह घटना हुई है। बारिश और बर्फबारी से मंगलवार को प्रदेश के अधिकतम तापमान में भी सामान्य से तीन से चार डिग्री की कमी दर्ज की गई है।  https://www.amarujala.com/shimla/himachal-weather-today-two-died-of-lightning-in-rampur-heavy-damage-due-to-cloudburst-in-bharmour-chamba?pageId=1  (11 May 2021)

A cloud-burst over Chamba district on Monday (May 3) night damaged the Chamba-Bharmour national highway, caused some damage to private properties, and trigger landslides in the area, an official said on Tuesday (May 4). https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/cloud-burst-damages-chamba-bharmour-national-highway-triggers-landslides-248142  (04 May 2021)

ENVIRONMENT

Report Green law to push infra will hit environment hard, fear experts  The environment ministry is working on a radical change to the country’s environmental law regime, including changes in the important Wildlife Protection Act 1972, senior environment ministry officials said. The move comes amidst concerns among activists and environment groups that the changes are being made to make it easier to develop infrastructure and industrial projects — even in environmentally sensitive areas. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/green-law-to-push-infra-will-hit-environment-hard-fear-experts-101622829317861.html  (05 June 2021)

The new rules will allow polluting units to expand their operations and change their product mix without full scrutiny, say experts. https://scroll.in/article/996232/india-may-be-inviting-disaster-by-making-it-easier-for-polluting-industries-to-get-clearances  (06 June 2021)

A look at 6 biodiversity hotspots of India Officially, four out of the 36 Biodiversity Hotspots in the world are present in India: the Himalayas, the Western Ghats, the Indo-Burma region and the Sundaland. To these may be added the Sundarbans and the Terrai-Duar Savannah grasslands for their unique foliage and animal species. https://www.thehindu.com/children/wild-wonderlands/article34686553.ece  (31 May 2021)

New species discovered in 2020 The year 2020 was replete with new discoveries. In India alone, at least two different species of snakes were found along with several other animals that just speaks volumes about how rich India’s biodiversity is and how little we still know about the wonders of this planet. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/photos/india/world-environment-day-2021-new-species-discovered-in-india-since-2020-6990511.html  (05 June 2021)

Declining forest bird species in Western Himalaya With extremely cold winters and pleasant summers, the State of Uttarakhand is home to the Western Himalayan temperate forests which harbour a large number of endemic bird species. A new study that analysed these natural oak-dominated forests and modified forests has noted that there was a drastic loss of bird species in all modified landscapes. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/declining-forest-bird-species-in-western-himalaya/article34678385.ece  (29 May 2021)

Himachal Pradesh For first time, King Cobra documented  The elapid endemic, which has a wide distribution in Southeast Asia, was spotted near Girinagar adjoining the Kolar forest in Sirmour district last week.  Archana Sharma, PCCF told The Indian Express, “We checked our records and found that a King Cobra had never been sighted/documented in Himachal Pradesh earlier. It is for the first time that this snake has been was spotted in Shiwalik Hills of Himachal. Earlier, Its presence in the nearby hilly state of Uttarakhand had been recorded. The sighting in Himachal Pradesh now is a very significant thing for us.” Paonta Sahib area of Sirmour district of Himachal shares its boundaries with Uttarakhand. In 2017, a Central Asian Cobra was spotted in Chamba district of Himachal. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/for-first-time-king-cobra-documented-in-himachal-7346202/  (06 June 2021)

History of World Environment Day World Environment Day is one of the biggest annual events organised by the United Nations (UN) to generate awareness about the significance of nature. The United Nations Assembly established World Environment Day in 1972, which was the first day of the Stockholm Conference on the human environment.

In 1974, the theme of World Environment Day was ‘Only One Earth’. Since then, various host countries have been celebrating it. World Environment Day was first observed in 1974 in the United States.

The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is ‘Reimagine. Recreate. Restore.’ as this year marks the beginning of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Pakistan is the global host for the day to highlight the importance of ecosystem restoration this year. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/world-environment-day-2021-history-significance-and-theme-101622793929358.html  (04 June 2021)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Study GHG emissions from world’s reservoirs higher than previously expected ABSTRACT: Collectively, reservoirs constitute a significant global source of C-based greenhouse gases (GHGs). Yet, global estimates of reservoir carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) emissions remain uncertain, varying more than four-fold in recent analyses. Here we present results from a global application of the Greenhouse Gas from Reservoirs (G-res) model wherein we estimate per-area and per-reservoir CO2 and CH4 fluxes, by specific flux pathway and in a spatially and temporally explicit manner, as a function of reservoir characteristics. We show: 1) CH4 fluxes via degassing and ebullition are much larger than previously recognized and diffusive CH4 fluxes are lower than previously estimated, while CO2 emissions are similar to those reported in past work; 2) per-area reservoir GHG fluxes are >29% higher than suggested by previous studies, due in large part to our novel inclusion of the degassing flux in our global estimate; 3) CO2 flux is the dominant emissions pathway in boreal regions and CH4 degassing and ebullition are dominant in tropical and subtropical regions, with the highest overall reservoir GHG fluxes in the tropics and subtropics; and 4) reservoir GHG fluxes are quite sensitive to input parameters that are both poorly constrained and likely to be strongly influenced by climate change in coming decades (parameters such as temperature and littoral area, where the latter may be expanded by deepening thermoclines expected to accompany warming surface waters). Together these results highlight a critical need to both better understand climate-related drivers of GHG emission and to better quantify GHG emissions via CH4 ebullition and degassing.

PLAIN LANGUAGE SUMMARY: By damming rivers, humans have created millions of reservoirs, which, collectively, constitute an important greenhouse gas source, especially for methane, a particularly potent greenhouse gas. Using observed relationships between reservoir characteristics and greenhouse gas emissions, we show that much more methane either bubbles out of reservoirs or is emitted just downstream from reservoirs than was previously known. This is important because it may be possible to reduce methane emissions from downstream of reservoirs by selectively withdrawing water from near the surface of reservoirs, which tends to be methane-poor, rather than from greater depths, where methane often accumulates. We also found that on a per-area basis reservoirs are a more potent source of greenhouse gases previously recognized, and that the highest rates of emissions occur in the tropics and subtropics. Finally, we show that estimates of reservoir greenhouse gas emissions are quite sensitive to climate-related factors like temperature. https://yubanet.com/scitech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-from-the-worlds-reservoirs-higher-than-previously-expected/  (01 June 2021) https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2020GB006888

Earth’s Water Cycle Is Ramping Up The rate at which plants and the land surface release moisture into the air has increased on a global scale between 2003 and 2019. These processes are collectively known as evapotranspiration, and a new NASA study has calculated its increase by using observations from gravity satellites.

By gauging the mass change of water between the oceans and the continents, the researchers determined that evapotranspiration’s rate of increase is up to two times higher than previous estimates. This is important because evapotranspiration represents a critical branch of the global water cycle – a cycle that creates the conditions for life on land.

While it is known that a warming climate should increase the rate of evapotranspiration, accurate global measurements have, until now, been elusive. https://scitechdaily.com/17-years-of-gravity-observations-show-how-earths-water-cycle-is-ramping-up-as-climate-warms/  (31 May 2021)

Climate crisis is suffocating world’s lakes Falling levels of oxygen in oceans had already been identified, but new research shows that the decline in lakes has been between three and nine times faster in the past 40 years. Scientists found oxygen levels had fallen by 19% in deep waters and 5% at the surface.

The study, published in the journal Nature, analysed 45,000 dissolved oxygen and temperature profiles collected from nearly 400 lakes worldwide. Most records started in about 1980, though one went back to 1941.

Most of the lakes were in temperate zones, particularly in Europe and the US, but there were a few records from higher latitudes, nearer the poles, and for tropical lakes in Africa. In both cases, oxygen was falling as in the other lakes. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jun/02/climate-crisis-is-suffocating-the-worlds-lakes-study-finds  (02 June 2021)

Assam Experts laud creation of separate department on climate change Experts have welcomed the creation of a separate department of climate change to tackle various threats posed by the menace, besides taking steps for adaptation and mitigation of global warming. Announcing the setting up of the new department on the occasion of World Environment Day, the CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said that this would go a long way towards making Assam a key global leader on issues related to climate change. The role of the department includes adaptation and mitigation of climate change, he said. Assam is one of the most vulnerable state in India to climate change because of very unique topography and physiographic location, the state’s dense network of rivers and also due to the state’s location in an area where the Southwest Monsoon dominates the life.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/guwahati/assam-experts-laud-creation-of-separate-department-on-climate-change/articleshow/83300549.cms  (07 June 2021)

CHINA

Critics query green credentials of world’s second-largest hydroelectric dam after speedy build https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQw6dlpnCV8  (03 June 2021)

ASIA

MEKONG Vietnam China hydropower puts pressure on Red River communities Flooding and biodiversity among concerns for people in Vietnam below the cascade of Red River dams. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/regional-cooperation/china-hydropower-red-river-communities-vietnam/  (28 May 2021)

Cambodia Tonle Sap fish catch declines due to nature and human harm The Tonle Sap, which contributed over half the fish produced in Cambodia, is now faced with a serious threat in fish catch due to loss of flooded forest, climate change, upstream dams and illegal fishing activities. https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50865777/tonle-sap-fish-catch-declines-due-to-nature-and-human-harm/  (01 June 2021)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

USA Below Aging U.S. Dams, a Potential Toxic Calamity Documents suggest that in more than 80 U.S. locations, the failure of an aging dam could flood a major toxic waste site. While the dramatic breach of the Edenville Dam captured national headlines in May 2020, an investigation has identified 81 other dams, in 24 states, that, if they were to fail, could flood a major toxic waste site and potentially spread contaminated material into surrounding communities. In interviews with dam safety, environmental, and emergency officials, it was also found that, as in Michigan, the risks these dams pose to toxic waste sites are largely unrecognized by any agency, leaving communities across the country vulnerable to the same kind of low-probability, but high-consequence disaster that played out in Midland. https://undark.org/2021/06/01/below-dozens-of-aging-dams-a-potential-toxic-calamity/  (01 June 2021)

San Diego launches $10M assessment of aging city dams San Diego is launching a $10 million effort to complete risk assessments of all nine of the city’s aging dams — only three of which are considered in satisfactory condition. City officials say the assessments are expected to reveal problems that will require an estimated $1 billion in repairs and upgrades in coming decades — and possibly some replacement dams in extreme cases.

San Diego’s dams are among the oldest in the state and the nation. State officials said three dams are in “poor” condition — Lake Hodges, El Capitan and Lower Otay — and three have been rated “fair”: Morena, Barrett and Lake Murray. The city dam in arguably the worst condition — Lake Hodges Dam in Rancho Bernardo — already is slated for replacement with a new $150 million compacted concrete dam 100 feet downstream from the existing dam, built in 1919. https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/pomerado-news/rancho-bernardo/story/2021-06-02/san-diego-launching-10m-assessment-of-aging-city-dams-including-three-rated-in-poor-condition  (02 June 2021)

Tearing out these dams will open rivers up for recreation; save lives Across the flatlands of the American Midwest, concrete low-head dams served for decades as important tools in flood management, as gauging stations, and for irrigation. They’re also highly dangerous—nicknamed “drowning machines” by some water management agencies.

The hydrodynamics caused by the fast flow off the dam’s ledge result in water moving in a reverse circular motion between the dam wall and the water boil point, typically a couple of yards downstream. Anything—or anyone—caught in the current gets pushed underwater, turned up and pushed back down again. Lifejackets lose their buoyancy and are rendered nearly useless by air bubbles that fill the water. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/low-head-dams-are-being-torn-out-making-rivers-accessible-for-millions  (01 June 2021)

Opinion One Size Does Not Fit All Rivers  Jeff Opperman Globally, rivers confront a range of threats, including from dam development.  And just as reducing the Ferrari owner’s financial risk would require both legal compliance and better decision making, reducing rivers’ risks and securing their values will require diverse and durable protections. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffopperman/2021/05/26/one-size-does-not-fit-all-rivers-diverse-protection-mechanisms-needed-to-keep-them-connected/  (26 May 2021)

The Role AI can Play in the Detection of River Pollution AZoCleantech speaks with Peter Hammond from the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. Peter was previously a researcher using the AI to spot subtle signs in children’s facial features that could indicate different genetic conditions. The methods and software developed for this previous research are now being used on sewage treatment data without any alteration. https://www.azocleantech.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=1201  (01 April 2021)

Water Pollution and Its Impact On Environment And Health Every year, 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the world’s oceans according to United Nations Environment Programme.  https://www.ndtv.com/video/news/banega-swasth-india/water-pollution-and-its-impact-on-environment-and-health-588911  (05 June 2021)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 31 May 2021 & DRP News Bulletin 24 May 2021

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

One thought on “DRP NB 07 June 2021: Local Water Options Stories from Five states

  1. It’s very depressing to see one after another, environmentally destructive projects have been given green signal by MOEF&CC and states.
    But also feel happy by the participation of local people and their awareness about what’s happening.

    Like

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