DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 21 June 2021: MGNREGS ALSO helps carbon sequestration

A new study by the researchers at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, the works undertaken under the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme captured 102 Million Tonnes of Carbon Dioxide in 2017-18 through plantation and soil quality improvement works. The MGNREGS has proved remarkable for other reasons, including it being the World’s largest anti-poverty program and also helping improve the local livelihoods, food, employment and water security on a massive scale. If the program is taken up with necessary commitment, priority, planning and participatory governance, it can achieve lot more. Unfortunately the NDA government has not been showing such commitment, priority or financial allocation even for its regular functioning. The IISc Study says that by 2030, the MGNREGS can create annual carbon dioxide sink equal to 249 MtCO2. One hopes our governments would, rather than denigrating the scheme would allocate sufficient financial, human and institutional resources for MGNREGS, rather than false solutions like the destructive projects like big hydropower projects.

Rural job scheme guarantees carbon sequestration The world’s largest anti-poverty programme may also help India achieve its target of creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent, through additional forest and tree cover, by 2030, in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change.

A recent study by researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru found that the scheme’s capacity to sequester carbon dioxide may rise to 249 MT by 2030. Graph made using data from the study by Ravindranath NH, Murthy IK. (Image source: Monga Bay)

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme captured 102 million tonnes carbon dioxide (MtCO2) in 2017-18 through plantations and soil quality improvement, found a recent study by researchers at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. The scheme’s capacity to sequester carbon dioxide may rise to 249 MtCO2 by 2030. https://india.mongabay.com/2021/06/rural-job-scheme-guarantees-carbon-sequestration/  (18 June 2021)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Arunachal Pradesh Consultation webinar on Climate Change and It’s Impacts on Livelihood on the Brahmaputra Basin being organized by People’s Action for Development (PAD) on June 22, 2021 from 11:00 am for two hours. For registration plz visit:-   https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf64a3R5tCnHFQj5-eNjwffobtr0Gf-0ZjFGi7BMWrYcPTI5g/viewform

Gujarat SAPCC report shows rise in mean temperature  Mean temperatures in Gujarat have risen up to a maximum of 2.9 degree Celsius between 1986-2019 and it could rise further by a maximum of 5 degree Celsius by end of 21st century due to anthropogenic emissions, states Gujarat’s State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC), unveiled recently by CM Vijay Rupani. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/gujarat-state-action-plan-on-climate-change-temperature-rose-by-2-90-celsius-in-33-yrs-till-2019-to-go-up-further-7362544/lite/  (17 June 2021)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Karnataka High Court: EAC decisions subject to HC orders On June 11, 2021, in the ongoing case (United Conservation Movement vs Union of India and others) in Karnataka High Court, the HC bench led by the Chief Justice gave last chance to Union Ministry of Environment and Forests last chance to respond by June 24, 2021 to the High Court orders of April 1, and May 25, 2021. The Court observed that every decision taken by the  MoEF’s Expert Appraisal Committee for River Valley Projects (which was to meet on June 16, as pointed out by Ritwick Dutta, advocate for the petitioners, EAC chairman and members are parties in the petition) will be subject to the orders that the court would pass in this ongoing case. The case is to come up before the HC again on July 1, 2021.

Uttarakhand  Raini villagers seek evacuation as houses crack up Villagers of Raini Village in Chamoli district seek evacuation as houses crack up in soil erosion by swollen Rishiganga, several houses have reported cracks in the houses and demanded relocation. Fearful people are sleeping in the fields. Army and BRO have shifted the idol of Gaura Devi to safe location. https://www.aninews.in/news/national/general-news/uttrakhand-villagers-seek-evacuation-as-houses-crack-up-in-soil-erosion-by-swollen-rishiganga20210618215033/  (18 June 2021)

श्रीनगर में अचानक बढ़ा नदी का जल स्तर  श्रीनगर में अलकनंदा नदी का जल स्तर अचानक बढ़ गया। जिसके कारण नदी किनारे रहने वाले लोगों में भय का माहौल पैदा हो गया। पानी बढ़ने से अल्केश्वर घाट सहित नगर के अन्य घाट जलमग्न हो गए। पानी के साथ बड़ी मात्रा में भारी-भरकम लकड़ियां भी बह कर आई। साढ़े ग्यारह बजे से करीब सवा बारह बजे तक नदी का जल स्तर बढ़ा रहा। लोगों का कहना है कि बांध से बिना सायरन बजाए ही पानी छोड़ा गया। जिससे अफरा-तफरी का माहौल पैदा हो गया। https://www.livehindustan.com/uttarakhand/srinagar/story-the-water-level-of-the-river-suddenly-increased-in-srinagar-4122190.amp.html  (14 June 2021)

Maharashtra BMC’s hybrid power plant at Middle Vaitarna hits a snag The BMC’s 100 MW Rs 536-crore hybrid power plant planned at Middle Vaitarna dam has hit a hurdle. Four months after awarding the Rs 536-crore contract, the BMC issued a notice to the company threatening to terminate it for failing to submit key documents related to the project and starting work. The BMC has also threatened to blacklist the firm. In Feb 2021, the BMC cleared the proposal. The contract was awarded to a joint venture between Shapoorji Pallonji & Company and Mahalaxmi Konal Urja. The power plant was to generate 20MW and the floating solar photovoltaic plant 80MW. The project was to be ready in 31 months. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/mumbai-bmcs-hybrid-power-plant-at-middle-vaitarna-hits-a-snag/articleshow/83524666.cms  (15 June 2021)

Bihar Govt signs MoU for mega hydropower project with NHPCL A MoU for the Bihar’s 130.1 MW Dagmara hydroelectric project (on Kosi River, Bhaptiyahi block Supaul Dist, 31 km downstream of the Kosi Barrage) was signed between the Bihar State Power Holding Corporation and the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Limited (NHPC) on June 14 2021. The barrage length would be 753 metre and it would have 36 gates on river Kosi River. It will be very expensive power with current estimated project cost of Rs 2500 Cr, likely to increase many fold. https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2021/jun/14/bihar-signsmou-for-mega-hydropower-project-with-nhpcl-2316256.html  (14 June 2021)

2021 Goldman Environmental Prize Winners

Among the Goldman Environment Prize winners for 2021 announced on June 15, 2021 is Maida Bilal, anti-dam activist from Bosnia and Herzegovina. https://www.goldmanprize.org/blog/2021-goldman-environmental-prize-winners/  (15 June 2021)

Opinion How can we make hydropower technologies sustainable? Amit Banka No real answers here. Only some general suggestions. The only good thing about the blog is that it does honestly list many (not all) of the adverse impacts of hydropower projects and concludes: “The threatening impact of building large dams nearby villages as well as ecology is no secret… large and small dams have a lasting impact on the environment. Dams built for hydroelectric power impact rivers and wildlife habitats, displace humans, affect fish populations, and interrupt the natural flow of sediment into river systems. Furthermore, huge amounts of concrete are a major contributor to CO2 emissions. An analysis from 100 studies of reservoir islands of 15 dams in North, Central and South America, Europe, and Asia showed that in more than 75 percent of cases, dams had an overall negative impact on reservoir island species, affecting species population density, ecological community composition, and species behaviour… Efforts are needed to be made to minimize hydropower’s environmental footprint. This is especially necessary for India… But the systematic push for hydropower cannot come at environmental and social costs.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/voices/how-can-we-make-hydropower-technologies-sustainable/  (14 June 2021)

Pumped hydro tech makes comeback This is trying to suggest that pump hydro is gaining currency, but most of the information is not new. https://www.energy-storage.news/news/new-pumped-hydro-around-the-world-tried-and-tested-long-duration-storage-te  (14 June 2021)

MoEF Projects meeting held on May 25, 2021, now available:

1. Expansion of Tidong-I HEP (Phase-II) for (Phase I -100MW + Phase II – 50MW) in an area of 42.2557 ha (without increase in area) by Tidong Power Generation Pvt Ltd in village Rispain, Tehsil Moorang, District Kinnaur (HP) – Reconsideration of Environmental Clearance: Deferred for more info

2. Basaveshwara Lift Irrigation Scheme in Belgaun Dist of Karnataka by Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd. – Env Clearance: Allowed to withdraw

3. 1070 MW Naba HEP in an area of 391.2 ha by Naba Power Pvt Ltd near Naba village, Upper Subansiri dist of Arunachal Pradesh– Terms of References: APPROVED http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/1406202192950758Final_12th_EACMoM_RiverValley.pdf 

DAMS

Mekedatu Dam NGT closes proceedings against project The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has closed proceedings against the Mekedatu dam project after finding merit in the Karnataka government’s submissions that requisite environmental clearances were pending consideration before the concerned statutory authorities. The counsel appearing for the Tamil Nadu government however, opposed the stand and submitted that the environmental issue be examined by the Tribunal. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ngt-closes-proceedings-against-mekedatu-dam-project/article34859611.ece  (19 June 2021)

Kerala Rs 500-cr package to desilt dams, protect rivers Finance Minister has announced a Rs 500-crore package for desilting dams and canals, river protection and allied conservation projects. As the first phase, Rs 50 crore has been set aside in the budget. The project includes desilting of dams, protecting canal banks, construction of mangrove barriers along coastal areas, removal of low-level bunds to facilitate free flow of water in flood plains, dredging of river and making temporary storage mechanisms by creating water retention areas by interlinking lakes, irrigation canals and backwaters.

The departments of water resources, environment and local self-government will collectively implement the comprehensive project. “The KSEB has drawn an action plan for desilting dams,” said KSEB chairman N S Pillai.  “The Central Water Commission will conduct a study on the quantity of silt accumulated in big dams like Idukki and Edamalayar. A standard operating procedure has been developed to assess the silt accumulation in these dams after which the desilting process will be completed in a time-bound manner,” he said.

The KSEB will conduct a study on desilting small dams. The irrigation department has taken up a project to desilt seven dams. “A Hyderabad-based company had started desilting the Mangalam dam in December, 2020. The Kerala Irrigation Infrastructure Development Corporation has taken up the desilting of Chulliyar dam while the Kerala Mineral Development Corporation is assessing the silt accumulation in Walayar and Meenkara dams. We are conducting bathymetry study to assess the depth of other dams,” said irrigation department chief engineer Alex Varghese. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2021/jun/05/kerala-budget-rs-500-crore-package-to-desilt-dams-protect-rivers-2311953.html  (05 June 2021)

Maharashtra Heat builds up over water grid project Amid speculations that the project will be scrapped, Maharashtra water supply minister Gulabrao Patil has said that the project would be executed but in a limited manner to begin with. The scaled-down scope of the project will cover only Paithan taluka of Aurangabad district. “The pros and cons of the water grid project were discussed during the review meeting. The final proposal on execution of the project would be tabled before the state cabinet shortly for taking a final call,” he told the media persons at Mumbai on June 17.

A section of water management experts has opposed the project and questioned the rationale behind interlinking dams from the drought-prone region that often do not fill to the designed capacity. The project, which had financial outlay of around Rs 12,200 crore for the first phase, plans to interlink 11 dams catering to Marathwada through a grid in order to supply water for drinking and other needs.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/aurangabad/heat-builds-up-over-water-grid-project/articleshow/83671203.cms  (20 June 2021)

Telangana Check dam on Munneru inaugurated A check dam, constructed at a cost of ₹ 7.45 crore, across the Munneru river at Prakashnagar in the town, with a storage capacity of six million cubic feet (mcft) of excess water, was inaugurated by Transport Minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar here on Thursday (June 17). The Munneru, a tributary of Krishna River, flows across the district spanning a length of 40 km before entering into Krishna district of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/check-dam-on-munneru-inaugurated/article34841951.ece  (17 June 2021)

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

Maharashtra-Karnataka Govts agree to resolve water sharing and flooding issues Maharashtra and Karnataka on June 19, 2021 decided on better coordination and communication regarding flood management and water supply in their drought-hit regions. A three-tier interstate flood coordination committee at the ministry level, secretary level and field level would soon be in place with standard operating procedure and preparedness to share real-time data and ensure early warning on release from dams. The secretaries of both states will ensure 24/7 smooth operation of the committee.

Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil, who met Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa, said, “Maharashtra already has a real-time data monitoring system; we will extend it up to Narayanpur dam.” He said if the two states dynamically manage the flow of water in Almatti dam, flood situations can be overcome effectively.

– The states have therefore decided on a twopronged strategy for the Bhima sub-basin. “First, monitoring rainfall in the dam catchment of Ujani and judiciously deciding on incremental releases to give sufficient warning to Karnataka. Secondly, monitoring rainfall in free catchment areas and endeavour to share information as quickly as possible,” he added. https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/maharashtra-and-karnataka-agree-to-resolve-water-sharing-and-flooding-issues  (20 June 2021)

Karnataka government is all set to set up Real-Time Data Acquisition System (RTDAS) at its Almatti and Narayanpur dams to monitor the water dispersion system and prevent floods in western Maharashtra, like the one that had happened in 2019. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/karnataka-to-install-rtdas-to-monitor-water-dispersal-system-101624125330558.html  (19 June 2021)

The RTDAS was installed in Maharashtra with the World Bank funding. The system started functioning around six-seven years back, wherein automated rain gauge provides precipitation data in real-time to the water resources department along with the rising water levels and in-flow into a dam. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/maharashtra-minister-jayant-patil-karnataka-to-set-up-system-at-dams-to-get-real-time-water-data-which-will-help-maharashtra-2467727  (19 June 2021)

It was resolved that a technical team will work towards getting four TMC water from Maharashtra and in return release water to the drought hit areas of the western state, addressing reporters after the meet, Yediyurappa said.

The two states also agreed to complete the Dudhganga dam project at the earliest and Maharashtra will also fund it.

Pointing to the shortage of water during April and May in the Krishna basin region, Bommai said since 2013, Maharashtra has been charging money for the release of water to the state. However, it has been agreed upon that Karnataka will not pay but will supply water to the drought-hit Jath taluk of Maharashtra during the rainy season. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/karnataka-maharashtra-agree-share-real-time-data-rainfall-and-water-release-150944  (19 June 2021)

Cauvery Water Dispute CWMA to meet on June 22 The Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA)’s first meeting for the current water year will be held on June 22. On Thursday, June 17, the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee held its deliberations. The two meetings have been organised in the light of the onset of southwest monsoon.

Last week, CM M. K. Stalin wrote to Union Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat requesting to take steps to advise the Authority (CWMA) that Tamil Nadu be supplied with its share of water, as per the monthly schedule prescribed by the Supreme Court. For the month of June, the State is to get 9.19 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) and for July, 31.24 tmc ft. Between June 1 and June 13 (Thursday), the State realised about 1.5 tmc ft with a shortfall of around 2.5 tmc ft. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/cauvery-water-management-authority-to-meet-on-june-22/article34826685.ece  (16 June 2021)

IRRIGATION

Odisha Rengali project facing delays The construction work on the left bank canal (LBC) of the Rengali Multipurpose Project across Brahmani river in this district is progressing at a snail’s pace. It is so because of delay in getting forest clearance and land acquisition process. Envisaged in the 1980s, this project’s main objective is to control flood, to generate hydro-power and help in irrigation. As of now, construction of two canals-right bank canal (RBC) and left bank canal (LBC) is going on. The LBC passes through Jajpur district. It has been estimated that this 141 kilometre-long canal will irrigate 1,14,300 hectares.

It was in March, 2015 that the JICA had signed an MoU to provide a loan amounting to Rs 2,250 crore. It was then estimated that the canal would irrigate 39,416 hectares of land in Dhenkanal, Jajpur and Keonjhar districts. However, out of 2,129 hectares, only 1,700 hectares have so far been acquired. This apart, a decision with respect to compensate the loss of vegetation over 177 hectares of forested land is getting delayed. https://www.orissapost.com/land-acquisition-delay-spells-doom-for-rengali-project/  (21 June 2021)

RIVERS

Gujarat Covid traces found in Sabarmati, lakes The paper, ‘The Spectre of SARS-CoV-2 in the Ambient Urban Natural Water in Ahmedabad and Guwahati: A Tale of Two Cities’, is currently in preprint. It is authored by experts from IIT-Gandhinagar (IIT-Gn), IIT-Guwahati, GBRC, and JNU with Prof Manish Kumar of IIT-Gn as lead author. The researchers said that 26% of the samples (eight of the 31) were found to be positive (showing virus presence). “A higher SARS-CoV-2 genome concentration was observed in Sabarmati River (492 copies/lakh litres of water), followed by Kankaria (318 copies/L) and Chandola (75 copies/L),” the paper said. “The number of active Covid-19 cases in Ahmedabad on the day of sampling matched the gene amplification and detection patterns (viral genetic load) in surface water rather well.” Prof Kumar added that the viruses found from the samples are not ‘live’. “We checked for traces of the virus in a given sample through RNA or genes,” he said. “So far, we have not seen any definitive proof that the virus spreads through water. Thus, citizens need not fear about virus in the water.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/covid-traces-found-in-sabarmati-lakes/articleshow/83650686.cms  (19 June 2021)

Haryana Did govt allow illegal chemical units under industrial lobby pressure? Seemingly under pressure from the industrial lobby, BJP govt had allowed manufacturers of carcinogenic formaldehyde to operate sans Environmental Clearances. https://www.newsclick.in/did-haryana-government-allow-illegal-chemical-units-operate-industrial-lobby-pressure  (19 June 2021)

A review of official documents shows that the 11 November 2020 order, though temporary in nature and slightly different from the legal provisions in the central government’s draft EIA 2020 law, had the same effect: firms that had violated the EIA law could receive environment clearance even though they had begun operations without it.  https://themorningcontext.com/chaos/how-haryana-allowed-15-companies-to-break-the-law-and-get-away-with-it  (19 June 2021) 

NGT suggests govt to ensure improvement of water quality NGT’s suggestion came while it was hearing an application filed by one Sukhwanti, who has raised his grievances of damaging of his crop due to wastewater was being discharged from the STP at Barwala in Hissar district. An NGT bench directed to take further steps to ensure compliance and report be filled by PCB in coordination with Urban and Public Health Departments owning the STP. The NGT sought a report about the compliance status on all aspects that may be filed before the next date and listed the matter for October 7.

The NGT also asked the senior officials to file a report on the overall status of performance of existing STPs, utilisation of treated sewage, mode of disposal of effluents, Consents granted by PCB and the gaps between Sewage generation and treatment. The NGT had earlier sought a report from authorities concerned on the issues. https://in.news.yahoo.com/ngt-suggests-haryana-govt-ensure-061820880.html  (20 June 2021)

NGT had directed Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) on March 23 to strengthen its capacity, both in terms of human resource and setting up of modern laboratories. The order was to ensure better monitoring for improved compliance of environmental norms.  NGT also directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to prepare recruitment rules to be followed by all states, mechanism for annual performance audit of SPCBs or pollution control committees (PCC), among other things. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/pollution/how-this-landmark-ngt-order-will-shape-the-future-of-india-s-pollution-control-bodies-76187  (30 March 2021)

Yamuna Monitoring Committee (YMC) in its fifth report to the NGT, had described Haryana’s progress in reducing pollutants entering the Yamuna river as “negligible”. The government had, in September 2019, set December 2020 as the deadline for upgrading sewage treatment infrastructure, in fulfilment of long-pending instructions from the NGT. https://www.hindustantimes.com/gurugram/little-progress-by-haryana-in-reducing-yamuna-pollution-ngt-committee/story-icTygwubhcZ0U9967pG7zM.html  (31 Dec. 2020)

In Aug. 2020, NGT had directed the HSPCB to strengthen the infrastructure to monitor and take timely action against the erring polluting units and submit a complete action-taken report. It is worth mentioning here that in its July 10, 2019 orders, the NGT had directed the CPCB in coordination with the HSPCB to shut down polluting industries in ‘critically polluted’ and ‘severely polluted’ areas.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/strengthen-infra-to-monitor-polluting-units-in-haryana-ngt-to-state-board/story-nS2ek5cVsVfSCiqtMPsV6N.html  (28 Aug. 2020)

Officials said that a pillar of 21 meters- including 15 meters under the ground, will be erected at every turn of the river on both sides. (HT Photo)

YAMUNA Haryana-UP Pillars to mark boundary along Yamuna course Work on erection of cemented pillars has begun to define the state border between Haryana and Uttar Pradesh almost 46 years after both the states agreed to the Dikshit Award. Karnal deputy commissioner Nishant Kumar Yadav said the process has begun on trial-basis at Barhi Kalan village in district and two pillars have already been erected.

He said that the Survey of India has marked a total of 44 spots and 24 pillars will be erected by the UP government and 20 by the Haryana PWD. As per the detailed project report (DPR), 396 pillars each will be installed by the Haryana and UP governments in 10 villages of Karnal district alone.

Officials working on the project said that a total stretch of about 370km along Yamuna (from Yamunanagar to Gurugram district in Haryana and Saharanpur to Aligarh district in Uttar Pradesh) will be covered. This will help resolve disputes over thousands of acres in 234 villages of both the states. However, no deadline has been fixed yet to complete the project. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/pillars-to-mark-haryana-up-boundary-along-yamuna-course-101623783128841.html  (16 June 2021)

Delhi Govt bans soaps, detergents The Delhi government on Monday (June 14) banned the sale, storage, transportation, and marketing of soaps and detergents not conforming to the latest BIS standards to curb pollution in the Yamuna river. The NGT had in January accepted recommendations of a two-member expert panel which had suggested directing the Delhi government to issue orders “prohibiting sale, storage and transportation and marketing of detergents which do not conform to the revised BIS standards”. The NGT had also directed to launch awareness campaigns about the harmful effect of using substandard soaps and detergents.

All the authorities concerned, including local bodies, civil supplies department and district administrations having control over shops and other establishments dealing with sale, storage, transportation and marketing facilities for soaps and detergents in Delhi should ensure the compliance of directions through strict vigil and surprise checks, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee said in an order issued on Monday (June 14). The pollution body has asked the authorities concerned to submit monthly action taken reports of inspections conducted and subsequent action taken without fail. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/delhi-bans-soaps-detergents-yamuna-pollution-7359122/  (15 June 2021)

Uttar Pradesh Govt to build dam on Yamuna to keep Noida airport safe  The irrigation department has decided to construct a dam over the Yamuna river at Jewar in order to keep the Noida International Airport coming up in the area safe from any flood damage, said officials on Sunday (June 20. The state government has directed the irrigation department, which has control over the river and the land around it, to initiate the process.

Officials said the irrigation department wants to build the dam before the airport becomes operational. “We have started the survey on the Yamuna river in the Jewar area in view of the dam project. The survey will be completed in three months. Once this is done, we will send the report to the UP government for further progress,” said BK Singh, executive engineer of the irrigation department.

The junior engineers, assistant engineers and other staff of the irrigation department have been deployed for the survey work, he said. After the survey is complete, the detailed project report (DPR) will be prepared to make an estimate of the budget to build the dam. “The flood returns in a river in a period of 50-100 years. Therefore, a dam is important to keep the airport safe from any floods that may occur in future,” said Singh. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/noida-news/up-to-build-dam-on-yamuna-to-keep-noida-airport-safe-101624213594523.html  (20 June 2021)

Opinion With rampant mining, Yamuna can’t be rejuvenated Illegal sand mining is the elephant in the room. While little of it happens in the 52km National Capital Territory stretch, it is widespread in other riparian states. Yet, there is very little public discussion about the issue since many, mistakenly, view sand as a dispensable resource, and officialdom sees it as a “minor mineral” that generates revenue. But the impact of such unbridled sand mining on the riverine ecology and lives and livelihoods is immense. It destroys the ecosystem of rivers, changes river courses and affects natural flows and riverbeds, destroys natural habitats of organisms, affects fish breeding and migration, impacts the water table, and increases saline water in the rivers.

If the Yamuna in Delhi has to have any future, upstream riverine states must regulate sand mining and stop industrial pollution. Experts such as Manoj Misra, a former Indian Forest Service official who is now with Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, demand that there must be a total ban on mechanised sand mining. This is because machines scoop out more from a riverbed than allowed in mining leases. The building industry has to put its house in order by reusing construction material so that the pressure on resources such as sand is reduced, and must promise to use only legally extracted sand. In fact, India today needs an overarching river law that looks at riverine ecosystems, sand mining and overall basin management. https://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/with-rampant-and-illegal-sand-mining-the-yamuna-can-t-be-rejuvenated-101623911355788.html  (17 June 2021)

RIVERS BIODIVERSITY

Odisha Gharial hatchlings seen after 45 years For the first time since they were introduced in its rivers back in 1975, Odisha has seen natural nesting of gharials. As many as 28 hatchlings were spotted towards the end of May in the Mahanadi, in the Baladamara area near Satkosia range, and officials have been monitoring them closely since, with round-the-clock vigil including drones. Gharials were granted full protection in the 1970s and later listed in Schedule 1 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/odisha-gharial-hatchling-natural-nesting-endangered-species-7366892/  (20 June 2021)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Kerala Radio Monsoon project provides crucial weather updates to fisherfolk Radio Monsoon, a project run by UK’s University of Sussex, provides weather information gathered in association with various weather forecasting agencies and climate scientists. The traditional knowledge of the local fishermen is also considered for the forecast in the case of extreme weather deviations. Radio Monsoon has been a part of the lives of the fisherfolk in Thiruvananthapuram for the past four years.

“We never used to get any of the alerts sent by the government. Earlier one of us would read the newspaper and tell everyone if there were any deviations from the normal weather. With Radio Monsoon, now we know the direction of the wind, whether it is in a western or eastern direction, and the wind speed. We would then keep away from that direction to be safe,” Alphonse says. “With the Radio Monsoon alerts, we now have information on how many kilometres we can venture off the coast into the sea,” says Dennis, who is a native of Karimkulam.

Radio Monsoon prepares the daily weather forecast using predictions from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), INCOIS (Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services), NCMRWF (National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting), the Kerala Disaster Management Authority, and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras. It also uses inputs from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

Radio Monsoon began in 2014 as a part of an innovation project of the University of Sussex. By 2018, it began providing weather alerts for fisherfolk. Apart from the WhatsApp group, the alerts are regularly published on the Radio Monsoon website as an audio message, as well as on Twitter and Facebook. However, communication is mostly through the phone number provided on the website which fisherfolk can call to get information on the daily weather conditions. “On an average, we get 100-150 calls per day from fishermen based in the coastal regions of Thiruvananthapuram. There is a gap in the forecast provided by government agencies in reaching the fishermen,” Sindhu Mariya Napoleon, weather reporter and Radio Monsoon Station Manager, tells TNM.

The project aims to upgrade Radio Monsoon as a radio station for the coastal people, and for this, various storytelling segments have been added to its website. Radio Monsoon now has segments on INCOIS Maps, in which people can listen to weather predictions for the coming week and learn about traditions and unknown stories from the coastal region. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/radio-monsoon-project-provides-crucial-weather-updates-fisherfolk-kerala-150660  (14 June 2021)

West Bengal The Shudra queen Rashmoni and a sacred river Amitangshu Acharya The Shudra queen protected the Hooghly as a commons for fishing rights, and the river has forever remained ‘Rani Rashmonir Jal’ or the waters of Rani Rashmoni.  

The ‘rani’ prefix for Rashmoni resonates with that of ‘Ma’ for Ganga — both emerge from the love of the people and meet at the point where the Ganga’s waters become Rani Rashmonir Jal, finally dissolving the caste barrier between the Shudra queen and the sacred river. https://www.thehindu.com/society/the-shudra-queen-rashmoni-and-a-sacred-river/article34847554.ece  (19 June 2021)

SAND MINING

Jammu & Kashmir G&M dept to revive sand mining After the denial of Environment Clearance (EC) by the Jammu and Kashmir Environment Impact Assessment Authority (JKEIAA) the authorities have decided to prepare a policy document to revive traditional sand mining identifying rightful beneficiaries and send it to the Government of India (GOI) for consideration.

According to the minutes of meeting chaired by Manoj Kumar Dwivedi Commissioner/Secretary, Department of Mining, the JKEIAA has declined EC for minor mineral blocks located in river Jhelum on some technical observations, it was discussed and decided to proceed to invoke the clause (AXi) of the e-auction document to cancel the e-auction process and refund the 50 percent bid amount to the successful bidders of these blocks.

About illegal mining the document reads that necessary action as warranted under rules be taken against unauthorized persons extracting minor minerals from the area adjacent to the e-auctioned minor mineral blocks including the filing of FIRs. Any laxity in the matter on part of the concerned SHO shall be viewed seriously. https://lakecitytimes.com/2021/06/19/geology-mining-dept-decides-to-prepare-policy-document-to-revive-sand-mining/  (19 June 2021)

Uttarakhand Is govt abusing disaster management laws?  River training policy allows sand and boulder mining from river beds but without following any safeguards and procedures under mining and environmental laws. That is because the policy asks district administrations to invoke powers under the Disaster Management Act 2005 to auction desilting rights to private contractors. The rights are over specific river stretches and for four-month periods. https://www.newslaundry.com/amp/story/2021%2F06%2F16%2Fis-uttarakhand-abusing-disaster-management-laws-to-allow-rampant-riverbed-mining  (17 June 2021)

Is Disaster Management Act being misused for mining?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4zzcLNO1cY  (20 June 2021)

Uttar Pradesh नहाते समय यमुना में डूबा पानीपत का युवक गंगा दशहरा पर्व पर अपने परिवार के साथ स्नान करने आए पानीपत और करनाल निवासी दो युवक यमुना में नहाते समय डूब गए। शाम तक दोनों की तलाश में गोताखोर लगे रहे, लेकिन उनका कुछ पता नहीं चला। https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/shamli/two-youths-drowned-in-yamuna-while-taking-bath-shamli-news-mrt5436942163  (20 June 2021) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaD8Jh7jdxo

रविवार (June 20) को हरियाणा के करनाल जनपद के गांव नरुखेडी निवासी प्रवीण (22) पुत्र रणवीर अपने दो दोस्तों टिंकू पुत्र कहर सिंह व वेदपाल पुत्र जसवीर के साथ गंगा दशहरे पर बिडौली में यमुना पुल पर स्रान करने आया था। प्रवीण जब अपने दोस्त टिंकू व वेदपाल के साथ यमुना में नहा रहा था तो अचानक प्रवीण का पैर गहरे कुंड में चला गया और व डूबने लगा जिसको जसवीर ने बचाने का प्रयास किया लेकिन अपने आप को भी डूबता देख जसबीर व टिंकू ने शोर मचा दिया। https://dainikjanwani.com/haryana-youth-drowns/  (20 June 2021)

रविवार (June 20) को गंगा दशहरे पर जिले के कैराना यमुना ब्रिज के पास यूपी और हरियाणा के श्रद्धालु भारी तादात में स्नान के लिए पहुंचे थे. इस दौरान पानीपत की देशराज कॉलोनी निवासी स्वर्गीय वीरपाल की पत्नी गीता अपने दो बेटों 19 साल के सौरभ और 16 साल के सन्नी व अन्य परिवारजनों के साथ स्नान के लिए यमुना नदी पर आई थी. बताया जा रहा है कि स्नान के दौरान सन्नी पानी में डूबने लगा, तो किनारे पर मौजूद उसके भाई सौरभ ने पानी में छलांग लगा दी. सौरभ ने जैसे-तैसे अपने छोटे भाई को तो डूबने से बचा लिया, लेकिन वह खुद गहरे पानी से बाहर नहीं निकल पाया. https://react.etvbharat.com/hindi/uttar-pradesh/state/shamli/youth-drowned-while-bathing-in-yamuna-on-ganga-dussehra-in-shamli/up20210620161958164 (20 June 2021)

NGT directs Fatehpur magistrate to stop illegal mining A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel noted that illegal mining is still being carried out by using heavy machines in violations of Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016 and UP Mining Rules, 1963. CCTV cameras are not installed properly to capture the illegal mining, the tribunal noted.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by UP resident Vikas Pandey seeking execution of NGT’s order directing the Fatehpur district magistrate to look into the grievance against illegal sand mining in the district and take remedial action. The NGT had earlier constituted a committee comprising officials from the Central Pollution Control Board, state PCB and the Fatehpur district magistrate to assess compensation within three months. https://realty.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/regulatory/ngt-directs-fatehpur-district-magistrate-to-stop-illegal-sand-mining/83667487  (19 June 2021)

पत्रकार को जान से मारने की धमकी! बांदा जिले में अवैध खनन माफियाओं के खिलाफ आवाज़ उठाने वाले पत्रकार और पर्यावरण पैरोकार, आशीष सागर दीक्षित को माफियाओं द्वारा लगातार धमकियां मिल रही हैं. उन्होंने जान पर खतरे का अंदेशा जताया है. आशीष वॉइस ऑफ़ बुंदेलखंड के डिजिटल एडिटर हैं और पोर्टल पर लगातार माफियाओं द्वारा अवैध गतिविधियों पर खबरें प्रकाशित कर रहे हैं.

बालू खनन माफियाओं ने आशीष को कई तरह से परेशान करने की कोशिश की. इन माफियाओं द्वारा वर्ष 2010 से 2021 तक आशीष पर सात कानूनी मुक़दमे चलाए गए. वहीं सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता उषा निषाद भी आशीष के साथ खनन माफियाओं के खिलाफ लड़ाई लड़ रही हैं. https://hindi.newslaundry.com/2021/06/18/mining-mafia-threatened-journalist-reporting-madhya-pradesh  (18 June 2021)

आरोप है कि जिले के पैलानी क्षेत्र की अमलोर मौरम खदान से नियमों का घोर उल्लंघन कर बालू निकाला जा रहा है, जिसके चलते नदी एवं पर्यावरण को गंभीर नुकसान हो रहा है. इस खदान के संचालक गाजियाबाद निवासी विपुल त्यागी हैं और इसके हिस्सेदार जयराम सिंह नाम के एक बसपा नेता हैं. सागर ने कहा कि बीते 14 जून को सिंह अपने पांच साथियों के साथ उनके घर पर पहुंचे थे और उनकी मां से कहा था, ‘अपने बेटे को समझा लेना. मेरे खिलाफ इस तरह की खबरें न लिखे. इस मामले को लेकर सागर के अलावा अमलोर की ग्राम प्रधान प्रवीण सिंह प्रिया एवं कार्यकर्ता उषा निषाद ने मिलकर जिलाधिकारी को ज्ञापन दिया है, हालांकि अभी तक कोई प्रभावी कार्रवाई नहीं हुई है. https://m.thewirehindi.com/article/uttar-pradesh-journalist-threatened-for-reporting-on-illegal-sand-mining-in-banda/174027   (17 June 2021)

इससे पहले  हमीरपुर के खनन माफिया ने आशीष सागर पर 14 दिसंबर 2020 की खबर लिखने के चलते धारा 200 व 66 के तहत मुकदमा लिखाया हैं।  https://circle.page/post/4118821?utm_source=an&person=484010/

प्रयागराज की टोंस नदी में अवैध खनन एक्टिविस्ट नूतन ठाकुर और पूर्व IPS अमिताभ ठाकुर ने दर्ज कराई शिकायत, कहा-प्रशासन की शह पर हो रहा खेल https://www.bhaskar.com/local/uttar-pradesh/prayagraj/news/sand-mining-in-the-river-is-happening-indiscriminately-activist-nutan-thakur-and-former-ips-amitabh-thakur-filed-a-complaint-said-the-game-was-on-the-instigation-of-the-administration-128602826.html  (16 June 2021)

Madhya Pradesh Farmer killed in firing during anti-sand mining operation A farmer was killed allegedly in a firing by a forest department team during an operation against illegal sand mining and transportation at a village in Morena district on Sunday (June 13), following which a case was registered against nine personnel of the department, officials said. The farmer was returning home, when he was killed after the forest team opened fire in a bid to stop a vehicle that was allegedly involved in illegal sand-mining, they said.

“The incident, in which 55-year-old farmer Mahavir Tomar died, occurred in the morning at Amolpur village when the forest team was trying to catch those involved in illegal sand mining and its transportation,” Nagra Police Station in-charge Rampal Singh told reporters. Nine forest employees were booked after the villagers lodged a complaint following the death of the farmer, he said. After the incident, the forest team fled from the spot, leaving their vehicle behind. The villagers ransacked the vehicle and staged a road block demanding the arrest of those involved in the firing, Singh added. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/mp-farmer-killed-in-firing-during-anti-sand-mining-operation-9-forest-dept-staffers-booked-267879  (13 June 2021)

HC seeks reply on illegal mining High Court took seriously the matter of illegal sand mining and transportation in Anuppur. With this, interim instructions were given to the Collector of Anuppur to ensure action. Along with issuing notice to others including the state government–Summoned. https://aboutgyan.com/news/india/madhya-pradesh/jabalpur-news-high-court-seeks-reply-on-illegal-sand-mining-and-transportation-instructions-to-collector-to-ensure-action/  (10 June 2021)

अवैध खनन की जांच के लिये समिति गठित  एनजीटी द्वारा दिये आदेश पर राज्य सरकार ने छह सदस्यीय जांच समिति गठित कर दी है। यह समिति होशंगाबाद जिले की सिवनी मालवा तहसील के ग्राम पप्पन स्थित नर्मदा की बारहमासी सहायक गंजल नदी पर रेत के अवैध खनन की जांच कर छह सप्ताह में एनजीटी को रिपोर्ट सौंपेगी।

उल्लेखनीय है कि एनजीटी सेन्ट्रल जोन के ज्युडिशियल मेम्बर शिवकुमार सिंह तथा एक्सपर्ट मेम्बर डा. अरुण कुमार वर्मा ने गत 1 जून 2021 को आदेश पारित कर यह जांच करने के लिये कहा हुआ है। इस केस के आवेदक प्रतीक सिंह हैं तथा उनके वकील धरमवीर शर्मा पैरवी कर रहे हैं। इस केस की अगली सुनवाई 2 सितम्बर 2021 को है।

राज्य शासन ने प्रभारी जिला खनिज अधिकारी रमेश पटेल का पुन: तबादला कर दिया। पटेल पहले नरसिंहपुर में पदस्थ थे और उन्हें 8 दिसम्बर 2020 को हरदा में पदस्थ कर दिया गया था। लेकिन छह माह बाद उनका पुन: तबादला कर अब उन्हें दतिया जिले का प्रभारी खनिज अधिकारी पदस्थ कर दिया गया। पटेल मूलत: खनिज निरीक्षक हैं। https://www.newspuran.com/on-the-orders-of-ngt-a-six-member-committee-was-formed-to-investigate-illegal-sand-mining-in-narmada/  (11 June 2021)

Buxwaha diamond mining project a threat to old civilization. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqnJpdye2Yo  (20 June 2021)

Jharkhand बालू उत्खनन पर रोक एनजीटी के आदेश पर बुधवार से नदियों से बालू के उत्खनन पर राेक लगा दी गई है। अब 15 अक्टूबर तक धनबाद सहित राज्यभर में बालू का उत्खनन नहीं हाेगा। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/jharkhand/dhanbad/news/ban-on-lifting-of-sand-from-rivers-from-today-construction-of-more-than-5-thousand-houses-may-be-affected-128580209.html  (10 June 2021)

Chhattisgarh नदी में उतरकर रेत खदान बंद रखनेके लगाए नारे राजपुर विकासखंड अंतर्गत ग्राम परसवार से होकर गुजरे महान नदी से अवैध रेत उत्खनन का मामला अब तूल पकड़ता जा रहा है। संसदीय सचिव चिंतामणि महाराज व बलरामपुर कांग्रेस संगठन के बीच जुबानी जंग जहां जारी है, वहीं दोनों के समर्थन में लोग खड़े होने लगेहैं।

मंगलवार (June 8) की दोपहर परसवार के ग्रामीणों नेसंसदीय सचिव के समर्थन में महान नदी में उतरकर रेत खदान बंद रखने के नारे लगाए। उधर संगठन के समर्थन में ब्लॉक कांग्रेस के कार्यकर्ता खड़े नजर आए। गौरतलब हैकि कुछ दिन पूर्वबलरामपुर जिला कांग्रेस अध्यक्ष राजेंद्र तिवारी ने परसवार स्थित रेत खदान को जहां वैध कहतेहुए संसदीय सचिव चिंतामणि महाराज पर दबंगई करनेका आरोप लगाया था। उन्होंने कहा था कि संसदीय सचिव नेरेत खदान को बंद करा दिया है। https://www.patrika.com/balrampur-chattisgarh-news/illegal-sand-villagers-in-support-of-parliamentary-secretary-6885371/  (08 June 2021)

Odisha SPCB in dock over granting consent tomine excess sand The NGT has questioned the decision of the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) of granting consent to sand mine operators to mine sand from the Subarnarekha river in excess of what was allowed in the environment clearance. A bench of the NGT comprising judicial member B Amit Sthalekar and expert member Saibal Dasgupta observed that the consent to operate was granted for 20,000 CM3 by the PCB considering the principle of sustainable sand mining. However, the tribunal found that as per the environmental clearance granted by the SEIAA in December 2017, mineable reserved are 20,000 CM3 of sand against the environment clearance for only 5,000 CM3 annually with the specific condition that the annual extraction of sand shall not exceed 5,000 CM3 allowing for replenishment of 25 per cent of the mineable reserve over the lease period.

The NGT asked SEIAA to file an affidavit within four weeks answering the queries of the tribunal and responding to the averments made in the additional affidavit of the state PCB. The tribunal’s order came following an application filed by Laxmidhar Palai alleging irregularities and violations of pollution norms by the sand mining operators in Subarnarekha river in Jaleswar tehsil. https://www.orissapost.com/ospcb-in-dock-over-granting-consent-to-mine-excess-sand/  (19 June 2021)

NGT lashes out at panel examining illegal mining in Subarnarekha NGT lashed out at Balasore Collector and others who were part of a special committee formed by the tribunal to examine the allegations of illegal sand mining along the Subarnarekha river for their alleged lax attitude in complying with its earlier order. The tribunal bench comprising Justice B Amit Sthalekar and Saibal Dasgupta as expert member in their court order hinted that there had been some deliberate concealment of facts. It also granted the committee one last opportunity and threatened the panel with criminal action if the earlier order of the tribunal were not complied with.

The case was related to allegations of illegal sand mining at Jaleswar area in the district along the Subarnarekha river. The NGT in its earlier order January 21 had directed for formation of a four-member committee comprising members from the CPCB, SPCB, SEIAA and the District Magistrate of Balasore. The tribunal also expressed its displeasure against the panel over the non-determination of the monetary value of the damage caused to the environment due to the alleged illegal sand mining. It also attacked the panel for not collecting the royalty despite a report of the tehsildar on the matter. The NGT earlier in another case had also warned the Khurda Collector of criminal proceedings for his alleged non-compliance of tribunal orders. https://www.orissapost.com/ngt-lashes-out-at-panel-examining-illegal-sand-mining-in-subarnarekha/  (09 June 2021)   

Telangana Krishna-Godavari mining: NGT disposes plea The NGT has disposed of the application seeking directions against illegal sand mining in the Godavari-Krishna river beds and free distribution of sand while stating that the issue of free distribution of sand in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution is beyond our jurisdiction and the said issue may be raised at an appropriate forum, if so desired.

The bench comprising of the Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Justice Sudhir Agarwal, Justice M. Sathyanarayanan, Justice Brijesh Sethi, and expert member Dr. Nagin Nanda, considered the issue whether what is termed as ‘dredging’ in Godavari-Krishna river beds and its tributaries in the State of Telangana by the State Authorities is illegal mining, as alleged by the applicant. The main surviving grievance of the applicant is that in the name of desiltation, sand mining is being done without mandatory environmental clearance, to provide free sand to the construction companies. https://www.indialegallive.com/top-news-of-the-day/news/illegal-sand-mining-godavari-krishna-river-ngt/  (19 June 2021)

Illegal mining creates death traps in Krishna V Nagesh and his four college friends—M Harish, K Lokesh, P Gopi Reddy and K Hari Gopal—were on a casual swimming session in Krishna river when they met with a cruel twist of fate. The youths, all in their 20s, slipped into the deep water and drowned in a tragic accident that took place in Gidugu village of Andhra Pradesh on August 16, 2016.

Exactly two years later, in August 2018, four students met the same fate after they ventured into the swollen river at Gundimeda in Guntur district. In the same year, in May, two members of a family—a woman and her daughter—lost their lives after their boat collided with a dredger boat used for mining. All these incidents are connected by one key factor—deep pits formed by mining of sand rivers. https://thefederal.com/the-eighth-column/troubled-waters-rampant-illegal-sand-mining-form-death-traps-in-krishna-river/  (26 May 2021)  

Sand Mining Mafia Rise In Warangal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9-6SjgGFkg  (18 June 2021)

Kerala Hartal in Purakkad grama panchayat on June 21 A dawn-to-dusk hartal will be observed in Purakkad grama panchayat on June 21 by the Karimanal Ghanana Virudha Ekopana Samithi against mineral sand-mining at Thottappally in Alappuzha district. Suresh Kumar S., chairman of the Samithi, said that apart from the hartal, protests would be held in the coastal areas of the district.

Residents alleged that the government was engaged in large-scale mineral sand-mining in the guise of flood mitigation. The coastline is prone to severe sea attack. A large number of people in Thottappally and nearby areas were displaced when their houses were destroyed in recent years. Residents fear that the sand-mining would prove detrimental to those living along the shorelines from Valiazheekal to Punnapra. They demanded an immediate halt to mining activities in the area. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/hartal-on-june-21-against-mineral-sand-mining-in-alappuzha-district-in-kerala/article34859026.ece  (19 June 2021)

Andhra Pradesh Srikakulam Collector allows mining Collector Srikesh B Lathakar on Saturday (June 19) directed officials to soon start sand mining at all identified sand reaches of Nagavali and Vamsadhara rivers in the district. He reviewed the sand position in the district with the officials of the departments of mines, revenue, police and special enforcement bureau (SEB) officials. https://www.thehansindia.com/andhra-pradesh/srikakulam-start-mining-at-all-sand-reaches-soon-officials-were-told-by-collector-srikesh-b-lathakar-691617  (19 June 2021) 

Karnataka Illegal sand mining in Hemavati river. https://kannada.oneindia.com/news/mandya/illegal-sand-mining-in-hemavathi-river-of-kr-pet-225072.html  (17 June 2021)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Karnataka HC directs decentralised governance of lakes Directing a new model of water bodies’ governance in the state, the High Court, on June 15, has ordered the state government to decentralise the governance of the lakes in rural and urban areas by setting up district-level committees. These committees are to be headed by the respective Deputy Commissioners of the 27 districts in the southern state.

This new decentralised model is on the lines of similar committees that have been set up for city corporations and municipalities across the state in order to monitor the maintenance and development of these lakes. However, lakes in rural areas were not covered.

“This ruling has expanded the scope of the prevailing order in ESG’s Lakes PIL and brought true public involvement in lake management and rehabilitation, and in regulation against their pollution – a substantive leap forward in governance of lakes as commons,” the petitioner said. https://en.gaonconnection.com/karnataka-lakes-court-order-environment-support-group-bengaluru-illegal-construction/?3436436  (17 June 2021)

Odisha Criminal cases registered against encroachers The police have registered criminal cases against 141 persons for allegedly encroaching upon protected forest land by erecting prawn dykes at the internationally acclaimed Bhitarkanika wetland site in Kendrapara district. The cases have been registered against the encroachers in the last 15 days, police said on Saturday (June 19).

On Orissa HC directions, the revenue, forest, and police department in a joint operation have undertaken the demolition of the earthen prawn dykes that have unlawfully come up along the wetland site. After the areas are cleared, authorities have decided to take up a mangroves regeneration programme on those denuded patches, an official said.

The HC, on May 30, ordered the authorities to demolish all illegal prawn gherries at the eco-sensitive wetland areas of Chilika and Bhitarkanika. The court also directed the authorities to destroy the materials and machinery seized from the prawn farm owners apart from filing criminal cases against the squatters. The directive came after hearing into a case registered suo motu by the court based on the SC’s order regarding the protection of wetlands. https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/criminal-cases-registered-against-wetland-encroachers-in-odisha/2105489  (19 June 2021)

Assam A gas well explosion that is now an ecological nightmare  A blowout, explosion and fire lasting more than five months, from May 27 to November 15, 2020, in the natural gas well of Oil India Limited (OIL) at Baghjan in Tinsukia district has resulted in the loss of an estimated 55 per cent of the biodiversity in the affected Dibru-Saikhowa landscape. As many as 1,632 hectares of wetland, 523 ha of grassland, 172 ha of area covering rivers and streams, and 213 ha of forest were damaged to varying degrees.

The explosion gave rise to a mushroom cloud that rose 2,500 metres into the sky yielding 0.1 million cubic metres of natural gas equivalent to 0.9 kilotonnes of trinirotoluene (TNT). The flame temperature was at least 1,200 0 centigrade. The blowout and fire claimed three human lives and killed three animals listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and more than 29,000 scheduled and unscheduled wild animals and organisms.

These facts have come to light in the “Report on Damages to Environment, Biodiversity, Wildlife, Forest & Ecology on account of Blowout and Explosion at OIL Well number BGN-5, Baghjan, Tinsukia”, submitted recently by the one-man inquiry committee headed by Mahendra Kumar Yadava, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Chief Wildlife Warden, Assam. https://frontline.thehindu.com/environment/a-gas-well-explosion-that-is-now-an-ecological-nightmare/article34761982.ece  (02 June 2021)

Maharashtra Flamingos face shrinking wetlands The network of wetlands in Navi Mumbai serve largely as the roosting grounds for flamingos and other waders, who fly over from their feeding grounds in Thane Creek during high tide. Local residents and environmental experts said that Uran’s wetlands have been systemically reclaimed and dried out, as dumping of mud and construction debris into water bodies and mangrove swamps has been a regular occurrence in the area for about a decade.

In an interim report submitted to the state forest department last year, the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) noted, “Panje was one of the larger wetlands (which) used to support a huge population of migratory birds. Now, as Panje is disturbed due to inconstant water flow, it can be assumed that the avifauna that was coming to Panje might have started using the other suitable sites.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/flamingos-face-shrinking-wetlands-101624042825859.html  (19 June 2021)

Gujarat Avian migrants diverted flights from Ahmedabad But bird sightings have increased in village ponds in Sanand and Vadla compared to the previous years. Sources in the forest department said that bird activity has become more pronounced at Dasada and even in some areas of Bhavnagar city. The officials said that high water levels at Nalsarovar have deterred greater and lesser flamingos from flocking to the tourism zone for the second year. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/avian-migrants-diverted-flights-from-abad/articleshow/83558475.cms  (16 June 2021)

WATER OPTIONS

Odisha Farm ponds help Sundargarh farmers script success story At a time when farmers in most places are facing problems related to irrigation and groundwater depletion, their counterparts in Sundargarh district have found the ‘Farm Pond Project’ as a solution to address both issues. According to available information, a total of 431 farm ponds have been dug up in the 2020-21 fiscal. Another, 1,840 are in the pipeline. With the implementation of this project, the farmers are no longer facing problems to irrigate their crops.

The quantity of the harvest has increased and along with it their financial conditions. With an aim to provide work opportunity to labourers, the project has been connected with MGNREGS. So the daily wagers are also being able to earn. At the same time, self-help groups are being strengthened by engaging them to oversee the work. https://www.orissapost.com/farm-ponds-help-farmers-script-success-story-in-sundargarh/  (21 June 2021) 

Punjab Campaign propagates permaculture to save groundwater Launching Agriculture and Environment Centre (AEC), a group of Sikh activists have taken the initiative to carry out ‘jal chetna yatra’ (water awareness march) under ‘jhona ghatao Punjab bachao’ (reduce paddy, save Punjab) from June 7 to motivate people not only to reduce area under paddy and diversify, but also to turn to agro-forestry and planting small forests of traditional trees in parts of their lands to increase the forest cover in the state. They are meeting agriculture experts, environmentalists and farmers who are already into diverse or organic farming, asking them to share their experiences and experiments on social media. According to the group they are reaching out to non-resident Punjabis to set the example on their lands.

“Our target is to make at least 500 acre free of paddy this year. It may be a very small area, but we want that this would set examples in diversification. Though our idea is that cultivation of paddy should be reduced but for instant reduction in over exploitation of water we are also amplifying the alternate techniques of paddy cultivation,” said Mandhir Singh and Parmjeet Singh, who started the jal chetna yatra on June 7. “Punjab needs comprehensive approach and solution. Only reduction in paddy cultivation is not enough and we need to increase the green cover in the state, which is just at 6% now. On July 28, we are planning to have a conference in which we intend to have agriculture experts, environmentalists and successful farmers so that comprehensive solutions can be brought before the people,” they said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ludhiana/reduce-paddy-save-pb-campaign-propagates-permaculture-to-save-groundwater/articleshow/83620220.cms  (18 June 2021)

Puducherry IAS Officer using App to save ponds In the  In the water-stressed district of Puducherry, IAS officer Dr T Arun developed Neer Padhivu, a mobile app through which he launched a water conservation project to revive lakes, ponds and canals.  https://www.thebetterindia.com/256877/puducherry-water-conservation-app-ias-hero-officer-dr-t-arun-neer-padhivu-lake-pond-revival-digitalisation-geotagging-unique-id-numbers-environment-conservation-gop94/  (16 June 2021)

FROM SHIV NADAR UNIVERSITY: Call for Admissions to Water Science and Policy program at Shiv Nadar University Center for Public Affairs and Critical Theory (C-PACT) at Shiv Nadar University invites applications for the 2-year M.Sc., 1-year P.G. Diploma, and 1-month Certificate Program in Water Science and Policy (WSP), starting in August 2021. 

This is a unique and multi-disciplinary program anchored in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SoHSS), and is part of C-PACT’s multidisciplinary research on knowledge, governance and policy reforms on water.  The program combines fundamental theoretical learning and field-level practical training along with other components with an aim to build a cadre of water professionals with multi-disciplinary, historically and socially contextualised understanding of the complex and multiple dimensions of water. The courses across the semester in the program are taught by renowned faculty, who have expertise and practical experience in the water sector within India and globally. 

For further details and to apply online click: https://cpact.snu.edu.in or Register (snu.edu.in)

For further queries, please write to waterprog@snu.edu.in; https://cpact.snu.edu.in/?fbclid=IwAR3f9b-3vXaNA2aeRYAJ9ct0nVkiQzfX4MkCO_27gmfJpx-q_hJ6hcD1Cs8

GROUNDWATER

Haryana Groundwater level: 60% state area ‘red’ About 60 per cent of the state’s area, spanning 85 out of the 141 blocks, falls in the “red category” as far as groundwater level is concerned, Additional Chief Secretary, Irrigation and Water Resources Department, Devender Singh, told the first meeting of the Haryana Water Resources Authority today (June 14).

He said the water-table was a cause of concern in 14 of the 22 districts of Haryana. In the year 2004, out of the 114 blocks in the state, 55 had come under the red category, which was about 48 per cent due to the groundwater exploitation. But in 2020, out of 141 blocks, 85 blocks had reached the red category, which was 60 per cent. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/groundwater-level-60-state-area-red-268049  (14 June 2021)

Uttar Pradesh ‘Poison, comes out of handpumps’ Of the total 75 districts, 63 districts have fluoride above the permissible limit and 25 districts are affected by high arsenic, shows 2019 data of the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation. Villagers complain they are forced to drink contaminated water or spend money to buy potable water. https://en.gaonconnection.com/unnao-water-pollution-groundwater-fluoride-arsenic-uttar-pradesh-bones-diseases-cancer-deaths-migration/  (19 June 2021)

Andhra Pradesh Groundwater increases in Rayalaseema The groundwater level in the drought-prone Rayalaseema region– comprising the districts of Chittoor, Kadapa, Anantapur and Kurnool – has improved compared to last year’s 8.08 Meters Below Ground Level (MGBL). Interestingly, while the drought-prone region saw a significant increase in the groundwater level, the coastal districts saw an increase of a mere 2.17 MGBL. According to the groundwater data, on June 18 the groundwater level in the Rayalaseema region was recorded at 8.90 MGBL, whereas on the same day last year the water level was recorded at 16.98 MGBL.

In comparison, on June 18 the groundwater level in coastal Andhra – comprising the districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam and Nellore – was recorded at 8.31 MGBL, while the water level on the same day last year was recorded at 10.48 MGBL. As per the report, 40% of the groundwater was between 3-8 meters, 26% between 8-20 meters, 25% less than 3 meters, and 20% more than 8 meters. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/groundwater-level-increases-drought-prone-rayalaseema-region-andhra-150893  (18 June 2021)

URBAN WATER

Ghaziabad-Noida NGT directs committee to file report on environmental violations by Wave City project The NGT on Wednesday (June 16) directed a committee to file a report regarding illegal cutting of trees, violation of Environmental Clearance (EC) conditions and illegal extraction of the groundwater by a real estate developer in Ghaziabad and Noida. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel passed the order after taking note that the committee formed to report the violations has not been able to make an assessment of the environmental compensation on the ground that data is awaited from the realty developer.

It also noted the committee’s submission that it would make the assessment within two months of receiving the data. The matter is posted for further consideration on September 23. The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by UP resident Mahakar Singh alleging illegal cutting of trees, extraction of groundwater and construction without the EC for the project of Wave City at Ghaziabad and High Tech City at NOIDA by real estate developers. The total project area of Uppal Chadha Hi Tech Developers Pvt Ltd (Wave Hi-Tech Township) is covered 4,494.31 acres in three phases. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/ngt-directs-committee-to-file-report-on-environmental-violations-by-wave-city-project/articleshow/83568715.cms  (16 June 2021)

Chennai Alarming to see reports of microplastics in groundwater near dump yard sites: NGT The bench of Justice K. Ramakrishnan and expert member Dr. K. Satyagopal, said the entire garbage generated and collected from Chennai and other suburbs was being dumped in these dump yards. “Even now these dump yards lack proper scientific disposal. On the basis of the direction given by this Tribunal in some other matter, steps are being taken by the Greater Chennai Corporation to dispose of the legacy waste in the dump yards,” the bench said.

Since the issue reported was of a grave nature, the bench directed a joint committee to inspect the area and come up with suitable recommendations and suggestions as to how this can be mitigated in an effective manner. The Committee has been directed to take water samples from nearby wells in and around the Perungudi dump yard and also consider the air samples from the available monitoring station near the dump yard.

The committee has also been directed to take samples in Chennai area to find out whether microplastics are found in groundwater as well as in the atmosphere that is being unknowingly consumed by the public, resulting in other unknown diseases as well. The Committee has been directed to file a report before August 27 to the Tribunal. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/alarming-to-see-reports-of-microplastics-in-groundwater-near-dump-yard-sites-ngt-says/article34840339.ece  (17 June 2021)

Bengaluru 6k trees to be cut for revival of Singanayakanahalli lake In a public notification, the department said the 6,316 trees are hampering lake rejuvenation, which has been taken up by the department of minor irrigation and groundwater development. This is part of Hebbal-Nagawara valley project, which fills 65 tanks in Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural and Chikkaballapura districts. While the forest department has said objections, if any, should reach it before June 24, activists have demanded it revisit the decision.

Recently, BBMP had approved the cutting of 1,293 trees in the upcoming days for development work, mainly the Namma Metro project. Between May 2020 and May 2021, the Palike had received representations to chop off trees for 10 Namma Metro works, one underpass, a road-widening project and a subway construction. The agency declined permission to cut 196 trees and ordered relocation of 395. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/bengaluru-forest-department-wants-to-cut-6000-trees-for-revival-of-a-lake-invites-objections/articleshow/83593897.cms  (17 June 2021)

Ongole No end to water woes Even in a year when the Nagarjunasagar Project (NSP) reservoir, which replenishes drinking water supply to Ongole, attained full capacity, water woes for the city have not ended. The two summer storage tanks that supply water to the civic body need to be replenished twice every year. Even when the position is comfortable in the two tanks, water is only supplied once in three days. In worst situations, when the storage in the tanks plummets to low levels, water is supplied only once in five days. It takes about 45 days for the SS tanks to get filled in view of limited 100 cusecs capacity of canal bringing Krishna water.

To ensure a 24×7 supply to the denizens, the solution lies in deepening of the Valluru Cheruvu and Pelluru Cheruvu and filling them with Krishna waters, said Ongole Town Development Committee president Marella Subba Rao, adding that it would also augment water supply to hundreds of villages now depended upon the two water bodies. Former CM Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy had allotted ₹8 crore for deepening of the tanks in an extent of 900 acres. But the files relating to the project is now gathering dust after change in governments. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/deepening-of-valluru-pelluru-water-bodies-need-of-the-hour-for-ongole/article34862128.ece  (20 June 2021)

Adoni 4 die due to drinking water contamination Four persons, including two women, died and scores of others were hospitalised in the last 24 hours due to severe gastroenteritis triggered by contaminated drinking water in Kurnool district, officials said. Officials said the three victims from Nandyal also suffered from other health complications. The district authorities have found that the people suffered from gastroenteritis after consuming water at Maremma Durgamma Devara, a folk festival at Gorakallu in Panyam block. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/4-die-scores-hospitalised-due-to-drinking-water-contamination-in-andhra-101617795085226.html  (07 April 2021)

Madurai Progress in Mullaperiyar drinking water project The project, executed under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, was necessitated to provide 220 million litres a day (MLD) of water to 100 wards of Madurai city with a population of 14.64 lakh. The project, being implemented at a cost of ₹1,295.76 crore, will provide an additional 125 MLD of water to the city.

It envisages laying of 96-km-long pipeline to conduct water from Lower Camp to Pannaipatti, construction of a water treatment plant with a capacity of 125 MLD and laying of a 54-km-long pipeline from the water treatment plant to Madurai city. Tender process is under progress for construction of a new water distribution system in the newly-added 28 wards. The Corporation has also proposed to introduce a fifth component to construct a new water distribution system in 57 wards of the city. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/mullaperiyar-drinking-water-project-work-gains-momentum/article34869393.ece  (20 June 2021)

Panchkula Residents complain of erratic drinking water supply  At a time when mercury has touched 40 degrees, people living in Panchkula and adjoining villages have been complaining of erratic water supply since the beginning of June. A woman from Bhudanpur said that they had not been getting drinking water for the last many weeks and people had to walk a long distance to get some. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/residents-of-panchkula-and-around-complain-of-erratic-drinking-water-supply-101624133610741.html  (20 June 2021)

Delhi Water supply to be affected Water supply will be affected in several areas in the morning and evening on June 20, Delhi Jal Board (DJB) said on Saturday (June 19) attributing the imminent water crisis to “rise in ‘ammonia pollution and high level of algae” in Yamuna river, hampering water production at Wazirabad, Chandrawal and Okhla plants. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/water-supply-to-be-affected-in-several-areas-on-june-20-delhi-jal-board/articleshow/83666287.cms  (19 June 2021)

JJM/ RURAL WATER SUPPLY

Jammu & Kashmir 850 Water Bodies Identified For Rejuvenation, 700 For Conservation  District Development Commissioner, Jammu, Anshul Garg said the district administration has planned to initiate wide ranging water conservation activities under its project ”Boond” (drop) which envisages rain water harvesting, effective water management and ground water recharge. Over 3,000 works have been planned in collaboration with Panchayati Raj Institutions under the Jal Shakti Abhiyan with the theme ”Catch the Rain, when it falls where it falls”, Mr Garg said. He said the project has six major components, including rejuvenation of existing water bodies, creation of new water bodies, repairing of existing hand pumps, roof top water harvesting and creating check dams.

Mr Garg said that “850 water bodies have been identified for rejuvenation while a target of developing 700 new water bodies at Panchayat level has also been set for water harvesting and ground water recharge”. The deputy commissioner said 350 government buildings have been identified where roof top harvesting structures would be established for storing rain water and releasing back into the ground to increase the ground water table. Mr Garg said the irrigation and flood control department along with Integrated Watershed Management would set up new check dams at 30 identified sites to collect the rain water and recharge ground water level. https://www.ndtv.com/jammu-news/850-water-bodies-identified-for-rejuvenation-in-jammu-2467547  (19 June 2021)

MONSOON 2021

49 reservoirs have more water than June 2020 Frequent thundershowers and two strong cyclones— Tauktae and Yaas — brought significant rainfall during the summer. Thus, even before the southwest monsoon covers the entire country, the 130 major reservoirs monitored by the Central Water Commission have already stored 27% of their total capacity. This is well over the average storage for this time of the year — 21% averaged for the last 10 years.

As of June 17, the collective stock in the 130 reservoirs was 47.63 billion cubic metres (BCM), or 27% of the total live storage capacity of 174.23 BCM. In June last year, they had stocked 55.11 BCM. Of the 130 reservoirs, 49 have more water than they had stored in June 2020. A majority of these reservoirs are located in seven states — Jharkhand, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/summer-rain-dam-water-capacity-cyclone-southwest-monsoon-7365511/  (19 June 2021)

Gujarat Anand pounded by 175mm in four hours Heavy rainfall threw life out of gear in Anand district which was pounded by 175mm rainfall in just four hours beginning 6am on June 18, 2021. The maximum rainfall was between 6am and 8 am when it recorded 120 mm. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/anand-pounded-by-175mm-in-4-hours/articleshow/83649048.cms  (19 June 2021)

According to the information received from the State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC), Anjar received 122 mm rainfall between 6 am and 6 pm on Saturday (June 19), with almost 4 inches (98 mm) in just two hours from 2 pm to 4 pm. https://menafn.com/1102308648/Gujarat-continues-to-witness-heavy-rains-Anjar-worst-hit&source=19  (19 June 2021)

Andhra Pradesh Rayalaseema gets better rainfall in 1st 2 weeks Though rainfall in the State is reported as normal overall, when the district-wise rainfall is taken into consideration, there is wide variation. Eight districts have deficient rainfall, of which one district has large deficiency, three districts have normal while two districts have large excess rainfall. Compared to Coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema had better rainfall in the first two weeks of the Southwest Monsoon in the state.

According to the data with the Andhra Pradesh State Development Planning Society (APSDPS), the rainfall received in the state in the last 19 days was only 59.3 mm as against the normal 68.1 mm, a deficiency of 12.9 per cent. According to weathermen, it is categorised as normal rainfall only. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2021/jun/20/rayalaseema-gets-better-rainfall-in-first-twoweeks-than-coastal-andhra-pradesh-2318872.html  (20 June 2021)

Uttarakhand Hindi report mentions that monsoon in state has been less than normal for past seven years affecting groundwater resources. https://www.livehindustan.com/uttarakhand/story-monsoon-uttarakhand-less-rainfall-seven-years-ground-water-level-river-level-decrease-weather-forecast-4125061.html  (15 June 2021)

Kerala Erratic rains due to Cyclone Yaas The distribution of rainfall in Kerala has been severely affected and there is an evident reduction in the amount of rainfall, said Roxy Mathew Koll, senior climate scientist at centre for climate change research, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune.

Koll said that changes in southwest monsoon can be noted by its varied nature every year. “Public memory is short, but 2015 and 2016 saw severe drought. In 2015, state received 26% deficient rain while it was 34% deficient in 2016. In last three years, there were extremely heavy rainfall events leading to floods and landslides,” he said. “This year, Kerala got good rain in May but the first fortnight of monsoon was deficient. The formation of cyclone Tauktae and Yaas affected monsoon as they took away the water vapour from monsoon winds,” he said. “This indicates that cyclones, depressions forming anywhere in north Indian ocean in Indian waters affect Kerala, even if it is happening in the Bay of Bengal,” he said.

Data showed a 50% increase in cyclones in the Arabian Sea from 2001-2019 and most were forming in western part that is warming fast. “The key thing is that these cyclones are bringing extremely heavy rain,” he said.

“Our studies showed that while there is an overall reduction in rain from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod, large parts of central Kerala and places like Kannur are receiving heavy rain. This is leading to an overall balance in rainfall percent; but it is irregular,” Koll added.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/erratic-rains-due-to-cyclone-yaas/articleshow/83587048.cms  (17 June 2021)

FLOOD 2021

Centre High-Level Meeting to review preparedness on flood situation  Its a welcome step that Union Home Minister took on June 15, 2021 (similar meeting happened last year on July 3, 2020, see: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1636247, number of sentences from the press release about the meetings in two years, incidentally are same or similar) a meeting of central concerned agencies on the flood preparedness even as the annual SW Monsoon is just setting in. Home Minister reviewing “formulation of a long-term comprehensive policy to deal with the problem of floods” is also interesting, which means such a policy is being formulated. Union Home Minister emphasising the need for “a permanent system for forecasting floods and water level rise in major catchment zones and regions of the country” shows that such a system is not existing currently, reflects poorly on CWC and MWR.

– The Union Home Minister suggesting “to remove soil from large dams” is disappointing, since this is clearly not economically feasible in large reservoirs. One expected him to know this.

– The Advice of the Union Home Minister to “the India Meteorological Department and the Central Water Commission to use state-of-the-art technology and satellite data for more accurate weather and flood predictions”  is welcome, but why does an agency like CWC need such an advise and how is the functioning of CWC going to change because of such advise? Unless there is accountable governance in place in CWC, there is little hope for change there.

– This is strange in the PIB PR: “While being sensitive to rivers, we should also take care of water flow of the rivers”. Not clear what is meant by this.- PIB PR also says: “Complying with the directions given by Shri Amit Shah during the flood review meeting held last year on 3rd July 2020, the Central Water Commission (CWC) has started to issue 5-day advance inflow forecast for all the reservoirs in the country.” PIB PR also says: “Shri Amit Shah directed the Ministry of Jal Shakti and CWC to further set up an empowered group of experts for providing practical guidance to dam authorities for taking timely and advance action for release of water and in order to further reduce flooding and minimize loss to property and lives.” One hopes this expert group is in public domain and does not have only Govt (sarkari) people on it and also has credible independent people. In the presentation made by CWC (these presentations should have been in public domain) it talked about “the improvement in weather and flood forecasting techniques, initiative to update rule curves of Dams in India.” Again more details needed.  https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1727334  (15 June 2021)

DAM FLOODS IN TELANGANA: Residential areas face flood threat from twin reservoirs Residential areas of Bandlaguda, Asifnagar, Shaikpet and adjoining areas, located along Musi river, are likely to face floods this rainy season also if the authorities release excess inflows from Himayathsagar reservoir to the downstream in the event of incessant rains.

DAM FLOODS IN 2020: Nine months ago, several houses were inundated and residents spent sleepless nights and were rendered homeless in flashfloods after the floodgates of Himayathsagar were opened to let out the excess water.

– The flooding problem is partly accentuated by HMWS&SB drawing only a meagre quantity of water from both the reservoirs and depending more on Krishna and Godavari water supplies to meet city consumers’ demand. The full tank level (FTL) of Himayathsagar is 1,763 ft and the water level (as on Thursday) stood at 1,759 ft. Similarly, the water level in Osmansagar is at 1,782 ft (FTL 1,790 ft). “Currently, the board is drawing 5 MGD from Osmansagar and another 6 MGD of water from Himayathsagar as the entire city is getting Godavari and Krishna water,” an official explained. The HMWS&SB used to draw 25 MGD from Osmansagar and 15 MGD from Himayathsagar to meet the city’s drinking water demand. “We will use the water of these twin reservoirs only if Krishna, Godavari, Manjira and Singur sources dry up to cater to Greater Hyderabad and its peripheral areas,” a senior official said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/residential-areas-face-flood-threat-from-twin-reservoirs/articleshow/83492977.cms  (14 June 2021)

Fear of submergence grips residents  Fear has gripped those living on the banks of the Godavari river in Bhadrachalam as the construction of the Polavaram project is progressing at a brisk pace. Several areas of the temple town are likely to get submerged in the backwaters of the project. Apart from the temple town, at least 100 surrounding villages will also submerge in the backwaters of the Polavaram project. Once the project reaches FRL, the level of backwaters will rise to 49-50 feet and it will affect Dummagudem in Bhadrachalam division. The residents of Bhadrachalam division witnessed the worst floods in 1986, when the water level in the Godavari river rose up to 75.6 feet.  https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2021/jun/15/fear-of-submergence-grips-residents-of-river-bank-in-telanganas-bhadrachalam-2316288.html  (15 June 2021)

Project for the past two days, following heavy rains in Maharashtra and huge inflow of water into Godavari River. By lifting five gates from the Sri Raja Rajeshwara Reservoir (Mid Manair Dam) situated at Kodurupaka village of Boinapally mandal in Rajanna Sircilla district, officials of irrigation department released around 6,300 cusecs of water to Lower Manair Dam (LMD) along with lifting around 9,450 cusecs of water from Gayatri Pump House situated in Ramadagu of Karimnagar district to the MMD. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/200621/huge-inflows-into-godavari-aids-water-release-from-kaleshwaram.html  (20 Jan. 2021)

Warning issued as Kabini dam’s water level rises With copious rains in the Kabini catchment areas, the inflow into the dam was 13,052 cusec as on June 20. The outflow was 4,104 cusec. The inflow was 2,212 cusec and outflow 2,500 cusec on the corresponding day last year.

In a press release, Kabini dam’s executive engineer C B Suresh Babu stated that more than 4,000 cusec is being let into the river. The forecast predicts heavy rain in the Kabini catchment area. “There is a possibility of releasing more water into the river if the inflow increases in the coming days. The people living on the banks of the river downstream should take precautionary measures to protect their livestock and move to safer places,” he said. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/karnataka-districts/warning-issued-as-kabini-dams-water-level-rises-999559.html  (20 June 2021)

West Bengal Dams release water, flood fears rise DVC’s chief engineer Satyabrata Banerjee said the Bengal government had asked that not more than 40,000 cusecs of water be released. So 24,000 cusecs were released from Maithon Dam and 14,000 cusecs from Panchet dam. From Sikatia barrage, 18,000 cusecs of water were released. Durgapur barrage was discharging around 50,000 cusecs at 2pm.

The move by DVC caused panic in Udaynaryanur and Amta areas, as the water level in the Damodar, Mudeswari and Rupnarayan rivers got higher. Howrah DM Mukta Arya on Saturday held a meeting at Udaynarayanpur, where Howrah Rural SP Soumya Roy was also present, in which officials discussed how to tackle the situation. The DM told engineers to increase the embankment height with sandbags and asked for 12 flood centres to be kept ready. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/dams-release-water-flood-fears-rise-in-bengal-districts/articleshow/83675844.cms  (20 June 2021)

Chhattisgarh राखड़ बांध का टूटा तटबंध ,खेतों में घुसा पानी मानसून के सक्रिय होने से पिछले 24 घण्टों से हो रही झमाझम बारिश से कटघोरा विकासखण्ड के चाकाबुड़ा में संचालित एसीबी पावर प्लांट के राखड़ तटबंध टूट गया है। जिससे डेम का राखड़ युक्त पानी तेज बहाव में चाकाबुड़ा,एवं कसाई पाली के किसानों के खेतों में भर गया है और लोगों के घरों तक पहुंच गया है।प्रबंधन की लापरवाही पर प्रभावित किसानों ने मुख्यद्वार पर नारेबाजी करते हुए धरना दिया।

कलेक्टर के निर्देश पर एसडीएम ने राजस्व अमले के साथ मौके पर पहुंचकर प्रबंधन को राखड़ डेम का पानी तत्काल डायवर्ट करने के निर्देश दिए। कंपनी ने जेसीबी से राखड़ युक्त पानी के लिए मार्ग डायवर्ट कर दिया है। बारिश की संभावना को देखते हुए राजस्व अमला स्थिति पर नजर बनाया हुआ है। http://hasdeoexpress.com/?p=20514  (14 June 2021)

– तान नदी से पानी आने पर दर्री बराज के दो गेट खोल कर 15 हजार क्यूसेक पानी देर शाम तक नदी में छोड़ा जाता रहा। बांगो बांध का जलस्तर भी बढ़ने लगा है सुबह तक 5 फीट बढ़ा था। लेकिन अभी गेट खोलने के लिए इंतजार करना पड़ेगा। उधर नाला का काम पूर्ण नहीं होने पर प्रगति नगर दीपका कॉलोनी के कई मकानों में पानी भरने से लोग परेशान रहे। इसी के साथ ही सड़कों की बदहाली भी सामने आई।

-बारिश के बाद लीलागर नदी का जलस्तर खदान से पानी छोड़ने की वजह से बढ़ गया। रेकी मार्ग पर बने पुल से 4 फीट ऊपर पानी बह रहा था। इससे लोगों को आवाजाही में परेशानी हुई। लोगों ने कहा दीपका खदान से पानी छोड़ने से ही नदी का जलस्तर बढ़ जाता है। यहां बड़ा पुल बनाने की मांग की जा रही है, लेकिन अधिकारी ध्यान नहीं दे रहे हैं। लोग जान जोखिम में डालकर पुल पार करते रहे हैं। https://epaper.bhaskar.com/detail/958532/42704687001/mpcg/15062021/175/text/  (15 June 2021)

Fly ash breach incidents on the rise On June 15, 2021, yet another fly ash breach incident was reported from the Korba district of Chhattisgarh. The breach occurred at the NTPC Korba Power Plant and ACB India power plant, which led to an outcry among local people living in the nearby area.

In the last two years, several major ash dyke breach incidents have been reported from the North Chennai Power Station in Tamil Nadu; the Sasan power plant, NTPC Vindhyachal and Essar Power Plant in Madhya Pradesh; NTPC Talcher in Odisha; Bokaro Power Plant in Jharkhand and Khaparkheda & Koradi Power Plants in Maharashtra. Sudden ash flooding of nearby settlements has led to the loss of lives on some occasions as well.

These incidents have happened even though many power plants have reported a higher fly ash utilisation percentage in the last few years to the Central Electricity Authority. However, with such incidents on the rise, the ground reality about ash management appears to be completely different and grim.

Despite such incidents, the MoEF came up with a new draft fly ash notification this year which further pushes the deadline. This draft notification introduces the concept of a 3-5 year compliance cycle to achieve the target of 100 per cent fly ash utilisation by the end of cycle. What is more worrying is that the draft notification also gives an extension of 10 years to power plants to progressively utilise their legacy ash. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/waste/fly-ash-breach-incidents-on-the-rise-amid-proposal-on-deadline-extension-cse-77516  (19 June 2021)

Maharashtra Dams full; Sri Ram Sagar Project gets inflows The Shankarrao Chowhan Vishnupuri Project (SCVP), situated in Maharashtra’s Nanded district, around 155 km away from SRSP in Nizamabad, reached its Full Reservoir Level (FRL) on Friday (June 18 2021) morning, following which the project authorities released the water into Godavari. However, all the gates of Vishnupuri Project, with full capacity of 2.85 tmc, were closed by evening after 16,635 cusecs of water was released into Godavari. Water from Babhali Barrage, another dam situated in Nanded district, was released into Godavari. The gates of Babhali, with full capacity of 2.74 tmc, were opened for the second time this month to release water into the river. Around 10,066 cusecs were released into the SRSP. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2021/jun/19/maharashtra-dams-full-sri-ram-sagar-projectgets-inflows-2318329.html  (19 June 2021) 

Bihar Flash floods in villages along India-Nepal border Heavy rainfall in Bihar and its upstream Himalayan nation Nepal has led to flash floods in parts of north Bihar causing mayhem in villages along the India-Nepal border. Pashchim Champaran, Purvi Champaran, Gopalganj and Saran districts in north Bihar are on a flood alert. https://en.gaonconnection.com/bihar-floods-2021-flash-floods-india-nepal-border-flood-alert-gandak-river/  (17 June 2021)  

Like 2020, Veditum India-Megh Pyne Abhiyan collaborates to continue Bihar flood monitoring work in 2021 season and also looking at expanding it to other states in coming years. https://veditum.org/biharfloods2021/ 

URBAN FLOODS

Mumbai What makes city flood every monsoon? Not only are Mumbai’s rivers clogged, but the wetlands surrounding them are also practically non-existent, so when the rivers overflow they automatically lead to flooding in nearby localities. https://www.firstpost.com/india/explainer-what-makes-mumbai-flood-every-monsoon-clogged-drains-rivers-and-receding-mangroves-likely-reasons-9700391.html  (09 June 2021)

SOUTH ASIA

India-Nepal Nepal likely to waste up to 900 MW of electricity this monsoon  On April 14, India allowed the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to purchase and import electricity from the energy exchange market of India’s NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Limited.

Accordingly, the NEA has started purchasing electricity from the Indian market at a competitive rate when needed. However, India has been reluctant to arrange for the sale of Nepal’s electricity through the same market.

The authority has not got permission for the export and sale of excess electricity in the Indian market even after months of seeking permission. This has led to confusion over the management of excess electricity generated during the rainy season. The NEA fears it might have to waste electricity, as much as 900 megawatts, if that could not be exported to India this rainy season. In the previous rainy season, up to 300 megawatts of electricity had gone to waste in Nepal. In the rainy season of 2019, the NEA had exported electricity worth more than Rs 800 million to India. https://english.onlinekhabar.com/nepal-likely-to-waste-up-to-900-mw-of-electricity-this-monsoon.html  (16 June 2021)

Nepal Destruction caused by floodwaters in Melamchi bazaar Floods triggered by incessant rain since Monday have caused massive damage to life and property in Melamchi Bazaar of Sindhupalchok district. According to the District Police Office, at least seven people have died while the floods have damaged scores of houses and swept away two concrete motorable bridges and around half a dozen suspension bridges in the district. Eight trout fish farms, Nakote bridge, farmlands at Timbu, Chanaute Bazar, Amahyalmo Buspark and City Park have also been swept away by the floods. https://kathmandupost.com/visual-stories/2021/06/16/destruction-caused-by-floodwaters-in-melamchi-bazaar  (16 June 2021)

Monsoon hits with a bang Extreme rainfall over the past three days on Himalayan foothills that were ravaged by wildfires just four months ago have led to dangerously high water levels in the Gandaki Basin in Central Nepal.

Major damage has been reported after a flash flood on the Melamchi River that has left eight people missing. Nepal Army helicopters rescued people marooned on the tops of homes in Melamchi Bazar. Many bridges, parts of the highway and some of the headworks of the Melamchi Water Supply project were also damaged. https://www.nepalitimes.com/latest/monsoon-hits-nepal-with-a-bang/  (15 June 2021)

At least 18 people (including four women and three children) have been killed due to landslides and floods triggered by heavy rain across Nepal last week, while 21 others went missing, police said on Sunday, June 20 2021.

– Four people were killed in landslides and flood in Sindhupal chowk district, 30-km east of Kathmandu, three killed in Doti and one each in Saptari, Kavre, Gorkha, Kaski, Arghakhachi, Palpa, Pyuthan, Jumla, Kalikot, Bajhang and Bajura districts, they said. Twenty people went missing in Melamchi area of Sindhupalchowk district and one went missing from Bajura, police said.

– The dam of an under-construction bridge in Kanchanpur has been washed away by a flooded Mahakali river on Saturday (June 19) night. https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/landslides-and-floods-kill-many-in-nepal/article34867657.ece  (20 June 2021)

Dave Petley reports landslide dam floods in Nepal:

1. It is now clear that this event (June 14, 2021 flood in Melamchi area leading to 3 deaths and 17 missing) resulted from the breach of a landslide dam upstream, releasing a torrential debris flow and flood that struck the settlements.  On Twitter there is a short video that has captured some of the land sliding: https://twitter.com/NAYA_PATRIKA/status/1405118761665929217

There also appears to be substantial damage to the critically important Melamchi Water Supply Project.  I note once again that major infrastructure projects are being built in the Himalayas without a proper understanding of the risks from these devastating landslides, as we noted in our recent paper in Science.

2. there are also reports of another valley blocking landslide threatening communities in Nepal, this time along the banks of the Tamakoshi River – this valley blocking landslide is in Tibet.  Works are apparently underway to try to unblock the channel.   https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/fear-of-flash-flood-downstream-as-massive-landslide-blocks-tamakoshi-river-on-the-chinese-side-of-the-border/  (19 June 2021)

ASIA

MEKONG Cambodia Govt evicts floating homes despite villagers’ protests Residents demolish floating houses on the Tonle Sap river after being ordered to leave by local authorities in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on June 12. Cambodia’s capital of Phnom Penh has started evicting its famous “floating villages” on the banks of the Tonle Sap River, despite the objections of longtime residents who say they have nowhere else to go.

For generations, the floating wooden houseboats of Phnom Penh have been both livelihood and way of life for mostly ethnic Vietnamese families, home to fish farming and interconnected by warrens of hand-built bridges interspersed with sunken poles and small boats. https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/cambodia-floating-homes-evict-intl-hnk/index.html  (14 June 2021)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

USA Oroville hydro-power plant facing shut down for first time Water in a key California reservoir behind the Oroville Dam is expected to fall so low this summer that its hydroelectric power plant will be forced to shut down for the first time, officials said June 17, 2021. While the water level in the reservoir is currently around 700 feet above sea level, if it continues to fall at the currently projected rate to 640 feet there will not be enough water to continue operating the Hyatt plant in two to three months, coinciding with the typical peak of the summer heat and wildfire season. https://edition.cnn.com/2021/06/17/us/california-drought-oroville-power/index.html   (19 June 2021)

Worst drought in century The worst drought in almost a century has left millions of Brazilians facing water shortages and the risk of power blackouts, complicating the country’s efforts to recover from the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The agricultural centres in São Paulo state and Mato Grosso do Sul have been worse affected, after the November-March rainy season produced the lowest level of rainfall in 20 years.

Water levels in the Cantareira system of reservoirs, which serves about 7.5m people in São Paulo city, dropped to below one-tenth of its capacity this year. Brazil’s mines and energy ministry has called it country’s worst drought in 91 years. https://www.ft.com/content/958e313a-c474-4b0a-80c5-2679ee4bb307  (19 June 2021)

Study New way to identify ‘sweet spots’ for managed aquifer recharge Stanford scientists demonstrate a new way to assess sites for ground water recharging project using soil measurements and a geophysical system towed by an all-terrain vehicle. In research published earlier this month in Vadose Zone Journal, Knight and postdoctoral scholar Meredith Goebel demonstrate a new way to assess sites for this type of managed aquifer recharge using soil measurements and a geophysical system towed by an all-terrain vehicle. https://news.stanford.edu/2021/06/15/finding-sweet-spots-managed-aquifer-recharge/  (15 June 2021)

Over 50% of ‘Rivers’ Actually Stand Still or Run Dry Every Year Our traditional idea of a river, an endlessly flowing stream of water, needs a rethink, scientists argue in a new study. Even when a river runs dry, they say, it’s still a river. These winding watercourses shouldn’t have to flow all year round to receive our attention and protection. In fact, most of them don’t.

In new research, scientists found at least 51 percent of all rivers worldwide stop running for at least one day per year.  In colder climates, rivers may temporarily freeze up, and in warmer climates, water may evaporate to stall flow. In Australia, for instance, 70 percent of the rivers are thought to be non-perennial. It’s the first time researchers have attempted to map all the non-perennial waterways in the world, and as it turns out they’re ubiquitous.

Almost every river network on our planet hosts a channel that periodically stops flowing, from “Himalayan snow-fed creeks to occasionally water-filled Saharan wadis”. The nearest river or stream for more than half the world’s population stops flowing at some point in the year. “Non-perennial rivers and streams are very valuable ecosystems as they are home to many distinct species that are adapted to cycles of water presence and absence,” says ecohydrologist Mathis Messager from McGill University in Canada.

“These rivers can provide critical water and food sources for people and they play an important role in controlling water quality. But more often than not they are mismanaged or altogether excluded from management actions and conservation laws as they are simply overlooked.” Previous studies have found non-perennial rivers are generally considered less valuable and less worthy of conservation. Today, many are unnamed and missing from maps, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important. https://www.sciencealert.com/more-than-half-of-the-world-s-rivers-aren-t-flowing-all-the-time  (20 June 2021)

Time spent near water is the secret of happiness The benefits of “blue space” – the sea and coastline, but also rivers, lakes, canals, waterfalls, even fountains – are less well publicised, yet the science has been consistent for at least a decade: being by water is good for body and mind.  https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/nov/03/blue-space-living-near-water-good-secret-of-happiness  (03 Nov. 20219)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 14 June 2021 & DRP News Bulletin 07 June 2021

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

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