DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 9 Aug 2021: Doubtful validity of GOI’s July 15 notification on AP-Telangana water disputes

(Feature image: Two Telugu states, one river — why Andhra & Telangana are fighting it out over the Krishna https://theprint.in/india/two-telugu-states-one-river-why-andhra-telangana-are-fighting-it-out-over-the-krishna/696801/)

The July 15 2021 Govt of India notification on Andhra Pradesh-Telangana water disputes is of doubtful legal validity and the Supreme Court urgently needs to examine this. The 2014 AP Regorganisation Act didn’t make provision for the Centre to take over water infrastructure of the two states, which is what effectively the centre has done through the July 15 notification. The Jul 15 notification effectively dismissing powers of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana without any consultations and there is no provision in constitution for this.

There is no doubt that the long lingering water sharing disputes between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and which was the major reason for the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, needs to be resolved. But the blame for not achieving any resolution of the disputes also lies with the Centre, the KRMB and GRMB are not even functioning with necessary urgency or effectiveness.

Every time there is water shortage, the conflict escalates. However, the 2021 monsoon is not such a bad one. All the Krishna basin states including Maharashtra, Karnataka, AP and Telangana have received above normal rainfall so far. All the sub basins in Krishna basin (with the exception of Lower Bhima basin) has had above normal rainfall. The Upper Krishna basin had 95% above normal rainfall and has faced huge floods. Same is the situation in Lower Krishna basin. The crisis is because of the race of the two states to start more and more big irrigation projects and the Central Water Commission has been, as per its ideological pro large dam stance, has been supporting the two states. Centre has clearly not been the honest broker.

The Polavaram dam is a good example of this. AP is pushing ahead with, even though the project is involved in all kind of violations and inter state issues including with Chhattisgarh and Odisha. The project is going to displace the largest ever number of tribals in independent India and there is neither a confidence inspiring R&R policy, nor even any will or attempt to achieve just rehabilitation and resettlement. Numerous petitions against the project are pending before the apex court for over a decade.

The July 15 notification also sets a seriously problematic precedent in more centralisation of water sector, when the need of the hour is more decentralisation.

One hopes the apex court quickly resolves these issues.

Krishna-Godavari water disputes Centre’s unjustified role is worrying Bikshm Gujja helps unravel GOI role in AP- Telangana Water dispute: 2014 Act didn’t make provision for Centre to take over water infrastructure of 2 states. GOI issued Jul 15 notification effectively dismissing powers of 2 states without any consultations.  https://thewire.in/government/why-centres-unjustified-role-in-andhra-telangana-water-dispute-is-worrying  (07 Aug. 2021)

CJI offers to recuse from Krishna case Chief Justice of India N V Ramana Monday (Aug. 2) suggested to both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to resolve the dispute over apportioning of its water through mediation and not spend time and energy over litigation. Heading a bench also comprising Justice Surya Kant, the CJI told AP counsel Dushyant Dave that both states willing, he would supervise the mediation process for equitable sharing of Krishna water among them.

Dave termed the CJI’s suggestion worth considering and said he would take instructions from the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government and get back. Appearing for Telangana, senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan said there is plenty of water and both states are enjoying a surplus at the present. “The problem is not felt during the rainy season. The problem arises when there is scarcity of water,” the CJI said and posted the matter for hearing on Wednesday (Aug. 4). https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/belong-to-both-states-cji-offers-to-recuse-from-krishna-case/articleshow/84989763.cms  (03 Aug. 2021)

Telangana to abstain GRMB meeting on Aug 9 The Telangana government on Sunday (Aug. 8) informed the Godavari River Management Board that it would be unable to attend the emergency meeting scheduled on August 9, due to prior commitments. The GRMB had earlier said the meeting was being held to take steps on issues mentioned in the recent gazette notification issued by the Centre on the jurisdiction of the board. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/telangana-to-abstain-godavari-board-meeting-on-aug-9/articleshow/85153162.cms  (08 Aug. 2021) 

AP says Yes to KRMB inspection of RLIS but with a rider “The team comprising inspectors should not have anyone deputed by the Telangana state government,” said Muralinath Reddy, chief engineer of Srisailam project. The change in the stand of the AP government was in marked contrast to its resistance to the inspection, which it made known before the NGT via a sworn affidavit. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/politics/030821/ap-says-yes-to-krmb-inspection-of-rlis-but-with-a-rider.html  (04 Aug. 2021)

Polavaram Project AP to send revised cost estimate State water resources officials are confident of getting the Centre’s approval for the Polavaram project’s revised cost of Rs 55,656 crore after they submit a revised Detailed Project Report-2. Polavaram project chief engineer B. Sudhakar Babu said, “Once we get the Union Cabinet’s approval for Polavaram project cost at Rs 47,725 crore, we will send revised DPR-2 with revised cost estimates with a hike of 15 per cent to 20 per cent for approval by the Central government.” According to the officials, the revised DPR-2 would include enhanced capacities for canals, land acquisition and resettlement and rehabilitation. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/politics/030821/ap-to-send-revised-cost-estimate-of-polavaram-project-to-centre.html  (03 Aug. 2021)

Telangana Dams left to their fate as govt runs out of funds Thousands of crores of rupees are being spent for construction of new irrigation projects in Telangana state but there are no funds for maintenance and repairs of existing projects. Worse still, there is no dedicated budget to maintain irrigation projects. When on one side, paucity of funds is leading to non-repair of seepage and cracks in canals, on the other, poorly maintained and ageing dams are posing safety risks. The latest incident of collapse of Pulichintala project gate brought to fore the lapses in the maintenance of irrigation projects.

Officials have stopped maintenance works due to lack of funds for the past few years. This is leading to frequent incidents of seepage and cracks in canals, dams posing safety risks to all. In September 2020, the right canal gate of Nagarjunasagar broke which led to wastage of water for seven months until it was repaired. The project’s spillway was damaged due to worst-ever Krishna floods in 2009, the repair works of which were not completed totally even after 12 years due to lack of funds. Musi project’s gate No.5 washed away in October 2019 resulting in wastage of 4.46 tmc ft of water. Sarala Sagar project in Wanaparthy breached in December 2019 which led to wastage of 0.45 tmc ft of water. Kadem project’s gate No.2 collapsed in September 2018 resulting in wastage of 5 tmc ft. The government incurred Rs 5 crore for repair works later. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/politics/070821/dams-left-to-their-fate-as-telangana-runs-out-of-funds.html  (07 Aug. 2021)

Kaleshwaram Project Cost pegged at Rs 1.15L-cr KLIP’s initial cost was pegged at Rs 40,000 crore, which became Rs 80,000 crore. Later, the cost escalated to Rs 1 lakh crore. Officials said its cost would further go up by the time the project is totally completed. The mega project is touted as the most expensive irrigation projects to be undertaken up by any state in the country.

Official sources said a consortium of banks sanctioned Rs 70,000 crore loan under Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project Corporation, which was floated exclusively to execute the project. “So far, the government has taken Rs 45,000 crore and the balance would be used for clearing pending payments,” a KLIP official said. Originally, Kaleshwaram project has been designed to transfer 3 tmcft of water from Medigadda to Yellampally reservoir and 2 tmcft water from Yellampally to Mid Manair. Another 1 tmcft is being lifted from Mid Manair to Mallannasagar reservoir. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/kaleshwaram-cost-pegged-at-rs-1-15l-cr/articleshow/85141206.cms  (08 Aug. 2021)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Uttarakhand Known for Chipko, Raini village now unfit to stay in February 7 incident, according to a report by geologists from the Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Initiative (UDRI) submitted to the Chamoli district magistrate in July, has destabilised Rain village. “The Raini village is facing serious slope stability problems where the whole area is affected by active subsidence whereas downslope is affected by toe erosion. During investigation wide cracks were observed in the walls and floors of many houses indicating active slope movement in the area. It is therefore advisable to rehabilitate Raini village to an alternative safe location,” said the report.

During a field visit by the geologists, they observed that the material that forms the slope is highly saturated due to incessant rain. Chamoli district received heavy rain in mid-June that triggered landslides at many places. On June 14, about 40 metres of the road at Raini broke off and was engulfed by the Dhauliganga on the Joshimath-Malari route, cutting off Army and Indo Tibetan Border Police posts and villages along the India-China border. “There are several slope instability-related concerns in Raini following the February 7 glacier breach. It’s up to the government now to take forward our recommendation to rehabilitate the village,” said Manish Semwal, slope stabilisation expert, UDRI.

But the villagers aren’t keen on being relocated. “First, the villagers have to agree to relocation and rehabilitation. They haven’t agreed yet. They are looking for suitable government land to relocate. They have to find that land first, have a gram panchayat meeting approving rehabilitation and then send the proposal to state government for us to process it,” said S A Murugesan, secretary, Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/uttarakhands-raini-village-declared-unstable-and-unsuitable-for-habitation-101627995151451.html  (03 Aug. 2021)

चमोली जिले में बदरीनाथ राष्ट्रीय राजमार्ग पर झड़कुला के समीप करीब 200 मीटर तक खतरे की जद में आ गया है। यहां 25 जुलाई को एक 20 कमरों के होटल के नीचे से भूस्खलन हो गया था। शनिवार (Aug. 7) को दोपहर में होटल का एक बढ़ा हिस्सा भरभराकर टूट गया। खतरे को देखते हुए पुलिस और एसडीआरएफ की टीम की ओर से होटल को पूर्व में ही खाली करवा दिया गया था। जिससे कोई जनहानि नहीं हुई।

25 जुलाई को तपोवन विष्णुगाड जल विद्युत परियोजना के सेलंग स्थित टीवीएम साइट के प्रवेश द्वार के ऊपरी हिस्से में भारी भूस्खलन होने से सुरंग का प्रवेश द्वार क्षतिग्रस्त हो गया था, जिससे कंपनी को करोड़ो का नुकसान हुआ था। इससे सुरंग में आवाजाही के लिए टनल के द्वार पूर्ण रूप से बंद हो गया था। बदरीनाथ हाईवे भी झड़कुला के समीप भूस्खलन की जद में आ गया। भूस्खलन इतना भीषण था कि एक होटल, एक गौशाला क्षतिग्रस्त होने की कगार पर पहुंच गया था। https://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/chamoli-20-room-hotel-collapsed-on-badrinath-national-highway-in-chamoli-district-21905008.html  (07 Aug. 2021)

कुछ दिन पूर्व इस घटना पर अंतरराष्ट्रीय भूस्खलन विशेषज्ञ डॉ डेव पेटले  ने कहा था कि एनटीपीसी के इंजीनियर व वैज्ञानिक इतने सक्षम नहीं हैं कि इस परिघटना की समीक्षा कर सकें । इस पर यह सवाल मैंने अलमोड़ा में देश के वरिष्ठ  भू गर्भशास्त्री डॉ नवीन जुयाल जी  से पूछा कि क्या आप इन भूस्खलन विशेषज्ञ की राय से सहमत हैं ?  उन्होंने कहा इसमें कोई संदेह नहीं। https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=4271105882967261&id=100002036746060  (07 Aug. 2021) रिणी गांव के अस्तित्व के बहाने आपदा जलविद्युत परियोजनाओं पर्यावरण व विकास के सवाल पर चर्चा। https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efY_RCSuLy8  (08 Aug. 2021)

Union Minister of State for MoEF, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, told the Rajya Sabha on Monday (Aug. 2) that as per the provisions of the EIA Notification 2006, new projects/activities or the expansion/modernisation of existing projects/activities, listed in the schedule to the notification, require prior environmental clearance from the Central government or from the SEIAA after taking into consideration the EIA report, environmental management plan, disaster management plan and public consultation.

Choubey was replying to a question raised by Rajya Sabha member Rewati Raman Singh, who had asked: “Is it a fact that hydroelectric projects, highway projects and haphazardly run tourism projects, which are beyond the potential of the Himalayan valley, are endangering the invaluable natural resources of the Himalayas?”  https://english.lokmat.com/politics/new-projects-in-himalayas-as-per-provisions-of-eia-2006-minister/  (03 Aug. 2021)

Himachal PradeshHydro project-induced landslides become frequent People aged from 8 years to 90 are gathering on roads of Kinnaur holding placards in hands saying #SaveKinnaur #NomeansNo. This comes after the continuous landslides that have been happening in this area for quite a long time and the recent Kinnaur landslide accident gave the campaign a boost on social media. Kinnaur and nearby villages’ people are claiming that the exaggerated work on the tunnel excavations is causing major Landslides in the area and theirs’ lives are at continuous threat. https://thedailyguardian.com/kinnaur-people-protest-as-hydro-project-induced-landslides-become-frequent/  (04 Aug. 2021)

 मूरंग गांव में पावर प्रोजेक्टों के खिलाफ आवाज बुलंद करते लोग। फोटो: रोहित पराशर

पिछले माह कंपनी के अधिकारी वैली में लोगों को पावर प्रोजेक्ट के फायदे बताकर उन्हें मनाने के लिए पहुंचे थे, लेकिन लोगों ने उनकी एक न सुनी और “नो मीन्स नो” (नहीं का मतलब नहीं) अभियान शुरू किया। वहीं लाहौल-स्पीति में चंद्रभागा और चिनाब नदी पर प्रस्तावित 50 से अधिक पावर प्रोजेक्टों के खिलाफ पूरे जिला की संघर्ष समितियों को मिलाकर एक लाहौल स्पीति एकता मंच का गठन किया गया है। इस मंच के बैनर तले अब लाहौल-स्पीति में बनने वाले पावर प्रोजेक्टों के खिलाफ आंदोलन के रूप में काम किया जा रहा है। https://www.downtoearth.org.in/hindistory/energy/hydropower/people-s-anger-erupted-against-power-projects-after-increasing-natural-disasters-in-himachal-78233  (02 Aug. 2021)

Patel Engineering bags Rs 976 cr order for Luhri HEP Patel Engg said on Aug 2 2021 it has bagged a Rs 976 cr order from SJVN for 210 MW Luhri project in Shimla-Kullu dists. Order has been bagged by Luhri Hydro Power Consortium, a consortium of PE & HES Infra 60:40.  https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/patel-engineering-bags-rs-976-cr-order-for-luhri-hydro-electric-project/84966781  (02 Aug. 2021)

DAMS

World Bank Agreement on $250 million project World Bank support to dam safety in India includes the recently closed DRIP-1 ($279 million + $62 million Additional Financing) that, WB claims (without much substance) improved safety & sustainable performance of 223 dams in 6 states & CWC.  https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2021/08/04/project-signing-world-bank-signs-250-million-project-to-make-existing-dams-safe-and-resilient-across-india  (04 Aug. 2021)

Indian gov, Central Water Commission, 10 participating states & World Bank on Aug 4, 2021 signed $250 m project for long-term dam safety prgrm and improving the safety and performance of existing dams across various states. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/india-world-bank-sign-250-mn-project-for-making-dams-safe/85057141  (05 Aug. 2021)

The project will encompass around 120 dams across Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu, and at the national level through the Central Water Commission (CWC). Other states or agencies may be added to the project during project implementation, the release said. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/govt-world-bank-ink-250-mn-loan-pact-to-improve-dam-infrastructure/amp-11628096361395.html  (04 Aug. 2021)

Kerala KSEB prepares SOP for dam desilting work After Kerala irrigation department starting desilting of Mangalam dam in Palakkad, Kerala State Electricity Board has decided to desilt reservoirs of KSEB. KSEB has readied a standard operating procedure. KSEB would start desilting of small & medium dams. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/kseb-prepares-sop-for-dam-desilting-work/articleshow/85137618.cms  (08 Aug. 2021)

Mekedatu Project ‘Controversy unfortunate’ Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev termed the raging controversy as ‘unfortunate’ and said that the issue can amicably be resolved ‘if both the states sit down and talk to each other.’ Stating that he is unaware of the technical details of the project Sadhguru said, “If the project is a small scale dam, then it is acceptable as it would support the local population and livelihood.”

He added, “World over large dams are being abandoned and in the US alone about 900 dams have been decommissioned in the last two years. Dams were built in the past when we had agricultural challenges. But now we know that there are many ways to do it. Dammed water, canal, flood irrigation is not the future. The future lies in drip irrigation and the enrichment of the soil. Water should be held in the soil, not in the dam. I do not want to comment about a political issue because emotions are already riled up. I do not know the scale of the project. But if you build small dam to facilitate local agriculture it is not an issue.” https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/controversy-over-mekedatu-is-unfortunate-small-scale-dam-for-local-benefit-is-acceptable-sadhguru-1015694.html (03 Aug. 2021) 

He added that this year, under the Cauvery Calling project, saplings will be planted with the help of 890 volunteers on ground, 1,785 gram panchayats along the nine Cauvery basin districts in Karnataka. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2021/aug/03/end-mekedatu-controversy-save-cauvery-first-sadhguru-2339321.amp  (03 Aug. 2021)

He also stated as part of the initiative, they aim at planting 3.5 crore saplings in the Cauvery region by 2022 through farmer participation, compared to 1.1 crore last year. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/3-5-crore-saplings-to-be-planted-in-cauvery-basin-by-2022-sadhguru/articleshow/84991625.cms  (03 Aug. 2021)

Karnataka to continue legal battle Karnataka will continue its legal battle on implementation of Mekedatu project across river Cauvery, Law Minister Basavaraj Bommai said on Monday, as Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s letter to his Tamil Nadu counterpart urging him not to object to it, did not elicit a positive response. However, the Opposition Congress has termed Yediyurappa’s move of writing a letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin regarding Mekedatu project as ‘wrong’. https://zeenews.india.com/karnataka/karnataka-to-continue-legal-battle-on-mekedatu-project-across-cauvery-river-2381888.html  (05 Aug. 2021)

Karnataka files response to TN’s plea This was through Karnataka’s communication of July 20, Mr. Shekhawat informed the Rajya Sabha on Monday (July 26) in a reply to an un-starred question of former Union health minister, Anbumani Ramadoss of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK). Twelve meetings of the CWMA and 48 meetings of the CWRC were held up to July 14. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka-files-response-to-tamil-nadus-plea-against-mekedatu-dam/article35567461.ece  (27 July 2021)

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Ken Betwa Link Documentary film on Ken River and its importance for the Panna Tiger Reserve. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUUf1uQz0Ks  (05 Aug. 2021)

URBAN RIVERS

SANDRP Blog Pune riverfront development project As a matter of fact, the River Front Development project would further narrow down the rivers by constructing embankments to create more land by reclaiming the riverbed or the flood plains. Reduction in width of the river would reduce its cross-sectional area necessary for uninterrupted flow of water. Consequently, whenever water is released from the dam that flow will get less space to flow in the riverbed leading to steep rise in flood levels inundating large areas of the city. https://sandrp.in/2021/08/05/pune-river-front-development-project/  (05 Aug. 2021)

‘Riverfront project granted EC in objectionable way’ Noted environmentalist and architect Sarang Yadwadkar, has alleged that the green nod was given in a highly objectionable and controversial manner. He said the project would only result in the rise of floodwater levels while irreversibly destroying the rich biodiversity along the riverbank. Speaking to The Hindu, he pointed to the dangers in sanctioning such projects by the State’s civic bodies, particularly in the wake of the recent floods and the 2019 downpour in Pune, in which 25 people lost their lives.

Mr. Yadwadkar said what was more worrying was the manner in which the clearance was granted by the SEIAA. “The minutes say that the proposed built-up area of the project (FSI and non-FSI) is zero square metres, meaning that the project does not propose any built-up area at all. Yet, the cost estimates clearly mention many built components like retaining walls, promenades, embankments, stairs, ghats, food courts, parking spaces among other structures, covering a minimum built-up area of 13,83,110 square metres of 342 acres. How could the SEIAA overlook such a massive part of the project while issuing the environmental clearance?” he said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/pune-riverfront-project-granted-green-nod-in-objectionable-way/article35733454.ece  (04 Aug. 2021)

Rivers of Mumbai or sewers that stink? Dipti Singh of FPJ on Mumbai’s rivers: “They need to clarify their ideas on river rejuvenation. Rivers in Mumbai have been channelised by constructing concrete walls, & they have now become drainage channels,” Thakkar of SANDRP said. https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/rivers-of-mumbai-or-sewers-that-stink-2   (03 Aug. 2021)

According to Thakkar, it is not enough to have technology and investment as boasted by the Mumbai civic body to rejuvenate the rivers, but serious effort, accountability and transparency are required. “There need to be STPs in place with sufficient capacity. Again, the problem is that in India, the majority of the cities have STPs with sufficient capacity, but most of them are not functioning as required, or violate the effluent discharge norms. It is high time that the Mumbai civic body understands the right way to carry out the rejuvenation. Just commissioning and upgrading STPs won’t help the project; they need to have a process to ensure that these STPs are functioning as required.” Thakkar suggests that the civic body should upload the statistics of the functioning of the STPs on its website daily along with the names of people in charge. https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/rivers-of-mumbai-or-sewers-that-stink-3  (03 Aug. 2021)

Mithi; Mumbai River clean-up pilot project According to the press release issued by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the floating matter collection and segregation will first be observed for the first three months. After this, it will segregated and analysis done by scientific means. This segregated matter will be sent for pyrolysis or recycling in phases. They will also spread awareness among the people who tend to dispose their waste in Mithi. This project is the part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by MMRDA and Marine Debris Partnership on September 3, last year. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/mumbaiaaditya-thackeray-inaugurates-mithi-river-clean-up-pilot-project-101628269200780.html  (06 Aug. 2021)

Ban on concrete walls along riverbanks proposed Rukhsana Siddiqui, corporator from Samajwadi Party, has moved a notice of motion demanding to stop concretisation of basin and banks by constructing walls. Siddiqui said that concretisation would kill biodiversity of rivers, prevent groundwater percolation and also obstruct wild animals who visit riverbanks for drinking water. Currently, the BMC has taken up work of constructing concrete wall along rivers like Mithi, Dahisar, Poisar and Oshiwara. The proposal will come up for discussion on August 12 in the general body meeting. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/mumbai-concrete-walls-riverbanks-rukhsana-siddiqui-7444258/  (08 July 2021)

RIVERS

Report Hybrid system for wastewater treatment proposed Pradip Kalbar, an assistant professor at Centre for Urban Science and Engineering at IIT-Bombay in a paper published recently in the journal Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy proposes a novel system called the hybrid treatment system, which pairs both mechanised systems and natural systems to achieve the discharge requirements. As per his calculation, deploying such a hybrid systems throughout the country would ultimately lead to an annual savings of 540 GWh, enough to power all of Mumbai for half a year.

As much as 80 per cent of India’s surface water is contaminated with a whopping 40,527 million litres of untreated wastewater discharged into rivers and lakes every day. Currently, STPs treat only 44 per cent of wastewater and even this treatment is not sufficient to meet the current discharge standards issued by the NGT, Kalbar said. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/iit-bombay-researcher-proposes-a-hybrid-system-for-wastewater-treatment/article35670542.ece  (01 Aug. 2021)

Managing water, the Denmark way Denmark ensured almost 95 per cent of its waste-water is treated because it saw sewage as a resource and not a liability. Waste water contains gas that can be used to generate power, solid waste that is rich in phosphorus (can be used as manure) and the treated water can be sold for industrial use or irrigation. Governments should start seeing waste-water as a resource.

Total sewage generated across urban centres in the country is 72,368 MLD. India has capacity to treat 31,841 MLD (44 per cent of the sewage generated). Of this, only 20,236 MLD amounting to 28 per cent of the sewage generated gets treated as per the prescribed norms. Nearly 52,133 MLD is let out into the environment. While the Modi government has taken up waste-water treatment as a priority and has made funds available to set up effluent treatment plant (ETPs) through schemes such as Amrut, adoption has been slow. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/managing-water-the-denmark-way/article35750648.ece  (05 Aug. 2021)

Gujarat HC takes suo moto cognizance of flouting norms The High Court on Friday (Aug. 6) took suo motu cognizance of media reports that sewage water is not being treated in accordance with the set norms at the sewage treatment plant at Pirana in Ahmedabad city and that polluted water is being released into the Sabarmati River. The court directed its administrative side to register a petition to this effect and issue notice to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, DNP Infrastructure Private Limited, SPCB and state government through the principal secretary of Gujarat Water Supply and Sewerage Board. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/gujarat-hc-takes-suo-motu-cognizance-of-flouting-norms-for-treatment-of-sewage-water-7442069/   (06 Aug. 2021)

Rajasthan HC asks govt to stop activities impeding natural flow The Bench of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Vinit Kumar Mathur was hearing a plea filed by Kisan Vikas Sewa Samiti which alleged that once lessees of Bajari Mines in khatedari land extract the Bajari from the river, they do not do anything to restore the land. It was alleged that once Bajari extraction is over, it creates huge ditches in the river belt which restrict the flow of water and water gets collected in these ditches. It was further submitted that due to this, the free flow of water in the river bay had been impeded.

Court also noted that at various locations within Rajasthan, Dams have been created by the State for providing drinking water to various urban establishments as well as water for Agriculture and Animal Husbandry. Unfortunately, the Court further added thus: “we find that since excavations have been taking place at river beds and big crevices have been formed, due to such excavation, water gets retained in such ditches and crevices and such water does not even travel and reach the Dams which have been created by the State for the purpose as noted here-in-above.”

Importantly, the Court was informed about the instance of Ramgarh Dam, which was created by the State and where the Asian Championship was once held. It was submitted that presently no water exists in such Dams and water was being blocked at various locations, therefore, the Court directed the State to take steps to stop all activities which impede the natural flow of water for the larger purpose of providing drinking water to its citizens and animals as well as providing water for irrigation. Consequently, the Court further noted that the investments made by the State for construction of all these Dams is made redundant if natural flow of water is impeded in any manner. https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/steps-stop-activities-impede-natural-flow-water-rajasthan-high-court-179134  (08 Aug. 2021)

Haryana Underground hidden pipeline made the rivulet red The SPCB has found one paper mill discharging red effluent “through underground hidden pipeline into a seasonal rivulet”. The matter came to light after the rivulet’s colour changed into red.

Acting on the message, the site was immediately visited by the AEE incharge of the area on August 5 to verify the contents of the complaint. During the visit, insent surface water samples were collected from the spot of said rivulet, i.e. locally called as ‘Singh Nallah’ and sent to PPCB’s Head Office Water Laboratory for analysis. Thereafter, the matter was brought to the knowledge of officials of HSPCB as the said rivulet originates from Panchkula adjoining the Industrial Area, Ph-I. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/rivulet-turns-red-underground-hidden-pipeline-made-the-rivulet-red-discovers-haryana-pollution-control-board-7443739/  (08 Aug. 2021)

Uttarakhand Centre approves Rs 615 crore for 42 road projects The central government has approved Rs 615.48 crore for Uttarakhand under the Central Road Infrastructure Fund (CRIF). Among these 42 road projects, Tehri Garhwal has 14, followed by Pauri Garhwal (13), Almora (7), Nainital (6), and Haridwar (2). The total length of the roads covered under the project will be 34,934 kilometres. The projects include broadening and beautification of roads and undertaking safety measures like setting up blind curves and crash barriers and installing warning signals.

Separately, the construction of the elevated Dehradun-Delhi Road will be started soon at an estimated cost of Rs 12,000 crore. “The Centre has given its nod to projects worth Rs 32,000 crore in Uttarakhand. Out of this, we have already received the official approval for the Rs 12,000-crore Delhi-Dehradun elevated expressway route. The construction work will start ahead of the Daat Kali temple, located on the outskirts of Dehradun,” the CM said. “From the formation of the state in 2000 to 2017, a total of Rs.614.85 crore was received under CRIF but in the last four years, approvals of Rs 1124.25 crore have been received..,” the CM added. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/centre-approves-rs-615-crore-for-42-road-projects-in-ukhand-doon-delhi-elevated-road-project-to-start-soon/articleshow/85110375.cms  (07 Aug. 2021)  

YAMUNA Delhi Structure at New India Garden may hit green hurdle: Experts “There are two issues that need to be understood. One is that DDA has its own floodplain restoration plans. It is planning to develop a biodiversity park which will stretch between the CWG village embankment and the Ring Road. In the west bank of Yamuna the CPWD is developing the Nav Bharat Udyan and in that garden they are planning to build an iconic structure. This entire area being developed by DDA and CPWD falls in zone ‘O’. No construction is permitted in zone ‘O’ as per the NGT judgement of 2015 and the current zonal regulations. We have raised objections to both what DDA and CPWD are doing. The NGT judgement is clear that nothing can be done on the floodplains without the permission of the NGT’s principal committee’s expert body. Also, Yamuna bank is part of the Ganga system. So, such constructions will be violation of the Ganga notification also,” said Manoj Mishra, convenor, Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan and petitioner in the Yamuna floodplain restoration case in NGT.

As for DDA’s claim that the location does not fall in the floodplain, Mishra added that this is according to MPD 2041, which is a draft and “has no legal validity.” The DDA, which has put the draft plan in public domain, is aiming at notifying the draft MPD-2041 by year end, said a senior DDA official. Experts also point to other recent constructions and events that NGT came down on. “NGT directed last year that the Millennium bus depot on the floodplains be shifted because it was an encroachment of the floodplain; NGT also made certain very strong observations about the Art of Living cultural event on Yamuna floodplains in 2016 because it involved levelling and temporary constructions. How can these constructions be allowed now?” asked Rahul Choudhary, an environmental lawyer. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/structure-at-new-india-garden-may-hit-green-hurdle-experts-101628454772575.html  (09 Aug. 2021)

Survey to count industrial units The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has launched a survey across industrial clusters in the national capital to assess the total number of units that are functional as well as identify “water-polluting” units that may be running without approval, thereby exacerbating the pollution in river Yamuna. The pollution control agency, on August 3, sent letters to associations of 28 industrial areas across the city in this regard. The effluents discharged from illegally running units go into drains, which eventually empty into the Yamuna, adding to its pollution load, a DPCC official, privy to the matter, said.

The DPCC August 3 letter to industrial areas further stated that a recent quality analysis of wastewater samples taken from the CETPs revealed that most plants were not meeting the prescribed standards. Industry owners, however, believe that instead of just collating a database on confirming industrial areas, the DPCC must also survey units located in unorganised and non-confirming industrial clusters, as well as getting CETP operators to improve the functioning of their plants. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/dpcc-launches-survey-to-count-industrial-units-identify-water-polluting-ones-101628274841842.html  (07 Aug. 2021)

Excreta found above desirable limits The report submitted to the Union Ministry of Jal Sakti also stated that in the absence of a “minimum environmental flow” (flow of water) of the Yamuna in Delhi, it is very difficult to achieve even bathing quality standards of the river water.

For bathing in a river, the desirable level of fecal coliform in the water is 500 MPN/100 ml or lesser, as per the Central Pollution Control Board. But the level was as high as 1,40,000 MPN/100 ml — 280 times the desired level — at Okhla Barrage, a point along the river in Delhi, as per the report.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/microbes-from-human-animal-excreta-found-above-desirable-limits-in-yamuna/article35551443.ece  (27 July 2021)

NGT pulls up UP, Delhi over discharge of polluted water “Industries are discharging untreated sewage water in the river with impunity, as if the law of the land does not exist. In spite of categorical observations in the reports of the statutory regulators, not even a single person is shown to have been prosecuted,” a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel noted. The tribunal called this a “clear failure” of constitutional obligations of the relevant authorities, who, it said, have continued to remain “mute spectators of serious crimes against humanity.” “Therefore, the said authorities have failed to realise that they are holding positions of high trust and not to just enjoy position and perks at the cost of miseries of innocent citizens,” the green body said further.

The bench was referring to authorities such as Noida authority, district magistrates, UP SEIAA, UP Police and the Pollution Control Board. It further directed officials from both Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, including the two chief secretaries, to hold in-house meeting with concerned departments within 15 days to take stock of the situation and plan various corrective measures, including accountability of erring officers, preventing pollutants from being discharged into drains etc. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/noida-news/ngt-pulls-up-up-delhi-over-discharge-of-polluted-water-in-yamuna-101627984397086.html  (03 Aug. 2021)

SAND MINING

West Bengal Experts remain wary as Bengal govt centralises auction Report suggests its an image makeover attempt to milk votes during upcoming panchyat and Lokshabha elections. West Bengal Mineral Development and Trading Corporation (WBMDTC) will henceforth hold the auctions online that was earlier done by the district magistrates. But those earlier auctions only covered a tiny portion of the sand mining activity, according to Biswajit Mukherjee, the former chief law officer of SPCB. “Illegal mining of sand from the riverbeds and riverbanks is rampant in several districts and the business runs into thousands of crores of rupees. There exists a nexus between local politicians, the mafia and the administration,” Mukherjee added.

The CM had also complained about the state losing out on revenue due to the local mafia. A senior officer of the state irrigation department put this into perspective: in December 2015, when there was a crackdown on sand mafia, the state’s revenue earning from sand mining went up from around ₹25 crore to ₹300 crore. “There have been crackdowns in the past but the menace goes on unabated with the help of local politicians, mafia and a section of the administration because huge money is involved. In an auction done legally, the bids can go as high as ₹2-3 crore. Imagine the profit from illegal sand mines,” the officer said on condition of anonymity. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/kolkata-news/sand-mining-experts-remain-wary-as-bengal-govt-centralises-auction-101627843885346.html  (02 Aug. 2021)

Tamil Nadu Efforts to prevent illegal mining along Palar Tirupattur district administration is taking all out efforts to prevent illegal sand mining along the dry Palar river bed. With limited Revenue Department staff, the district administration has identified 16 areas between Ambur and Vaniyambadi, a distance of 18 km, along the Palar river where illegal sand mining was being reported regularly. Termed as ‘hot spots’, these identified areas are mainly small villages located between the river and the arterial road in the two taluks — Ambur and Vaniyambadi.

Tirupattur, Natrampalli, Ambur and Vaniyambadi share nearly 60% of the total water pipelines laid under the Hogenakkal Drinking Water Scheme from Palar river a decade ago. The pipelines supply excess Cauvery river from Hogenakkal in Dharmapuri district to water-starved districts like Vellore, Tirupattur and Krishnagiri. Residents in these two taluks (Ambur and Vaniyambadi) fear that such illegal sand mining might damage the pipelines in the river. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/efforts-on-to-prevent-illegal-sand-mining-along-palar-river/article35660037.ece  (08 Aug. 2021)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Uttar Pradesh Airport at cost of 63 wetlands? The farmers have been protesting against land acquisition and inadequate compensation for the proposed site for Noida International Greenfield Airport project since October 2018.  The proposed airport, 70 km away from the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, New Delhi, estimated to cost Rs. 16,000 crore, was believed to be the government’s showpiece ahead of the elections.

Although the state government officials claim that the farmers’ issues have been resolved as Allahabad High Court has dismissed land dispute cases in April, concerns regarding the long-term impact of the construction on the environment continue to bother experts as several wetlands and habitat of Sarus cranes, peacocks and blackbucks fall under the project area. https://citizenmatters.in/environment-impact-of-proposed-noida-international-greenfield-airport-13500  (07 Aug. 2021)

WATER OPTIONS

PSI Bringing springs back PSI launched rejuvenation of springs programme, not just to conserve the water culture of Uttarakhand but also ensure villagers received water supply. PSI undertook revival of 100 springs in 50 villages of Uttarakhand, Nagaland, Sikkim & Arunachal Pradesh. https://www.civilsocietyonline.com/rural-reporter/when-springs-dry-up-in-the-hills-psi-brings-them-back/  (12 July 2021)

Report Against the Grain How natural farming is growing international alliances in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh https://caravanmagazine.in/agriculture/how-natural-farming-is-growing-international-alliances-in-karnataka-ap  (05 Aug. 2021)

Uttarakhand Padma award for innovations in agriculture Prem Chand Sharma, a 63-year-old farmer, has been awarded Padma Shri for his contribution to high yield fruit and vegetable production using organic methods without the use of chemicals in remote Hatal-Sainj hilly village. Sharma said he is a school drop and has been interested in agriculture since his childhood. “I have been focusing to diversify farming in the state by growing high-quality fruits, vegetables, and grains in a completely organic way.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/uttarakhand-farmer-gets-padma-award-for-innovations-in-agriculture-101611661163531.html  (26 Jan. 2021)

URBAN WATER

Chennai Stop work on East Coast Road stormwater drains: NGT The Greater Chennai Corporation should not carry out any further work on the stormwater drain project on East Coast Road, except covering the protruding iron rods for the safety of residents, the Southern Bench of NGT has directed. “More than that, in the guise of doing that [safety measure], they are not expected to do any other construction work, which require clearances under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification,” the bench said.

The case relates to the ₹270 crore stormwater drain project being implemented by the Greater Chennai Corporation on East Coast Road that has been opposed by a section of the residents.Earlier this year, a Joint Committee appointed by the NGT, in its report, said there was no provision for obtaining ex-post-facto clearance and recommended action in the matter. However, the Superintending Engineer (south) of Metrowater shared a dissenting view that CRZ clearance was not required for the project since it was part of the infrastructure to be provided in the construction of roads since the project did not fall under CRZ 1A. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chennai-corporation-must-halt-work-on-east-coast-road-stormwater-drains-says-national-green-tribunal/article35778323.ece  (07 Aug. 2021)

Bengaluru Lakhs for lakes a no show The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has been spending lakhs of rupees for the maintenance of lakes in the city, but considering the sorry state of several waterbodies, there is nothing to show for the expenditure. Residents of areas around lakes say that the BBMP is not keen on supervising maintenance of lakes. They said the authorities merely select contractors to maintain the lakes, but do not check if the contractors are maintaining it well or not.

The BBMP Lakes Department spent Rs 2,77,335 for the maintenance of Mallathahalli Lake in 2016-17 and no amount in 2017-18, and the amount for the maintenance of Mallathahalli Lake increases by 10 times at Rs 10,40,035 in 2018-19, Rs 11,98,390 in 2019-20 and Rs 8,55,525 in 2020-21. For the last three years, the contractor has been the same person – Shivanna. It was Narasimharaju Mariyappa in 2016-17. What is surprising is the fivefold rise in the maintenance cost in four years. Residents of areas around lakes say that the BBMP is not keen on supervising maintenance of lakes. They said the authorities merely select contractors to maintain the lakes, but do not check if the contractors are maintaining it well or not. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/cover-story/lakhs-for-lakes-a-no-show/amp_articleshow/85025342.cms  (04 Aug. 2021)

Rresidents’ joy & pride gone to waste Just two days after the residents of Basavanapura and lake activists were delighted to see the Basavanapura Lake brimming with rainwater, their joy was tarnished by an ugly sight. They witnessed the crystal clear water of the lake get polluted by sewage water. Last week, the lake filled to its brim after over five years. To celebrate the occasion, the residents on August 4 offered pooja to the waterbody. Now, the stormwater drain in the area is carrying sewage water into the lake.

“What is the use of BBMP spending crores of rupees to rejuvenate Basavanapura Lake? It seems that there was no proper plan or supervision by the authorities concerned,’’ said a resident of Basavanapura. The residents said that they expected the groundwater table to increase thus mitigating water woes. “With the lake water polluting, what is the use of an increase in the groundwater table? We may not get clean water from borewells,’’ said Rajanna S, a resident. It may be recalled that Basavanapura Lake was filled with rainwater during last year. The residents were getting ready to celebrate the momentous occasion of lake filling to the brim but water drained out because the contractor had forgotten to close a pipe that was laid under the lake bund to let out waste water during the rejuvenation of the lake. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/civic/basavanapura-residents-joy-pride-gone-to-waste/articleshow/85118598.cms  (07 Aug. 2021)

Rs 10K fine for illegal connections BWSSB has so far found 1,602 illegal connections in the city and said that heavy penalties will be levied on households indulging in this kind of water theft. The city has a total of 1,07,352 Cauvery water connections. “We have covered 2.7 lakh connections as on date. We plan to check every connection within the next two months,” S V Venkatesh, Chief Engineer, Maintenance (East), BWSSB said. The proposed fine amount of Rs 10,000 was approved last month. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2021/aug/04/bwssb-to-levy-rs-10k-fine-for-illegal-connections-2339847.html  (04 Aug. 2021)

Pune Pashan gets rain outside, drought inside Pune has received decent rain so far, bringing water levels of all four dams that supply water to the city to 70 per cent of total capacity. Despite sufficient water in stock, over 400 residents of Jitendra Heritage housing society at Sutarwadi in Pashan are facing water woes. They are forced to purchase drinking water jars and bottles thanks to shoddy work by the civic body and delays in rectifying errors.

It has been revealed that Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) engineers were unable to locate the fault in the waterline that occurred some 45 days ago. The poor residents can’t even hire tankers as they have refused to visit the society over the fear of possible mishaps on the narrow roads of Sutarwadi. https://punemirror.indiatimes.com/pune/civic/pashan-gets-rain-outside-drought-inside/amp_articleshow/85055025.cms  (05 Aug. 2021)

Illegal constructions in Sahyadris under scrutiny As per unofficial data, there are over 200 resorts, farmhouses and villas built near Khadakwasla and Panshet area alone located just 20 kms from the Pune city, and most of them are owned by people with strong political affiliation.

It has been revealed that many diamond traders, Bollywood actors, industrialists and famous sportspersons have constructed their farmhouses and villas in ecosensitive zones of Sahyadri. Sewage from these houses is released directly into reservoirs causing destruction of the natural contours on hilltops and hill-slopes. It may be noted that several landslides are being reported from Maval, Bhor, Velhe, and Mulshi areas owing to such constructions. https://punemirror.indiatimes.com/pune/civic/illegal-constructions-in-sahyadris-under-scrutiny/articleshow/85111664.cms  (06 Aug. 2021)

4 dams filled to 94.42% of capacity Between June 1 and August 4, Panshet reported 1,605 millimetres (mm) of rainfall. During the same time, Temghar reported 2,281mm and Warasgaon reported 1579mm of rainfall. Khadakwasla reported 489 mm of rainfall in the catchment area since June 1. From June 1 till August 4, IMD officials noted that Pune city has reported a total of 355mm of rainfall as against the normal rainfall of 345.2 mm. Pune city has reported excess rainfall by 9.8 mm so far said officials. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/four-dams-filled-to-94-42-of-capacity-101628102386403.html  (06 Aug. 2021)

Mumbai 7 lakes 78% full The 7 lakes that supply drinking water to city are now 78.5% full with a total of 1,137,542 million litres (ML) of water, as of Wednesday (Aug. 4) morning. The water stock will suffice supply to the city for more than 250 days. On the same day last year, the lakes had 34.9% useful water content or 505,896 ML water, and on the same day in 2019, water level was at 91.6% or 1,325,905 ML. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/seven-lakes-supplying-drinking-water-to-mumbai-78-full-101628098305715.html  (04 Aug. 2021)

Hyderabad Solar panels to bring down power bills Telangana State Renewable Energy Development Corporation (TSREDCO) would install solar panels at water treatment plants, sewerage treatment plants, pump houses, closed reservoirs and office buildings of the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB). These rooftop solar panels would be installed under the Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) scheme. According to TSREDCO officials, power consumption costs usually costs `5.50 to `6 per unit.

However, the discom has been charging `3.95/unit from the Water Board. Once rooftop solar panels are installed, it would cost `2.45/unit and save the Water Board `1.45/unit. Operating and maintaining various pump houses, water and sewerage plants cause high power bills for the department. This 30 MW solar power project would help Water Board to save `10 crore per year on electricity bills. The HMWS&SB’s power bills are approximately `50 crore per month after a subsidy from the discom. TSREDCO has sent proposals to the State government to create solar power infrastructure under the Water Board. The cost of energy for the proposed project is at the rate of `2.45 per unit for 25 years. It costs `4.5 crore for creating infrastructure of 1 MW of solar power. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2021/aug/07/telangana-solar-panels-to-bring-down-water-boards-power-bills-2341259.html  (07 Aug. 2021)

Coimbatore Karumbukadai folk may soon get relief from polluted water Much to the relief of Karumbukadai residents, the city corporation has commenced the work to address the issue of sewage water getting mixed with drinking water in the area. It is to be noted that the residents had made several representations to the civic body to address the issue of sewage water getting mixed with drinking water in their locality. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/coimbatore/karumbukadai-folk-may-soon-get-relief-from-polluted-water/articleshow/85114744.cms  (07 Aug. 2021)

Delhi Fresh lease of life for 50 waterbodies by year end This ‘city of lakes’ project was launched in 2018 to augment water supply by recharging ground water and recycling treated wastewater with the intention of meeting the city’s water demand of 1,140 million gallons (MGD) per day. The current supply of 940 MGD falls short of the demand by 200 MGD. Setting up new groundwater recharge reservoirs and rejuvenating existing lakes was the crux of the plan.

For 155 water bodies, the DJB has allocated a sum of Rs 376 crore, followed by around Rs 200 crore for another 90 water bodies, officials associated with the project said. Lakes, including the ones at Rohini and Timarpur, have separate allocations of around Rs 64 crore each, while around Rs 10 crore has been allocated for the Bhalswa Lake.

While Delhi has over a 1,000 water bodies, only about 600 of these can be “revived” since the remaining have been built over or turned into parks. Of the 600, around 255 water bodies have been included under Phase I of the project. Around 500 MGD of wastewater is being treated at 35 of the DJB’s STPs. This is set to go up to around 630 MGD by the end of the year with the small treatment plants that are being installed alongside water bodies. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/djbs-city-of-lakes-project-for-50-water-bodies-in-the-capital-a-fresh-lease-of-life-by-the-year-end-7444891/ (09 Aug. 2021)

Gurugram Illegal sewage plant removed in demolition drive The municipal corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) on Wednesday demolished an illegal sewage treatment plant (STP) and an illegal parking lot and reclaimed 1,500 sq yard of the government land in Sector 48.

On the directions given by the joint commissioner of zone-4, Sumit Kumar, an enforcement team led by assistant engineer Naim Husaain, junior engineers Sachin Kumar and Mandeep Kumar along with police personnels removed the encroachments from Sohna road. The MCG officials said that the measurement of the land was first done by the patwari before using earthmovers to demolish the illegal structures. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/illegal-sewage-plant-parking-lot-removed-in-demolition-drive/articleshow/85052629.cms  (05 Aug. 2021)

Ludhiana Geeta Nagar residents protest against erratic water supply Residents of Geeta Nagar in the Gurmail Park area of Ward 14 staged a protest due to the erratic water supply in the area. They alleged that water was not being supplied properly in the area for the past three days due to which they were forced to face inconvenience. They alleged that they also get contaminated water whenever it is supplied. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/ludhiana/geeta-nagar-residents-protest-against-erratic-water-supply-294720  (08 Aug. 2021)

WATER POLLUTION

Uttar Pradesh Sugar mill damaging crops A sugar factory in Sitapur is allegedly causing misery in a neighbouring village by discharging effluents into the open. Villagers claim their land is turning infertile and crop produce is reducing too. Both factory administration and pollution control board officials deny allegations. https://en.gaonconnection.com/sugar-mill-sitapur-uttar-pradesh-farmers-crops-water-pollution-contamination-wastewater/  (04 Aug. 2021)

JJM/ RURAL WATER SUPPLY

Bundelkhand Tap water by Dec In its bid to supply piped water to 12 lakh families in water-starved areas of Bundelkhand and Purvanchal before the assembly elections, the state government is racing against time to complete projects under the ‘Har Ghar Nal Yojana’. Principal secretary, Namami Gange, Anurag Srivastava said trial run for several projects would start within next two months and the government would be able to start the water supply to Bundelkhand and Vindhya regions from December.

“The government has completed about 80% work of water treatment plants in various districts of Bundelkhand, like Jhansi and Mahoba. Construction work is almost complete in over 50% of the plants. We plan to complete the work six months before the deadline,” he said. Under the central Jal Jeevan Mission, 467 projects are being implemented in Bundelkhand, 43 of which are surface water schemes and the remaining based on groundwater. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/parched-bkhand-to-get-tap-water-by-dec/articleshow/85140451.cms  (08 Aug. 2021)

1.06 lakh villages to get clean tap water The last round of water quality checks are on. The water supplied is already of ‘potable’ quality, the Jal Shakti ministry is running additional checks across districts to ensure drinking water quality is not compromised. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/a-few-more-checks-and-1-06l-villages-will-get-tap-water/articleshow/85132375.cms  (08 Aug. 2021)

WATER

CWC RESERVOIR STORAGE BULLETIN OF 05.08.2021 As per reservoir storage bulletin dated 05.08.2021, live storage available in 130 reservoirs reservoirs having 174.233 BCM capacity is 98.434 BCM, which is 56% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. However, last year the live storage available in these reservoirs for the corresponding period was 75.848 BCM and the average of last 10 years live storage was 81.776 BCM.

The total live storage available in 8 reservoirs in north region including states of Himachal, Punjab and Rajasthan having total live storage capacity of 19.17 BCM is 7.68 BCM which is 40% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 47% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 55% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs.

The total live storage available in 20 reservoirs in eastern region including states of Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Tripura and Nagaland having total live storage capacity of 19.96 BCM is 8.68 BCM which is 43% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 34% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 39% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs.

The total live storage available in 42 reservoirs in western region including States of Gujarat and Maharashtra having total live storage capacity of 35.24 BCM is 17.67 BCM which is 50% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 46% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 47% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs.

The total live storage available in 23 reservoirs in central region including states of UP, MP Uttarakhand having total live storage capacity of 45.27BCM is 22.15 BCM which is 48.93% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 48.85% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 51% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs.

The total live storage available in 37 reservoirs in southern region including states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, AP&TG (2combined projects in both states), Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu having total live storage capacity of 54.60 BCM is 42.25 BCM which is 77% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 40% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 44% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. http://cwc.gov.in/sites/default/files/05082021-bulletin.pdf

AGRICULTURE

Maharashtra 70% cropped area vulnerable A new study by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) shows that 77 per cent of Maharashtra’s cropped region is vulnerable to climate change, droughts and dwindling water security. Changing crop patterns is a possible solution, experts say. https://en.gaonconnection.com/maharashtra-extreme-weather-events-icar-climate-change-farmers-agriculture-crop-drought-rainfall/  (06 Aug. 2021)

The research conducted by Chaitanya Adhav of ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), Karnal, under the guidance of Dr R Sendhil from ICAR-Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research, found Nandurbar to be the district most vulnerable to cyclones, floods, droughts, changing rainfall patterns, changing temperature. And these extreme weather and climate conditions have also affected its crop production. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/india/77-of-maharashtras-cropped-area-vulnerable-to-climate-change-study-finds-7290141.html  (06 Aug. 2021)

MONSOON 2021

SANDRP Blog July 2021: High Rainfall days in India’s districts An analysis of the daily district wise rainfall data from India Meteorological Department (IMD) for the month of July 2021, the 2nd month of India’s South West Monsoon 2021 shows that there were 717 instances when district rainfall of a day was above 50 mm. Such high rainfall instances included 595 instances when rainfall was 50-100 mm, 98 instances when it was 100-150 mm, 17 times it was 150-200 mm and 7 times above 200 mm. Interestingly in June 2021 too there were seven instances when rainfall was above 200 mm, when the rainfall is supposed to be much below July rainfall. As noted in detailed article, the July 2021 rainfall all over India was 6.7% below normal. https://sandrp.in/2021/08/06/july-2021-high-rainfall-days-in-indias-districts/  (06 Aug. 2021)

Report Bhakra to Pong, most dams record shortfall in live storage It is peak monsoon period and the dams of northern India, including Bhakra dam in Nangal, Pong dam in Talwara and Thein dam in Pathankot, are witnessing current live storage that is less than the average storage of last ten years. Also, most other dams of the region too are carrying less water in their respective reservoirs compared to their usual level for this period. The all India status of 130 dams, however, is much better than the northern region dams. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ludhiana/amid-heavy-rains-in-several-parts-from-bhakra-to-pong-most-dams-record-shortfall-in-live-storage-7432651/  (01 Aug. 2021)

Kerala Failing SW monsoon South West Monsoon has brought low rain in N Kerala, leading to water scarcity. Farmers are suffering. Kabini river is almost dried up in Pulpally & Mullankolli panchayats in Wayanad. Tamil Nadu’s delta districts- Thanjavur, Tiruchirappalli, Nagapattinam are facing water scarcity. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/water-shortage-drying-rivers-how-southwest-monsoon-is-failing-kerala-78325  (06 Aug. 2021)

FLOOD 2021

Andhra Pradesh Pulichintala project gate breaks A flood gate at Andhra’s KL Rao multi-purpose irrigation project (Pulichintala) was washed away in the early hours of Thursday, August 5. Following this, Andhra Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority (APSDMA) Commissioner K Kannababu cautioned people living by the trajectory of the Krishna river as higher inflows are expected.

The flash flood alert was issued after the 16th flood gate of the Pulichintala project was washed away due to a technical issue. “Officials will set up a stop lock gate in the place of that gate. Because of this, higher flood inflows are expected at the Prakasam Barrage,” Kannababu said. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/flash-flood-alert-two-andhra-districts-after-pulichintala-project-gate-breaks-153492  (05 Aug. 2021)

Irrigation (water resources) Minister P Anil Kumar visited the dam in the morning to take stock of the situation. “The welding joints of the gate gave away under the tremendous pressure of water and it came apart completely and got washed away. They are trying to erect another gate,” an official said. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/hyderabad/andhra-pradesh-dam-gate-breaks-in-guntur-district-flood-alert-issued-7439888/lite/  (05 Aug. 2021)

At around 3:30 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 5 the officials were lifting the crest gates of the Pulichintala project to release surplus water downstream. They were to lift the gates to a height of two feet. Suddenly, the Gate no 16 came apart as the welding holding the gate to the dam structure came apart and completely broke due to the heavy pressure of the floodwater. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2021/aug/05/flood-alert-issued-in-andhras-guntur-krishna-districts-after-gate-of-pulichintala-dam-washes-away-2340511.amp  (05 Aug. 2021)

The project currently has water level at 175.21 ft against the full reservoir level of 175 feet with current storage of 44.54 tmcft of water against gross capacity at FRL of 45.77 tmcft. As water from the reservoir gushes out from the gap, the authorities lifted other gates to reduce pressure on the dam. The authorities are making efforts to install a gate to stop the flow of water downstream.

Meanwhile, Prakasam barrage, located downstream to the Pulichinthala project, is receiving an inflow of 58,939 cusecs of water. The reservoir is already filled to its storage capacity of 3.07 tmcft of water and the authorities are splashing the inflow of water as an outflow by lifting the gates of the barrage. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/050821/flood-alert-issued-in-aps-krishna-district-after-pulichintala-dam-gat.html  (05 Aug. 2021)

A temporary gate will be erected at Pulichintala dam on Saturday (Aug. 7). The water resources authorities have deployed a team of experts to install a temporary gate called ‘Stop Lock Gate’ in the place of the radial crest gate number 16, which was washed away due to a mechanical failure in the early hours on Friday.

The Pulichintala project was initiated during the previous Telugu Desam regime under engineering, procurement and construction mode in 2003. However, the Congress government led by the then CM Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy laid foundation stone for the project in 2004 and it was inaugurated by the then CM Kiran Kumar Reddy in 2013. The YSR Congress Party government is having the burden of clearing dues worth of Rs 199 crore along with interest as the previous regime failed to pay for execution of Pulichintala project. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/070821/temporary-gate-to-be-erected-at-pulichintala-dam.html  (07 Aug. 2021)

DAM FLOODS MP, UP, Rajasthan 2 bridges washed away in flood in Datia district after water was released from Manikheda dam, 10 gates were opened. In a video, bridge can be seen crashing down on Aug 3. Bridges are among 3 connecting Datia district to Gwalior.  https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/bridge-washes-out-in-flood-fury-in-madhya-pradesh-2501828  (03 Aug. 2021)

MP floods in Sheopur, Shivpuri districts, Gwalior-Chambal region: Over 200 villages in Shivpuri and Sheopur districts are badly hit by heavy rains and floods. Shivpuri district reported 470 mm rainfall in last 24 hours and 798 mm rain in 48 hours. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/heavy-rains-trigger-floods-in-madhya-pradesh-rescue-operations-on-2501782  (03 Aug. 2021)

Shivpuri is usually known for water scarcity during the summer. But on August 2-3, within a span of 38 hours, the entire district received record rainfall of 454.57 millimetres (mm), according to the India Meteorological Department. This is 55 per cent of the total rainfall the district receives in a year. The district has recorded 896.3 per cent rainfall this monsoon. The average rainfall in this region is 816 mm. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/apocalypse-now-shivpuri-gets-half-the-rain-of-a-normal-year-in-38-hours-78306  (05 Aug. 2021)

River Sind at Seondha level forecast site in Datia, Madhya Pradesh has crossed HFL 141.73 m attained on 24.07.   1971. https://ffs.tamcnhp.com/main/hydrograph-detail/016-CDJAPR

River Prawati on Khatoli level forecast site in Kota district, Rajasthan has crossed HFL 207.55 m attained on 23.08.1996.  https://ffs.tamcnhp.com/main/hydrograph-detail/016-CDJAPR

Yamuna river has crossed old HFL 118.19 m attained on 25 Aug. 1996 at Auraiya level forecast site by 0.19 m with rising trend. https://ffs.tamcnhp.com/main/hydrograph-detail/005-LYDAGRA

River Yamuna at Kalpi level forecast site in Jalaun increased to 112.84 m which is 0.14 m less than previous HFL of 112.98 m attained on 25.08.1996. https://ffs.tamcnhp.com/main/hydrograph-detail/006-LYDAGR

On Aug 6, 2021, Kalisindh dam opened 10 gates at 11 am, releasing nearly 118000 cusecs water while Bhim Sagar dam opened 5 gates, released 50000 cusecs, both in Jhalawar district in Rajasthan. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/rains-cause-flood-like-situation-in-parts-of-rajasthan-heavy-downpour-in-deluge-hit-mp-abate-1837890-2021-08-07  (07 Aug. 2021)

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar had to face massive protests from angry flood affected people in Sheopur town on Aug 7, 2021, following protests that district officials faced. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/union-minister-narendra-singh-tomar-faces-protest-at-visit-to-flood-hit-area-in-madhya-pradesh-2505250  (07 Aug. 2021) 

Seep river devastated Sheopur with one lakh population one lakh. 50 per cent town submerged. 3 day flood followed by accumulated sludge & silt forced people to chase district collector and SP. Women threw slippers at vehicle with municipal officials, gone to survey flood damage. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/madhya-pradesh-overflowing-seep-wreaks-havoc-in-sheopur-district/articleshow/85088282.cms  (06 Aug. 2021)

An eight-year-old dam constructed on River Seep has been swept away in floodwaters, inundating several villages in Soikala panchayat. Reports reaching here say that one of the villages, Mewada Kotha, was razed to the ground. As many as half a dozen bridges on River Sindh and Seep have collapsed in the floods, some barely a few years old. Extensive damage to the bridges and roads was reported from Gwalior and Chambal regions. A large chunk of AB Road near Shivpuri has caved in.

Four of the bridges that collapsed were built in the last 12 years, and a fifth (in Sheopur) was built just eight years ago. The oldest bridge to crumble dates back 20 years. Extensive damage was reported on the Kuno river in Sheopur connecting Shivpuri and Gwalior. “There is a gap of over 5-6 feet between the connecting road and the bridge”, government sources said, adding that even the authorities haven’t been able to visit the site. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/madhya-pradesh-8-year-old-dam-6-bridges-swept-away-in-floods-probe-ordered/articleshow/85088260.cms  (06 Aug. 2021)

Bridges and other infrastructure bore the brunt from the floods. Shivpuri and Sheopur districts recorded one death each. Seven people have also been injured – four in Guna, two in Shivpuri and one in Morena – in rain related incidents. The heavy showers damaged bridges near the Ratangarh temple (Datia) and Sankua because of which many people were stuck there, Chouhan said.

“The state has not seen such devastation in the last 70 years that the rain-ravaged Gwalior-Chambal region is facing. Bridges near the Ratangarh Mata Temple and Sankua in the area were damaged and many people got stranded in those areas,” the official said quoting Chouhan. He told the PM about major damages caused to the infrastructure, crops, power and telecom networks and about the requirement of basic necessities, the officials said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/mp-rain-mayhem-not-seen-such-devastation-in-70-years-says-shivraj-singh-chouhan/articleshow/85063973.cms  (05 Aug. 2021)

Heavy rainfall across Rajasthan wreaked havoc in many districts including Baran, Jhalawar and some parts of Karauli on Monday (Aug. 2). Three people were killed including two in Karauli and one in Jaipur and four injured in rain-related mishaps. Rainfall in the past seven days has given a new lease of life to the reservoirs and waterbodies, especially in the districts where there was deficit rainfall. The deficit, which was 36 per cent, has now come down to 0.2 per cent.

Majority of water reservoirs and dams are now overflowing due to incessant rainfall in many districts. Flood-like situation was witnessed in Baran district where Shahbad town received heavy rainfall for the second consecutive day. Local rivers including Parvati and Chambal were overflowing due to heavy rainfall in the eastern parts of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

In Kota, two gates of Kota barrage were opened and 5,000 cusec metre water was released. According to Jaipur Met office, Shahbad (Baran) received a rainfall of 246mm, followed by Sawai Madhopur 215 mm, Sapotra (Karauli) 184mm. Many places including Khandar, Malarna Dungar, Chauth ka Barwara and Bamanwas received rainfall varying from 10mm to 80 mm. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/rains-claim-3-lives-in-raj-dams-full/articleshow/84989143.cms  (03 Aug. 2021)

ग्वालियर-चंबल के बाद मध्यप्रदेश के दूसरे हिस्सों में भी लगातार बारिश से बाढ़ आ गई है। पार्वती नदी दोबारा उफान पर आ गई है। इससे गुना के 8 गांवों में पानी घुस गया है। अशोकनगर और विदिशा में भी हालात बिगड़ गए हैं। गांवों से लोगों का रेस्क्यू किया जा रहा है। छतरपुर और टीकमगढ़ में सुजारा बांध पानी से भर गया है। दशान नदी में बाढ़ है। इसकी वजह से दोनों जिलों में नदी के किनारे वाले गांवों को अलर्ट जारी किया गया है।

जिले में औसत बारिश का रिकॉर्ड टूट गया है। अब तक 1100 मिमी बारिश हो चुकी है। शुक्रवार (Aug. 6) सुबह 8 बजे से शाम पांच बजे तक 6 इंच से ज्यादा पानी गिरा है। बमोरी में सबसे ज्यादा बारिश हुई है। यहां औसत वर्षा 1006 के मुकाबले अभी तक 1592 मिमी बारिश दर्ज हुई है।

चौपेटा नदी पर बने गोपीकृष्ण सागर बांध के 3 गेट 15 मीटर खोल दिए गए हैं, जिससे पार्वती नदी उफान पर आ गई है। 8 गांवों में पानी भर गया है। इनमें हमीरपुर, पाटी, विलास, बिसनवाड़ा के अलावा 4 गांव और हैं। विदिशा जिले के शमशाबाद में बाह नदी पर बने संजय सागर बांध के 7 गेट खोल दिए गए हैं। इससे प्रभावित होने वाले निचले क्षेत्रों में अलर्ट कर दिया गया है।

सगड डेम के गेट खोलने से आई बाढ़. छतरपुर-टीकमगढ़ जिले की सीमा पर बने बान सुजारा बांध का गेट खोल दिया गया है जिससे दशान नदी का जलस्तर बढ़ गया है। गेट शाम 4 बजे खोल दिया गया है। यहां की अन्य नदियों में भी पानी बढ़ा है। आगर मालवा जिले में सबसे बड़े कुंडालिया बांध के 8 गेट खोले दिए गए हैं। निचले इलाकों में अलर्ट जारी किया गया है। जिले में पिछले 24 घंटे में औसत 43.8 मिलीमीटर बरिश दर्ज की गई है, जिसमें सर्वाधिक नलखेड़ा में 80.4 मिमी दर्ज की गई है। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/news/many-villages-were-submerged-by-the-spate-of-parvati-river-due-to-heavy-rains-situation-worsens-in-ashoknagar-vidisha-alert-in-chhatarpur-tikamgarh-128785299.html  (07 Aug. 2021)

सिंध नदी ने ग्वालियर-चंबल अंचल में तबाही मचा दी है। पहली बार सिंध नदी का ऐसा रौद्र रूप लोगों ने देखा है। बुधवार (Aug. 4) सुबह दतिया जिले में सिंध नदी पर बने सेंवढ़ा और भिंड का इंदुर्खी पुल बह गए। इसके बाद दोपहर में शिवपुरी जिले में नरवर-ग्वालियर को जोड़ने वाला मगरौनी पुल का काफी हिस्सा नदी में बह गया। इसके पहले मंगलवार (Aug. 3) को सिंध नदी के बहाव में रतनगढ़ वाली माता और लांच-पिछोर का पुल भी बह गया था। अब दतिया जिले के गोराघाट, भिंड के मेंहदा घाट का पुल भी खतरे में हैं। दोनों पुलों पर पानी आ गया है।

ककेटो और मड़ीखेड़ा बांध से पानी छोड़े जाने के बाद मंगलवार (Aug. 3) की दोपहर से लगातार सिंध नदी में पानी बढ़ रहा है। सिंध नदी के उफान पर आने से अब तक दतिया जिले के 3 और भिंड- शिवपुरी जिले में एक- एक पुल टूट चुके हैं। सिंध नदी पर ही मड़ीखेड़ा डैम के नीचे के पुल पर दरार आ गई है। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/bhind/news/water-came-up-to-the-bridges-of-sevdha-amayan-and-goraghat-of-sindh-river-indurkhi-bridge-submerged-in-the-river-migration-to-many-villages-128777464.html  (04 Aug. 2021)

ग्वालियर-चंबल अंचल में हो रही लगातार बारिश की वजह से पुल एक-एक करके टूट रहे हैं। मंगलवार को दतिया जिले की रतनगढ़ माता मंदिर के नीचे बना पुल सिंध नदी के तेज बहाव के सामने तिनके की तरह ढह गया था। बुधवार की सुबह दतिया जिले के सेवड़ा में सिंध नदी पर बना सनकुआ तीर्थ का पुल भी नदी के बहाव में धराशायी हो गया। दो दिन में सिंध नदी पर बने हुए दो पुल अब तक धराशाई हो चुके हैं। https://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/state/madhya-pradesh/datiya/another-bridge-collapses-in-datia-sankua-bridge-on-sindh-river-flown-away-with-water/articleshow/85031058.cms  (04 Aug. 2021)

धौलपुर जिले में पार्वती बांध से छोड़े गए पानी से करीब तीन दर्जन गांव टापू बन गये वहीं कोटा बैराज से छोड़े गए पानी के बाद चंबल नदी से सटे हुए गांवों में बाढ़ की संभावना बन गई है। पार्वती बांध से छोड़े गए पानी के कारण लगभग 35 गांव जिला तथा तहसील मुख्यालयों से कट गए हैं। इन गांवों में आने जाने का रास्ता बंद हो गया है। बताया जा रहा है कि करीब पांच वर्ष पहले पार्वती नदी में बहाव बढ़ने से संकट पैदा हुआ था। इस बार उससे बड़ा संकट सामने आया है। चंबल नदी खतरे के निशान से छह मीटर ऊपर बह रही है तथा निरंतर पानी की आवक बढ़ने से चंबल के किनारे बसे गांव में रहने वाले लोग परेशा न हैं। http://www.univarta.com/%E0%A4%AA-%E0%A4%B0-%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%A4-%E0%A4%AC-%E0%A4%A7-%E0%A4%B8-%E0%A4%9B-%E0%A4%A1-%E0%A4%AA-%E0%A4%A8-%E0%A4%B8-%E0%A4%A4-%E0%A4%A8-%E0%A4%A6%E0%A4%B0-%E0%A4%9C%E0%A4%A8-%E0%A4%97-%E0%A4%B5-%E0%A4%AC%E0%A4%A8-%E0%A4%9F-%E0%A4%AA/rajsthan/news/2466297.html  (03 Aug. 2021)

ग्वालियर के भितरवार में सिंध और पार्वती नदी के किनारे बसे गांव में बाढ़ का संकट बढ़ गया है। देर रात अचानक हरसी बांध से 3 लाख क्यूसेक पानी छोड़ने पर शिवपुरी सीमा से लगे भितरवार के कई गांव पानी में घिर गए हें। साथ ही मोहना और करहिया इलाके में भी कई गांव में अलर्ट जारी किया गया है। पार्वती नदी के किनारे खिरिया गांव को देर रात प्रशासन की टीम ने खाली करा लिया है। एक और गांव को भी खाली कराया जा रहा है।  

देर रात 3 लाख क्यूसेक पानी नदियों में छोड़ा गया है। करीब 1 लाख क्यूसेक पानी और छोड़ा जा रहा है। ऐसे में यह पानी सिंध और पार्वती में आने से यह नदियां पहले ही उफान पर थीं और अब खतरे के निशान पर आ गई हैं। 20 से ज्यादा गांवों में अलर्ट घोषित किया गया। यह सभी गांव नदियों के किनारे बसे गांव है। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/gwalior/news/more-than-20-villages-engulfed-in-water-one-village-was-evacuated-a-bus-was-stuck-on-the-tracks-was-rescued-the-situation-worsened-after-releasing-3-lakh-cusecs-of-water-from-harsi-128773742.html  (03 Aug. 2021)

यमुना नदी पर बने जुहीखा पुल का सड़क मार्ग कई जगह क्षतिग्रस्त हो गया है। यह पुल औरैया समेत इटावा व जालौन जिला को जोड़ता है। ऐसे में इस पर वाहनों का दबाव ज्यादा है। बावजूद पुल की खस्ताहाल सड़क को दुरुस्त करने का कार्य नहीं कराया जा रहा है। जबकि कई बार सिचाई व लोक निर्माण विभाग के अधिकारियों से कस्बे के लोग शिकायत कर चुके हैं। इसके बाद भी हालात जस के तस हैं। https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/auraiya-juhikha-bridge-road-damaged-dangerous-journey-21890197.html  (02 Aug. 2021)

Kashi canal project flooded गंगा के रौद्र रूप के आगे दम तोड़ दी नहर गंगा का जलस्तर बढ़ने की रफ्तार एक दिन पहले घटने लगा था. तब गंगाघाट के समानांतर बनी पांच किलोमीटर लम्बी “रेत की नहर” के किनारे 3-4 जगह पर रेत का टीला घाट पर से भी दिखता था, लेकिन गुरुवार (Aug. 5) को सुबह से ही वृद्धि का जो क्रम जारी हुआ, उसकी रफ्तार और धारा में करेंट इतना तेज था कि नहर का जो हिस्सा दिख रहा था, वह भी शुक्रवार (Aug. 6) को सुबह धारा में विलीन हो गया. नहर बनाने पर खर्च हुआ लगभग 12 करोड़ रुपये इसके साथ ही गंगा में बह गया. नहर बनने के बाद पहले मानसून में ही सब कुछ गंगा की धारा में विलीन हो गया. मणिकर्णिका श्मशान व ललिताघाट पर बना कंक्रीट का प्लेटफार्म भी पानी में डूब गया है.  https://www.facebook.com/100005514876885/posts/1691663141027499/?d=n  (06 Aug. 2021)

नहर बनना शुरू हुआ तभी गंगा प्रेमियों और काशी के विशेषज्ञों ने इसे पैसे की बर्बादी बताया था। आशंका जताई थी कि गंगा का जलस्तर बढ़ते ही यह डूब जाएगा। अब वही आशंका सच साबित हो रही है। नहर के किनारे बनाया गया बालू का टीला भी इसमें गिरने लगा है। इससे बालू का टेंडर ले चुके कारोबारियों में भी हड़कंप हैं। उन्हें भारी नुकसान की आशंका हो रही है। https://www.livehindustan.com/uttar-pradesh/story-one-of-varanasi-s-dream-projects-ganga-canal-on-the-verge-of-sinking-river-experts-had-already-expressed-apprehensions-4275599.html  (30 July 2021)

वाराणसी में 11.95 करोड़ रुपए की लागत से राम नगर की ओर रेत में बनाई गई नहर बढ़ते जलस्तर के साथ अब पानी में समाहित हो रही है। इसे लेकर शुक्रवार को संकटमोचन फाउंडेशन के अध्यक्ष और आईआईटी बीएचयू के प्रोफेसर विशंभर नाथ मिश्र ने वाराणसी के प्रशासनिक अधिकारियों और सिंचाई विभाग के अभियंताओं को गंभीर सवालों के घेरे में खड़ा किया। प्रो. मिश्र ने कहा कि इस प्रोजेक्ट को लेकर काशी के नदी वैज्ञानिकों ने शुरू से ही आपत्ति जताई थी। मगर, नदी वैज्ञानिकों की राय को दरकिनार कर 11 कराड़े रुपए से ज्यादा की रकम बरबाद कर दी गई। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/uttar-pradesh/varanasi/news/canal-built-across-the-ganges-in-varanasi-is-getting-absorbed-with-the-rising-water-level-iit-bhu-professor-raised-questions-128758343.html?ref=inbound_More_News  (31 July 2021) https://innovest.co.in/14774/

यह कार्य गंगा के वेग का अध्ययन करने के लिए किया गया है ताकि काशी के पक्के घाटों की कटान रोकी जा सके। इसमें पांच साल तक अध्ययन चलेगा। जमा रेती की ड्रेजिंग होती रहेगी। इससे निकलने वाले बालू से राजस्व भी मिलेगा। https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/varanasi-city-dredging-will-be-done-in-varanasi-for-five-years-study-of-ganga-stream-will-be-made-by-paving-canal-shiv-ki-pauri-21886519.html  (02 Aug. 2021)

वाराणसी में गंगा किनारे बने अर्द्ध चंद्राकार पक्के घाटों को बचाने के लिए नदी के बराबर रामनगर पुल से राजघाट तक बालू में 5.3 किलोमीटर लंबा चैनल बनाया गया है। 4 महीने में बनकर तैयार हुए इस चैनल की चौड़ाई 45 मीटर और गहराई 7 मीटर है। इस पर 11.95 करोड़ रुपए खर्च हुए हैं।

प्रशासन और सिंचाई विभाग का दावा है कि इस चैनल के बनने से बाढ़ के दिनों में गंगा के पानी का दबाव पक्के घाटों पर नहीं पड़ेगा और पत्थरों का क्षरण नहीं होगा। इसके साथ ही यहां पर्यटन को बढ़ावा मिलेगा। गंगा की मुख्य धारा और नहर के बीच पर्यटकों को आइलैंड जैसा अनुभव मिलेगा। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/uttar-pradesh/varanasi/news/experts-are-concerned-about-the-canal-being-built-in-sand-across-the-ganges-in-varanasi-there-is-a-possibility-of-the-crescent-shape-being-affected-there-may-be-a-decrease-in-water-flow-128647740.html  (July 2021)

357 villages in 21 dist in Uttar Pradesh have been inundated. Hamirpur & Jalun dist in Bundelkhand are worst affected. Yamuna above danger mark in 5 places. In Gonda dist of eastern UP, a primary school along Ghsghara got washed away on Aug 8. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/over-350-villages-hit-by-floods-in-uttar-pradesh-ganga-yamuna-above-danger-mark-2505945  (09 Aug. 2021)

Rising Ganga causes reverse flow in Varuna Rising water level in Ganga has led to reverse flow in Varuna river– a minor tributary of the national river– leading to flooding in low lying areas of the temple city, said administrative officials. According to Central Water Commission, Ganga was flowing at 70.42m mark in Varanasi a few notches above the warning level of 70.262m following which all 84 ghats of the city were flooded.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/rising-ganga-causes-reverse-flow-in-varuna-floods-low-lying-areas-in-up-s-varanasi-101628358426055.html  (07 Aug. 2021)

Due to heavy rainfall, the water level of Ganga and Yamuna rivers has risen to dangerous levels. Water enters people’s homes throwing normal lives out of gear. A local said, “Residents, most of them students, are facing severe problems. Most students are planning to return to their homes”.  https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/uttar-pradesh-water-level-of-ganga-yamuna-rivers-rises-houses-submerge-in-prayagraj/videoshow/85127033.cms  (07 Aug. 2021)

Thousands gathered at the Bade Hanumanji temple at Sangam area to watch the annual ritual of Ganga waters entering the temple premises on Thursday (Aug. 5). This happens each year due to increase in river water levels. Devotees who consider this as an auspicious event.

Meanwhile, the release of water from the Dholpur barrage from Chambal river in Rajasthan is likely to further worsen the flood situation in the Sangam city as the water released from Dholpur barrage is expected to enter Prayagraj by Saturday (Aug. 7). https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/ganga-yamuna-in-spate-river-water-enters-bade-hanuman-temple-in-prayagraj-101628189274892.html  (06 Aug. 2021)

Ganga and Yamuna, are currently flowing almost four meters below the danger level. The water levels of Ganga in Phaphamau are increasing with a speed of 2.41 cm per hour and in Chhatnag, it is increasing with a speed of 4.8 cm per hour. Whereas the water levels of Yamuna are increasing with a speed of 3.79 cm per hour. If the water levels continue to increase the same way it will create serious issues for people living in the low-lying areas. Also, there are strong chances that the water of Sangam will reach the sanctum sanctorum of the big Hanuman temple in the next three or four days. https://www.news18.com/news/india/ganga-yamuna-swell-in-prayagaraj-flood-alert-issued-4041989.html  (03 Aug. 2021)

Uttarakhand Three students from Mumbai in their early 20s were feared drowned in the Ganga after they were caught in strong current while swimming in Rishikesh on Wednesday. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/3-mumbai-students-feared-drowned-in-ganga-in-rishikesh/articleshow/85056007.cms  (05 Aug. 2021)

DAMS FLOOD W. BENGAL:- 15 dead, 6 districts flooded with dam water At least 15 people have died and nearly 3 lakh have been displaced in six districts of West Bengal after heavy rainfall, followed by discharge of water from Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) dams, which left several areas of the state flooded, report said. Bengal has been seeing heavy rains for some time now. Meanwhile, a DVC official said that since 31 July, the corporation has released 5.43 lakh cusec of water till Tuesday (Aug. 3) evening, according to PTI. Several houses have also reportedly been damaged due to the floods in the state. The affected districts include Hooghly, Purba Bardhaman, Howrah, Paschim Bardhaman, Paschim Medinipur, and South 24 Parganas. https://www.thequint.com/news/india/west-bengal-six-districts-flooded-heavy-rains-water-from-dams#read-more  (04 Aug. 2021)

Bengal CM AGAIN highlights role of DVC dams in worsening Bengal floods in letter to PM. Banerjee blamed “unprecedented release of water from the DVC dams Panchet, Maithon and Tenughat” for the flood situation and sought the PM’s intervention. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/bengal-floods-pm-dials-mamata-assures-her-of-all-help-7438268/  (05 Aug. 2021)

Search on for 5 missing labourers in Kalimpong after multiple landslides Search was underway on Saturday (July 31) for the five labourers who went missing after their camp at Mamkhola in Kalimpong district got washed away by a rivulet which had swollen due to heavy rainfall, officials said.

Eight labourers, engaged in the construction of the Sevoke-Rangpo rail project, went missing as the rivulet washed away their camp on Friday (July 30) morning amid heavy rainfall, officials said. Multiple landslides on NH-10 on the West Bengal side between Rangpo and Melli blocked movement of traffic, cutting off the Sikkim border, they said. A culvert near Mamkhola was also damaged, blocking the all-important highway. The landslide at 29th Mile, around 60 km from the Sikkim border, was cleared and open for one-way traffic on Friday (July 30) evening. https://www.eastmojo.com/national-news/2021/07/31/search-on-for-5-missing-labourers-in-kalimpong-after-multiple-landslides/  (31 July 2021)

Jharkhand बारिश में ढहा कांची नदी पर बना पुल रांची के तमाड़ सोनाहातू पथ पर कांची नदी के ऊपर बामलाडीह घाट के पुल के दो स्लैब शनिवार (Aug. 7) की रात भारी बारिश के कारण नदी में आए तेज बहाव में बह गए। इस पुल के टूटने से तमाड़ और सोनाहातू प्रखंड के बीच का सीधा संपर्क टूट गया। जिससे दोनों प्रखंडों के हजारों लोगों को आवागमन में काफी परेशानी का सामना करना पड़ रहा है। बता दें कि इस पुल का निर्माण साल 2011-12 में किया गया था। जिसमें लगभग छह करोड़ की लागत आई थी। साल 2014 में पुल में आवागमन शुरू हुआ था। लेकिन पुल पर आवागमन शुरू होने के बाद तीन साल के भीतर ही 27 जुलाई 2017 को बीच का पिलर दब गया। तभी से इसके ध्वस्त होने की आशंका व्यक्त की जा रही थी। हालांकि, 2018 तक पुल को दुरुस्त कर लिया गया था।

ग्रामीणों का कहना है कि पुल के आसपास से अत्यधिक बालू के उठाव के कारण पुल का स्पेन दब गया था। अगर प्रशासन इस तरीके से अवैध बालू के उठाव पर सख्ती से रोक लागता तो पुल ध्वस्त नहीं होता। स्थानीय लोगों का यह भी कहना है कि निर्माण में गड़बड़ी हुई है। निर्माण कार्य के दौरान गुणवत्ता का ध्यान नहीं रखा गया। जिसका ये परिणाम है। इसके अलावा लोगों ने यह भी कहा कि पुल धंसने की दूसरी बड़ी वजह घाट से बालू का अत्यधिक उत्खनन है। लेकिन इस ओर भी प्रशासन का ध्यान नही हैं। बालू माफियाओं द्वारा यहां धड्ड़ले से बालू का अवैध उत्खनन जारी है। https://www.jagran.com/jharkhand/ranchi-bridge-collapes-made-over-kanchi-river-sonahatu-tamar-path-after-heavy-rain-in-jharkhand-21907174.html  (08 Aug. 2021)

Parliament Session Bring flood management into concurrent list Parliament Standing Committee on Water Resource has recommended setting up permanent institutional structure under Centre-National Integrated Flood Management Group. Panel has mooted that flood control and management should be brought under concurrent list of Constitution. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/bring-flood-management-into-concurrent-list-house-panel/article35749304.ece  (05 Aug. 2021)

No provision to declare any natural disaster as a ‘National Calamity’ “Under the existing Scheme of State Disaster Response Fund / National Response Fund of the Ministry of Home Affairs, there is no provision to declare any disaster including flood as a National Calamity, the DoWR, RD & GR said in a written response. Standing Committee on Water Resources recommends setting up a permanent National Integrated Flood Management Group under the chairmanship of the Minister of Jal Shakti. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/natural-disasters/no-provision-to-declare-any-natural-disaster-as-a-national-calamity-panel-report-78339  (06 Aug. 2021)

URBAN FLOODS

Chennai ‘Regulated reservoir operation can reduce floods in the Adyar’ A study by the Department of Geology, Anna University, suggests that flood peaks in the Adyar can be reduced up to 38% with controlled reservoir operation and water release during extreme weather events. The combined storage in five reservoirs has touched nearly 69% of their capacity of 11.75 tmc ft as on Friday (Aug. 6). https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/regulated-reservoir-operation-can-reduce-floods-in-the-adyar/article35777832.ece  (07 Aug. 2021)

LANDSLIDES

Maharashtra Understanding recent landslides Dave Petley on this blog on recent Maharashtra landslides repeatedly acknowledges Parineeta Dandekar of SANDRP as the source of information. He explains anthropogenic degradation as the main reason for so many landslides. https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2021/08/05/maharashtra-2/  (05 Aug. 2021)

Himachal Pradesh Scientists raise concern over frequent landslides, flash floods  The state has recorded an increase of 116% in the landslide incidents while cloudburst occurrences have gone up by 121% this monsoon season compared to 2020. Himachal has recorded 35 major landslides from June 13 — the onset of monsoon season in the state — till July 30, a pointer to the fragile ecology of the Himalayan region. Last year, 16 landslides were recorded across the hill state. Similarly, 17 incidents of flash floods were reported across the state this year compared to just nine last year. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/scientists-raise-concern-over-frequent-landslides-flashfloods-in-himachal-101627767198387.html  (01 Aug. 2021)

Quiet burial to road risk management report Though ‘Landslide Hazard Risk Management’ study was undertaken in 2015, little heed is paid towards the mandatory engineering measures suggested in the report to avert mishaps. The contractors allotted road projects were recklessly cutting the hills, caring little for the fragile ecology, an environmentalist alleged.

Interestingly, as per the ‘2015 Hazard Risk’ report, of the 1,628 km length of the eight NHs in Himachal, 993 km fell in high vulnerable zone. The corresponding figure for the 2,178-km-long state highways was 1,111 km. Since 2014, the NHAI had been granted permission to fell 83,320 trees for various road projects in Himachal, as per information accessed under the RTI.  https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/in-himachal-quiet-burial-to-road-risk-mgmt-report-291613  (02 Aug. 2021)

CLOUD BURSTS

Uttarakhand भारी बारिश और भूस्खलन से दो गोशाला क्षतिग्रस्त पौड़ी जिले के नौगांव में शुक्रवार (Aug. 6) देर रात भारी बारिश और भूस्खलन से दो गोशाला क्षतिग्रस्त हो गईं हैं। जिसमें 45 बकरियों के दबकर मरने की सूचना है। श्रीनगर से करीब सात किलोमीटर दूर चमधार में गुरुवार (Aug. 5) सुबह पांच बजे से अवरुद्ध है। यहां लगभग 100 मीटर मार्ग क्षतिग्रस्त है। प्रभावित क्षेत्र में 100 मीटर ऊपर से लगातार पत्थर गिर रहे हैं। शुक्रवार (Aug. 6)को डीएम ने चमधार का निरीक्षण किया। जब डीएम निरीक्षण कर रहे थे, उसी दौरान पहाड़ी से भारी भरकम मलबा आ गिरा। उन्होंने लोनिवि राष्ट्रीय राजमार्ग खंड को प्रभावित क्षेत्र में सुरक्षा व्यवस्था के इंतजाम करने को कहा है।

जिले में बारिश के कारण हो रहे भूस्खलन और भू-धंसाव से 48 संपर्क मार्ग बंद पड़े हैं, जिससे ग्रामीणों को लंबी दूरी पैदल आवाजाही करनी पड़ रही है। सड़कों की सबसे बुरी स्थिति पोखरी ब्लॉक की बनी हैं। यहां 11 सड़कें जगह-जगह भूस्खलन होने से बंद हैं। रौता, जौरासी, हापला घाटी, कर्णप्रयाग, ताली, कंसारी जैसे क्षेत्रों को यातायात से जोड़ने वाली सड़कें बंद पड़ी हैं। स्थानीय लोगों का कहना है कि कनकचौंरी-रौता सड़क जून माह के शुरुआत से ही बंद पड़ी हैं, जिससे ग्रामीण दो माह से लगभग 10 किलोमीटर की पैदल दूरी तय कर रहे हैं। इधर, बदरीनाथ हाईवे भी जगह-जगह खस्ता हालत में पहुंच गया है। https://www.amarujala.com/dehradun/uttarakhand-monsoon-update-weather-is-clear-badrinath-highway-closed-in-chamdhar-since-thursday?pageId=1  (07 Aug. 2021)

Report Cloudbursts linked to climate change: Govt asks for proof MoEF minister of state Ashwini Kumar Choubey told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply to A Vijaykumar on Monday (Aug. 2) that manifestations of extreme events, including cloudbursts, and their incidence are modelled and projected in various scientific assessments, and there is no established study for India estimating the quantified contribution of climate change in triggering such cloudbursts. “The science of the attribution of such extreme events to climate change is far more complex and currently an evolving subject and being closely studied by Ministry of Earth Sciences, through the IITM and the IMD,” Choubey told the Parliament. https://www.hindustantimes.com/environment/cloudbursts-linked-to-climate-change-say-experts-centre-asks-for-proof-101628062856547.html  (04 Aug. 2021)

Cloudbursts could become more frequent “As temperatures increase the atmosphere can hold more and more moisture and this moisture comes down as a short very intense rainfall for a short duration probably half an hour or one hour resulting in flash floods in the mountainous areas and urban floods in the cities. Also, there is evidence suggesting that globally short duration rainfall extremes are going to become more intense and frequent. With warming climate or climate change, we will surely witness these cloudburst events in increased frequency in the future,” explains Vimal Mishra from the Civil Engineering and Earth Sciences at IIT Gandhinagar. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-cloudbursts-frequent-jk-uttarakhand-himachal-pradesh-imd-7428954/  (04 Aug. 2021)

जलवायु परिवर्तन के कारण हिमालयी राज्यों में हो रही तबाही पुणे स्थित इंडियन इंस्टीट्यूट ऑफ ट्रॉपिकल मेट्रोलॉजी के वैज्ञानिक एनआर देशपांडे और सहयोगियों ने अपने शोधपत्र में मिनी क्लाउड बर्स्ट को परिभाषित करते हुए बताया है कि यदि लगातार दो घंटे 50 मिलीमीटर या उससे अधिक वर्षा हो तो उसे मिनी क्लाउड बर्स्ट (एमसीबी) की श्रेणी में रखा जाए। इस शोधपत्र में यह भी निष्कर्ष निकाला गया कि जून महीने के दौरान पश्चिमी घाट में, जुलाई और अगस्त के दौरान मध्य भारत और हिमालय की ऊंची चोटी वाली घाटियों में एमसीबी अधिक हुआ है। साथ ही हिमालय क्षेत्र और पश्चिमी तट पर ज्यादातर घटनाएं काफी सुबह महसूस की गईं।

वहीं, गर्मी मानसून के 126 वर्षों (1926-2015) के वर्षा आंकडों के आधार पर बताया कि न सिर्फ क्लाउड बर्स्ट बल्कि मिनी क्लाउड बर्स्ट घटनाओं में काफी बढ़ोत्तरी हो रही है। संभव है कि आगे अध्ययनों से हाल-फिलहाल हुई घटनाओं के बारे में स्पष्ट जानकारी मिले।  बहरहाल वैज्ञानिकों के मुताबिक क्लाउड बर्स्ट एक बेहद ही स्थानीय घटना है। बहुत कम समय में अतिवृष्टि (एक्सट्रीम रेनफॉल) और ~10 एम/एस रफ्तार से  ~4 – 6  एमएम आकार वाली बूंदें  क्लाउड बर्स्ट की पहचान हैं। https://thehimachalnews.in/the-devastation-in-the-himalayan-states-due-to-climate-change/  (01 Aug. 2021)

डाउन टू अर्थ ने विभिन्न मीडिया रिपोर्ट्स और स्थानीय लोगों की पुष्टि के आधार पर पाया कि जनवरी 2021से लेकर 29 जुलाई,  2021 तक हिमालयी राज्यों में कुल 26 बार बादल फटने की घटनाएं घट चुकी हैं। इनमें से कुछ घटनाओं की पुष्टि स्थानीय प्राधिकरण के जरिए की गई है। हालांकि भारतीय मौसम विभाग (आईएमडी) की ओर से बादल फटने के मामलों की एक भी स्पष्ट पुष्टि नहीं की गई है। https://www.downtoearth.org.in/hindistory/natural-disasters/flood/cloudburst-destruction-in-himalayan-states-26-times-in-seven-months-clear-signs-of-climate-change-78189  (29 July 2021)

Dr Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director general of the IMD, spoke to The Indian Express about climate change and weather forecasting; the advances that have been made, and the challenges that remain. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/extreme-weather-events-will-become-more-frequent-and-more-intense-7438842/lite/  (05 Aug. 2021)

More and more climate scientists are saying that the recent extreme rainfall is a direct fallout of global warming and climate change. A German climate research institute has found that with every degree’s rise in temperature, monsoon rainfall over India will likely increase by 5%. While India’s southern peninsula has received extreme rainfall over the last 20 days or so, the northeast region recorded a 14% deficit in the same period – i.e. between July 1 and July 23. https://m.thewire.in/article/environment/watch-indias-changing-rainfall-patterns-climate-change/amp  (04 Aug. 2021)

ENERGY OPTIONS

India Spend Cash-strapped distributors holding back rooftop solar power Nivedita Khandekar: Power distribution companies are anxious that popularisation of rooftop solar power could hit their revenues from supply of conventional power. This, along with red-tape, are holding back the rise of a sector that has many advantages. https://www.indiaspend.com/development/cash-strapped-power-distribution-companies-holding-back-rooftop-solar-power-763934  (28 July 2021) Inconsistent regulatory policies, high costs, patchy implementation of subsidy scheme and lack of awareness are some of the hurdles. https://www.indiaspend.com/development/rooftop-solar-energy-inconsistent-regulatory-policies-high-costs-patchy-implementation-subsidy-scheme-763796

ENVIRONMENT GOVERNANCE

Opinion Why frenzied tree planting is no answer to ecological restoration T.R. Shankar Raman Ecological restoration involves the careful planting of the right species in the right places in the right mix and right manner. Unfortunately, many large-scale tree planting programmes carried out today ignore each of these vital criteria even as they make headlines for having used hundreds or thousands of volunteers to plant lakhs or millions of saplings over hundreds of hectares, sometimes in a single hour or day.

Large-scale record-breaking tree planting makes news, not forests. Which explains why politicians, bureaucrats, and celebrities throng these events, while botanists, ecologists, and indigenous people are conspicuously absent. Besides failing to monitor or nurture the large numbers planted, such tree planting can cause more harm than good.

Across India, tree planting efforts suffer from five main problems: planting trees in the wrong places, planting the wrong species and species mix, planting too few species, failing to consider seed provenance, and planting without considering the rights of local people.

Planting the wrong species and species mix is legion in tree planting programmes. The species planted are often alien, such as eucalyptus, mesquite, senna, and wattles, or include naturalised species such as gulmohar or neem. Even where planters claim to use native species, they are generic native species found widely elsewhere in India (such as amla, banyan, or jack) rather than those native to the ecosystem at the planting location.

Worse, the seeds or seedlings are not sourced from local ecosystems or appropriate seed zones, but randomly sourced and trucked in from whichever nursery or market happens to sell them. Only a few tree planting programmes take the required care to identify the correct natural ecosystem and vegetation and bother to ethically source seeds or raise seedlings in local, native plant nurseries. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/why-frenzied-tree-planting-is-no-answer-to-ecological-restoration/article35759379.ece  (06 Aug. 2021)

Report Govt Proposal To ‘Regularise’ Green Violators Is Legally Untenable: Lawyers The environment ministry’s new standard operating procedures to regularise or close down industrial projects operating without mandatory environmental clearance are illegal in both letter and spirit, say environment lawyers. https://www.indiaspend.com/earthcheck/govt-proposal-to-regularise-green-violators-is-legally-untenable-say-lawyers-764605  (02 Aug. 2021)

What Ramagundam Verdict Portends for Environmental Protection in India In a verdict that will have a bearing on all future thermal power projects, and other big projects in general, the Supreme Court of India upheld the National Green Tribunal’s ruling requiring detailed studies of the environmental impacts of power projects earlier this month. The most important takeaway from the ruling is that the cumulative impact – i.e. the combined impact of all activities in a given region, including past, present and prospective ones – have to be assessed before a new project is approved or during its construction – and not once it has been built. https://science.thewire.in/environment/ramagundam-thermal-power-project-supreme-court-cumulative-impact-assessment-required/  (03 Aug. 2021)

SC To Decide If NGT Can Take Cognisance On Its Own Why can’t the NGT take the responsibility and provide “some solace” to victims of pollution related issue if there is no formal application before it, the Supreme Court said while examining the issue of whether the tribunal has the power to take cognisance of a matter on its own.

The Supreme Court, which said it would hear arguments on August 25 on the aspect of whether the NGT which was established in 2010 to deal with cases pertaining to environmental issues has the power to take suo motu cognisance, observed that purpose and intent behind the provisions of NGT Act has to kept in mind while dealing with the matter. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/can-green-court-ngt-take-cognisance-on-its-own-supreme-court-to-decide-on-august-25-2502844  (05 Aug. 2021)

Govt plans stay unclear on environment education At present, Indian schools teach environment as an infused subject – i.e. it isn’t standalone but is ’embedded’ in all subjects. Several organisations are working to inculcate ideas about the environment and sustainable living among children. But the question remains: how far can these efforts go without the right policy?

It also doesn’t bode well that the new National Education Policy 2020 doesn’t include “environment education” under the relevant section (#4). It only says “curricular integration of essential subjects like environmental awareness will be done, curricular and pedagogical initiatives for environmental education will be done, and knowledge on India will include the environment.”  https://science.thewire.in/education/environment-education-sustainable-practices-school-children-education-policy/  (05 Aug. 2021)

Gujarat Residents protest against windmills The Sangnara forest is part of a sacred grove that five villages consider a place of worship. This is a 500 sq km virgin tropical thorn forest, perhaps the best in Gujarat, with a huge diversity of endangered flora and fauna including Chinkara, Wolf, Caracal, Ratel, Hyena, Desert Cat, Indian Fox, Spiny Tailed Lizard, Desert Monitor, White Naped-Tit, vultures and more. The communities have maintained and protected this forest for the past 500 years.

The local residents, including women and youth, have been stopping company vehicles from entering the forest. However, the companies resorted to heavy police protection to deforest and continue their operations to protect and install turbines after levelling the areas allotted to them by the administration. On Friday (Aug. 6), hundreds of people from the village held a protest march against setting up of green energy projects. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/residents-of-gujarat-village-protest-against-windmills-being-set-up-on-forestland/article35781540.ece  (07 Aug. 2021)

Limbani said that the government had allotted land to a private company in 2015-16 to install 11 windmills in Sangnara. “Three of the 11 locations were later cancelled due to technical reasons while the company installed windmills at six locations and laid foundation of one more windmill at Vadvalu Talav area. However, it suspended work after that. In the meantime, the government resurveyed gauchar without involving residents of Sangnara and promulgated new maps survey details in 2018. The new maps reduced the size of gauchar and land allotted to the energy company in Vadvalu Talav was shown as government wasteland while maps of survey conducted in 1988 showed it to be part of gauchar. In 2019, government allotted land to three other energy companies for installing 39 other windmills in our village. We realised that these windmills will destroy gauchar and therefore we started protesting,” Limbani further said. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/rajkot/kutch-villagers-protest-against-installation-of-windmills-7442242/  (06 Aug. 2021)

Maharashtra Sand at Juhu Beach turns black following oil spill The sand on over 5 kilometre stretch of Mumbai’s Juhu Beach turned black due to an oil spill on Thursday (Aug. 5). People, who came for a walk in the morning, said that the oil in the seawater was flowing towards the shore that has turned sand in black. Pramod Virkar, a local resident said: “We have never seen oil in the beach and in the seawater, it has happened probably due to breakdown of a steamer.” Another resident, Hari said, “The sand is sticky and we cannot walk on it. It will also harm the marine life and the environment.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/watch-sand-at-mumbais-juhu-beach-turns-black-following-oil-spill/articleshow/85090857.cms  (06 Aug. 2021)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Study Critical ocean system may be heading for collapse Indicators show that Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation-AMOC is running out of steam, making it susceptible to disruptions that might knock it out of equilibrium, said study author Niklas Boers frm Potsdam Inst for Climate Impact Research-Germany. This will have far reaching consequences including causing wild temprtr swings & other dramatic shifts in global weather systems. New analysis suggests “critical threshold-tipping point of AMOC is most likely much closer than we expected,” far closer than what IPCC so far thought https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/08/05/change-ocean-collapse-atlantic-meridional/  (05 Aug. 2021)

The currents have been spotted at their slowest point in nearly 1,600 years and the most recent analysis revealed that this could be coming to a complete halt. It could severely disrupt the way rains function, especially in areas like India, South America and West Africa. It would also increase the frequency of storms while lowering temperatures in European nations while also resulting in the sea level off eastern North America to rise considerably. https://www.indiatimes.com/technology/science-and-future/climate-change-gulf-stream-india-monsoon-546669.html  (07 Aug. 2021)

India to see more heat waves, cyclonic activity over next few decades: IPCC Increasing heat waves and droughts, increased rainfall events and more cyclonic activity are likely to occur across India and the subcontinent over the next few decades, stated the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group-I report released on Monday (Aug. 9).

The report stated that the South and Southeast Asian monsoon has weakened in the second half of the 20th century mainly due to the increase in aerosols and particulate matter due to human activity. The dry-north and wet-south pattern of East Asian summer monsoon precipitation changes are results of the combined effects of greenhouse gases and aerosols, it said.

It also stated that South and Southeast Asian monsoon and East Asian summer monsoon precipitation will be dominated by the effects of internal variability in the short term and precipitation will increase in the long term. Agricultural and ecological droughts are also expected to increase in the subcontinent, it added. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/ipcc-report-india-asia-climate-change-heat-waves-cyclones-7445511/  (09 Aug. 2021)

Extreme rainfall events may increase: Experts “Most climate models agree that extreme rainfall events during monsoon months will increase. We are already seeing a rise in these trends in recent years. Our model is also showing similar results that extreme events will increase in future. Not every extreme rainfall event can be attributed to climate change directly. Natural variability is combining with anthropogenic climate change to create this complex scenario,” Professor Ravi Shankar Nanjundiah, director, IITM, said during a press conference.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/extreme-rainfall-events-may-increase-experts-101627930588362.html  (03 Aug. 2021)

Extreme weather linked to climate crisis shrivels farms Extreme weather events, widely held to be the impact of the climate crisis, have shriveled farms in some regions, as widespread flooding in states such as Maharashtra and a drought in the North-East, especially in Assam, could trim yields, analysts said. Changing climate patterns in India are a reality now, according to climatologists, and are also taking a toll on agriculture, which supports nearly half of all Indians.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/extreme-weather-linked-to-climate-change-shrivels-farms-101627901186510.html  (03 Aug. 2021)

Ladakh glacier retreat due to warming The WADIA study also said that field observations for four years (2015–2019) showed that the glacier is now retreating at an average rate of 6.7 plus/minus 3 metre per annum. In the study published in the journal Regional Environmental Change, the team attributes the observed recessional trends of the Pensilungpa Glacier to an increase in the temperature and decrease in precipitation during winters. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/ladakh-glacier-retreat-due-to-warming-low-winter-precipitation-finds-study/article35788810.ece  (07 Aug. 2021)

The study, therefore, also suggested that due to continuous rise in the air temperature in line with the global trend, the melting would increase, and “it is possible that the precipitation of summer periods at higher altitudes will change from snow to rain, and that may influence the summer and winter pattern”, the release said. https://zeenews.india.com/india/ladakh-glacier-retreating-may-influence-summer-and-winter-pattern-study-2382427.html  (06 Aug. 2021)

SOUTH ASIA

Re-negotiate IWT: Standing Committee Canals such as Rajasthan & Sirhind Feeder had become old & not maintained properly, resulting in lowering of water carrying capacity. Water from Harike Barrage was usually released downstream into Pakistan.  https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/re-negotiate-indus-treaty-with-pakistan-in-light-of-climate-change-standing-committee-on-water-resources-78315  (05 Aug. 2021)

It also urged the government to complete projects like Ujh in Jammu & Kashmir and Shahpur Kandi in Punjab expeditiously so as to “exploit full potential of the western rivers for irrigation and other purposes”. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/renegotiate-indus-treaty-with-pakistan-parliamentary-panel-to-govt/articleshow/85087026.cms  (06 Aug. 2021)

The committee’s report, titled “Flood Management in the Country including International Water Treaties in the field of Water Resource Management with particular reference to Treaty/Agreement entered into with China, Pakistan and Bhutan”, was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Thursday (Aug. 5). https://indianexpress.com/article/india/monitor-chinese-actions-so-that-interventions-on-brahmaputra-dont-affect-our-interests-panel-7440596/lite/  (06 Aug. 2021)

Nepal Drone assessment of Melamchi flood Melamchi experienced extreme flood disaster in late night-Jun 15 2021. Debris flow hit Melamchi Bazaar & destroyed number of houses, infrastructure along road corridor. It partly destroyed Headworks of Melamchi Water supply project. Drone Report. https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/5df39824b5604c80be8dfc429be93cfa  A massive flood in the Melamchi river basin A massive flood in the Melamchi River basin in Sindhupalchok district of Nepal. Houses in downstream filled with debris frm massive floods on June 15 have been further damaged by the 31st July floods. Helicopter view… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52mmiRVTCgQ  (02 Aug. 2021)

Dave Petley on Silt flow in Melamchi river in Nepal, which will create future problems. https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2021/08/02/melamchi-satellite/  (02 Aug. 2021) BBC News has this brilliant image of the source of the sediment following the breach of the ancient landslide dam upstream of Melamchi in Nepal.  There is now a vast quantity of sediment to be released.  There are serious problems ahead in this catchment:- https://www.bbc.com/nepali/news-58073395  (04 Aug. 2021)

Bangladesh Steady creep of saltwater a risk to women’s health Tests commissioned by The Third Pole reveal water salinity exceeds permissible limits; doctors say a tide of related health conditions is rising. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/livelihoods/saltwater-risks-womens-health-bangladesh/  (05 Aug. 2021)

CHINA

China warming up faster than the world: Govt report The Blue Book on Climate Change published this week by China’s National Climate Centre (NCC) said that the last 20 years have been the warmest since the beginning of the 20th century. It also said that 9 of the 10 warmest years since 1901 have been recorded in the 21st century. https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/china-warming-up-faster-than-the-world-govt-report-101628248138867.html  (06 Aug. 2021)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Study Flood-prone populations up nearly 25% since 2000 Number of people exposed to floods worldwide has surged 25% over last 20 yrs, as per satellite-based data, it shows additional 86 m live in flood-prone areas. US researcher Team examined sat data frm twice-daily images of over 900 flood events in 169 nations.  https://phys.org/news/2021-08-flood-prone-populations.html  (04 Aug. 2021)

Nearly 90% of the floods analyzed occurred in South and Southeast Asia, with high flood exposure in areas that have large river basins and that saw large population growth, like Dhaka and Bangladesh. In 32 countries across four continents, the population exposed to flood is increasing at a rate higher than total population growth, with India and some countries in Africa experiencing particularly large increases in flood exposure. By 2030, according to the study, 25 countries — largely in Europe and North America — will face similar challenges. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-08-04/the-world-population-in-flood-zones-is-growing  (05 Aug. 2021)

West Nile virus: another alarming side effect of drought The West Nile virus was once associated with higher humidity and moisture, conditions that help mosquitoes thrive. But a growing body of research has found that drought conditions – such as those being felt across the American west – could amplify its effects. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/aug/06/drought-west-nile-virus-human-health  (06 Aug. 2021)

Fresh groundwater flow important for coastal ecosystems University of Göttingen research team has developed the first global computer model of groundwater flow into the world’s oceans. Their analysis shows that 20% of the world’s sensitive coastal ecosystems – such as estuaries, salt marshes and coral reefs – are at risk of pollutants transported by groundwater flow from the land to the sea. https://www.thecropsite.com/articles/2025/fresh-groundwater-flow-important-for-coastal-ecosystems/  (22 March 2021)

UK Swimmers warned over sewage Swimmers planning a dip in Wales’ rivers have been warned to be wary of sewage and pollution before diving in. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-57947635  (08 Aug. 2021)  

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 02 Aug. 2021 & DRP News Bulletin 26 July 2021  

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

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