DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 23 Aug 2021: World Water Week: 30 years long enough for stock taking?

This week (23-28 Aug 2021) it is Stockholm World Water Week (SWWW) with a 30 year history. The organisers say: “World Water Week 2021 is unlike any other week in our 30-year-old history.” But provide no clear reasons why they are saying that. Their possible explanation: “In 2021 people across the world are really beginning to understand the gravity of the situation we are facing – within a decade we must halve carbon emissions, restore the degraded natural world, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This will require massive transformations of all sectors of society. World Water Week 2021 is entirely focused on the role of water for these transformations and on developing real solutions.” https://www.worldwaterweek.org/news/join-the-most-important-world-water-week-ever 

A young child, Greta Thunberg possibly brought more focus on climate change almost exactly three years ago, in the same city of Stockholm through her public action. The reason is simple: Bold and clear headed public action communicates much better. Something to ponder for the SWWW.

This week, when SIWI gives away the annual Stockholm Water Prize (SWP) to Sandra Postel who “speaks passionately about how communication can help us address the freshwater crisis”, it is good that SWWW is focussing on Communication and Behavioral Change. There is a lot that one can learn from Thunberg and such other public action persons and organisations.

This last week, Narmada Bachao Andolan completed 36 years of struggle against destructive dams and for just, sustainable alternatives. A number of Indians have received the SWP, but not NBA. May be SWP needs to learn to honour public actions that also communicates well. Another reason to take stock for SWWW as to what has been achieved in 30 years and what lessons to learn.

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

SANDRP Blog NTPC’s Tapovan-Vishnugad HPP after Chamoli Disaster The 520 MW hydro power project (HPP) Tapovan-Vishnugad having proved a recipe for disaster during Chamoli deluge on February 07, 2021, continues to jeopardize the local environment and play havoc with the lives and livelihoods of people in Joshimath area. Moreover, given the scale of destruction and looming threats, the project would not see completion possibly even in another decade. Despite all this, the developers, state and central governments are pretending to overlook the writing on the wall and blindly pursuing the unviable project. https://sandrp.in/2021/08/23/ntpcs-tapovan-vishnugad-hpp-after-chamoli-disaster/  (23 Aug. 2021)

Himachal Pradesh जल विद्युत परियोजनाओं के सन्दर्भ में आज लाहौल स्पीति एकता मंच प्रेस कॉन्फ्रेंस करते हुए। साथ ही जल विद्युत परियोजनाओं से हुए नुकसान को लेकर किन्नौर ज़िले के प्रति अपनी सोलिडेरिटी जताते हुए। https://www.facebook.com/Save-Lahaul-Spiti-Society-1399025903505278/videos/1038897166927766/  (20 Aug. 2021)

The rumbling hills In a State where hydro power projects, dams and construction activities are increasing, landslides too are becoming common. Vikas Vasudeva reports on the benefits of the projects and the concerns of the people in a fragile Himalayan region. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/the-rumbling-hills-of-himachal-pradesh/article36023130.ece  (21 Aug. 2021)

Andhra Pradesh Govt targets setting up 33.24 Gw hydro power storage plants The state energy department is planning to set up pumped hydro storage power projects in various districts with a total capacity of 33.24 gigawatt. The government has identified 1.45 lakh acres in Kadapa, Kurnool, Anantapur districts for these proposed renewable energy parks. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/andhra-pradesh-targets-setting-up-33-gw-hydro-power-storage-plants/85389608  (17 Aug. 2021)

MoEF Agenda of EAC meeting on River Valley Projects to be held on Aug 23, 2021:

1. Kurha Vadhoda Islampur Lift Irrigation Scheme UPSA Sinchan Yojna with CCA 32372 Ha at Village Rigaon, Tehsil Muktainagar, District. Jalgaon, Mah by Tapi Irrigation Development Corp, Jalgaon – Terms of Reference

2. Ujh Multipurpose (196 MW) Project in an area of 4350 ha at village Barbari, Dist Kathua & Samba, Jammu & Kashmir by J&K State Power Development Corp Ltd – Amendment in Env. Clearance

3. 600 MWTawang HEP-I in an area of 277.06 ha by NHPC Ltd in Jung village, District Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh – Extension of Validity of Env Clearance

4. 800 MW Tawan-II in an area of 237.88 ha by NHPC Ltd. in Yusum/ Kundung village, Dist Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh – Extension of Validity of Env Clearance http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Agenda/1508202190062466AgendaRiverValley16thEAC.pdf 

DAMS

नर्मदा बचाओ आंदोलन के 36 वर्ष पूरे होने पर डॉ सुनीलम का विशेष लेख:- नर्मदा बचाओ आंदोलन के नर्मदा घाटी में काम करते हुए 17 अगस्त को 36 वर्ष पूरे हो गए है। आंदोलन की उपलब्धियां कम नहीं हैं। नर्मदा बचाओ आंदोलन के चलते 50 हजार से अधिक विस्थापितों को मकान के भूखंड मिले, 20 हजार से अधिक परिवारों को 2 हेक्टेयर जमीन मिली। गुजरात में 300, मध्यप्रदेश में 83 और महाराष्ट्र में 14 पुनर्वास स्थल स्थापित हुए। आंदोलन के चलते किसानों के साथ-साथ भूमि हीनों तथा किसानों के वयस्क पुत्र पुत्रियों को भी जमीनें मिली, 35 सहकारी सोसायटियों को लंबे संघर्ष के बाद मछली के शिकार करने का अधिकार मिला।

नर्मदा बचाओ आंदोलन की शिकायत पर उच्च न्यायालय द्वारा जांच आयोग गठित किया गया। 7 सालों तक जांच चली जिसमें 1600 फर्जी रजिस्ट्रियां पायी गई। हालांकि सरकार के संरक्षण के चलते भ्रस्टाचारी आज भी खुले घूम रहे हैं।

यह गौरतलब है कि जब सरदार सरोवर बांध बना ने की 1984 में मांग उठी थी तब उसकी लागत 4,200 करोड रुपए थी, जो बढ़कर अब 60 हजार करोड़ तक पहुंच गई है। बांध बनाते समय यह दावा कि या था कि 18 लाख हेक्टेयर क्षेत्र को सिंचाई का लाभ मिलेगा लेकिन एक तिहाई क्षेत्र में ही सिंचाई के लिए पानी उपलब्ध कराया जा सका। कच्छ और सौराष्ट्र को लाभ नहीं मिला गुजरात में छोटे गांव और कस्बों को पानी देने की बजाय 3 बड़े शहरों को पानी दे दिया गया।

नर्मदा नदी बांध दिए जाने के चलते 2013 से 2020 तक अरब सागर का खारा पानी 80 किलो मीटर तक अंदर आ गया है। नर्मदा बचा ओ आंदोलन अवैध रेत उत्खनन के खिला फ भी संघर्ष करता रहा है। सर्वोच्च न्यायालय, मध्यप्रदेश उच्च न्यायालय, हरित न्यायाधिकरण से इसमें याचिकाएं लगाकर नर्मदा बचाओ आंदोलन ने अनेक आदेश प्राप्त किए हैं जिसका पालन नहीं किया जा रहा है।

नर्मदा बचाओ आंदोलन ने 1894 में अंग्रेजों द्वारा बनाए गए कानून में तब्दीली कराने में सफलता हासिल की है। देश में आज भूमि अधिग्रहण का जो कानून लागू है उस कानून को बनवाने में नर्मदा बचाओ आंदोलन की अहम भूमिका रही है। दुनिया के इतिहास में जमीनी स्तर पर विस्थापन और पुनर्वास के मुद्दे पर इतना लंबा प्रभावशाली और अहिंसक कोई दूसरा आंदोलन नहीं चला है। इस आंदोलन ने देश और दुनिया मे वैकल्पिक विकास के मॉडल की ओर ध्यान आकृष्ट करने में सफलता पाई है। https://www.specialcoveragenews.in/madhya-pradesh/bhopal/unprecedented-36-years-of-the-struggle-and-creation-of-the-historic-narmada-bachao-andolan-1159552  (22 Aug. 2021)

Sardar Sarovar Dam Torch bearers of Narmada struggle  Nandini K Oza Here is an attempt to share the photos of some of the important members who have played a significant role in this resistance. I am first sharing the photos taken by me as part of my journey in recording the oral histories of the Narmada Struggle. These photos have been marked as @oralhistorynarmada. However, I have not been able to interview or photograph all those who have played an important part in the struggle, an impossible task in one’s life time. This is also because, a people’s movement as powerful as the Narmada struggle, spanning several decades has countless people who have played exemplary role in the struggle and it is an impossible to document the same. https://oralhistorynarmada.in/photos-of-the-people-who-have-played-an-important-part-in-the-narmada-struggle/ 

Telangana HC hauls up govt for 5-year delay in protecting reservoirs The high court on Aug 11 2021 came down heavily on the state government for nearly five-year delay in deciding implementation of GO 111 to protect and define catchment areas of the twin reservoirs, Himayatsagar and Osmansagar, spread over 84 villages. Warning that it would disband the high-power committee headed by chief secretary Somesh Kumar which had done little in the past five years, the HC gave state time till August 16 to explain its stand. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/go-111-hc-hauls-up-telangana-for-5-year-delay-in-protecting-reservoirs/articleshow/85260103.cms  (12 Aug. 2021) 

Gandipet reservoir acreage reduced by 300 acres As part of the conservation of ponds, lakes and reservoirs in the suburbs of Hyderabad, HMDA issued a preliminary notification on December 30 of the same year for the survey to know their full acreage in 2019. However, there was a difference between the cadastral maps at the Water Board and the maps in the notification issued by HMDA. In 2014, environmentalists collected a total of 6,335.35 acres, including the full tank level, from water board officials through RTI. Environmentalists at that time were concerned as the reservoir was reduced by 300 acres as the HMDA notification showed only 6,039 acres including the pull tank level. All this has been blamed on a lack of coordination between the departments and the loss of acreage due to pressure from business and political leaders. https://www.thehansindia.com/news/cities/hyderabad/hyderabad-gandipet-reservoir-acreage-reduced-by-300-acres-702142  (18 Aug. 2021)

Mekedatu Project Why Rs 9,000-cr dam is unlikely to get going soon Reason: The official said that the CWC will start processing the DPR only after the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) gives its approval for the project after taking consent of all the Cauvery-basin states, including Tamil Nadu.

Besides Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the other Cauvery-basin states are Kerala and Puducherry. “They (Karnataka) have submitted the DPR. We have told the state government that one of the prerequisites for processing of the DPR is that they have to submit the clearance of the CWMA,” a CWC official said. “So, once they submit the consent of CWMA, then only we can discuss the DPR further.”  https://theprint.in/india/governance/bommai-committed-but-heres-why-rs-9000-cr-mekedatu-project-is-unlikely-to-get-going-soon/718600/  (20 Aug. 2021) 

Himachal Pradesh 2 sites on Bhakra dam notified for water sports The State Tourism and Civil Aviation Ministry has notified two sites on the banks of the Gobind Sagar reservoir of the Bhakra dam at Androuli and Lathiani villages for water sports activities, said Rural Development Minister Virender Kanwar in a press note issued here yesterday. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/two-sites-on-lake-banks-in-himachal-notified-for-water-sports-298762  (18 Aug. 2021)

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Madhya Pradesh Contested treasure inside forests An expert panel recommended the closure of a diamond mine in Panna Tiger Reserve. The government defied the panel and cleared the way for a new mine nearby. https://scroll.in/article/1003067/the-contested-treasure-inside-madhya-pradeshs-forests  (18 Aug. 2021)

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

Mahanadi Water Sharing Dispute क्या बच पाएगी नदी?  छत्तीसगढ़ में इस नदी पर तकरीबन दो हजार बांध और बैराज हैं। पर विवाद मुख्यतः12 बड़ी परियोजनाओं को लेकर है। ये हैं रविशंकर सागर बांध, हसदेव बांगो बांध, मुरूम सिल्ली बांध, तांदुला बांध, सोंदूर बांध, दुधवा जलाशय, घोंगा बांध, खारंग जलाशय, मोंगरा बैराज, मोनियारी टैंक और कोडर जलाशय। छोटी जल परियोजनाओं के तहत सिंचाई के नाम पर इन बांधों का निर्माण किया गया पर वास्तविकता यह है कि इस परियोजनाओं से उद्योग को पानी उपलब्ध कराया जाता है। इसके अलावा छह औद्योगिक बांध जिसमें साराडीह, कलमा, बसंतपुर, मिरौनी और शिवरीनारायण शामिल हैं,  राज्यों के बीच के टकराव को और बढ़ा रहे हैं। सामाजिक कार्यकर्ताओं का आरोप है कि इन छः बराजों से सालाना 1405.66 मिलियन क्यूबिक मीटर (एमसीएम) पानी उद्योग को दिया जाता है, जिससे नदी की पारिस्थितिकी तंत्र और इसके अस्तित्व को खतरा है। https://hindi.mongabay.com/2021/08/16/can-odisha-chhattisgarh-move-beyond-conventional-approaches-to-save-mahanadi/  (16 Aug. 2021)

Krishna Water Dispute Expect a stormy river board meet on August 27 Water sharing ratio will almost certainly dominate the session, as Telangana has renewed its demand for 50:50 quota. However, AP is in no mood to compromise on the issue, as it feels that such an argument is not only irrational but also impractical. AP has, in fact, asked KRMB to share Krishna waters on 70:30 basis between the two Telugu states rather than the previously agreed upon quota of 66:34. The issue is likely to further escalate tempers between the two states. AP is also insisting on deducting the entire water utilised by Telangana for power generation without taking permission from the KRMB and AP government, from the neighbouring state’s quota in Krishna waters.

The board has also proposed to discuss the measures to be initiated on utilisation of surplus water during the monsoon season. With no consensus arrived on resolving the issue, the KRMB referred the issue to a high-level committee of the Jal Shakti ministry, which is yet to finalise its report as the required data has not been provided by the two states. The board may seek the nod of both AP and Telangana for the gazette notification issued by the Centre recently on the jurisdiction of KRMB. While Telangana has opposed the notification, AP is seeking some amendments. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/amaravati/water-row-expect-a-stormy-river-board-meet-on-aug-27/articleshow/85495981.cms  (21 Aug. 2021)

No flow of funds from Telangana & Andhra  KRMB struggles With Telangana and AP not releasing funds even after repeated requests, for the past three years the KRMB has been facing funds crunch even for day-to-day operations. The board was forced to borrow Rs Rs 1 crore from the Centre in the form of a grant to keep functioning. It is now proposing to refund the amount if both states release their share of funds. Not just this, the board is also facing shortage of personnel, including engineers.

Interestingly, the Centre’s recent gazette notification said both the states have to deposit Rs Rs 200 crore each for the functioning of the board. The KRMB has included the issue in the agenda items and is planning to raise it during the 14th board meeting scheduled for August 27. KRMB officials said that in the board meeting held on June 6, 2018, it was agreed that both Telangana and AP would share the budget estimation approved by the KRMB in equal proportions (50:50) from the financial year 2018-2019.

“Even after repeated correspondence with both the states, the KRMB did not received requisite funds from the states. While the Telangana has released Rs Rs 3.5 crore against its share Rs 8.37 crore during 2020-2021, the AP government did not deposit the amount for the past two years,” KRMB member secretary DM Raipure said in the agenda points sent to the state governments. He said for the 2021-2022, the board approved Rs 18 crore budget. At the same time, it was decided to create reserve fund of Rs 10 crore. But the amount has not been received. The board has just Rs Rs 2.46 crore in the bank amount to meet its expenditure. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/no-flow-of-funds-from-t-ap-krmb-struggles/articleshow/85503363.cms  (21 Aug. 2021)

Karnataka pressurises AP for supplementary reservoir across Tungabhadra In view of the ongoing water disputes with Telangana State over sharing of Krishna waters, Karnataka government is taking rapid steps to mount pressure on Andhra to agree for supplementary reservoir across Tungabhadra in the upstream parts of TB dam even as AP continues to oppose the proposal. Remaining oblivious, Karnataka is fast-tracking its DPR that will be sent to the Centre and which will cite reasons for the heavy siltation in the TB dam at Hospet.

Karnataka has been insisting on a supplementary reservoir across Tungabhadra near Navili in the upstream area in Raichur district. Though it was named as Flood Flow Augmentation reservoir with a 30 TMC ft capacity, the reservoir can impact sources of TB dam, the inter-state project of AP, Karnataka and a part of TS. Augmentation reservoir has been proposed because of heavy deposits of silt in TB dam and the reduced water storage capacity to 100.85 TMC ft as against actual capacity of 132.47 TMC ft. The Karnataka government had released `14.29 crore for preparing the DPR last year. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/politics/210821/karnataka-for-supplementary-reservoir-across-tungabhadra.html  (21 Aug. 2021)

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday (Aug. 20) urged the states to join hands for the interlinking of rivers in the country.  https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/vp-naidu-visits-tb-dam-bats-for-river-linking-project-1021888.html  (20 Aug. 2021)

IRRIGATION

Punjab Bathinda: Lacking water, farmers fill up canal with sand Angry over not getting canal water for irrigation, farmers of Kotfatta, Kotbhara and Ramgarh Bhundar villages in Maur subdivision of Bathinda district on Friday (Aug. 20) filled Bhai Bakhtaur minor distributary with sand in protest. The farmers say the distributary is of no use when they are not getting water from it. They have threatened to oppose any political leader visiting these villages and to block roads.

ToI Image

These villages are situated at the tail of Kotla branch originating from Sirhind feeder canal which gives supplies to Ghuman distributary, from where two minors provide canal water to seven villages in the area. Out of these two, Bhai Bakhtaur minor supplying water to these three villages has not been working for long and farmers have to use agriculture pump sets to extract water. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/amritsar/not-getting-water-for-irrigation-farmers-of-3-bathinda-villages-fill-canal-with-sand/articleshow/85500248.cms  (21 Aug. 2021)

Tamil Nadu Remove unauthorised check dams: HC The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has directed the PWD to remove, as expeditiously as possible, three unauthorised check dams in Vadipatti in Madurai district. The check dams had been put up using sand bags. A Division Bench of Justices M. Duraiswamy and K. Murali Shankar, however, gave liberty to the private parties to give a fresh representation to PWD officials for putting up check dams solely for irrigation purposes.

The court was hearing the petition filed by R. Anbalagan of Madurai. The petitioner said that three unauthorised check dams were constructed on Ootukalvai water channel, which is the feeding channel of Paralikanmai in Parali village, Madurai. He sought a direction to the PWD authorities to remove the unauthorised check dams and to restore the water channel to its original width. He also sought a direction to the authorities to maintain the water channel free of encroachments to ensure free flow of water.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/remove-unauthorised-check-dams-court-tells-public-works-dept/article36013709.ece  (20 Aug. 2021)

URBAN RIVERS

Cooum; Chennai Rehabilitation row delays project Complexities of River Restoration in Urban Areas. While right of the river has to be protected, restoration itself should not become an excuse for evictions. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/rehabilitation-row-delays-cooum-project/article35672580.ece  (02 Aug. 2021)

The River Cooum starts its life 70 kms before Chennai at Kesavaram where it splits from the parent, Kortalaiyar which empties into the sea at Ennore. Cooum enters the city near Poonamalee and its course of 32 kms in urban landscape remains polluted till date. Chennai has two more rivers, Adyar and Elambore or the North River , that is believed to have vanished from the maps,  while the partially man made Buckingam canal runs perpendicular to these rivers. https://lakshmisharath.com/on-the-cooum-trail-in-chennai/ 

Mithi; Mumbai BMC approves tunnel construction to check river pollution The Rs 603.4-crore project will help prevent pollution in the river, which has been facing sewage discharge and waste water from industries and slums that have come up along the bank of the river over the past several years. According to the proposal, construction of a 6.7-km tunnel from Bapat nullah and Safed Pool nullah up to proposed STP at Dharavi is expected to be completed in 48 months.

The Rs 603.4-crore project will help prevent pollution in the river, which has been facing sewage discharge and waste water from industries and slums that have come up along the bank of the river over the past several years. (Express photo by Pradip Das)

While the tunnel from Bapat nullah will have the capacity of 78 million litres of sewage collection, the Safed Pool nullah will be able to collect 90 million litres of sewage daily. The tunnel will pass 20 to 25 meters below the ground. Some portions of the tunnel will pass through mangrove areas for which the project will require environmental clearance. Officials said the contractor will be responsible for getting environmental clearance. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/bmc-tunnel-construction-mithi-river-pollution-7460235/  (18 Aug. 2021)

Pimpri-Chinchwad PCMC to set up SPV for rivers rejuvenation project The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has decided to set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to raise Rs 2,500 crore by floating municipal bonds for projects to rejuvenate Pavana, Indrayani and Mula rivers. The proposal for this was to be placed before the civic standing committee on Wednesday (Aug. 18). “After the standing committee’s approval, it will go before the civic general body meeting. After that, it will be sent to the state government for approval,” PCMC executive engineer Sanjay Kulkarni.

According to the proposal, the SPV will have to take over the river bed land from the state government for maintenance and improvement purposes. “The SPV will have to get funds from the central and state government for the project. It will have to raise the funds through municipal bonds or loans. It can look for funds through Corporator Social Responsibility of industrial units. SPV will have the right to set up a fund and land bank. It will have to take decisions regarding Town Planning Scheme,” said a civic official. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/pcmc-to-set-up-spv-for-pavana-indrayani-rejuvenation-project-plans-to-raise-rs-2500-crore-7458407/  (17 Aug. 2021)

Gomti; Lucknow Plea questioning selection of bidders dismissed by HC At the outset, the Court held that NMCG was well within the power to direct the U.P. Jal Nigam not to give effect to Corrigendum dated 29.07.2020 (cancelling the bid) and further direction to open the financial bids of three technically qualified bidders and proceed with the tendering process.

Further, the Court also held that once the petitioner did not challenge its disqualification, it had no locus standi to challenge the grant of contract to respondent No.4. In this backdrop, the Court also remarked that even if the tendering process had been cancelled and fresh bids would have been invited, the petitioner would have only a chance of being selected and hence, the Court held that a mere chance of selection does not entail a vested right in an interested person. Consequently, the Court found that there had been no arbitrariness or malafide or illegality in the finalization of the tender in favour of respondent No.4. https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/nation-lifeline-ganga-polluted-rivers-world-imperative-revive-pollution-free-allahabad-high-court-179760  (17 Aug. 2021)

RIVERS

CPCB prohibits opening of new retail fuel stations near water bodies Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has issued fresh guidelines prohibiting setting up new petrol pumps (retail outlets) within a distance of 50 meters from the nearest point of lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, wetlands, canals and creeks. The guidelines, sent to all public and private sector oil marketing companies, and state pollution control boards, also specify the groundwater and soil sampling protocol to monitor level of contamination at regular intervals, and suggest protection which is to be followed by petrol pumps even beyond 50 meters from the water bodies.

Acting on directions of the NGT, the central pollution watchdog had earlier issued draft guidelines on the issue and placed it in public domain for seeking suggestions of general public and concerned stakeholders. The final guidelines have now been issued after reviewing all suggestions by an expert committee. The monitoring will be done for all those fuel retail outlets which are located within 100 meter from the nearest point of surface water bodies, regardless of the date of establishment. The guidelines issued last year had prohibited opening of new fuel stations (retail outlets) within 50 metres from schools, hospitals and residential areas. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/cpcb-prohibits-opening-of-new-retail-fuel-stations-near-water-bodies-makes-soil-testing-near-petrol-pumps-mandatory/articleshow/85480284.cms  (20 Aug. 2021)

Goa Govt may tap seawater as rivers turn saline The draft State Water Policy 2021 has recommended that the state should explore the possibility of desalination of sea water because even as Goa’s population expands, the availability of natural resources remains fixed, and large portions of rivers cannot be tapped to meet drinking water needs. The salinity in many river stretches is so much that they are more of creeks than rivers, the 2021 document has stated.

ToI Infograph

“The National Water Policy stresses that the basin should be the unit for all water resource planning. However, the river basins of Goa are very small. In many basins a large part of the river is affected by seawater ingress, so much so that in certain basins the river qualifies more as a creek, an extended arm of the sea, rather than as a river,” the 2021 policy stated. This means in small basins near the coast it may not be possible to construct water conservation and diversion structures.

It has suggested that the state could try arresting the intrusion of seawater into the rivers by construction of barriers across the river as near its outfall into the sea as possible. Rooftop rainwater harvesting, states the policy, could be yet another solution to meet the drinking water requirement in coastal Goa. The new policy document also says that as significant lengths of most of Goa’s rivers are affected by salinity, the water resources department is unable to use conventional methods to estimate river basin yield of water. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/to-meet-drinking-water-needs-state-may-tap-seawater-as-rivers-turn-saline/articleshow/85500634.cms  (21 Aug. 2021)

Severely lacks in quality data on water availability Goa is not a water stressed state, however, all of the estimated water in the state is not available for human consumption. The state severely lacks reliable and quality data on water availability and discharge of its rivers. Rigorous studies are therefore needed to assess the actual availability of water in Goa from various sources and accordingly a water atlas for the state needs to be prepared, states the draft state water policy 2021 prepared for Goa by the water resources department (WRD).

The state does not even have data on discharge of its rivers. “In all the nine river basins, there are only two river gauging sites maintained by the CWC, both these sites are in the Mandovi (Mahadayi) basin. The data at both these sites has been analysed extensively and the conclusion is that the quality of the data is not satisfactory. Thus, effectively there is no reliable and long-term discharge data available on any river in Goa,” the water policy has noted. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/goa-severely-lacks-in-quality-data-on-water-availability/articleshow/85523484.cms  (22 Aug. 2021)

Tamil Nadu HUL fells 300 trees in Kodaikanal Consumer goods giant Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) has cut down over 300 trees inside its now-defunct thermometer factory that lies adjacent to the Kodaikanal Wildlife Sanctuary. The felling of trees now poses a serious threat of mercury contamination to the adjacent Pambar Shola forest.

An on-site tree removal assessment, done based on Google Earth imagery and local eyewitnesses, reveals that HUL has clear-felled more than four acres of dense canopied and fully-grown trees. Treecutting was reportedly carried out in January last year.

The area in question receives extreme rains and is prone to soil erosion. Earlier studies have showed, even with vegetation, the presence of significant concentrations of mercury in the sediment collected from the stream bed that receives water from the factory drains. These drains join the Pambar stream which feeds the Vaigai river. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2021/aug/19/hindustan-unilever-limitedgoes-off-plan-fells-300-trees-in-kodaikanal-2346689.html  (19 Aug. 2021)

“This clear-felling is a reckless move that will allow Unilever to clean-up its site by poisoning the Wildlife Sanctuary and the Vaigai catchment. The Forest Department and the TNPCB stand exposed as incapable of protecting the sanctuary and environment,” said Nityanand Jayaraman of Chennai Solidarity Group.

Mr. Jayaraman said as per the Upscaled Remediation Plan approved by the TNPCB in 2018 and a soil conservation study, no tree should be felled and steps need to be taken to ensure that standing trees are not destabilised due to excavation of contaminated soil. He alleged that the violation was supervised by CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) that was deputed onsite to ensure that the remediation goes as per the plan prepared by it. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/activists-say-300-trees-cut-at-hul-kodaikanal-factory-site/article36009318.ece   (20 Aug. 2021)

Punjab 200 cusecs waer released in Buddha nullah The Rs 9.80 crore project to clean Ludhiana’s polluted ‘Buddha Nullah’ started on Sunday (Aug. 22), with 200 cusecs of freshwater being released into the polluted stream. Buddha Nullah is being cleaned as part of Punjab government’s Rs 650-crore project. Clean canal water will be released into the drain daily — through Neelon Drain of Sirhind Canal — so that the stream can regain its former glory.

Work has been commenced on 2 new STPs for treating domestic waters of total capacity 285 MLD (Jamalpur 225 MLD and Balloke 60 MLD), rehabilitation of existing STPs with a treatment capacity of 418 MLD, 2 ETPs for treatment of 6 MLD wastewater from two dairy complex in Tajpur and Haibowal, six intermediate pumping stations, laying of 10-km pipeline and 10 years of operation and maintenance of entire infrastructure under Rs 650-crore Budha Nullah rejuvenation project which will be completed by December 2022. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/ludhiana-buddha-nullah-rejuvenation-project-begins-with-release-of-200-cusecs-of-fresh-water-7465920/  (22 Aug. 2021)

GANGA Podcast गंगा सफ़ाई के लिए चल रहे हज़ारों करोड़ के प्रोजेक्ट कहां हो रहे फेल? Aman Gupta from AAJTAK talked with HT for their daily podcast in Hindi for Aug 18, 2021 (Listen from around 19 minutes to 25:30 minutes.) https://www.aajtak.in/podcast/din-bhar/audio/amrullah-saleh-the-next-legitimate-president-of-afghanistan-justice-bv-nagarathna-likely-to-become-first-woman-cji-ganga-cleaning-namami-gange-sensex-hits-56k-1312004-2021-08-18  (18 Aug. 2021) 

Uttarakhand Govt plans hotels on Char Dham road muck sites Environmentalists are alarmed and have flagged it as a move that could have disastrous consequences — the land could cave in any time and because most of these sites are in forest and riverbed areas, they would be in the direct line of impact if a landslide or flood hit.

There are about 350 muck disposal sites along the 900-km project. Of the 54 dumping zones being considered for this, a source told TOI, 30 are between Tanakpur and Pithoragarh, 10 between Dharasu and Yamunotri, six between Rishikesh and Mana, five between Rudraprayag and Gaurikund, three between Rishikesh and Dharasu, and one from Dharasu to Gangotri. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/ukhand-plans-hotels-on-char-dham-road-muck-sites/articleshow/85375129.cms  (17 Aug. 2021)

तोता घाटी कैसे बन गई मौत की घाटी Shocking state of affairs revealed in the video report. The Char Dham All Weather Road project has been making Tota Ghati disaster prone by causing several landslides and irresponsibly dumping road muck, debris down the slope which is also affecting vegetation, trees, water sources and farmlands. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVHqHS2Ra6E&t=304s  (25 July 2021)

Uttar Pradesh Kashi’s ropeway pilot project likely to be launched in Nov A ropeway grid for public transport under Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS) is all set to be introduced in Varanasi after a Metro rail proposal moved during the Samajwadi government was found non-viable for the densely populated city. The officials are expecting completion of the feasibility study, detailed plan and financial viability assessment of the project in the next 20 days, after which the process of floating the tender will be initiated.

A pilot project is being finalised by WAPCOS Limited, which is an accredited public sector enterprise under the Union ministry of Jal Shakti, with an aim to launch it in November. Under a pilot project, four-five stations including the terminus will come up between Cantonment railway station and Godowlia.

The revised proposal of RITES for MRTS development in Kashi was forwarded to the Union ministry of urban development through the state government in January 2020. In this proposal, the ropeway was proposed between Khidkiya Ghat and Dashaswamedh via City railway station, Cantt railway station, Rathyatra and Godowlia and the capital cost of this project was estimated around Rs 800 crores. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/varanasi/kashis-ropeway-pilot-project-likely-to-be-launched-in-nov/articleshow/85439800.cms  (19 Aug. 2021)

Bihar Mokama Taal gets neither relief from drought nor floods Announcements of several thousand crores were made by the government, but Mokama Taal gets neither relief from drought nor floods.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82vcJSawKGA  (19 Aug. 2021)

YAMUNA Delhi 16 drains polluting river A report by Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) on the assessment of water quality of drains says 16 out of the 30 drains that discharge into the Yamuna are not meeting the prescribed parameters of BOD. Some drains are also flouting prescribed standards of COD and total suspended solids (TSS). https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/16-reasons-why-efforts-to-clean-up-yamuna-are-going-down-the-drain/articleshow/85442204.cms  (19 Aug. 2021)

DPCC is planning to use GPS to map all drains and measure water quality at their outfall points to identify the minor drains that contaminate the Yamuna the most through discharge of effluents or sewage. The capital has around 100 drains, out of which 18 major drains fall directly into the Yamuna. The water quality status of around 30 drains is currently being monitored by DPCC on a monthly basis. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/gps-mapping-of-drains-likely-to-contain-toxic-assault-on-yamuna/articleshow/85497566.cms  (21 Aug. 2021)

DPCC has directed all industrial associations in the national capital to register themselves with the regulatory authority by August 31. The registration form to be filled up by industrial units is available on its website, said the DPCC. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/delhi/2021/aug/18/dpcc-directs-industrial-associations-to-register-by-aug-31-or-face-action-2346314.html  (18 Aug. 2021)

Uttar Pradesh Day before we celebrated 75th Independence day, Hindon stinking unbearably after overnight discharge of effluents in drains u/s which hs bn routine affair as per Momnathal villagers. https://fb.watch/7xF-2lSFCs/

इटावा में यमुना रिवर फ्रंट बनाने का प्रस्ताव गोमती की तर्ज पर यमुना पर रिवर फ्रंट बनाने का प्रस्ताव सदर विधायक सरिता भदौरिया ने जल शक्ति मंत्री महेंद्र सिंह के जरिए शासन को सौंपा है। धूूमनपुरा के शिवमंदिर घाट से लेकर कामेत बाईपास तक करीब दो किलोमीटर तक के इलाके में रिवर फ्रंट बनने की योजना है।

यमुना एक्शन प्लान के नाम पर पिछले 30 सालों में अरबों रुपये खर्च कर दिए गए। इसके बाद भी यमुना को साफ नहीं किया जा सका। यहां सबसे पहले 10 एमएलडी का जल शोधन प्लांट लगाया गया। जो नाकाफी है। इसके अलावा 13 एमएलडी का शोधन यंत्र और तैयार हो चुका है। समस्या इससे भी नहीं सुलझ रही। सरकारी आंकड़ों के मुताबिक शहर से रोजाना 30 एमएलडी गंदा पानी निकलकर यमुना में जा रहा है। सात एमएलडी बिना शोधन के ही यमुना में गिरता है। फिलहाल पूरा 30 एमएलडी ही यमुना में सीधे गिर रहा है क्योंकि प्लांट तकनीकी खामी के कारण बंद हैं। https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/etawah/etawah-news-etawha-news-knp6097153180  (03 Feb. 2021)

RIVERS BIODIVERSITY

Discussion organised by Centre for Environment Education on Freshwater Ecosystems: Rivers & Lakes: Join Zoom Meeting at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUpf-igpjMsGdbCxQ9y6fYIFHsu1p49Pb8g

Western Ghats 2 new species of hillstream Abstract:- Here we redescribe I. evezardi collected from its type locality and describe two new species from the northern Western Ghats of India. Indoreonectes neeleshi, described from Mula River tributary of Godavari river system, can be diagnosed from all its congeners based on a combination of characters: inner rostral barbel reaching middle of nostril; maxillary barbel reaching midway between eye and posterior border of operculum; dorsal hump behind nape; bars on lateral side of the body wider than inter-bar space; total vertebrae 35 and dorsal fin insertion between 13th and 14th abdominal vertebrae. https://vertebrate-zoology.arphahub.com/article/62814/  (16 Aug. 2021)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Tamil Nadu Notice issued to Vedanta over contamination around Sterlite Copper plant In her petition, Babu demanded that Vedanta should remove all contaminated materials dumped in and around the plant at the time of its controversy-ridden operations. Sterlite Copper’s operations in Tuticorin were met with several protests and demonstrations, until the unit was forced to shut on directions of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB). On hearing both sides, the Madurai Bench decided to issue a notice to Vedanta, allowing the mining major, five weeks’ time to respond. The matter has been listed for hearing in late September. https://www.cnbctv18.com/legal/madras-hc-issues-notice-to-vedanta-over-contamination-around-controversial-sterlite-copper-plant-10405501.htm  (17 Aug. 2021)

NABARD aid for integrated mangrove fishery farming system  The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has extended a grant of ₹24.90 lakh for a project on Integrated Mangrove Fishery Farming System (IMFFS) in Cuddalore district. According to a release, the project is being implemented by the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) and is aimed at enhancing the adaptive capacity of the fishing community. The project is being implemented on 2.10 hectares of land in Mudasalodai village by involving traditional and Irula fishers from Mudasalodai and Kalaignar coastal hamlets in Pichavaram. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/nabard-aid-for-integrated-mangrove-fishery-farming-system-in-cuddalore-district/article36041746.ece  (22 Aug. 2021)

Madhya Pradesh Illegal fishing adds to SSP ousted woes Over a decade ago, the traditional fishing community of Barwani lost their homes and cultivable land to Sardar Sarovar Dam’s submergence and now it is facing fresh challenges from ‘outsiders’ involved in illegal fishing activities in the dam’s reservoir. FIR filed. https://en.gaonconnection.com/sardar-sarovar-dam-narmada-bachao-andolan-barwani-district-madhya-pradesh-fishermen-compensation-villagers-rehabilitation/  (19 Aug. 2021)

Report What will happen to fish as oceans warm? Several species were noted to migrate poleward or to deeper waters to stay in their ideal temperature range. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-what-will-happen-fish-oceans-warm-7452142/ (14 Aug. 2021)

Study Climate change may cause 26% habitat loss for snow trout in Himalayan rivers Snow trout, the iconic cold water fish species found in Himalayan rivers, would lose their habitat by 16 per cent in the next 30 years and by over 26 per cent by 2070, a new climate change study by the government’s Wildlife Institute of India has found. The study — ‘Is There Always Space at The Top’– was published in the ‘Ecological Indicators’, a journal of high international repute based at the Netherlands, on September 6, 2020. The study indicates that most of the lower altitude streams across the Himalayas would be rendered unsuitable for the existence of snow trout with the rise in temperatures.

The fish species has great commercial and recreational value and its sole presence in the high-altitude cold waters makes it a flagship species to conserve the Himalayan rivers, the study underlines. “Already exposed to numerous anthropogenic stressors, the fate of snow trout population and many co-occurring genera can be considered explicitly at a higher risk in the Himalaya”, it adds. The study also flagged the “rampant” damming of the rivers across the Himalayas, saying the presence of dams would definitely obstruct the fish mode of movements to safer havens, ultimately risking their very survival. https://indianexpress.com/article/world/climate-change-26-habitat-loss-snow-trout-himalayan-rivers-study-6589404/  (09 Sept. 2021)

SAND MINING

Andhra Pradesh Over 100 lorries stuck in Krishna due to flood A gush of over 80,000 cusecs of water left more than 100 lorries, meant for sand transportation, stuck inside river Krishna at Chevitikallu in Krishna district on August 14. Over 75,000 cusecs of water came from upstream Dr K L Rao Sagar Project at Pulichintala while another 5,000 cusecs came from Munneru rivulet due to heavy rain in the catchment, revenue officials said. Sand excavation was being carried out at a reach inside the river and the trucks were meant to carry it out.

There had been no warning whatsoever about the impending flood flow and so we went about our work. But we could not return because of the water surge and our vehicles got stuck, some truck drivers said. Revenue officials said they too had no prior information about the flood flow. As the Nagarjuna Sagar reservoir upstream Pulichintala got filled to the brim, water was being discharged downstream. Since a crest gate got damaged at Pulichintala last week, there was no way to impound it there and hence the discharge, the local tehsildar said. Unless water is let out downstream from the Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada, the flow at Chevitikallu can’t be curtailed. https://www.news18.com/news/india/over-100-lorries-stuck-in-krishna-river-due-to-flood-in-andhra-pradesh-4085927.html  (14 Aug. 2021)

Madhya Pradesh देवास जिले के ग्राम राघौगढ़ और अकबरपुर के बीच इंदौर से आ रही बोलेरो पर रेत से भरा डंपर पलट गया, बताया जा रहा है कि बोलेरो में सवार 8 लोगों में से दो साल की बच्ची समेत तीन लोगों की मौके पर मौत हो गई, जबकि 5 गंभीर घायल हो गए। जानकारी के मुताबिक इंदौर-बैतूल हाईवे पर सोमवार (July 5) देर रात दर्दनाक सड़क हादसा हुआ https://www.rajexpress.co/india/central-india/madhya-pradesh/dewas-accident-a-dumper-full-of-sand-overturned-on-bolero-3-died-in-the-accident  (06 July 2021) Dewas रेत से भरे Truck और Bolero की भिड़ंत, हादसे में बोलेरो सवार 3 लोगों की मौत https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69Aszj9L2QI (05 July 2021)

मऊगंज थाना क्षेत्र के रतनगवां बाजार में हुए सड़क हादसे में एक युवक की मौत हो गई, जिसमें Hiva truck ने बाइक सवार को कुचल दिया था, जिससे उसकी घटना स्थल पर ही मौत हो गई. 58 वर्षीय अभयराज पाण्डेय निवासी करहिया थाना लौर बाइक से मऊगंज के रतनगवां बाजार खरीददारी करने गये थे. मृतक अभय राज खरीददारी करने के बाद जैसे ही बाइक लेकर बाजार से निकले, तभी सामने से आ रहे तेज रफ्तार रेत भरे Hiva truck ने उन्हें टक्कर मार दी और उन्हें कुचलते हुए आगे निकल गया. इस दौरान बाइक सवार अभयराज की घटना स्थल पर ही दर्दनाक मौत हो गई. घटना के बाद आरोपी Hiva truck Driver ट्रक छोड़कर मौके से फरार हो गया. https://www.etvbharat.com/hindi/madhya-pradesh/state/rewa/hiva-truck-crushed-the-bike-rider-the-youth-died-on-the-spot-in-rewa/mp20210614155511622  (14 June 2021) 

दतिया : रेत खनन से बने गड्ढे के पानी में डूबा किशोर भांडेर में मोंठ पहुंच मार्ग सोमवार (March 22) को रपटा के पास शक्ति घाट के नजदीक एक गड्ढे में 13 वर्षीय किशोर अनुराग उर्फ अन्नाू पुत्र राकेश वर्मा निवासी छिपेटी मोहल्ला भांडेर की पानी में डूबने से मौत हो गई। भांडेर में पहुंज नदी से रेत उत्खनन का कार्य होता है। सोमवार को जिस जगह यह हादसा हुआ वहां नदी किनारे रेत उत्खनन के चलते छोटे-बड़े कई गड्ढे हैं। पहले भी यहां इन गड्ढों के चलते कई जानें जा चुकी हैं। स्थानीय लोगों की मानें तो प्रशासन को इस बावत कई बार बताए जाने के बाद भी नदी के किनारों पर हो रहे रेत उत्खनन को रोका नहीं जा सका है। https://www.naidunia.com/madhya-pradesh/datia-datia-news-crime-6766507  (22 March 2021)

अवैध खनन से हुए गड्ढे बारिश में पानी से भर कर मौत के गड्ढे बन चुके हैं। हाल ही में ऐसे ही बड़े गड्ढे में डूबने से देवास जिले के सोनकच्छ में पांच मासूमों की जान जा चुकी है। मालवा-निमाड़ में सड़कों के निर्माण के लिए मुरम की जरूरत पूरी करने के लिए सड़क के पास ही गड्ढे खोदने और गिट्टी-पत्थर निकालने के बाद विशाल गड्ढों को भगवान भरोसे छोड़ने का चलन हो गया है। बारिश के पानी से भरे इन गड्ढों का उपयोग आसपास के ग्रामीण नहाने और अन्य उपयोग के लिए करते हैं। हादसे इसलिए होते हैं क्योंकि न तो किसी को गड्ढों की गहराई पता है और न ही वहां सुरक्षा के उपाय हैं। हादसे होने पर मदद का मरहम और जांच का दिखावा कुछ दिनों के लिए जरूर होता है, लेकिन बाद में सब कुछ भुला दिया जाता है। जिम्मेदार तो यह मानने तक को तैयार नहीं हैं कि अवैध खनन जैसा कुछ होता भी है। https://www.naidunia.com/madhya-pradesh/mandsaur-talab-gadde-focus-mandsour-dewas-3229385  (14 Oct. 2019)

पोखरदा गांव में बेंदास्वाल नदी में अवैध रेत उत्खनन से बने पोखर में डूबने से छह वर्षीय मासूम की मौत हो गई। पुलिस के अनुसार सिद्दू पिता जगदीश भील खेलते समय नदी में बने गड्ढे में गिर गया। जिसकी पानी में डूबने से मौत हो गई। इसका पता परिजन को तब लगा जब बच्चा दिखाई नहीं दिया तो उसे ढूंढने लगे। जब नदी में बने गड्ढे में जाकर देखा तो बच्चा पानी में डूबा हुआ था। सूचना पर पुलिस ने पहुंचकर शव बाहर निकाला। मनासा अस्पताल में पोस्टमार्टम के बाद शव परिजन को सौंप दिया। विवेचना अधिकारी रुघनाथ निंबड़वा को मृतक के मामा रमेश भील ने बताया नदी से अवैध रेत उत्खनन से जगह-जगह गहरे गड्ढे कर दिए है। इनमें पानी भरा रहता है। https://www.bhaskar.com/news/MP-RAT-MAT-latest-tal-news-080003-1353843-NOR.html  (2019)

Chhattisgarh अवैध रेत के लिए बनाए गड्ढे में डूबा मासूम, मौत बिलासपुर जिले में अवैध बालू खनन से गड्ढे में भरे पानी में डूबने से 7 वर्षीय बच्चे की मौत हो गयी. बताया जा रहा है कि बच्चा स्कूल से लौटकर नहाने गया था. परिवार को इस बात का पता तब चला जब आसपास के लोगों ने पानी से भरे गड्ढे में उसकी लाश ऊपर तैरती देखी। पूरा मामला कोनी थाना क्षेत्र का है. कछार अरपा नदी के तट पर स्थित है। यहां नदी से रेत का अवैध खनन लंबे समय से चल रहा है। मशीनों से बालू निकालने के लिए नदी के चारों ओर बड़े-बड़े गड्ढे बनाए गए हैं। इसमें डूबने की घटनाएं भी होती रहती हैं। ग्रामीणों का आरोप है कि अवैध बालू खनन से यह गड्ढा इतना बड़ा हो गया है. जिससे आज बच्चे की मौत हो गई है। उन्होंने कहा कि इस क्षेत्र में आज से नहीं बल्कि लंबे समय से बालू खनन का कार्य किया जा रहा है. हम कई बार शिकायत कर चुके हैं। अभी तक इस ओर किसी ने ध्यान नहीं दिया। आज आखिरकार एक बच्चे की जान चली गई। जिससे अब ग्रामीणों में काफी आक्रोश है। https://samacharnama.com/city/bilaspur/innocent-7yearold-child-drowned-in-a-pit-made-for-illegal/cid4507553.htm  (18 Aug. 2021)

Bihar Sand mining mafia targets police; 6 police vans vandalised In a report from Bihar, it is stated that six police vans were vandalized by the sand mining mafia in an attack during raids by the cops. The attack was carried out during raids in Bhojpur. 22 people have been arrested for the brazen attack. Bhojpur police received information regarding illegal sand mining that was taking place near the area. The sand mine has been closed down due rainy season. Illegal sand miners on the other hand have been involved in the illegal business. https://www.timesnownews.com/videos/mirror-now/society/bihar-sand-mining-mafia-targets-police-6-police-vans-vandalised/105684  (09 Aug. 2021)

घर के पास पलटा बालू लदा ट्रक, 3 बच्चों की दर्दनाक मौत सीतामढ़ी में दर्दनाक हादसे में तीन बच्चों की मौत हो गई। घटना उस समय हुई जब पुनौरा थाना इलाके में शुक्रवार (July 30) को एक बालू लदा हुआ ट्रक अनियंत्रित होकर एक घर के पास पलट गया। जिसमें ट्रक के नीचे चार बच्चों समेत आठ लोग दब गए। तुरंत ही इनको निकालने का काम शुरू किया, लेकिन हादसे में तीन बच्चों की मौत हो गई।

पुनौरा के थाना प्रभारी शंभुनाथ ने बताया कि हादसा डुमरा-पुनौरा मार्ग पर मधुबन गांव में हुआ। जहां एक घर के बाहर कुछ बच्चे खेल रहे थे, जबकि कुछ लोग बैठकर बातचीत कर रहे थे। इसी बीच वहां से गुजर रहा बालू लदा ट्रक अनियंत्रित होकर पलट गया। जिसके नीचे खेल रहे बच्चे समेत आठ लोग दब गए। इस घटना के बाद ट्रक का ड्राइवर फरार हो गया। पुलिस पूरे मामले की छानबीन कर रही है। पुलिस ने बताया कि ये दस पहिया ट्रक में बालू भरा हुआ था। यह अभी तक स्पष्ट नहीं है कि रेत अवैध रूप से या कानूनी रूप से खनन की गई थी। यह रीगा की ओर जा रहा था। ट्रक के अंदर बालू परिवहन से जुड़ी कोई रसीद नहीं मिली। https://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/state/bihar/sitamadhi/three-kids-died-accident-when-truck-carrying-sand-lost-balance-tilted-down-on-roadside-sitamarhi-bihar/articleshow/84912700.cms  (31 July 2021)

Rajsathan अवैध खनन गड्ढे में डूबने से 2 बच्चों की मौत शुक्रवार (July 9) को अवैध बजरी खनन के नदी में बने गढ्ढे ने झालावाड़ जिले के सुनेल थाना क्षेत्र के पाऊखेड़ी गांव के दो बच्चों की जान ले ली है। उनकी दर्दनाक मौत से दो परिवारों में कोहराम मचा है। सुनेल सर्किल के पुलिस उपाधीक्षक धन्नाराम चौधरी के मुताबिक घटना शुक्रवार की सुबह 8 से 10 बजे के बीच की हैं। पाउखेड़ी गांव के चार- पांच बच्चे बकरियां चराने के लिए निकले थे। गांव के पास चछलाई के माल में बकरियां चरा रहे थे। यहीं रीछड नदी बहती हैं। दो बालक सूरज (पिता श्यामलाल मेघवाल उम्र 13 वर्ष) और दिलखुश (पिता रोडूलाल मेघवाल उम्र 12 वर्ष निवासी पाउखेड़ी) नदी के गहरे गड्ढे में समा गये।

ग्रामीणों ने आरोप लगाया कि पाउखेड़ी गांव के पास स्थित रिछड़ नदी में बजरी माफिया अवैध बजरी का खनन करते हैं। नदी से रेत निकालने के चक्कर में उन्होंने ने दिन-रात जेसीबी, एलएनटी, टेक्टरों बजरी का खनन करके नदी के अस्तित्व को छलनी कर दिया। रेत माफियाओं ने नदी में जगह-जगह बड़े-बड़े गहरे गड्ढे कर दिए। जो अब जान ले रहे हैं। थाना पुलिस को चाहिए और अवैध बजरी खनन पर रोक लगाएं। https://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/state/rajasthan/kota/two-kids-drown-in-jhalawar/articleshow/84268586.cms  (09 July 2021)

Four burnt alive after two trucks collide near Ajmer Four people were burnt alive when two trucks caught fire after a head-on collision on the Beawar-Jaipur bypass in Ajmer district on Tuesday (Aug. 17) at around 6am. The truck that was coming from Jaipur road was loaded with marble stones while the one coming from Beawar was carrying cement. The four bodies were sent to JLN Hospital in Ajmer for post-mortem. Police prima facie believe that the driver of one of the trucks fell asleep and lost control of the vehicle. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ajmer/four-burnt-alive-after-two-trucks-collide-near-ajmer/articleshow/85417883.cms  (18 Aug. 2021)

7 killed as mine collapses in Bhilwara An illegal stone mine collapsed in Bhilwara district on Wednesday (Aug. 11), killing seven labourers, including three women. The mine is on the land of Noor Mohammad in Lachuda village of Asind block of the district and was being operated by one Sangram Singh.

According to witnesses, mud from the nearby field collapsed into the illegal mine where the labourers were working in the afternoon. Initially, it was feared that about 50 workers were stuck in the collapsed mine, but later it was found that only seven were inside the mine. Police brought JCBs and excavators for the rescue operation and the dead bodies were found about 80 feet below the mud. Villagers said that all the workers who died were tribals.  

Sub-divisional officer CL Sharma said that an FIR has been registered against Noor Mohammad, among others, and that the administration has decided to seize the land. He said the accused had previously run the mine illegally and there was an FIR filed against him at the Asind police station. The administration has sought permission to announce relief for the families of the deceased, he said. Sources said that officials have been directed by the mines department to provide a list of all mines being run illegally in the district and to take immediate action against such operators. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ajmer/7-killed-including-3-women-as-mine-collapses-in-bhilwara-dist/articleshow/85255208.cms  (12 Aug. 2021)

Just for Rs 250, women of Kameri and nearby villages put their lives in danger by working in illegal mines in Asind block of Bhilwara. Villagers said that poverty is the major reason of villagers working on meek wages in dangerous places like mines.

“After the second unlock, there was no job in the village and youths were looking for some meek work to get some money and run their families,” said Kishan Bheel of Kameri village. He added that villagers had to go to 25 kilometres from the village to get job in Lachuda village where there are active operating mines.

There are many villages like Kameri in the block where poverty hit badly and therefore they went out to worked as skilled labourers without having any skilled knowledge.

Sources said that such illegal mines were also informed to district administration in Gangapur, Rampuria, Surajpur, Gondali, Bemali and Lachuada villages as there is scarcity of water and the land is also not fertile. Therefore, such mines came out in this region. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ajmer/poverty-forced-village-youths-to-work-in-illegal-mines/articleshow/85285888.cms  (13 Aug. 2021)

Uttar Pradesh रायबरेली में मिल एरिया थाना क्षेत्र के डिघिया मोड़ के पास बालू से भरा ओवरलोड ट्रक चाय की दुकान पर पलट गया. सात लोग उसकी जद में आ गए. 5 लोगों को सुरक्षित निकाल लिया गया. जबकि, दो लोगों की मौके पर ही मौत हो गई. रायबरेली में ओवरलोड ट्रक कहर बनकर सड़कों पर दौड़ रहे हैं. एआरटीओ विभाग इसको बढ़ावा देने से का काम कर रहा है. https://www.abplive.com/videos/states/up-uk-truck-overloaded-of-morang-fall-two-died-in-raebareli-1806420  (08 March 2021)

बालू वाले ट्रक धड़ल्ले से जिले में घूम रहे हैं. जब इस बाबत एआरटीओ प्रवर्तन संदीप जायसवाल से बात करने की कोशिश की गई तो उन्होंने कहा ओवरलोडिंग बंद नहीं हो सकती है. सरकार को जो रेवेन्यू चाहिए वो हम दे रहे हैं. यदि इस तरह जिम्मेदार अधिकारियों के वक्तव्य सामने आएंगे तो ओवरलोडिंग आखिर कैसे बंद होगी और इससे होने वाले हादसों पर लगाम कैसे लगेगी. https://www.abplive.com/states/up-uk/raebareli-truck-accident-two-died-five-people-injured-ann-1807042  (08 March 2021)

Tamil Nadu 267 vehicles involved in sand mining seized The Ramanathapuram district police have seized 267 vehicles involved in sand mining or smuggling between January and August 20, said Superintendent of Police E Karthik on Sunday (Aug. 22). https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/267-vehicles-involved-in-sand-mining-seized/article36047095.ece  (22 Aug. 2021)

Goa No bar on illegal miners The Goa Mineral Development Corporation Bill, 2021, was passed amidst an Opposition walkout on July 31. The Pramod Sawant government passed the Bill following a July order of the Supreme Court that had dismissed the review petitions of the Goa government and Vedanta Limited against its February 2018 order that had ruled against the state’s decision to renew 88 mining leases.

The Bill doesn’t bar miners whose leases were cancelled by the SC for illegal iron ore mining from bidding. “The Corporation shall be entitled to enter into any contracts, agreements, memorandum of understandings, etc. for engaging entities for the purpose of carrying out mining operations as it may consider necessary or expedient or any other business connected therewith in accordance with this Act,” according to Section 15 (4) of the Bill. https://www.newsclick.in/no-bar-on-illegal-miners-goa-set-resume-mining  (15 Aug. 2021)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Odisha HC seeks satellite images of illegal shrimp farms In an order released on Tuesday (Aug. 17), the HC asked the collectors of the four districts to place the satellite maps before the court to indicate the exact locations of such illegal farms and hatcheries. The HC also directed the four district collectors to indicate with the help of the satellite images the action that has been taken to remove such illegal farms and confirm to the court that all those sites have been revisited on a weekly basis thereafter to ensure the demolished farms and hatcheries have not re-emerged there.

The two-judge bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice B P Routray said, “The status reports enclosing the satellite images, maps and all of the above information will be made available before the next date of hearing (September 23)”. The bench further said, “The status reports will be accompanied by a chart giving the details of the FIRs registered contemporaneous with every demolition action and showing the provisions under which the FIRs have been registered and what action was taken on the FIRs so registered”. The HC order released on Tuesday came after a special sitting on the PIL for the restoration of the ecology of the two wetlands — Chilika Lake and Bhitarkanika — on Saturday (which is normally a holiday) on August 14. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/cuttack/orissa-high-court-seeks-satellite-images-of-illegal-shrimp-farms/articleshow/85449211.cms  (19 Aug. 2021)

Assam Guwahati’s wetlands turn ‘wastelands’ as they fail to hold rainwater City wetlands are fast dying and the government, despite its repeated assertions to protect and the preserve them, has done precious little and this inaction has turned vast areas like Chandmari, Gandhibasti, Islampur, Chenikuthi, Ambari, Lakhtokia, Chatribari, Tokobari, Rehabari and Paltan Bazaar into basins after every spell of rain. The wetlands are choking and have lost the capacity to absorb rainwater.

Sola beel, Borsola beel and Sorusola beel are shrinking at an alarming rate due to rapid encroachment in the last 10 years and this despite the existence of the Guwahati Water Bodies (Preservation and Conservation) Act, 2008, and the Gauhati High Court’s directive in 2000 to the effect that the beels should be properly preserved and kept free of pollution.

Encroachment at Deepor beel has drastically reduced the size of the lake from 40 sqkm about 50 years ago to just 4 sqkm. The Sola, Borsola and Sorusola lakes are natural rainwater reservoirs and play a key role in sustaining the ecology. The Borsola beel has been ravaged by construction, soil fill-up and dumping of garbage. The water has not only been polluted, the wetland has also shrunk and this has reduced its capacity to hold storm water.

The development of the Borsola beel was the first project of the Guwahati Smart City Limited, established in 2016. A total of Rs 80 crore was allotted for the development of the wetland. “Unfortunately, no steps were taken. The lake needs to be revived to solve flooding of the city during rains. The present condition of the beels speaks volumes about the commitments of the previous governments, which did nothing to preserve them,” said Hemen Lahkar a conservationist. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/guwahati/guwahatis-wetlands-turn-wastelands-as-they-fail-to-hold-rainwater/articleshow/85497935.cms  (21 Aug. 2021)

Villagers tell wetland’s tragic tale through photos Five green groups got together to clear and segregate the trash around the photo exhibition ‘gallery’ on Sunday. They honoured some “haati bondhus” (friends of elephants), elderly residents of villages in the vicinity, who keep a watch on the pachyderms during their movement between the elevated Rani Reserve Forest and Deepor Beel. The elephants have to cross the railway track and the road alongside to reach the wetland. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/assam-villagers-tell-wetlands-tragic-tale-through-photos/article35927316.ece  (15 Aug. 2021)

Kerala Drive against wetland conversion The district administration has adopted stringent measures to prevent wetland conversion during Onam season. A district level control room is functioning to monitor illegal land filling and mineral sand mining. Public can directly report all related incidents to the control room and a taluk-level facility too will be functional. Officials in charge of the control room will be available 24×7 and immediate action will be taken against violations.

Special district and taluk level squads have been deployed for inspections and Kollam Sub Collector Chethan Kumar Meena and deputy collectors are in charge of the squads. “Ignoring such incidents will be considered as a serious lapse of duty and action will be initiated against those taking a favourable stand,” said the Collector. He has instructed officials concerned to go ahead with legal proceedings after taking the pictures of wetland filling cases. The authorities have also set up a system to ensure that the squads are functioning efficiently. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/drive-against-wetland-conversion/article36049624.ece  (22 Aug. 2021)

Maharashtra Mangrove soldiers cleared over 40 tonnes of trash in just a year Last year, Dharmesh Barai, a young environment enthusiast from Navi Mumbai, initiated the Mangrove Clean-Up Drive along with Rohan Bhosale and Sriram Shanker after seeing the worsening condition of mangroves due to choked roots and waste accumulating in the mangrove forest.

ToI Image

This little effort started by a couple of volunteers expanded to attract people from many walks of life, proving to be a successful cause. Dharmesh said, “Nearly 700 volunteers actively took part and now all volunteers known as Mangroves soldiers, have been more active in these Clean-up drives, clearing waste from waterfalls, mangroves, mountains, lakes, rivers and hills with the goal of raising public awareness and bringing the city to the top of the Swachh Survekshan campaign. In addition to this, Mangrove Foundation and NMMC has shown its unwavering support by sending out staff, collecting waste from the area, and supplying gloves and other supplies to volunteers.”

About 40 tonnes of trash were cleaned from mangroves in total and area covered from Nerul to Belapur coastline. Shailaja Pathania, a Mangrove Soldier added, “Marine life in creek habitats may suffer if mangroves are not protected. We need to address the core source of trash generation to save them. Wherever possible, we must reduce and eliminate the usage of plastics, segregate garbage at home, and embrace sustainable lifestyle and request to all citizens please use a dustbin for every single waste and do not litter irresponsibly.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/mumbais-mangrove-soldiers-cleared-over-40-tonnes-of-trash-in-just-a-year/articleshow/85451465.cms  (19 Aug. 2021)

The Union ministry of environment and forest nod to reduce the 10km buffer zone from the boundary of the eco-sensitive Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary to 3.89km will help speed up stalled real estate proposals, property market sources said. However, civic sources said a formal notification from the ministry is awaited. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/centre-nod-to-shrink-thane-creeks-buffer-zone-a-relief-in-mumbai-builders/articleshow/85442908.cms  (19 Aug. 2021)

Chandigarh Sukhna ESZ: Ministry says pursuing matter with states Recently, the UT administration had urged the ministry to take up the matter with Punjab and Haryana. In 2017, the UT administration had notified to leave a 2-to-2.75-km radius from the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary as eco-sensitive zone. UT’s chief conservator of forests Debendra Dalai, in a recent letter to the ministry, had requested expedition of the ESZ notification for the area falling in Punjab and Haryana.

UT had also reiterated that 90% area falls in Punjab and Haryana, therefore to protect the entire sanctuary, it was important to notify ESZ immediately. Recently, UT adviser Dharam Pal had directed the UT forest and wildlife department officials to take up the matter afresh with the Union government. Last year too, in a meeting convened by the MoEFCC’s Wildlife Division, the UT administration had asked for declaring ESZ around Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary at the earliest. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/sukhna-wildlife-sanctuary-esz-ministry-says-pursuing-matter-with-states/articleshow/85470676.cms  (20 Aug. 2021)

The water level of Sukhna Lake today reached near the danger mark. After rain in the region, the level of lake waters increased to 1,162.65 ft, just 3.5 inches below the danger mark of 1,163 ft. One of the 3 floodgates of the lake was opened last time on August 14 when the water level had reached 1,162.7 ft. However, the gate was closed after two hours. Before this, the floodgate was opened for an hour on August 9 when the water level had reached 1,162.5 ft. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/chandigarh/sukhna-lake-water-level-nears-danger-mark-300458  (22 Aug. 2021)

Haryana Govt may build check dam around Najagfarh lake: Khattar Even as the Haryana government is yet to submit an environment management plan pertaining to the Najafgarh lake with the NGT, CM Manohar Lal Khattar on Monday (Aug. 16) said that the government is considering construction of check dams (bundhs) around the lake to prevent flooding of around 5,000 acres of agricultural land located in its vicinity.

However, experts were against the construction of a check dam at Najafgarh. Ritu Rao, a PhD scholar at the TERI School of Advanced Studies, who specialises and works on urban water bodies and has been working on the Najafgarh lake, said, “Building a check dam near the lake will block the only outlet for stormwater in Gurugram. With climate change, Gurugram is facing extreme precipitation in a short span of time, which leads to urban flooding; this will only increase in future. Further, to build a check dam, undulated terrain is needed, whereas the area in question is not such a land.”

Experts working for the protection of the lake have been demanding that the Haryana government declare the water body a wetland till 212.5 metres above mean sea level, in accordance with the high flood level of the past 100 years. If it is done lower than that, then there is a risk of flooding and collapse of the buildings constructed on this land as the Najafgarh Jheel is a natural hazard zone. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/gurugram-news/govt-may-build-check-dam-around-najagfarh-lake-khattar-101629138089977.html  (16 Aug. 2021)

Report How wetlands reduce storm effects Coastal wetlands reduce the damaging effects of tropical cyclones on coastal communities by absorbing storm energy in ways that neither solid land nor open water can. The mechanisms involved include decreasing the area of open water (fetch) for wind to form waves, increasing drag on water motion and hence the amplitude of a storm surge, reducing direct wind effects on the water surface, and directly absorbing wave energy. Wetland vegetation contributes by decreasing surges and waves and maintaining shallow water depths that have the same effect. Wetlands also reduce flood damages by absorbing flood waters caused by rain and moderating their effects on built-up areas. https://theconversation.com/forget-massive-seawalls-coastal-wetlands-offer-the-best-storm-protection-money-can-buy-165872  (17 Aug. 2021)

WATER OPTIONS

Gurugram GMDA to promote treated water use at construction sites After using treated water in green belts, officials of the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) are planning to promote the use of treated water at construction sites, as part of an initiative to conserve water in the city. The chief executive officer of GMDA, in a meeting on Tuesday (Aug. 17), instructed officials concerned to find out ways for best utilisation of treated water. “As per norms, treated water should be used by builders at construction sites, but this does not happen always as the water needs to be filled in tankers and taken to the site. Under this initiative, around 200 hydrants are likely to be installed with new pipelines and their locations will be shared on the website, so people know the nearest hydrant,” a senior GMDA official said, not wishing to be named.

However, real estate developers in the city said that due to water scarcity, treated water is already being used. The urban environment division of the GMDA is planning to install lateral lines of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes along with hydrants to supply treated water. These hydrants would be installed with a spacing of 30 metres and pipes are set up using trenchless technology, a method used for installing or replacing pipelines with minimum disruption to the surface. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/gurugram-news/gmda-to-promote-treated-water-use-at-construction-sites-101629481865470.html  (20 Aug. 2021)

Delhi Nearly 1000 waterbodies put on map State Wetland Authority has given unique identification numbers to 1,040 waterbodies in the capital. While the city was always believed to have around 1,000 ponds, it is the first time that they have been identified in official records. Of those given the UID numbers, 995 have also been mapped on a GPS platform. The Wetland Authority has fixed a deadline of June 2022 for the notification of all wetlands for conservation and management.

For the 1,040 listed waterbodies, the land-owning agencies had submitted 520 brief documents till Thursday. “We have asked for the remaining brief documents by August 30,” said a Wetland Authority official. “A technical committee will review the brief documents and management plans prepared by the agencies by December.” The official added that the authority would forward the recommendation for notification of waterbodies to Delhi government by March 2022 and the final notification process is expected to be completed by June next year. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/nearly-1000-waterbodies-put-on-map/articleshow/85470510.cms  (20 Aug. 2021)

ToI image

Telangana Govt digs in to revive heritage stepwells The state government will take up the restoration of all defunct, dilapidated and historically significant stepwells in and around Hyderabad, now that the restoration work of Bansilalpet stepwell in Secunderabad is in progress. There are around 140 stepwells in the state, including 60 in Hyderabad. However, barring a few such as Bhagwandas Bagh and Shiva Bagh Baoli Gudimalkapur stepwell which was recently cleaned, two stepwells inside the Mah Laqa Bai Chanda’s maqbara which were restored nearly 10 years ago, Pushkarni at Sita Ramachandra Swamy Temple in Ramanajpur, and the open well at Moula Ali are in a bad state.

The MAUD department is currently undertaking restoration project of a heritage stepwell at Bansilalpet. The government has been working with the Hyderabad Design Forum (HDF) to identify such stepwells. The forum has recently submitted a list of 100 wells in the state to MAUD department. The authorities have decided to shortlist the wells which will get a facelift and take up works in a phased manner. One stepwell in Bapu Ghat, one in Gachibowli and two in Kokapet are the ones that are soon going to undergo restoration work. The officials in coordination with a few experts have incorporated methods to recharge the groundwater as part of their stepwell restoration project. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/t-digs-in-to-revive-heritage-stepwells/articleshow/85500439.cms  (21 Aug. 2021)

Chennai Recharge wells constructed across SEWA colony Residents of Seethamma Extension Welfare Association (SEWA) in Teynampet are benefiting from a wise investment made last year — constructing 13 rainwater recharge wells on 5 roads. While the exercise was aimed at checking water-logging, it has brought an added benefit their way. “Mapping the areas with water logging, we constructed rainwater harvesting pits,” says Bharath Srinivasan, Association secretary, adding that they sought Greater Chennai Corporation’s permission to undertake the work. 17 to 20 feet deep, the pits are fitted with a filter and chamber.

Constructed in October 2020, they are cleaned every quarter. Once a year, before the monsoon, a deep cleaning of the wells is undertaken. SEWA recently completed work on constructing 3 more wells, again based on observation by residents about water logging in certain streets. Rajkumar points out that they invested ₹1.5 lakh in the project and plan to spend more to ensure rainwater that collects at road corners does not go wasted. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/rainwater-harvesting-pits-constructed-across-this-colony-in-chennai/article36038146.ece  (21 Aug. 2021)

GROUNDWATER

Punjab Dangerous groundwater pollution More than half of Punjab’s districts have reported dangerous levels of uranium, arsenic, cadmium and lead in their groundwater. The exact sources of these heavy metals are unclear, but experts suspect geological factors and overuse of fertilisers. Punjab has issued tenders to build and commission community-level water-purification plants as a short-term measure.

The Ministry of Jal Shakti also revealed that as on July 23, 2021, 47,873 rural habitations around India had reported quality issues with drinking water sources. The most affected state appears to be Assam, where 1,194 villages have reported arsenic contamination in the groundwater, while 19,745 rural habitations have reported excess iron as well. Similarly, 1,358 villages in Rajasthan have reported fluoride contamination. https://science.thewire.in/environment/new-govt-data-points-to-dangerous-groundwater-pollution-in-punjab/  (22 Aug. 2021)

Haryana Govt plans localised measures to prevent gw exploitation The govt will map water levels in every village amid rapid groundwater exploitation in 79 per cent villages of the state. According to Central Ground Water Authority figures shared by the state government, 85 of Haryana’s 141 blocks have over-exploited groundwater. Against the recharge volumes, these areas have exploited 100 per cent groundwater, the figures show. This means that for every 100 litres of groundwater recharge, the extraction is over 200 litres.

Similarly, the pace of groundwater exploitation is 90 to 100 per cent in 12 other blocks, categorised as ‘critical’. Fourteen blocks, where groundwater exploitation is between 70 and 90 per cent, have been categorised as ‘semi-critical’. Only 30 blocks have been declared to be safe. According to officials, the state has seen a decline of 9.47 metres in the water table on average from June 1995 to June 2020. https://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/health/haryana-plans-water-availability-index-for-every-village-localised-measures-to-prevent-groundwater-exploitation/2312306/  (17 Aug. 2021)

URBAN WATER

Bengaluru How to kill a lake Despite strong opposition from Bengaluru’s lake groups, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s RR Nagar division is going ahead with the construction of a glass house, a hanging bridge and a toy train track in Mallathahalli Lake, putting the entire ecosystem of the waterbody at risk. Activists say the Rs 51-crore project, to be implemented soon, is in violation of several judgements passed by the High Court and the NGT.

Although officials are aware that the project is illegal, they have been under pressure to implement it on the instructions of the local MLA Munirathna, who is now aminister in the BJP- led state government. It is learnt that the powerful legislator put pressure on the Karnataka Tank Conservation and Development Authority (KTCDA) to clear the DPR when officials had flagged the aforementioned violations.

What is surprising is that the BBMP has gone ahead with the work by reducing the water holding capacity of the lake even though there are several empty pockets around the lake, where the project could have been implemented without harming the waterbody. A few weeks ago, the BBMP had started building a retaining wall around the lake at a cost of around Rs 15 crore. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/cover-story/how-to-kill-a-lake/articleshow/85475265.cms  (20 Aug. 2021)

A part of the Mysuru-Bengaluru Highway submerged in knee-deep water on Aug. 20 as a huge water spring emerged near Baburayanakoppal in Srirangapatna after the main pipeline that distributes Cauvery water from the Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) Dam to Mandya broke above the Lokapavani Bridge breached. This was the main line out of the three lines that supplied water. Due to the day-long leak, roads were filled with water and the access routes to villages were blocked. Desperate motorists were seen carefully negotiating their vehicles on the road that was under water. https://starofmysore.com/cauvery-pipeline-breaks-highway-under-water/  (21 June 2021)

BWSSB went for a massive water shutdown in last week of June 2021 to take up the work to stop a six-month-old leak in the main transmission water pipeline from Thorekadanahalli (TK Halli) to the city. The pipeline was leaking earlier too, but over the last few days, the wastage has surged to 1 MLD. The city gets water from Shiva Anaicut reservoir along Cauvery river, travelling a distance of over 100 km. It reaches the TK Halli reservoir by gravity and then pumped to the city through three pumping stations and mammoth pipelines. The city receives between 1,462 and 1,475 MLD of water daily. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2021/jun/28/bengaluru-losing-1-million-litres-of-water-per-day-as-cauvery-pipeline-leaks-2322337.html  (28 June 2021)

Govt reclaims 141 acres of encroached land around lakes In an ongoing drive, the Karnataka government has been able to reclaim 141 acres of land illegally occupied by encroachers around 58 lakes in Bengaluru. Earlier, the Bengaluru Urban deputy commissioner, J Manjunath, had directed the stakeholders, including the revenue department, BBMP, SPCB, forest department and minor irrigation department to survey the lakes and demolish encroachments. The tehsildars of all the taluks were directed to undertake the eviction drives every Saturday.

The former Army personnel, who has been receiving threats for some time now for pursuing the issue with the government, added, “A joint operation team comprising police, taluk panchayats and forest department has been launched to reclaim Singasandra, Naganayakanahalli, Dasanapura, Bendaganahalli, Vabasandra, S.Bengipura, Burugukuntae, Ghatahalli, Dommasandra, Avalahalli, Chikkanahalli, Hulimangala lakes from the encroachers.”

Contrary to the earlier method of erecting poles to mark the survey of the lakes, the government has adopted the method of digging a trench. The method was adopted after it was found that the encroachers used to remove the poles or stones to their comfort in the absence of the officers, thereby altering the survey area. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/karnataka-government-reclaims-141-acres-of-encroached-land-around-bengaluru-lakes-7458246/  (17 Aug. 2021)

Clear encroachments in buffer zones of lakes, govt tells BBMP Almost a month after the high court’s directive, the govt ordered BBMP and other civic agencies to clear encroachments falling inside 30-metre buffer zones of tanks, lakes and rivers. On Wednesday (Aug. 11), KA Hidayathulla, joint secretary to the government, urban development (coordination), issued the order, stating structures standing in buffer zones of tanks, lakes and rivers should be removed to provide a healthy environment.

While lake and tank encroachments are a major concern, BBMP is yet to deter mine the extent of encroachment. Chief commissioner Gaurav Gupta said, “As per government directions, lake encroachments will be cleared.” B Reddy Shankar Babu, special commissioner (lakes), admitted many tanks and lakes have been encroached but they are yet to ascertain numbers. A survey will be done and action initiated, he added. The move comes after the HC on July 14 directed the urban development department to issue directions to all municipalities to ensure removal of illegal constructions on tanks/lakes and their buffer zones. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/govt-to-bbmp-clear-lake-river-encroachments/articleshow/85258733.cms  (12 Aug. 2021)

The order cited the obligatory functions of the officials to protect the water bodies under different laws for municipalities, corporations and the BBMP and cited the KTCDA Act 2014 that bars any construction activity in the 30 metre buffer zone. The order, however, falls short of ordering a survey or fixing a deadline for reclaiming the government land. Last month, the high court had noted that out of 39,179 lakes, survey of only 17,009 lakes has been completed and directed officials to resume the process.

“We direct the state government to issue specific directions to all concerned officers including the Deputy Commissioners to commence the work of survey of lakes and buffer zones under their respective jurisdiction. We again reiterate that survey has to be of the lakes as well as its thirty meters buffer zones,” the order had said.

In prime places like Bengaluru, evicting encroachers has become a Herculean task. As per a survey by the Bangalore Urban district administration, 4,500 acre of land belonging 837 lakes in the district has been encroached. Over the last one month, officials have recovered about 180 acre belonging to more than 75 lakes. Officials said the drive will continue in the coming days.

A senior official said thousands of properties have to be demolished if the order is implemented. “There are thousands of properties built within 30 metres of a water body even after that area was declared a buffer zone. They have obtained all the permissions and sanctions from the BBMP. In addition, those properties built before declaration of buffer zone but without the required permissions are also illegal. The town planning department has to be held responsible and a future course of action has to be decided,” he said. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/after-hc-order-govt-tells-ulbs-to-remove-lake-encroachments-1018772.html  (12 Aug. 2021)

In a review meeting the Bengaluru Urban DC J Manjunath ordered for the removal of encroachments from the buffer zones and surveying the lakes, the two vital points for the restoration and reclaiming of lakes. https://www.thehansindia.com/karnataka/encroachers-face-the-heat-as-govt-begins-reclaiming-of-lakes-698803  (30 July 2021)

State and its agencies should first remove their own lake encroachments: HC Noticing that certain development activities were carried out by the BBMP and other instrumentalities of the State, the Bench said that it is the obligation of the State and its agencies to protect the lake and buffer zones around lakes. If encroachments put up by State and its instrumentalities are removed, then the other encroachers can follow suit, the bench observed.

Meanwhile, the bench directed the BBMP to give its response on implementing recommendations made by NEERI for surveying Arehalli, Kamakshipalya and Tavarekere lakes and providing boundaries through GPS documentations. Also, the bench asked the BBMP’s Executive Engineer (Lake Development) to explain how the tender for preparing DPR for development of certain lakes were issued even before the NEERI submitted its restoration plans.

The bench granted more time for the State government to carry out a survey of all lakes in Karnataka and the buffer zones around all the lakes as per an earlier order while pointing out that the government had not completed survey of even half of the lakes in the city and, moreover, buffer zones were not surveyed. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/state-and-its-agencies-should-first-remove-their-own-lake-encroachments-hc/article34710965.ece (02 June 2021)

Associate Professor, Centre for Research in Urban Affairs, ISEC Manasi said that over-exploitation of groundwater in peri-urban areas given their positioning since they belong either to rural or urban areas, thus being vulnerable to climate change risks. Drawing from a micro-level study conducted on vulnerabilities in Karnataka, reference was made to land-use change and groundwater overuse resulting in an increase in defunct borewells and negligence of water bodies. She also indicated the need for micro-level studies for a better understanding of local problems and finding innovative solutions to achieve Climate Action. https://zeenews.india.com/karnataka/bengaluru-to-face-acute-shortage-of-drinking-water-warn-experts-2387067.html  (21 Aug. 2021)

Our city governments are very weak, completely at the mercy of the state: Yogendra Yadav https://citizenmatters.in/karnataka-swaraj-india-party-yogendra-yadav-interview-6499  (10 May 2021)

Hyderabad Mir Alam Lake stares at fresh encroachment In areas across Rajendranagar especially around water bodies, dumping of garbage and construction material is a regular practice and in some cases it was done in a skeptical manner to poach at least a piece of land which could fetch the land sharks a good return. Eschewing any mention of Mir Alam Lake would be completely unjust as much of the area around the lake has already been encroached, while dumping of garbage keeps going on hinting towards another fresh encroachment on the already exploited water body.

Dumping of garbage and construction material was gradually increased on a half a kilometre of Indra Nagar stretch on the banks of Mir Alam Lake close to Pillar No. 258 PVNR Expressway. Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) staff was largely confined to carting away the garbage while heaps of construction material turned the area of the lake into landscape. Located very opposite to Akbari Masjid-cum-Eidgah and just a stone throw away from a STP of Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) abutting the lake, this spot was filled with heaps of trash and landfill, hinting at a possible fresh attempt to encroach the lake as the spot, stands very close to PVNR Expressway leading to Attapur, a prime area in entire Rajendranagar. https://www.thehansindia.com/news/cities/hyderabad/hyderabad-mir-alam-lake-stares-at-fresh-encroachment-702293  (19 Aug. 2021)

First urban body in state to get ‘Water Plus’ city tag The Union ministry of housing and urban affairs on Friday (Aug. 20) announced the certification after examining the proposal submitted by the GHMC for the Swachh Bharat Mission Water Plus City Certification under Swachh Survekshan 2021.

The final field assessment report by the Union ministry reveals that certification was achieved after the inspection teams checked various indicators including safe discharge of sewage or septage (faecal sludge), safe cleaning of sewer and septic tanks through mechanised equipment and availability of PPEs and safety equipment in case of manual entry in unavoidable circumstances, re-use of treated water, among other factors.

However, contrary to the assessment report which shows that city has passed all the indicators that need to be checked to achieve the ‘Water Plus’ certificate, experts pointed out how the situation on ground was different in several cases. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/hyd-first-urban-body-in-t-to-get-water-plus-city-tag/articleshow/85501385.cms  (21 Aug. 2021)

Ministry has given 50 marks for safe discharge of sewage and septage from community and public toilets, apart from household latrines. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/200821/hmwssb-hmda-enable-hyderabad-to-get-water-plus-certification.html  (21 Aug. 2021)

Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) has been treating only 49% of sewage generated within the limits of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). It is letting the remaining 51% of sewage, including faecal matter, into Musi River. This led to the board getting an earful from NGT, following which it has now engaged Mumbai-based Shah Technical Consultants for preparing a comprehensive sewerage master plan (CSMP).

The total sewage generated up to Outer Ring Road for 2018 is 1,782 MLD. Sewage generation in 2021 is estimated to be 1,960 MLD. The present installed sewage treatment capacity is mere 772.3 MLD. The projected sewage in 2036 will be 2,815 MLD. As per CSMP, 62 STPs of 2,057 MLD capacity are proposed to be established for meeting requirements up to 2036. 31 of the 62 STPs will be established on priority basis in three packages under a hybrid annuity model (HAM).

HMWS&SB has issued a work order to NEERI, Hyderabad, for preparation of a DPR for remediation of drains leading to River Musi. The Sewerage Board has submitted a proposal of Rs 528.30 crore to the government to treat sewage at the rate of Rs 45 lakh per MLD. Its approval is, however, awaited.

According to HMWS&SB officials, 8 STPs with a capacity of 402.5 MLD are proposed to be taken up at an estimated cost of Rs 1,230.21 crore, including operation and maintenance (O&M) for 15 years as Package 1. 6 STPs of 480.5 MLD costing Rs 1,355.13 crore, including O&M for 15 years, will be under Package 2. 17 STPs of 376.5 MLD capacity are proposed to be built at a cost of Rs 1,280.87 crore including O&M for 15 years as Package 3.

The board has already received approval from the government for construction of the 17 STPs under the Hussainsagar Lake catchment. Tenders had been invited in September 2020 for the purpose for completion within a period of two years. A senior Sewerage Board official said the process for completing the remaining STPs in two packages will also be expedited. However, he said, it all depends on state government making funds available. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/politics/010321/hmwsb-treating-only-49-of-sewage-generated-in-ghmc-limits.html  (01 March 2021)

Even after spending crores over the past few years on trying to divert sewage of various drains from discharging into the Hussainsagar, the govt has remained unsuccessful. The Kukatpally nala (drain), responsible for 75% of all the waste flowing into the Hussainsagar, continues to drain 30-40% of its untreated sewage into the lake, according to a report submitted in the NGT on Thursday (Jan. 28) by a Joint Committee of experts. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/hyderabad/2021/jan/29/dirty-waters-draining-into-hussainsagar-continues-to-raise-a-stink-2256489.html  (29 Jan. 2021)

Consumer forum directs Water Board to reverse three bills A consumer commission directed the HMWSSB to reverse three bills which were issued under the commercial category. The commission differed with the board’s stand of a connection as commercial, and after ordering an inspection, treated it as domestic.

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission-II was dealing with a complaint filed by Indira Srinivas Mawle, with the opposite party being the HMWSSB. The complainant stated that all efforts of requesting the HMWSSB to change a commercial connection to domestic went in vain, and that this was the second round of litigation on the subject. The complainant also contended that changing of the water connection from domestic to commercial was arbitrary. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/consumer-forum-directs-water-board-to-reverse-three-bills/article36035837.ece  (21 Aug. 2021)

Chennai Unbridled littering of lake can pollute groundwater: Study Indiscriminate discharge of untreated sewage and dumping of garbage have increased levels of pollutants in the Perungalathur lake which, if unchecked, could also pollute groundwater in the neighbourhood, a study by a city team has found. The team studied 19 different quality parameters with samples from three locations.

Prof R Kungumapriya of Pachaiyappa’s College’s zoology department, one of the researchers, said pollutants in the lake could enter the human body through fish sold in the neighbourhood. “When the samples were collected between October 2020 and February 2021, the lake was eutrophic in nature. If this continues for long, underground water channels will only supply polluted water to surrounding localities,” said S Rasulmeera, corresponding author of the study. The lake, reduced in size from around 370 acres to 54 acres due to encroachment, has been polluted for many years. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/unbridled-littering-of-lake-can-pollute-groundwater-study/articleshow/85446730.cms  (19 Aug. 2021)

Enough water for 8 months: PWD With more than 1.75 TMC of Krishna water released from Andhra into Tamil Nadu, and the city’s reservoirs brimming, there is sufficient water to quench Chennai’s thirst for at least eight months, confirmed public works department (PWD) officials.

However, the department did not comment on increasing the water supply as promised earlier. While about 810 MLD of water is being supplied to the city daily for domestic use, the requirement stands at 1,200 MLD, per day. But, when asked about this, a senior official said, “Only if the supply is in deficit, there will not be a wastage. If water runs in taps all day, public might end up wasting the resource. There should always be a 20 to 30 per cent deficit.” https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2021/aug/21/chennai-has-enough-water-for-eight-months-pwd-2347645.html  (21 Aug. 2021)

Vijayawada Meter rider sparks water scheme row The uninterrupted water supply scheme proposed by Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) in the city is getting mixed response from the public. The proposal of making water meter mandatory for availing 24×7 water supply is drawing the ire of opposition parties and taxpayers’ associations.

Most of the water supply lines in the city are in a bad shape and water gets wasted due to leaks. The VMC had proposed to restore old pipe lines and provide uninterrupted water supply in key divisions like Suryaraopet, Gandhi Nagar and Governorpet. The civic body started work with an estimated cost of Rs 100.7 crore by utilising the funds from the AMRUT scheme of the Union government.

Around 251.2 km long water lines will be replaced and 3.2 km long main lines from the reservoirs will be repaired to ease the water supply in the city. With continuous flow in water lines, there will be a chance of water leakages and VMC had decided to set up an agency to monitor the scheme. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vijayawada/meter-rider-sparks-water-scheme-row/articleshow/85522176.cms  (22 Aug. 2021)

Vizag ‘Water Plus’ certification The Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation has received the ‘Water Plus’ certification from the ministry of housing and urban affairs under Swachh Bharat Mission and Swachh Survekshan assessment. Tirupati and Vijayawada municipal corporations have also got the certification. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/visakhapatnam/vizag-gets-water-plus-certification/articleshow/85521925.cms  (22 Aug. 2021)

Delhi DJB sets up floating wetlands to clean lakes While the floating wetlands were recently installed at Sanjay Van lake, the DJB had set them up earlier at the lakes at Nangloi and Rajokri. The wetlands are to come up in around ten lakes as part of the ‘City of Lakes’ project of the DJB. The DJB will ensure the maintenance of these sites once the wetland systems are in place. Plants that grow on the platforms include yellow and red canna, spider lily, elephant ear plants, pampas grass, and soft rush or bulrush plants.

A single floating rafter, along with its maintenance, can cost between Rs. 8000 and Rs. 10,000, the official said. At Sanjay Van, a total of 597 such floating rafters were set up, while 1375 of them were installed at the Sonia Vihar Lake. They have also been used in the lakes at Jaffarpur Kalan and Rani Khera (150 rafters). A total of 401 such platforms are floating over the Nangloi lake.

The impact of such systems is debatable when the primary issues underlying the pollution in the lake have not been addressed, experts say. The use of floating wetlands is going to be negligible, said environmentalist Diwan Singh. “It diverts attention from the other things that need to be done like cleaning stormwater drains and ensuring that no sewage or other waste enters drains or the lake,” he said.

At Sanjay Van, the issue of a drain that contaminates the water in the lake has not yet been resolved, while the sewage draining into the Sonia Vihar lake has not yet been diverted, the DJB official admitted. The DJB plans on constructing a STP with a capacity of 7 MGD to handle the waste that finds its way to Sonia Vihar lake, and a consultant has been appointed for the project, he said. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/delhi-jal-board-sets-up-floating-wetlands-to-clean-lakes-7465308/  (22 Aug. 2021)

700 guesthouses, hotels told to shut over borewell use Over 700 guesthouses and small hotels in Paharganj and Karol Bagh have been issued closure notices by Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) for illegal extraction of groundwater using borewells. DPCC in its notice has asked the guesthouses to take corrective measures within 15 days, failing which would result in disconnection of electricity and water, along with the cancellation of licence.

“A number of guesthouses were found using illegal borewells to extract water. These hotels and guesthouses also don’t have any consent to establish or operate under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974 and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, which are mandatory to run guesthouses and hotels,” said the official. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/700-guesthouses-hotels-told-to-shut-over-borewell-use/articleshow/85383219.cms  (17 Aug. 2021)

3 WTE plants fined Rs 5 lakh each Environmental compensation was imposed on the three plants, following inspections in September and October of 2020 by CPCB. DPCC says the fine amount needs to be submitted within 15 days of the issue of the order. All three plants have been asked to take corrective measures. “An environmental compensation of Rs 5 lakh each is imposed on the addressee, with the direction to submit the said amount in the form of a demand draft in favour of DPCC within 15 days from the date of service of this order,” stated the letter issued on Tuesday (Aug. 17).

In a report submitted by CPCB to NGT on March 22, the dioxin and furan values were found to be nearly 10 times higher than the prescribed norms at Okhla, five times higher at Bawana and 2.7 times higher than the prescribed standards at Ghazipur. The inspections also revealed that data from the online continuous emission monitoring system (OCEMS) at all the three plants was not matching with the actual on-ground monitoring results. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/3-wte-plants-fined-rs-5l-each-over-green-norm-violations/articleshow/85414393.cms  (18 Aug. 2021)

Eight trees were on average cut every day in Delhi for the past five years—from August 2016 to August 2021—an RTI reply has revealed. The reply states a total of 15,090 trees were cut in the city over the past five years for various projects, which included permission given to individuals and state and central agencies for their projects. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/8-trees-felled-daily-on-avg-in-last-5-years-rti-reply/articleshow/85470626.cms  (20 Aug. 2021)

Punjab Scheme for regularisation of unauthorised water, sewerage connections Punjab Cabinet on Monday (Aug. 16) approved One Time Settlement (OTS) scheme for regularisation of unauthorised connections and recovery of arrears on account of water supply and sewerage charges. The move is expected to lead to regularisation of approximately 93000 connections, which would lead to increase in revenue of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), a press release said.

According to a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office, under the domestic category, Rs.200 per connection (Rs.100 each for water supply and sewerage) would be charged as one-time fee for regularisation of water supply and sewerage connection for plot measuring up to 125 sq. yd, Rs.500 per connection (Rs.250 each for water supply and sewerage) would be charged for plot size between 125 to 250 sq. yd. and Rs. 1000 per connection (Rs.500 each for water supply and sewerage) for over 250 sq. yd. plot. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/punjab-announces-scheme-for-regularisation-of-unauthorised-water-supply-sewerage-connections-in-urban-areas-298047  (16 Aug. 2021) 

Gurugram Aravalis: All forest areas to be mapped The forest department will now include all forest areas in its ongoing survey to map illegal encroachments in the Aravalis in Gurugram and Faridabad using drones. Earlier, the plan was to carry out a survey of only forest land protected under the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA). The decision to conduct the survey was initially taken at a meeting headed by deputy commissioner Yash Garg earlier this month after a Supreme Court order to remove all encroachments from forest areas. While hearing a petition on encroachment in the Faridabad Aravalis, the apex court had ordered the demolition of 10,000 houses in Khori village.

Meanwhile, environmentalists pointed out that since the Haryana government has not finalised the definition of forest till now, the survey will still leave out areas which are yet to be declared as forest. In Gurugram, around 4,180 hectares fall in the “yet to be decided” category, while Faridabad has 3,436 hectares.

“If Haryana decides on the definition of forest, the region will get more clarity regarding the definition of gair mumkin pahar (uncultivable hill), bhood (sand dunes) and foothills. Also, more areas will be identified as forest and can be included in the Aravalis. The state first needs to define forest in order to protect and conserve it,” said Vivek Kamboj, an environmentalist. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/not-just-protected-land-all-forest-areas-to-be-mapped/articleshow/85442858.cms  (19 Aug. 2021)

The CM on Monday (Aug. 16), inaugurated the drinking water supply project set up for sectors 81 to 99. The project is a part of the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority’s (GMDA) three-phase plan to lay water pipelines in newer sectors, 58 to 115, at a cost of ₹235 crore. Officials said that the first phase was constructed at a cost of ₹76.21 crore and it will cater to around 380,000 people. Khattar also virtually inaugurated a waste-to-energy plant worth ₹176.87 crores in Sonepat and Panipat. The project has been set up under a public-private partnership and will produce eight megawatts of electricity. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/gurugram-news/govt-may-build-check-dam-around-najagfarh-lake-khattar-101629138089977.html  (16 Aug. 2021)

The dried up Badkhal Lake in Faridabad. Photo: Rakesh Kashyap/The Tribune

Faridabad Badkhal Lake revival  sees poor progress There has been poor progress in the revival work of the Badkhal lake due to the delay in forest clearance and alleged sloppy work. Only 25 per cent work has been done on the Rs 26 crore STP meant for refilling the dried up water body. The lake, a famous tourist spot in the NCR till 2000, has gone dry due to large-scale mining and lack of upkeep. “The work remained suspended till December 2019 due to no clearance from the Forest and Pollution Control Department”, said sources.

The work on the Rs 79-crore Badkhal lake revival project was launched in April 2018, sources in the district administration said. Eeven after 40 months, the project had failed to get the nod from the Environment and Forest Department, they said. The spot is located in the ecological sensitive zone of the Aravallis. The STP, a vital component, is aimed at supplying 10 MLD of treated water daily into the lake bed lying dried up for the past two decades. The refill plan had been prepared on the basis of reports by experts who had said the STP was the only dependable and permanent source of supplying water to the lake. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/faridabad-badkhal-lake-revival-sees-poor-progress-300080  (21 Aug. 2021)

Chandigarh Residents complain of inflated water bills Even after the Chandigarh administration stayed the hike in water tariff, many residents complain they continue to get high water bills. The Chandigarh administration in May notified a stay on the hiked water tariff, putting off the increased charges till the next fiscal in view of the pandemic.

It was in September 2020 that it had notified up to 200% hike in water tariff, which led to a public outcry and criticism from the opposition. The MC General House had even passed resolutions, asking the administration to roll back the hike. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/chandigarh-residents-complain-of-inflated-water-bills-101628451851754.html  (09 Aug. 2021)

Mumbai Water stock for 300 days According to BMC data, as of August 20, the water stock in the seven lakes was 12.35 lakh ML – 85.34 per cent of the total capacity of 14.47 lakh ML. As rainfall resumed in the city two weeks ago, the level in the seven lakes that supplies water to Mumbai has recorded a substantial rise.

In the last 20 days, two lakh million litre (ML) of water have accumulated in the lakes. With this, now the city has water stock for the next 300 days. According to BMC data, as of August 20, the water stock in the seven lakes was 12.35 lakh ML – 85.34 per cent of the total capacity of 14.47 lakh ML. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/water-level-in-7-lakes-rises-mumbai-has-stock-for-300-days-7463730/  (21 Aug. 2021)

Kolkata Salt Lake road cave-ins Construction engineers said that this happened due to cracks and water leakage on the underground drainage line ducts, which is displacing the soil. “The drainage ducts are either getting unsettled or developing cracks due to its age or other factors. This is disturbing the soil and developing a vacuum underneath as large soil particles create gap by having more air space and resulting in the road to subside,” said soil expert and construction engineer Anjan Kumar Dutta. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/salt-lake-road-cave-ins-pose-threat-to-motorists/articleshow/85523563.cms  (22 Aug. 2021)

WATER

CWC RESERVOIR STORAGE BULLETIN OF 19.08.2021

1. ALL INDIA STATUS:- As per reservoir storage bulletin dated 19.08.2021, live storage available in 130 reservoirs with total live storage capacity of 171.958 BCM is 104.819 BCM, which is 61% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. However, last year the live storage available in these reservoirs for the corresponding period was 109.281 BCM and the average of last 10 years live storage was 106.294 BCM.

2. REGION WISE STORAGE STATUS: a) NORTHERN REGION:- The total live storage available in 8 reservoirs in Himachal, Punjab and Rajasthan having total live storage capacity of 19.17 BCM is 8.93 BCM which is 47% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 55% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 72% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs.

b) EASTERN REGION:- The total live storage available in 20 reservoirs in Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Tripura and Nagaland having total live storage capacity of 19.96 BCM is 8.99 BCM which is 45% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 53% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 53% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs.

c) WESTERN REGION:- The total live storage available in 42 reservoirs in Gujarat and Maharashtra having total live storage capacity of 35.24 BCM is 18.59 BCM which is 53% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 64% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 58% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs.

d) CENTRAL REGION:- The total live storage available in 23 reservoirs in UP, Uttarakhand and MP having total live storage capacity of 45.27BCM is 25.55 BCM which is 56% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 64% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 67% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs.

e) SOUTHERN REGION:- The total live storage available in 37 reservoirs in Andhra, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu having total live storage capacity of 52.32 BCM is 42.77 BCM which is 82% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 70% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 59% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. http://www.cwc.gov.in/sites/default/files/19082021-fb-pdb.pdf

Maharashtra Water level in Marathwada dams increase The collective live storage in these reservoirs, which have a storage capacity of 260 TMC, was at 101 TMC by Thursday (Aug. 19) as against 141 TMC during the corresponding period last year, show official data. A total of 16 revenue circles in Aurangabad (12) and Nanded (4) districts in the region have reported heavy showers of over 65 mm in the past 24 hours ending on Thursday (Aug. 19) morning with the region as a whole reporting widespread showers. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/aurangabad/marathwada-water-level-in-dams-increase-amid-sustained-showers/articleshow/85464677.cms  (20 Aug. 2021)

Rajasthan Most dams need another bout of rain to get filled Bisalpur dam was nearly 60% filled after the end of monsoon season on September 15, 2020. But so far this year, it is merely 34% full and with no rainfall in the catchment areas, water is depleting. Likewise, other dams including Mahi Dam at Banswara is 65.02 % filled, Jawai Dam (Pali) is 11.91% filled, and Jaisamand lake dam at Udaipur is 65.04% filled. However, engineers at various dams hope to get some rainfall in the catchment areas, which will help to elevate water levels in the dams. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/most-dams-need-another-bout-of-rain-to-get-filled/articleshow/85525682.cms  (22 Aug. 2021)

Andhra Pradesh Drinking water supply through mobile tankers taxable at 18%: AAR The Andhra Pradesh bench of the Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) has ruled — in the case of Vijayavahini Charitable Foundation — that since the organisation is supplying purified water, hence it is not fit for GST exemption. Vijayavahini Charitable Foundation had sought an advance ruling on whether the supply of groundwater after undertaking purification through Reverse Osmosis to the general public either through the dispensing unit or mobile tanker at a concessional rate is exempt from Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The AAR said the principal supply undertaken by the organisation is a supply of purified water, which is taxable at 18 per cent, while the service of distribution through mobile units is an ancillary service and taxable at 18 per cent. “It is invariably a composite supply and the rate of tax of purified water prevails, being the principal supply… The said supply is not covered under exemption and taxable at 18 per cent…,” it noted. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/finance/drinking-water-supply-through-mobile-tankers-taxable-at-18-aar/articleshow/85366651.cms  (16 Aug. 2021)

Tamil Nadu Naripayur drinking water project is being revived: Minister The DMK government is again preparing fresh proposals to revive the Naripayur drinking water project, said Transport Minister Raja Kannappan here on Saturday (Aug. 21). https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/naripayur-drinking-water-project-is-being-revived-says-minister/article36035190.ece  (21 Aug. 2021)

AGRICULTURE

SANDRP Blog Barmecide Feast – The Problems in Production and Sale of the Produce of Organic Agriculture Guest Blog by: Subhadra Khaperde and Ananya Mukerji Agriculture in India directly or indirectly provides livelihoods to 60 percent of the population and so the problems of this sector are most relevant for the overall development of the country and have to be effectively addressed. Especially in distress are the small and marginal farmers who have less than 2 hectares of land and constitute 85% of all farm households (Agricultural Census, 2016). https://sandrp.in/2021/08/19/barmecide-feast-the-problems-in-production-and-sale-of-the-produce-of-organic-agriculture/  (19 Aug. 2021)

Centre Incentive for mills exporting sugar This is subsidizing water EXPORTS. https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/govt-announces-incentive-for-mills-exporting-sugar-diverting-it-to-ethanol-121081901038_1.html  (20 Aug. 2021)

Tamil Nadu Should govt be incentivising sugarcane cultivation in water deficit state? Agriculture Minister Panneerselvam on Aug 14, 2021 presented the Agriculture Budget for 2021-22. For the first time in Tamil Nadu, a separate budget was tabled for the agriculture sector. The purchase price of sugarcane will be increased from Rs 2,750 to Rs 2,900 per tonne. https://news.abplive.com/tamil-nadu/tn-agriculture-budget-highlights-here-is-all-you-need-to-know-about-first-separate-budget-1476101  (14 Aug. 2021)

Punjab Why is the govt not increasing SAP? Sugar mills express their inability to pay even current SAP to the farmers in Punjab due to which the government is not increasing it. There are 16 mills in Punjab out of which nine are cooperative mills and seven private mills. The condition of the majority of cooperative mills is not good and their capacity is also very low. Private mills have the monopoly because 70 per cent of the cane of Punjab is crushed by them.

Two years back, mills had refused to run these because of high SAP (according to several private Mills) and then Government had to intervene and asked the millers to pay the then FRP, which was Rs 275 per quintal, first and remaining difference of Rs 35 will be paid by the state and millers both to the farmers later out of which Rs 25 and Rs 10 would be paid by the state and the mills, respectively. Experts said that the sugar rates have not increased much in the past few years because of which millers refused to pay SAP. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-why-are-sugarcane-prices-static-for-4-years-in-punjab-7460697/  (20 Aug. 2021)

Kerala Lesson from Andhra model The project titled ‘Subhiksham Surakshitham — Bharatiya Prakartik Krishi Padhathi’ (Kerala Agro Ecology Based Biodiversity Conservation) is now being implemented in around 25,000 hectares with assistance from the Central and state governments as part of promoting natural farming. Through the project, the state is aiming to implement fully eco-friendly cultivation in 84,000 ha in different phases. In the first phase, 22,000 ha was converted into natural farming land as part of the 100-day programme of the state government. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2021/aug/17/kerala-draws-lesson-from-subhash-palekars-andhra-model-farming-2345673.html  (17 Aug. 2021)

Andhra Pradesh 100% natural farming by 2027 Andhra wants to turn 80 lakh hectares of farmland natural or completely chemical free by 2027. Is it an unscientific leap into the unknown or our best bet against climate crisis. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/multimedia/video/watch-how-andhra-wants-to-convert-to-100-natural-farming-by-2027/article35984539.ece  (18 Aug. 2021)  

Telangana Govt splurges Rs 1000 cr per year on rich ryots As per the official data, only 2,000 agriculture landowners out of over 63 lakh beneficiaries in the state opted for the Rythu Bandhu ‘give it up’ option. Of them, 400 landowners submitted applications to the agriculture department to reclaim the benefit. Under Rythu Bandhu, the government transfers Rs 10,000 per acre per year (Rs 5,000 each in kharif and rabi) to all landowners irrespective of the extent of land they own. The government is spending nearly Rs 15,000 crore per year on this scheme.

The government has taken up ‘give it up’ campaign with the prime objective of encouraging landowners who own agricultural land above 10 acres to voluntarily opt out of the scheme. Official sources in the agriculture department said there were 6,679 persons in Telangana who owned more than 25 acres each together owning nearly 2.25 lakh acres on whom the government was spending Rs 225 crore towards Rythu Bandhu every year.

There are 7,367 persons who own land between 20 acres and 25 acres owning 1.63 lakh acres. The expenditure incurred on them is Rs 163 crore per year. There are 19,195 persons owning land between 15-20 acres who together own 3.28 lakh acres. The Rythu Bandhu expenditure is Rs 328 crore per year. Similarly, 65,411 persons own lands between 10 acres and 15 acres, who together own 7.81 lakh acres. The expenditure incurred on Rythu Bandhu is Rs 781 crore per year.

The data shows that 98,652 persons in Telangana own lands above 10 acres each and together own 14.97 lakh acres. The government is incurring expenditure of Rs 1,497 crore per year towards Rythu Bandhu. The government hoped that if the majority of these landowners opted out of Rythu Bandhu, it could save at least Rs 1,000 crore per year. But the ground reality looks contrasting. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/politics/210821/telangana-splurges-rs-1000-crore-per-year-on-rich-ryots.html  (21 Aug. 2021)

Haryana Bill to speed up land acquisition tabled The govt on Aug. 21 introduced a Bill in the Haryana Assembly proposing major changes in the land acquisition Act, including dispensing with the need for Parliament’s approval and social impact assessment study for infrastructure projects. The Right to the Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Haryana Amendment), Bill, 2021 also makes provision for the payment of lump sum compensation to the farmers in case there is written agreement between the state government and the farmers. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/bill-to-speed-up-land-acquisition-tabled-in-haryana-assembly-300081  (21 Aug. 2021)

DTE Food grain lost in transit in last 4 years could have fed 82.30 million for a month The Standing Committee report on Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (2020-2021), tabled August 10, 2021 in the parliament, presents a sorry state of India’s food storage and transit infrastructure. In the last four years, about 411,810 tonnes of wheat and rice has been wasted as transit and pilferage losses, revealed a Standing Committee report. The subsidised food, if distributed properly would have been enough to feed 82.30 million people for a month.

The government should take significant steps to mitigate transit and storage losses and save taxpayers’ money, the committee stated in its report. The transit losses amounted to Rs 1,109.82 crore in just the last four years (till October 2020). The committee questioned the actions taken against the officials responsible for transit losses. The committee recommended Food Security of India (FSI) to prepare new standards, guidelines and checklists to mitigate the losses and make officials, workers more aware. Moreover, it asked for a framework to deal with the pending cases of corruption, excise duty and related matters. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/food/wheat-rice-lost-in-transit-in-last-4-years-could-have-fed-82-30-million-indians-for-a-month-78486  (16 Aug. 2021)

Himachal Pradesh CAG pulls up horticulture department for falling produce Bringing the functioning of the horticulture department under scanner, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), in its report for the year ended March 2019, said that the state government had not given due importance to horticulture. The report, which was tabled in the state assembly on August 13, said that the horticulture department was working without a state horticulture policy and long-term master plan detailing strategies and clear milestones for development of horticulture. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/cag-pulls-up-himachal-pradesh-horticulture-department-for-falling-produce/articleshow/85391450.cms  (18 Aug. 2021)

Study Organic and conservation agriculture promote ecosystem multifunctionality This study demonstrates that conservation agriculture and organic farming improve supporting and regulating services of arable cropping systems, resulting in the highest multifunctionality when all delivered goods are weighted equally. This implies that the agricultural practices implemented in these systems can improve multifunctionality and overall system performance at a satisfactory productivity level. Both conservation and organic agriculture have similar principles in terms of energy use and soil quality preservation. The use of permanent soil cover (especially in conservation agriculture, e.g., by use of cover crops), integrated plant protection, crop rotation, and the use of organic inputs (especially in organic agriculture) are beneficial and reduce the productivity–environmental protection dilemma.  https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/7/34/eabg6995  (20 Aug. 2021)

MONSOON 2021

IMD Monsoon likely to enter partial ‘break’ phase There is a 26.6% rain deficit in August over the country with 27.1% deficiency over northwest India, 35.4% deficiency over central India, 29.9% deficiency over south peninsula and 6.6% deficiency over east and northeast India. During monsoon season since June 1, there has been 8% deficiency in rain over the country with 11% deficiency over northwest India, 11% deficiency over east and northeast India, 10% deficiency over central India and 4% excess over peninsular India. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/monsoon-likely-to-enter-partial-break-phase-from-today-imd-101629656121280.html  (23 Aug. 2021)

DTE Skewed withdrawal again The delay in the withdrawal of major rainfall season for India ranged from just one day in 2019 to 13 days in 2016. There was also a delay in monsoon onset in seven of last 11 years, including 2021. Monsoon onset dates central India, where Surovyatkina conducts her research, have ranged from July 9-26. Normal onset should occur by the end of June. Monsoon over central India withdrew between October 3 and 26; the normal date is October 1. It has also been observed in recent years that the beginning of the monsoon withdrawal is getting delayed.

For instance, in 2019, the withdrawal began on October 10 against the normal date of September 1 — 40 days later than normal. Once the withdrawal began, monsoon clouds over the country dissipated within six days. In 2020 too, the withdrawal started September 28 — 11 days later than the revised normal date of September 17. The IMD had changed the onset and withdrawal dates for various regions of the country in 2020, but kept the overall withdrawal date of the season the same, which was October 15.

“The current normal monsoon onset and withdrawal dates are based on records of only a few stations (149) during the period 1901-1940,” the IMD had said in a press release in April this year. “The IMD has now revised the normal onset and withdrawal dates based on recent data. The normal dates of onset are revised based on data during 1961-2019 and normal dates of withdrawal are revised based on data during 1971-2019,” it added. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/monsoon-2021-skewed-withdrawal-again-do-we-blame-climate-change–78571   (20 Aug. 2021)

West Bengal ‘Monsoon with a difference’ is impacting farmers Farmers who cultivate sesame and peanuts in Bengal have faced huge losses during May and June in Hooghly, Burdwan, Bankura and Paschim Medinipur districts. Paddy cultivation has been ruined in a few areas of Paschim Medinipur and Hooghly. It is still under threat if there is heavy rain in the last leg of the monsoon as predicted by the IMD. Farmers who cultivate seasonal vegetables in many parts of southern Bengal have faced losses due to heavy rains during July, which has resulted in the hike of vegetable prices. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/how-this-year-s-monsoon-with-a-difference-is-impacting-farmers-in-bengal-78574  (20 Aug. 2021)

Second monsoon ‘break’ leaves large rain deficiency In August, there is 33% deficiency in rainfall over the country with 51% deficiency over central India; 22% deficiency over northwest India; 37.7% deficiency over peninsular India and 5% deficiency over east and northeast India. This has also brought down the cumulative rainfall received during the monsoon season so far with a 9% rainfall deficiency from June 1 to August 16 over the entire country. There is 8% deficiency over northwest India; 11% deficiency over east and northeast India; 13% shortage over central India and 5% excess over south peninsula.

In August, rainfall was limited to east Rajasthan and west Madhya Pradesh where flooding was reported due to excess rain. But there was a 56% deficiency over Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi region; 50% deficiency over west Rajasthan; 63% over Punjab; and 90% deficiency over Gujarat region. This was mainly due to “break” monsoon conditions in the last couple of weeks when the monsoon trough was mostly over the Himalayan foothills. There was a “break” in monsoon rain in July also from June 29 to July 11. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/second-monsoon-break-leaves-large-rain-deficiency-in-august-101629203734709.html  (17 Aug. 2021)

Up until the evening of August 20, Delhi stood at a 60% monthly rainfall deficit. On August 22, the city’s rainfall recordings showed a surplus of 11%, according to IMD data. IMD recordings showed that as on Sunday (Aug. 22) afternoon, the Safdarjung weather station, which provides representative data for the city, recorded a monthly rainfall surplus of 11% and Lodi Road station recorded a surplus of 5%. The Palam observatory still stands at a deficit of 19%.

While the rain recorded till Friday (Aug. 20) was 63.7mm, it rose to 211.2mm by August 22, as against the normal 190.2mm by this time of the month. With no rain on Sunday (Aug. 23), the jump of 138.8mm was the highest single-day rainfall to be recorded in August over the last 14 years and the ninth highest since 1961, IMD records showed. Previously, Delhi received such a heavy 24-hour spell in this month on August 2, 2007, when the city got 166.6mm rainfall. The highest-ever single-day rainfall recorded during this month is on August 2, 1961 (184mm).

Met officials also said that Delhi this year is likely to see a “near normal to surplus” monsoon season. Met officials said that the majority of Saturday’s (Aug. 21) rain (138.8mm) was concentrated between a six-hour window of 2.30am and 8.30am.  “If you look at the actual number of rainy days in August this time, there have only been four. From August 9, north-west India entered into a break monsoon phase and even before that, the month had a slow start to rain. The interesting bit is that from Tuesday (Aug. 24), there is another dry spell in the forecast. So, essentially, the surplus that Delhi has recorded this month is a result of a single day’s rainfall,” a senior IMD official said.

CSE analysis showed that between August 13 and August 19, 2020, the city’s rainfall produced enough wastewater to meet nearly 13% of the daily water demand. In this period, Delhi received nearly 118.4mm of rainfall —143% more than the average. Such a heavy spell can produce around 87,000 million litres of water, the analysis showed. Apart from usable water going to waste, episodes of urban flooding and flash floods are also increasing because of this trend. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/intense-spells-of-rain-harming-delhi-s-ecology-101629659758570.html  (23 Aug. 2021)

Rain to lose intensity, temperature to rise slightly in Delhi https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/rain-to-lose-intensity-from-today-temp-to-rise-slightly/articleshow/85546108.cms  (23 Aug. 2021)

Delhi last received showers on August 8, recording 15.4 mm rainfall. Weather officials said that for northwest India including Delhi, the monsoon entered a break phase on August 9, which continued till August 19. This was the longest monsoon pause during August since 2017. Unlike July, which received surplus rainfall (507.1 mm), August has so far received only 74.2 mm rainfall. The normal rainfall for August, usually the month when Delhi receives heavy rain, is 247.7 mm. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/monsoon-breaks-pause-in-delhi-but-imd-says-respite-shortlived-101629484805747.html  (21 Aug. 2021)

Chandigarh So far, only 127.1 mm of rainfall has been recorded in the city this month. It is not even half of what has been reported each year in the past four years. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/chandigarh/city-sees-coldest-aug-day-in-3-years-300457  (22 Aug. 2021)

India tasked with coordinating global monsoon research The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has entrusted India with coordinating the global research on monsoons. A dedicated office in this regard, International Monsoons Project Office (IMPO), was established recently at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune.

In addition to monsoon research, other responsibilities that the IMPO will have include bringing collaboration between different monsoon groups pursuing sub-seasonal to seasonal prediction outputs, supporting seminars, workshops, training and events besides carrying out outreach and capacity building exercises among others. Among its first tasks, the IMPO is coordinating an online training workshop for operational meteorologists in November. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/wmo-tasks-india-to-coordinate-global-monsoons-research-7455927/  (16 Aug. 2021)

FLOOD 2021

SANDRP Blog Why are Patna & Bhagalpur facing unprecedented floods? As India prepares to celebrate 75th Independence day on August 15, 2021, large parts of Bihar along the Ganga river, including Patna and Bhagalpur are preparing to face unprecedented floods. WHY? While the high rainfall event in upstream Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan during Aug 3-7 created a flood peak that is travelling down the river, there is also a role of FARAKKA infludence Zone here, like was the case in Aug 2016 when too the water levels breached the HFL levels at the same sites. Plz Read, share widely. https://sandrp.in/2021/08/14/why-are-patna-bhagalpur-facing-unprecedented-floods-on-indias-75th-independence-day/  (14 Aug. 2021)

Do CWC’s Advisories Really Work? “Even this year, there were several dams that got filled up halfway through monsoon. But they have not followed the rule curve (and) they did not release water in time,” said SANDRP’s Himanshu Thakkar. ‘Rule Curve’ can be described as a standard operating procedure for dams defined taking into consideration dam capacity, reservoir water level, precipitation, floods etc. to ensure that there is no damage to the structural safety of the dam and less flooding in the downstream areas.

Thakkar said that he had been suggesting to the CWC to issue rule curve with each of the advisories so that “the information is in public domain for all to see if a particular dam is following the rule curve or not.” But it is not just what the CWC does with the advisory. Its own track record of maintaining data is questionable too. “The flood hydrograph for any given reservoirs are there only for 24 hours till the next graph comes. Forget for years, they don’t have past hydrographs of previous weeks either. This can and does hinder any audit or research vis-a-vis CWC flood forecasting,” Thakkar said. https://www.news18.com/news/lifestyle/from-assam-to-bengal-floods-do-central-water-commissions-advisories-really-work-4094666.html  (17 Aug. 2021)

Some pertinent questions raised about the role of flood forecasting work of CWC by Nivedita Khandekar of IANS: https://www.canindia.com/do-central-water-commissions-flood-advisories-really-work/  (16 Aug. 2021)

Centre 6,808 deaths due to hydro meteorological calamities in 3 years The details were provided by the Home Ministry in response to a question by Congress MP from Tamil Nadu, Su. Thirunavukkarasar, earlier this month in the Lok Sabha. As per the reply, the country recorded 6,808 deaths (2,400 in 2018-19, 2,422 in 2019-20 and 1,986 in 2020-21). West Bengal recorded 964 deaths (383 in 2018-19, 227 in 2019-20 and 354 in 2020-21), which amounts to 14% of deaths due to hydro meteorological calamities. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/6808-deaths-due-to-hydro-meteorological-calamities-in-3-years-centre/article35929241.ece  (15 Aug. 2021)

Bihar Breach in dam over Kosi, threat of flood looms The western security dam over river Kosi breached early Friday (July 23) morning, causing panic in several panchayats of Supaul and Madhubani districts. The breach in Sikarhatta-Majhari dam occurred 48 hours after a village bund was washed away in the strong current of Kosi water. Flood threat looms large over Dagmara, Dighiya, Bela, Majhari, Hariyahi panchayats of Nirmali block in Supaul and Narendrapur, Rauvahi, Mainhi villages of Madhubani districts. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/patna-news/breach-in-dam-over-kosi-threat-of-flood-looms-over-bihar-s-supaul-madhubani-101627027806233.html  (23 July 2021)

5 dozen villages in Bhagalpur flooded Dozens of villages in Naugachia town of Bhagalpur got flooded on Tuesday (Aug. 17) after the swollen Ganga, which set a new highest flood level (HFL) there, breached a ring bund between Ismailpur and Bind Toli.

Four persons, including a woman and three children, drowned and two others went missing after a boat carrying them capsized in river Gandak near Kuchaikot of Gopalganj. Enraged by absence of relief, hundreds of villagers, who have been sheltered on an embankment in Khagaria following the flooding from Kosi, blocked vehicular traffic on the nearby national highway 31 for many hours and shouted slogans against the district authorities. Villagers alleged that they were denied relief materials and animal fodder for the last one week. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/patna-news/5-dozen-villages-in-bhagalpur-flooded-as-ganga-sets-new-flood-level-mark-101629189512976.html  (17 Aug. 2021)

River Ganga flowing above HFL 34.72 m attained on 26.08.2016 at Bhagalpur site for past 50 hours. It breached the HFL on Aug. 16, 2021 at 05:00 hrs.

CWC said two stations in Bihar are in “extreme flood situation”, 29 stations – 20 in Bihar, five in Uttar Pradesh, two in Assam and one each in Jharkhand, and West Bengal – are in “severe flood situation” and 20 stations – nine in Bihar, six in Uttar Pradesh, and five in Assam – are flowing in “above normal flood situation”. https://zeenews.india.com/india/bihar-floods-cwc-issues-red-alert-on-ganga-at-two-stations-2385732.html  (17 Aug. 2021)

Uttar Pradesh घाघरा की बाढ़ से कई गांवों में कटान यूपी के 24 जिलों के सैकड़ों बाढ़ की चपेट में हैं। गंगा-यमुना के साथ घाघरा, शारदा और राप्ती जैसी नदियों में सैलाब से 8 लाख से ज्यादा लोग प्रभावित हैं। घाघरा एल्गिन ब्रिज पर लाल निशान के ऊपर इस साल 60 दिन बही है तो बलिया में 51 दिन ऐसा हुआ जबकि पिछले साल 24 दिन ऐसा हुआ था। https://www.gaonconnection.com/desh/flood-in-ghaghra-destruction-of-houses-and-land-in-many-villages-due-to-flood-villagers-in-panic-due-to-rise-and-fall-in-water-level-49729  (24 Aug. 2021)

Thousands forced to live in rescue camps Prayagraj has been receiving incessant rain for the last few days impacting normal life in the holy city. With flood water of Ganga and Yamuna rivers engulfing the city, people in thousands were forced to leave their houses to higher locations to save their lives. Those staying in buildings with more than one floor have taken shelter in the terrace of the upper levels. “Half of the family is in a relief camp. We are risking ourselves back to guard our house. We cannot abandon the house,” said a man living in the Kachari area of the city. https://www.news18.com/news/india/thousands-forced-to-live-in-rescue-camps-as-ganga-yamuna-flow-above-danger-mark-4093049.html  (16 Aug. 2021)

Prayagraj city-based artisans who sculpt idols of Hindu deities ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi and Vishwakarma Puja are finding it difficult to arrange soil for shaping idols. The recent floods have played a spoilsport for artisans who are running from pillar to post to purchase good quality soil from trans-Ganga area. Moreover, they are spending four times more money to purchase half a truck of soil. Apart from this, lesser number of orders for idols from city-based religious groups and individuals this time has also compounded their woes. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/allahabad/floods-rising-soil-price-less-orders-for-idols-add-to-woes-of-artisans/articleshow/85471787.cms  (20 Aug. 2021)

West Bengal Dams discharge water, South Bengal districts flooded One person died and another went missing in rain-related incidents on Sunday (Aug. 1), even as Howrah, Hooghly, East Burdwan and West Midnapore districts were hit by floods with DVC and Durgapur barrage releasing huge amounts of water. Additional IG (west) of jails, Sudipta Chakraborty, said 61 prisoners were shifted to Midnapore central jail after Ghatal subdivisional jail got flooded. The SDO’s office was also inundated and a wall collapsed, said Suman Biswas, SDO, Ghatal.

DVC’s chief engineer Satyabrata Chakraborty said as storage capacities of Panchet and Maithon dams had reached their limit, so 1.14 lakh cusecs water was released from Saturday (July 31) 11pm. It was done in consultation with the Bengal government, he said. Durgapur Barrage released 1.55 lakh cusecs water from Sunday (Aug. 1) 1pm, said executive engineer Sanjay Singh.

District officials said 41 villages in Howrah’s Udaynarayanpur were flooded, with water being waist-deep in some houses. Several breaches were spotted in the embankments of Damodar, said local MLA Samir Panja. In Amta II block, Bhatora and adjoining areas have been flooded due to the rising Damodar and Mundeswari. Khanakul in Hooghly and adjoining areas were flooded as breaches developed in the Rupnarayan embankment. Parts of Arambagh have been hit by the Shilabati and Dwarakeswar rivers. Several areas in Goghat are inundated. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/dams-discharge-water-s-bengal-districts-flooded/articleshow/84959893.cms  (02 Aug. 2021)

Karnataka 83 taluks declared ‘flood-hit’: Minister “Earlier, we had declared 61 taluks as flood affected. However, following recent rainfall and flood situation, we have added 22 taluks to the list,” Revenue Minister R Ashoka said on Tuesday (Aug. 17). Pointing out that Rs 300 crore has been released for restoration of roads damaged due to rains, the CM asked officials to utilise the funds for the region affected by rains. https://www.news18.com/news/india/83-taluks-in-karnataka-declared-flood-hit-following-recent-rainfall-minister-4097303.html  (17 Aug. 2021)

Andhra Pradesh Centre denies further aid, govt mulls Plan B for DBT Several infrastructure works including repairing of roads or flood banks in Godavari districts suffered due to unwillingness of contractors to execute works fearing non-payment by the government. Sources said the much-awaited loan of Rs 2,000 crore for improving the road network across the state also did not materialise so far. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/politics/190821/centre-denies-further-aid-ap-mulls-plan-b-for-dbt.html  (19 Aug. 2021)

URBAN FLOODS

Delhiites suffer as water enters houses & shops https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/delhiites-suffer-as-water-enters-houses-shops/articleshow/85523815.cms  (22 July 2021)

DROUGHT

Odisha Drought Grips Jajpur, Bhadrak, Keonjhar  As per the latest forecast made by US-based NCEP, Odisha is going to witness scanty rainfall till August 30. The prediction shows that the precipitation in the State will be in the range of 30-40 mm only. As a consequence, it predicts a dip in the soil moisture up to (-) 4 cm during the period of Aug 22-30.

“Good rain in August is crucial as the sowed crops grow up. In mid-September, the crops reach the flowering stage. A rise in aridity in the month will prove harmful for the crops. Moreover, if the aridity extends up to mid-September, then farmers will stare at crop loss,” explained a senior official in the State Agri Extension Services department.

As per the drought report of IMD, Pune, not a single district in Odisha falls under the wet category. While Keonjhar, Jajpur and Bhadrak have been labelled as extremely dry, as per the estimation of the Standardised Precipitation Index (SPI), the districts of Sambalpur, Balangir, Angul and Gajapati are tagged as severely dry. And Ganjam, Kandhamal. Nabarangpur, Kalahandi and Subarnapur fall under the moderately dry districts. The rest of the districts come under the mildly dry category. Agriculture experts are surprised as the Odisha government has not yet declared any district in the State as drought-hit. https://odishatv.in/news/weather/drought-grips-jajpur-bhadrak-keonjhar-11-others-on-the-verge-in-odisha-158106  (22 Aug. 2021)

Maharashtra Farmers in Vidarbha worry over kharif crops With Vidarbha region having received 11 per cent less rain below normal this year, farmers are a worried lot. Nearly a month after sowing was completed in mid-July, farmers believe the quantity and quality of kharif crops will be hit badly if the deficit continues till the end of this month. Although the state, as a whole, has received 7 per cent more rain between June 1 and August 22, it was mostly in Marathwada and Central Maharashtra. Drought-prone Marathwada, comprising 8 districts, has received 533.4 mm rain so far compared to the usual 446 mm, a 20 per cent increase. Central Maharashtra received 595.6 mm against the normal 547 mm, an increase of 9 per cent. But Vidarbha region, which comprises eleven districts, received only 631 mm rain compared to the normal index of 705.1 mm, according to the IMD.

Only 3 districts in Vidarbha received normal or above normal rains – Nagpur (674mm), Yavatmal (651.8 mm) and Washim (628.2 mm), with Washim and Yavatmal recording an increase of 7 per cent above normal. The remaining eight districts have experienced severe rain deficit. Worst-hit Amravati received only 479.8 mm compared to the normal of 637.1 mm (25% deficit). Tribal district Gadchiroli recorded 750.8 mm against the normal 963.7 mm (22% deficit). Paddy-cultivating Gondiya district received 750.8mm rain against the normal 916.9 mm (21% deficit). Bhandara, meanwhile, registered 748.1 mm rain against the normal 863.9 mm (15% deficit). Farmers in Buldhana, where rainfall has been 15 per cent below normal, have been relying on borewell water to keep their crops alive. In neighbouring Akola district, the deficit was 9 per cent. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/farmers-in-maharashtras-rain-deficit-vidarbha-region-worry-over-kharif-crops-7465763/  (22 Aug. 2021)

Gujarat Farmers stare at drought With more than 50% deficit in monsoon rainfall till August 15, Gujarat appears headed for a drought. The State has not received significant rainfall in any of its regions except a few pockets that received showers from mid-June to mid-August. Gujarat had received 449.3 mm rainfall till August 9 last year while the figure is 304.7 mm till August 15 this year.

What is aggravating the situation for farmers is the lack of water in either rivers or reservoirs. “Our reservoirs have just 35-40% water as on August 12,” a State Irrigation Department official said, ruling out any further release for irrigation if there is no substantial rainfall. Recently the State government was forced to release Narmada water for two weeks for irrigation in the Narmada canal command area. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/gujarat-farmers-stare-at-drought-as-monsoon-deficit-soars-above-50/article35941941.ece  (16 Aug. 2021)

LANDSLIDES

Uttarakhand Artificial lake sparks flood fear A 300-meter-long artificial lake that formed at 7,000 feet following heavy rain in Munsiyari in Pithoragarh district has sparked fear of flash floods among local residents. The lake has formed in the Maalupati area after a landslide prompted by heavy rain blocked a seasonal nullah, Bhupendra Singh Mahra, district disaster management officer, confirmed to TOI.

In the past week, Pithoragarh district has received 44.9mm of rainfall with bouts of heavy showers at some places, including Munsiyari and Dharchula on Friday (Aug. 20) and Saturday (Aug. 21), according to the regional meteorological centre. “A team of revenue officials was sent to the site on Aug. 21. They are expected to submit a report on Monday (Aug. 23) and necessary steps will be taken,” said the disaster management officer.

The officer added that the situation was being monitored and that the “assessed threat level” from the water body has been reduced since the water level of the lake was constantly going down. Nearby residents, however, are a worried lot. Vicky Chiral, a resident, admitted that the water level of the lake had reduced since Saturday (Aug. 21), but added that the threat wasn’t completely gone. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/300-m-long-artificial-lake-forms-at-7k-ft-sparks-fear-of-flash-floods/articleshow/85542377.cms  (23 Aug. 2021)

Arunachal Pradesh Heavy rains damage trans-Arunachal highway Officially, North East India is experiencing yet another dry monsoon like the last 21 years. However, massive landslides have severed the connectivity of at least three districts in central Arunachal Pradesh. They have also affected the connectivity on the trans-Arunachal highway, an ambitious project initiated by the Narendra Modi government.

Kimmy Singh, the deputy commissioner of East Siang district located in the Himalayan foothills, said heavy rainfall started there between August 12 and August 13. “A portion of National Highway (NH) 13, connecting Pasighat (East Siang), Pangin (Siang) and Aalo (West Siang), was swept away by a landslide due to heavy rain,” Singh told Down To Earth (DTE). District officials told DTE that two other landslides on NH 13 between Likabali (Lower Siang) and Basar (Lepa Rada district) and on the road connecting Tuting in Upper Siang district, have blocked the access to these towns. Earlier in June, a massive landslide had disrupted the connectivity between Aalo and Pasighat on NH 13 for at least 15 days. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/after-dry-spell-heavy-rains-damage-trans-arunachal-highway-78478  (16 Aug. 2021)

Uttarakhand दरक रहे हैं हिमालय के सैकड़ों गांव हिमालयी गांवों में रहना ख़तरनाक होता जा रहा है और आपदाओं की बढ़ती संख्या और मारक क्षमता के कारण कई गांव रहने लायक नहीं रहे। उत्तराखंड के चमोली में ऐतिहासिक रैणी गांव को सरकार द्वारा नियुक्त विशेषज्ञ टीम ने असुरक्षित घोषित कर दिया है। इन गांवों से लोगों को हटाकर दूसरी जगह बसाना एक बड़ी समस्या है क्योंकि पहाड़ों में बसावट के लिये ज़मीन का अभाव है। https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIkghMpkTeY  (17 Aug. 2021)

Himachal Pradesh Chenab flow unblocked The villagers in Jasrath and Talang villages in had a narrow escape from disaster as two days back the Chenab’s flow had got blocked due to a massive landslide. The river has managed to flow past the dumped debris and the villagers are relieved. But tension hangs in the air as the Himlayan state has been struck by several landslides. https://en.gaonconnection.com/lahaul-spiti-landslide-himachal-pradesh-climate-change-major-disaster-averted-as-chenab-river-flow-unblocked/  (17 Aug. 2021)

CLOUD BURSTS

Uttarakhand  सल्ट के मरचूला में बादल फटा, 5 गांवों में तबाही अल्मोड़ा में सल्ट के मरचूला क्षेत्र में शुक्रवार (Aug. 13) शाम अतिवृष्टि से भारी तबाही हुई है। मलबा आने से मरचूला-रामनगर, पौड़ी, गौलीखाल, मोहान-मछोड़ मार्ग 19 घंटे तक अवरुद्ध रहे। करीब आधा दर्जन गांवों की पेयजल योजनाएं ध्वस्त हो गई हैं। मकानों के आंगन टूट गए हैं। पेयजल लाइनें ध्वस्त हो गई हैं और पैदल रास्ते भी टूट गए हैं। मरचूला और सांकर में दो दुकानों में मलबा घुसने से सारा सामान नष्ट हो गया है। प्रशासन इन मार्गों में 19 घंटे बाद शनिवार (Aug. 14) दिन में यातायात बहाल कर सका।

तहसील क्षेत्र के झड़गांव, मरचूला, सांकर, चिमटाखाल, हरड़ा आदि स्थानों पर रात शुक्रवार शाम पांच बजे से 10 बजे तक काफी अधिक बारिश हुई। नदी नाले उफान पर आ गए। ऊपरी क्षेत्रों से गधेरों में काफी मात्रा में मलबा बहकर आ गया। लोग इस घटना को बादल फटना बताने लगे। मलबे से रामनगर-मरचूला-डोटियाल मार्ग झड़गांव, मरचूला, सांकर में, मरचूला-पौड़ी एनएच पर मरचूला में, मरचूला-गौलीखान मार्ग में मरचूला के पास, मोहान-मछोड़ मार्ग में हरड़ा भौनखाल के पास काफी मात्रा में मलबा आ गया। https://www.amarujala.com/uttarakhand/almora/disaster-in-marchula-almora-news-hld4345991136  (16 Aug. 2021)

ENERGY OPTIONS

Andhra Pradesh NTPC Limited began commercial operations at India’s largest floating solar PV project at its Simhadri thermal station in Visakhapatnam on Saturday (Aug. 21). The project was declared open after commissioning a 15 MW floating solar project, taking the total installed capacity at the facility to 25 MW. https://www.livemint.com/industry/energy/ntpc-commissions-india-s-largest-floating-solar-project-in-simhadri-11629538423051.html  (21 Aug. 2021)

Tamil Nadu NHPC Floats EPC Tender for a 100 MW Grid-Connected Solar Project NHPC Limited has invited bids from engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractors for a 100 MW ground-mounted grid-connected solar project and associated power evacuation system connected with a state transmission utility substation in Tamil Nadu. Online bids must be submitted by October 6, 2021, and offline bids by October 11. The pre-bid meeting will take place on September 6. Bids will be opened on October 13. https://mercomindia.com/nhpc-floats-epc-tender-solar/  (20 Aug. 2021)

Odisha NHPC Floats EPC Tender for a 100 MW Floating Solar Project NHPC Limited has invited bids for engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) of a 100 MW floating solar power project and the associated 220 kV transmission line for connectivity to the 400 kV substation at the Rengali reservoir in Odisha. The successful bidder will also have to take care of the project’s O&M activities for ten years. The project should be completed within 12 months from the notice of award being issued. The last date to submit the bids online is October 7, 2021, and bids will be opened on October 18. The pre-bid meeting will take place on September 2. https://mercomindia.com/nhpc-epc-tender-100-mw-floating-solar-project-odisha/  (18 Aug. 2021)

Uttar Pradesh Bids Invited to Hire Consultants for a 55 MW Solar Project Meja Urja Nigam Private Limited (MUNPL), a joint venture of NTPC and the Uttar Pradesh Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam (UPRVUNL), has invited bids to hire consultants to prepare a detailed project report for setting up a 55 MW solar power project and propose a suitable business model.

The last date for submitting bids is August 27, 2021. Bids will be opened on August 28. The company is already operating the Meja Super Thermal Power Station of 1,320 MW capacity in the Prayagraj. MUNPL has identified 337 acres of land plus reservoir surface area for solar project installation to set up the project. Initially, the company wants the installation of the project on 143.72 acres of land available in the ash dyke area and 145 acres of the reservoir surface area. https://mercomindia.com/bids-invited-to-hire-consultants-solar-project/  (18 Aug. 2021)

Industry Solar Imports, Exports in 1H Back to Pre-Pandemic Levels Imports of solar cells and modules surged by a staggering 1,000% in the second quarter (Q2) of the calendar year 2021, totaling ~₹56.6 billion as compared to ~₹5.25 billion during the same period last year which was severely affected by COVID-19.

Quarter-over-quarter, Indian solar imports rose by 194% in Q2 2021 compared to ~₹18.9 billion in Q1 2021. Similarly, solar exports also rose by 151% to ~₹4.4 billion year-over-year in Q2 2021, compared to ~₹1.8 billion during the same period last year. Exports surged 113% compared to ~₹2.08 billion in Q1 2021. https://mercomindia.com/solar-imports-exports-1h/  (17 Aug. 2021)

THERMAL POWER

Uttar Pradesh NTPC threatens to cut power supply With total outstanding dues of the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation (UPPCL) soaring to more than Rs 10,500 crore, state-owned power generation company NTPC has threatened to cut supplies to the distribution company from Friday if the bills are not cleared soon. The UPPCL’s cumulative dues, pending for more than 60 days, currently stand at Rs 1,160 crore. If immediate arrangements are not made, the state could lose 5,512 MW of power supply from several NTPC power plants, including Dadri, Kahalgaon, Farakka, Rihand and Singrauli.

As per the regulation notice sent to UPPCL by the NTPC on August 12, the dues have been pending in spite of “repeated follow-ups at various levels in person as well as through letters”. The state’s “overdues” — pending receivables of around 60 days or more — to all power generators from which it sources electricity were at Rs 1,689 crore at the end of June. The overall power demand in Uttar Pradesh is around 21,116 MW, and NTPC curtailing supply implies the state losing around a quarter of its power source. https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/ntpc-threatens-to-cut-power-supply-to-uttar-pradesh/2312070/  (17 Aug. 2021)

NTPC has snapped 275 MW power from Uttar Pradesh from midnight of August 20 for not clearing dues that had been outstanding for more than 45 days. In a communication to UPPCL, NTPC has informed that it will regulate 275.60 MW from August 20 to 29.

The action is a follow-up on NTPC’s warning to UPPCL on August 12 that it would regulate the supply of 5,512 MW power from its generating stations from August 20 as it had not cleared outstanding dues for more than 45 days. https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/ntpc-snaps-275-mw-power-from-up-due-to-non-payment-of-dues/2315062/  (22 Aug. 2021)

ENVIRONMENT GOVERNANCE

Maharasthra State must compensate communities for loss of livelihood by infra projects: Bombay HC The state is duty bound to compensate the community if its customary right to occupation for earning livelihood is affected by infrastructure projects, the Bombay high court (HC) held on Aug 12, 2021 and directed the Maharashtra government to consider framing a general policy for the payment of compensation to affected communities in such cases. The division bench of justice SJ Kathawalla and justice Milind Jadhav held that once a customary right to carry out an occupation for livelihood is affected, the principles enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India will come into play. “This forms the basis of the state’s duty to compensate in such cases,” HC observed. “We believe that such a state-wide compensation policy is required not only for fishermen, but for compensating any community whose customary rights to carry out an activity for their livelihood is impacted by government infrastructure projects,” the bench observed.

– HC also directed the state government to appoint a six-member committee to determine compensation payable to fishermen whose livelihood is affected by construction of Thane Creek Bridge (TCB)-3, a proposed six-lane bridge on Sion-Panvel highway near Vashi. The court was hearing a petition filed by Mariaayi Machhimaar Sahakari Sanstha Maryadit, on behalf of the fishing community from Vashi, Juhu, Koparkhairane, Ghansoli and Diva. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/state-must-compensate-communities-for-loss-of-livelihood-by-infra-projects-bombay-hc-101628859954807.html  (13 Aug. 2021)

NBWL Projects in protected zones to draw 2% surcharge as mitigation measure The National Board for Wildlife has decided to impose a cost of 2% of the proportionate value of any development or infrastructure project in a protected zone such as a national park or a wildlife sanctuary. The levy of 2% will not be on the entire value of the project but of that part of the project a falling within the said zone, according to the minutes of a key board meeting published on Thursday (Aug. 19).

Environmental and legal experts said instead of imposing an arbitrary cost, projects in protected areas should be discouraged as much as possible. Between 2015-16 and 2019-20, 680 projects in protected areas were granted wildlife clearance, the environment ministry informed the Rajya Sabha on September 14 last year. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/projects-in-protected-zones-to-draw-2-surcharge-as-mitigation-measure-101629483846014.html  (21 Aug. 2021)

MoEF Protected forest areas diverted for mining Around 38,846.7 ha of protected forest land has been diverted for mining projects between 2011 and 2021, according to the union environment ministry. That area is over 70% of Jim Corbett National Park. The highest diversion of protected forest took place in Odisha with 14,158.34 ha of forests handed over for mining, according to the reply of the MoEFCC to a question in Lok Sabha on Friday (Aug. 6). Odisha is followed by Chhattisgarh where 7,086.85 ha was diverted; 6,135.48 ha was diverted in Madhya Pradesh and 3,699.90 ha diverted in Telangana.

In reply to another question on illegal mining in forest areas, the ministry has shared data on such instances in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Jharkhand. There have been 2,045 instances of illegal mining in protected forests of Rajasthan in 2020-21 which increased from 1,341 in 2016-17. In Maharashtra, there were 150 instances of illegal mining compared to 69 in 2017; in Jharkhand there were 546 instances of illegal mining. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/protected-forest-areas-larger-than-70-of-jim-corbett-park-diverted-for-mining-since-2011-101628248619091.html  (06 Aug. 2021)

A total of 481.56 ha of forest land in protected areas was diverted for developmental projects by the standing committee of the NBWL in 2019. The information was published in paper Life’s Analysis of Wildlife Clearances in India, 2019 (January-December) on August 6, 2020. The forest land was diverted to carry 68 developmental projects such as irrigation, railways, mining, etc.

The standing committee considered a total of 156 projects in 2019, of which 68 were to be carried out in protected areas. 3 railway projects accounted for 53% of the total forest land diverted. “A total of 481.56 ha were diverted in wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and conservation reserves; only one proposal was rejected,” the paper said.

At least 87 % (418.70 ha) of the total diversion was for linear projects; seven per cent (35.83 ha) for irrigation; 4% (17.5 ha) for infrastructure facilities; and rest 2% (9.52 ha) for mining and quarrying. Diversions for linear projects included railway projects (256.05 ha of forest land), roads (69.59 ha), transmission lines (46.04 ha), bridges (20.19 ha), tunnels (19.43 ha) and pipelines (7.39 ha). https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/forests/nearly-500-ha-forest-land-in-protected-areas-diverted-in-2019-72678  (06 Aug. 2020)

Himachal Pradesh Suspend forest officer for not concluding trees felling probe: HC The HP High court has directed that the Assistant Conservator of Forests, office of the Divisional Forest Officer, Shimla (Urban), be placed under suspension forthwith for not concluding an inquiry into illegal felling of 416 trees in the Koti area of Shimla district. The court clarified that such suspension would continue until further orders. A division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua passed the order on a PIL involving illegal cutting of 416 trees. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/high-court-suspend-shimla-forest-officer-for-not-concluding-probe-300031  (21 Aug. 2021)

DTE A third of coastline underwent erosion in 28 years As much as 32 per cent of India’s coastline underwent sea erosion and 27 per cent of it expanded between 1990 and 2018, according to a recent technical report by the National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR) under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences. The information was tabled by Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal, Husbandry and Dairying in response to a question in the Lok Sabha August 10, 2021. Some stretches of India’s shoreline are subject to varying degrees of erosion due to natural causes or anthropogenic activities. The coastal erosion does impact coastal communities residing in the erosion prone areas, including fishermen communities. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/environment/a-third-of-india-s-coastline-underwent-erosion-in-28-years-bengal-worst-affected-78514  (17 Aug. 2021)   

Rajasthan Villages stuggle against solar firms Encroachment of pastureland was possible because government doesn’t recognise them as village commons, say locals. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/renewable-energy/a-dharna-here-a-court-victory-there-how-rajasthan-villages-try-to-keep-their-land-from-solar-firms-78479  (16 Aug. 2021)

Bihar No smart cities project completed  More than six years have passed since the Smart Cities Mission was launched on 25th June 2015. From Bihar, four cities – Patna, Bhagalpur, Biharsharif and Muzaffarpur – have been selected for the Smart Cities Mission project. Out of these four, in two cities – Muzaffarpur and Bhagalpur – no smart cities related project have yet been completed. This shows the sorry state of progress on one of the most ambitious projects of PM Narendra Modi government. http://www.biharconnect.in/governance/status-of-smart-cities-in-bihar-no-project-completed-in-muzaffarpur-bhagalpur/  (17 Aug. 2021)

Chennai Miyawaki method According to a December 2020 article in The Hindu, the GCC hopes to develop Miyawaki urban forests across 1,000 locations. Not everyone agrees, however, that this is the best way to go about greening the city. In an article published in The Wire Science, R.J. Ranjit Daniels and Anjana Vencatesan of Care Earth Trust point out that while a rapidly urbanising city has space constraints, this does not mean the only feasible form of afforestation is choking small spaces with a large number of trees and shrubs. They add that a few well-grown trees can also sequester carbon, perhaps more efficiently since they aren’t in a crowded, resource-constrained space. https://lifestyle.livemint.com/news/big-story/chennai-plants-forests-the-miyawaki-way-111628836101256.html  (17 Feb. 2021)

Delhi Urban forests the Miyawaki way Environment bodies backed by corporates are developing two areas in delhi-ncr using the miyawaki technique of forestation. https://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2021/aug/08/urban-forests-bloom-in-delhithe-miyawaki-way-2341654.html  (08 Aug. 2021)

Tamil Nadu “Free caged parrot CBI”: Madras HC Observing that the autonomy of the agency will be ensured only when it is given statutory status, the court said, “The Government of India is directed to consider and take a decision for enactment of a separate Act giving statutory status with more powers and jurisdiction to CBI at the earliest… the Central Government shall make CBI independent with functional autonomy without administrative control of the Government”. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/from-madras-high-court-an-order-to-release-caged-parrot-cbi-2512856  (18 Aug. 2021)

Survey Indians willing but donot know how to protect; restore nature A recent global survey shows that nine out of 10 respondents in India were willing to protect and restore nature. Meanwhile, 70 per cent Indians are worried about the present state of nature. But they are unclear of the ways they can help tackle the issues of climate change. https://en.gaonconnection.com/climate-change-india-nature-global-commons-survey-environment-livelihood-covid19-pandemic-health/  (17 Aug. 2021)

Editorial SUP pollution: On Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules The Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules notified by the Centre on August 12 acknowledge the gravity of pollution caused by plastic articles of everyday use, particularly those that have no utility beyond a few minutes or hours. Yet, policy coherence to achieve the goal has been lacking. The CPCB has reported that 22 States have, in the past, announced a ban on single-use plastic, but this has had little impact on the crisis of waste choking wetlands and waterways and being transported to the oceans to turn into microplastic.

At about 34 lakh tonnes generated in 2019-20, India has a staggering annual volume of plastic waste, of which only about 60% is recycled. What is more, a recent study of the top 100 global producers of polymers that culminate in plastic waste found six of them based in India. It is unsurprising, therefore, that in spite of the staggering problem, policymakers have been treading on eggshells. https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/beating-plastic-pollution-on-plastic-waste-management-amendment-rules/article35946315.ece  (17 Aug. 2021)

SUP ban: Reading fine print reveals ominous loopholes Packaging, which is almost 60% of India’s plastic waste, has not been listed to be phased out.

India used 18.45 million tonnes of plastic in the year 2018, according to industry estimates. The plastic produced in the same time period was 17 million tonnes. The global standard is that one per cent of all the plastic generated is biodegradable and can be composted. This means, India needs to collect 170,000 tonnes of post-consumer compostable plastic and should have industrial composting units to deal with this stream of plastic waste. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/waste/single-use-plastic-ban-reading-the-fine-print-reveals-ominous-loopholes-78496  (17 Aug. 2021)

जुलाई 2022 से कई SUP उत्पादों के प्रोडक्शन पर बैन पर्यावरण मंत्रालय ने 13 अगस्त को प्लास्टिक वेस्ट मैनेजमेंट अमेंडमेंट रूल्स 2021 नोटिफाई कर दिए हैं. ये नियम कई सिंगल-यूज प्लास्टिक आइटम को प्रतिबंधित करते हैं. जिन उत्पादों की मैन्युफेक्चरिंग प्रतिबंधित हो जाएगी, उनमें प्लास्टिक स्टिक वाले इयरबड, गुब्बारे की प्लास्टिक स्टिक, प्लास्टिक फ्लैग, कैंडी स्टिक, आइसक्रीम स्टिक, सजावट के लिए थर्मोकोल, प्लेट, कप, ग्लास, चम्मच, चाकू, मिठाई के डब्बों पर चढ़ाने वाली फिल्म, आमंत्रण पत्र, सिगरेट पैक, 100 माइक्रोन से कम के प्लास्टिक या PVC बैनर और ट्रे. https://hindi.thequint.com/news/india/environment-ministry-notifies-plastic-waste-management-amendment-rules-banning-many-plastic-products-from-july-2022#read-more  (14 Aug. 2021)

Delhi Govt gives nod to action plan to phase out SUP The govt on Wednesday (Aug. 18) approved a comprehensive action plan detailing steps to be taken by various agencies by December 2022 to phase out single-use plastic from the Capital. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/delhi-govt-gives-nod-to-action-plan-to-phase-out-single-use-plastic-101629310240302.html  (18 Aug. 2021)

CLIMATE CHANGE

India decides to ratify Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol The Kigali Amendment, named after the Rwadan capital where it was negotiated, enables the phase-out of hydroflurocarbons, a set of chemicals notorious for their capacity to warm the planet. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-decides-to-ratify-kigali-amendment-to-montreal-protocol-7460521/  (19 Aug. 2021)

Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav said India will advocate principles of “differentiation” and operationalisation of “flexibility” provided in the Paris Agreement for developing countries, at the upcoming United Nations Climate Change conference (COP26) in November 2021. https://www.hindustantimes.com/environment/india-to-push-for-flexibility-differentiation-in-climate-negotiationsminister-101629276517059.html  (18 Aug. 2021)

Arunachal Pradesh 26-year plan to mitigate climate change impact The government on Tuesday (Aug. 17) announced a 26-year roadmap to minimise and mitigate the impact of climate change. The plan titled Climate Change Management Mission-2047 sets goals for water conservation and management of habitat, agriculture, forest, energy, health, transport, waste and disasters in the next two decades.

As per records, Arunachal’s annual mean temperature has risen by 0.05 degree Celcius each year in the past 40 years, resulting in total increase of 0.59 degree Celcius. “Further, during the period from 1980 to 2019, a significant decreasing trend in southwest monsoon rainfall and also in annual rainfall has been observed, along with an increase in dry spells and decrease in rainy days,” the release stated. https://www.hindustantimes.com/environment/arunachal-pradesh-has-26-yr-plan-to-mitigate-and-minimize-climate-change-impact-101629254561820.html  (18 Aug. 2021)

Karnataka Experts raise alarm over Western Ghats Speaking at a discussion organised by Bangalore Climate Change Initiative-Karnataka (BCCI-K), retired professor NH Ravindranath and professor G Bala from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) said climate change would wreak havoc in north-eastern Karnataka as well as districts near the ghats. The two, part of the group of scientists and experts who worked on the IPCC whose report was released earlier this week, said it was imperative for the state government to ensure every development project takes into consideration the potential long-term impact.

Calling for urgent reforms in power generation, steel, cement and other industries, Ravindranath said even if there is commitment to the COP-25 agreement and reduction in greenhouse gases, the changes expected in twothree decades would “still be disastrous”. He warned that by 2050, 33% of the biodiversity in Western Ghats would be lost due to extreme weather as forests change from evergreen to deciduous and dry-deciduous. Districts like Belagavi, Vijayapura, Bagalkot and Kalaburagi — comprising the arid regions of the state — would witness largescale disasters, he said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/experts-raise-alarm-over-karnatakas-western-ghats/articleshow/85344051.cms  (15 Aug. 2021)

Opinion Village level spatial database needed by Srikumar Chattopadhyay Kerala introduced the ‘Panchayat Resource Mapping’ programme involving science and technology personnel and volunteers in 1991 on an experimental basis. Subsequently, it emerged as a major action research programme covering all panchayats in the state. This exercise generated mapped data on the nature of the land, land-use showing both agricultural and non-agricultural use, all types of water structures (rivers, streams, lakes, springs, ponds and selected wells), asset-roads, communication, educational and healthcare systems, and environmental appraisal at the panchayat level. Some of these maps are now being digitised. https://science.thewire.in/environment/to-build-rural-resilience-india-needs-a-village-level-spatial-database/  (13 Aug. 2021)

Climate debate must begin at the grassroots level, writes Bhavdeep Kang. https://www.freepressjournal.in/analysis/we-the-people-must-do-it-climate-debate-must-begin-at-the-grassroots-level-writes-bhavdeep-kang  (12 Aug. 2021)

NASA How sea levels will rise in Indian coastal regions IPCC had flagged that sea levels around Asia in the North Indian Ocean have increased faster than the global average, with coastal area loss and shoreline retreat. https://www.hindustantimes.com/environment/nasa-visualises-how-sea-levels-will-rise-in-indian-coastal-regions-101629257135231.html  (18 Aug. 2021)

Indian oceans warming up fast: IPCC report. https://www.deccanherald.com/science-and-environment/indian-ocean-warming-at-faster-pace-india-to-witness-increased-heat-waves-flooding-ipcc-report-1017918.html  (09 Aug. 2021)

July 2021 was officially the hottest month in recorded history, according to new data released Friday (Aug. 13) by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). https://www.space.com/july-2021-hottest-month-ever  (14 Aug. 2021)

More than 356,000 people died in 2019 as a result of extreme heat and that number is likely to grow, according to a study published in The Lancet this week. https://www.hindustantimes.com/environment/fatalities-due-to-extreme-heat-on-the-risestudies-101629492127713.html  (21 Aug. 2021)

Environmental stress leads to genome streamlining in a widely distributed species of soil bacteria. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41396-021-01082-x  (18 Aug. 2021)

A new study predicts that any sea level rise in the world’s most southern continent will be countered by an increase in snowfall, associated with a warmer Polar atmosphere. https://phys.org/news/2021-08-snowfall-offset-sea-antarctic-ice.html  (19 Aug. 2021)

Antarctica’s ‘Doomsday Glacier’ is being melted by Earth’s internal heat as well as climate change, study finds https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-9912957/Antarcticas-Doomsday-Glacier-fighting-against-Earths-inner-heat-climate-change.html  (21 Aug. 2021)

Last year, a study in the journal Science reported a nine per cent loss in the population of insects like ants, grasshoppers and butterflies, every decade, since the past 30 years. https://indianexpress.com/article/express-sunday-eye/what-could-the-loss-of-insects-mean-for-the-ecosystems-that-sustain-us-7464742/  (22 Aug. 2021)

Third Pole How dust can melt mountains and change seas Ecosystems and livelihoods separated by thousands of miles are closely linked by wind patterns that sweep the Asian continent. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/climate/himalayas-arabian-gulf-dust-can-melt-mountains-and-change-seas/  (18 Aug. 2021)

New Book Misreading the Bengal Delta by Camelia Dewan Combining environmental history and ethnographic fieldwork with development professionals, rural farmers, and landless women, Misreading the Bengal Delta critiques development narratives of Bangladesh as a “climate change victim.” It examines how development actors repackage colonial-era modernizing projects, which have caused severe environmental effects, as climate-adaptation solutions. This book analyzes how development actors create flawed causal narratives linking their interventions in the environment and society of the Global South to climate change. Ultimately, such misreadings risks exacerbating climatic threats and structural inequalities. https://uwapress.uw.edu/book/9780295749617/misreading-the-bengal-delta/  (Dec. 2021)

Taiwan Water wake-up call as climate change intensifies Experts say Taiwan can no longer rely on typhoons and heavy rain to supply water and must find alternatives. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/20/taiwan-water-woes  (20 Aug. 2021)

Mongolia Melting ice revealing hidden archaeological treasures Objects discovered in the region are providing rare clues about the daily life of ancient herders. https://scroll.in/article/1002794/in-mongolia-melting-ice-is-revealing-hidden-archaeological-treasures  (17 Aug. 2021)

SOUTH ASIA

Bangladesh 30-m span of flood control dam collapses Another 30- metre span of flood control dam in Dhunat upazila of Bogura collapsed into the Jamuna River due to strong currents Tuesday (Aug. 10). No sooner had the Water Development Board (WDB) repaired a 20-metre area of the dam that collapsed on August 5, this incident happened at the same spot around 12 am, said Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Sanjay Kumar Mahanto.

In 2003, WDB established the 7 kilometers long dam and two spans to prevent Jamuna River erosion from Vandarbari union to Dhakuria union of Kazipur upazila. Vandarbari UP chairman Atikul Karim Apel said the locals’ demand is to fix the span as soon as possible otherwise 15 villages of the union will be gulped away by River Jamuna. Executive engineer of WDB Mahbubur Rahman said efforts are ongoing to prevent further collapse.  https://unb.com.bd/category/Bangladesh/30-metre-span-of-flood-control-dam-collapses-into-jamuna/77016  (11 Aug. 2021)

Padma embankment risks catastrophic collapse Residents of Charbhadrason upazila in Faridpur are living in fear of flooding as a large portion of an embankment along the Padma River in Haziganj Bazar has developed cracks. Locals say vast tracts of land in the upazila could be inundated during the monsoon if immediate steps are not taken to protect the embankment from erosion. They claim their repeated pleas to the authorities concerned for the restoration of the embankment along the Padma have so far fallen on deaf ears.

The 3km long embankment was constructed along the Padma in MPdangi, Charhaziganj Bazar and Charhossainpur areas in 2019-20 financial year. Three private firms were roped in to construct the embankment at a cost of Tk 144 crore. But within a year of the construction, many cracks have developed. Moreover, portions of the embankment have already caved in at places, according to the locals. Kabir Hossain, President of Haziganj Bazar Banik Samity, said, “It’s a glaring example of public money going down the drain. The poor construction quality is the reason behind the cracks.” https://unb.com.bd/category/Special/padma-river-embankment-risks-catastrophic-collapse/75164  (08 July 2021)

100-m stretch of Sirajganj protection dam washed away One hundred metres of Sirajganj city’s protective dam collapsed into the Jamuna River Tuesday (June 29), near the old Jailkhana Ghat area. The dam started giving away in the morning which raised panic among the locals. Sub Divisional engineer of local Water Development Board, Md Nasir Uddin said due to heavy rain, increased water level of Jamuna River created whirlpools under the barrier dam. Heavy rain from the morning added to the condition causing the massive collapse in the dam, he said. Dumping geobags and CC blocks have proved ineffective in mitigating the breakage. Angry locals blamed the Water Development Board’s negligence for the condition of the dam. https://unb.com.bd/category/Bangladesh/100-metre-stretch-of-sirajganj-town-protection-dam-washed-away/74706  (30 June 2021)

Afghanistan Stares at future famines Climate change, bad water management and decades of conflict have left the country unprepared to face worsening droughts, with many now fleeing drought and hunger. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/food/bone-dry-afghanistan-stares-at-future-famines/  (23 July 2021)

CHINA

Managing China’s thousands of dams is trickier in the era of climate change https://qz.com/2038475/managing-chinas-dams-is-trickier-in-era-of-climate-change/  (11 Aug. 2021)

ASIA

MEKONG Dam operations hit river ecology, communities About how hydropeaking in upper Mekong basin in China is leading to massive impacts in downstream Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/regional-cooperation/hydropeaking-mekong-wet-season-regulation-hits-ecology-communities/  (19 Aug. 2021)

Philippine Threats on Agusan marsh The Agusan Marsh represents everything wetlands can offer—storm protection, food security, biodiversity, carbon storage—but also the large challenges they face. Upstream pollution, climate change, and habitat destruction threaten the sanctity of this ecosystem. Pollutants from mining operations and palm oil plantations compromise water quality, and critical, carbon-rich peatlands are being drained and burned to make room for more palm oil, rice, and corn. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/world-wetlands-are-slipping-away-agusan-marsh-underscores-stakes  (14 Aug. 2021)

Thailand Chinese keen on Yuam River scheme A Chinese company has showed interest in investing in the Yuam River water diversion megaproject, expected to kick off late this year, despite opposition from local people and water experts. The locals object to project, fearing for livelihoods and water resources.  Weerakorn Khamprakorb, Palang Pracharath Party MP and deputy chairman of the commission to study holistic water management, said a Chinese company is interested in investing in the project to build a tunnel to divert water from the Yuam River in Mae Hong Son to refill Bhumibol Dam in Tak.

This 70-billion-baht project, known as the Bhumibol Dam water refilling project, has passed an EIA and will go to the National Environment Board for consideration, Mr Weerakorn said. According to the Royal Irrigation Department (RID), the project will include a 69-metre-high dam on the Yuam River to create a 2,075 rai reservoir, water pumping station and 61km concrete tunnel to deliver the pumped water to refill the dam’s reservoir. https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/2169071/chinese-keen-on-yuam-river-scheme  (22 Aug. 2021)

Turkey 40 killed in flood At least 40 people have died from the floods in the northern Black Sea region, the second natural disaster to strike the country this month. Drone footage by Reuters showed massive damage in the flood-hit Black Sea town of Bozkurt, where emergency workers were searching demolished buildings. About 45 cm of rain fell in less than three days in one village near Bozkurt. Torrents of water tossed dozens of cars and heaps of debris along streets, destroyed bridges, closed roads and cut off electricity to hundreds of villages. The floods brought chaos to northern provinces just as authorities were declaring wildfires that raged through southern coastal regions for two weeks had been brought under control. https://www.news18.com/news/world/at-least-40-killed-in-turkey-flood-as-search-for-missing-continues-4085210.html  (14 Aug. 2021)

Italy Record heatwaves, droughts devastate agriculture Record heatwaves and droughts have sparked fires across Italy this summer. A local farmers’ association says agriculture is at risk and climate change is only making things worse. Meanwhile, many are trying to adapt quickly to the severe weather. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQasmEd7IOI  (19 Aug. 2021)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

International Rivers Riverscope Official Launch The public launch of a new tool called Riverscope that International Rivers has been developing since last year. Riverscope is designed to help quantify for investors the commercial risks that environmental and social impacts of hydropower projects pose. The event will take place on Aug 25 at 9 am EDT/3pm CET. The registration link is:  https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Jg2DyT2gR16NS6piJZ4y6g  

Study Streams that flow only part of the year are getting even drier A study has found that ephemeral streams across the continental United States have become less reliable over the past 40 years, likely as a result of climate change. Some 7% are dry for 100 days longer per year than in the 1980s. The findings, reported last month in Environmental Research Letters, come from a study of data collected between 1980 and 2017 by flow gauges on 540 intermittent streams around the United States. Most of the gauges were on small waterways in river headwaters, but a few tracked large rivers that are intermittent in places, such as the Rio Grande, which flows sporadically in New Mexico and Texas. The sample covered just a small fraction of intermittent streams, the authors note, and left out some states, such as Nebraska and Maine, that don’t have any long-term gauges on these streams. In some cases, human activities such as operating dams, irrigation, and groundwater pumping could be contributing to dewatering. But a warming climate appears to be “the overarching organizer” of the shifts.

– In contrast, in the northern United States ephemeral rivers are now flowing longer. One possible reason: Winters are warmer and shorter, meaning frozen landscapes thaw earlier, allowing streams to flow.

– The results highlight the need for stronger legal protections for intermittent tributaries that form the headwaters of many rivers. Many such streams were excluded from federal environmental laws under former President Donald Trump’s ad- ministration. (President Joe Biden’s administration is now reviewing those exclusions.) Such streams can seem inconsequential, Wohl says, but, “If you start chopping off the first joint of each finger, you’re going to lose functionality in your hand pretty fast.” https://science.sciencemag.org/content/373/6556/724  (13 Aug. 2021)

Proposed HEPs jeopardize over 2 lakh km rivers worldwide A study led by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) found that there is an expensive trade-off to be made between renewable hydropower sources and preserving freshwater ecosystems. According to the study, published in Global Sustainability, more than 2 lakh kilometers of rivers may be severed due to the construction of hydroelectric dams and reservoirs.

The findings throw new light on the question of which renewable energy sources are the most sustainable and contribute to the world’s climate targets significantly. The study also found that the proposed dams and reservoirs would contribute to less than 2% of the renewable energy needed to keep global warming within 1.5 degree Celsius by 2050. The significant costs of transitioning into hydropower have given researchers pause. https://theswaddle.com/hydro-dams-2lakh-kms-river/  (16 Aug. 2021)

Report How water shortages are brewing wars Unprecedented levels of dam building and water extraction by nations on great rivers are leaving countries further downstream increasingly thirsty, increasing the risk of conflicts.

Gleick and his team are behind the Water Conflict Chronology: a log of 925 water conflicts, large and small, stretching back to the days of the Babylonian king Hammurabi. It is not, by any means, exhaustive and the conflicts listed vary from full blown wars to disputes between neighbours. But what they reveal is that the relationship between water and conflict is a complex one. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20210816-how-water-shortages-are-brewing-wars  (17 Aug. 2021)

USA Drought forces first water cuts on Colorado river A two-decade-long megadrought along the Colorado River is pushing seven Western states and parts of Mexico into a formal shortage declaration, forcing water delivery cuts to the Southwest that are just the beginning of the pain climate change promises to bring to the region.

Climate scientists and water managers have long seen this declaration coming, but what’s alarming them is the speed with which the hot and dry conditions over the past four years have shrunk the river’s two main reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, to levels not seen since they were first filled. https://www.politico.com/news/2021/08/16/megadrought-colorado-river-505190  (16 Aug. 2021)

Kissimmee River restoration project complete after 22 years “Twenty-two years after construction began to correct the straightening of Florida’s winding Kissimmee River, federal and state environment officials celebrated a long-anticipated milestone Thursday.

The Kissimmee River Restoration Project has restored over 40-square-miles of river floodplain ecosystem, 20,000 acres of wetlands and 44 miles of river channel, said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager Tim Gysan.

That comes five decades after the federal completion of the C-38 Canal, which morphed the bending river into a straight-lined canal to serve as a human-engineered vehicle for flood control.”   https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/indian-river-lagoon/2021/07/29/army-corps-kissimmee-river-restoration-project-complete-22-years-lake-okeechobee-releases-discharges/5399944001/  (19 July 2021)

Gila Struggles to Keep Flowing The Gila was once a vibrant desert river, providing a lifeline for the riparian habitat and wildlife that depended on it in the U.S. Southwest. But population growth, agricultural withdrawals, and, increasingly, climate change have badly diminished the river and threaten its future. https://e360.yale.edu/features/once-a-rich-desert-river-the-gila-struggles-to-keep-flowing  (08 July 2021)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 16 Aug. 2021 & DRP News Bulletin 09 Aug. 2021   

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

One thought on “DRP NB 23 Aug 2021: World Water Week: 30 years long enough for stock taking?

  1. Some news channel mentions about hotels to come up on landfill and muck dumping sites in hill states. Isn’t it like that the authorities are allowing this knowingly that some disaster will strike later on? What would be the purpose of building 3 or 4 storey buildings only to be found destroyed due to landslides or simply by sinking as it happens on many roads of Uttarakhand or Himachal-pradesh!
    What about the rehabilitation plans of government of displaced people due to upcoming dams?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.