DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 30 Aug. 2021: Why no protection for aquatic biodiversity?

(Feature image Wildlife Along Indian Rivers by Green Humour:- http://www.greenhumour.com/2017/09/wildlife-along-indian-rivers.html)

Aquatic freshwater biodiversity has seen the maximum decline over the years and yet has the least protection under law. In fact fish is not even considered for protection under the Wildlife Protection Act. Fishing cat, Mahseer, Otters, Trout fish, Hilsa fish are all at top of the food chain in freshwater sources, like the tiger is in the forests, but none of them have the legal protection. If we have any serious intension of protecting this important source of biodiversity, we urgently need measures, including policy, legal and institutional measures to recognize and protect this biodiversity.

Why are fish not considered wildlife What about protecting fish biodiversity, especially in India, where endemic fish species like the hump-backed mahseer of the Cauvery basin are not even given legal protection? That is the question the members of the Mahseer Trust, a non-profit interested in the management of mahseer species across Asia have asked recently. On August 23, 2021, the Trust published a cartoon story in English and Malayalam to highlight the plight of fish, especially hump-backed mahseer in the Wayanad district of Kerala. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-biodiversity/why-are-fish-not-considered-wildlife-in-india-ask-piscean-experts-78607  (24 Aug. 2021)

Protecting fishing cats will save wetlands Tiasa Adhya is a biologist and co-founder of the Fishing Cat Project. She discusses here an intriguing feline which has thrived for centuries in marshy wetlands — and which faces a growing threat. It describes her efforts at studying the Chilka Lake as one of the few remaining sites where this cat is found. It is in fact at top of the food chain here. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/meet-the-fishing-cat-protecting-this-shy-species-will-save-our-precious-wetlands/articleshow/85495283.cms  (21 Aug. 2021)

West Bengal Twin benefits of mangrove plantation in Sundarbans A joint effort by rural women in the Sundarbans and a non-profit is helping restore mangrove cover. The initiative is expected to reduce the impact of cyclones while it is also an income source to the women who are both planting and guarding the mangrove saplings. https://en.gaonconnection.com/sundarbans-west-bengal-mangroves-environment-trees-plantation-women-empowerment-livelihood-climate-change-cyclones-amphan-yaas-42523/  (27 Aug. 2021)

Goa ‘No wetlands planned along proposed Western Bypass’ State Wetland Authority (SWA), in its report to the state government, said that no water bodies along the path of the proposed Margao Western Bypass are being considered for declaration as wetland. The joint site inspection was conducted by SWA and Goa State Biodiversity Board personnel on water bodies around the site of the bypass, which will go through the villages of Seraulim, Benaulim and Varca. After the visit, the data was cross-referred with a CSIR-NIO study on wetlands in Goa. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/no-wetlands-planned-along-proposed-western-bypass/articleshow/85547988.cms  (23 Aug. 2021)

Madhya Pradesh Fishing cat caught on camera in PTR Image of a Fishing cat has been captured on a camera installed in Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR), as per an official release on Wednesday (Aug. 25). The evidence of the fishing cat’s presence was also witnessed earlier around the Ken river but this endangered animal was captured on the camera for the first time recently, it said. This species of cat, which mostly feeds on fish, is becoming extinct and the biologists who are interested in research and study on the fishing cat can come and study here, it added. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/endangered-fishing-cat-caught-on-camera-in-madhya-pradeshs-tiger-reserve-2518734  (25 Aug. 2021)

Although the fishing cat was first photographed on January 11, 2019, the confirmation about the presence of the endangered species was announced on August 13, 2021. https://en.gaonconnection.com/fishing-cat-endangered-species-panna-national-park-india-wildlife-size-weight-tiger-hunting/  (26 Aug. 2021)


Himachal Pradesh Kinnaur Natives Against Hydel Projects ‘No means, No’ is a powerful slogan coined by the locals in Kinnaur supported by some social and environmental groups to stop sanctioning of any new hydel projects, almost on the lines of Uttarakhand’s famous “Chipko anadolan” – a mass movement to save the forests there. https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-no-means-no-after-landslides-kinnaur-natives-on-warpath-opposing-hydel-projects/392902  (28 Aug. 2021)

Villagers gathered at the district headquarters of Reckong Peo in large numbers to send a strong message to the authorities and power companies that people won’t allow any more power projects. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/no-more-hydel-projects-cry-echoes-in-kinnaur-302502  (27 Aug. 2021)

Among the key demands of the protesters was a complete halt on any further hydropower development in the Sutlej Valley. They want that the proposed 804 mw Jangi Thopan Powari project be stalled. https://www.newsclick.in/Kinnaur-Hydropower-Project-Tribal-Lives-Environment-Line-Residents  (28 Aug. 2021)

Zila Parishad member Priya said the Kinnaur movement is a fight for the rights of tribal people. As many as 44 people were killed in landslides in Kinnaur this year. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/nomeansno-campaign-against-hydel-projects-resounds-across-kinnaur-101630008684813.html  (27 Aug. 2021)

Lahaul residents oppose power projects on Chenab river basin After flash flood incidents in Lahaul Spiti and Kinnaur this year, people are opposing the setting up of power projects on the Chenab basin in Lahaul Spiti. Sudarshan Jaspa, president of Lahaul Spiti Ekta Manch, told The Tribune, “This tribal district is eco-fragile where setting up of power projects may prove disastrous. The power projects will adversely affect the ecology of area, which may result in melting of glaciers rapidly, resulting in natural calamities.

“As many as 16 mega and 30 micro power projects are proposed in Lahaul & Spiti at different locations on the banks of Chenab and other rivers in the area, which will only bring doom to the area if these projects are executed,” he remarked. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/lahaul-residents-oppose-power-projects-on-chenab-river-basin-301191  (24 Aug. 2021)

Mountains rolling down 7 people died in the exceptionally high rainfall across the cold desert of Lahaul-Spiti district on July 27-28. Keylong and Udaipur subdivision of the district faced 12 incidents of flash flood after a cloudburst in which the Tozing Nallah impact was devastating, says a government report. Two days before this disaster, nine people were killed by a landslide in Kinnaur district as boulders fell and hit the vehicle they were travelling in. Both Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur fall in the Himalayan ranges, known for geological and ecological vulnerability. https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/amp/story/environment/explained-why-mountains-in-himachal-are-rolling-down  (04 Aug. 2021)

TNB, via its wholly-owned subsidiary TNB Topaz Energy Sdn Bhd (TNBTE), has divested all of its 105.6 million units of Tranche 1 investment in the compulsorily convertible debentures (CCD) issued by GMR Bajoli Holi Hydropower Private Ltd (GBHH) of India for 1.176 billion Indian rupees. https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2021/08/24/tnb-divests-bonds-in-india039s-bajoli-holi-hydropower-project-for-rm6704mil  (24 Aug. 2021)

Uttarakhand Villagers protest against Vishnugad-Pipalkoti HEP Villagers affected by the Vishnugad-Pipalkoti hydel project of THDC India on Friday (Aug. 20) allegedly attempted to immolate themselves in protest against the forcible demolition of their homes near the project site, police said. The villagers were protesting against the forcible demolition of their homes near the Vishnugad-Pipalkoti hydel project site. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/vishnugad-pipalkoti-hydel-project-uttarakhand-villagers-protest-against-hydel-project-attempt-self-immolation-2515221  (20 Aug. 2021)

Despite SC freeze, 7 hydro projects get ok Union ministries of Environment, Power and Jal Shakti have reached a consensus on allowing construction of seven hydel projects on the Ganga and its tributaries in the state. The consensus was conveyed in a consolidated affidavit placed in the Supreme Court on August 17 by the Environment Ministry.

On the list is NTPC’s 4×130 MW Tapovan Vishnugad project which was ravaged by a flash flood in the Dhauli Ganga river in Chamoli district in February this year. The others are the 1000 MW Tehri Stage II, 444 MW Vishnugad Pipalkote, 99 MW Singoli Bhatwari, 76 MW Phata Buyong, 15 MW Madmaheshwar and 4.5 MW Kaliganga-II.

If accepted by the Supreme Court, this may pave the way for several other hydel projects in the state because these seven projects “form part of 26 projects recommended… for implementation, duly incorporating certain improvements/suggestions” by the latest expert committee constituted in the case by the Environment ministry. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/supreme-court-moratorium-hydro-electric-projects-uttarakhand-flash-floods-7472781/  (27 Aug. 2021)

Why are hydropower projects in the Himalayas risky? https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/explained-why-are-hydropower-projects-in-the-himalayas-risky/article36154888.ece  (28 Aug. 2021)

BBMB Union urges probe into delay in repairs at Bhakra hydro unit Amid the delay of several months in overhauling the 157 MW hydro generation unit at the Bhakra Right Bank Power House, reportedly leading to a loss of almost ₹100 crore, the Bhakra Beas Employees Union (BBEU) has urged PM Modi to initiate an investigation by a central agency into allegations of irregularities, delay and the loss incurred. The work of capital-maintenance for the machine was awarded to a private firm in October 2020, and as per the contract, the work was to be completed by early March 2021.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/union-urges-probe-into-delay-in-repairs-at-bhakra-hydro-unit/article36060088.ece  (23 Aug. 2021)

Assam Guard Wall Of Dam Collapses In Subansiri Heavy rainfall in Assam over the past few days has resulted in the collapse of the guard walls of the under construction 2000 MW Lower Subansiri dam of the NHPC hydropower project. The guard walls had been constructed to protect the dam from overflowing water. This has caused a fear of floods among the people living in the surrounding area. The Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHP) which is located at Gerukamukh in Dhemaji along the Assam-Arunachal Border is still under construction. In July 2020, two guard walls had broken down at the SLHP. Recently, the Subansiri River had overflowed and submerged the powerhouse of the SLHP by breaking through the guard walls. In addition to that, the heavy rainfall has caused a landslide at Tunnel Road.  https://www.sentinelassam.com/north-east-india-news/assam-news/guard-wall-of-dam-collapses-in-subansiri-in-assam-552189  (27 Aug. 2021)

NHPC claims: “On August 26, 2021, the overflow started over dam spillways with the increase in the discharge of the order of about 9500 cumec, the overflow of about 3000 cumec from all the nine spillway blocks started in addition to the maximum discharge (4550 cumecs) being passed through all the five diversion tunnels.” “All the dam structures and power house structures, coffer wall and diversion tunnels are absolutely safe and working properly,” said the NHPC press release. https://nenow.in/north-east-news/assam/assam-flood-waters-of-river-subansiri-inundate-several-villages-nhpc-allays-fears.html  (27 Aug. 2021)

MoS visits Subansiri Lower Project  Union MoS for Power & Heavy Industries Krishan Pal Gurjar on Monday (Aug. 23) visited the NHPC’s Subansiri Lower project to review the ongoing construction activities at different sites of the project. “Representatives of major works contractors engaged in the project also briefed about the quantum of construction activities on individual fronts,” the NHPC informed in a release.  https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2021/08/25/mos-visits-nhpcs-subansiri-lower-project/  (25 Aug. 2021)

Arunachal Pradesh Landslide damages Subbung HEP power channel Heavy rainfall has raised the water level of the rivers in Siang district, and various circles in the district have reported damages to agriculture and horticulture fields and bamboo groves due to inundation, with unprecedented flooding of the Simang river on Aug 26, 2021. The power channel/water conducting system of the Subbung hydropower plant has been damaged due to landslide, affecting power generation. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2021/08/27/heavy-rainfall-causes-damages-in-siang/  (27 Aug. 2021)


Sardar Sarovar Dam DSRP report, recommendations must be in public domain While it is surprising that the chairman of Sardar Sarovar’s Dams Safety Review Panel has suddenly jumped to defend the safety of the dam through a prompt public statement after public spirited NBA raised questions, Mr A B Pandya, known as rather rabid pro dam ideologue, has not denied that after inspection of the dam in July (in the monsoon) the DSRP has recommended lowering of the water level behind the dam for what it calls routine maintenance. For Routine maintenance, one does not need to lower the water level behind the dam in monsoon, it is well known. In any case, why is the report of the visit of the DSRP and its recommendations not in public domain? Dam Safety cannot be a matter of secret between a club of pro dam engineers, it is a matter of public interest and must be in public domain. https://www.theweek.in/wire-updates/national/2021/08/24/bes19-gj-narmada-dam.html  (24 Aug. 2021)

Showing documents of the 92nd meeting of NCA, Medha Patkar said: “Gujarat has said the dam has significant seepage problem. The excessive seepage, if allowed, to continue, will lead to deterioration of the structural concrete and has implications on the safety of the dam. It is therefore necessary to arrest the seepages as early as possible to avoid further deterioration.”

– “It is seen that many joints are relatively open and are providing jets of water, emerging from the walls of the galleries and other locations,” the document said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/seepage-jets-of-water-from-sardar-sarovar-dam-says-medha-patkar/articleshow/85583331.cms  (24 Aug. 2021)

Mekedatu Project Will not allow Karnatka to proceed: Tamil Nadu The TN WR Minister Durai Murugan said the TN Govt will go ahead with the Cauvery Gundur Interlinking, which is being opposed by Karnataka.

– He said the TN Govt had moved the Supreme Court against the NGT order closing matter against the Karnataka’s Mekedatu dam on Cauvery, saying TN was not given an opportunity to present its side.

– He announced that 1000 check dams will be constructed in the state in next 10 years across Cauvery, Kollidam and Thamirabarani rivers. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/south/will-not-allow-karnataka-to-proceed-with-mekedatu-tamil-nadu-1022741.html  (23 Aug. 2021)

Tamil Nadu has filed a fresh petition in the Supreme Court for directions to CWC and MoEF not to consider the Mekedatu project on Cauvey by Karnataka and rejection of the DPR.  https://www.deccanherald.com/national/south/tamil-nadu-government-moves-sc-for-rejection-of-dpr-on-mekedatu-project-1024138.html  (27 Aug. 2021)

Polavaram Project MoJS to meet Authority on revised cost estimates  Two key meetings on various aspects of Polavaram Irrigation Project (PIP) are likely to be held over this week to expedite the clearance of critical issues that have been pending for a long time. While one would be on the investment clearance for the revised cost estimates (RCE) and other issues related to the project between the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) and the Polavaram Project Authority (PPA), the other would be the meeting between the state officials and the Central Water Commission (CWC) officials, who are likely to visit the project on Aug 27, 2021. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2021/aug/25/jal-shakti-ministry-to-meetpolavaram-project-authority-over-discussion-on-revisedcostestimates-2349509.htm   (25 Aug. 2021)

Tamil Nadu Govt plans to construct 1,000 check dams and barrages in next 10 years Government plans to construct 1,000 check dams and barrages in the next 10 years across the State to conserve water resources for sustainable use and benefit farmers, according to the Water Resources Department. An announcement in this regard was also made in the recent Budget Speech. In the first phase, it has been proposed to construct barrages across Cauvery, Kollidam and Thamirabarani rivers.

The State government is taking efforts to implement the Inter-linking of Rivers Project to alleviate the water shortage in Tamil Nadu, the Water Resources Department Policy note 2021-22 said. In fact, the State government has been urging the Centre to implement the inter-linking of peninsular Rivers – Mahanadhi – Godavari – Krishna – Pennar – Palar – Cauvery – Vaigai – Gundar. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/tn-plans-to-construct-1000-check-dams-and-barrages-in-next-10-years/article36058242.ece  (23 Aug. 2021)


Ulhas; Mumbai River Jalparni Mukta Abhiyan 2021 SJT The Saguna Jalsanvardhan Tantra, popularly known as SJT, is a water body rejuvenation and conservation technique, developed under the immaculate guidance and supervision of Mr. Chandrashekhar Bhadsavle at Saguna Baugh of the Saguna Rural Foundation, Neral. The SJT technique involves the usage of general purpose systemic weedicide on the target weeds, such as water hyacinth (Eicchornia crassipes) and water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes), for cleansing the weeds out of the water body, following which the removal of the dead weed is done. The polluted portion of the water is then treated with the help of useful microbes, an appropriate combination of fish species and ecologically beneficial plants such as lotus to manage the soluble pollutants in the water body, ensure optimum oxygenation of the water, and maintain the natural beauty of the water body. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3GOZTGlc-I  (27 Aug. 2021)

Mutha River – Pune Feasibility study before building road alongside river Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is planning to put together a pre-feasibility report and carry out EIA for an elevated road it has envisaged for the stretch. According to the proposal, a total of 6 km — Shivane to Karvenagar and Vitthalwadi to Nanded City — elevated road alongside Mutha river will be taken up for pre-feasibility study and EIA.  The civic body will also check the feasibility of metro route in the project.

The PMC had undertaken construction of around 3-km stretch at Warje, and had spent around Rs 15 crore on it. As per the directions of the NGT in 2017, the PMC had to demolish the under-construction road by spending Rs 7 crore on removal of debris. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/to-avoid-repeat-of-17-loss-pmc-to-undertake-feasibility-study-before-building-road-alongside-mutha-river-7467631/  (24 Aug. 2021)

Mithi; Mumbai Huhtamaki has partnered RiverRecycle and VTT to develop technology to tackle floating river waste. It has donated €600,000 to fund the development and piloting of a river waste collector, which was transported to and assembled in Mumbai, to collect waste from the Mithi river for the next 12 months. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/packaging-firm-huhtamaki-partners-riverrecycle-and-vtt-to-tackle-floating-river-waste-in-india/articleshow/85680467.cms  (27 Aug. 2021)

Musi – Hyderabad River beautification works washed away in floods Whatever little development that Musi Riverfront Project witnessed has faced a setback due to floods following heavy rains last month and release of 23,000 cusecs of water from Himayatsagar and 12,000 cusecs of water from Osmansagar. The velocity of floods in the river caused erosion of about four kilometres of pavements, cycling tracks, landscapes and other infrastructure developed at Nagole at a cost of `9 crore. Musi Riverfront Development Corporation Limited (MRDCL) authorities maintained that before taking up the development work at Nagole, they had taken into account the major devastation caused due to flash floods in October last year. But they are surprised that last month’s floods due to heavy rains still caused quite some damage.

Musi River Front Development Project began in 2006 but had slackened. After formation of Telangana, the TRS government decided to give the river a facelift at an estimated cost of `740 crore, with 70 per cent of funding coming from National River Conservation Directorate (NRCD). Due to fund crunch, the project gathered dust during the first term of TRS government. In the interim, the project cost escalated to `1,665 crore. However the nodal agency has neither diverted effluents that come into the Musi River nor removed encroachments from its banks till date. It has identified for development certain stretches of the river – 3.5 km from Nagole to Kothapet, 3 km in Uppal Bhagat, 2 km from Chaderghat to Puranapul and about 2 km near Muslim Jung Bridge. https://www.pressreader.com/india/deccan-chronicle/20210822/281646783221807  (22 Aug. 2021)

Vrushabhavathi – Bengaluru BWSSB submits revival action plan The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has submitted an affidavit to the high court, listing short- and long-term measures for the revival of Vrushabhavathi River. Vrushabhavathi is a tributary of Arkavathi River which, in turn, is a tributary of Cauvery. Vrushabhavathi originates at the Bull Temple in Basavanagudi and flows through South and West Bengaluru before joining Arkavathi near Kanakapura. Presently, Vrushabhavathi is nothing more than a dirty drain, carrying sewage and wastewater from the city. Geetha Misra, a Bengaluru-based lawyer, has filed a PIL petition in the high court, urging it to direct the authorities to check large-scale pollution in Vrushabhavathi and revive the river. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/bwssb-submits-action-plan-for-vrushabhavathi-revival-1023961.html  (27 Aug. 2021)


Odisha Activist protesting Kharosotra water diversion plan forcibly removed An environmental activist, on hunger strike since August 10, 2021 to protest a proposal to divert water from the river Kharosotra in Odisha’s Kendrapara district, was dumped outside a Cuttack hospital August 25. Srikanta Nayak is currently in the intensive care unit (ICU). The Odisha government has filed 1,000 cases and arrested 24 people who ransacked a project to divert water from the Kharosotra river.  https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/water/activist-protesting-odisha-s-plan-to-divert-river-forcibly-removed-from-protest-site-in-hospital-78653  (26 Aug. 2021)

Industrial pollution set to pose serious threat to Bhitarkanika WLS The Hydro-ecological Assessment of Bhitarkanika report by MoEF quotes data to throw light on enormity of the situation and why State’s second Ramsar site needs an integrated management system in place now more than ever. Raw water estimated at 86.26 million cubic meter (MCM) is drawn from the river every year for industry and mining activities. There are at least 10 mines spread over a combined 7,450 hectare that consume over 15,800 kilo litre (KL) water daily. Waste water from discharge from these mines stands at a staggering 9,480 KL. Brahmani river remains the most vulnerable.

Water samples collected from highly-industrialised Angul in Brahmani basin to determine quality status carried out in past decades showed upstream sites had 10 times lower concentration of heavy metals than downstream site samples. Fly ash generated during power plant operations and ash ponds in coalfield area also create environmental hazard, the report says and calls for monitoring. Industrial development, dense population along Brahmani river and fecal contamination can result in high BOD and deterioration of water quality.

A study in 2008 had found that Brahmani and Baitarani rivers have extremely variable trace of element concentrations, consistently higher than world river average. It reported high concentration of heavy metals at the estuarine sites of the national park. Another study in 2013 threw up heavy metals concentration in sediment samples which was much higher than the bio-accumulation potential of mangrove species of Bhitarkanika. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2021/aug/28/industrial-pollution-set-to-pose-serious-threat-to-odishas-bhitarkanikawildlife-sanctuary-2350950.html  (28 Aug. 2021)

Kerala Impact of climate change on water sources The waters in the rivers and the Vembanad Lake ecosystem, which were once an icon of prosperity, are turning into a threat to lives and livelihoods. Kuttanad in Kerala is a picture-perfect location with vast waters surrounding its palm-fringed emerald islets. This region of the Alappuzha district in Kerala lies more than two metres below sea level and has the lowest altitude in India. It is serviced by the state’s significant rivers Pampa, Meenachil, Achan Kovil and Manimala in addition to Vembanad-Kol wetland, India’s second-largest wetland ecosystem. It is one of the few places in the world, and the only one in India, where farming activities are being held below sea level. The region has more than 18 lakh residents, and most of them are agricultural workers who do not own the rice fields where they work. https://scroll.in/article/1003721/in-keralas-kuttanad-climate-change-is-forcing-residents-to-abandon-their-homes  (29 Aug. 2021)

GANGA Uttarakhand Highways blocked, ruined In Garhwal, a nearly 12-metre chunk of the Rishikesh-Yamunotri highway (NH-94) was washed away at Fakot in Tehri Garhwal district, the State Emergency Operation Centre said. The Rishikesh-Badrinath highway also got blocked near Shivmurti in Tehri district after boulders and rocks started rolling down the hillsides due to overnight rain. District magistrate, Tehri Garhwal, has issued orders to completely stop traffic on the NH-54 from Tapovan till Maletha and from Narendra Nagar to Chamba on NH-94, till the damaged sections of the highways are repaired. Besides, the Joshimath-Malari state highway, which leads to the China border, is blocked near Tamaknala and Jumma for nearly two weeks now. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/incessant-rain-blocks-highways-and-washes-away-roads-in-uttarakhand/articleshow/85696141.cms  (28 Aug. 2021)

A heavy landslide blocked the all-weather Char Dham road at the Swala village in Pithoragarh on Monday (Aug. 23) and disrupted all vehicular movement between Tanakpur and Champawat.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/landslide-blocks-all-weather-road-in-pithoragarh/articleshow/85572054.cms   (24 Aug. 2021)

A massive part of a hill in Pithoragarh skid down on Monday (Aug. 23) blocking the Tanakpur-Champawat section of National Highway 9. Rocks and soil came sliding down the slope along with loose debris near Swala and resulted in traffic congestion on the narrow meandering hill roads.https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/video-cars-turn-around-locals-run-to-escape-landslide-in-uttarakhand-2516964#pfrom=home-ndtv_topscroll   (24 Aug. 2021)

नदी को सड़क पर ला दिया मसूरी रोपवे उत्तराखंड की महत्वकांक्षी परियोजना रही है। वर्ष 2009 में ही प्रोजेक्ट को पर्यावरणीय स्वीकृति दी गई थी। 6.35 हेक्टेअर का प्रस्तावित प्रोजेक्ट दून घाटी के इको सेंसेटिव ज़ोन में आता है। भूकंप के लिहाज़ से संवेदनशील सेसमिक ज़ोन-4 में आता है। उत्तराखंड पर्यावरण संरक्षण एवं प्रदूषण नियंत्रण बोर्ड ने इस रोपवे से जुड़ी अपनी रिपोर्ट में लिखा है कि देहरादून-मसूरी की ये पहाड़ियां बेहद अस्थिर और संवेदनशील हैं।

उत्तराखंड राज्य आपदा प्रबंधन विभाग के मुताबिक वर्ष 2015 में राज्य में भूस्खलन की 33 घटनाएं हुई थीं। जिसमें 12 लोग मारे गए थे। वर्ष 2020 में भूस्खलन की 972 घटनाएं और इसके चलते 25 मौतें दर्ज की गईं। वर्ष 2021 में 15 अगस्त तक 132 घटनाएं हो चुकी हैं। जिसमें 12 मौतें हो चुकी हैं। मसूरी रोपवे या अन्य किसी भी परियोजना को तैयार करते समय वहां मौजूद जैव-विविधता, पहाड़, नदियों और जंगल के हक़ की बात भी करनी होगी। नरोता और उसके जैसी तमाम छोटी-बड़ी नदियां और जलधाराएं हमारे विकास की कीमत चुकाने के लिए हरगिज नहीं हैं। https://hindi.newsclick.in/haraiyaalai-aura-vaikaasa-kae-baica-masauurai-raopavae  (25 Aug. 2021)

Uttar Pradesh वाराणसी: क्यों बह गई गंगा किनारे बन रही 11 करोड़ की नहर? “अगर आपको लगता है कि आप घाटों पर दबाव कम करने और चैनल की वजह से सुरक्षा सुनिश्चित करने में सक्षम होंगे, तो मुझे नहीं लगता कि यह संभव है. गंगा नदी उस चैनल को जलमग्न कर देगी. दूसरा, वेग की गति नाले के कारण नदी घटेगी जिससे घाट की तरफ रेत जमा हो जाएगी. एक डर है कि गंगा घाटों से हटकर पूर्व की ओर जाने लगेगी.” विश्वंभर नाथ मिश्रा प्रोफेसर आईआईटी बीएचयू महंत संकट मोचन

महामना मालवीय गंगा अनुसंधान केंद्र-बीएचयू के अध्यक्ष बीडी त्रिपाठी ने कहा, ”अगर कोई नहर बन गई है और वह भी रेत के जमाव वाले क्षेत्र में, तो परियोजना के पीछे के लोगों को सोचना चाहिए था कि यह चैनल कब तक जीवित रहेगा. रेत जमा क्षेत्र में नहर की योजना बनाना संभव नहीं है क्योंकि यह अंततः जलमग्न हो जाएगी” इसके अलावा, नदी वैज्ञानिकों का मानना ​​​​है कि बाईपास चैनल गर्मियों के दौरान नदी की व्यवस्था को और खराब कर देगा. https://hindi.thequint.com/news/states/up-varanasi-11-crore-bypass-channel-project-washed-away-by-ganga#read-more  (23 Aug. 2021)

YAMUNA Delhi Draft Master Plan 2041 is of DDA, Not of People If the Haryana government releases too much or too little water upstream, fishing gets compromised in this stretch near North Delhi’s Wazirabad. But the impact this has on North Delhi’s fishing economy is barely spoken of amidst the high octane political discussions over water sharing between the Haryana and Delhi state governments. In fact, water sharing isn’t the only government matter wherein Delhi’s 2,500 to 3,000 licensed fishers go unseen.

Delhi’s Master Plan 2041, a document released every 20 years by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) envisioning the capital’s future land use does not mention the city’s fishers at all. The 9,700 hectares of the Yamuna floodplains—parts of where fishing activities are performed—are mentioned generously in the Plan. But, the Plan’s proposed vision of grass belts, greenways for cycling and walking, and riverfront parks for recreation, make no space for the people who have used the Yamuna’s resources to sustain their livelihoods for decades—like those employed in agriculture and fisheries. https://thewire.in/urban/delhis-draft-master-plan-2041-is-of-the-dda-not-of-the-people  (25 Aug. 2021)

Haryana Notices served on 42 illegal Sonepat dyeing units SPCB has served notices on 42 illegal jeans-dyeing units found operational in Friends Colony and the Pyau Manyari area of Kundli in Sonepat, reportedly for violating pollution norms and for emitting effluent without treatment in open areas. HSPCB has already sealed 12 of these illegal units, served closure notices on 16 and the process to serve closure notice on 14 industries was in the pipeline. It was found that maximum of these illegal dyeing units were unnamed and all were operating without any valid consent to operate and consent to establishment during the physical survey conducted by the HSPCB team. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/notices-served-on-42-illegal-sonepat-denim-dyeing-units-304024  (30 Aug. 2021)


Tales from Velimeen land A key aspect of local knowledge about ecology is that there is recognition of differences between at least three species of mahseer. The hump-backed mahseer, called velimeen by the Mullukuruma, is considered to be the native fish. The deeper-bodied Tor khudree, called neela vannal or kuyil meen, has only been appearing in recent decades and then there is a third with a more intriguing name. It is called varayan velimeen, of which more later.

Symbiosis between fish of different species is another amazing piece of knowledge brought forward by the Mullukuruma fishers and deserving of more detailed study. They say that Hypselobarbus micropogon, the Endangered Korhi or pink carp, moves and cleans stones in mahseer spawning grounds. When the mahseer move in to spawn, the pink carp take advantage of a feast of eggs. The locals call the pink carp kallunthi, from kallu for pebbles and unthu,  the verb meaning to push. https://www.mahseertrust.org/post/tales-from-velimeen-land  (20 Aug. 2021)

Kerala Climate change taking a toll on livelihoods of small-scale fishers Erratic monsoon patterns and other disruptions by climate change are reducing number of fishing days as well as fishing stock in the waters of coastal Kerala. There has been a steady decrease, over the past five years, in the availability of oil sardine and this is hitting the economic stability of coastal communities. The income of small-scale fishers in Kerala, who depend on fishing for daily needs, has drastically reduced in recent years. People are quitting fishing and looking for other livelihood options to support their families.  https://india.mongabay.com/2021/08/how-climate-change-is-taking-a-toll-on-livelihoods-of-small-scale-fishers-in-kerala/   (16 Aug. 2021)


Karnataka Govt to decide on quarry licences near KRS after review The government has received several requests to renew quarrying licences, following the closure of quarries near Krishnaraja Sagar reservoir. The government will take a call on these proposals after thoroughly reviewing them, Mines and Geology Minister Achar Halappa Basappa said on Aug 23, 2021. The minister told reporters that the government would assess whether allowing any mining activity around KRS would affect its safety, while noting that a task force was set up recently under the Mandya deputy commissioner to verify the same. He dismissed complaints that the safety of Krishnarajasagar reservoir was compromised due to illegal quarrying around it, maintaining that currently all quarrying or mining near the dam had been stopped completely.  https://www.deccanherald.com/state/karnataka-govt-to-decide-on-quarry-licences-near-krs-after-review-1022828.html  (24 Aug. 2021)

Assam Illegal sand mining a threat to the shrinking Chandubi lake The lake was formed in 1897 as the result of a major earthquake in the region during which a forest area went down and became a lake. Since then, the lake has evolved to become a critical habitat for flora and fauna. Of late though, the lake is receding and drying up fast and a part of it has transformed into a grazing field. Rampant sand mining, both legal and illegal, in Kulsi river, is one of the reasons that the river is increasingly getting deeper and water from the Chandubi lake is flowing into the river, resulting in Chandubi getting drained out. https://india.mongabay.com/2021/08/illegal-sand-mining-a-threat-to-the-shrinking-chandubi-lake  (24 Aug. 2021) 

Maharashtra Investigate illegal mining at Kanhan banks: Ex-MLA to NGT Former MLA Ashish Deshmukh has filed a complaint with registrar of NGT, Suresh Rajurkar, against alleged illegal sand mining being carried out around major ghats of Kanhan river. In his letter, Deshmukh has stated that local government bodies have failed to curb the menace of illegal sand mining in various areas of the district.

Disclosing the locations to the green court, Deshmukh said that mining is taking place on a large-scale at Khapapeth, Wakodi, Tembhurdoh, Ramdongri, Walni, Rayawadi, Isapur, Rohana and many more river banks aligned with the Kanhan river. Stating that as per norms, sand mining activities are to be completely halted post June 30, Deshmukh demanded that a joint committee be formed in order to investigate the matter. “Penalty should be imposed against the respondent, government officers and other persons who are involved in the illegal activity,” he said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/investigate-illegal-sand-mining-at-kanhan-banks-ex-mla-to-ngt/articleshow/85724214.cms  (29 Aug. 2021)

Bihar Sand mining to resume on October 1: Minister Sand mining at authorized ghats in the state will resume on October 1, state mining and geology department minister Janak Ram said on Friday (Aug. 28). https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/sand-mining-to-resume-in-bihar-on-october-1-minister/articleshow/85697816.cms  (28 Aug. 2021)

DMF Govt Assumes Control over Rs 25K Cr Meant for Mining-affected People State governments have been divested of powers to decide on the utilisation of funds collected from mining leaseholders for welfare of local communities. https://www.newsclick.in/modi-government-assumes-control-over-rs-25k-crore-meant-mining-affected-people  (29 Aug. 2021)


Uttarakhand Spring revival project offers hope A researcher explains how a grassroots organisation in Uttarakhand has devised a scientific method to combat growing water scarcity as global heating alters the region’s natural systems.  https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/livelihoods/springs-uttarakhand-project-climate-change-himalayas/  (26 Aug. 2021)

Hyderabad RWH Theme Park This is the second RWHS park in the country, after Bengaluru. Apart from materialising the process, the park officials are also focused on promoting RWHS among citizens, NGOs, RWAs and schoolchildren. Over 20,000 people have already visited the park. The park showcases more than 40 items on the theme of water conservation, rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge etc. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/hyderabad/2021/aug/29/hyderabads-rainwater-harvesting-theme-parkto-help-us-keep-our-heads-above-the-water-2351307.html  (29 Aug. 2021)

Report Dry toilets can help mainstream organic farming Scientists have come up with a potentially safe microbial concoction that can revive the water-conserving traditional dry toilets in cold deserts in India to manage human waste and cater to local agroecological needs.

Dry toilets compost human excreta to generate organic manure for local farmers in Himachal and neighbouring Ladakh. However, this practice in recent decades has taken a hit. Ladakh’s mission to mainstream organic farming by 2025 banks on dry toilets as one of the measures towards realising its objectives in organic farming and carbon neutrality. https://india.mongabay.com/2021/08/microbial-boost-to-himalayan-dry-toilets-can-help-mainstream-organic-farming/  (11 Aug. 2021)

Bengaluru Authorities in charge of Lalbagh are rejuvenating wells that are over a century old to meet the garden’s water requirements.  https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/civic/the-slush-roads-of-varthur/articleshow/85581035.cms   (25 Aug. 2021)


ToI Infograph

Gujarat Groundwater goes deep underground Ahmedabad Mehsana is one of the worst affected districts in the state when it comes to rapid groundwater depletion. Mehsana, Ahmedabad’s neighbour, is suffering because groundwater exploitation has remained unchecked. The situation has led the Gujarat Water Resources Development Corporation (GWRDC) to urgently procure 2,200 groundwater-level measuring devices and a similar number of water quality testing kits to assess the presence of fluoride and arsenic.

A recent study by the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Isro, Dehradun; IIT-Dhanbad; and the department of remote sensing and GIS, University of Jammu, published on February 6 this year painted a grim picture. The study said that Mehsana district faced a critical problem with 151.17% of groundwater being exploited in eight talukas of the district since 2004. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/groundwater-goes-deep-underground-near-ahmedabad/articleshow/85548787.cms  (23 Aug. 2021)


Bengaluru No demolition of Godrej’s luxury high rise for now, SC stays NGT order A Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justice Surya Kant has issued a notice to the Union Government, Karnataka government, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and has asked for a response in four weeks. The court was hearing a plea by Godrej against the NGT’s July 30 order. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/no-demolition-godrejs-luxury-high-rise-bengaluru-now-sc-stays-ngt-order-154528  (29 Aug. 2021)

Chennai Waste dumping in lake can pollute gw 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. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/toi-original/indiscriminate-dumping-of-garbage-in-chennai-lake-can-pollute-groundwater-says-study/videoshow/85615281.cms  (25 Aug. 2021)

Plan to store water in 500 lakes The govt is planning to store rainwater in about 500 lakes around Chennai, in Chengalpattu and Kancheepuram districts, to bridge the demand for water in the State capital, Municipal Administration Minister K.N. Nehru informed the State Legislative Assembly on Tuesday (Aug. 24). Mr. Nehru said that while the demand for water from Chennai was about 1,150 MLD, water to the tune of about 830-840 MLD could be provided.

The CM has advised the Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department to complete projects in two 100 MLD desalination projects, Minjur and Nemmeli, at the earliest, the Minister said. The CM has also insisted on completing the two desalination projects – 400 MLD and 150 MLD at the earliest. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/tn-government-plans-to-store-water-for-chennai-in-about-500-lakes/article36076757.ece  (24 Aug. 2021)

Shimla Decks cleared for Rs 1813-cr water scheme Urban Development Minister Suresh Bhardwaj revealed that out of Rs 1,813 crore, the World Bank will provide financial assistance to the tune of Rs 1,160.32 crore and the remaining amount of Rs 652.68 crore will be borne by the Himachal Government. He added that Principal Secretary, Department of Urban Development, had been authorized to finalize and sign the negotiation package with the World Bank.

The main component of the water scheme include augmentation of Shimla water supply from river Sutlej with additional 67 MLD to meet the water demand of the state capital up to year 2050. “The project envisages lifting water from Sutlej near village Shakrodi, involving lifting to a height of 1.6 km and pipe laying of 22 km to augment 67 MLD water at Sanjauli,” revealed Bhardwaj. The project also seeks to replace the distribution pipe network across MC Shimla to upgrade it to 24×7 water supply system. Additionally, the sewerage network in areas of Mehli-Panthaghati, Totu and Mashobra will be provided. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/decks-cleared-for-rs-1-813-cr-water-scheme-for-shimla-301668  (25 Aug. 2021)

Nainital Every drop of rain counts Nainital, a burgeoning hill town with a huge growing population is faced with water supply issues. Adoption of the practice of rainwater harvesting can lead to a paradigm shift towards better utilisation of the town’s natural water resources. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/article/nainitals-water-woes-every-drop-rain-counts  (15 Aug. 2021)

Gurugram WTE not ideal solution for managing our trash Dr Shyamala K Mani, senior advisor at the Centre For Environmental Health, Public Health Foundation of India, said 6.2 crore metric tonnes (MT) of solid waste are generated in urban areas in India annually, which will occupy 3,40,000 cubic metres of volume, or 1,240 hectares of area, in landfills per year. “This is not feasible as there is no spare land for dumping garbage and the existing ones are in a critical state,” Mani, who was formerly a professor at the National Institute of Urban Affairs, said.

Out of the 6.2 crore tonnes of waste, only 4.3 crore MT (70%) is collected, 1.2 crore MT is treated and 3.1 crore MT is dumped in landfills, experts said. The remaining waste is dumped haphazardly. Asked why waste is not segregated, Mani said, “Since most concessionaire contracts state that the civic body has to pay Rs 1,700 to 1,800 per tonne to the concessionaire for collection, transportation and dumping of solid waste at the dumpsites, this leads to the practice of mixing waste and dumping it.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/why-waste-to-energy-plants-arent-the-ideal-solution-for-managing-our-trash/articleshow/85726274.cms  (29 Aug. 2021)


Uttar Pradesh Around 20 people taken ill after drinking polluted water in Kaushambi Around 20 people fell ill after drinking polluted water from a well at a village here, officials said on Tuesday (Aug. 24). Five of them, including two children, have been admitted to the district hospital for treatment. The incident was reported from Niyamatpur village under the Kokhraj police station. Chief Medical Officer Dr Kamal Chandra Rai said the well was the only source of water in the area and it had got polluted. https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2021/aug/24/around-20-people-taken-ill-after-drinking-polluted-water-in-ups-kaushambi-2349197.html  (24 Aug. 2021)


Rs 1.42-trillion tied grant to villages for water, sanitation In order to push tap water supply and better sanitation facilities in villages, the Fifteenth Finance Commission (15th FC) has recommended a Rs 1.42-trillion tied grant to local rural bodies and panchayats for the next five years (from 2021–22 to 2025–26). This tied grant is 60 per cent of the total amount of Rs 2.37 trillion allocated to rural local bodies and is meant for ensuring supply of drinking water, rainwater harvesting, and water recycling. It is also to be used for sanitation and maintenance of open defecation-free status in villages. https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/rs-1-42-trillion-tied-grant-to-villages-for-water-sanitation-15th-fc-121082900753_1.html  (29 Aug. 2021)

Assam Gaurav Gogoi writes to MoJS minister on water supply schemes  Congress deputy leader in the Lok Sabha and Kaliabor MP Gaurav Gogoi on Saturday (Aug. 29) wrote to Union Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat to initiate prompt action to ensure immediate commissioning of the pending water supply schemes in Guwahati to provide 24×7 piped water supply to city residents. Four major water projects were started in 2011.

“The projects were expected to put an end to the acute water crisis in the city. It were started in 2011 and was scheduled to be completed in seven years. Now, it is expected to be completed by 2022,” said Gogoi. He said among the four projects, only the West Guwahati Zone has been completed and commissioned on November 30, 2020. But for the other three projects, even after 10 years, over 30% work is yet to be executed, he added. “The progress of the 24×7 drinking water supply projects in Guwahati is slower than snail’s pace, and has forced residents to take to the streets,” he said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/guwahati/gogoi-writes-to-jal-shakti-min-on-water-supply-schemes/articleshow/85722990.cms  (29 Aug. 2021) 



ALL INDIA STATUS: As per reservoir storage bulletin of 26.08.2021, live storage available in 130 reservoirs is 108.583 BCM, which is 63% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. However, last year the live storage available in these reservoirs for the corresponding period was 130.629 BCM and the average of last 10 years live storage was 113.585 BCM. Thus, the live storage available in 130 reservoirs as per 26.08.2021 Bulletin is 83% of the live storage of corresponding period of last year and 96% of storage of average of last ten years. http://cwc.gov.in/sites/default/files/26082021-fullbull.pdf 

Opinion India’s Water Woes Sustenance and safe existence in future largely depend on two factors – disaster resilience and ecological sensitivity. Thoughts on contemporary water issues in India writes Eklavya Prasad. https://planet.outlookindia.com/water/indias-water-woes/797  (27 Aug 2021)

Maharashtra Women risk life for water in Nasik During the summers, women in  Nashik rappel down the well and spend hours waiting for water to seep into ditches at the bottom. For Bardechi Wadi, water issues have been exacerbated by climate change, political infighting and patriarchal norms. Residents of Bardechi Wadi say the water scarcity that endangers the health and lives of women is due to two reasons: poor water conservation or management, and the apathy of the region’s politicians.

After a video of the women’s death-defying feat went viral on social media in 2019, a new pipeline was sanctioned for Bardechi Wadi from a well near the dam. The water will be drawn from the perennial well and transported through a pipeline to a storage tank in the village. Much of the work on laying the pipeline has been completed. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/24/india-women-water-crisis-nashik-maharashtra-drought  (24 Aug. 2021)


Edit Sugarcane economy is miles away from lofty reforms of farm laws TOI EDIT on Aug 27, 2021 concludes: “GoI announced that sugarcane’s Fair and Remunerative Price, or floor price, for the 2021-22 season will be Rs 290/quintal. It’s expected to lead to business of Rs 1 lakh crore, of which UP, India’s largest producer with about 45% share, will reap the most. Maharashtra too will benefit. UP’s centrality to India’s electoral politics is the primary determinant of the political economy of sugar… returns from cane cultivation are 60-70% higher than most other crops. It was unsustainable as sugar consumption in India plateaued at about 25 million tonnes a year amidst increasing cane production… Unaddressed is the growing ecological problem as producing a kg of sugar needs 1,500-2,000 kgs of water. It is, in short, a jalebi of irrational policies on a syrup of electoral politics.”  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/toi-editorials/sugar-daddies-the-sugarcane-economy-is-miles-away-from-lofty-reforms-of-farm-laws-and-politics-will-keep-it-that-way/  (26 Aug. 2021)

Maharashtra Drought-prone areas reap maximum benefits under micro-irrigation scheme With ₹985 crore central assistance during the last three years, the state had covered 6.55 lakh hectares under the scheme. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/maharashtras-drought-prone-areas-reap-maximum-benefits-under-the-centres-micro-irrigation-scheme/article36113988.ece  (27 Aug. 2021)


Study Air pollution could hit monsoon rains by as much as 15%  The analysis states that as the pollution peaks in the coming years, monsoon rains may reduce by at least 10% or even more, say scientists. “Some places might even see rains reduced by as much as 50%. While there has been consensus across the scientific community that the rising air pollution levels would decrease rainfall substantially in the coming years, it might also result in unstable monsoon patterns. For instance, we might see extreme weather events like severe hailstorms, torrential rains along with an increase in the number of dry days, especially over places which are more polluted,” the analysis states. The analysis further adds that though air pollution is impacting rainfall in the country, the Indo-Gangetic plains seem to be in a tight spot. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/air-pollution-could-hit-monsoon-rains-by-as-much-as-15/articleshow/85577280.cms  (24 Aug. 2021)

The briefing mentioned that while there has been a consensus across the scientific community that the rising air pollution levels would decrease the monsoon rains substantially in the coming years, it might also result in unstable monsoon patterns and cause extreme weather events. https://en.gaonconnection.com/monsoon-air-pollution-rainfall-rains-india-climate-change-global-warming-floods-drought/  (28 Aug. 2021)

If the global temperatures go up by 4°C, India could see a jaw dropping 40% increase in rainfall annually. Not just India, all of South Asia will see an increase in mid-to-long term monsoon rains. The increase in rainfall will be especially severe over the southern parts of India, the report observed. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/south-india-could-get-40-more-rain-due-to-global-warming-ipcc-report/85227637  (11 Aug. 2021)

FLOOD 2021

Uttar Pradesh 5 lakh cusecs of water released into Kheri rivers Some 40 villages in Lakhimpur Kheri district were flooded and hundreds of acres of agricultural land were completely inundated after the irrigation department released five lakh cusecs of water into Sharda, Ghaghara, Suheli and Mohana rivers in the district on Friday night (Aug. 28). By Saturday evening (Aug. 29), the situation was brought under control with only some villages continuing to face waterlogging.

The situation arose due to incessant rainfall in neighbouring Nepal, which released a huge volume of water and in turn, five lakh cusecs of water were released from Ghaghara barrage in Shardanagar and Sharda barrage in Banbasa. As a result a flood alert was sounded in the Palia, Nighasan, Gola and Dhaurahra areas of the district. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bareilly/5-lakh-cusecs-of-water-released-into-kheri-rivers-after-heavy-rains-in-nepal/articleshow/85721432.cms  (29 Aug. 2021)

Bihar Flood-hit villagers jostled in relief camps Floods are far more pervasive this year as districts in both north and south Bihar regions are affected by the floods. The state government has set up relief camps but people complain there is neither enough food to eat nor access to medicines or lavatories. https://en.gaonconnection.com/bihar-floods-patna-community-kitchen-relief-camp-nitish-kumar-ganga-kosi-heavy-rainfall-disaster-management-poverty-food/  (25 Aug. 2021)

Madhya Pradesh Flood hits Chambal canal The flood that has hit the Gwalior-Chambal region in the Kharif season is set to impact the Rabi crop, as the deluge has damaged the Chambal canal spreading over 15,000km between Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, say officials of the irrigation department. The damage is worth Rs 750 crore, they said.

The walls of the canal have been damaged in more than 300 places. Several villages in Ater, Gormi and Mehgaon in Bhind district, and those in Jaura, Morena and, Ambah and Porsa may not get water in the Rabi season. The farmers are worried because of the Rabi crop is the main source of their income. https://www.freepressjournal.in/bhopal/madhya-pradesh-flood-hits-chambal-canal-farmers-may-see-impact-in-rabi-season  (20 Aug. 2021)


Gujarat Possibility of drought According to the IMD, Ahmedabad, 30 of 33 districts received deficient rainfall from June 1-August 23. Three districts — Surendranagar, Gandhinagar and Aravalli — received largely deficient rainfall in this period. The live water storage of dams in four districts of north Gujarat was 18.89 per cent; that of Kutch was 13.85 per cent and that of Saurashtra was 36.23 per cent. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/sparse-monsoon-2021-should-gujarat-prepare-for-drought–78599  (23 Aug. 2021)

Dam water for drinking, not irrigation: CM While speaking at a function to celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of national poet Jhaverchand Meghani, the CM on Aug. 29 told reporters, “At present, the state government is still giving irrigation water from Narmada. However, considering the rain deficit, we have decided to reserve available water for drinking purposes only. The government will not give irrigation water from now on.”

Of the 206 dams in the state, only seven dams have water stored to 90% of capacity or more, eight have between 80% and 90%. Only 11% of dams have more than 70% storage. Officials said that one of every four dams in the state have reached less than 10% of their storage. The data shows that 63 dams have storage between 30% and 10%, and 185 dams in the state have less than 70% water.

Officials said the water situation is concerning in north Gujarat, as only 15 dams have 23.75% storage while the 20 dams in Kutch have only 20.59% of storage. Saurashtra, which has 141 dams, has only 40% storage, which is at about half the level it had this time in 2020. In central Gujarat, 17 dams have 42% of total storage capacity of 2,347.37 MCM. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/dam-water-for-drinking-not-irrigation-cm/articleshow/85724182.cms  (29 Aug. 2021)

Weakest monsoon in 5 years The first 26 days of August this year have recorded a total of 54mm average rainfall in Gujarat, accounting for only 15% of the seasonal rain. In comparison, 2020 and 2019 had reported 543mm and 400mm rainfall respectively. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/weakest-august-monsoon-in-5-years/articleshow/85672413.cms  (27 Aug. 2021)

Irrigation Dept to pump Narmada water to Aji dam The water levels in the dam have dipped and its catchment area has received little rain this monsoon. This is the third time in less than a year that the government is pumping water from the Narmada to the Aji dam for drinking purpose. Meanwhile, Bhadar —Saurashtra’s second biggest reservoir, from which the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) draws water for irrigation — had storage of 1932 mcft which can see the city through December this year, the release stated.

Kamaliya said the Irrigation Department will start pumping water in to Link-III SAUNI pipeline from Dholi Dhaja dam in Surendranagar from September 1, and that the water is expected to reach upstream Aji dam on September 4. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/rajkot/irrigation-dept-to-pump-narmada-water-to-aji-dam-to-ensure-uninterrupted-supply-to-rajkot-7474372/  (27 Aug. 2021)

In the last 10 days, water storage levels in the dams of North Gujarat and Kutch registered a decline, while the dams in Saurashtra and Central Gujarat have registered a marginal increase in the storage. Overall storage in the 206 dams barring the Sardar Sarovar is 51.08% of their capacity of 15,784 MCM.

The officer said the state will have to depend heavily on the Sardar Sarovar to meet its drinking water needs as other dams hardly have water that can be used for drinking. Officials said the water situation is bad in North Gujarat, as 15 dams only have 24% storage while the 20 dams in Kutch have only 21% storage. Saurashtra, which has 141 dams, only has 40% storage which is about half of the level of 2020. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/states-dam-storage-levels-at-51/articleshow/85672417.cms  (27 Aug. 2021)

Karnataka Experts ask govt to revive farm pond scheme About 86 taluks were hit by floods when there was copious rainfall, but crops are now drying in these and other areas due to lack of water. The water scarcity is despite most reservoirs being almost full. For instance, the dams in Krishna basin are 99% full (overall) — they have 411.9 tmc ft of water as against their cumulative storage capacity of 417.5 tmc ft. About 106 tmc ft is stored in the dams of Cauvery basin against their maximum capacity of 114.6 tmc ft. According to data from Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC), only 42% of the total 3,639 minor irrigation tanks in the state have storage more than 50% of their capacity at present.

– A scheme ensuring farm ponds in all fields of more than one hectare is necessary for sustainable agriculture, adding a hectare of farmland should have a 12x12m pond with 3m depth to hold about 2.5 lakh litres of water. Water filled in the ponds during excessive rain fulfils the critical need of the crop during an interim dry spell. It also provides the long-term benefit of recharging groundwater apart from neutralising the effect of flash floods.

– The Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in 2013 introduced Krishi Bhagya scheme under which farmers were entitled to 80% subsidy on construction of farm ponds. The scheme saw over 1.8 lakh farm ponds constructed till 2019. The BJP government discontinued the scheme. They are hoping MGNREGS will take care of farm ponds. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/revive-farm-pond-scheme-to-deal-with-monsoon-vagaries-experts/articleshow/85548290.cms  (23 Aug. 2021)

Odisha Govt is preparing for a drought year as 27 of its total 30 districts have received deficient rainfall and farmers are staring at huge crop losses. https://en.gaonconnection.com/odisha-mon1soon-rainfall-drought-tribal-farmers-kharif-agriculture-suicide-imd-climate-change-crop-loss-disaster/  (23 Aug. 2021)

Rajasthan बारिश होने से जैसलमेर में सूखा अकाल को पश्चिमी राजस्थान का पावणा कहा जाता है इस बार भी पूर्वी राजस्थान में भारी बरसात और बाढ़ की स्थित है जबकि पश्चिमी राजस्थान में सूखा पड़ा है। यहां आखिरी बार जुलाई में बारिश हुई थी। जिसके बाद बूंद नहीं गिरी। स्थानीय लोग अकाल की आहट से परेशान हैं। https://www.gaonconnection.com/desh/drought-in-western-rajasthan-due-to-less-rain-the-crisis-of-famine-deepens-49737  (23 Aug. 2021)  

Report Deficient monsoon triggers sharp rally in jeera prices https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/markets/commodities/deficient-monsoon-triggers-sharp-rally-in-jeera-prices/article36092463.ece  (25 Aug. 2021)


SANDRP Blog About Pithoragarh landslide lake and Leh GLOF After August 14, 2021 landslide dam on Chenab river in Himachal Pradesh, there have been two more such incidents in north west Himalayan region of Uttarakhand and Ladakh. https://sandrp.in/2021/08/29/about-landslide-lake-in-uttarakhand-glof-in-ladakh/  (29 Aug. 2021)

Report Northeast facing fast desertification Six states in northeastern India were among the top 10 places in the country with the highest rates of desertification between 2003 and 2018, according to a recent report. These are Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya. Land degradation is defined as decline in productivity of land in terms of biodiversity and economy, resulting from various causes, including climate and human dominance, leading to loss of ecosystem. Desertification is a type of land degradation in which a relatively dry region becomes increasingly arid, typically losing its water bodies as well as vegetation and wildlife. The scientists at ISRO compared the data collected between 2003 and 2005 with that gathered in 2018-19.  https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/india-s-northeastern-states-desertifying-most-rapidly-78695  (27 Aug. 2021)


Karnataka Nandi Hills shut after landslide  A landslide at the foot of the Nandi Hills washed away a part of the road and stranded several tourists, prompting officials to close the tourist centre for a month. The incident threw spotlight on the proposed development projects and mining activities in the surrounding areas.

Environmentalists cautioned that the government’s continued support to mining in the area surrounding the hills was destabilising the hills, and said no more development projects should be allowed before studying the carrying capacity. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/nandi-hills-shut-after-landslide-greens-warn-against-projects-1023573.html  (26 Aug. 2021)  

Among the factors listed for the massive landslip on Aug 24, 2021 at Nandi Hills near Bangalore: Rainfall of over 100 mm overnight, the mud sheet gave say because of poor water percolation capacity, blasting nearby, the mud going down had accumulated in the downstream streams, blocking their way, Nandi hills was the origin of five rivers, but they have dried up over the years.  https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2021/aug/27/blasting-may-have-caused-nandi-landslip-officials-2350370.html  (27 Aug. 2021)


Uttarakhand संतला देवी क्षेत्र के खाबड़वाला में मंगलवार (May 24) रात बादल फटने से घरों में कई फुट मलबा और कीचड़ भर गया। हालांकि इस दौरान जानमाल का कोई नुकसान नहीं हुआ। दूसरी ओर, शहर में लगातार हो रही बारिश से रिस्पना और बिंदाल नदियां उफान पर आ गई। इससे दोनों नदियों के किनारे सैकड़ों घरों में पानी भर गया। साथ ही कई मकानों को खतरा भी पैदा हो गया।  https://www.amarujala.com/photo-gallery/dehradun/uttarakhand-monsoon-update-today-cloud-burst-in-dehradun-santala-devi-area-watch-photos  (25 Aug. 2021)

Dehradun witnessed 188 per cent excess rainfall in the last 24 hours, till Wednesday (May 24) early morning, leading to severe waterlogging in areas like Sahastradhara road, Vijay Colony, Govind Garh, Bhagat Singh Colony, Garhi Cantt etc. Water entered homes in Bhagat Singh Colony and Garhi Cantt, forcing residents to leave. This was the highest amount of rainfall Dehradun has received in 24 hours this monsoon season, according to the regional meteorological centre. A cloudburst in Khabarwala area near Santala Devi temple brought huge amounts of debris and slush on the roads, while water entered houses. In Loharwala area, a road caved in and several houses were damaged. https://m.timesofindia.com/city/dehradun/doon-receives-seasons-highest-rain-in-24-hours-leading-to-waterlogging-landslides/amp_articleshow/85634835.cms  (26 Aug. 2021)

Due to heavy rainfall in surrounding hill areas along with the incessant rain in Dehradun, water was overflowing on the roads in various areas of the city including IT Park, Canal Road, Kishan Nagar Chowk, Clock Tower, Sahastradhara Road, Raipur and Khabadwala among others. Due to the overflowing water streets in areas like Karnpur, Survey Chowk, Dalanwala, Salawala, Chukhuwala, Raipur Road, Hathibarkala, Rajpur and Kandoli also resulted in water entering houses in these areas late on Tuesday night.  https://www.dailypioneer.com/2021/state-editions/heavy-rain-causes-major-disruption-in-parts-of-doon.html  (26 Aug. 2021)

The situation worsened due to 7 hours of continuous rain here. The water came to the streets. Rainwater entered people’s houses. In the Santala Devi area, clouds burst twice, making things even more uncontrollable. However, the buzz was that no one lost their lives during this time.

In Uttarakhand, rivers are in spate due to heavy rains. Rivers also started flowing on the streets in posh areas like IT Park in Dehradun. The water started flowing on the roads at such a high speed that moving vehicles stopped. Many vehicles got stuck on the road during this time. SDRF also had to come to cross the road. It was from the IT park that SDRF rescued more than 12 people.  https://english.newstracklive.com/news/uttarakhand-drowned-after-7-hours-heavy-rainfall-in-dehradun-mc23-nu764-1178532-1.html  (25 Aug. 2021)


Power ministry wants RBI to direct banks to follow strict norms The Union power ministry is planning to ask the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to direct public sector banks (PSBs) follow strict prudential norms when it comes to lending to discoms, power secretary Alok Kumar said on Friday. Prudential norms for PFCREC —the principal sources of loans for the discoms — have already been tightened, and the public sector banks will be made to follow similar standards. According to sources, discoms’ outstanding borrowings were to the tune of Rs 5 lakh crore as at end-FY20, and more than a fifth of this is in the form of state government loans. https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/lending-to-discoms-power-ministry-wants-rbi-to-direct-banks-to-follow-strict-norms/2319191/  (28 Aug. 2021)


MoEF Willing to translate, publish draft EIA in 22 vernacular languages A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan was informed by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma that the Centre has in-principle agreed to translate the draft EIA in all 22 languages and sought four weeks to complete the process. https://www.edexlive.com/news/2021/aug/27/willing-to-translate-publish-draft-eia-in-22-vernacular-languages-centre-tells-delhi-high-court-23566.html  (27 Aug. 2021)

Report Compensatory afforestation unlikely to make up for carbon stocks loss Experts have questioned CAMPA’s ability to compensate for the lost, old-growth carbon-rich forests. They say that the complex biodiversity of a forest can never be compensated for by a monoculture plantation. https://india.mongabay.com/2021/08/compensatory-afforestation-unlikely-to-make-up-for-the-loss-of-carbon-stocks/  (23 Aug. 2021)

India on slippery slope with palm oil push The government is on a mission to promote palm oil production, brushing aside environmental and health concerns. Is self-sufficiency its only motive? https://themorningcontext.com/chaos/india-on-slippery-slope-with-palm-oil-push   (28 Aug. 2021)

Haryana Work on final biodiversity registers starts A year and a half after an expert committee was formed by the Gurugram administration, work on developing the final people’s biodiversity registers (PBR) started on Monday (Aug. 23), officials said. As part of the project, PBRs of 47 villages, 36 in Gurugram and 11 in Faridabad, falling in the Aravallis will be completed by October. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/gurugram-news/work-on-final-biodiversity-registers-starts-after-covid-19-delays-101629914774209.html  (25 Aug. 2021)

Tamil Nadu Comic book to spread awareness on Nilgiri Tahr Per the release, ‘Valli’s Nilgiri Adventures‘ is an engaging comic filled with colourful illustrations and a captivating storyline. Valli, the main character, is a school-going girl, who visits the Nilgiris on an educational trip with her classmates. The book is essentially her experiences, as she travels through the forests, sighting wildlife, including the elusive Nilgiri Tahr, the state animal of Tamil Nadu. https://indianexpress.com/article/parenting/learning/comic-book-for-kids-to-spread-awareness-on-the-endangered-nilgiri-tahr-7468715/  (24 Aug. 2021)


Maharashtra 80% of Nariman point, Mantralaya areas will be submerged by 2050: BMC chief Mumbai’s BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said areas like Nariman Point and state secretariat Mantralaya will be submerged in the next 30 years due to rising sea level. Due to climate change, 70% of the city’s A, B, C, and D wards in south Mumbai will be under water, Mumbai’s civic body chief said. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/mumbai-80-of-nariman-point-mantralaya-areas-will-be-submerged-by-2050-predicts-bmc-chief-11630218273677.html  (29 Aug. 2021)


India-Bhutan Committee held BHEL responsible for Mangdechhu unit failure An independent technical committee constituted by the Mangdechhu Project held Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL) responsible for the failure of the unit. Work on the India-assisted (70% through loans and 30 % through grants) Mangdechhu project started in 2012 and the project was officially inaugurated in 2019. BHEL won the contract to provide the electromechanical equipment package for the project which included manufacturing, supply, erection and commissioning of four Pelton turbines and generators, a control system and other auxiliary equipment. https://thewire.in/south-asia/standing-committee-on-water-resources-12th-report   (25 Aug. 2021)

IWT Pak objects to Kiru hydro plant design Pakistan last week has raised objections to the design of India’s 624 MW Kiru hydroelectric plant over the Chenab in Jammu and Kashmir saying it violates the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), India has denied this. Pakistan has also raised objections on hydropower projects in Chilling (24 MW), Rongdo (12 MW) and Ratan Nag (10.5 MW) are in Leh; while Mangdum Sangra (19 MW), Kargil Hunderman (25 MW) and Tamasha (12 MW) are in Kargil. India had said the designs of these projects are also fully compliant with the treaty.  https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/world/pak-objects-to-kiru-hydro-plant-design-india-says-it-is-compliant-with-indus-treaty-301507  (24 Aug. 2021)

Pakistan’s objection to the design of the 624 Mw Kiru HEP may be the topic of the next meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission as part of the IWT. The concrete gravity dam is located in Kishtwar district and being built at the Rs 4,287.59 crore (at 2018 level) by Chenab Valley Power Projects Limited. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/pak-objection-to-indias-hydropower-dam-in-jk-may-be-discussed-at-next-iwt-meet/85618548  (25 Aug. 2021)


China Has Thousands of Hydropower Projects It Doesn’t Want Chinese officials are eager to demolish badly-planned dams. China is trying to shut down as many as 40,000 hydropower plants. Many dams in the country are too small to generate meaningful amounts of power. Others have simply become redundant as their rivers ran dry, their reservoirs silted up or they were superseded by dams built upstream.

– The 6 MW Moshikou in western suburb of Beijing never officially ceased operation. It just gradually stopped generating power, a victim of worsening droughts in the north of the country and increasing demands on its waters from towns and villages upstream that built hundreds of barriers to harvest its water.

– According to China’s Ministry of Water Resource, 3,515 reservoirs burst between 1951 and 2011. They include the infamous Banqiao dam in Henan province which, along with another 61 dams, broke after six hours of torrential ran in August 1975, killing 240,000 people.

– Dams still fail in China. Earlier this year, two in Inner Mongolia gave way in heavy rain. In floods that killed more than 300 people in Henan this summer, the army warned that the Yihelan dam “could collapse at any time.”

– In 2018, after Xi visited the Yangtze region and Qinling mountains in the northwest and called for better environmental protection, a national campaign was launched to remove or improve 40,000 small hydro stations.

– A further problem is who will pay to get rid of the unwanted projects. Closing down a hydropower plant is one thing, but removing a dam, especially a large and potentially dangerous concrete structure, is a major engineering project. Zhouzhi county in Shaanxi province in the northwest owes over 100 million yuan ($15.5 million) to a company that agreed to demolish three hydro stations. The county’s revenue for the first half of 2020 was only 135 million yuan, and it has another 26 hydro plants that need to be removed. In many places, due to the costs of demolition, only the hydroelectric turbines have been removed. The dams remain. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2021-08-14/china-wants-to-shut-down-thousands-of-dams  (14 Aug. 2021)


USA Tennessee floods not freak accidents The rain fell fast and hard in Middle Tennessee over the weekend, harder than it has ever fallen before. Up to 17 inches of rain inundated parts of the state in less than 24 hours on Saturday (Aug. 21). Streets turned into rivers. Water barreled through homes. At least 21 people died, and more are still missing. It was another deadly example of climate change after a summer of climate-driven calamities. Flash flooding — when water rises very quickly and flows with enormous speed and power — is getting more common in many places as Earth heats up.

– The amount of rain falling during the heaviest storms increased by almost a third in the Southeast U.S. between 1958 and 2016, according to the most recent National Climate Assessment. When a lot of rain falls in a short period of time, it can’t soak into the ground, and runoff overwhelms pipes, dams and other drainage infrastructure. https://www.npr.org/2021/08/23/1030325945/the-floods-in-tennessee-arent-freak-accidents-theyre-a-new-reality  (23 Aug. 2021)

Dams poorly mimic the temperature patterns California streams require to support the state’s native salmon and trout — more than three-quarters of which risk extinction. Bold actions are needed to reverse extinction trends and protect cold-water streams that are resilient to climate warming, according to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE by the University of California, Davis. “Cold” is more than just a number on a thermometer. The term represents the many factors that combine to create cold water capable of supporting aquatic ecosystems.

– Lead author Ann Willis said. “It’s not a question of whether we remove a dam, but which dam, and how we need to restructure how we manage water. Or we need to be willing to take responsibility to be the generation that says, ‘OK, we’re letting this ecosystem go extinct.’”

– The study considers removing “deadbeat dams” where there are critical ecosystems could help restore natural processes and support fish, people and biodiversity amid climate warming. https://indiaeducationdiary.in/university-of-california-davis-dams-ineffective-for-cold-water-conservation/  (25 Aug. 2021)

Floods & drought in map The country, like most of the world, is becoming both drier and wetter in the era of climate change. It depends where you live. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/08/24/climate/warmer-wetter-world.html  (24 Aug. 2021)

American Rivers say: “Major efforts underway that would have a transformational impact on river health”. American Rivers played a key role in crafting the 21st century dams act, with vital partnership from organizations including the Association of State Dam Safety Officials, American Whitewater, Trout Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, Hydropower Reform Coalition, Low-Impact Hydropower Institute, National Hydropower Association, and others. If enacted, the bill – which is not focused on any particular U.S. dam, river or region – would reopen more than 10,000 miles of rivers and enhance their climate resilience by removing 1,000 dams, and also rehabilitating hundreds of the nation’s most hazardous dams. https://www.americanrivers.org/2021/08/prioritizing-dam-removal-and-river-restoration-an-update-on-federal-legislation/  (23 Aug. 2021)

Book Review ‘The Water Defenders: How Ordinary People Saved a Country from Corporate Greed’ Authors Robin Broad and John Cavanagh have brought us this amazing David versus Goliath story in their new book, The Water Defenders: How Ordinary People Saved A Country from Corporate Greed. Their first-hand accounts of working with front-line communities, both in El Salvador and in the United States provide lessons along the way about how to fight an immensely powerful entity and win, whether the enemy be Big Gold, Big Oil or Big Pharma (to name a few). As they write in their introduction, “You may find yourselves surprised to find the relevance of the strategies of the water defenders in El Salvador, whether your focus is on a Walmart in Washington DC; a fracking company trying to expand in Texas or Pennsylvania, or petrochemical companies outside New Orleans.” By the end of the book, they added relevant struggles in countries like Bolivia, Venezuela, and Ecuador, as well as in South Africa, South Korea, and India. https://towardfreedom.org/reviews/book-review-the-water-defenders-how-ordinary-people-saved-a-country-from-corporate-greed/  (31 May 2021)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 23 Aug. 2021 & DRP News Bulletin 16 Aug. 2021  

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

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