DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 4 Oct 2021: Congratulations to LIFE for much deserved Right Livelihood Award 2021

This week brings a heartening development: Legal Initiative for Forests and Environment (LIFE), headed by lawyers Ritwick Dutta and Rahul Choudhary, are recipients of the Right Livelihood Award 2021, also known as Alternative Nobel Prize for their amazing work on empowerment of the communities through environment defense. This is much deserved recognition for the exemplary work of this group for over 16 years not only through the legal cases in National Green Tribunal (& its predecessor NEAA etc.), High Courts and Supreme Court, but also influencing the government policy and project decisions and also effective training of government officials in environmental matters.

LIFE is one of four organisation to get this award this year. The Swedish Right Livelihood Foundation, which awards the prize, said that in the face of the worsening climate crisis, powerful governmental and corporate interests, and even a terrorist threat, the 2021 Laureates prove that solidarity is key to a better future for all. The 2021 Right Livelihood Laureates are leaders in advancing the rights of women and girls, environmental protection and reclaiming Indigenous rights through mobilising communities and empowering grassroots initiatives. “Hailing from Cameroon, Russia, Canada and India, this year’s change-makers show that lasting change is built on communities banding together,” it said.

India Rivers Week (of which SANDRP is a part) is particularly happy as Ritwick Dutta is also the recipient of the 2016 Bhagirath Prayas Samman award, given away each year since 2014 foe exemplary river conservation work. Congratulations to the entire LIFE team for the much deserved recognition. 

LIFE shares Alternative Nobel with 3 others Hearty congratulations to Ritwick, Rahul and LIFE team! Very well deserved and long overdue! https://news.rediff.com/commentary/2021/sep/29/indian-organisation-shares-alternative-nobel-with-3-others/47925d0bdaef01ca435d88364b01395c  (29 Sept. 2021)

2020 ‘worst year’ for environmental defenders Global Witness found evidence suggesting that as the climate crisis intensifies, violence against those protecting their land and our planet also increases. The agency recorded 227 lethal attacks — an average of more than four a week — making 2020 the “most dangerous year on record” for people defending their homes, land and livelihoods, and ecosystems vital for biodiversity and the climate. The report pointed out that 70 per cent of the attacks were on people working to defend the world’s forests from deforestation and industrial development. The Amazon region, which has been badly hit by deforestation has emerged as a major spot of conflict.

“Almost 30 per cent of the attacks were reportedly linked to resource exploitation (logging, mining and large-scale agribusiness), and hydroelectric dams and other infrastructure. Of these, logging was the sector linked to the most murders, accounting for 23 cases, the report said. Researchers also found that the impacts of violence against land and environmental defenders are not felt evenly across the world and that all but one of the 227 killings related to the environment was out of the Global South region.

The report highlighted that the disproportionate number of attacks against Indigenous peoples continued in 2020, with over a third of all fatal attacks targeting Indigenous people. The report hinted that despite the 2016 peace agreement, Indigenous peoples were particularly impacted, and the Covid-19 pandemic worsened the situation as people were home bound and at times unable to report the incidents. https://www.indiatoday.in/science/story/climate-crisis-environmentalists-killed-global-witness-land-defenders-1852605-2021-09-14  (14 Sept. 2021)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Sikkim ACT condemns IHA’s ‘Blue Planet’ award for Teesta-V HEP The Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) has strongly condemned the ‘Blue Planet Prize’ award given to National Hydroelectric Power Consumption (NHPC) Ltd for its Teesta-V 510 Mw power station at Dikchu, East Sikkim. “This award is nothing but another attempt to depoliticise the woes and protests against dams that has been going on for 18 years on the stretch of Teesta river and finally to push the button to dam the belly of Dzongu near Mangan which has been resisted for a long time,” – asserted by ACT General Secretary Gyatso T. Lepcha through a press statement.

– Gyatso further stated that communities residing around the river have directly impacted by this project. The award could push more such projects across the region, which would be a shame, added the General Secretary. https://www.northeasttoday.in/2021/09/27/sikkim-act-condemns-ihas-blue-planet-award-for-teesta-v-hydropower-project/  (27 Sept. 2021)

Fear, concern, uncertainty of living space isn’t the only thing here that everyone should know about. NHPC LIMITED is a ‘U-TURN’ company. While they say and declare soothing comments and commitments, they deliver the opposite almost like how ‘political parties’ work after getting elected power. Once they acquire land for the project, their promises of compensation and relocation goes off in the air, it has so far. https://thelepchaeditorial.wordpress.com/2021/09/26/why-sikkimese-folk-should-protest-against-the-iha-award-for-nhpc-teesta-stage-v/  (26 Sept. 2021)

Arunachal Pradesh Extension of EC to Tawang hydro projects raises questions Opposing the move, Coordinator of SANDRP, Himanshu Thakkar, said: “The EAC mandate should not be dependent on the developer’s viewpoint. It is none of their concern. EAC’s concern should only be from the environmental compliance issues.” And it is not just the concern about the mandate, the very composition of the EAC is questionable, experts said.

LIFE founder and lawyer Ritwick Dutta has challenged before the Karnataka High Court, the very formation of EAC wherein questions have been raised about Chairman K. Gopakumar’s expertise – “which does not mention a single word about river or environment,” as per Dutta – and also the presence of Balraj Joshi, the former CMD of NHPC Ltd – “which is a direct conflict of interest” for the EAC on River Valley and hydroelectric projects”. “The HC has, in one of the orders in this ongoing case, already stated that all decisions taken by the ‘EAC on River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects’ are subject to the outcome of this litigation,” Dutta told IANS. https://daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=877365  (26 Sept. 2021)

Uttarakhand For 7 HEPs, MoEF Twists Facts Kavita Upadhyay wrote about the MoEFCC’s August 17 affidavit submitted in the Supreme Court, and how it tries to push for hydropower in Uttarakhand while hiding and misrepresenting facts related to the submissions made in the Supreme Court since the 2013 Uttarakhand floods. https://science.thewire.in/environment/moefcc-new-affidavit-uttarakhand-seven-hydropower-projects-twisted-facts/  (03 Oct. 2021)

Villagers evicted forcibly, houses demolished for hydel project  The Vishnugad-Pipalkoti hydropower project, being built in Chamoli district of Garhwal Himalayas, has come under controversy after some villagers alleged their houses were taken over by the district administration against their will and demolished even as the matter regarding their rehabilitation is sub-judice and is pending in the high court. The villagers, who are from Haat village in Pipalkoti, claimed they had not taken any rehabilitation compensation from either THDC, the hydropower company involved in the project or the district administration, but still their homes were target. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/villagers-claim-forcible-eviction-demolition-of-houses-for-hydel-project/articleshow/86564806.cms  (28 Sept. 2021)

Villagers sitting on protest against Vyasi Lakhwar project jailed Inhuman Uttarakhand administration and hydropower developers jail the local people for demanding proper rehabilitation for the displacement due to the controversial Lakhwar Vyasi project which has no justification. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/villagers-sitting-on-protest-against-acquiring-land-for-hydropower-project-in-ukhand-picked-up-by-police-jailed/articleshow/86737145.cms  (04 Oct. 2021)

In 2011, Uttarakhand became the first state to introduce a “rehabilitation policy” for people. Yet its implementation remains far from satisfactory.

Between 2012 and 2021, the government has identified 465 villages from where families need to be relocated, as per a release by the Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority (USDMA) on June 7, 2021. During this period, 1,101 families in only 44 villages have been relocated, says S A Murugesan, secretary, USDMA.

The resentment among people is high because most feel their plight to a large extent is state-sponsored. While the government has left no stone unturned to make the region vulnerable to natural calamities, it has not been prompt enough to rehabilitate people who are now falling victim to the disasters. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/natural-disasters/long-road-home-uttarakhand-increasingly-declares-villages-disaster-prone–78821  (07 Sept. 2021)

Himachal Pradesh Stakeholders’ nod will be taken for hydel projects: SJVN These statements are meaningless unless there are clearly defined processes for taking Free, Prior and Inform consent as given in the guidelines of the World Commission on Dams. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/stakeholders-nod-will-be-taken-for-hydel-projects-sjvn-318897  (02 Oct. 2021)

Power Ministry New Guidelines To Support Flood Moderation In HEPs The power ministry has issued guidelines for budgetary support for flood mitigation and the creation of enabling infrastructures such as roads and bridges on Sept 30, 2021 with regards to hydropower projects. According to a press release from the power ministry, the primary goal of the funding allocations for these elements is to lower price levels for these projects, ensuring that consumers only pay for power components. Professional agencies, such as CWC, will work on the financial worth of flood mitigation in compliance with the recommendations, the ministry has recommended. The budgetary support for such roads and bridges will be limited to Rs 1.5 crore per MW for projects up to 200 MW and Rs one crore per MW for projects over 200 MW. The government will provide it to the projects that begin construction after March 8, 2019. https://www.republicworld.com/india-news/general-news/power-ministry-reveals-new-guidelines-to-support-flood-moderation-in-hydropower-projects.html  (30 Sept. 2021)

Dispute avoidance mechanism for hydro power contracts approved This proposed Dispute Avoidance mechanism, approved by the Power Ministry seeks to reduce the conversion of initial disagreements over hydropower construction issues related to Central Public Sector Enterprises into full-fledged disputes, and also for expeditious elimination of disagreements in a just and fair manner. The mechanism involves appointing an independent engineer, third party, from a panel prepared by the Power Ministry, who is an “expert” having domain knowledge of the subject as well as commercial and legal principles.

– The initial term of appointment of IE would be for a period of five (5) years or contract period whichever is lesser and may be further renewed on a year-on year basis as may be mutually agreed between the CPSE and the Contractor subject to the consent of IE and final approval by the Ministry. lt will be mandatory for the IE to visit the site once in every two months to be constantly aware of the ongoing project activities and to have a fair idea of any situation that may lead to disagreement between the parties. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/power-minister-approves-dispute-avoidance-mechanism-for-hydro-power-contracts/86611317  (29 Sept. 2021)

Another evidence of non-viability of hydro projects: Union Power Minister advises hydro companies THDC and NEEPCO to diversify into solar and wind, the renewable energy projects! https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/r-k-singh-asks-thdcil-neepco-to-bid-for-solar-wind-projects/86707165   (2 Oct. 2021)  

DAMS

Opinion Dams have an impact on environmental health Shubda Moond and Sneha Krishnan: “Apparently, environmental health impacts are largely ignored when mega-dam construction projects are undertaken. In the Sardar Sarovar Dam, a hydropower project on the River Narmada in Gujarat, India, community health impacts were not considered in the project’s planning, construction, or execution… To avert such health impacts, we argue for participatory Health Impact Assessment (HIA) for mega-dam construction projects. Development policies should be assessed using HIA techniques during the scoping stage. HIA is used to analyse the health effects of a project, policy, or programme where health is not its primary goal. HIA can help policymakers analyse and seek to minimise them. Implementing participatory HIA can ensure that health does not suffer in the pursuit of short-term economic gain.” https://www.thestatesman.com/opinion/dams-impact-environmental-health-1503013438.html  (30 Sept. 2021)

Sardar Sarovar Project Average Return on Investments was 0.12% in past 5 yrs: CAG In a report tabled in the Gujarat Assembly on Sept 28, 2021, the CAG was particularly critical about government’s investments in Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) which has been a loss-making entity since 2015-16. Of the additional Rs 7,115 crore of investments made by Gujarat in 2019-20, Rs 3,345 crore was made in SSNNL. “SSNNL has accumulated losses of Rs 5,128 crore at end of 2018-19” the auditor observed. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/gujarats-average-return-on-investments-was-0-12-in-past-five-years-cag-report-7540429/  (29 Sept. 2021)

Madhya Pradesh Sad story of Bargi Dam affected people:

चौराहे पर शव रखकर प्रदर्शन किया मछली ठेकेदार के कर्मचारियों द्वारा कुकढाल गांव के पास इंदिरा सागर के बैकवाटर में मछली पकड़ रहे युवकों के साथ मारपीट करने और इनमें से एक युवक का शव मंगलवार (Sept. 28) को बरामद होने पर जमकर हंगामा हुआ। आक्रोशित लोगों ने मंगलवार सुबह 11 बजे किल्लौद के चौराहे पर युवक के शव को पोस्टमार्टम कराने ले जाते पुलिस का वाहन रोका और धरने पर बैठ गए। दोपहर 1 बजे क्षेत्रीय विधायक नारायण पटेल और भाजपा नेता नरेन्द्रसिंह तोमर भी ग्रामीणों के साथ धरने पर बैठे। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/khandwa/news/demonstration-by-placing-dead-body-at-the-crossroads-mla-sitting-on-dharna-for-4-hours-then-filed-a-murder-case-on-8-people-ransacked-the-fish-contractors-point-on-monday-night-128973628.html  (29 Sept. 2021)

Mekedatu project Govt 100% committed to Mekedatu, reiterates CM  Besides reiterating stand on Mekedatu rather provocatively, the CM said on Tungabhadra reservoir:  “A global tender was floated for desilting of Tungabhadra reservoir when I was the Irrigation minister. But we did not get a good response for the same. Later, it was decided to construct a parallel balancing reservoir and a survey for the same was carried out. Then CM BSY had released Rs 20 Cr for DPR. Since it is interstate issue, I will soon talk to the CMs of the concernes states.” https://www.deccanherald.com/state/karnataka-100-committed-to-mekedatu-reiterates-cm-1037012.html   (04 Oct. 2021)

Polavaram Project Andhra govt seeks Rs 2,033 cr reimbursement While construction of the Gap 3 dam – the only concrete component of the ECRF dam – is complete, officials said they will complete work on the lower cofferdam by November and begin work on the main ECRF dam once the flood waters recede. The deadline to complete the right and left main canals is June next year. Water Resources Minister Anil Kumar Yadav said the work was being carried out as per schedule. “To speed up the rehabilitation of Polavaram Project-affected families, we are recruiting more people in the R&R department. Land acquisition to build resettlement colonies is also going on. We have also undertaken 58 irrigation projects at a cost of Rs 14,750 crore,” he said. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/hyderabad/polavaram-project-andhra-govt-seeks-rs-2033-cr-reimbursement-7550286/  (04 Oct. 2021)

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

CWMA gets full-time chairman More than three years after its establishment, the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) has got a full-time chairman. Saumitra Kumar Haldar, now the head of the Central Water Commission (CWC), has been made CWMA’s chairman. This has been approved by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet, according to a circular issued by the Department of Personnel and Training in the Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions on Monday (Sept. 27).

Since the Authority was constituted in June 2018, the Centre assigned additional charge as the CWMA’s chief to those who held the post of CWC chairman – S. Masood Husain and R. K. Jain, apart from Mr. Haldar himself, who chaired a meeting of the Authority in New Delhi on Monday (Sept. 27). In December 2018, Tamil Nadu even approached the Supreme Court, challenging this arrangement of the Centre and seeking the appointment of a full time chairman. Mr. Haldar will hold the post of CWMA chairman for five years or until further orders, whichever is earlier. He will be on deputation to the Authority till November 30, when he reaches the age of retirement, after which he will be re-employed on contract basis for the remaining period of his tenure. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/cauvery-water-management-authority-gets-full-time-chairman/article36712190.ece  (28 Sept. 2021)

After 4 years, Cauvery water realisation falls below 100 tmc ft After four years, Tamil Nadu’s realisation of Cauvery river water in June-September has gone below the 100-thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) mark. The receipt was about 91.47 tmc ft, against the stipulated 123.14 tmc ft, leaving a shortfall of 31.67 tmc ft. The last time the cumulative receipt of the four months did not touch the 100-tmcft mark was in 2017-18, when the State got about 64.71 tmc ft. Even during 2015-16 and 2016-17, the State received much less than what was due to it, as it got 88.67 tmc ft and 53.097 tmc ft respectively.

Besides, this is the eighth time in 30 years that the cumulative realisation has been under the 100-tmc ft mark. Since 1991, the lowest figure of realisation during June-September has been 30.632 tmc ft in 2003-04. The immediate preceding year (2002-03) was marginally better with 46.665 tmc ft. The two other years when realisation was below 100 tmc ft were 2001-02 and 2010-11, when the State was given 86.715 tmc ft and 66.88 tmc ft respectively. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/after-4-years-cauvery-water-realisation-falls-below-100-tmc-ft/article36814865.ece  (04 Oct. 2021)

URBAN RIVERS

SANDRP Blog A day along the Goula River in Haldwani This blog highlights the present day situation of Gaula river in Haldwani (Uttarakhand). The river is water lifeline of Haldwani. However, it lacks adequate flow during lean season, facing excessive riverbed mining for past several years. Large parts of its floodplain & riverbed have been encroached upon and it has become a dumping ground for solid and liquid waste.

The demand for potable water, riverbed material is on steep rise. There is absence of policy or other measures regarding flows, floodplain protection, sustainable mining and proper waste disposal. The ongoing practices of waste disposal and treatment steps are making river degradation and destruction inevitable. https://sandrp.in/2021/10/02/a-day-along-the-goula-river-in-haldwani/  (02 Oct. 2021)

Sabarmati, Ahmedabad NAPM PR: HC passes significant Order to address the issue of release of polluted sewage and industrial effluent ini river

30th Sep, 2021: In a significant Order concerning river pollution, the Hon’ble Gujarat High Court issued a series of directions in Suo Moto WP. (PIL) No. 98/2021, dealing with many aspects regarding the release of polluted Sewage and Industrial effluent into the Sabarmati River at Ahmedabad. The Order was passed by the Bench of Hon’ble Mr. Justice J. B. Pardiwala and Hon’ble Ms. Justice Vaibhavi D. Nanavati on 23rd Sep, 2021.

During the previous hearing on 14th Sep, the Hon’ble bench formed a Joint Task Force, which submitted its inspection report to the Court on 23rd Sep, when the matter was taken up for hearing. Based on the pleadings and the report of the JTF, the Hon’ble Court passed a valuable order, with far reaching implications. Copy of the order is attached. Some key extracts and directions are below.

1.    This litigation in public interest is a very important one. It should be a people’s movement. Each and every district in the river’s catchment area and every citizen should be involved in this movement. A decentralized approach involving every citizen is needed to save Gujarat’s rivers from pollution. We are saying so keeping in mind the ‘Public Trust’ doctrine. The State holds some resources in trust for public use – against the municipal councils and industries to stop them from soiling the water bodies. It is very sad to note that rivers are one common pool resource to pollute. In our Constitution, water resources are held in public trust. We have to use the ‘Public Trust Doctrine’ to apply stringent provisions against permitting municipal bodies or industries from polluting rivers. Rivers are our lifeline since we are completely dependent on them for our existence. The major reason behind this alarming situation is our utter ignorance and carefree attitude towards our environment and maintaining rivers and riversides. So, it is high time that we take some stringent actions in this regard. Each and every individual should understand that rivers belong to all of us. It is a joint responsibility of each and every individual to keep them clean.

2.    We direct the State Government and the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to provide adequate manpower to the Gujarat Pollution Control Board to facilitate the Board to undertake the necessary operations in accordance with the directions issued by this Court.

3.    The Joint Task Force is at liberty to take assistance of experts/entities who would aid in the revival and rejuvenation of the Sabarmati river.

4.    In the event if anyone of the members of the Joint Task Force wants to carry out the inspection, then he/she shall be at liberty to do so. Prior intimation thereof shall be made to the Gujarat Pollution Control Board.

5.    The Joint Task Force team shall undertake site visits preferably during the first or second week of October 2021, once the rain subsides, for carrying out the inspection and collection of samples for identification of characterization. The report shall be submitted to this Court through the learned Amicus Curiae.

6.    The Miroli Piyat Sahakari Mandli Ltd. may, within two weeks, devise a suitable plan to provide water for the irrigation purpose and approach the Joint Task Force with the same. The Joint Task Force, in consultation with the Chief Secretary of the State Government, shall devise an action plan to ensure that the farmers are provided with sufficient water for the irrigation purpose.

For further details, please contact Krishnakant of Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti at 9426608075 or email tokrishnakant@gmail.com

The Gujarat high court bench of Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Vaibhavi D. Nanavati, on September 23, used the ‘public trust’ doctrine to hold the state government responsible for stopping municipal councils and industries from soiling the water bodies in the Sabarmati river.  “In our Constitution, water resources are held in public trust. We have to use the “Public Trust Doctrine’ to apply stringent provisions against permitting municipal bodies or industries from polluting rivers,” the bench observed in its interim order.  https://thewire.in/law/gujarat-hc-uses-public-trust-doctrine-to-safeguard-sabarmati-river-from-pollution  (04 Oct. 2021)

Illegal industry release turns Sabarmati into dead river, ‘agree’ Ahmedabad authorities In a surprise admission, the Ahmedabad Municipal Commission (AMC) has said that “ill-treated or untreated or partly treated” industrial waste from “improperly working” effluent treatment plants (ETPs) is being “discharged into Sabarmati directly”. It added in an affidavit filed in the Gujarat High Court (HC) that “completely untreated industrial discharge” is also being “illegally discharged into the sewerage network” designed for household sewage.

It further admitted, there has been “illegal industrial discharge into sewerage access points such as manholes or machine-holes at odd hours (such as, in the middle of the night) by using tankers and flexible pipes.” Worse, there is “reverse boring of industrial discharge or usage of defunct/unused bore-wells or percolation wells to discharge industrial waste directly into the ground”, it added. https://www.counterview.net/2021/10/illegal-industry-release-turns.html  (03 Oct. 2021)

Dahisar & Oshiwara; Mumbai BMC to award contracts The BMC project for the rejuvenation of Dahisar and Oshiwara rivers is set to take off after finalisation of contractors. The Rs 1,000-crore project is expected to be completed in the next three years. Proposals of awarding contracts for rejuvenation of Dahisar and Oshiwara-Walbhut rivers will be tabled before the BMC Standing Committee for approval. The work includes construction of STPs at the bank of both rivers, laying of sewer and storm water drain lines, construction of interceptors to prevent sewage discharge if sewer lines are not possible and construction of access roads along the banks of rivers.

According to the proposals, the revamp of Dahisar river will cost Rs 281.15 crore, excluding taxes. For Oshiwara, it will be Rs 719.81 crore. The project has been delayed and seen cost escalation due to Covid-19. Proposals show first-time tenders for the projects were invited in 2019. However, after the pandemic outbreak and the suspension of all development work for months, BMC had to significantly revise its upward estimated cost of Rs 503.42 crore and Rs 180.98 crore for Oshiwara and Dahisar, respectively. The work at Dahisar is expected to be completed in two years after excluding the monsoon months. Work on Oshiwara will take three years. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/work-on-dahisar-oshiwara-rivers-to-begin-bmc-to-award-contracts-7538365/  (28 Sept. 2021)

Mithi; Mumbai BMC spent Rs 1,000 cr on desilting in 10 yrs As per the RTI information, Rs 460.03 crore was spent on desilting major nullahs, Rs 140.08 crore on Mithi River, and Rs 338.62 crore on minor nullahs. BMC has also paid Rs 26 crore to Railways for desilting drains under its jurisdiction. The length of major nullahs in the city is around 248kms, that of minor nullahs is about 421kms. https://www.mid-day.com/mumbai/mumbai-news/article/bmc-spent-rs-1000-crore-on-desilting-in-10-years-shows-rti-23194343  (29 Sept. 2021)

Chandigarh Stop untreated sewage in rivulets: Adviser UT adviser Dharam Pal has directed the engineering department and municipal corporation (MC) to submit short and long term action plans to stop the discharge of untreated sewage into seasonal rivulets passing through the city. The directions were passed during the recent meeting in which the adviser reviewed steps taken in connection with the orders issued by the NGT.

Recently, the tribunal panel had issued directions to the administration to stop pollution in the Sukhna choe and the N-choe. The NGT panel is keeping an eye on pollution of Sukhna choe, which carries water to the Ghaggar river and N-choe in the city. The NGT had also directed the UT and the MC to treat sewage, else be ready to pay environmental compensation. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/stop-untreated-sewage-in-rivulets-chandigarh-adviser/articleshow/86524715.cms  (26 Sept. 2021)

RIVERS

Where Does The River Flow Once upon a time, there was a river.. today, there is a naala. https://bakarmax.com/comic/where-does-the-river-flow/  (24 Sept. 2021)

Challenges of River Restoration https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBQ8CRqdcms&t=18s  (01 Oct. 2021)

Arunachal Pradesh Notice to NHAI, NHIDC for dumping stones, muck in river The petitioner Rakhini Mipi, who is an environmental activist from Anini in Upper Dibang Valley approached the NGT in connection with the improper road widening of the National Highway connecting Roing in Lower Dibang Valley and Anini. According to Mipi, the National Highway authorities “had dumped stones and muck out of nominated dumping area” during the construction of the road (200 km stretch) from Roing to Anini.

The petitioner alleged as quoted by the report: “While widening the road from Roing to Anini, the NHAI, the NHIDC are dumping its waste and muck on forest land and river in Anini district, contrary to the environmental norms and in violation of EC conditions and Construction and Demolition Waste management Rules, 2016.” https://nenow.in/north-east-news/arunachal-pradesh/ngt-nhai-dumping.html  (27 Sept. 2021)

CAUVERY Opinion HC misses forests for trees EXCELLENT ARTICLE: Certain remarks of Karnataka High Court in the Cauvery Calling case went beyond the actual contentions of the case and which are controversial not only because of a poor understanding of ecology but may also leave a negative impact on environmental jurisprudence. First, the Court used the terms ‘afforestation’ and ‘plantation of trees’ interchangeably, even though they have different meanings and purposes altogether. What the Cauvery Calling project envisages is planting trees on private agricultural farms which is not comparable with creating or restoring forests. The judgment wrongly assumes that Cauvery Calling is a noble cause of creating forests, without deliberating on any logical details of the project to establish the assertion.

– Secondly, the High Court cited numerous judgments of the Supreme Court on preservation of forests and concerns arising out of forest loss, despite the fact that the Cauvery Calling project is not concerned with preservation of natural forests or halting deforestation.

– Such blanket clearance to plantations on any barren government land, without any qualification, relies on profoundly wrong assumptions of them being waste land and ignores the varied purposes for which lands may be put to use – such as grazing or conservation of nature, to name a few. In some circumstances, plantations on such bare government lands may actually become counterproductive by altering the ecosystem services they provide. Irrespective of ownership of land, such assertions from the High Court also have the potential to affect laws related to trespassing, irrespective of the Court’s noble intentions. Moreover, the Court fails to acknowledge that ‘government land’ constitutes several different kinds of lands, which are classified and protected under various laws with respective authorities of their own.  https://www.barandbench.com/columns/litigation-columns/how-the-karnataka-high-court-missed-the-forests-for-the-trees  (26 Sept. 2021)

GANGA Uttar Pradesh प्रशासन की अनदेखी से समाप्त हो गई जीवन देने वाली नदियों की जिंदगी  संभल जिले में नदियों के अस्तित्व पर तीन दशकों से संकट के बादल मंडरा रहे हैं। राजस्व विभाग की लापरवाही के चलते सूखती नदियों और विलुप्त होते तालाबों को पाटा जा रहा है। अधिकांश स्थानों पर अनाधिकृत रूप से कब्जे किए जा रहे हैं। सूखी जमीन पर कहीं खेती हो रही है तो कहीं मकान बन गए हैं। लगातार गिरते जल स्तर और खत्म होते जल स्रोतों से आने वाली पीढ़ियों के लिए गंभीर खतरा उत्पन्न हो रहा है।

संभल तहसील से गुजरने वाली सोत नदी हो या फिर गुन्नौर तहसील से होकर गुजरने वाली महावा नदियां सूख गई हैं और जगह-जगह कब्जे हो गए हैं। नदी की जमीन पर खेती हो रही है। महावा नदी में गजरौला की औद्योगिक इकाइयों के प्लांटों से निकलने वाले केमिकल युक्त पानी को छोड़ा गया, जिससे महावा नदी प्रदूषित हो गई। भूगर्भ तक इसका असर हुआ था। अमरोहा जिले में गजरौला के पिपरिया घाट से गंगा के मुहाने से निकली महावा नदी करीब डेढ़ सौ साल से अधिक पुरानी है। गंगा के इस मुहाने को ही महावा कहा गया। लोगों का कहना है कि जब क्षेत्र में बाढ़ के हालात बार बार बनने लगे तो उद्गम स्थल पर ही लोगों ने महावा के मुहाने को बंद कर दिया। जिससे पानी घट गया और नदी सूखने लगी। लेकिन तीन दशक पहले अमरोहा जिले के गजरौला स्थित औद्योगिक इकाइयों का दूषित पानी छोड़ा जाने लगा। इससे इसका पानी काला हो गया और क्षेत्र के आसपास का भूगर्भ जल भी दूषित हो गया। जिले में कलकल बहने वाली आरिल और छोइया नदी की मौजूदा हालात दयनीय है।

सरकार भले ही बदले लेकिन नदियों, तालाबों से रेत निकालने और खेतों को बंजर बनाने का खेल बेरोकटोक जारी रहता है। फिर चाहे सफेद रेत का काला कारोबार हो या खेतों को बंजर बनाने का धंधा। यूं तो खनन के नियम-कानून दिनों दिन सख्त हो रहे हैं। शासन प्रशासन चुस्त होने का दावा कर रहा है पर सफेद रेत और मिट्टी का खनन का कारोबार बढ़ता ही जा रहा है। सफेद रेत के काले कारोबार की बानगी असमोली के गांवों में देखी जा सकती है। https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/sambhal/the-life-of-the-rivers-that-gave-life-ended-due-to-the-neglect-of-the-administration-sambhal-news-mbd403979137  (26 Sept. 2021)

YAMUNA Delhi Dumping of debris on floodplain flies in face of NGT order Locals and activists have alleged that soil and debris from some construction project are being dumped on the Yamuna floodplain at Chilla Khadar near DND Flyway. Bhavreen Kandhari, an environment activist, said, “Dumping of soil and debris is again happening on the Yamuna floodplain in violation of a NGT order. Soil is also being dumped into the river. The dumping started on Monday (Sept. 27) night.” She also shared images of debris lying on the floodplain on Twitter.

Dev Patel, a local resident, said, “The dumping is occurring at night on both the Yamuna floodplain and into the river. I saw two trucks leaving the area after dumping waste here.” Officials of DDA, the land-owning agency, were unavailable for comments. In July this year, construction debris was found dumped on the Yamuna floodplain near Commonwealth Games Village. An FIR was lodged in the matter. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/dumping-of-debris-on-floodplain-flies-in-face-of-green-tribunal-order/articleshow/86625913.cms  (30 Sept. 2021)

RIVERS BIODIVERSITY

Study Global warming can spell doom for freshwater fish Climate change too is warming river waters and reducing their flows. These changes can spell doom for fish that live in these waters, informs this study titled ‘Threats of global warming to the world’s freshwater fishes’ published in the journal Nature Communications.

Freshwater fish are very sensitive to changes in water temperature. River flows too affect the feeding and reproductive behaviour of many organisms inhabiting the waters. Yet, the impacts of climate change on freshwater fishes have not been studied in detail. This study assesses future climate threats to 11,425 riverine fish species by quantifying their exposure to flow and water temperature extremes under different global warming scenarios. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/global-warming-can-spell-doom-indias-freshwater-fish  (24 Sept. 2021)

Research paper titled Dendritic prioritization through spatial stream network modelling informs targeted management of Himalayan riverscapes under brown trout invasion. https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/1365-2664.13997 

Western Ghats 12 new geckos found Researchers affiliated with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, and National Centre for Biological Sciences discovered 12 new species of geckos in the Western Ghats. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mangaluru/jackie-chan-got-in-gecko-finds-in-western-ghats/articleshow/86721069.cms  (03 Oct. 2021)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Assam Fishermen struggle to survive as Son Beel shrinks away Son Beel, one of the largest wetlands of Assam is shrinking. This depletes the fish catch in the waters, thereby truncating the incomes of fishermen. Unsustainable fishing, pollution and agricultural encroachments are other issues that challenge Son Beel’s ecosystem. Some experts say that declaring Son Beel as a Ramsar site is important, while others call for the fisherfolk to fish sustainably and the government to introduce better policies. https://india.mongabay.com/2021/10/fishermen-struggle-to-survive-as-assams-largest-wetland-shrinks-away/  (01 Oct. 2021)

Tamil Nadu Fly ash still choking Buckingham Canal, backwaters A report submitted by a Joint Committee, appointed by the Southern Bench of the NGT, stated that the fly ash generated from Stages 1 and 2 of the North Chennai Ennore Thermal Power Station (NCTPS) has greatly reduced the volume of water flowing to the sea from the Buckingham Canal and its backwaters. The waterbodies had become pools of ash, the report said.

The committee found that although the leakage of fly ash was not noticed during an on-site inspection, the accumulation persisted in the backwaters and the Buckingham Canal. “This is due to the leakage of ash slurry from ageing pipes and due to plants directly discharging the slurry into waterbodies. Livelihood of fisherfolk has been affected, and this has led to the abatement of fishing activities. Mangrove patches have vanished due to the sedimentation of fly ash deposits,” the committee submitted. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/fly-ash-still-choking-buckingham-canal-backwaters-national-green-tribunal-told/article36745614.ece  (30 Sept. 2021)

The new ash pipeline being built for NCTPS stage-3 in Ennore over Kosasthalaiyar river does not have mandatory statutory clearances, said the joint committee report submitted before the southern bench of NGT. An Ennore fisherman R Ravimaran had filed a petition with NGT, alleging that TANGEDCO’s old leaking ash pipelines and the new construction has polluted the river beyond use, hampering livelihood of hundreds of fishermen.

The joint committee report confirmed the new pipeline violates Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules. “Environmental clearance was granted for NCTPS stage-3 plant and CRZ clearance for foreshore facilities, including coal conveyor, supporting trestles, seawater intake and outlet pipes etc., but not for laying pipelines for transmitting slurry across Kosasthalaiyar backwaters. This is gross violation of CRZ rules,” the report said. On environmental damage, the committee said pipeline work was yet to commence over Kosasthalaiyar river. “Hence, environmental damage due to crossing of pipes has not been assessed for working out the compensation.” https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2021/sep/30/new-ash-pipeline-violates-crz-rules-says-ngt-report-2365569.html  (30 Sept. 2021)

SAND MINING

Karnataka More than 10K cases of illegal mining in 3 yrs The state has seen over 10,000 cases of illegal sand mining over the last three years even as the state government is trying hard to introduce a new policy to regulate the availability of this key commodity. According to government data tabled in the Legislative Council, illegal sand mining has gone unabated even during the pandemic with about 3,451 identified cases in 2020-21 and 3,193 cases in 2019-20. In 2018-19, there were 3,869 cases identified, adding up to 10,513 cases over the last three years. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/over-10k-cases-of-illegal-sand-mining-in-karnataka-in-3-years-1034879.html   (27 Sept. 2021)

Madhya Pradesh Reporting on mining remains rishky Journalists face wrath of authorities and illegal sand mining mafia MP’s Khargone. https://www.newslaundry.com/2021/09/28/firs-intimidation-and-death-reporting-on-sand-mining-remains-perilous-in-mp  (28 Sept. 2021)

Uttarakhand अधूरी तैयारियों पानी की वजह से फिलहाल गौला में नहीं शुरू हो सकेगा खनन सरकार के नियमों के मुताबिक अगर अफसरों की तैयारी पूरी है तो एक अक्टूबर से नदियों से खनन शुरू हो सकता है, लेकिन वन विभाग और वन निगम की अधूरी तैयारियों व पानी की वजह से गौला अभी नहीं खुल पाएगी। ऐसे में प्रत्यक्ष व अप्रत्यक्ष तौर पर गौला के जरिये रोजगार हासिल करने वाले करीब एक लाख लोगों को इंतजार करना पड़ेगा। जबकि कोरोना की दूसरी लहर से प्रभावित वाहन स्वामी व खनन कारोबारी भी गौला के जल्द खुलने की मांग कर रहे हैं।

शीशमहल से शांतिपुरी तक वाहन के अलावा बुग्गी गेटों के जरिये गौला से उपखनिज की निकासी होती है। 7500 वाहन पंजीकृत हैं। चालक, परिचालक, क्रशर कर्मचारी, स्पेयर पाट्र्स कारोबारी से लेकर मैकेनिक तक को आठ महीने चलने वाली गौला से रोजगार मिलता है। इसके अलावा बाजार का आर्थिक चक्र भी खनन पर निर्भर करता है। हालांकि, संपर्क मार्ग दुरुस्त करने, गेट पर संचालित कंप्यूटर कक्ष को व्यवस्थित करने, कांटों को ठीक करने के अलावा खाई भरान का काम अभी पूरा नहीं हुआ। इसके अलावा सीमांकन भी अधूरा है। ऐसे में हल्द्वानी से लेकर शांतिपुरी तक के लोगों को अभी और इंतजार करना पड़ेगा। https://m.jagran.com/lite/uttarakhand/nainital-mining-will-not-start-in-gaula-at-present-due-to-incomplete-preparations-22072024.html  (01 Oct. 2021)

गौला नदी में डूबने से दो सगे भाईयों की मौत मंडी चौकी क्षेत्र के आंवला गेट के पास गौला नदी में दो सगे भाईयों की डूबकर मौत हो गई। दोनों भाई साथी बच्चों के साथ गौला नदी किनारे घूमने गए थे। पहले छोटा भाई नदी किनारे गड्ढे में नहाने के लिए कूदा। जब वह डूबने लगा तो बड़ा भाई उसे बचाने के लिए नदी में कूद गया। पुलिस ने रेस्क्यू कर दोनों के शव को बाहर निकालकर पोस्टमार्टम के लिए भेज दिया है। https://www.livehindustan.com/uttarakhand/haldwani/story-two-real-brothers-died-due-to-drowning-in-gaula-river-3527700.html  (22 July 2021)

मूल रूप से मुरादाबाद के कालाझंडा निवासी राम प्रसाद 15 सालों से हल्द्वानी में रह रहा है। वर्तमान में पत्नी कमलेश व तीन बच्चों रोमिंस (15), रोहन (12) और बेटी पूजा (10)संग वह बरेली रोड स्थित उत्तर गौजाजली वार्ड 60 में किराये पर रह रहा था। https://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/nainital-two-children-die-by-drowning-in-haldwanis-gaula-river-family-in-shock-21854954.html  (22 July 2021) 

रुद्रपुर से यहां लालकुआं गौला नदी में नहाने आए आधा दर्जन युवकों में से 18 वर्षीय युवक की पानी में डूबने से दर्दनाक मौत हो गयी। गंभीर रूप से घायल युवक को स्थानीय गोताखोरों की मदद से गौला नदी से निकालकर रुद्रपुर के निजी अस्पताल में पहुंचाया, जहां चिकित्सकों ने उसे मृत घोषित कर दिया। उक्त दर्दनाक हादसे के बाद मृतक के परिवार में कोहराम मचा हुआ है। पता चला है कि रुद्रपुर निवासी युवक गौला नदी में नहाने के लिए अक्सर आया करते थे। परंतु दो दिन पूर्व हुई बरसात से गौला नदी में बने गड्ढों में जबरदस्त पानी भरकर नदी का काफी हिस्सा दलदल युक्त हो गया है। जिसे युवक नहीं समझ पाए और परिणाम स्वरूप संजीव की जान चली गयी।

शारदा नदी में लापता तीन लोगों में से दो शव बरामद दो दिन पहले हुई अत्यधिक वर्षा के चलते उफान पर आई नदी में बहे तीन लोगों में से दो के शव मिल चुके हैं। मालूम हो कि दो दिनों तक लगातार हुई बारिश के चलते शारदा नदी उफान पर आ गई थी। इसके चलते शारदा नदी के डाउन स्ट्रीम में करीब एक दर्जन खनन मजदूर फंस गए थे। जिनमें से नौ लोगों को तो पुलिस ने रेस्क्यू अभियान चला कर शुक्रवार की सुबह बचा लिया था। तीन लोग नदी में बह गए।

उप जिलाधिकारी हिमांशु कफल्टिया ने बताया कि गुरुवार की देर रात निकट शारदा बैराज के समीप खनन क्षेत्र में कार्य कर रहे श्रमिकों को शारदा बैराज के समीप खनन क्षेत्र में कार्य कर रहे मजदूरों की फंसे होने की सूचना के बाद पुलिस एवं स्थानीय प्रशासन द्वारा रेस्क्यू ऑपरेशन चलाकर सभी मजदूरों को सकुशल बचा लिया गया था। देर रात अधिक वर्षा होने पर शारदा का जलस्तर बढ़ने के कारण खनन क्षेत्र में कार्य कर रहे एक परिवार के बहने की सूचना के बाद पुलिस द्वारा रेस्क्यू ऑपरेशन चलाया गया। https://uttarakhandmorningpost.com/haldwani-death-of-youth-from-drowning-in-gula-river-2-recovered-from-sarada/  (23 May 2021)

11 दिन पहले जहां गौला नदी में खनन कार्य के दौरान एक महिला मजदूर की मौत हो गई थी, जबकि उसकी पोती मौत और जिंदगी के बीच झूल रही है. वहीं, बुधवार को नदी के गोरापड़ाव खनन निकासी गेट पर उप खनिज की ढांग गिरने से एक मजदूर की फिर मौत हुई है. https://www.etvbharat.com/hindi/uttarakhand/state/nainital/laborer-died-after-sub-mineralization-collapses-in-gaula-river-of-haldwani/uttarakhand20210325082102524  (25 March 2021)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Kerala Keeping alive mangrove conservationist’s legacy The legacy of the late Kallen Pokkudan, a Dalit farmworker and intrepid mangrove conservationist in Kerala, is being carried forward by his children. His children have pledged to realise Pokkudan’s vision of shielding Kerala’s hazard-prone coast by erecting mangrove protection walls all along the coast in six years. They have begun by reviving a mangrove promotion trust formed by him in 2013 to impart mangrove conservation literacy. The trust has started preparing mangrove nurseries in collaboration with schools, youth clubs and voluntary organisations to generate enough seedlings to plant in areas that witness sea erosion. https://india.mongabay.com/2021/09/keeping-alive-a-mangrove-conservationists-legacy-to-protect-kerala-coast/  (21 Sept. 2021)

Ashtamudi Lake now a sewage dump site “Very pathetic” is how the Kerala State Legal Services Authority’s (KeLSA) report to the high court describes the condition of the lake spread over an area of around 1,700 sq km and surrounded by swaying coconut groves and palm trees and spotted by several small islands. The report also said that sewage from nearby residences and government establishments was the main reason for pollution of the lake and also for putting its unique wetland ecosystem under risk of permanent damage.

District judge and KeLSA member secretary K T Nisar Ahammad, who inspected the lake, said that with a little bit of effort the corporation could have cleaned up some portion of the lake, especially the part close to the KSRTC bus stand where the situation is really bad, but no one, including the local body, appeared to be bothered. He said that a few years back the government had sanctioned funds for cleaning up the lake, but it never took off and now there was another project, worth over ₹100 crore, in play for the same purpose.Salim said that the garbage and filth were being dumped in the area for years and as a result the more than 100 species of fishes, mangroves, coconut groves and palm trees were being adversely affected.

A resident of the area for decades, he remembers his younger days when along with his friends he used to take a dip in the lake. “Now you cannot even dare to dip your hand in the water, as if you do you could end up having rashes or blisters or some other infection,” he said. Even fish, like Karimeen, found in the lake no longer taste the same as they used to during his younger days when Ashtamudi was not as polluted as it was presently, he said. “You cannot walk along the lake side without your olfactory senses being overwhelmed by the stink emanating from there,” he added. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/ashtamudi-lake-gateway-to-kerala-s-backwaters-now-a-sewage-dump-site-101633114717277.html  (02 Oct. 2021)

WATER OPTIONS

Bengaluru GW recharge project brings livelihood, respect to well-diggers EXCELLENT: The 2 lakh recharge wells the well diggers dug up in different Bangalore neighbourhoods are beginning to ensure water security, besides ensuring them much-needed income even amidst the raging pandemic.

– S Vishwanath, Director of Biome Environmental Solutions: “More than 1000 families of well digging community lives around Bangalore. Their deep traditional knowledge and understanding of Bangalore’s geohydrology contributed to building Bangalore’s recharge wells.” Bangalore gets 600-1000 mm of water and the city can ideally recharge 80% of rain water. The objective is to have a recharge well in every alternate property to achieve 10 lakh wells.

– Today with 2 lakh recharge wells, Bangalore has the highest number of such wells compared to any other metro city of India. Overall recharge rate in Bangalore is 3-8% due to the wide spread concretisation of surface. The objective is to increase this to 50-60%. It would also help reduce the urban flooding. Earlier, during heavy rains, parts of Cubbon park used to be water logged for over a month. Now the water logging is gone in 2-3 days.

– It takes one day for a team of five well diggers to dig a recharge well. Wells with a diameter of 3-4 mts had depth of 12-15 ft ideally. A typical recharge well with a depth of 15-20 ft would cost Rs 30 000-Rs 35000. The walls are made of pre cast concrete rings and the surroundings are filled with 40 mm stone gelly. The top of the well is sealed with silt filter and mesh to stop anyone falling in. It takes just one hour for the recharge well to typically absord 10 000 litres of water. The well diggers have also helped desilt and rejuvenate old open wells that can help recharge even more water. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/project-to-rejuvenate-city-s-groundwater-brings-livelihood-respect-to-traditional-well-diggers-1036774.html  (03 Oct.  2021)

Uttarakhand Women Revive Traditional Chal-khals Over the last decade, it had become increasingly hard for Sartama Devi (55) to source water around her home in Patara village of Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand. “Our water sources had been drying up with the diminishing monsoons. It has affected our livestock. In our fields, the koda-jhangora

(Indian barn millet) crop had been withering away,” she said. Water springs in small amounts in these mountain villages and exhausts quickly as the villagers use it for daily chores and to meet their livestock’s needs. These natural springs were not sufficient for the 300 families in Patara village that have about 275 animals.

– These percolation pits are saving women the time and effort it takes to find and carry water over long distances. https://www.news18.com/news/india/as-mountain-springs-dry-up-uttarkashi-women-revive-traditional-chal-khals-4247606.html  (26 Sept. 2021) https://101reporters.com/article/Civic/As_mountain_springs_dry_up_Uttarkashi_women_revive_traditional_chalkhals  (24 Sept. 2021)

GROUNDWATER

Delayed response of groundwater to multi-year meteorological droughts in the absence of anthropogenic management Abstract: Groundwater is a life-sustaining resource that supplies water to 2 billion people worldwide and is critical for agriculture. Despite the importance of groundwater, understanding of groundwater recovery from meteorological droughts is limited. Here, we utilize daily groundwater observations from unconfined aquifers without active groundwater management across the conterminous United States to illustrate that in response to a multi-year drought, it takes on average, 3 years for shallow aquifers to recover the storage lost during the drought. This recovery time increases with higher drought severity, and is influenced by the time-lag between the initiation (termination) of a meteorological drought and initiation (termination) of a groundwater drought. There is considerable variation in the time-lag duration, up to 15 years in some aquifers, controlled by geographic properties in regions with shallow water tables and precipitation characteristics in regions with deep water tables. A machine learning algorithm finds that the most important controls on the time-lag are the drought intensity at the beginning of the precipitation drought and the mean annual recharge. Projected increases in drought severity could potentially increase groundwater recovery times to droughts in a changing climate. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022169421009677  (paid access)

URBAN WATER

Bengaluru HC stepped in to protect city lakes Over the years hundreds of lakes have however disappeared. The main city alone had as many as 272 lakes around 50 years ago but there are only around 168 lakes remaining at present. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-why-high-court-protect-bengaluru-lakes-7540124/  (29 Sept. 2021)

Delhi DDA plans for Sanjay Van to convert it to an eco- park with adventure sports.  This will be disastrous for the forest. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/eco-tourism-plan-at-sanjay-van-to-harm-green-lungs-residents/articleshow/86737273.cms  (04 Oct. 2021)

Gurugram 52 illegal stormwater drain connections identified Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) has identified at least 52 illegal stormwater drain connections over the past two weeks and sent notices to offenders, officials said. The drainage division of GMDA has identified these connections with exact coordinates so that locating and disconnecting them is easy, officials said. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/gurugram-news/52-illegal-stormwater-drain-connections-identified-notices-sent-to-offenders-101632418147232.html  (23 Sept. 2021)

Amid rising dengue cases, residents from different localities in the city have demanded increased fogging and clearing stagnant water to prevent the spread of vector-borne diseases. Over the past two days, nine new cases of dengue have been reported in Gurugram, taking the tally to 32 this year.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/gurugram-news/dengue-fear-clear-stagnant-water-increase-fogging-say-residents-101632765469832.html  (27 Sept. 2021)

WATER POLLUTION

CPCB STPs treat only a third of the sewage generated daily STPs in India are able to treat a little more than a third of the sewage generated per day, according to the latest report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The released recently CPCB report has been compiled on the basis of information received from the state pollution control boards about STPs. The collation, compilation and analysis of data has been carried out with respect to installed capacity, operational capacity and actual utilisation.

India generated 72,368 MLD whereas the installed capacity of STPs was 31,841 MLD (43.9 per cent), according to the report. Of this installed capacity, developed and operationalized capacity was 26,869 MLD (84 per cent). Of the total operationalised capacity, 20,235 MLD (75 per cent) was the actual utilised capacity. In other words, out of total 72,368 MLD sewage generated every day, only 20,235 MLD is treated. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/waste/india-s-sewage-treatment-plants-treat-only-a-third-of-the-sewage-generated-daily-cpcb-79157  (24 Sept. 2021)

WATER

Opinion Nature-based, people-centred solutions for water The second in Business Standard on Sept 29 2021 in a series of weekly articles on the new National Water Policy by Mihir Shah

Since Independence, water policy in India has focused primarily on construction of large dams and extraction of groundwater. The new National Water Policy (NWP), drafted for the first time by a committee of independent experts, argues that definite limits are becoming evident in further adopting this strategy in different parts of India. The country is running out of sites for building large dams, while the water table and groundwater quality are falling in many areas. Hence, without ruling out the construction of more dams or the sustainable use of groundwater, the new NWP urges a shift in focus towards management and distribution of water.

The policy draws attention to NITI Aayog’s estimate of the growing gap between the Irrigation Potential Created (IPC) and the Irrigation Potential Utilised (IPU). This has meant that trillions of litres of water, stored at huge cost to the national exchequer and the environment, has not been reaching the farmers for whom it is meant. Bridging the IPC-IPU gap can add millions of hectares to irrigated area at very low cost, even without building a single new dam. To make this happen, the management of the command areas has to be handed over to the farmers themselves. All successful command area projects in several states show that once farmers themselves feel a sense of ownership, the process of operating and managing irrigation systems undergoes a profound transformation. Farmers willingly pay Irrigation Service Fees (determined in a transparent and participatory manner) to their Water Users Associations (WUAs). This enables WUAs to repair and maintain distribution systems and ensure that water reaches each farm. This kind of Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM) implies that state irrigation departments concentrate on technically and financially complex structures, such as main systems and secondary canals. The tertiary-level canals, minor structures and field channels are handed over to WUAs to ensure that water reaches farmers even at the tail-end of the command. Many states have innovated by deploying pressurised closed conveyance pipelines, combined with Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems and pressurised micro-irrigation. This enables multiple win-wins: lower cost of land acquisition, faster implementation, higher water-use efficiency and greater accountability and transparency, with timely information, assurance and distribution of water to farmers.

There is mounting evidence across the globe in favour of “nature-based solutions” for water storage and supply. Thus, the NWP places major emphasis on supply of water through rejuvenation of catchment areas. Neglect and destruction of these areas has meant annual soil loss of about 15.35 tonnes per hectare, which causes siltation of reservoirs and reduces their capacity by 1-2 per cent per annum. The NWP proposes a comprehensive review of safety and siltation of all dams and diversion weirs older than 50 years, and suggests that those deemed unsafe and/or silted up to more than 80 per cent of their storage capacity could be decommissioned in a phased manner, after building a consensus among all stakeholders.

The NWP recommends that rejuvenation of river catchment areas be incentivised through compensation for ecosystem services, especially to vulnerable communities in the upstream, mountainous regions. Renewed thrust on local rainwater harvesting to catch the rain where it falls, when it falls must be combined with demarcation, notification, protection and revival of traditional local water bodies in both rural and urban areas. This would form part of urban blue-green infrastructure for improved water levels and quality, as also flood mitigation, through specifically curated infrastructure such as rain gardens and bioswales, restored rivers with wet meadows (where they can meander), wetlands constructed for bio-remediation, urban parks, permeable pavements, sustainable natural drainage systems, green roofs and green walls. All government buildings, it recommends, would be built (and old public sector buildings retrofitted) in accordance with sustainable building codes, adopting water management with recycling, reuse and closed circuit technologies.

Recognising that groundwater is the lifeline of India’s economy and society, the NWP gives highest priority to its governance and management. Drilling to greater depths and pumping at higher rates have caused a precipitous fall in both the water table and water quality in a very large number of districts. This is a direct consequence of atomistic, competitive extraction of what is a shared, common pool resource (CPR), without taking into account the enormous diversity in the nature of India’s aquifers. The vital ecosystem services provided by groundwater have also been endangered. The most striking manifestation of this is the drying up of rivers, which depend on base-flows from groundwater during the post-monsoon period.

Given that groundwater is a CPR and considering the large number of groundwater sources — over 40 million wells and tubewells and 4-5 million springs — spread across diverse socio-ecologies, the NWP suggests that effective management of groundwater cannot be positioned on a centralised, licence-based bureaucratic approach. Rather, Participatory Groundwater Management (PGWM), being pioneered through the Atal Bhujal Yojana, must form the backbone of groundwater programmes in both rural and urban areas. Information on aquifer boundaries, water storage capacity and flows in aquifers should be provided in an accessible, user-friendly manner to primary stakeholders, designated as the custodians of their own aquifers, to enable them to develop protocols for sustainable and equitable management of groundwater. PGWM must be implemented in a location-specific manner that takes into account the diversity of India’s hydrogeological settings. The NWP also proposes that the National Aquifer Management Programme (NAQUIM) adopt a bottom-up approach and provide maps at a scale of 1:10,000. Only by going down to this scale will the information provided by NAQUIM be in a form that is usable for the main stakeholders engaged in aligning their cropping patterns to the availability of groundwater, without which, as I will explain next week, India’s water problem cannot be solved. https://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/nature-based-people-centred-solutions-for-water-121092801506_1.html  (29 Sept. 2021)

AGRICULTURE

Truth about Green Revolution https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2vcs94Q_14  (04 Dec. 2020)

For Small Farmers, is Crop Cultivation Slowly Mattering Less and Less?  While the latest decennial NSS 77th round Situation Assessment of Agricultural Households shows some improvement in the total income of farmers from various sources, a 10-percentage fall in the share of income from crop cultivation has also been reported during this period. Latest survey data confirms the increasing importance of livestock activities. https://thewire.in/agriculture/for-small-farmers-is-crop-cultivation-slowly-mattering-less-and-less  (27 Sept. 2021)

Uttar Pradesh Despite high crop losses, farmers in Kannauj may not be compensated Incessant rainfall has flattened standing crops across Kannauj district in Uttar Pradesh leading to distress among the farmers. However, the cultivators may not receive financial compensation because the district administration claims the damages are not enough to be covered under the compensation guidelines. https://en.gaonconnection.com/uttar-pradesh-kannauj-farmers-crop-damage-rains-rainfall-compensation-debt-maize/  (01 Oct. 2021)

Uttarakhand सेब किसानों की समस्याओं का हल क्यों नहीं ढूंढ पायी सरकार हर्षिल के काश्तकारों ने इस महोत्सव का सीधे तौर पर बायकॉट कर दिया। महोत्सव शुरू होने के चार रोज़ पहले से ही हर्षिल में धरना-प्रदर्शन शुरू हो गया था। महोत्सव के दिन हर्षिल में किसानों ने ढोल-दमाऊं जैसे पारंपरिक वाद्ययंत्रों के साथ राज्य सरकार के विरोध में रैली निकाली। https://hindi.newsclick.in/Why-the-Uttarakhand-government-could-not-find-solution-to-the-problems-of-Harshil-apple-farmers  (25 Sept. 2021)

जंगली जानवरों से फसलों को बचाने के लिए हो रही ‘बीज बमबारी’ https://indiaspendhindi.com/agriculture/uttarakhand-villagers-seed-bombing-forests-protect-crops-777500  (27 Sept. 2021)

MONSOON 2021

SANDRP Blog SW Monsoon 2021: District wise rainfall in India In the just concluded South West Monsoon 2021, India received 874.6 mm rainfall, about 99.32% of the Normal SW Monsoon rainfall or just 0.68% less than the normal SW Monsoon rainfall of 880.6 mm as per India Meteorological department. The Sept rainfall was a huge 34% above normal, that reduced the national rainfall deficit from 10% in the beginning of Sept to just 0.68% by Sept 30, the official closing date of SW Monsoon Accounts by IMD, though the maonsoon is yet to start withdrawing from any part of India. The rainfall was also far from Normal as state wise, district wise figures given here shows. Plz Read, Share. https://sandrp.in/2021/09/30/sw-monsoon-2021-district-wise-rainfall-in-india/  (30 Sept. 2021)

IMD 2nd wettest Sept in 27 yrs bridges monsoon deficit As far as rainfall in September is concerned, the month has recorded 34% excess rains at 223 mm (September 1-29) against a monthly normal of 166.6 mm. The rain recorded so far during September in the country is the second best figure for rains during the month since 1994.

“September turned out to be just the opposite of August… Several low pressure systems formed over the Bay of Bengal, some of which had re-emerged from the northwest Pacific, which too had not happened in August,” said D S Pai, scientist and head of climate research and services, IMD, Pune. Rainfall, linked to cyclonic circulation, in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Gangetic West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand is likely to completely end the deficit in next 24 hours, which will see intense rainfall activities due to the remnants of the cyclonic storm ‘Gulab’ that had hit the eastern coast last Sunday (Sept. 26). https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/abundant-september-rain-nearly-bridges-4-month-monsoon-deficit/articleshow/86627099.cms  (30 Sept. 2021)

September rainfall this year is the eighth highest since 1901, the earliest period for which data are available. The 225.1mm rainfall in September was 37.1% more than the LPA of 164.2mm. Of the seven years when September rainfall was more than in 2021, 2019 is the closest, when rainfall was 259.1mm. The other six years were 1983 and earlier.

In August, rainfall was 19% less than the LPA, the 7th lowest since 1901. July rainfall, 5.5% less than the LPA, was the 30th lowest since 1901.

The northeast did not receive enough rainfall. In Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, the rain deficit was 20% or more than the LPA. Even for Tripura and Sikkim, rainfall was below the LPA average, but the deficit was less than 20%, which is technically within the normal range.

Five states – Telangana, Delhi, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu – received rainfall in excess of 20% of the LPA. As much as 20% of India’s districts received deficient rainfall and another 27% saw excess rains.

Of the 14,762 monsoon days since 1901, Delhi has seen heavy intensity rainfall on 619 days out of the 6,871 days that the city recorded any rain. August 21 was the 21st highest heavy and total rainfall day among these. To be sure, the single monsoon day record for Delhi is more than double the rainfall that took place on August 21. It was set on September 16, 1963, when 212.2mm rainfall took place, all of it heavy intensity.

On September 30, there was a 4% surplus nationwide. Of the 19 states for which CWC collects data, eight still have some deficit. The deficit is biggest in Punjab (40%), Himachal Pradesh (28%) and Odisha (11%). Reservoir levels matter a lot for agricultural production in the rabi (winter) season. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/8th-highest-rainfall-in-sept-and-yet-a-normal-monsoon-in-2021-101633282919620.html  (04 Oct. 2021)

Retreat unlikely to begin till early Oct The long monsoon this year is likely to remain active till early October, with the met department on Thursday (Sept. 23) saying the withdrawal of the rainbearing system is not expected to begin at least in the next 10 days. The normal date for the beginning of monsoon’s retreat (starting from west Rajasthan) is September 17 and the rainy season ends on September 30 in the classification of IMD. This year’s monsoon withdrawal is likely to be delayed by more than two weeks. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/long-monsoon-imd-says-retreat-unlikely-to-begin-till-early-october/articleshow/86469398.cms  (24 Sept. 2021)

North East This says Climate Change has contributed to less rainfall this year in NE states.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/guwahati/frequency-of-deficit-rain-in-ne-points-to-climate-change/articleshow/86600530.cms  (29 Sept. 2021)  

Karnataka Rain related queries up by 15% Karnataka farmers called up “Varuna Mitra” a rain-related helpline set up at the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) 8.14 lakh times during SW Monsoon 2021, 15% up from 6.92 lakh during 2020 monsoon. 95% of the calls are made by farmers and end in 120 seconds on an average. KSNDMC has set up 32 parallel phone lines operating 24/7 basis, and get 7 to 10 k calls per day. The calls had a dip in 2019 and averaged 6.277 lakhs over the last five years. Max calls come from Balari, Tumakuru, Kalaboragi, Raichur and Vijayapura districts. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/despite-normal-monsoon-rain-related-queries-shot-up-by-15-1034886.html  (27 Sept. 2021)

FLOOD 2021

West Bengal CM holds DVC responsible for ‘man made’ flood Mamata Banerjee Friday (Oct. 1) held DVC responsible for the current “man made” flood in the southern part of the state and contended that it was caused due to the unplanned and enhanced discharge of water from dams and barrages in the neighbouring state without information.

– Banerjee had alleged that the flood in early August in parts of south Bengal too were “man made”, caused by excessive release of water by DVC from its barrages which had hit lakhs of farmers and claimed 16 lives. Asansol and Bankura recorded their highest rainfall in history in 24 hours till Thursday morning. Asansol in West Burdwan recorded 434.5 mm rainfall, while Bankura town, the head quarter of Bankura district, recorded 354.3 mm rain during the period, it said. Durgapur recorded 200 mm rainfall, Purulia 170 mm, Kangsabati 140 mm and Phulberia 110 mm, it said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/mamata-banerjee-holds-dvc-responsible-for-man-made-flood-in-bengal/articleshow/86685420.cms  (01 Oct. 2021)

Dam water floods 20 blocks in south Bengal Over 10 lakh people affected in 20 blocks in West Midnapore, Birbhum, East Burdwan, Bankura, West Burdwan, Hooghly and Howrah districts. Majority of the areas were submerged because of excessive rainfall in the catchment areas of the Maithan and Panchet dams maintained by the DVC in Jharkhand, which resulted in release of water that submerged downstream areas in Bengal. For example, Asansol which falls in the catchment area of the Durgapur Barrage had recorded over 350 mm rainfall between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, which was highest in the recorded history. Moreover, the Maithan and Panchet dams had released 1 lakh cusec of water since Thursday Sept 30, 2021) morning.

– the Durgapur Barrage released 2.36 lakh cusec water on Thursday (Sept. 30) afternoon, which submerged large parts of East Burdwan, Hooghly and Howrah. Rivers like the Ajay, Kansabati and the Darakeswar in Birbhum, Bankura and Purulia, which carry water from the dams like Shikatia in Jharkhand, also crossed danger levels. This has caused inundation in several blocks in Birbhum and Bankura, a rare phenomena. https://www.telegraphindia.com/west-bengal/dam-water-floods-20-blocks-in-south-bengal/cid/1833063  (02 Oct. 2021)

Maharashtra Shivna river attains new HFL after 23 years Is this a case of dam induced floods at Lasur along Shivna river in Aurangabad dist in Marathwada? Feedback is welcome from anyone who knows more about this.

Parineeta Dandekar, SANDRP said more such breaches of previous HFL of rivers is possible in Marathwada considering heavy release of water from Manjra and Majalgaon major irrigation projects. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/aurangabad/after-23-years-shivna-river-attains-new-highest-flood-level/articleshow/86657194.cms  (01 Oct. 2021)

River Shivna at Lasur flood monitoring site in Aurangabad district has crossed previous HFL 511.6 m attained on 11.08.1998. New HFL is 513.5 m attained on 28.09.21 at 18:00 hrs.

Jayakwadi dam on Gadavari river in Aurangabad District in Marathwada started water release from spillway on Sept 29, 2021. With this eleven major dams in the region are simultaneously releasing water, a rare event. As per the flood control room of Godavari Marathwada Irrigation Development Corp, 18 gates of Jayakwadi dam were lifted by three and a half feet, facilitating the release of 66,024 cusec by 5.30 pm on Wednesday (Sept. 29).

– Majalgaon dam (27,642 cusec), Manjra dam (5,242 cusec), Vishnupuri dam (2.4 lakh cusec), Lower Dudhna dam (25,992 cusec), Yeldari dam (84,393 cusec), Siddheshwar dam (69,888 cusec), Isapur dam (48,203 cusec), Lower Manar dam (2,541 cusec), Lower Terna dam (16,004 cusec) and Sina Kolegaon dam (8,869) were among major irrigation projects from Marathwada that have been witnessing increased discharge by Wednesday (Sept. 29). https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/aurangabad/jayakwadi-dam-too-starts-overflowing-on-wednesday/articleshow/86620598.cms  (30 Sept. 2021)

Heavy rainfall in catchment areas of the Manjara dam forced authorities to open all 18 gates of the reservoir to discharge water on Tuesday, which led to flooding in some villages in Beed district, while an alert was sounded in some neighbouring districts, the officials said. The local administration opened all 18 gates of the Manjara dam and 11 gates of the Majalgaon dam, resulting in discharge of 78,397 cusec 80,534 cusec water from them, respectively, they said. An official from the disaster management department said in Mumbai that 13 people have died due to heavy rains and lightning in parts of Maharashtra, while 136 others have received injuries. The local administration opened all 18 gates of the Manjara dam and 11 gates of the Majalgaon dam, resulting in discharge of 78,397 cusec 80,534 cusec water from them, respectively.

– Of these 13 deaths, 12 were reported from Marathwada and Vidarbha regions and one from North Maharashtra’s Nashik district, the official said. Of the 12 deaths, three were reported from Yavatmal district (in Vidarbha where a bus was swept away), two each from Beed, Osmanabad, Parbhani (Marathwada) and one each from Jalna, Latur (Marathwada) and Buldhana (Vidarbha). https://www.news18.com/news/india/weather-updates-13-killed-in-maharashtra-many-dead-in-telangana-rain-forecast-in-gujarat-bengal-4259597.html  (29 Sept. 2021)

At least eight persons died as torrential rain caused flood havoc across the Marathwada region of central Maharashtra and parts of the state’s eastern region of Vidarbha.

Homes and fields were submerged, and the administration had to scramble to relocate families and livestock in a total of nine badly affected districts as a depression caused by Cyclone Gulab, which made landfall on the east coast, dumped rain on Maharashtra, especially on the drought-prone Marathwada region. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/torrential-rain-flood-havoc-in-maharashtra-eight-dead-7540395/  (29 Sept. 2021)

Godavari basin that is most of Marathwada region in Maharashtra being lashed by rain. Manjara and Majalgao dam releases making things worse. https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/maha-dam-water-release-causes-flooding-in-beed-villages-neighbouring-districts-on-alert/2168465  (28 Sept. 2021)

As many as 459 people were rescued from flood-affected areas in the last 48 hours across Osmanabad district and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) even deployed a helicopter to reach those stranded in floodwaters, officials said on Tuesday (Sept. 28) evening.

Water was released from Manjara dam during the day, causing flooding in downstream villages and parts of neighbouring districts, they said. The Osmanabad-Ausa road was blocked as water was flowing over the Kamegaon-Samudrawani bridge. The Manjara dam was filled to the capacity which necessitated opening of eighteen gates of the dam, an official said.

Twenty persons were rescued from a house in Wakadwadi village of Kalamb tehsil. Some 125 persons were rescued in Ramwadi, 114 in Irla, 35 each in Ter and Borkheda and 90 in Dautpur, the official said. Balaji Kamble (30), resident of Irla, was washed away and search was on for him. At least 20 big and 17 small cattle perished in the floods while 80 huts were damaged.

The Osmanabad district has received 824.90 mm of average rainfall this monsoon, 204 mm higher than the 620.60 mm recorded last year, with Bhoom tehsil receiving 961.60 mm rain this season so far, an official said. After several years, the district, part of the generally parched Marathwada region, has received such robust rain, which stands at 136.78 per cent of the annual average, he added.

“Dams like Sinakolegaon, Chandani, Manjara, Terna, Lower Terna, Ruibhar, Kurnoor and Bori are overflowing. Ujani Dam, which is the main source of water for Osmanabad city, is also overflowing. Heavy rains have affected Kharif crops like soybean, moong, urad, tur, cotton and bajra,” he said. https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/maha-rains-459-rescued-in-two-days-in-osmanabad-district-water-released-from-manjara-dam/2168982  (28 Sept. 2021)

In Maharashtra this year 436  people have died in monsoon-related incidents and tragedies since June 1—the highest toll in recent years —and affected crops on over 17 lakh ha (this may go up to 22 lakh ha when all figures are compiled), as per data compiled by the relief and rehabilitation department. The highest deaths— over 220—were reported in July when heavy rainfall had severely affected the Konkan region, especially Raigad and Ratnagiri, and parts of western Maharashtra, triggering several landslides. Death toll in Sept has been 71 so far. Losses due to floods were pegged at Rs 4,000 crore.

– The state has borne the brunt of two cyclones. The first was Tauktae, which skirted the coastal districts in May causing damage to 16,000 ha farmland and over 10,000 structures were partly or fully damaged. 20 people had died. The state had announced a package of Rs 252 crore as compensation for the losses.

– Now, heavy rain due to Cyclone Gulab has affected the Marathwada region. At least 17 people have died and over 300 people have been evacuated in the past 48 hours. Water being discharged from dams is still affecting the region.

– Mah has sought Rs 7700 Cr from Centre for flood aid, but centre has so far sanctioned Rs 1100 Cr. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/mumbai-436-lives-lost-in-rain-related-tragedies-in-state-since-june/articleshow/86628317.cms  (30 Sept. 2021)

A total of 435 people died in the country due to extreme weather events during the last three months of the southwest monsoon, according to the data compiled by the IMD. Of them, lightning strikes claimed the lives of 240 persons, which is more than 50 per cent of the total number of casualties, the data states.

Nearly one-third of the total extreme events-related deaths were from Maharashtra – one of the core monsoon zones in the country. Of the three months, 109 people died due to extreme weather events in June, 301 in July and 25 in August. Extreme weather events during the monsoon comprises lightning, heavy rains which could lead to floods and other incidents. https://www.news18.com/news/india/extreme-weather-events-killed-over-400-people-in-country-during-june-aug-13-deaths-in-maha-imd-data-4271132.html  (01 Oct. 2021)

Andhra Pradesh Rains ravage Godavari districts Rivulets, canals and streams in these districts are still overflowing and the surplus waters are flowing on the roads in many places. People of nearly 20 villages are facing troubles due to rivulets overflowing on the roads between Gokavaram and Indukurpet villages in East Godavari district. It is said that the fourth pillar of the Sabari river is in dangerous condition and people requested the officials to repair the pillar immediately.

According to agriculture officials, nearly various crops are inundated including 13,750 acres of paddy crop in East Godavari and 55,050 acres of various crops in West Godavari. Joint director of agriculture M. Jagga Rao said the paddy crop in 41,300 acres, black gram in 240 acres, maize in 15 acres and cotton in 117 acres are submerged. He said though the waters in the canals were receding in delta region, agriculture fields in Tadepalligudem area had been inundated due to overflowing of Yerrakalva on Tuesday (Sept. 28). He said the rain water might be stagnated for two more days. East Godavari agriculture officials say after waters recede, remedial measures will be taken to save the standing crops.

Meanwhile, Yerrakalva in West Godavari is overflowing. Water levels reached 82.98 meters out of its 83.50 meters capacity and FRL is 4.428 TMC fts. Officials discharged 15,417 cusecs of water from Karatam Krishnamurthy YerraKalva reservoir near Jangareddygudem. It overflowed with 18,236 cusecs of water and four gates were lifted to release surplus waters.

Meanwhile, the irrigation officials discharged 4.23 lakh cusecs of water into the sea at Sir Arthur Cotton Barrage at Dowleswaram. The rainwater has stagnated for the past three days at Katheru village near Rajamahendravaram rural mandal since there is no proper drainage system. People of the village are concerned that there may be possibilities of outbreak of malaria, dengue and typhoid fevers. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/290921/rains-ravage-godavari-dists-farmers-at-loss-officials-on-toes.html  (29 Sept. 2021)

Gujarat Dams overflowing, alert issued Alert has been sounded in hundreds of villages as most dams were overflowing, forcing the authorities to open the gates. In Bhavnagar, 350 people were shifted to safer locations as all 50 gates of Saurashtra’s largest dam Shetrunji in the district, were opened. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/low-pressure-triggers-high-alert-in-gujarat/articleshow/86624931.cms  (30 Sept. 2021)

Cyclone Gulab may have caused damages worth ₹2K cr The bulk of the losses is estimated from agriculture (about 70%), followed by damages to buildings at about 20% (including 50% residential, 32% industrial and 18% commercial), according to RMSI’s assessments. Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts in Andhra Pradesh and Ganjam and Gajapati districts in Odisha faced maximum winds due to Gulab while East Godavari, West Godavari, Guntur, Krishna, Prakasam, Srikakulam and Visakhapatnam districts in Andhra Pradesh saw floods. In Odisha, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Puri, Jajapur, Jagatsinghpur, Baleswar, Khorda and Cuttack also saw flooding, according to RMSI. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/cyclone-gulab-may-have-caused-damages-worth-rs-2-000-crore-101633114418467.html  (02 Oct. 2021)

URBAN FLOODS

Surat Flood threat looms Surat faces the impact of over 2.06 lakh cusecs of water release from Ukai Dam on Tapi River in the upstream for over 24 hours since Sept 28 2021 night. Two flood gates opening in Tapi river at Hanuman Tekri of Jahangirpura area and Dhastipura near Mughlisara were closed by the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) to prevent the water entering in the city’s storm water channels. As a result, there was flooding in Mora Bhagal and SMC had to deploy dewatering pumps. Total 46 people living at various locations on the bank of river Tapi were shifted to shelter by SMC. Boats were kept ready at Mithi creek in Limbayat, Pandesara and Udhna area and leaves of all SMC employees have been cancelled. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/threat-of-flood-looms-in-surat-areas/articleshow/86624389.cms  (30 Sept. 2021)

River Tapi at Kholwad level monitoring site in Surat has crossed previous HFL 11.5m today at 08:00 hrs. Currently flowing at 11.87 m with steady trend. Old HFL date is not mentioned by CWC in hydrograph.

Hyderabad Remembering the devastating flood of 1908 The Musi may now be little more than a giant sewer, but that September, 108 years ago, is etched in Hyderabad’s memory. Amidst the tragedy, there stands out the heartwarming story of the tamarind tree at the Osmania Hospital Complex, which saved at least 150 lives that day. Over 300 years old now, the tree provided refuge to many who clung to its branches watching the water wreak havoc beneath them.

More than a century later, the once mighty Musi has now been reduced to a giant sewer, thanks to indiscriminate urbanisation and a lack of urban planning. But while the Musi may not be overflowing its banks, the flooding in Hyderabad is another testament to the cost of unplanned growth. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/when-musi-rose-fury-remembering-devastating-hyderabad-flood-1908-50459  (26 Sept. 2021)

Delhi Why roads get flooded every monsoon? During the monsoon, many parts of Delhi, including arterial roads, get waterlogged leading to traffic snarls even with an hour’s rainfall. The main reason is the problems related to the city’s storm water drains. The city works on a drainage master plan made in 1976 and one such plan prepared by IIT Delhi for the Delhi government in 2018 is yet to be implemented. In an interview with The Hindu, Professor Emeritus of IIT Delhi, A.K. Gosain, whose team prepared the new plan, tells how the story of a new master plan turned out to be one of disappointment. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/why-delhi-roads-get-flooded-every-monsoon/article36815265.ece/amp/  (04 Oct. 2021)

Gurugram Experts suggest more storm water drains The experts pointed out that in most cities, the drainage system was neither designed nor augmented to handle short spurts of heavy rain or unpredictable monsoons, both of which have become quite frequent over the past couple of years. Therefore, they suggested, the authorities should resize stormwater drains on priority. “Yes, the number of rainy days has reduced because of climate change. Most of our cities do not have a proper drainage pattern. Surprisingly, traffic flow is taken into consideration while planning roads, but drainage patterns are not. The sewer network now is not designed to accommodate high-intensity rain that the region has been witnessing over the past couple of years. As a result, urban flooding is more frequent,” said CR Babu, professor emeritus and head of the Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems (CEMDE) at Delhi University. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/build-more-stormwater-drains-say-experts/articleshow/86569608.cms  (28 Sept. 2021)

DISASTERS

Opinion After the storm Suggesting the use of technology (RS and GIS) in post-disaster management is not new, but the reality is different in our public administration. The article by J Harsha on Sept 29, 2021 gives a glimpse of the reality of post-disaster management after the storms and monsoons and suggests the use of technology in our public administration. https://epaper.thestatesman.com/3242328/Delhi-The-Statesman/29-09-2021  (29 Sept. 2021)

LANDSLIDES

Himachal Pradesh 8-Storey Building Collapses Due To Landslide In Shimla. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/watch-multi-storey-building-collapses-due-to-landslide-in-shimla-2559428  (01 Oct. 2021)

ENVIRONMENT GOVERNANCE

MoEF Union Ministry of Env and Forests have on Oct 2, 2021 put out a notice giving just 15 days notice to comment on the controversial proposed amendments to the Forest Conservation Act, The link to the MoEF note is available at the URL given below. The submissions may be sent to: fca-amendment@gov.in. https://moef.gov.in/en/inviting-commentssuggestions-on-proposed-amendments-in-forest-conservation-act-1980/

Chhattisgarh Coal mine plans spark huge protest from India’s tribal people In a public declaration from the “Resistance Committee to Save Hasdeo Forest” (Hasdeo Aranya Bachao Sangharsh Samiti) the Adivasis said: “The federal and the state government, instead of protecting the rights of us tribal and other traditional forest dwellers have joined hands with mining companies and have been working towards devastating our forest and land. “We are bound to resist and [march] to safeguard our water, forest, land and our livelihoods and culture that are dependent on them. We appeal to all citizens who love the Constitution and Democracy, all who are committed to safeguard the waters, forests, land and environment and all sentient citizens to join us in this gathering and the march.” https://survivalinternational.org/news/12656  (01 Oct. 2021)

Uttarakhand Panel questions Centre, state over road through Corbett-Rajaji corridor A Central empowered committee (CEC) constituted by the Supreme Court has asked the Centre and the Uttarakhand government to provide details on construction cost as well as forest clearances provided to a motorable road that passes through the buffer zone of Rajaji Tiger Reserve as well as the only wildlife corridor it shares with Corbett Tiger Reserve.The committee has asked the Centre and state to respond within 15 days on why the length of the proposed elevated road — meant to provide smooth passage to wildlife — was reduced and its location changed. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/sc-appointed-panel-qizzes-centre-state-over-road-through-corbett-rajaji-corridor/articleshow/86462056.cms  (24 Sept. 2021)

Himachal Pradesh Poorly planned Mandi airport risks its limited fertile agricultural land Farmers said that previous cases of large infrastructure projects in the state gave them little confidence in the government’s promises of rehabilitation. Those displaced for large dams such as Pong in Kangra, and Bhakhra in Bilaspur, barely received the compensation and support they had been promised. https://caravanmagazine.in/agriculture/himachal-pradeshs-poorly-planned-mandi-airport-risks-its-limited-fertile-agricultural-land  (30 Sept. 2021)

Goa Fight to Save Forest & Livelihood https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LFDMdBRIn0  (02 Feb. 2021)      

CLIMATE CHANGE

Analysing India’s Climate Change Policy Though the NAPCC is headed by the Council, there is hardly any accountability on the Council’s part. Apart from a report on its reconstitution in November 2014 and one meeting held in January 2015, there is no further information available in public domain on subsequent meetings held or decisions taken therein, by the Council. This is in contrast to Section 56 of the Climate Change Act 2008 of the United Kingdom, wherein the Secretary of State is responsible for presenting reports before the Parliament, containing an assessment of the risks for the UK of the current and predicted impact of climate change.

– The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) is the concerned union ministry dealing with climate change in India. Whereas, in the UK, a statutory authority called the Climate Change Committee has been established with the mandate of providing reports to the Parliament on the progress made by the Government in tackling climate change. It is also tasked with recommending changes and new policies to the Government. Similar is the situation with SAPCCs. https://www.theleaflet.in/analysing-indias-climate-change-policy/  (30 Sept. 2021)

Toxic rice no climate solution This editorial (Sept 30 2021) in Indian Express is using a wrong example of the new rice variety that also needs toxic additional chemicals like herbicides as climate solutions. It is not. It is in fact false solution. SRI, for example does not need any such chemical and achieves the same objective of paddy without standing water with the traditional seed varieties, lower or no chemicals and yet increased yields. https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/agriculture-farmers-farm-laws-india-protest-msp-7542600/  (30 Sept. 2021)

An analysis of topo-climate impacts on snow cover in central Himalaya  The overall findings of this study inform water resource management plans in a region characterised by a complex set of relationships between precipitation, temperature, snow cover and river discharge. During this era of rapid climate change (both natural and anthropogenic) it is important that future studies should incorporate these factors in developing a more complete scenario of spatio-temporal climate dynamics of the Himalayan region. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0303243421001975 

SOUTH ASIA

India-Bangladesh Hilsa fish ban lifted after 10 years Bangladesh allows export of Padma Hilsa, the tastier variety of Hilsa to Tripura and other parts of India. Total permission to export 1450 T of Hilsa has been given. The permission to export to Tripura is after 10 years, mainly in view of upcoming Durgapuja festival.  https://www.sentinelassam.com/north-east-india-news/tripura-news/bangladesh-lifts-ban-after-10-years-2000-kg-of-hilsha-fish-enters-tripura-557176  (01 Oct. 2021)

Bangladesh Restoring rivers continuous struggle Bangladesh’s well known River Conservation activist Sheikh Rokon writes about river conservation in that country. “These are just two examples of how success stories in community-led river restoration movements are dying out like the rivers the people fought to restore. Rivers shape the civilisation, culture, communication, cuisine, economy, ecology, heritage and history of this delta country. But now all that is in jeopardy from dams, diversions, pollution, encroachment, ecologically insensitive projects and indiscriminate sand mining of the riverbeds. The scale and speed of river degradation in Bangladesh is huge. Success stories are important to inspire others. But given ill-planned projects as well as the political, social and economic clout wielded by polluters, encroachers and miners, successes are being turned into failures. This is despite dozens of laws and many court verdicts aimed at protecting rivers. The new regulations and institutions set up to protect rivers are unable to control the depredations in those places where the rivers flow and people depend on the rivers. The laws are only as strong as the state’s willingness to enforce them, and that is not happening. This is why we observe rather than celebrate World Rivers Day in 2021.” https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/culture/restoring-rivers-in-bangladesh-never-ending-struggle/  (27 Sept. 2021)

नेपाल-चीन नदी सहकार्य भौगोलिक रूपमा नदीले नेपाल-चीन (तिब्बत) जोडेको भए पनि दुई देशले नदीहरूको संरक्षण वा सदुपयोगमा नगण्य मात्रामा सहकार्य गरेका छन्। नेपालमा नदीको कुरा आउने बित्तिकै नेपाल-भारत सम्बन्धको निकै चर्चा हुन्छ। भारतसँग पानीको बाँडफाँडको विषय जटिल र ठूलो मुद्दा पक्कै हो, तर नेपाल र चीनबीच नदीको मुद्दा महत्त्वहीन हुनुपर्ने पक्कै होइन।

चीनका लागि पानीको बाँडफाँड वा नदी सम्बन्धी विषय कम महत्त्वको हुनसक्छ, किनभने नदीको उपल्लो तटीय भाग तिब्बतमा पर्छ। तर, नेपालका लागि यो विषय महत्त्वपूर्ण छ, किनभने तिब्बतका नदीमा हुने क्रियाकलापले नेपाललाई प्रभाव पार्छ वा पारी नै सकेको छ।

नेपाल-भारतबीच पानी छलफल जुन तह र तप्कामा हुने गर्छ, नेपाल-चीन सम्बन्धको छलफल भने शून्यप्रायः छ। यो खासै ठूलो छलफलको मुद्दा पनि बन्दैन, दुई देशबीच हुने छलफलमा पनि बिजुली उत्पादनको कुरा उठ्ने गरे पनि पानीको बाँडफाँड र नदी संरक्षण, तथ्याङ्क आदानप्रदान र अनुसन्धानबारे विरलै छलफल हुन्छन्।

नेपालले चीनसँग पानीको बाँडफाँड वा नदी सम्बन्धी कुनै पनि सन्धि वा सम्झौता गरेको छैन। सन् २०१९ मा चिनियाँ राष्ट्रपति सी चिनफिङ नेपाल आउने मेसोमा दुई देशबीच सीमा व्यवस्थापन सम्झौता गरिएको थियो, जसमा सकेसम्म दुवै देशले सीमामा रहेका नदीहरूको धार फेरिने गरी कुनै विकासका काम नगर्ने उल्लेख छ। https://www.himalkhabar.com/news/125991

CHINA

About China’s silted reservoirs. https://www.theepochtimes.com/millions-spent-on-dangerously-weak-reservoir-in-central-china_4016704.html  (27 Sept. 2021)  

ASIA

MEKONG China joins to study climate change, dams impacts China and the countries of the lower Mekong River are teaming up for their largest joint study yet of the impacts climate change and hydropower dams are having on one of Asia’s great waterways, and how to cope with the growing threats from floods and drought. On Tuesday (Sept 28, 2021), the Mekong River Commission — an intergovernmental body comprising Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam — announced a three-year study spanning the entire river basin, in tandem with Myanmar and the China-led Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Water Center, or LMC. Lancang is China’s name for the Mekong.  https://www.voanews.com/a/china-joins-lower-mekong-river-countries-to-study-impacts-of-climate-change-dams-/6244149.html  (14 Sept. 2021)

Untold impact on northern Thailand’s wildlife from Mekong dams Otters, fish and birds along the Ing and Ruak rivers face threats from hydropower dams on the Mekong, but understanding is lacking of the true impacts on the ecology of these Mekong tributaries. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/nature/untold-impact-on-northern-thailands-wildlife-from-mekong-dams/  (01 Oct. 2021)

Paper Deltas in dialogue Imagining policy transfer from the Netherlands to Vietnam and Bangladesh as a symmetrical conversation  https://wires.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/wat2.1559 

Don’t blame climate change entirely for the water crisis in the Middle East For millennia the Tigris, Euphrates, Nile and Jordan Rivers fed civilizations that flourished along their banks. Now the self-serving actions of a few states are serving instead to fuel conflict because they are threatening the lives of others.  https://www.thenationalnews.com/opinion/comment/2021/09/21/the-water-crisis-in-the-middle-east-cant-be-blamed-solely-on-climate-change/  (21 Sept. 2021)

Europe’s Power Crisis Moves North as Water Shortage Persists As the frontier of Europe’s energy crisis moves north, the Nordic region faces a worsening power crisis as dwindling water reservoirs hamper the generation of hydroelectric power. Nordic power prices were five times higher in September than a year ago. That’s hitting everyone from power-hungry factories and miners, to students struggling with their bills. Inflation is rocketing. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-10-03/europe-s-power-crisis-is-moving-north-as-water-shortage-worsens  (04 Oct. 2021)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

USA Dam Removal May Come Too Late to Save Salmon The disappearance of salmon would harm a vast menagerie of other animals: at least 137⁠ other fish and wildlife species depend on salmons’ heroic life cycle, which ends in a burst of grit and athleticism as they bring upstream the nutrients they’ve consumed in the ocean, then spawn and die. Orcas, brown and black bears, bald eagles, and river otters all depend in one way or another on salmon. The carcasses of these keystone species nourish the river banks’ trees, whose limbs provide shade for juvenile fish and whose roots prevent erosion, a threat to water quality. Take all that away, as is happening in the Klamath, and the result is accelerated, perhaps irreversible, decline.

“Salmon are the underpinnings of everything else,” said Steve Pedery, conservation director at Oregon Wild, a Portland-based environmental nonprofit. “We’ve seen it across the Pacific Northwest — when we start pulling salmon out of the equation, ecosystems collapse in the absence of them.”

The Klamath is merely the hardest-hit of drought-stricken regions across most of the American West; as of late August, 76.4 million Westerners were affected by drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. It’s indicative of the drought’s unprecedented duration and intensity that for the first time the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation declared an emergency at Lake Mead, the nation’s biggest reservoir, now 65 percent empty⁠, and slashed Colorado River water deliveries to Arizona farmers by nearly 20 percent beginning next January⁠. Farmers throughout the West can expect deeper cuts in the near future.

Droughts are common in the Klamath Basin, “but this drought was really different in lots of ways,” Belchik said. “We had 80 percent snowpack in the southern Cascades, so it didn’t even look like a drought at first. But the snow runoff never showed up.” Instead, soil, already dried out by the long-running drought, sopped it up — it swallowed the snowpack.  https://e360.yale.edu/features/on-the-klamath-dam-removal-may-come-too-late-to-save-the-salmon  (28 Sept. 2021)

UK England’s rivers need a ‘new deal’ to avert crisis A water industry group is calling for legislation and planning controls to protect waterways from climate change and pollution. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/03/heatwaves-sewage-pesticides-why-englands-rivers-need-a-new-deal-to-avert-crisis  (03 Oct. 2021)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 27 Sept 2021 & DRP News Bulletin 20 Sept 2021  

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

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