DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 18 Oct 2021: IRW 2021 to start on Nov 8 with theme on Riverine Fisheries

IRW (India Rivers Week) is excited to announce details of annual event for 2021. The unique annual event, the only one with focus on India’s Rivers continues as a virtual dialogue this year, with the theme: “Healthy Rivers, Fish and Fishers”. It will include series of five webinars, with theme as given in the poster above.

To join, please register at: http://indiariversforum.org/IRW2021

SANDRP work on Riverine fisheries On this occasion, we are also sharing the links to some of the work done by SANDRP on this subject in recent years.

2020:

– PHOTO STORY: Worm Collectors of a Polluted River: https://sandrp.in/2020/10/22/photo-storyworm-collectors-of-a-polluted-river/

– Free flowing Aghanahsini and fisheries: https://sandrp.in/2020/03/31/people-of-the-free-flowing-aghanashini/

– Inland Fish, Fisheries, Fisher-folks: 2020 Overview https://sandrp.in/2021/01/03/inland-fish-fisheries-fisher-folks-2020-overview/

– WFD 2020: Impacts of River Sand Mining on Riverine Fisheries https://sandrp.in/2020/11/21/wfd-2020-impacts-of-river-sand-mining-on-riverine-fisheries/

2019:

– YAMUNA, Fish, Fisherfolks at Palla: https://sandrp.in/2019/04/28/yamuna-fish-fisher-folks-at-palla/

– World Fisheries Day 2019: Fish, Fisheries Update from India https://sandrp.in/2019/11/21/world-fisheries-day-2019-fish-fisheries-update-from-india/

– WFD 2019: Mass Fish Kill Incidents Due to Pollution, Dry Rivers In India https://sandrp.in/2019/11/24/wfd-2019-mass-fish-kill-incidents-due-to-pollution-dry-rivers-in-india/

2018:

– Meghalaya Fish Sanctuaries: https://sandrp.in/2018/12/03/magic-mahseer-of-meghalaya/

– WFD 2018: India’s increasing Fish Kill Incidents https://sandrp.in/2018/11/20/world-fisheries-day-2018-indias-increasing-fish-kill-incidents/

– WFD 2018: River Fish Update from India https://sandrp.in/2018/11/21/wfd-2018-river-fish-update-from-india/

2017:

– Riverine Fisherfolk as mascots of flowing Rivers and How 4 projects treat them today https://sandrp.in/2017/12/15/riverine-fisherfolk-as-mascots-of-flowing-rivers-and-how-4-projects-treat-them-today/

– WFD 2017: Dams, Rivers, Fisheries in India https://sandrp.in/2017/11/24/world-fisheries-day-2017-dams-rivers-fisheries-in-india/

– Gujarat Fish workers dependent on Narmada River Demand cancellation of Bhadbhut Dam, rejuvenation of River https://sandrp.in/2017/11/21/on-world-fisheries-day-gujarat-fish-workers-dependent-on-narmada-river-demand-cancellation-of-bhadbhut-dam-rejuvenation-of-river/

2016:

– Turning Blind Eyes: Do we care for river dolphins or their habitat? https://sandrp.in/2016/10/19/turning-blind-eyes-do-we-care-for-river-dolphins-or-their-habitat/

https://sandrp.in/2016/11/24/narora-barrage-fish-ladder-ganga-and-memories/

– Jhelala or Zindapir: River Saints, Fish and flows of the Indus https://sandrp.in/2016/01/01/jhulelal-or-zindapir-river-saints-fish-and-flows-of-the-indus/

– Sushri Umaji: Hilsa Fisherfolk and Ganga Deserve more than a fish ladder by CIFRI https://sandrp.in/2016/08/12/sushri-umaji-hilsa-fisherfolk-and-ganga-deserve-more-than-a-fish-ladder-by-cifri/

2015:

– FAO Global fisheries conference: https://sandrp.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/river_sanctuaries_india_global_inland_fisheries_conference.pdf

– Celebrating India’s Riverine Fisheries on the WFD https://sandrp.in/2015/11/22/celebrating-indias-riverine-fisheries-on-the-world-fisheries-day/

– HEAD WATER EXTINCTIONS by Emmanuel Theophilus: Some concerns https://sandrp.in/2015/01/25/headwater-extinctions-by-emmanuel-theophilus-some-concerns/

2014:

– New Publication: Headwater Extinctions: Impact of Hydropower Projects on Fish and River Ecosystems in Upper Ganga and Beas basins https://sandrp.in/2014/12/16/new-publication-headwater-extinctions-impact-of-hydropower-projects-on-fish-and-river-ecosystems-in-upper-ganga-and-beas-basins/

– Dams, Fish and Fishing Communities of the Ganga: Glimpses of the Gangetic Fisheries Primer https://sandrp.in/2014/08/30/dams-fish-and-fishing-communities-of-the-ganga-glimpses-of-the-gangetic-fisheries-primer/ 

– Larji Fish ladder: An unlovely trinket, a deceptive ornament https://sandrp.in/2014/12/17/larji-dam-fishladder-an-unlovely-trinket-a-deceptive-ornament/

– Fish Ladder at Kurichhu Hydropower Project of Bhutan: https://sandrp.in/2014/02/02/fish-ladder-at-kurichhu-hydropower-project-bhutan-some-thoughts/

– Collapsing Hilsa: Can the dams compensate for the loss? https://sandrp.in/2014/09/01/collapsing-hilsa-can-the-dams-compensate-for-the-loss/

– Narmada Estuary, Hilsa, other fish and fisher people need protection https://sandrp.in/2014/10/03/narmada-estuary-hilsa-other-fish-and-fisher-people-need-protection/

– Fishing the Cauvery River: How Mettur changed it all  https://sandrp.in/2014/06/07/fishing-the-cauvery-river-how-mettur-changed-it-all/

2013:

– Community Fish Sanctuaries protecting the fishers and their river: https://sandrp.in/2013/11/21/community-fish-sanctuaries-protecting-the-fishe-and-their-rivers/

– Fish ladders: Do they work? https://sandrp.in/2013/03/29/fish-ladders-do-they-work/

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Meghalaya Fish sanctuaries & community support Meghalaya has 79 fish sanctuaries that support a wide variety of fishes, including the chocolate mahseer and the golden mahseer. Conservation efforts began in 1955 when fishing was prohibited after overexploitation of resources and received a push in 2012 by the state aquaculture mission under the fisheries department.

The responsibility of managing the fish sanctuaries falls solely on the local community, who take their role seriously and levy a heavy fine on defaulters. The sustainable fishing plan has helped people get a bigger catch in the areas where fishing is allowed. Eco-tourism also draws revenue, boosting the socio-economic condition of the local communities. https://vikalpsangam.org/article/fish-sanctuaries-and-community-support-for-conservation-of-meghalayas-mahseer/  (10 Aug. 2021)

Kerala 100 fish species found in Vembanad lake 92 fin fish species and eight shellfish species (total 100) were recorded in the survey of fish in Vembanad lake in Kerala in August 2021. Seventy-six species of fish were found in 2020, while the figure was 98 in 2019. The team, which surveyed the southern side of the lake on August 10, 11 and 12, recorded 48 species. Fifty-two species were identified from the northern side, where a survey was conducted on August 17, 18 and 19.

– Apart from evaluating fish species, a scientific analysis of water in the lake was conducted as part of the programme. The pH value varied between 5.9 and 6.2. The highest salinity recorded was 6.8 ppt. The level of dissolved oxygen varied between 2 and 4 ppm. Dissolved oxygen levels of 4-5 ppm are considered as the minimum amount needed to support a diverse fish population, while levels below 3 ppm are considered stressful. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/100-fish-species-found-in-vembanad/article36341154.ece  (07 Sept. 2021)  

MoF The fourteenth edition of the Handbook on Fisheries Statistics 2020 contains the latest information on various domains of fisheries sector namely, fish production and productivity, disposition of fish catch, consumption of fish, fisheries economy, expenditure on fisheries, exports, fishers population, fisheries resources, fishers welfare, fisheries institutes, international scenario, post-harvest infrastructure and fisheries development.  https://dof.gov.in/sites/default/files/2021-02/Final_Book.pdf 

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Uttarakhand NGT seeks expert opinion on Vishnugad-Pipalkoti HEP NGT has directed the MoEF to file an expert opinion on the Vishnugad-Pipalkoti Hydro-Electric project in Chamoli district on a plea against grant of environmental clearance to the project. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel issued notice to the MoEF and the project proponent, THDC India Ltd., and asked them to file their response within a month. “We also directed the MoEF to obtain and file an expert opinion from the Expert Appraisal Committee for river valley and hydro-electric project within two months by e-mail,” the bench said in its October 8 order. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ngt-directs-environment-ministry-to-file-expert-opinion-on-vishnugad-pipalkoti-hydro-electric-project-in-uttarakhand/article36924811.ece  (10 Oct. 2021)

Arunachal Pradesh Buddhist Monks in Tawang continue to oppose the hydropower projects proposed there. https://religionnews.com/2021/10/14/in-remote-himalayan-india-buddhist-monks-and-indigenous-tribe-fight-government-hydropower-projects/  (14 Oct. 2021)

Kerala Centre asks to hike generation in hydel units Given the severity of the coal-shortage crisis, the Union Ministry of Power has asked Kerala to provide support by increasing generation in storage-based hydroelectric stations such as the 780-MW Idukki power project, especially during off-peak hours. In an October 14 letter, the Power Ministry asked Chief Secretary V.P. Joy to issue the necessary directions for providing the support till October 31. By then, “the demand on thermal generating stations is likely to be normalised,” it said.

There is scope for increasing generation at storage-based hydel stations in the State such as the Idukki power project during 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., the daytime off-peak hours, in addition to the peak hours, the Ministry noted. With the coal situation likely to take time to stabilise, the Ministry is reportedly looking to meet the demand with “higher generation support” from other sources such as hydropower. However, the Ministry has not specified the quantum of electricity required for the Central pool or terms, State Power Department officials said.

The State is likely to respond to the letter by Saturday (Oct. 16). It is understood that the Power Department and the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) are, in general, amenable to the request. However, in return, the State is looking for support from the Ministry for meeting the soaring daily peak-hour demand.  “We are looking at, say, 100 MW, for meeting the peak-hour demand. Moreover, the Centre has not specified the terms or price for the supply of power to the Central pool,” a senior official of the State Power Department said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/centre-asks-kerala-to-hike-generation-in-hydel-units/article37006495.ece  (15 Oct. 2021)

Centre JV Company between NHPC & GEDCOL NHPC Limited informed the exchanges Friday (Oct 8, 2021) that the Ministry of Power (MoP) has conveyed the concurrence of the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) regarding the proposal for the formation of a Joint Venture Company (JVC) between NHPC and Green Energy Development Corporation of Odisha Limited (GEDCOL) for implementation of Floating Solar Power Projects in various water reservoirs in the State of Odisha. “The proposal for formation of above JV Company also has the concurrence of NITI Aayog,” the company said in a regulatory filing on Friday (Oct. 8). https://www.indiainfoline.com/article/news-top-story/ministry-of-power-conveys-concurrence-for-formation-of-jv-company-between-nhpc-and-gedcol-121101100045_1.html  (11 Oct. 2021)

DAMS

Polavaram Project PAFs living in unhealthy conditions Rehabilitation and resettlement colonies around Polavaram project, meant for displaced families are living in abject conditions denied as they are of even basic amenities. There are no proper roads, drains, street lights and drinking water facilities. Many of the residents shifted to the colonies from their villages without observing conditions of the houses.

Polavaram Spillway (Deccan Chronicle/PTI)

Last month, a team from National Commission Scheduled Tribes (NCST) visited some of the rehabilitation colonies, including Yerravaram of Jeelugumilli mandal of West Godavari. The predominant Koya and Konda Reddy communities expressed their dismay. They told the team of unresolved issues pertaining to drinking water, roads, hospitals, school buildings apart from absence of widow and old-age pension and non-issuance of patta passbooks for the land provided to the PDFs. The NCST team found that the rooms did not have proper ventilation. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/171021/locals-around-polavaram-project-living-in-unhealthy-conditions.html  (17 Oct. 2021)

Dam works to begin in January Water resources authorities are preparing various proposals on strengthening nearly 200 metres of scoured portion of diaphragm wall, which was damaged due to discharge of water from gaps of upstream cofferdam when the river witnessed heavy floods in 2019. The proposals, once finalized, would be sent to Central Water Commission for final consent, following which it will be placed before the Dam Design Review Committee by November 15. Once the process is over, the state government will take up construction of Polavaram dam tentatively in January or February. Meanwhile, the Centre is yet to give its nod for the revised project cost of DRP-2 at Rs 55,656 crore at 2017-18 price level. The state government intends to seek a 20 per cent hike in the project cost to reflect the 2020-21 price level. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/171021/polavaram-dam-works-to-begin-in-january.html  (17 Oct. 2021)

Haryana Rs 215-cr dam proposed for Saraswati revival  This proposes diversion of water from Yamuna basin into Saraswati. Somb is seasonal stream joining Yamuna in Yamuna Nagar, holistic measures required to restore its catchment and augment flow in Yamuna which is increasingly turning seasonal in upper segment.

According to the proposal by the state government, the dam, with a capacity of 224-hectare metre, will be constructed on Haryana’s border with Himachal Pradesh. A portion of the Som river water, officials said, would be diverted to the dam from where it would flow into the stream of Saraswati river starting from Adi Badri (Yamunanagar) to Guhla Cheeka in the Kaithal district. Adi Badri is a place in the foothills of Shivalik range, 90 km east of Kurukshetra.

-The Haryana government’s proposal to construct a Rs 215 crore dam is part of a larger project worth Rs 388 crore, which also includes the construction of a barrage and reservoir. The river Som, which flows from Himachal Pradesh, is considered a tributary of the ancient river Saraswati. The Central Water Commission will design the draft for the proposed dam which will be built in Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh. An MOU with the Himachal government will be finalised soon.

-The reservoir will be spread in 350 acres of land of three villages of Yamunanagar district. The water of the reservoir will be used to supply water to Saraswati whenever there will be a shortage of water in the dam.” Later, the Saraswati water will merge with the Ghaggar river in Kaithal district. The dam, barrage and the reservoir are proposed to have storage capacity of 1,674 hectares metre which can ensure regular flow of minimum 20 cusec water in the Sarasvati river for nine months of every year. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/saraswati-river-revival-rs-215-crore-dam-proposed-7568979/  (13 Oct. 2021)

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

मध्यप्रदेश/उत्तरप्रदेश  कितने लाभ के लिए केनबेतवा जोड़ डॉ पी जोशी  बरसों से नदी-जोड़ परियोजना का सपना देखने वालों को अब देश के तीस उत्कृष्ट विद्वान पर्यावरणविदों की चुनौती मिली है। इस योजना के तहत काटे जाने वाले जंगल तथा पेड़ों से वन्य-जीवन, जैव-विविधता तथा पर्यावरण पर प्रतिकूल प्रभाव निश्चित रूप से होगा।  https://www.spsmedia.in/land-forest-and-water/madhya-prades-uttar-pradesh-ken-betwa-water-link-project-for-how-much-profit/  (12 Oct. 2021)

Uttar Pradesh Banda: Story of water positive district This mentions about positive impacts of Talab Bachao and Kuwan Bachao initiatives with active support from administration. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/banda-from-parched-land-to-a-water-positive-district/articleshow/86979184.cms  (13 Oct. 2021)

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

Krishna-Godavari Water Disputes Despite gazette, all projects on Krishna and Godavari now under TS control Telangana government dashed off a letter to KRMB on Thursday (Oct. 16) stating that it will not hand over its hydel power stations at Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar. Besides, it also sought several modifications in the minutes of the KRMB meetings held since July demanding that AP should not divert more than 34tmc from Srisailam reservoir.

Nagarjunsagar Dam (Deccan Chronicle)

The Centre had identified 49 projects with all their outlets in Krishna to be taken over when the gazette was issued in July.  This number came down to 29 by August, further down to 21 in the October 10 meeting and to 15 in the October 11 meeting. But, the Centre could not take over even these 15 projects. In the Godavari, an agreement was reached only to hand over the Peddavagu, a joint project of TS and AP. The TS government appointed a committee to examine which projects could be handed over to the Centre and submit its report in 15 days. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/politics/141021/despite-gazette-all-projects-on-krishna-and-godavari-now-under-ts-con.html  (15 Oct. 2021)

Energy Secretary Srikant Nagulapalli issued an order late on Thursday (Oct. 16) night on the handing over of the Srisailam Right Bank Powerhouse and the Nagarjuna Sagar Right (Jawahar) Canal Powerhouse to the KRMB in accordance with the Union Jal Shakti Ministry’s Gazette Notification. Posts sanctioned under these two components too were being diverted to the KRMB, Srikant said in the order, but noted that all this has to happen simultaneously with Telangana projects.

The AP government, however, agreed to immediately hand over only the Srisailam project spillway and river sluices, Pothireddypadu head regulator and Srisailam Right Main Canal, Handri-Neeva Lift Irrigation Scheme and the Muchumarri Lift Irrigation Scheme to the KRMB. At a special meeting of the KRMB in Hyderabad on October 12, the AP government insisted on including the powerhouses on river Krishna, the main bone of contention between the two states, in the prioritised list for handing over to the Board. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/andhra-govt-offers-2-more-powerhouses-to-krishna-management-board-101634323262600.html  (16 Oct. 2021)

In addition, AP Water Resources Secretary J Syamala Rao attached a note to the KRMB Chairman requesting that necessary action be taken with respect to Jurala project also, under Telangana jurisdiction, on the upstream of river Krishna that affects inflows into Srisailam reservoir. Syamala Rao requested that the KRMB take over all projects of both states, including the ongoing projects upon completion, that affect inflows into the common reservoirs and that draw water directly from them.  https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/ap-fulfils-part-its-obligation-hands-over-four-projects-krishna-river-krmb-156519  (15 Oct. 2021)

Telangana Irrigation Principal Secretary Rajat Kumar said that while the AP government is in favour of giving their projects, Telangana is opposing the same and wanted to defer the notification. It also urged the board to give an equal share in the Krishna basin. Meanwhile, AP Secretary Shyamla Rao complained that Telangana violated power protocols and generated power at Nagarjuna Sagar and Srisailam. Rajat Kumar denied the same and said the matter is in the Supreme Court. https://www.news18.com/news/politics/krishna-godavari-boards-to-take-over-projects-in-telangana-and-andhra-seek-cooperation-from-state-officials-4315853.html  (12 Oct. 2021)

Telangana rejects NGT panel report on Palamuru Telangana has rejected NGT-appointed joint committee findings on the Palamuru-Rangareddy Lift Irrigation Scheme (PRLIS). The Telangana government also stated that the irrigation part of the project would be taken up only after getting EC and it was at the state of public hearing and submission of proposal for EC. “The muck excavated from the proposed excavation of tunnels is being dumped within the project site, and the same will be utilised for manufacturing sand, revetment and concrete purposes. There is no need for having an environmental management plan to deal with the muck as stated by the joint committee in the report,” Rajat Kumar further stated in his reply. Telangana also told NGT that remedial measures mentioned by the committee were without any substance. “The reservoirs are built for 64.8 TMC, and water cannot be used for irrigation purposes since canal network is under planning stage only. The drinking water requirement as per DPR is 7.1 TMC. However, the water will be utilised for drinking water purposes in drought periods in as much as the flood is the rare phenomenon. The drawl of water and storing in the reservoirs may be once in four years,” he said.

– The joint committee, in its report, had recommended environmental compensation of Rs 3.7 crore to be paid to Central Pollution Control Board towards violation of environmental norms, for constructing the project without environmental clearance (EC). Telangana was also directed to adhere to solid waste management rules and obtain EC. The committee opined that the drinking water was a minor component, whereas it was conceived as an irrigation scheme to lift 90 thousand million cubic feet (TMC ft) and the drinking water component was only 7.15 TMC.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/t-rejects-ngt-panel-report-on-palamuru/articleshow/86923432.cms  (11 Oct. 2021)

IRRIGATION

Kerala Resort check-dams to be razed The Koodaranhi grama panchayat authorities on Friday (Oct. 1) conducted an inspection at PVR Nature Resort, co-owned by P.V. Anvar, MLA, as part of measures to demolish three illegally constructed check-dams in the environmentally sensitive area. The panchayat authorities, led by president Jose Mavara and secretary O.A. Ansu, visited the site at Kakkadampoyil with the deadline fixed by the District Collector for the resort owners to remove the illegal constructions ending on Thursday (Sept. 30). It was following a recent High Court order that the Collector came up with stringent action.

The panchayat authorities said they would begin the technical procedures for demolition on Saturday (Oct. 3). Tenders would be floated. The expenses for demolition would be collected from the violators on completion of task, they said. The court intervened in the issue after the check-dams were reportedly preventing the natural water flow in the area. There were also complaints that the illegal construction might trigger landslides. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/resort-check-dams-to-be-razed/article36787542.ece  (02 Oct. 2021)

URBAN RIVERS

Sabarmati; Ahmedabad River turns red then dead: Study A team of geographic information system (GIS) experts from three universities examined LANDSAT satellite images from the US Geological Survey to measure the turbidity levels of the Sabarmati, which runs through the heart of Ahmedabad. The experts found that pollution levels dropped by 36% during the lockdown. Maps were acquired for a five-year period: 2015 to 2020. The maps clearly show that the river stretch within the city normally appears deep yellow, red, and green: the signs of heavy pollution. The river turned blue, reflecting the hue of resurrection, during the corona closure.

The LANDSAT maps contained colour coded reflectance data. They showed turbidity levels, which result from industrial and domestic sewage discharges, improving by more than 36% in the April-May period last year. Turbidity levels had gone up as high as 19.39 milligram per litre (mg/l) by February that year. In May, they dropped to just 5 mg/l. The river stretch near Sardar Patel Bridge had the highest amount of metal contamination when compared to upstream, suggesting high anthropogenic activities, the research paper said. ‘Anthropogenic’ denotes origin in human activities. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/sabarmati-turns-red-then-dead/articleshow/86950724.cms  (12 Oct. 2021)

Report Behind “Green” Rationale of Evictions In 2020 alone, over 84,000 individuals were forced out of their homes for “ostensible environmental” reasons, which ranged from riverfront beautification and river restoration projects, to afforestation programs, to wildlife conservation measures. Zooming into four cases—Karnataka’s Nagarhole forests, Delhi’s Yamuna floodplain, Chennai’s Cooum River restoration project, and Assam’s Darrang district—Vaishnavi highlights that there might be more factors at play here that intertwine with the politically-contested paradigms of conservation and environment in India. https://thebastion.co.in/politics-and/behind-the-green-rationale-of-evictions/  (12 Oct. 2021)

RIVERS

Sindh River Walk -Applications from interested individuals invited for Sindh river walk under Veditum India’s Moving Upstream fellowship program. Last date for submission Oct. 31, 2021. For details see link:- https://veditum.org/moving-upstream/sindh/

NWP River rejuvenation and other innovations The fourth in a series of weekly articles on the new National Water Policy by Mihir Shah

From time immemorial, the people of India have had a profoundly reverential relationship with rivers, which form an integral part of our social and cultural life. Many regard the water of rivers as holy and imbued with healing powers. However, water policy since Independence has seen rivers primarily as a resource to be deployed to serve economic purposes. This overwhelmingly instrumentalist view of rivers has led to their terrible degradation, so much so that many rivers today have significantly reduced flows and at times have become cesspools of pollution.

The new National Water Policy (NWP) gives the greatest importance to rejuvenation of our river systems. While acknowledging the invaluable economic role rivers play, river protection and revitalisation are accorded prior and primary importance. For it is now abundantly clear that without policy urgently changing course, let alone serving an economic or any other useful purpose whatsoever, the glory of our rivers will soon become a thing of the past.

Rivers are more accurately denoted as riverscapes, as they are inter-connected hydrological and ecological systems, not limited only to the main stem of the river but also include all different orders of streams and their catchment areas. The NWP suggests that river basins need to be seen as a dynamic equilibrium of Water-Energy-Biodiversity-Sediments. Thus, maintaining the integrity of various basin elements — bio-diversity, landforms, drainage lines, wetlands and aquifers — is crucial.

The policy recommends that the river basin, including associated aquifers, be the unit for planning, development and management of water. River Basin Organisations must be conceived as nested organisations built in a bottom-up manner, so that they function as democratic, inclusive, multi-stakeholder platforms. Urgent steps need to be taken to restore flows in rivers: re-vegetation of catchments, strict regulation of groundwater extraction and river-bed pumping, checking indiscriminate mining of sand and boulders and release of environmental flows downstream of all structures on the main stem and tributaries. Environmental flow assessment must be done for all river basins in a time-bound manner to ensure that rivers have sufficient flows during all seasons of the year, so that they can carry out all their ecological functions, including recharge of groundwater as also nurturing unique, indigenous biota. The NWP clearly recognises that it is impossible to have nirmal dhara (unpolluted flow) without aviral dhara (uninterrupted flow) in our rivers. It also proposes extensive consultations among all stakeholders to draft a Rights of Rivers Act, so that there is comprehensive legal protection for rivers, including their right to flow, their right to meander and their right to meet the sea.

Flood policy since Independence has been focused on large dams and embankments. But the problem has only got worse over time, aggravated by breaches in embankments, poorly designed and maintained canals, as also because settlements have been encouraged on flood plains and drainage lines. Embankments have dramatically increased accumulated sediments in rivers of already high sediment load, whose roots lie in massive erosion of their upper catchments. The consequent super-elevated riverbed causes instability in the river and leads to breaches in embankments, further worsening the flood situation. What has aggravated the problem of floods is the destruction of natural pathways of water towards the river or the sea. Blocking these has resulted in flood water entering our homes and workplaces in both rural and urban areas.

The overall approach of flood management must, therefore, shift from “flood control” towards “building resilient life and livelihoods in the context of floods” or “flood-informed development”. “Room-for-the-river” projects should be taken up in flood-prone river systems in a river-specific manner. River Regulation Zones, proposed under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, including prohibited, restricted and regulated activities zones, must be demarcated and notified to regulate development interventions on riverfronts and floodplains.

Acknowledging the pivotal role of women in the stewardship of water and in leading the “spirit of service and ethic of care” advocated by the NWP, the policy features gender in every one of its sections, each imbued with a gender-sensitive perspective, with very specific provisions in that direction. It also has a full separate section on gender, equity and social inclusion to emphasise these much-neglected dimensions. Recognising multiple potential impacts of climate change on water resources following more intense and frequent extreme weather events, the policy proposes a comprehensive agenda of action to meet these challenges. A founding principle of the NWP is that it must reflect India’s enormous diversity. Keeping this in mind, special attention is given to three regions — the Himalayas, rainfed areas and coastal regions — which have tended to suffer neglect in the past, by showing why and how water policy needs to reflect their differentia specifica. On navigation and transport on inland waters, the policy emphasises the need to bring in better regulation, improved systems and investment to ensure safety and more efficient operations. The policy argues that priority be given to passenger and goods transportation of local communities and small trade and manufacturers, which would also boost the local economy and generate employment.

Management of water is greatly enhanced when backed by credible data. Despite significant recent improvements, such as the India Water Resource Information System, serious gaps still exist in the scope and quality of data. The NWP makes a number of recommendations including comprehensive data gathering, with progression to real-time data availability, that seamlessly flows to different stakeholders, as a joint national effort of the central and state governments, research institutions and civil society, in a way that truly represents democratisation of data procurement, analyses and application. The NWP also outlines a large but focused agenda for water research and lays out the contours of how water education needs to form an integral element of curricula from primary schools right up to the university level. https://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/river-rejuvenation-and-other-innovations-121101301324_1.html  (13 Oct. 2021)

Excerpts from Mihir Shah’s interview:-  We need to take very serious cognisance of the current context of climate change and the grave crisis of water facing the country. Recent estimates suggest that if the current pattern of demand continues, about half of the national demand for water will remain unmet by 2030. With water tables falling and water quality deteriorating, a radical change is needed in the approach to water management, especially because today, more than ever before, the past is no longer a reliable indicator of what is to come.

Changing patterns and intensity of precipitation, as also rates of discharge of rivers, show that it can no longer be assumed that the water cycle operates within an invariant range of predictability. This requires greater emphasis on agility, resilience and flexibility in water management, so that there could be an adequate response to the heightened uncertainty and unpredictability of the future. The draft NWP has been submitted to the Ministry of Jal Shakti. As per established procedure, the final approval of the NWP, of course, rests with the National Water Resources Council, which is chaired by the PM and includes all CMs as members. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/need-to-shift-focus-to-demand-management-says-water-policy-panel-chief-mihir-shah/article37024880.ece  (16 Oct. 2021)

Third Pole India’s parliamentarians make a start in understanding rivers Many gaps remain, many discredited ideas are pushed, but a look from the river basin perspective a step forward in the latest report by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources writes Omair Ahmad.

The Indian Parliamentary Standing Committee report on water resources released on 3 August looks at water issues from the lens of river basins as well as international treaties. The committee focussed primarily on floods, an issue of compelling national importance highlighted by the dozens killed in the state of Kerala as floods ravaged the state in mid-October. Nevertheless, the committee took a broader perspective – looking at two river basins beyond political borders. This is a first. The report provides a rare insight into issues uppermost in the minds of Members of Parliament from the Lower House (Lok Sabha) and Upper House (Rajya Sabha) across party lines, as well as the glaring omission of many issues. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/regional-cooperation/parliamentary-standing-committee-floods/  (18 Oct. 2021)

GANGA Opinion Need to create water sanctuaries Prof Venkatesh Dutta: “Floodplains and a forested river-corridor along the rivers provide a natural filter to help purify, rejuvenate and restock our water supply. Flooding is part of the natural cycle and it redeems our soil, ecology and groundwater. Flows in perennial rivers depend heavily on groundwater systems. If the land along the river banks is protected, we not only get a water positive river basin, but also ensure resilience against climate change. Floodplains can be earmarked as ‘water sanctuaries’ and planned to store water for at least a century. Tropical rivers like ours swell manifolds during the monsoon and need areas to spread water and sediments. The periodic cycles of floods and droughts have been going on since rivers started flowing… The aquifer systems of the Ganga basin are the biggest storehouse of groundwater in the world. The irony is that it is the most heavily irrigated region in the world with the largest withdrawal of groundwater.

About 3,60,000 square kilometres of Ganga basin is irrigated, amounting to about 57% of India’s total net irrigated area. Much of this irrigation demand is met from groundwater… Therefore, like protected forests and national parks, we need water sanctuaries as protected landscapes for recharging rainwater… On a conservative estimate, if 500 metres along both banks are left as no-development zones, it can store huge amount of freshwater. Hundreds of smaller rivers and tributaries of Ganga can also be declared as water sanctuaries. This will ensure a water-positive society, restore rivers, revitalize ecology and sustain biodiversity.”  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/need-to-create-water-sanctuaries-to-save-humanity/articleshow/86923622.cms  (11 Oct. 2021)

Declare rivers, ponds & wetlands shared legacy This covers ToI’s Times water conclave   During the event, experts said rivers and ponds are a shared legacy of the people who reside along it. The inhabitants need to be sensitised towards this and its importance on the overall quality of life.

The basic building plan must include systems to limit exploitation of groundwater and guarantee its recharge through proper arrangements to store and conserve rainwater for future use and health of aquifers. It must include systems that allow recycle and reuse of grey water to check wastage/overuse of clean water and plan for its treatment before being released into the environment. Experts said while there are legislations that make measures for conservation of water mandatory, as in the case of groundwater, there is a need to incentivise it in a way that encourages people and groups to adopt it and embrace the public-interest way of seeing things. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/shaping-robust-framework-for-a-water-sensitive-policy/articleshow/87073575.cms   (17 Oct. 2021)

Bihar Expedite Ganga water lift project: CM Nitish Kumar on Tuesday (Oct. 13) asked the officials concerned to expedite the work related to the Ganga water lift project and complete it on time so that people of Rajgir, Gaya, Bodh Gaya and Nawada could be provided Ganga water for drinking purpose. At Motnaze in Nawada, the CM inspected construction of a water reservoir. Officials informed him that Ganga water would be taken to Rajgir and Nawada from there.

Nitish also reviewed the progress of the Ganga water lift project in Gaya along with the construction work of a rubber dam in the Falgu river. He inspected the water treatment plant at Abgila in Manpur. “At Abgila hill, RCC tank of 0.938 million cubic metre (MCM) storage capacity is being made. At this reservoir, water can be stored to fulfil the requirement at Gaya and Bodh Gaya for five days. The reservoir at Tetar has the storage capacity of 18.633 MCM,” the DM said.

The water of Ganga will be routed through 149-km-long pipeline from Begusarai via Marachi, Mokama, Sarmera, Barbigha, Shekhopursarai, Katrisarai and Ghoda Katora. The water routed to Gaya from Begusarai will be stored in the reservoir at Tetar. After purification, it will be stored at the treatment plant at Abgila. According to information, 20 MCM water of Ganga will be brought at the storage point at Tetar panchayat from Giriyak in Nalanda district. After the work on rubber dam is completed, at least two-foot-water can be retained in the Falgu river throughout the year. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/expedite-ganga-water-lift-project-says-nitish/articleshow/86973630.cms  (13 Oct. 2021)

YAMUNA Delhi Riverbank littered with waste despite curbs on idol immersion  Despite the restrictions imposed by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) on the immersion of Durga idols and other religious material at public places, the Yamuna ghat at ITO was littered with waste on Oct. 16 morning. Earlier on Oct. 13, DPCC issued an order stating that idol immersion at public places can attract a fine of ₹50,000. It banned the immersion at public places including the Yamuna River or any other water body, ponds, or ghats. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/delhi-yamuna-littered-with-waste-despite-curbs-on-idol-immersion-101634359775944.html  (16 Oct. 2021)

According to police, three boys came to the river from north-east Delhi’s Sonia Vihar to see the Ganesha idol immersion. The river was in full spate following heavy rains in Delhi, due to which the boys allegedly drowned (on Sept. 12). In another incident, a 29-year-old man died after he fell into a drain in a waterlogged area in north Delhi’s Narela on Saturday (Sept. 11). https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/delhi-3-boys-drown-in-yamuna-during-ganesh-chaturthi-idol-immersion-101631471483350.html  (13 Sept. 2021)

Urban Development Minister Satyendar Jain on Friday (Sept. 2) held a meeting to discuss the plan for rejuvenation of drains that discharge untreated sewage into the river. “The plan is to clean and beautify Najafgarh, supplementary and Shahdara link drains. The minister wants all major drains to be converted into clean water channels again,” said an official. Currently, these drains are massively contributing to the pollution in the Yamuna in Delhi by discharging solid waste, sludge and wastewater into the river. There are over 60 main drains under the I&FC Department, including 22 big natural drains, which are actually meant to carry surface run-offs to the Yamuna and facilitate recharge of groundwater. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/delhi/2021/sep/04/all-big-drains-flowing-into-yamuna-to-be-cleaned-up-2354114.html  (04 Sept. 2021)

RIVERS BIODIVERSITY

Research Exploring trade-offs between SDGs for Indus River Dolphin conservation and human water security in the regulated Beas River, India by Andrea Momblanch, Nachiket Kelkar, Gill Braulik, Jagdish Krishnaswamy & Ian P. Holman

Abstract:- …In this study, we link a water resource systems model and a forecast extinction risk model to analyze how alternative conservation strategies in the regulated Beas River (India) affect the likelihood of survival of the only remaining population of endangered Indus River Dolphins (IRD) in India in the face of climate change-induced impacts on river hydrology and human water demands, explicitly accounting for potential trade-offs between related SDGs. We find that the frequency of low flow released from the main reservoir may increase under some climate change scenarios, significantly affecting the IRD population. The strongest trade-offs exist between the persistence of IRD, urban water supply and hydropower generation. The establishment of ecologically informed reservoir releases combined with IRD population supplementation enhances the probability of survival of the IRD and is compatible with improving the status of relevant SDGs. This will require water managers, conservation scientists, and other stakeholders to continue collaborating to develop holistic water management strategies.

We estimated that nearly 90% of variability in Beas flows from December to April can be attributed to discharge from the Pong dam, even though winter rains in the catchment below the dam, driven by Western disturbances (i.e. cyclonic circulation originated in the Mediterranean region which produces extreme precipitation events during winter in the north of the Indian subcontinent; Hunt et al. 2018) could make a significant contribution in some years. The effective contribution of winter rains to Beas flows in this period could be affected by groundwater pumping, which could have otherwise maintained higher base flow. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11625-021-01026-6   (11 Oct. 2021)

Uttarakhand Python in Ganga spotted A 10 feet long python was seen floating in the Ganga river near Rishikesh by rafters. According to the locals several such incidents have been witnessed in the past as well. The pythons are normally seen in several parts near the river bank during the rainy season. https://www.news18.com/news/india/watch-video-of-10-feet-long-python-in-ganga-river-goes-viral-4258523.html  (28 Sept. 2021)

Delhi 53 Egyptian vultures sighted  A flock of 53 Egyptian vultures, a rare sight in the capital, were spotted on a sandy mid-island on the Yamuna this week. T K Roy, an ecologist who spotted the flock, said his field observations over the years revealed that the population of Egyptian vultures had been gradually rising. A flock of 25 Egyptian vultures was recorded in 2018, followed by a flock of 35 in 2019 and 42 in 2020, he added.

Sohail Madan of Bombay Natural History Society said, “Egyptian vultures, once a common sight in Delhi, have now become rare. They have been uplifted from vulnerable to endangered species in the IUCN list.” Eurasian griffon, Himalayan griffon and critically endangered red headed vulture have also been photographed in Delhi in the past few years. As vultures are scavengers, they play an important role in the ecosystem. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/a-rare-delight-flock-of-53-egyptian-vultures-sighted/articleshow/87050564.cms  (16 Oct. 2021)

SAND MINING

Goa SEIAA allows mining in 4 zones of Chapora river Legal mining can finally resume in four stretches of the Chapora river, after the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (Goa-SEIAA) approved the proposal at its meeting held on October 5. However, SEIAA has asked for further scientific studies to be carried out in the case of two other zones in the Chapora. Applications were received from the North Goa collector for six zones in the river for sand mining.

Under the Goa Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1985, permissions for sand extractions were granted on a yearly basis. But after the CRZ Notification 2011 was issued, granting of permissions for sand extraction was stopped from 2011-12 onwards. Two different committees under the two district collectors were constituted by the state environment department to grant permissions for sand extractions. In August 2013, some stretches of the Mandovi, Chapora and Tiracol rivers were identified for sand extraction. In 2017-18, 323 permits in North Goa and 11 in South Goa were either issued or renewed, and were valid till May 2018. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/sand-mining-in-chapora-river-can-resume-in-4-zones/articleshow/87073562.cms  (17 Oct. 2021)

Tamil Nadu 5 held in illegal mining case; get bail Granting bail to five people who were involved in illegal sand mining in Sivaganga district, the Madras high court has directed them to pay a total of Rs 80,000 to a government school in Madurai district. The court was hearing the bail pleas of five people arrested by the Manamadurai police on September 29.

The case of the prosecution is that the petitioners along with other accused, had illegally transported river sand in a lorry, without valid permit. Similarly, another person arrested in connection with an illegal sand mining in Ramanathapuram district on September 30, moved the HC seeking bail. Justice Ananthi granted bail to Rishwan by directing him to pay Rs 10,000 to the government higher secondary school at Kottanathampatti in Madurai district. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/madurai/5-held-in-illegal-sand-mining-case-get-bail/articleshow/87051017.cms  (16 Oct. 2021)

Maharashtra Raid at illegal sand mining site in Kharghar The Panvel tehsil office has raided an illegal sand mining site at Taloja creek in Kharghar node, after receiving complaints from citizens and activists about this activity which is also destroying mangroves. Following the orders of the tehsildar, Vijay Talekar, the government officials swooped down at the coastal site, which is close to the Kalamboli pipeline area, and seized two boats, motor pumps, sand filters and other paraphernalia that were used to illegally source the sand.

Another Kharghar local said, “This illegal sand mining was taking place for the past several weeks. There should be regular patrolling by the government and police officials along the coastal areas and the creeks, so that the green mangroves are not destroyed.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/navi-mumbai-raid-at-illegal-sand-mining-site-in-kharghar/articleshow/86996420.cms  (13 Oct. 2021)

Rajasthan Cops attacked for crackdown in Ajmer There was heavy protest and stone pelting by villagers of Bubani village on Tuesday (Oct. 13) when a team of police and mines department reached the spot to stop illegal mining. Police seized 11 tractors, two JCB machines and a dumper from the spot, while the illegal miners ran away.

Villagers attacked the police team with stones and succeeded in taking away one JCB. Later, police detained six people for hindering police action against illegal mining. Acting on a tip-off, additional SP Sumit Maherda reached Bubani village near Ajmer with his team. Here, illegal mining of building stones on a large scale was witnessed. On the complaint of mines department, police registered a case of illegal mining and seized tractors and JCB and detained more than a dozen villagers. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ajmer/illegal-mining-cops-attacked-for-crackdown-in-ajmer-district/articleshow/86987387.cms  (13 Oct. 2021)

Punjab Illegal mining racket busted in Moga The men were carrying out illegal sand mining on the Sutlej riverbed at Sherpur Taiba village, said police. Eight vehicles, including five tractor-trailers and tippers loaded with sand and three earthmoving machines, were also recovered. Dhruman H Nimbale, senior superintendent of police, Moga, said a police team raided the site on a tip-off and caught the accused red-handed. “Mining activities are prohibited, even at authorised sites, in Punjab due to the monsoon. The accused men were carrying out sand mining at an unauthorised site,” he said.

Punjab Police also recovered eight vehicles, including five tractor-trailers and tippers loaded with sand and three earthmoving machines, during the raid at Sherpur Taiba village in Moga. (HT Photo)

Police also recovered some receipts from them, which they were using to pass off their activities as legal. “We have forwarded these receipts to the state mining department for verification,” said the SSP. The accused have been have been booked under Section 379 (theft) of the Indian Penal Code besides under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/punjab-illegal-sand-mining-racket-busted-in-moga-district-101632060121406.html  (19 Sept. 2021)

Bihar Sand mafia injured 8 cops  At least eight members of a police team were injured when they were attacked by miscreants during a raid against illegal sand transportation in rural Patna early Friday (Aug. 19) morning, officials said. This is the third such incident in the last 24 hours during which police teams were also attacked in Muzaffarpur and Sheohar districts.

Patna City superintendent of police (West) Ashok Kumar Mishra said the entire village is involved in illegal sand mining as it is situated just beside river Sone. “Police also raided the house of two sand mafia members and recovered country made firearms and liquor bottles from their houses,” he said. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/patna-news/8-cops-injured-in-attack-by-sand-mafia-in-rural-patna-101629479286579.html  (20 Aug. 2021)

Gujarat Mine dumpsite: Story of apathy, land loss, pollution A 20-metre hillock caving in at Badi village is neither the beginning of indications of large geological shifts, nor the first time villagers have had to encounter uncertainty and crippling worry. But authorities are keen to brush the real issues aside. https://thewire.in/rights/gujarat-lignite-mine-dumpsite-cave-in-land-loss-pollution-gpcl  (11 Oct. 2021)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Karnataka Only 30% lakes free from encroachment As per data from Karnataka Tank Conservation and Development Authority obtained under RTI, out of 39179 lakes covering 6.8 lakh acres, no survey has happened in 22170 lakes covering 3.85 lakh acres. Of those surveyed, 7136 lakes were found to have encroachment to the extent of 30507 acres.

Officials in the KTCDA said that the delay in the identification of boundaries and stormwater drains will lead to the death of these water bodies. Credit: DH Photo

Leo Saldhana of ESG says: “There is an urgent need to decentralise the process of lake protection and development work in which civil society has to be involved. Officials at the municipal and district level should be given training in this regard.” On June 15 HC had ordered formation of dist level committees. U V Singh, former head of the Lake Development Authority has suggested that the HC must monitor the matter. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/only-30-of-karnataka-lakes-free-from-encroachment-1041566.html  (18 Oct. 2021)

West Bengal Disappearing wetlands, pesticide use a threaten birds Environmentalists have blamed two factors for this — decrease in the number of wetlands and extreme usage of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Due to constant exposure to chemical fertilizers and pesticides in the paddy fields and also in the vast tea belt of the region, both migratory as well as domestic birds have suffered a sharp decline in their numbers, they said.

According to satellite pictures available, the number of wetlands in Cooch Behar and Malda has been reduced to less than half their number in the 1930s. In Jalpaiguri, North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur their number has reduced to less than one-third. If this trend continues, no natural wetland will remain in north Bengal. Floods would occur frequently and it will also result in arsenic generation, which is already posing a problem for people in Malda. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/disappearing-wetlands-pesticide-use-threaten-bird-population-in-n-bengal-experts/articleshow/86518005.cms  (26 Sept. 202)

WATER OPTIONS

Report Swiss Jesuit who revolutionised watershed development in India Hermann Bacher, who spent 60 of his 97 years in India, was deeply impacted by the Maharashtra drought of 1972; it led him to recalibrate his developmental approach. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/water/hermann-bacher-the-swiss-jesuit-who-revolutionised-watershed-development-in-india-79626  (10 Oct. 2021)

How restoring step wells can help reduce water crisis.  https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20211012-the-ancient-stepwells-helping-to-curb-indias-water-crisis  (13 Aug. 2021)

Kerala Engineering students’ invention to aid water conservation The device placed in tanks will also help in sending alerts to the user in case of leakages. Though only the prototype has been developed, the students are planning to work on the application on a larger scale after they finish college. The team has also secured the second prize in ‘Envirothon’. https://www.newindianexpress.com/good-news/2021/oct/12/kerala-engineering-students-invention-to-aid-water-conservation-2370454.html  (12 Oct. 2021)

Jharkhand Cloths from water hyacinth  Sarees will be made using the fiber extracted from water hyacinth in the same way they are extracted from jute. The initiative is the brainchild of Gaurav Anand, an environmental engineering graduate currently working with the Tata Steel Utilities and Infrastructure Services in Jamshedpur. https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2021/oct/17/jamshedpur-man-to-use-fiber-extracted-from-water-hyacinth-to-make-sarees-2372302.html  (17 Oct. 2021)

Punjab Traditional farming helps preserve groundwater The intergenerational endeavours of the Bishnois in Bazidpur village is helping in reducing groundwater levels and preserved the community’s traditional knowledge systems. https://www.news18.com/news/india/a-long-tradition-of-eco-sensitive-agriculture-helps-bishnois-preserve-groundwater-4281899.html  (05 Oct. 2021)

GROUNDWATER

Report Slow pace of ABY The Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABY), launched by the Jal Shakti Ministry in 2019, is the flagship conservation programme, but some experts believe the model proposed could take decades to get implemented across the country—and it is amply clear from water-availability projections that India doesn’t have that kind of time. The ABY dashboard shows that the expenditure against the targets set under various heads, as also the release of funds, has been alarmingly low for the past as well as the present year. https://www.financialexpress.com/opinion/building-water-security-groundwater-conservation-is-key-for-that-msp-rethink-needed/2350087/  (15 Oct. 2021)

Uttar Pradesh Groundwater in Lakhimpur Kheri contaminated

Arsenic concentration in groundwater of Uttar Pradesh shown by red, green, and blue circles. (Gaon Connection)

The groundwater in the district, which is the main source of irrigation and drinking water, is laced with very high levels of poisonous arsenic. Other contaminants such as fluoride, that cripples people for life, are found in levels beyond the permissible limits.  https://en.gaonconnection.com/lakhimpur-kheri-violence-sikh-farmers-protest-arsenic-health-uttar-pradesh-history-gdp-economy-agriculture-water-women-punjab/  (11 Oct. 2021)

Punjab Urgent measures needed to preserve groundwater Vidhan Sabha Committee constituted on March 4 this year to study the depletion of water table on Sept. 14 said every year the groundwater table gets depleted by 70 cm but it does not get recharged due to the formation of a nine-inch rocky layer over the earth due to the puddling method of paddy sowing. Committee Chairman and Kapurthala MLA Rana Gurjit Singh told the media that the state will turn into a desert in 25 years if the practice of drawing water from underground aquifers continues. He said that the state requires 64 billion cubic metres (BCM) of water, but had a shortfall of 14 BCM. “This water is drawn from the underground resources,” Singh pointed out. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/punjab-will-turn-into-a-desert-in-25-years-if-present-rate-of-water-exploitation-continues-warns-panel-7508551/  (14 Sept. 2021)

URBAN WATER

Solan HC notice on plea against water contamination by waste plant The high court on Monday (Sept. 27) issued notice to the chief secretary, member secretary of SPCB and deputy commissioner, Solan, in a matter pertaining to contamination of water of wells and borewells due to chemical waste of Shiwalik Solid Waste Management Plant at Majra village of Nalagarh sub division in Solan district. The court posted the matter for hearing after two weeks and also directed the respondents to file their replies by the next date.

The petitioner has alleged that the plant was set up in Majra 15 years ago after obtaining an NOC from the panchayat by misleading it that an environment project was going to the set up there. When the waste management plant was set up, the villagers came to know that hazardous chemical solid toxic waste from different factories of Himachal was to be brought there for treatment.

According to the petitioner, the plant has been dumping untreated solid waste in the ground by covering it with soil and with passage of time, the natural water sources of Majra and surrounding villages became poisonous due to the seepage of chemically contaminated water of this plant into the ground. He said the villagers complained many times to the pollution control board as well as various other higher authorities but no action has been taken against the company till date. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/hc-notice-on-plea-against-water-contamination-by-waste-plant-in-solan/articleshow/86568943.cms  (28 Sept. 2021)

Bengaluru Attempt to revive Mandur landfill A fresh attempt is being made to reclaim about 135 acres of landfill at Mandur in the outskirts of the City where the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) dumped several truck loads of garbage for nearly six years.

The BBMP, which had started sending non-segregated waste from across the City to Mandur landfill in 2008, was forced to stop this in November, 2014, following a widespread protest by villagers as the massive landfill had caused environmental hazards. At present, the site comprises heaps of solid waste and continues to generate foul odour. The leachate which is discharged from the site has been affecting the groundwater and soil contamination. The BBMP has estimated the landfill may have about 20 lakh metric tonnes of waste. That includes recyclables, plastic, debris, cloth etc. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/civic/yet-another-attempt-to-revive-mandur-landfill/articleshow/86947167.cms  (12 Oct. 2021)

Why buildings are collapsing At least five buildings have collapsed in Bengaluru in the last three weeks alone, all of which could have led to the loss of human life. The incessant rains in the last two weeks has also led to more buildings losing their structural integrity, posing a threat to the occupants of these buildings as well as neighbours.

JM Chandra Kishen, Professor, Department of Civil Engineering at IISc Bangalore, said that generally except for large apartment buildings, often there is no soil testing done before construction starts as mandated by the National Building Code. Further, in times of heavy rains —  due to lack of proper drainage — the character of the soil changes which can displace the foundation of the building, he added. For older buildings, he said there should be a system of certifying old buildings every five years to prevent mishaps from happening. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/why-buildings-are-collapsing-house-cards-bengaluru-156578  (16 Sept. 2021)

Hyderabad Activists warn of rise in water pollution due to idol immersions Owing to the subdued festivities in 2020, the residents compensated this year by celebrating in a grand manner with an increased number of idols being procured this year, they say. According to previous year’s TSPCB reports, apart from the last two years, water pollution levels at Hussainsagar and other water bodies have seen a drastic increase. In 2018, around 20,000 idols were immersed at Hussainsagar in around 11 days, while this year the number of idols immersed at the lake were more than 30,000. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/hyderabad/2021/sep/21/activists-warn-of-rise-in-water-pollution-due-to-idol-immersions-2361476.html  (21 Sept. 2021)

Chennai Abysmal deficit of water, food waste recycle treatment ‘impacting’ life in city.  https://www.counterview.net/2021/10/abysmal-deficit-of-water-food-waste.html  (23 Oct. 2021)

Delhi Water supply not be affected Earlier in the day, reports had stated that Delhi, Noida and Agra may see water shortage due to maintenance work of the Ganga Canal in Muzaffarnagar. DJB officials, however, said that there is no need to panic as only a small percentage of water comes to Delhi from Ganga Canal which can be balanced through supply from the Yamuna river. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/delhi-water-supply-to-not-be-affected-due-to-closure-of-ganga-canal-assures-jal-board-11634390122123.html  (16 Oct. 2021) The Ganga canal in Muzaffarnagar was closed on Friday (Oct. 15), an official of the Uttar Pradesh Irrigation Department said. The Ganga canal is the lifeline to 19 districts of Uttar Pradesh, providing irrigation and drinking water. https://www.ndtv.com/delhi-news/water-supply-in-delhi-noida-west-up-may-be-hit-as-ganga-canal-closes-for-maintenance-report-2577366  (15 Oct. 2021)

Mumbai The tallest rubbish mountain More than 16 million tonnes of trash make up Deonar’s rubbish mountains – eight of them spread over a 300-acre sprawl – that are said to be India’s largest and oldest. Waste is piled as high as 120ft (36.5m). A 2020 study by CSE, found 3,159 such mountains containing 800 million tonnes of rubbish across India. In Mumbai, a court case has been going on for 26 years to close down the Deonar grounds but the dumping of waste continues. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-58866834  (18 Oct. 2021)

Pune Vigil at Katraj ghat to curb trash dumping Round-the-clock vigil by Pune Municipal Corporation’s squads has curbed incessant garbage dumping along the key thoroughfare in Katraj Ghat. Over 180 cases have been registered in three months against those throwing garbage along the ghat, and fines worth Rs 1.75 lakh have been collected. The ghat had turned into an garbage dumping spot for citizens. Huge heaps of trash were visible on both sides of the stretch, posing a risk. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/24×7-vigil-at-katraj-ghat-to-curb-trash-dumping/articleshow/86949413.cms  (12 Oct. 2021)

WATER POLLUTION

Karnataka Daunting task to ensure safe drinking water The deaths of six people due to water contamination in Vijayanagara district have revealed that mere availability of water cannot be a goal. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2021/oct/17/daunting-task-forkarnatakato-ensure-safe-drinking-water-2372344.html  (17 Oct. 2021)

Report Over 1.11 lakh water samples found contaminated More than 1.11 lakh of the over 13 lakh drinking water samples tested across the country under a government program have been found contaminated, according to official data. The samples were taken the government’s drinking water testing and surveillance programme.

The contamination of samples includes that from naturally occurring chemicals and minerals, such as arsenic, fluoride, iron and uranium, in the earth layer, local land use practices like fertilizers, pesticides, livestock, and concentrated feeding operations, the data under the Jal Shakti ministry programme stated. It is also said that contaminations can also be by manufacturing processes like heavy metals or cyanide near drinking water sources. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/india/over-13-lakh-drinking-water-samples-tested-under-govt-programme-111474-found-contaminated-7588631.html  (16 Oct. 2021)

JJM/ RURAL WATER SUPPLY

Uttar Pradesh Need to ramp up JJM The state has covered 12.74% of its 26.4 million rural households so far. The government has drawn up a large scale engineering project to extend tap water connections in Bundelkhand, one of the driest parts of the country. The Bundelkhand leg of the Jal Jeevan Mission comprises 467 piped drinking water schemes under 32 projects. Of these, 43 are surface water-based schemes and 424 are ground water-based. “The UP government has completed about 80% work of water treatment plants in various districts of Bundelkhand including Jhansi and Mahoba. The construction work is almost complete in more than 50% of our plants,” said UP principal secretary Anurag Srivastava in a text message. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/some-large-states-need-to-ramp-up-jal-jeevan-mission-data-show-101633949886793.html  (11 Oct. 2021)

WATER

CWC Reservoir storage bulletin 14.10.2021:-

1. ALL INDIA STATUS:- The live storage available in 130 reservoirs as per 14.10.2021 Bulletin is 95% of the live storage of corresponding period of last year and 108% of storage of average of last ten years. The overall storage position is less than the corresponding period of last year in the country as a whole but it is better than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.

2. REGION WISE STORAGE STATUS: a) NORTHERN REGION:- The total live storage available in 8 reservoirs is 12.49 BCM which is 65% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 70% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 83% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs.

b) EASTERN REGION:- The total live storage available in 20 reservoirs is 14.57 BCM which is 73% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 80% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 78% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs.

c) WESTERN REGION:- The total live storage available in 42 reservoirs is 30.77BCM which is 87% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 93% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 75% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs.

d) CENTRAL REGION:- The total live storage available in 23 reservoirs is 37.61 BCM which is 83% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 90% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 82% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs.

e) SOUTHERN REGION:- The total live storage available in 37 reservoirs is 46.79 BCM which is 89% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 90% and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 70% of live storage capacity of these reservoirs. http://www.cwc.gov.in/sites/default/files/14102021-bulletin.pdf 

MONSOON 2021

IMD Dehradun Special press release regarding Wet spell over Uttarakhand from 17th to 19th October, 2021 with peak activity on 18th October 2021.

Monsoon to complete its withdrawal The monsoon withdrew from most parts of the country on Thursday (Oct. 14), largely sticking to its usual schedule despite a late start to the withdrawal. It now covers only a small portion of Odisha, some parts of northeast India, and southern Maharashtra. The normal date for its withdrawal from the entire country is October 15. The monsoon started withdrawing very late this year, on October 6 against the normal date of September 17, but then withdrew rapidly from different parts of the country, according to scientists. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/monsoon-to-complete-its-withdrawal-today-101634251106561.html  (15 Oct. 2021)

FLOOD 2021

DVC Dams Flood 2 CMs raised serious wuestions Recently the CM of W Bengal Mamata Banerjee has written a detailed letter to PM Modi regarding the man-made floods created in her state due to excessive water discharge from Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) Dams. In particular she has criticized the discharge of about 10 lakh acre-feet of water between September 30 and October 2 2021 which caused serious devastation in lower Damodar region before the festival season. Earlier Bihar CM had written about role of Farakka in aggravating floods in Bihar. https://countercurrents.org/2021/10/now-that-two-chief-ministers-have-raised-serious-questions-about-role-of-dams-in-aggravating-floods-can-we-see-some-action/  (12 Oct. 2021)

Kerala Floods Death toll rises to 24, orange alert in Idukki dam  From live thread:- The death toll in incidents related to heavy rains, including landslides and flash floods in Kerala rose to 24 on Oct. 18. Despite a brief let-up in the heavy bout of rain triggered by a low pressure area formed over the Arabian Sea, the state still reels from several rain-related incidents. Kottayam reported most deaths, 13, while Idukki reported 9, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, one each. This is the worst case of rain-related damage ever recorded in Kottayam.

Oct 18, 09:02 AM Sholayar dam shutters to be opened at 10am. The water released from here is expected to reach Chalakkudy by 4pm.

Oct 18, 07:55 AM Orange alert issued at Idukki dam as the water level breached 2396.86 ft. The full reservoir level is 2403 ft and a red alert will be sounded at 2398.86 ft.

Oct 18, 07:47 AM CWC has issued an Orange alert for Manimala, Kallada, Achankovil, Neyyar and Karamana rivers of the state.

Oct 17, 11:19 PM Shutters of Kakki dam to be raised at 11 am on Monday (Oct. 18) . A red alert was sounded here. The water-level at Pampa Dam and Idukki dam has been rising steadily. An Orange alert will be sounded here soon.

Oct 17, 06:25 PM Shutters of major dams in Kerala will not be opened, inform Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB). Water levels at Idukki, Kakki, Sholayar, Moozhiyar under control. KSEB suffers loss of Rs 13.67 crore due to rains. https://www.onmanorama.com/news/kerala/2021/10/18/kerala-rain-alerts-landslide-toll-dam-water-level-live.html    (18 Oct. 2021)

12 deaths have been reported from Kottayam, 5 from Idukki, Kokkayar and two deaths occurred in Thodupuzha in idukki on Oct. 16. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/live-news-from-cities-night-curfew-in-up-rajasthan-mp-jharkhand-chhattisgarh-16-october-2021/liveblog/87053335.cms  (17 Aug. 2021) 

Dave Petley on Kerala landslides:- The landslide is apparently about 500 m long. The Indian Express article links the failure to unregulated local quarrying: But was that purely an instance of natural calamity? Not necessarily. Local people suspect the landslide in Poovanchi has more to do with man’s greed than nature’s fury. Poovanchi is located in an area made fragile by unregulated quarrying. A hill in the remote village has more than two quarries. The granite quarry on the opposite side of the hill, where the landslide happened, has scooped out a portion equal to what was lost to the landslide. Unfortunately I am unable to find an image of the source area to verify whether quarrying might have played a role. https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2021/10/18/kerala-2/  (18 Oct. 20211)

The site of Poovanchi landslide (Photo | EPS, Albin Mathew)

Local residents allege that granite quarry functioning unregulated on the opposite side of Poovanchi hill, where the landslide occurred, scooped out a portion equal to what was lost to the landslide. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2021/oct/18/poovanchi-landslide-manmade-2372566.html   (18 Oct. 2021)

Celebrated ecologist Madhav Gadgil wrote this in Jan. 2020. “The catastrophes in Kerala in 2018 and 2019 can be a lesson to move away from the paradigm of imposing both development and conservation from above; the state and the people must adopt new ways of functioning. It is a lesson the entire country needs to learn.”  https://www.theindiaforum.in/article/ecology-people

 “At the root of it is the low pressure area formed in the Arabian Sea. There were some reports of cloud bursts causing the rains but the IMD has confirmed that it is not the case,” says Rajeevan Erikkulam, who works with the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority.

The IMD has predicted the low pressure formation as early as October 12, he says. However, when the clouds remained relatively calm for the next two days, people threw caution to the wind until the rains started falling without mercy. On Saturday, October 16 morning, after a night of incessant rains, the IMD quickly issued red warnings to six districts. Reports of damage and destruction came from one part of the state after another – mostly from the districts of Kottayam and Idukki. Landslides took several lives, children among them.

“Statistically the rain we are getting now would fall under the northeast monsoon, since it is already October. But scientifically it is still the southwest monsoon, which has not yet fully withdrawn,” Rajeevan says.

Normally, the SW monsoon begins to retreat from Rajasthan by September 17 and from the southern states by October 15. This year, the Rajasthan withdrawal itself began late – by October 6.

“Even though it is generally considered that SW monsoon is from June to September in Kerala, that only refers to the core zone. It only retreats from the tip of peninsular India by November 30. By then we also get the northeast monsoon. Sometimes it so happens that we get a mix of both – the southwest monsoon in the day and the northeast monsoon in the evening with its thunder and lightning. Neither can be called the cause of the rain we are getting now but the low pressure area in the Arabian Sea, where both the monsoon winds converged,” says meteorologist Venu G Nair.

The low pressure that has formed now is not part of the SW monsoon, he says. If a low pressure is formed within the duration of the monsoon period, it is called monsoon depression, and it is different. “Earlier there’d be tropical cyclones in the post monsoon period (October – November) but it wasn’t happening in the Arabian Sea. In the last few decades, however, there has been a drastic change in the Arabian Sea. While the Bay of Bengal went into a cooling phase, the Arabian Sea went into a warming phase. That’s why you see more storms. The changes in the Arabian Sea help the low pressure move alongside the coast,” Venu says.

The changes – or the heating — in the Arabian Sea came from the southern Indian Ocean, he adds. And those in turn came from the Pacific Ocean, all oceans being connected through conveyor belts. Venu points to anthropological reasons – or human interventions — as the root of all the changes. “At least 40% of the carbon pumped into the ocean by countries – especially east Asian nations like China – is absorbed by it. When so much of carbon is absorbed it leads to ocean heating and then thermal expansion. So the ocean heat has increased over the years,” he explains.

But in 2018, two researchers found that there was cooling in the Pacific Ocean and they wondered if there was any change in global warming, Venu says, “But it turned out that the Pacific Ocean was dumping excess heat to the southern Indian Ocean through the ocean conveyor belt. And through western boundary currents the heat got pushed to the Arabian Sea. You can say the ultimate culprit is man.” https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/what-caused-kerala-s-extreme-rains-october-experts-explain-156603  (17 Oct. 2021)

Weather experts attributed the intense spell, which saw many places recording more than 5 cm of rainfall within a span of two hours, to a ‘mini-cloud burst event’. As per IMD’s daily monsoon report, Kerala received 74% excess rainfall on Oct. 16. Between Oct 7 and October 13, the state has received 166% excess rainfall averaging about 19 cm rain. Several people were injured and displaced in rain-related incidents.

Dams in many districts are nearing their full capacity and small towns and villages in hilly areas are cut off from the outside world. Kottayam and Pathanamthitta are the most affected districts as of now. “The situation is grievous,” said chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Meanwhile, three members of a family were killed and nearly eight people were missing following a landslide in Plappally in Kottayam. Another landslide hit Kokkayar on the Kottayam-Idukki border and eight people are missing.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/five-killed-as-heavy-rain-triggers-landslides-flash-floods-in-kerala/articleshow/87075023.cms  (17 Oct. 2021)

Two storey home washed away in seconds by raging Manimala river in Mundakayam, a town located in Kanjirappally taluk Kottayam district. Fortunately, the residents were evacuated from the house before it collapsed into the river on Oct. 17 morning.  https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/video-captures-two-storey-house-kerala-completely-collapsing-gushing-river-156607  (17 Oct. 2021)

The Idukki reservoir received over 4.25 feet of water within 24 hours between October 16 and October 17. According to officials, this is the first time after the Kerala 2018 flood that Idukki received such a high inflow of water in the dam. On Oct. 16, the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam, upstream of the Idukki dam, was at 131.30 ft. The maximum permissible water level in the dam is 142 feet, as fixed by the Supreme Court in a 2014 judgment.

Peermade taluk in the Idukki district received the highest rainfall of 292mm in the past 24 hours. Climatologist Gopakumar Cholayil said that an automatic rain station at Peermade recorded 305.5mm rainfall in the past 24 hours. “This is the highest recorded rainfall in the state,” he said. “Usually, if an area records more than 100 mm of rainfall in one hour, it is referred to as cloud burst. In this case, it is a mini cloud burst, where there is more than 50 mm rainfall within two hours. The Kerala rains on Saturday in Kottayam and Idukki districts may be considered a mini cloud burst. The heavy downpour in a single period caused the flash floods and landslides,” said Cholayil.

A dam safety official with the KSEB, which owns and manages the Idukki dam, said that the board and government are closely monitoring the water levels of the Idukki reservoir every hour. “The catchment area of the Idukki reservoir received extremely heavy rainfall and it resulted in the sudden rise of water level in Idukki reservoir within hours.  The central water commission allowed KSEB to follow the ‘dynamic flood cushion’ (to moderate floods) in Idukki. However, the unexpected rainfall resulted in an increase in the water level. The KSEB will also consider opening the Idukki reservoir at the red alert level if needed,” the official explained, adding that the present water level is two feet below the red alert level of the dam. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/kerala-rains-idukki-dam-receives-4-ft-water-24-hrs-highest-inflow-2018-156597  (17 Oct. 2021)

The dam safety wing on Friday (Oct. 16) issued a blue alert for Idukki dam when the water level reached 2,390.86ft. An orange alert will be announced if the water level reaches 2,396.86ft followed by a red alert at 2,397.86ft. The water level on Friday was 2,391ft against the full reservoir level (FRL) of 2,403.50ft.

KSEB chief engineer (dam safety and DRIP) Supriya S said that the rule curve will be changed after October 20 and the blue alert will be withdrawn subsequently. The next rule level will be higher than the present level.  “Due to the shortage of power in the central pool, it has been directed to increase power generation in hydel dams. With increased power generation, the water level in major hydel dams will be decreasing in the coming days,” she added. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/thiruvananthapuram/kerala-water-level-rises-blue-alert-issued-for-idukki-dam/articleshow/87054869.cms  (16 Oct. 2021)

According to KSEB officials, in the wake of the national-level power crisis, the board will avoid the opening of shutters of hydel dams, including Idukki. The power generation in Moolamattom power plant on Saturday (Oct. 16) was 11.30mu. Climatologist Gopakumar Cholayil told TOI that there are chances of formation of two more pressure depressions in October. “There are chances of formation of depressions till November and it will continue till December. Some depressions develop into cyclones. The repeated cyclones are a clear indication of climate change,” Cholayil said.

The storage level in main hydel dams on Saturday was Idukki (83%), Pamba (83%), Sholayar (95%), Idamalayar (83%), Kundala (91%), Mattupetty (91%), Kuttiadi (29%), Thariyode (82%), Anayirankal (73%), Ponmudi (76%), Neriamangalam (88%) and Peringalkuthu (66%). “In the 2004 to 2021 period, 44 cyclones were formed in the Bay of Bengal and 24 cyclones in the Arabian Sea. Normally, no cyclones were formed in the Arabian sea but in recent times, it is observed that cyclones are forming in the Arabian sea,” Cholayil added. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/water-level-in-idukki-reservoir-at-83-no-plans-to-raise-shutters/articleshow/86929757.cms  (11 Oct. 2021)

The irrigation department lifted shutters of Malankara dam in Ernakulam at 2.30 pm on Oct. 16 as incessant rain continued to lash the district since morning. The shutters were lifted from 60cm to 80cm after the dam witnessed heavy inflow from inside the forest.

Revenue officials in Muvattupuzha said the rise in water level in the river depends on the quantity of water being released from the dam. If the dam continues to receive heavy inflow, the shutters will be lifted to 100cm by evening, they said. Currently the water level in the dam is below the warning point.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/kerala-rains-irrigation-dept-opens-shutters-of-malankara-dam/articleshow/87060057.cms  (16 Oct. 2021)

Four shutters of Neyyar Dam were raised by a total of 240 cm in view of the rising water level, the authorities said adding that the shutters of Aruvikkara Dam would be raised to 350 cm from the present 310 cm in the afternoon. Destruction of roads was reported in many places including in Kollam and Kottayam districts while severe waterlogging made life miserable in Kuttanad region, popularly known as the ‘rice bowl’ of the state spread in Alappuzha and Kottayam districts. Read more at: https://www.oneindia.com/india/kerala-idukki-water-level-touches-2390-86-ft-3324200.html  (16 Oct. 2021)

River Manikala (part of west flowing rivers Tadri to Kanya Kumari) at Manikal level forecast site in Kottayam district is flowing in EXTREME FLOOD situation currently flowing at 79.63 m which 1.45 m higher than previous HFL 78.78 m attained on 07.08.2020. Strangely danger level 78.4 m at the site is higher than previous HFL.

River Manimala (part of west flowing rivers from Tapi to Tadri basin) at Pullakkayar level forecast site in Kottayam district flowing in EXTREME FLOOD situation attaining new HFL 101.74 m which is 3.425 m higher than previous HFL of 98.315 m attained 07.08.2020. Overall 6.97 m rise in water level in just 4 hours since 09:00 am on Oct. 16.

Asim Mitra, Scientist IMD Heavy rain over Kerala & Mahe from 0830 hrs to 1730 IST):Cochin Airport-11; Palakkad-8; Punalur-6; Tuni, Alapuzha,Hyderabad Airport-4; Vallanikara-Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram, Valprai, Kudaikanal-2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMyCJOb5krQ 

The KSDMA has warned people living in low-lying areas, river coasts and hilly areas prone to landslides and mudslides, to exercise extreme caution. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/kerala-rains-be-ready-move-out-if-situation-demands-it-ksdma-warns-156570  (16 Oct. 2021)

Tamil Nadu River Kodaiyar (which is part of west flowing rivers basin Tadri to Kanyakumari) at Thiruvarambu level forecast site in Kanyakumari district flowing in EXTREME FLOOD situation. Current level 15.3m which is 0.62m higher than HFL 14.68m attained only this year on 26.05.21.

Water released from dams in Theni  Water was released on Friday (Oct. 15) from the Manjalar and Sothuparai dams near Periyakulam in Theni district for irrigation. The water level of the Manjalar dam was 55 feet against its maximum level of 57 feet. It had an inflow of 60 cusecs.

The Theni district collector also released the water from the Sothuparai dam. The water level reached 126.28 feet, which is the maximum limit. Water will be released for a period of 152 days (till March 15, 2022) on a turn system for irrigation of 2,865 acres of land. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/madurai/water-released-from-dams-in-theni/articleshow/87051122.cms  (16 Oct. 2021)

Pillur dam to touch FRL However, officials pointed out that there was still rain in western ghats and the water level would continue to raise further. If the rain continues and inflow increases, the dam would touch its full reservoir level in a day or two, officials said. Eventually, officials have also planned to increase the outflow from the dam. Hence people living along the banks have been asked not to venture into the river. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/coimbatore/pillur-dam-to-touch-full-reservoir-level-of-100ft-as-inflow-rises/articleshow/86978299.cms  (13 Oct. 2021)

Water release from Poondi reservoir doubled This is the first time in a decade that water had been discharged before the onset of the northeast monsoon. Officials of the WRD recalled that the reservoir’s floodgates were opened under similar circumstances once in 1996 and then in 2011.

Water released into Kosasthalaiyar river would take four or five days to drain into the sea. “Water discharged into the river will be stored in 12 checkdams downstream of Poondi before it reaches the sea. A minimum of 500 mcft will be saved in these checkdams and water will be transferred to the Cholavaram reservoir through Tamaraipakkam anicut with regulator arrangements,” an official said. Moreover, well fields along the course will be recharged and another 500 mcft of water will be harnessed through groundwater recharge, the official added. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/water-release-from-poondi-reservoir-doubled/article36954073.ece  (11 Oct. 2021)

Odisha Dying Sukapaika river Within a generation, Sukapaika a dying river changed the destinies of lakhs of people living along its shore, decimating livelihoods and sending the local ecology into a spiral. Rivers like Sukapaika, which originate from a river and rejoin the same river, have a natural rhythm that drains out excessive water, said Sahu. Unfortunately, the river that could have evacuated the flood water naturally became the victim of the short-sightedness of the government officials, he lamented.

There is a proven risk in embankments. Sahu warned that if immediate measures are not taken to ensure free-flow of the river, nature might reclaim its drainage route and a Kosi flood-type situation may repeat here. In 2008, embankments on the river Kosi in Nepal gave way, believed to have been weakened by decades of silt deposition. The breach caused the river to change course and it shifted eastward by over 100 km. It flooded large swathes of Bihar and Nepal, displacing more than 3.5 million Indians. https://101reporters.com/article/The_Promise_Of_Commons/Hundreds_of_villages_in_Odisha_languish_at_the_shores_of_the_dying_Sukapaika_river  (12 Oct. 2021)

Report Slow But Sure Path to Mitigating Floods Between 1953 and 2017, flood-related damages to properties, houses, and crops in India amounted to a colossal ₹4.69 lakh crores. While relief and response measures by government and civil society organisations dominate India’s flooding disasters, mitigating the effects of floods before they occur usually takes a back seat. Why is this the case, and how have some civil society organisations and government institutions found solutions to it? https://thebastion.co.in/politics-and/the-slow-but-sure-path-to-mitigating-indias-floods/  (11 Aug. 2021)

URBAN FLOODS

Kozhikode ‘Ensure a free-flowing Kallai to stop waterlogging’  Monday (Oct. 12) night was dreadful for residents of Kozhikode city. Incessant rain throughout the night resulted in several parts of the city getting submerged. While places like Kannadikkal, Thadambattuthazham, and other low-lying areas are used to floods, places like Govindapuram and Vellayil were once again in turmoil, thanks to improper drainage system. However, public ire was mostly due to waterlogging on Mavoor Road in the heart of the city, mofussil bus stand, Stadium Junction, and nearby areas. Naturally, questions arose as to what happened to crores spent by the city corporation for construction of stormwater drains.

On the other hand, Conolly canal is swollen, as water from it is blocked at the exit, where it opens into the Kallai river. Hence, clearing drains and cleaning the canal will not resolve waterlogging, unless the natural flow of the river is restored, Mr. Rajan explained. The project for dredging Kallai has been pending for years. “We have devised a project in association with the Irrigation Department at an estimated cost of ₹7.5 crore for de-silting Kallai. It will take off as soon as the environment report from the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management [CWRDM] is available,” Mr. Rajan said, hoping that the project would be completed in a year to find a lasting solution to waterlogging in the city. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/ensure-a-free-flowing-kallai-to-stop-waterlogging-in-kozhikode/article37026079.ece  (16 Oct. 2021)

Study Extreme rainfall can submerge half of Hyderabad The study conducted by BITS Pilani Hyderabad on ‘Urban flood risk analysis of buildings’ has revealed that in an event of extreme rainfall of 440.35mm, for over a period of 17 days, can cause 334 sq km of the GHMC limits to submerge under water. The total GHMC limit is about 625 sq kms, which implies that half the city will be submerged, due the effect of climate change. The study has been done using two RCP’s 6.0 and 4.5. The study predicts future rainfall in an extreme weather scenario causing 440.35 mm in 17 days in 2050 and 624.2 mm in 19 days in 2064. https://www.siasat.com/extreme-rainfall-can-submerge-half-of-hyderabad-study-2209148/  (16 Oct. 2021)

“This is a climate modelling system where the variables like rainfall, elevation of the topography, distance from stream, areas for absorption all come into play. With this system, we can also predict the flooding caused by rains of much lesser capacities, if the data is more and more refined,” added Professor K Srinivas Raju.  https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/hyderabad/2021/oct/15/17-days-of-rain-can-submerge-half-of-hyderabad-bits-pilani-study-2371739.html  (15 Oct. 2021)

Hyderabad More than 100mm rain within hours As per the Telangana State Development Planning Society (TSDPS) data, till 8pm, LB Nagar had received the highest rainfall with 106.3mm, followed by Bathukamma Kunta (105.5); Maruthi Nagar (102.5); Kachiguda and Cherlapally (82.3). Other areas such as Malakpet, Moulali, Balanagar, Nagole, Begumpet, West Marredpally, Malkajgiri recorded rainfall between 20mm and 80 mm. Meanwhile, in areas of Mangalghat, a 30-minute spell of rainfall led to massive waterlogging.

Meanwhile, the water board is operating a total of 8 floodgates of Osmansagar (four floodgates) and Himayatsagar (four floodgates) at a height of two-feet and discharging 960 cusecs from Osmansagar and 2,800 cusecs of floodwater from the Himayatsagar reservoir. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/monsoons-parting-shot-city-gets-more-than-100mm-rain-within-hrs/articleshow/87070889.cms  (17 Oct. 2021)

Tirupati Pilgrims, locals suffer as heavy downpour floods city Three to four hours of heavy downpour caused a flood like situation at several low lying localities in the temple city of Tirupati causing extreme inconvenience to the visiting devotees and locals on Saturday (Oct. 16). As drains overflowed due to the heavy rainfall, rainwaters inundated Madhura nagar and other nearby localities in the city. Bikes and cars almost submerged in the rain waters which rose to almost 4-5 feet in some localities in the city. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/amaravati/andhra-pradesh-pilgrims-and-locals-suffer-as-heavy-downpour-floods-tirupati/articleshow/87064980.cms  (16 Oct. 2021)

DISASTERS

Karnataka 4 earthquakes in 3 days This is the sixth earthquake to hit north Karnataka region around Bidar and Kalaburagi since October 1. While two had occurred in Basavakalyan on October 1 and 5, four were recorded in Kalaburagi on October 9, 11 and 12.

The Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority commissioner Manoj Rajan told news agency PTI that he has convened a meeting of the geologists to understand the phenomena. The earthquakes assume significance as the epicentres are in close proximity to Latur and Killari in Maharashtra, which had witnessed a massive earthquake in September 1993 killing a large number of people. https://www.ndtv.com/karnataka-news/4-earthquakes-in-3-days-six-since-october-1-raises-concern-in-north-karnataka-report-2572495  (12 Oct. 2021)

LANDSLIDES

Karnataka Increasing landslides in Shimoga In this conversation on India Ahead News Leo Saldhana discusses the core reasons for destruction of western ghats in Karnataka, now visibilised with landslides in Shimoga.  He argues with climate change we have to be more alert against maldevelopment. He suggests overall economic growth must evolve from a deeply decentralised perspective, attending to prevailing disparities in infrastructure development, and work ground up to tackle climate change and Socio-economic disparities together.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6DCnPdJfZU  (15 Oct. 2021)

CLOUD BURSTS

SANDRP Blog Uttarakhand: Cloud Bursts in SW Monsoon 2021  The compilation shows at least 26 cloud burst incidents have occurred across 9 districts of Uttarakhand during south west monsoon months of 2021. These are in addition to the 24 such incidents that SANDRP could compile in pre-monsoon month of May 2021 alone.

The localzised intense rainfall spell kept occurring through out June, July and August till September 20 when the last incident is reported.  June and July witnessed 6 incidents each of such excessive rainfall while maximum 10 were reported in Aug followed by 4 in Sept.

The maximum 6 incidents have taken place in Dehradun district, 5 of which took place just in last week of August. Chamoli saw 4 cloud burst incidents while Rudraprayag, Pithoragarh and Pauri reported 3 such events each, followed by 2 each in Uttarkashi and Almora and 1 in Bageshwar.  https://sandrp.in/2021/10/12/uttarakhand-cloud-bursts-in-sw-monsoon-2021/   (12 Oct. 2021)

Uttarakhand फिर जख्म देकर लौटा मानसून  राज्य आपदा प्राधिकरण के आंकड़े बताते हैं कि इस मानसून सीजन में राज्य में 36 लोगों की मौत हुई, 33 घायल हुए और 6 लोग लापता हुए। पिथौरागढ़ जिले में सबसे ज्यादा 13 लोगों की मौत हुई। इसके अलावा 139 बड़े और 169 छोटे पशुओं की मौत हुई। 46 मकान पूरी तरह क्षतिग्रस्त हुए और 281 मकानों को आंशिक रूप से नुकसान पहुंचा।

वर्ष 2020 में मानसून सीजन के दौरान राज्य में 77 लोगों की मौत हुई थी, 36 घायल हुए थे और 3 लापता हो गये थे। 2019 में 99 लोगों की मौत हुई थी, 86 घायल हुए थे और 2 लापता हो गये थे। 2018 में मानसून सीजन में मरने वालों की संख्या 63 थी। 17 लोग घायल हुए थे और 3 लापता हो गये थे।

लोक निर्माण विभाग के आंकड़े बताते हैं कि इस वर्ष राज्य में मानसून सीजन के दौरान 2,776 सड़कें बंद हुई। इनमें 1,946 सड़कें लोक निर्माण विभाग की, 17 नेशनल हाई वे और 813 पीएमजीएसवाई की सड़कें शामिल हैं। राज्य 53 पुल भी क्षतिग्रस्त हुए। इनमें 4 नेशनल हाईवे के पुल भी शामिल हैं। इससे कुल 27,406.59 लाख रुपये का नुकसान होने का अनुमान लगाया गया है। पिछले वर्ष मानसून सीजन में राज्य में 2,090 सड़कें टूटी थी और 24 पुल क्षतिग्रस्त हुए थे। कुल 14,826.58 रुपये का नुकसान हुआ था। https://www.downtoearth.org.in/hindistory/weather/monsoon/uttarakhand-monsoon-returned-after-hurt-79656  (12 Oct. 2021)

ENERGY OPTIONS

Policy makers ‘failing’ to repose faith in roof-top solar systems It will not be an exaggeration to state that the roof-top SPVs can meet more than 50% of the total energy needs of the world. But it is sad that our policy makers seem to be unaware of this enormous potential, and are favoring large size land based solar power parks at unacceptable costs to the society. https://www.counterview.net/2021/10/power-crisis-indian-policy-makers.html  (16 Oct. 2021)

THERMAL POWER

Cartoon on Dainik Bhaskar, Oct 15, 2021:

ENVIRONMENT GOVERNANCE

Supreme Court NGT needn’t wait for ‘Godot’ to save environment “The exercise of power by the NGT is not circumscribed by the receipt of applications. When substantial questions relating to the environment arise and the issue is civil in nature and those relate to the Act, the NGT, in our opinion, even in the absence of an application, can self-ignite action either towards amelioration or towards prevention of harm,” a three-judge Bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Hrishikesh Roy and C.T. Ravikumar held in a judgment.

The legislative history of the NGT traced its objective to address societal concerns. Hence, the legislature had given it a wide berth to craft its own procedure to entertain oral and documentary evidence. No rules shackled the good work the Tribunal was intended to perform. “Unlike the civil courts, which cannot travel beyond the relief sought by the parties, the NGT is conferred with power of moulding any relief,” the court stated.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/national-green-tribunal-neednt-wait-for-godot-to-save-environment-supreme-court/article36949110.ece  (11 Oct. 2021)

MoEF Dilution of Forest Act  However, going against the rules to conserve forests in India, the ministry proposed amendments to exempt several non-forestry activities, including defence and security-related projects along the country’s international border, zoos, forest training infrastructure, and surveys and investigations on forest land from the Act. Ironically, the sweeping changes were proposed on October 2, the 152nd birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, whose commitment to the cause of environmental conservation was invoked by Modi during his speech.

The consultative paper also exempts exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons using the extended reach drilling (ERD) technology from forest clearances. Using the technology, hydrocarbons are extracted from a block at a certain distance from it through an elaborate network of subterranean tunnels. The technology is mostly used around protected areas like forests, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. https://www.newsclick.in/PM-Invoked-Gandhi-Centre-Sought-Dilution-Forest-Act-Oct-2  (11 Oct. 2021)

State governments have been asked to send their comments within 15 days. “With these amendments, the environment ministry looks to unlock land for infrastructure development and plantations, both of which are high on economic priorities,” said Kanchi Kohli, legal researcher at Centre for Policy Research. She said that the 1996 Supreme Court order banned the use of domestic timber for wood-based industries, including sawmills, which hugely increased raw material imports as a trade-off to conserve plantations and important forest areas. “So, the underlying presumption is that private land, once released from the requirement of prior forest clearances, will incentivise plantation-based carbon sinks. In reality, these lands will become market commodities and tradable assets both for private parties to sell, and government to acquire on behalf of private parties,” Kohli said.

The researcher added that on the infrastructure side, the environment ministry has prioritised the requirement of government agencies such as the National Highways Authority of India and the railways. “It assumes that land once acquired by these agencies should be allowed for unencumbered use. However, this does not explicitly consider that these acquisitions themselves may be based on unresolved land rights or may have created new livelihood bases for people brought in to raise, maintain and sell the plantations on government land.”  https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/amending-forest-conservation-act-facilitating-oil-gas-exploration-pvt-plantations-in-govt-plans-101633546136319-amp.html  (07 Oct. 2021)

This law has been instrumental in reducing deforestation as it requires approval from the central government when forests have to be diverted for non-forestry purposes. The regulatory mechanism of forest clearances allows the ministry to deliberate on whether deforestation should be permitted or not and what the conditions should be if such a permit is granted.  https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/forest-conservation-act-environmental-laws-eia-7574069/  (17 Oct. 2021)

Interview  Chitrangada Choudhury spoke to Ritwick Dutta – cofounder of LIFE, the 2021 alternative Nobel Right Livelihood Awardee – on 20 dogged years of litigating with fisherfolk, farming communities & forest-dwelling people for environmental justice in a deeply unequal country. https://article-14.com/post/-if-tribals-cut-1-tree-they-are-criminals-if-thousands-of-trees-are-cut-it-is-lauded-as-development–6167081ca364a  (14 Oct. 2021)

Uttarakhand Without FC govt starts road work in tiger reserve Govt has started work on 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.

After SC’s intervention in the matter, the road construction was put on hold in June 2019. The state government was asked to get clearance from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the wildlife board. The NTCA had approved the road in April with three riders — the state should get forest clearance from the environment ministry, the length of the underpass should be 700m, the height of the underpass should be 8m. The state forest department, however, suggested modifications to the project, including reducing the length of the underpass and its height.

The CEC in its meeting on September 16 had asked the Centre to explain why the 2014 Dhananjay Mohan Committee’s report which approved a 4.5km-long elevated road was diluted to reduce its length to 400m. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/no-forest-clearance-but-ukhand-builds-road-that-cuts-through-rajaji-ctr-corridor/articleshow/87078837.cms  (16 Oct. 2021)

Probe ordered into illegal tree felling for CTR safari project The Centre has ordered a probe into allegations of illegal tree felling and construction work undertaken in Corbett Tiger Reserve to set up a tiger safari envisioned by PM Modi. Directions for the latest inquiry were sent by Charan Jeet Singh, scientist at the ministry of environment, forests and climate change, to the head of its integrated regional office (MoEF Uttarakhand) on October 12. The written communique has asked the office to examine the matter and submit a factual report with “specific comments” within two weeks so further action can be taken. The idea for a tiger safari through the reserve was mooted by the PM during his shoot of an episode of ‘Man Vs Wild’ for Discovery channel at the tiger reserve in 2019.

The NTCA, a Supreme Court-appointed panel and the Uttarakhand forest department have already initiated separate probes into the allegations. The letter also mentioned that the stage II clearance to the project — which allows transfer of the forest land for non-forestry activity — was given only “recently” on September 10. A month before that, in August, a plea in NTCA had alleged illegal tree felling and construction in Corbett. The plea filed by Supreme Court advocate and activist Gaurav Bansal on August 26 this year had alleged that in order to use the land in Corbett’s Pakhro block (Sonanadi range) for non-forestry activity, a stage II clearance was required from the forest advisory committee under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. It alleged that work had started in the area without following due procedure. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/centre-orders-probe-into-illegal-tree-felling-in-ctr-for-pms-pet-tiger-safari/articleshow/87027984.cms  (15 Oct. 2021)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Study Brahmaputra basin getting hotter by 0.5°C The 378-page book, ‘The Restless River: Yarlung Tsangpo-Siang-Brahmaputra-Jamuna’, is about the Brahmaputra as a one-river system presenting a multi-layered, holistic perspective of the entire river basin, which spreads across four countries. The book has contributions from over 90 authors.

Di and Fanyu added, “As for precipitation, no specific trend of change in the amount of rainfall has been observed between the baseline period of 1951–1980 and 1981–2007. Extreme rainfall appears to be decreasing in the north but increasing over eastern portions of the basin. Rainfall intensity has increased slightly over eastern portions of the basin. Therefore, there could be more disastrous problems like flood frequency and lake outburst.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/guwahati/bputra-basin-getting-hotter-by-5-degree-c/articleshow/87047174.cms  (16 Oct. 2021)

North East One of the hottest Octobers in last 50 years IMD officials said a day or two in October could have been hotter in the past 50 years, but the high temperature has unusually persisted over a longer period this time. “The rise in temperature is due to a low pressure system in the Bay of Bengal. There is less moisture because of the low pressure, resulting in this dry weather,” said Sunit Das, a meteorologist at the IMD’s Regional Meteorological Centre. “But the temperature is set to go down with rain or thundershower likely in the next three-four days,” he said.

According to the IMD, Assam experienced a monsoon with 22% deficit rainfall. The rainfall deficit in the other six contiguous north-eastern States ranged from 21-30%. The meteorologists said it would be difficult to attribute the dip in rainfall and an “extended summer” to climate change. “Data of all the meteorological centres over a substantial period of time need to be analysed to come to a conclusion,” a weather specialist said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/north-east-sees-one-of-the-hottest-octobers-in-last-50-years/article37044603.ece  (17 Oct. 2021)

CoP 26 Meeting Documents The High-Level Segment of the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP-15) closed on Oct 13 2021 with the adoption of the Kunming Declaration, where Parties to the Convention committed to develop, adopt and implement an effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework that would biodiversity put on a path to recovery by 2030 at the latest, towards the full realization of the 2050 Vision of “Living in Harmony with Nature.” Critically, the framework would also include provision of the necessary means of implementation, in line with the Convention and its two protocols, as well as appropriate mechanisms for monitoring, reporting and review. The landmark post 2020 global biodiversity framework is due to be adopted at part two of the UN Biodiversity Conference in May 2022, following further formal negotiations in January 2022. The Declaration gives clear political direction for those negotiations. Summary of Round Table Discussions: https://www.cbd.int/meetings/COP-15-HLS; Full declaration: https://www.cbd.int/doc/press/2021/pr-2021-10-13-cop15-hls-en.pdf 

Report Nature based solutions would not solve climate crisis These so-called ‘solutions’ are, overwhelmingly, empty promises that will lead to massive violations of Indigenous rights, while failing to solve the climate crisis. https://countercurrents.org/2021/10/why-nature-based-solutions-wont-solve-the-climate-crisis-theyll-just-make-rich-people-even-richer/ (14 Oct 2021)

SOUTH ASIA

China demands $38 ml compensation before resuming work on Dasu Dam Mushtaq Ghumman, writing in Business Recorder said that China wanted to be compensated prior to resuming work on the stalled Dasu Hydropower Project. 13 people, including 9 Chinese engineers, 2 locals and 2 personnel of the Frontier Constabulary (FC) died and over 2 dozen other people sustained injuries when a bus carrying the team working on the project fell into a ravine after it was hit by a car laden with explosives on July 14, 2021.

The sources said the issue of compensation to the Chinese nationals is being discussed at a high level. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Water Resources and Chinese embassy were working closely on the compensation package, as well as, resumption of work on the project. According to sources, the Steering Committee, comprising Secretaries of concerned Ministries had constituted another Committee which deliberated on the issues linked to the Dasu project, especially the volume of compensation being demanded by the Chinese government. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/china-demands-38-million-compensation-for-dead-engineers-before-resuming-work-on-dasu-dam-project/articleshow/87055301.cms  (16 Oct. 2021)

ASIA

Europe Remove Dams, Restore Rivers Dam Removal Europe Coalition shares and celebrates the launch a new and dedicated *Open Rivers Programme* to restore rivers by removing dams with *€42.5 million (for continental Europe).* Programme founders Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin from the ARCADIA Foundation. This initiative will be a game changer for dam removal in Europe.  https://damremoval.eu/open-rivers-launch/  (08 Oct. 2021)

Documentary River of Nomads The documentary film, River of Nomads is a product of a cultural research expedition. In May 2021, Adamdar/CA project’s team of explorers, documentarians, and artists from Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan carried out an expedition from the source to the mouth of the Chu river. The group crossed over 2500 km along the Chu river, from the source under the glaciers in the Naryn region of the Kyrgyz Republic to its mouth in the steppes of Kazakhstan’s Jambyl province. The group gathered many stories—about the river, its meaning, its past, present and the future. Some of these stories made it into the documentary film «River of Nomads». https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=9ypdL2V5svM&feature=youtu.be  (06 Oct. 2021)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

International Rivers PR More than 570 Experts from 97 Countries Urge the UN to Strengthen Freshwater Biodiversity Protections As Humanity Faces Catastrophic Losses of Aquatic Species and Habitats. https://www.internationalrivers.org/news/press-release-more-than-570-experts-from-97-countries-urge-the-un-to-strengthen-freshwater-biodiversity-protections-as-humanity-faces-catastrophic-losses-of-aquatic-species-and-habitats/  (11 Oct. 2021)

USA 25% of all critical infrastructure at risk of failure One-in-four pieces of all critical infrastructures in the U.S. including police and fire stations, hospitals, airports and wastewater treatment facilities face substantial risk of being rendered inoperable by flooding, according to the report released October 11, 2021 by the First Street Foundation, a nonprofit research and technology group that assesses the threat posed by flooding across the U.S. Geographically speaking, the report found flood threats will increase most along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, but significant increases in vulnerability are also projected across large portions of the Pacific Northwest. The report also found nearly 2 million miles of road — 23% of U.S. roadways — are already at risk of becoming impassable due to flooding.  https://countercurrents.org/2021/10/25-of-all-critical-infrastructure-in-the-u-s-is-at-risk-of-failure-due-to-flooding-says-report/  (11 Oct. 2021)

The new national inventory of flood risk during the next 30 years, which takes into account climate change-driven increases in sea levels and heavy precipitation events, is the first of its kind.

The report, from the First Street Foundation, a nonprofit flood research and communications group, presents a stark warning — the U.S. isn’t ready for the climate of today, let alone the extreme weather and climate events coming in the next few decades. Methodology and full report can be viewed at https://firststreet.org/research-lab/published-research/highlights-from-infrastructure-on-the-brink/ 

California battles drought with $5.2 bl The budget money for drought mitigation includes about $1.3 billion for drinking water and wastewater system upgrades, $200 million to expand water recycling and clean groundwater basins, $180 million for groundwater management, $100 million to improve flows in streams and rivers, and $100 million to upgrade water conveyance in parts of the state affected by sinking ground.

California officials yesterday drew a direct link between the drought and climate change. Hotter temperatures accelerated melting snowpack and diminished water supplies throughout the year. The two-year period of 2020 and 2021 was second only to 1976 and 1977 in terms of low rain and snow.

“But what really happened behind the scenes was the manifestation of these high ambient temperatures and dry soil conditions,” said Karla Nemeth, director of the California Department of Water Resources. “So while technically 1976 and ‘77 was actually drier than 2020 and 2021, what happened in our reservoirs, rivers and streams” was “actually much lower than what happened in ‘76 and ‘77,” Nemeth said. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/california-battles-historic-drought-with-5-2-billion/  (01 Oct. 2021)

UK Woodland for water project Woodlands for Water is the first project developed by the partnership which, with support from Defra, aims to create 3,150 hectares of trees in six river catchment areas from Devon to Cumbria by March 2025. To support farmers and landowners to create these woodlands, they will be able to get advice and support from local land management advisers to apply for funding through theEngland Woodland Creation Offer grant, plus a simple carbon trading offer, which provides greater financial incentives for landowners and farmers to plant and manage trees along rivers, watercourses and wider catchments. https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/92af381a536d42578b0005554ea4236c 

Study Tropical wetlands reduce storm impacts Tropical wetlands provide storm protection that saves thousands of lives and more than $600bn each year, an Australian-linked world-first study has found. “It’s vitally important because around the world the area covered by wetlands is reducing and as we keep destroying our wetlands, we are putting more and more people at risk,” Dr Diane Jarvis from James Cook University said. Jarvis was part of a team of 12 scientists that has examined more than 1,000 hurricanes and cyclones responsible for deaths or damaged property since 1902. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/oct/17/tropical-wetlands-reduce-storm-impacts-and-save-thousands-of-lives-and-600bn-each-year-study-suggests  (17 Oct. 2021)

Report Plastic travels across geographies, ends up in humans Migration is a crucial, seasonal journey undertaken by species, which disproportionately exposes them to many threats, plastic pollution being among them. https://scroll.in/article/1007438/how-plastic-travels-across-geographies-and-ends-up-in-humans  (12 Oct. 2021)

Scientists are warning politicians immersed in climate change policy not to forget that the world is also in the midst of a plastic waste crisis. https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-58711403  (28 Sept. 2021)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 11 Oct. 2021 & DRP News Bulletin 04 Oct. 2021  

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

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

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