DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 17 Jan. 2022: Urban Water Mess visible in advocacy for Renuka and Mekedatu dams

This week brings heightened advocacy for major dams in the name of Urban Water supplies for cities that have no water policy, no worthwhile good water governance, but are happy demanding more and more water projects from further off places to cater to its unjustifiable demands. This is the underlying theme both in case of Renuka dam for Delhi and Mekedatu dam for Bangalore.

Some media reports are talking about need for additional storages, but in this advocacy there is no place for either efficient use of existing water storages, nor place for decentralised water storage options or underground water storage options, leave aside inclusion of soil moisture, which is a major storage option too.

In both cases, unviable dams are getting pushed at huge economic costs and massive social and environmental impacts, helping the political contractors’ causes. What is most shocking is that in neither case, the proponents are not even questioning why should the drinking water projects should not require environment or social impact assessment, appraisals, public consultations or even monitoring and compliance. One wonders where is the place for sane debate in India’s big cities? One of the rare exception was the eminently sensible edit in Deccan Herald on Jan 5, 2022: https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/second-edit/mekedatu-project-step-back-and-think-1068040.html

In a letter sent to Delhi Chief Minister in June 2010, several activists from Delhi said that Delhi does not need water from Renuka dam. Similarly a letter to the Prime Minister in May 2009 raised a number of objections to the dam. The then Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh in Oct 2010 had denied forest clearance to the project, rightly saying that Delhi needs to fix its water sector. Even the then water minister of Delhi had said at India Rivers Week function in Nov 2015 that Delhi does not need water from Renuka dam. An NGT petition had highlighted the completely dishonest and inadequate EIA and appraisal of the project. Clearly the project has no sound case in its favour.   

Renuka Dam Construction to begin in Dec 2022? “The initial investigation work to exploit the power potential of the Giri river was first carried out by the Government of Punjab in 1942. In 1964, the Himachal started weighing the feasibility of two projects, including the Renuka Ji dam project. However, the work on the other project – Giri Hydroelectric Project – started in the 1970s and was completed in due course. “DPR of the Renuka Ji dam was accepted by the TAC in 2000 for a total price of Rs 1,224.64 crore.

The revised DPR of the project with an estimated cost of Rs 4,596.76 crore was accepted by the TAC in 2015. Interstate Agreement among 6 beneficiary was signed on January 9, 2019. The updated DPR was accepted by the TAC of the Ministry of Jal Shakti on Dec 9, 2019 for Rs 6,946.99 crore. Of the projected cost, the Union government will bear 90 per cent of the expenditure.” The project envisages the construction of a 148-metre-high rock-fill dam. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/renuka-ji-dam-project-construction-to-begin-in-december-2022-7726307/  (16 Jan. 2022)

Bengaluru can do without Mekedatu water: Experts According to government estimates, by 2030, Bengaluru needs 2,020-2,030 MLD of water. At present, Bengaluru draws 1,450 MLD from Cauvery river and will get 750 MLD by March 2023 under the Cauvery 5th stage. Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board officials claim that 35-40 per cent of the work is completed.

Water Resources Department officials admitted, “No water or land audit has been done for the city. The BWSSB’s projections have not been reviewed or questioned. If you closely assess developments over the years, no water recycling, borewell recharge and re-use of treated water assessment has been done.” https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2022/jan/15/bluru-can-do-without-mekedatu-water-experts-2407029.html  (15 Jan. 2022)

Info on some big water projects facing delays for various reasons in Karnataka including Upper krishna project, Kalasa-banduri project, Yettinahole project, Kabini second stage project, Upper bhadra project, Hemavathi project. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2022/jan/16/karnataka-faces-hydra-headedproblem-in-fight-for-water-2407361.html  (16 Jan. 2022)

This report also has similar information on various projects stuck for years including Kalasa-Banduri, Mahadayi. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/mekedatu-or-mahadayi-its-just-politics-for-parties-1071210.html  (14 Jan. 2022)

NBA leader Medha Patkar on Friday (Jan. 14) said she would lead an agitation against the Mekedatu project since it would result in submergence of 1,200 hectares of forest and displacement of thousands of tribals. “We should resist and stop the construction of Mekedatu reservoir since it causes immense damage to the forest ecosystem and environment. Apart from submerging 1,200 hectares of forest land and lakhs of trees, the project displaced people living in the forest and put farmers under distress,” said Patkar at a press conference.

Various social and environmental organisations have come together to form the federation Karnataka Nela Jala Parisara Rakshana Samithi (KNJPRS) and they have taken up an agitation against the Mekedatu project, in support of which the Congress led a 168-km padayatra from Mekedatu in Kanakapura to Bengaluru that was suspended on Thursday (Jan. 13) owing to covid crisis and a PIL the high court. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/karnataka-medha-patkar-to-lead-agitation-against-mekedatu-project/articleshow/88903294.cms  (14 Jan. 2022)

“We need EIA as well as a social impact assessment to understand the adverse effect of the project on the adivasis (tribals) who depend on the rivers and the forests for their livelihood,” she said.

Medha said the Mekedatu dam should not be viewed from the spectrum of the river dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. “By questioning the dam, we are questioning the exploitation and destruction of resources. The inequity and injustice in the use of natural resources should stop. The resources should be used to support the life and livelihood of people and not the builders, contractors and politicians,” she added.

Meanwhile, Water conservation expert S Vishwanath said Karnataka has a share of 282.75 tmcft of storage water from Cauvery river but only 110 tmcft is being stored. To store its full share, the state needs the dam at Mekedatu. Drinking water projects do not need environmental clearance.

Activist Naganna Gowda from Mandya said efforts were being made to garner the support of farmers by promising more water for irrigation. “The farmers should realise that these promises are false. At the same time, the dam is being portrayed as a project to score over Tamil Nadu and get more Kaveri water. Soon, politicians will start pitting one district against another as climate change hits availability of water,” he added.  https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/mekedatu-project-will-be-disastrous-for-environment-adivasis-medha-patkar-1071227.html  (14 Jan. 2022)

Mekedatu Project Current status Indeed, Union Water Resources Minister Gajendra Shekhawat, in his written reply in Parliament, said the project required approval from the CWMA. Since the project was proposed across an inter-state river, it required approval of lower riparian states too (Kerala and Puducherry), as per the inter-state Water Dispute Act. “The same has been told to Karnataka”, the Union minister had said. He had pointed out that as per the CWDT and the final award (modified by the Supreme Court), acceptance of CWMA would be a pre-requisite for consideration of the DPR by the Ministry.

– Karnataka had submitted a Feasibility Report (FR) for the Mekedatu project in 2018 to the Central Water Commission (CWC) seeking “in-principle” clearance for preparation of DPR. The Screening Committee of CWC accorded clearance for the same, with certain conditions, in Oct 2018. In Jan 2019 DPR was submitted by Karnataka to CWC, and it was referred to CWMA for consideration.

– MoEF has declined to frame the TOR for the project as inter state issues are not sorted out. In CWMA, TN and Pondicherry stand together, Kerala stand is uncertain. It is not easy for Karnataka to get majority in its favour in CWMA.

– Another option for Karnataka is to file an original suit in SC seeking declaration that the state has the right to build Mekedatu. State can explore this after political consensus in the state. If SC rejects this plea, than a request for another tribunal can be made. https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/panorama/mekedatu-a-rift-among-karnataka-s-parties-where-there-was-unity-before-1070610.html  (12 Jan. 2022)

The project requires a total of 5,252 hectares of land. Of this, about 4,996 hectares will be submerged while the actual dam will be constructed in the remaining 256 hectares. Of the total land required, 3,181 hectares fall in the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, 1,869 hectares in a reserve forest and 201 hectares is revenue land.

While the project was previously estimated to cost Rs 5,000 crore, the cost has now escalated to Rs 9,000 crore. And considering that the project has still not been approved by the central government, the actual cost will likely go up further depending on when the final approvals come.

In January 2019, Karnataka submitted the Detailed Project Report (DPR) to the Central Water Commission (CWC) and later to the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) to get the consent of the co-basin states. The CWMA is yet to approve the DPR because Tamil Nadu, which is the co-basin state, has opposed the project. The lower riparian state has also approached the Supreme Court against Mekedatu, and the matter is pending adjudication.  https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/dh-deciphers-mekedatu-project-what-is-it-and-where-does-it-stand-now-1070022.html  (11 Jan. 2022)

The project also needs environmental clearances since large portions of forest land will be submerged if the reservoir is built. Environmentalists have raised concerns about this and about an elephant corridor that would be covered by the proposed reservoir. It can only be executed with the consent of Tamil Nadu, which has already challenged it. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-politics-and-controversies-around-proposed-dam-on-cauvery-7723390/  (15 Jan. 2022)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

SANDRP Blog Environment; forest clearances for dam projects in 2021 Form December 20, 2020 to December 23, 2021, the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) had 17 meetings and considered 49 proposals including 28 Hydropower, 16 Pumped Storage, 4 Lift Irrigation and 1 Irrigation cum drinking water projects. Out of these 49 proposals 20 were considered for EC including extension, amendment and reconsideration while 28 proposals were considered for ToR including amendment and reconsideration.

In this period the EAC approved EC to 16 and ToR to 20 proposals. Of 16 projects granted ECs, 13 are HEP projects of which 5 are in Himachal Pradesh, 3 in J&K, 2 in Arunachal Pradesh and 1 each in Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Odisha. Out of 14 meetings held in 2021, the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) considered proposals regarding diversion of forest lands for hydro, dam and irrigation projects in 5 meetings and approved 4 proposals. The meeting dates and minute links are given in table below. https://sandrp.in/2022/01/14/environment-and-forest-clearances-for-dam-projects-in-2021/  (14 Jan. 2022)

Himachal Pradesh Holi Bajoli HEP tunnel leaking, causing landslides: HIMDHARA Activists have questioned the seepages from the 180MW Bajoli-Holi power project at Jharauta village in tribal Bharmaur of Chamba district last December that triggers landslides, damage to homes. The fact finding report prepared by the NGO “Himdhara Environment Research and Action collective” after a visit to the area on Jan 3-4, 2022 stated that villagers had warned of poor geology during project planning. While releasing the report, the NGO said this is not a first of its kind incident, these hazards are occurring at every stage of the project – during the construction, due to intensive blasting, during the testing and then long after commissioning.

– In the last week of December last year, sudden seepages from the tunnel of the hydro electric project was reported. The NGO said that close to two weeks after, the seepages and resultant landslides continued even as no substantial action was taken by the project authorities or the local administration. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/green-activists-now-raise-red-flag-over-hydel-power-project-in-chamba-dist/articleshow/88924178.cms  (16 Jan. 2022)

HIMDHARA report says that as per local testimonies, people first noticed the seepage on the left side of the village on December 19. After that more seepage appeared, triggering a landslide, even as cracks started showing up. The seepage was present when the team reached the spot. Subsequently, three families had to be evacuated. On the same day, a committee headed by the Nayab Tehsildar was set up by the administration to assess the damages. Angry Jharauta residents demanded that the project work be immediately shut down and a team of safety experts be sent to the area. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/tunnel-testing-triggered-seepage-landslides-in-chamba-village-report-101642280235273-amp.html  (16 Jan. 2022)

HIMDHARA said that the Directorate of Energy should send a team of safety experts to the site of seepage from the tunnel of the 180 MW Bajoli Holi hydro-power project in the Bharmour area of Chamba, which was damaging the houses of villagers. Citing a 2015 study of the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), Negi claimed that 56 per cent of the power projects in Himachal faced a serious threat of landslide hazards. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/send-safety-team-to-tunnel-seepage-site-govt-urged-361659  (16 Jan. 2022)

Arunachal Pradesh IMES says no to hydro projects in Dibang valley Anini-based Idu Mishmi Elite Society (IMES) said it has decided to say no to construction of hydropower projects in Dibang Valley district. Referring to the Dibang Multipurpose Project (DMP), among several other hydro projects in the district, the IMES said that the DMP “comprises a slew of discrepancies in the environment impact assessment and social impact assessment reports and the state government’s proposals.”  https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/01/11/imes-says-no-to-hydropower-projects-in-d-valley/  (11 Jan. 2022)

West Bengal Purulia hdropower may not be clean The Purulia Pumped Storage Project (PPSP) in among six operational pumped hydro projects in India. The government claims the project to be success story in clean energy generation and wants to establish three more such projects in the state. But locals sat the project ravaged dense forests, engulfed elephant habitat and impacted the livelihoods of those dependent on forests. Experts question the need for such projects without effective peak management of existing hydropower capacity. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/01/purulia-pumped-storage-project-shows-why-pumped-hydropower-may-not-be-clean/  (11 Jan. 2022)

बिहार  सौर ऊर्जा और जल विद्युत डगमारा परियोजना बंद कोसी इलाके की डगमारा परियोजना को पिछले साल ही करीब 56 साल बाद हरी झंडी मिली थी और इस साल 7 जनवरी को योजना को बंद करने का फैसला किया गया। केंद्रीय विद्युत प्राधिकरण ने परियोजना की लागत और बिजली उत्पादन की लागत ज्यादा होने समेत कई बिंदुओं के चलते बंद करने का फैसला किया।

– 130 मेगावाट बिजली उत्पादन क्षमता का यह प्रोजेक्ट कोसी बैराज से डाउन स्ट्रीम में करीब 60 किलोमीटर नीचे और कोसी महासेतु से थोड़ा ऊपर बनना था। यह बहुउद्देशीय हाइड्रो पावर प्रोजेक्ट था, जिसकी लागत 2 हजार 400 करोड़ रुपए अनुमानित थी। 14 जून 2021 को भारत सरकार के नेशनल हाइड्रोइलेक्ट्रिक पावर कॉर्पोरेशन और बिहार राज्य जल विद्युत निगम के साथ दिपक्षीय समझौता (MOU) हो गया है। इससे पहले 18 अप्रैल, 2021 को नीतीश कुमार कैबिनेट ने योजना के मौजूदा स्वरूप को स्वीकृति दी थी। डगमारा परियोजना के तहत कोसी नदी के बाएं एवं दाएं दोनों ओर एक-एक पावर हाउस बनना था।

– बिहार सरकार के मुताबिक इस परियोजना के पूरा होने के बाद सुपौल सहित सात जिलों को लाभ होगा। इनमें दरभंगा, मधुबनी, समस्तीपुर, सहरसा, मधेपुरा और अररिया शामिल थे। लेकिन नदी और बाढ़, खासकर कोसी को समझने वालों के मुताबिक ये परियोजना बाढ़ से बचाने नहीं बल्कि इलाके को डुबाने वाली थी। इसलिए वो लगातार इसका विरोध कर रहे थे। अब जबकि इस परियोजना को आगे न बढ़ाने का निर्णय लिया गया है, विरोझ करने वाले खुश है. महेंद्र यादव गांव कनेक्शन से कहते हैं, “2012 में इस प्रोजेक्ट को लेकर पर्यावरण मंत्रालय की विशेषज्ञ मूल्यांकन समिति (EAC) ने कई गंभीर सवाल उठाए थे। इस सवाल के आधार पर यही लगता था कि यह परियोजना कोसी क्षेत्र का डेथ वारंट है।”

– कोसी नदी प्रोजेक्ट पर काम कर चुके रिटायर्ड इंजीनियर अमोद कुमार झा बताते हैं, “इससे पहले कोसी नदी पर बने भीमनगर बराज का निर्माण 15 मेगावाट बिजली उत्पादन लक्ष्य के साथ हुआ था। लेकिन उस परियोजना के जरिये कभी तीन मेगावाट से अधिक बिजली का उत्पादन नहीं हुआ। अक्सर देखा गया है कि मैदानी नदियों पर बनने वाली पनबिजली परियोजनाएं पचास फीसदी भी बिजली उत्पादित नहीं कर पातीं। साथ ही यह कहना कि इस परियोजना से बाढ़ घटेगी बकवास के सिवाय कुछ नही हैं। क्योंकि इससे पहले कोसी नदी पर बने बांध से बाढ़ रूक पाई है और कितना रूक पाई है?”

– बिहार के ऊर्जा मंत्री और जेडीयू विधायक बिजेंद्र यादव परियोजना बंद होने के बाद बताते हैं कि, “सरकार डगमारा प्रोजेक्ट को पूरी करने की कोशिश कर रही थी। लेकिन उत्पादन लागत अधिक होने के वजह से डागमारा पनबिजली परियोजना को बंद करने के अलावा कोई विकल्प नहीं बच जाता है। इसलिए सरकार ने डागमारा पर आगे काम नहीं करने का निर्णय लिया है।”

– प्राधिकरण के सचिव विजय कुमार मिश्र ने एनएचपीसी के सीएमडी को एक पत्र लिख कर परियोजना को बंद करने की जानकारी दी। इस पत्र में लिखा था कि डागमारा से बिजली के उत्पादन पर प्रति मेगावाट 43.39 करोड़ रुपये खर्च होंगे, जो दूसरी पनबिजली परियोजनाओं से 10 करोड़ रुपये प्रति मेगावाट अधिक है। साथ ही डागमारा की बिजली वितरण लागत प्रति यूनिट 18.67 रुपये आयेगी, जो साधारण दर से काफी अधिक है। प्रस्तावित डीपीआर में कोसी मेची लिंक प्रोजेक्ट के लिए अपस्ट्रीम में पानी के किसी मोड़ के कारण परियोजना की स्थापित क्षमता 130 मेगावॉट से और कम हो सकती है। https://www.gaonconnection.com/bihar/proposed-solar-power-and-hydropower-dagmara-project-closed-in-supaul-district-of-bihar-kosi-region-news-in-hindi-50301  (11 Jan. 2022)

DAMS

Dam Safety Act Madras HC notices to Centre  The top bench of Madras HC on Jan 11, 2022 admitted petition challenging the Dam Safety Act and issued notice to the Union Ministry of Law and also of JalShakti. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/south/madras-high-court-orders-notice-to-centre-on-plea-against-dam-safety-act-1070210.html  (11 Jan. 2022)

The petition said the Act has the effect of taking control over all major dams in the State and will completely denude the States’ control over dams located inside and outside their territory. The Dam Safety Act, 2021, passed in December, met stiff resistance from the opposition in the Rajya Sabha. They objected to various provisions of the Act. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/jan/12/madras-hc-seeks-govts-reply-to-dmks-dam-act-plea-2405828.html  (12 Jan. 2022)

Mullaperiyar Dam Not here to administer, SC tells T.N. & Kerala The Supreme Court on Tuesday (Jan. 11) told Tamil Nadu and Kerala that it was not there to “administer the dam” when a supervisory committee was already in place to examine the issue of safety of the Mullaperiyar Dam and the management of its water level. “The safety of the dam is related to the management of the water level. A committee has already been formed for that… We are not here to do the administration of the dam,” Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, heading a Bench also comprising Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, said. The court said it was, however, concerned about the safety, security and health of the people living in the vicinity of the dam.

The Bench said it was, hence, willing to examine the dam strictly on statutory basis and would not dabble in the administration of the dam, which was the job of the committee. The court asked stakeholders in the cases, including the two States, to finalise core issues for adjudication by the court by February. It adjourned the case to the second week of February. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/not-here-to-administer-mullaperiyar-dam-supreme-court-tells-tn-and-kerala/article38231460.ece   (11 Jan. 2022)

The bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C T Ravikumar, noted that advocates appearing in the matter have agreed to have a joint meeting to identify the core issues that need to be addressed by the top court in these proceedings. The bench observed that this is not an adversarial litigation. The top court, while posting the matter for hearing in the second week of February, said the written note be submitted on or before February 4.

During the hearing, the bench de-tagged a separate plea, which pertained to the issue related to proposed construction of a reservoir at Mekedatu, from the batch of petitions related to Mullaperiyar dam. The parties appearing in the plea pertaining to Mekedatu issue told the bench that it is a separate matter. “We are delinking this matter,” the bench said, adding it would come up for hearing on January 25. https://www.news18.com/news/india/mullaperiyar-dam-matter-not-adversarial-parties-should-assist-in-identifying-core-issues-sc-4644452.html  (11 Jan. 2022)

Mullaperiyar ticks all the boxes that the UNU-INWEH study identifies for decommissioning — public safety, growing maintenance costs, reservoir sedimentation and environmental restoration. Large dams, even if structurally sound, are regarded as ‘high hazard’ infrastructure because of the potential for massive loss of human lives, livelihoods and destruction in the event of failure, the study said. https://owsa.in/ageing-dams-are-ticking-time-bombs/  (11 Jan. 2022)

Sardar Sarovar Project Farmers protest demand expedition of project Hundreds of farmers of BKS gathered in Bhuj town on Jan 11, 2022 and demanded that the government start work on creating canals for flowing one MAF floodwaters of Narmada dam to Kutch. Officers of the irrigation department said that the DPR will have to be modified. “The project envisages lifting Narmada water from Tappar dam and pumping it to around 100 reservoirs of Kutch by digging seven link canals. The government has given in-principle approval to the project and has allotted Rs 3,475 crore for the first phase in which four link canals are proposed to be constructed.

However, DPR of the project was prepared in 2008-’09 and ground situation has changed since. Therefore, the DRP will have to be modified,” said an officer on the condition of anonymity. The Kutch branch canal (KBC) of the Narmada dam project is to take Narmada waters to Modkuba village of Mandvi taluka in western Kutch. However, work of digging this canal is ongoing and recently, water reached till Pragpar in Mundra taluka. KBC also feeds Tappar dam in Anjar taluka in eastern Kutch. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/rajkot/supply-of-narmada-floodwaters-to-kutch-farmers-protest-in-bhuj-town-demand-expedition-of-project-7718480/  (12 Jan. 2022)

Hirakud Dam Oustees seek land Land oustees of Hirakud Dam project submitted a memorandum addressed to CM Naveen Patnaik and to Sambalpur Collector Dibya Jyoti Parida on Thursday (Jan. 14) demanding 10 decimal homestead land for the displaced families. At least 16,934 applications for homestead land have been submitted by the displaced families, Hirakud Dam Bisthapith Kalyan Samiti leaders said. General secretary of Hirakud Dam Bisthapith Kalyan Samiti Prafulla Boxi said the state government had announced to provide 10 decimal homestead land to the project affected people in 2002. Though 20 years have passed, the promise is yet to be fulfilled. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2022/jan/14/hirakud-dam-oustees-seek-land-2406732.html  (14 Jan. 2022)

Kaleshawaram Project Kaleswaram irrigation work in Gollapalli mandal of Jagtial district has given the department a rare opportunity to explore, document and preserve the remains of medieval-era temple that was unearthed during excavations for a link canal at Devikonda hillock. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2022/jan/10/kaleshwaram-irrigation-works-unearth-a-treasure-trove-2405134.html  (10 Jan. 2022)

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

Krishna Water Disputes Telangana seeks permission to utilise 45 tmcft water In a letter to KRMB chairman MP Singh, Irrigation Engineer-in-Chief C Muralidhar said that since the formation of the state, Telangana had been requesting the Centre for allowing it to utilise 45 tmcft of dependable water for its in-basin projects in lieu of diversion of Godavari waters, as per the Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal (GWDT).In another letter on augmenting the drinking water supply to Chennai, Muralidhar asked the KRMB against permitting AP to use more than 34 tmcft from the Srisailam reservoir. “Arrange to establish sensors all along Pothireddypadu head regulator, all outlets from Banakacherla cross regulator, off-take Chennamukkapally and outlets from Kandaleru and Poondi border to have a correct picture of releases as per the interstate agreements,” Muralidhar said. He also requested to include issues relating to the modernisation of Rajolibanda Diversion Scheme (RDS) anicut to ensure that Telangana realises its full share of water.

In his third letter, Muralidhar wanted the KRMB to direct the AP government not to proceed with works on SRBC, TGP, HNSS, GNSS and others taken up with an estimated cost of Rs 47,776.5 crore to divert water to Pennar and other adjoining basins far-off places up to 700 km and beyond. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2022/jan/14/telangana-officials-to-krishna-river-board-let-us-utilise-45-tmcft-of-water-from-krishna-2406631.html  (14 Jan. 2022)

URBAN RIVERS

Sabarmati; Ahmedabad HC seeks report on state of effluent treatment plants The Gujarat High Court has sought reports on the condition of effluent treatment plants (ETP) and sewage treatment plants (STP) after hearing the suo motu public interest litigation pertaining to tackling Sabarmati river pollution in Ahmedabad. In the order by the division bench of Justices JB Pardiwala and VD Nanavati dated January 7, made public on Thursday,   the court has issued four key directives.

– The court has directed that Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) along with the court-constituted Joint Task Force undertake the inspection of all the ETPs of the textile industries who have moved before the Gujarat HC seeking relief after their units were shut down owing to non-adherence to pollution norms. The court has directed to submit a report on the condition of the ETPs be submitted to the court before the next date of hearing. The court is due to hear the matter next on Jan 21.

– The court also directed GPCB to look into the proposal made by Arvind Ltd of using zero liquid discharge technique of water treatment and further directed GPCB to take an appropriate decision at the earliest and give a final nod in the form of consolidated consent and authorisation (CCA) or by any other legal mode, in this regard. Meanwhile, the bench directed AMC to continue its drive of detecting and identifying illegal industrial connections into sewer and snap all such connections at the earliest and to ensure that the power supply as well is disconnected.

– The direction for disconnecting power supply came following submission by the amicus curiae that units where illegal industrial connections were disconnected, were managing to discretely run their units in the midnight hours and that they are discharging the industrial effluent by other illegal mode and manner. The court noted in its order that “This should be stopped at the earliest.” https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/sabarmati-river-pollution-gujarat-hc-effluent-treatment-plants-7722259/lite/  (14 Jan. 2022)

HC seeks status report on deep-sea discharge project The Gujarat high court has asked the state government to place an appropriate report on status of its deep-sea effluent disposal pipeline project for Ahmedabad region and it commented that if this gets materialised, it could save the Sabarmati river. During the last hearing on the suo motu PIL on release of improperly treated wastewater in Sabarmati river causing pollution, the bench of Justice J B Pardiwala and Justice V D Nanavati inquired with the advocate general about the proposed 122-km deep-sea pipeline project.

The court was informed that a tender with estimation cost of Rs 1,647.4 crore was invited online by the Gujarat Water Infrastructures Ltd in October 2020. There was no information about what happened after the tender was floated. The high court said, “If this project ultimately sees the light of the day, it may go a long way in tackling the problem of water pollution and more particularly, saving the Sabarmati river. We are not experts and therefore, we would not like to express any opinion as regards the feasibility of this project, etc. However, we would like to know from the state about the current status of the said project.” The court has asked the government to provide information about the project why way of a report or in form of an affidavit on the next hearing on January 21. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/hc-seeks-status-report-on-deep-sea-discharge-project/articleshow/88886518.cms  (14 Jan. 2022)

Opinion Covid 19, Lockdown and water Quality  Priyanka Jamwal, ATREE on why KSPCB data fail to reflect improvement in Vrishabhavathi water quality and why pollution monitoring mechanism needs course correction.https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/in-perspective/covid-19-lockdown-and-water-quality-874169.html  (17 Aug. 2020)

RIVERS

Report MUD An exploration of one of Earth’s most ubiquitous substances. Some interesting facts and figures about sediment in rivers and how that is changing over the years. https://www.science.org/content/article/five-charts-will-change-everything-you-know-about-mud    (21 Aug 2020)

Jharkhand Probably a first Aakhan Yatra, Ridge Adventure Foundation started river rafting facility in Subarnarekha in Chandil region to boost tourism. https://avenuemail.in/jamshedpur-boat-for-river-rafting-from-joyda-to-mango-launched-to-boost-tourism/  (15 Jan. 2022)

Jammu & Kashmir Admin asks NHAI to furnish safety certificate of suspension bridge over Chenab District Magistrate Ramban sought the safety certificate of the suspension bridge over River Chenab in Ramban from Regional Officer NHAI, Jammu besides immediately strengthening the bridge by repair rehabilitation. During the closure of the highway at Mehar, NHIA had replaced the bridge as an alternate route for LMVs. This communication was made given the heavy rains witnessed from January 7 to 8, 2022, that led to continuous land sliding and shooting stones at Mehar, Ramban, blocking vehicular traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu NH-44 between Jaswal Bridge and Cafeteria Morh.

The bridge has been declared unsafe by 35 BRTF. Despite this, NHAI is using it as an alternate route to allow thousands of LMVs and passenger vehicles to pass through the Maitra side following the closure of NH-44 at Mehar. “In case of any untoward incident that might arise due to movement of thousands of LMVS and passenger vehicles over the bridge, the responsibility for any such incident would entirely rest with the Regional Officer NHAI Jammu office,” the communication reads. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/chenab-valley/admin-asks-nhai-to-furnish-safety-certificate-of-suspension-bridge-over-river-chenab  (17 Jan. 2022)

BRAHMAPUTRA Assam Sewage pollution caused deterioration in last 6 years A new study finds that huge untreated sewage discharge into the transboundary river, especially in the largest city Guwahati, is affecting the lives of people in Assam and downstream.

Wetland destruction worsens river pollution:- Deepor Beel, a Ramsar wetland site and wildlife sanctuary on the outskirts of Guwahati, is connected to the Brahmaputra via a set of inflow and outflow channels. The wetland is home to many endangered species such as the white-rumped vulture, red-headed vulture and greater adjutant stork. Wild elephants and deer are often seen in the reserve. This rich biodiversity has long been under threat because the reserve has been used as Guwahati’s garbage dump. Untreated sewage is also carried into it through the Bharalu River. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/pollution/sewage-pollution-drives-deterioration-brahmaputra/  (15 Dec. 2021)

GANGA Uttar Pradesh अर्धचंद्राकार स्वरूप खो कर काशी विश्वनाथ गलियारे की कीमत चुका रही है गंगा  अब हुआ यूं कि महादेव गलियारा बनाने के लिए बड़ी मात्रा में पुरानी इमारतों को रास्ते से हटाया गया और इमारतों का हजारों टन मलबा लाकर ललिता घाट की गंगा में डाल दिया. प्रधानमंत्री के स्नान के दौरान इस मलबे को हरे कॉरपेट से ढक दिया गया था, पानी से कचरा निकाला गया, नगवां पंपिंग प्लांट को बंद किया गया और पड़ोस में मणिकर्णिका घाट पर अंतिम संस्कार रोक दिया गया था. ताकि स्नान की तस्वीरे हर एंगल से बेहतरीन आए. यहां से गंगा जल लेकर प्रधानमंत्री करीब पांच सौ मीटर चल कर बाबा पर जल चढ़ाने गए. वैसे कोर्ट ने गंगा बाढ़ बिंदु से पांच सौ मीटर तक निर्माण पर रोक लगा रखी है लेकिन पांच सौ मीटर का यह गलियारा फूड कोर्ट, लाइब्रेरी, टूरिस्ट सुविधाएं जैसी कई नई इमारतों का गवाह बनेगा.

वाराणसी का ललिता घाट जहां गिराया गया है मलबा | फोटो- अभय मिश्रा

– प्रधानमंत्री के जाने के बाद ललिता घाट पर खड़ा होना भी मुश्किल है क्योंकि कचरा जमा हो गया और उसे आगे बहने की जगह भी नहीं है. ललिता घाट में डाले गए मलबे को आधार बना कर एक जेट्टी का निर्माण किया जा रहा है. जेट्टी सौ फीट लंबी और डेढ़ सौ फीट चौड़ी होगी. विचार यह है कि पर्यटक समूहों से लदी रो रो क्रूज इसी जेट्टी पर उतरेंगी और पर्यटक सीधे बाबा के दरबार में पहुंच जाएंगे. धारा के भीतर तक घुसकर बनाई जा रही इस जेट्टी के कारण ललिता घाट पर बहाव रुक गया और अर्धचंद्राकार स्वरूप भी बिगड़ गया क्योंकि घुमाव की जगह ही नहीं बची. नदी वैज्ञानिक प्रोफेसर यूके चौधरी ने कई बार पत्र लिखकर सरकार को इस बाबत चेताया है, उनका मानना है कि इस बांधनुमा निर्माण से गंगा के वेग में कमी आएगी और गंगा घाटों को छोड़ देगी. इससे दशाश्वमेध से लेकर अस्सी तक बालू व सिल्ट भारी मात्रा में जमा हो जाएगी. https://hindi.theprint.in/opinion/ganga-of-varanasi-is-paying-the-price-of-kashi-vishwanath-corridor-by-losing-its-crescent-shape/262057/  (Abhya Mishra on Jan 11 2022)

Uttarakhand Pristine Auli meadow littered with plastic, liquor bottles  Repercussions of such littering are more than defacement of nature. Once the snow melts, the garbage flows down river streams, which pass through tiger reserve. Wild animals in these protected areas, including tiger, leopards and elephants often end up consuming plastic and other pollutants from these rivers. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/tourist-fallout-pristine-auli-meadow-littered-with-plastic-and-liquor-bottles/articleshow/88796670.cms (10 Jan 2022)

Jharkhand Dainik Bhaskar Jan. 14 report on spread of arsenic contamination in 58 villages causing cancer.

YAMUNA Uttar Pradesh ‘Cancer river’ & call for vote boycott There are several families which have cancer patients due to polluted and contaminated water of Kaali Nadi (Black river) in western UP. Despite the promises from the government and local representatives, the river, which is the main source of drinking and agricultural water in the area, is getting more polluted and contaminated. Residents of as many as 80 villages have been facing the problem of similar nature where even groundwater has become undrinkable due to the seepage of this pollution deep inside. Locals claim that the problem has not emerged in just the last few years, the river became polluted gradually for the last two decades. But for the last few years, the magnitude of this problem has increased manifold. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/kaali-river-uttar-pradesh-assembly-polls-1894236-2021-12-30  (30 Dec. 2021)

Devotees offer half km of saree to river Yamuna for clean water. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/city/lucknow/devotees-offer-half-km-of-saree-to-river-yamuna-for-clean-water/videoshow/88824121.cms  (11 Jan. 2022)

Haryana State Pollution Control Board for action against officials of industries’ corporation The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) has recommended action against the erring officials of Haryana State Industries Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) for their alleged connivance with industrialists in the discharge of untreated industrial effluents from the storm water lines by bypassing the CETP in the industrial zone at Barhi in Sonepat. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/pollution-board-for-action-against-officials-of-industries-corporation-361075   (14 Jan. 2022)

Delhi Yamuna dirtier than it was 3 months ago Pollution in Yamuna has worsened with the faecal bacteria level being at a record high of 14 times than what existed three months ago. This has been revealed by the December 2021 water quality status report by Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC).  The analysis by DPCC’s Water Laboratory showed there were 41 STPs of Delhi Jal Board of which 35 were operational. However, only eight were complying with the prescribed standards. Sewage generation from 22 major drains was 3,273 MLD, while the installed treatment capacity of STPs was 2,715 MLD. But only 2,182 MLD sewage was being actually treated. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/yamuna-dirtier-than-it-was-3-months-ago/articleshow/88938920.cms  (17 Jan. 2022)

Panel to identify non-industrial sources causing pollution in drains  An expert committee has finalised the inlet water quality standards for all 13 CETPs to identify non-industrial sources of pollution in the drain. According to officials, Delhi has 13 CETPs to treat effluents released from 17 industrial areas, but most of them have been failing to comply with the acceptable water quality standards for around two years. DPCC had imposed a total environmental damage compensation of Rs 12.05 crore on 12 CETPs for not meeting the environmental parameters in July last year and served them notices again later in the year. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/panel-to-identify-non-industrial-sources-causing-pollution-in-drains/articleshow/88796915.cms  (10 Jan. 2022)

RIVERS BIODIVERSITY

Arunachal Pradesh Communities collaborate with forest officials to conserve orchids The Sessa Orchid Sanctuary, located in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, was the first, and until recently the only, protected area in the country dedicated to the preservation of naturally growing orchids. Notified in 1989, Sessa Orchid Sanctuary is home to 236 orchid species, several of them rare and endemic, with unique botanical value, and the sanctuary has also been used as an ex-situ conservation site for threatened orchids. While parts of the orchid sanctuary has been disturbed by the trans-Arunachal highway work, indigenous communities in Sessa have collaborated with forest officials to give it a makeover in the hope that the sanctuary would bring opportunities of community focused eco-tourism. https://india.mongabay.com/2021/12/in-arunachals-sessa-orchid-sanctuary-communities-collaborate-with-forest-officials-to-conserve-orchids/  (22 Dec. 2021)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Kerala Rise in pufferfish population leave fisherfolk in crisis Changing marine ecosystem is affecting the livelihood of fisherfolk in the state. The plight of the fisherfolk at Vallikkunnu, Parappanangadi, Tanur and Ponnani in Malappuram reveals the gravity of the crisis they are in. The increasing population of pufferfish that shreds fishing nets has been causing huge losses to the community.

According to fisherfolk, compared to previous years, the pufferfish population has increased rapidly at an alarming rate. The pufferfish with large external spines, powerful jaws, sharp teeth and self-inflating capacity have been destroying fishing net worth Rs 20 lakh. Using their spines and teeth they will damage the net. If they come as a large group, they not only damage the net but also eat up the catch in it.

Meanwhile, pufferfish is mostly seen during the months of January and February. There are different types of pufferfish. Most of them contain a toxic substance that is deadly to some other fish and humans. Hence, this kind of fish is not consumed by people. But some people use this fish for treatments in Japan. The decline in the population predators of pufferfish has aggravated the issue.  https://english.mathrubhumi.com/news/kerala/change-in-marine-ecosystem-rise-in-pufferfish-population-leave-fisherfolk-in-crisis-puffer-fish-1.6359325  (14 Jan. 2022)

Aug. 2018 report mentions same problem “This monsoon has been extremely disappointing for the fishermen as they have been getting only small mackerel and anchovy. The price of mackerel has plummeted to around Rs 100 per kg and there has been a steep decline in the availability of other species including oil sardine. The livelihood has been affected and many families are reduced to penury. The government should intervene to support the community.

“Usually the species (puffer fish) appear in the post-monsoon period, however, this time they have arrived early,” said Fishermen Coordination committee president Charles George. According to experts, the drastic decline in predator fish population has led to an increase in population of puffer fish. “There has been an increase in the presence of puffer fish in the coastal sea during the post monsoon period since 2006. They damage the nylon nets and prey on the other catch, particularly squid and cuttle fish, thus decreasing their commercial value,” said Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute principal scientist  K Sunil Mohamed. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2018/aug/31/fishers-in-distress-as-puffer-fish-roam-coastal-waters-1865280.html  (21 Aug. 2018)

SAND MINING

Uttar Pradesh RTI activist and local reporter Ashish Sagar Dixit continues to face oppression by administration for raising illegal mining issues in Ken river, Banda. The police officials have wrongly declared him history sheeter few days back and now planning to book him under NSA. Ashish has won Anupam Jal Mitra Award, Jagran RTI award for his work and was among 12 person selected as whistle blower by India Today. https://janjwar.com/national/uttar-pradesh/white-collar-mafia-ke-khilaf-awaj-uthane-ki-keemat-khud-nsa-ki-dehleej-par-khada-hokar-chuka-raha-hai-ek-whistle-blower-ashish-sagar-top-latest-hindi-news-in-banda-uttar-pradesh-797261   (12 Jan. 2022)  https://www.bhadas4media.com/patrkar-ashish-sagar-ka-utpidan/   (10 Jan. 2022) Ashish has faced threat to his life in June 2021. https://hindi.newslaundry.com/2021/06/18/mining-mafia-threatened-journalist-reporting-madhya-pradesh 

West Bengal NGT directs DM to look into illegal boulder mining The NGT has directed the District Magistrate, Jalpaiguri to look into the illegal boulder mining and transportation from Chel river range in the district without requisite consent, resulting in air and noise pollution in the area. According to the NGT, a complaint has been filed before the green court by an applicant attaching various photographs of the environmental violation along Chel river range in Manabari Busty village of Malbazar Sub division of Jalpaiguri district. “In view of above, we direct the District Magistrate, Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, to look into the matter and take remedial action in accordance with the law,” the NGT said in an order dated January 7.

In Sep 2020, the NGT had imposed a fine of Rs 2 crore on the state government as interim compensation to be used for the restoration of water quality of three rivers – Mahananda, Jorapani, and Phuleswari. The petitioners had in 2016 taken the grievance about pollution in the three rivers to the green tribunal. During the hearing on September 20, the tribunal pointed out that it had passed nearly a dozen orders on this subject, but there has been no progress.

The detailed project report revealed that 3 STPs are necessary to combat water pollution, but land issues have jeopardized plans for the same, the tribunal said. Earlier, the same bench had directed the Chief Secretary of the state to personally look into the pollution levels of the three rivers in Siliguri and take remedial measures. https://www.thehansindia.com/news/national/ngt-directs-jalpaiguri-dm-to-look-into-illegal-boulder-mining-along-chel-river-range-724516  (13 Jan. 2022)

Punjab Illegal sand mining still a big issue in Kharar Illegal sand mining was a big issue in the previous SAD-BJP government in the state. Congress, during their campaign, had promised the people to end the ‘mining mafia’. But in Kharar’s Mullanpur Garibdas area, illegal sand mining has continued to be rampant. Despite the tall claims, nothing has been done to stop the practice.

Illegal miners have dug up agricultural land as deep as 20 feet in several villages. The worst affected areas include Abhipur, Khijrabaad and Mianpur Changar. The villagers have seen tipper trucks passing through the villages at night. Abhipur resident Bhag Singh, an ex-serviceman, who had been fighting against the illegal sand mining in the area for a long time, told The Indian Express that he was injured after some people involved in illegal mining attacked him three years ago for raising a voice against them. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/sas-nagar-mohali/illegal-sand-mining-still-a-big-issue-in-kharar-7722198/  (14 Jan. 2022)

Detailed comments by readers on illegal sand mining problem in Punjab. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/jalandhar/open-house-is-fixing-sand-price-enough-to-address-this-age-old-mining-menace-without-reining-in-mafia-346880  (06 Dec. 2021)

Puducherry Thenpennaiar ravaged by indiscriminate sand mining Despite NGT order to prevent illegal mining of sand, unbridled extraction of sand continues on the banks of the Thenpennaiar river in Soriyankuppam and surrounding villages in Puducherry, resulting in serious environmental degradation and systematic destruction of the groundwater aquifers in the region.

The Thenpennaiar river is the main source of irrigation for a large extent of lands in the north-western districts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. At Soriyankuppam, the river divides the limits of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu. The Mining and Minerals Development and Regulation Act (MMRDA) clearly stipulates that illegal miners and transporters should be imprisoned for a period of two years with a fine of ₹25,000. However, not a single person has been fined so far, say environmentalists.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/thenpennaiar-ravaged-by-indiscriminate-sand-mining/article38159666.ece  (06 Jan. 2022)

Tamil Nadu Suspended panchayat official held for illicit sand mining A village panchayat secretary, who has been placed under suspension for illegally transferring money from rural local body funds to contractors, has been arrested for alleged illicit sand mining. Police said Balakrishnan, 42, alias Balan, who was the secretary of Kasthurirengapuram panchayat near Thisaiyanvilai, was placed under suspension before the rural local body elections held last year after the village panchayat money to the tune of over ₹15 lakh was transferred illegally to the bank accounts of a few contractors. After Collector V. Vishnu came to know of the irregularity, an inquiry was conducted that led to the suspension of Balakrishnan.

Meanwhile, his wife Vazhavantha Ganapathi contested the local body election for the post of president of Kasthurirengapuram village panchayat and won. Against this backdrop, Balakrishnan and his associate K. Sivakumar were allegedly transporting sand in a tractor from Kutti Nainarkulam Odai near Kasthurirengapuram on Sunday night. On receiving information about the illegal sand quarrying, Inspector of Thisaiyanvilai Jamal rushed to the spot and arrested them with the sand-laden vehicle. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/suspended-panchayat-official-held-for-illicit-sand-mining/article38221746.ece  (10 Jan. 2022)

NGT seeks report on illegal sand mining on Cooum The Southern Bench of the NGT asked the district collector and the Joint Commissioner of Police (East) to appear before it if a report on the illegal sand mining from the Cooum River mouth is not submitted by December 21. Based on a petition filed by MR Thiyagarajan, president of the Meenava Thanthai KR Selvaraj Kumar Meenava Nala Sangam, the NGT had constituted a committee to look into illegal sand mining from the Cooum. The committee, comprising members from various departments, including the PWD as well as the Collector and city police, carried out an inspection of the area on October 7.

However, the NGT bench stated that although 3 months had passed since the constitution of the committee and two months since the inspection, a report has not been filed. “Unfortunately, the District Collector in that capacity has not filed any independent statement, so far. That shows the non-understanding of the powers vested with the District Collector, especially when serious environmental issues have been projected before this tribunal,” said an order issued by the bench of judicial member Justice K Ramakrishnan & expert member K Satyagopal. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2021/dec/16/ngt-tells-chennai-collector-senior-police-officerto-file-report-onillegal-sand-mining-2396063.html (16 Dec 2021)

Karnataka Jet skis, drones to monitor illegal sand mining The Dakshina Kannada district administration is considering to purchase or hire jet skis and drones, to monitor illegal sand mining. Deputy commissioner K V Rajendra said that they have received several complaints regarding illegal sand mining. Last week, reacting to complaints on rampant illegal quarrying in Dakshina Kannada, the DC told officials at a meeting, to conduct a joint survey to check whether quarries are functioning legally, and asked the revenue department to use drones to locate stone quarries and crushers. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mangaluru/jet-skis-drones-to-monitor-illegal-sand-mining/articleshow/88904463.cms  (15 Jan. 2022)

Bihar Crackdownon illegal sand mining: 19 held A joint raiding team of the police and the mines and geology department arrested 19 people on Thursday as part of a crackdown on illegal sand mining at Mekra village in Mokama block of Patna district. However, the main kingpin of the mining racket fled. According to sources, the team conducted a raid and apprehended the smugglers while they were transporting white sand in two large boats. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/crackdownon-illegal-sand-mining-19-held/articleshow/88886736.cms  (14 Jan. 2022)

Jharkhand Dainik Bhaskar Jan. 12 report on massive scale illegal stone mining impacting forest and water resources in Dumka district.

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Opinion Neha Sinha on present status of wetlands in India. https://blogs.prepladder.com/wetlands-in-india/?terms=upsc  (12 Jan. 2022)

Maharashtra Flamingoes spotted in Kharghar wetlands after 2 years After two years and seven months, the flamingoes are back in the Kharghar wetlands, creating a lot of buzz among the bird watchers and nature lovers in the area. Many residents in the area spotted these winged wonders on Friday evening and passed on the message so that more people could spot them.

“This reinforces the point that the mudflats, mangroves and wetlands of the area need to be protected for maintaining nature’s balance,” said NatConnect Foundation director BN Kumar, who has earlier complained to the government and the High Court-appointed mangrove committee about the destruction of mangroves and mudflats in Kharghar. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/flamingoes-spotted-in-kharghar-wetlands-after-2-years-and-7-months-101642253474001.html  (15 Jan. 2022)

Hopes of saving wetlands soar as NMMC wants ‘Flamingo City’ tag Even as the Centre has mounted pressure on the Maharashtra environment department on the issue of saving the NRI and TS Chanakya wetlands at Seawoods, Nerul, from getting buried for a golf course, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has evinced interest in conserving the water bodies as part of its mission ‘Flamingo City’. The State Mangrove Foundation has already expressed its desire to protect the wetlands as part of the extended Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary management proposed by BNHS.

“The world wants to conserve the wetlands listed by the National Wetland Inventory and Assessment (NWIA) Atlas, but only the city planner CIDCO is a stumbling block,” said NatConnect Foundation director B N Kumar in his latest missive to the Union Environment Department. Responding to the environmentalists’ plea for intervention, Dr M Ramesh, scientist at the Union environment ministry has sent a second reminder to the State Wetland Authority seeking “necessary action”. Meanwhile, NMMC has requested CIDCO to hand over the NRI and TS Chanakya wetlands and the Lotus Lake in Nerul to the civic body for maintenance. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/navi-mumbai-hopes-of-saving-wetlands-soar-as-nmmc-wants-flamingo-city-tag/articleshow/88813311.cms  (10 Jan. 2022)

Petition making appeal for identification of “wetlands” in Kharghar. https://www.change.org/p/chief-minister-of-maharashtra-urgently-identify-and-map-wetlands-of-kharghar 

Delhi Fewer bird species are visiting Okhla Untreated sewage flowing into the Yamuna, increasing construction, excessive pruning of trees and noise pollution from nearby traffic are some of the reasons that have been cited by environmentalists for the species of migratory birds coming down at the Okhla sanctuary this year. According to the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC), there has been an over 35% decrease in the number of species sighted at the Okhla sanctuary compared to 2021. This, the census said, was the lowest in the sanctuary — spread over 400 acres — in the past four years.

Environmentalist Vikrant Tongad told TOI that the power line passing over the sanctuary should not have been there in the first place. “Also, the electricity department simply resorts to excessive pruning of trees, reducing the tree cover along the boundary. The pruning happens once a year, but happens on a massive scale,” he said.. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/noida/sewage-noise-pruning-of-trees-why-fewer-birds-species-are-visiting-okhla/articleshow/88798021.cms  (10 Jan. 2022)

Kerala SilverLine poses epidemic risk, water inundation, landslides  The entire project alignment of SilverLine falls in Seismic Zone III. The risks include earthquake, tsunami, floods and landslides, reveals the DPR. While the risk probability of earthquake and tsunami are low, there is medium probability for floods, water inundation, landslides, cyclone, storm surges and heavy rain. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2022/jan/16/construction-poses-epidemic-risk-water-inundation-and-landslides-2407323.html  (16 Jan. 2022)

Amid a protest over the proposed ambitious semi-high speed SilverLine rail project, also known as K-Rail, the Kerala government on January 15, published the DPR that estimated the cost of project to be Rs 63,941 crore. The DPR, published in the Legislative Assembly website, said the project is expected to be completed by 2025 and would reduce journey time from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod from 12 hours to four hours.

The SilverLine project of 529.45km begins at Kochuveli, near Thiruvananthapuram airport, in Thiruvananthapuram District, and runs through the districts of Kollam, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kannur before entering Kasaragod District. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/amid-protests-kerala-releases-detailed-project-report-controversial-k-rail-project-159912  (16 Jan. 2022) https://science.thewire.in/environment/kerala-silverline-semi-high-speed-rail-green-energy-carbon-emissions-ridership-projection/  (15 Jan. 2022)  

A group of development professionals and writers, some of them known for their Leftist leanings, has urged CM Pinarayi Vijayan to freeze the government decision to go ahead with the proposed SilverLine high-speed rail corridor project. In an open letter to the chief minister, the signatories said the “citizens have a right to know before a right to go” is given for the north-south rail corridor which would “spell disaster” for the state.

According to the signatories, the state’s fragile public finance and increasing ecological vulnerability are major areas of concern. “The two devastating floods of 2018 and 2019 and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic since early 2020 are already presenting scenarios of an existential crisis for which the entire society and the state have to stand in unison to protect the people and the environment. This calls for reprioritizing our developmental agenda away from such massive construction projects as the proposed Silverline,” the petition said. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/kerala/silverline-to-spell-disaster-for-kerala-prominent-citizens-write-to-cm-against-proposed-rail-corridor-7727610/  (17 Jan. 2022)

Report Urban wetlands need to be protected urgently Nearly 30 per cent of the natural wetlands in India have been lost in the last three decades mainly to illegal construction, unsustainable urbanisation, agricultural expansion and pollution, according to estimates by Wetlands International South Asia.

Chennai lost 90 per cent of its wetlands to unplanned urbanisation, leaving the city to grapple with issues of water security and degraded environment. Vadodara lost 30.5 per cent of its wetlands between 2005 and 2018. Hyderabad lost 55 per cent of its wetlands to inefficient waste management, rising pollution and unchecked urban development.

Mumbai lost 71 per cent, Ahmedabad 57 per cent, Bengaluru 56 per cent, Pune 37 per cen and Delhi-National Capital Region lost 38 per cent wetlands mainly to construction and eutrophication from pollution. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/environment/the-state-of-india-s-urban-wetlands-and-why-they-need-to-be-protected-urgently-78456  (13 Aug. 2021)

WATER OPTIONS

KG Vyas: The water structures constructed during the Gond period continue to survive the test of time and provide evidence of the water wisdom of our ancestors. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/water-management-times-gonds-central-india  (13 Jan. 2022)

GROUNDWATER

Haryana Water Resources Authority (HWRA) had released the village wise Groundwater Categorization of entire Haryana. The future of Groundwater resources in Haryana largely depends on this categorization, as the govt will make its policy and projects based on this.

There are chances that information stated here may have some discrepancies. The govt is asking for objection to this list, if any. The objection could be related to the given Water level of the villages in this list.

Please take out a few minutes, check for your village name or any village that you are familiar with. See, if the information given is right or not. If given water level is not right, please simply write an email to this email address – objection2022.hwra@gmail.com  

In the email, just mention the name of village and say that, this village information isn’t correct. If possible, also mention the correct information. You can also see all information and categorization at HWRA website – https://hwra.org.in/  Please submit the objection by 26th January 2022.

Punjab Groundwater depletion ‘non-issue’ for parties Despite the fact that groundwater depletion is a major problem in Punjab, this is a non-issue for political parties. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/alarming-groundwater-depletion-non-issue-for-parties-in-punjab-balbir-singh-seechewal-101641934897091.html (13 Jan 2022)

URBAN WATER

Opinion Cities need to create market for recycled water By Pradip Kalbar Assistant Professor at Centre for Urban Science and Engineering, IIT Bombay Sewage treatment needs a tremendous amount of investment. To achieve the high effluent water quality standard, the MCGM plans to spend around ₹20,000 crore for its 7 new STPs. However, making such a vast investment demands that this must be followed with efforts to fully utilise the huge volume of recycled water that will be generated; else, this will lead to unproductive investment. The good part is that recycling stations will be constructed; however, it is unknown who will consume the treated sewage unless there is a market for it.

The MCGM plans to have 25-50 per cent recycling at each of the 7 stations. Even if we assume 10 per cent of recycled water being generated (which is about 400 MLD) in the coming 3-4 years, the big question is who will be ready to use it (even if given free) given the fact that the freshwater price is low and not a concern to most of the consumers.

There is also a need to rethink the centralised implementation of recycling stations, which are currently planned around 400-500 mld. Decentralised recycling stations (about 50 mld) may be more feasible in Mumbai’s case, as these will create an opportunity for establishing a localised recycling network. Currently, there are about 40 satellite pumping stations, which could be converted into recycling stations after a feasibility check. Buildings can then have a second water connection from such localised recycled water networks. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/cities-need-to-create-a-market-for-recycled-water/article33518732.ece  (07 Jan. 2021)

Shimla Water supply takes a hit A day after the first major snowfall of the winters, water supply in Shimla took a hit due to significant drop in the pumping of water from the Giri Scheme. The water supply from this scheme dropped to 9.26 million litre, which brought down the overall supply to 37.51 million litres.

Normally, the silt and turbidity problem doesn’t occur in winters. However, the problem is persisting with the Giri scheme because of the development work in the catchment area and the dumping of muck in the river. In view of this problem, the SJPNL is installing an additional tube settler at the Giri Scheme. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/water-supply-in-shimla-takes-a-hit-360174  (11 Jan. 2022)

A total of 228 roads were still closed which includes the highest 132 in Lahaul Spiti, 35 in Shimla, 27 in Kullu, 17 in Mandi, 13 in Chamba and four in Kinnaur. A total of 42 water supply schemes were disrupted with the highest 26 in Lahaul Spiti and 10 in Chamba. Besides, power remains disrupted due to damage to 119 transformers including the highest 51 in Shimla district and seven in Mandi. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/228-roads-still-closed-in-himachal-361300  (15 Jan. 2022)

Bengaluru BBMP to set up exclusive landfill for South Bengaluru in Hullahalli Though setting up such dumping yards are against the NGT guidelines, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike officials are hopeful of getting the mandatory consent from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB). It is learnt that the BBMP is yet to complete EIA report on the proposed Hullahalli landfill. The civic body may face heavy environment penalty if it does not get all approvals, a source said.

Currently, about half of the 4,000-tonne waste generated daily in the city is dumped in the Mitaganahalli landfill, but the dumping yard will run out of space in less than six months since most of the quarry pits in the village have been filled. Sandhya Narayan, a solid waste management expert, said the city cannot do away with the landfills unless the BBMP is allowed to fully utilise all the six waste processing plans. “Only four plants are currently operational and most of these are not running at their full capacity. In some cases, the resistance has come from the elected representatives themselves. The city needs a strong leadership to address political issues and make these waste processing plants work,” she said. “Of the 1,200-tonne wet waste generated in the city, about 50% ends up in landfill,” she added.  https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/bbmp-to-set-up-exclusive-landfill-for-south-bengaluru-in-hullahalli-1071487.html  (16 Jan. 2022)

Tender for biomining Mandur landfill site cleared The BBMP, which usually has the powers to draft tender conditions, was forced to withdraw the first bids and has now floated fresh tenders. Some of the conditions modified in the new tenders are: joint venture to be limited to not more than three partners, the tenderer must have executed work in biomining, bioremediation and scientific landfill of a quantity equivalent to eight lakh metric tonnes and have an average annual turnover of Rs 75 crore. The Rs 89-crore project, which was on the drawing board for the last five years, pertains to biomining the city’s largest landfill site at Mandur near Hoskote. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/bbmps-tender-for-biomining-mandur-landfill-site-cleared-1070344.html  (12 Jan. 2022)

Delhi Ammonia level rises in Yamuna https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/ammonia-level-rises-in-yamuna-parts-of-delhi-may-face-water-supply-disruption-today-101642018371622.html  (13 Jan. 2022)https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/high-ammonia-levels-in-yamuna-to-hit-water-supply-djb/articleshow/88861755.cms  (12 Jan. 2022) https://www.ndtv.com/delhi-news/high-ammonia-levels-in-yamuna-to-hit-water-supply-djb-2704863 (12 Jan. 2022)

WATER POLLUTION

EPW Challenges in Regulating Water Pollution by Sharachchandra Lele, Priyanka Jamwal, Mahesh Menon:- With rapid industrialisation and urbanisation, the problem of water pollution in India has escalated dramatically over the last few decades. The regulatory apparatus, has, however, lagged behind. Major gaps in standard setting, including lack of standards for ambient water quality, poor monitoring and weak enforcement by the pollution control boards are the major proximate causes. Controlling water pollution will require a concerted effort to address these regulatory failures. https://www.epw.in/journal/2021/52/review-environment-and-development/challenges-regulating-water-pollution-india.html  (26 Dec. 2021)

JJM/ RURAL WATER SUPPLY

Niti Aayog 2018 report says, Indians might not have access to drinking water by 2030. https://scroll.in/video/1015086/eco-india-niti-aayog-s-2018-report-says-indians-might-not-have-access-to-drinking-water-by-2030  (16 Jan. 2022)

WATER

CWC Reservoirs Storage Bulletin 13 Jan. 2022 Live storage available in CWC monitored reservoirs is 122.013 BCM, which is 70% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. Last year the live storage available in these reservoirs for the corresponding period was 121.11 BCM and the average of last 10 years live storage was 100.041 BCM. Thus, the live storage available in 137 reservoirs as per 13.01.2022 Bulletin is 101% of the live storage of corresponding period of last year and 122% of storage of average of last ten years. http://www.cwc.gov.in/sites/default/files/13012022-bulletin.pdf 

AGRICULTURE

Bihar Govt to grow apples in 7 districts on a trial basis Horticulture dept has decided to launch a pilot project to grow the fruit in seven districts of the state. Horticulture director Nand Kishore said that seven districts including Vaishali, Begusarai, Bhagalpur, Aurangabad, Samastipur, Katihar and Muzaffarpur have been identified to launch the pilot project to grow HRMN-99 variety of apple, which is fit for cultivation in sub-tropical and low altitude plains.

The state government has also decided to offer a subsidy of up to ₹1.23 lakh per hectare for the apple plantation to the farmers, nearly half the estimated cost of ₹2.46 lakh. The pilot project envisages imparting training to at least five farmers in each district before offering them the saplings to grow. The directorate will also cultivate apples on 0.2 hectare of land at Vaishali’s centre of excellence for training and demonstration purposes. The HRMN-99 variety of apple was developed by farmer Hariman Sharma from Bilaspur district in Himachal Pradesh. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/patna-news/bihar-to-grow-apples-in-7-districts-on-a-trial-basis-project-launch-on-jan-19-101642224552720.html  (15 Jan. 2022)

PRE MONSOON 2022

IMD Northwest regions record 628% excess rain Two more western disturbances (starting on Jan 16 and Jan 18, 2022) are likely to bring more rains in the NW India. Central India also recorded 293% excess rain in the period from January 1 to 12, leading to cumulative 373% excess rainfall over the country. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/northwest-regions-record-628-excess-rain-imd-data-101642013215968.html  (13 Jan. 2022)

FLOOD 2021

Telangana IMD issues yellow alert, floods in Suryapet On Jan. 15 2022 night, several Telangana districts like Nalgonda, Medchal-Malkajgiri, Rangareddy, and Khammam got heavy to very heavy rainfall of up to 117 mm. The maximum rainfall of 145.8 mm was recorded in Yerkaram, Suryapet. https://www.siasat.com/telangana-rains-imd-issues-yellow-alert-floods-in-suryapet-2259127/   (16 Jan. 2022)

ENVIRONMENT GOVERNANCE

Interview Dr. Mahesh Rangarajan Vice-Chancellor & Professor of History and Environmental Studies, Krea University, has been recognised by the American Historical Association (AHA) — only the fourth Indian — as Honorary Foreign Member for the year 2021. He was conferred the award at the AHA’s 135th annual meeting in New Orleans, the U.S. recently. In this interview, he talks about the award, the course and the study of history and the environment. Excerpts:

I would imagine there are twin dimensions of the long-term British imperial impacts on waters and land, the living biota and many life forms. The other is how a democracy grapples not only with equity among humans but also about a peace with nature. My work spans mostly the late 19th century to the present. Animals are central as icons but also in terms of everyday life. To put it in a line — from the heyday of tiger shikar and keddahs to trap elephants, to our own era of biosphere reserves. It is also a transition from mostly reviling to critically respecting those who hunt or fish or herd or farm for a living.

The initial wave of work was on movements of the disadvantaged such as forest rights or the dam displaced. Over three decades, the scope has grown from long histories such as Arupjyoti Saikia on the Brahmaputra to micro studies like Annu Jalais on the Sundarbans people who were displaced by a tiger reserve.

The story is not merely of the material environment but how that intertwines with how humans endow nature with multiple meanings. The fate of Chennai’s waterways is being studied by Bhavani Raman. The hydro politics of Mumbai was researched by Miriam Dhosal. There are remarkable works on mountains and state-making in Himachal by Chetan Singh or Pathak’s magisterial people’s history of Chipko.

Asking ‘how’, ‘when’ and ‘why’ are the core challenges of the serious student of history and this quest can be enriched and renewed. It does call for more critical faculty and rigour in enquiry. The horizons are set to broaden in new ways. https://www.thehindu.com/education/an-interview-with-historian-dr-mahesh-rangarajan/article38185315.ece  (08 Jan. 2022)   

Kerala ‘Save Silent Valley’ campaigner, passes away  M.K. Prasad, who had served as the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Calicut University, was at the forefront of environmental protection activities in the State. He had played a crucial role in creating public awareness across the State for protecting the verdant forests of Silent Valley during the early 70s. He had also participated in the ‘Save Silent Valley’ campaign, which is considered as the first popular campaign for protecting a forest ecosystem in the State. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/mk-prasad-noted-ecologist-and-save-silent-valley-campaigner-passes-away/article38281035.ece  (17 Jan. 2022)

Report 34,600 tonnes of solar waste by 2030 India does not have a solar waste management policy, but it does have ambitious solar power installation targets. Solar waste — the electronic waste generated by discarded solar panels — is sold as scrap in the country. It can increase by at least four-five-fold by the next decade. India should focus its attention on drafting comprehensive rules to deal with solar waste. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/waste/time-s-running-out-is-india-ready-to-handle-34-600-tonnes-of-solar-waste-by-2030–81104  (13 Jan. 2022)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Bihar Frequent floods are making women more vulnerable to violence and trafficking Climate change is affecting lives in unforeseen ways. This shows how increased floods in Bihar makes women more vulnerable to violence and trafficking. https://scroll.in/article/1014982/in-bihar-frequent-floods-are-making-women-more-vulnerable-to-violence-and-trafficking  (15 Jan. 2022)

West Bengal 4,000 girls go missing: Floods, evictions, Ganga have their own role In ‘Field Notes from a Waterborne Land’, Parimal Bhattacharya writes about impact of natural calamities on school dropouts in Bengal, especially girls. https://theprint.in/pageturner/excerpt/4000-girls-go-missing-in-bengal-each-year-floods-evictions-ganga-have-their-own-role/800816/  (12 Jan. 2022)

Report Last 7 yrs warmest on record A new analysis by the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, which tracks global temperature and other climate indicators, found 2021 was the fifth-warmest year on record. 2021 brought heat waves and floods that became mass-casualty events; rain fell at the summit of Greenland for the first time ever on record; and a historic drought plagued much of the Western US and triggered large, destructive wildfires and never-before-seen water shortages. https://edition.cnn.com/2022/01/10/world/2021-global-climate-5th-warmest-copernicus/index.html  (10 Jan. 2022)

The nine years spanning 2013-2021 all rank among the 10 hottest on record, according to an annual report US agency National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released on Jan 13. https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/last-nine-years-all-among-10-hottest-ever-us-agency-2706916  (14 Jan. 2022) https://www.indiatoday.in/science/story/2021-fifth-warmest-year-in-india-since-1901-imd-1900132-2022-01-14  (14 Jan. 2022)

SOUTH ASIA

India-China Data on rivers cost India Rs158 Mn: RTI A reply on an RTI application from the Ministry of Jal Shakti revealed that a whopping Rs 158 million approximately has been paid by India so far to China for hydrological information on the Sutlej and Siang rivers that originate in the Tibet. The data provided by China are from the three hydrological stations at Nugesha, Yangcun and Nuxia on Siang river (Yalung Zangbu) from 15 May to 15 Oct, and from Tsada on Sutlej river (Langqen Zangbo) from 1 June to 15 Oct. https://www.thequint.com/voices/opinion/china-has-charged-india-over-rs-150-mn-for-data-on-rivers-rti  (14 Jan. 2022)

India-Nepal First private power trade deal Nepal Power Exchange Limited and India’s Manikaran Power Limited on Jan 10, 2022 signed a memorandum of understanding on energy trading. The deal ends the monopoly of the state-owned power utility—Nepal Electricity Authority—in energy trade. Observers see Monday’s development as a landmark deal that could pave the way for the country’s private sector to sell electricity in the Indian market. The pact was signed during Nepal Power Market Summit 2022 held in Kathmandu. Nepal Power Exchange Limited is a company promoted by many members of the Independent Power Producers’ Association of Nepal (IPPAN), the private sector body that promotes and encourages electricity development. https://bit.ly/3JRpTgy    (11 Jan. 2022)

Attempt to push Nepal Hydro using outdated information “However, the India-Nepal partnership in this regard (hydropower cooperation) has met with little success…” There are clear reasons for that and now hydropower is not even economically viable. Why this advocacy to push unviable projects? This brief seems to be using outdated data when Nepal is currently power surplus in most months except winter. https://www.orfonline.org/research/harnessing-the-potential-of-india-nepal-partnerships-in-hydropower/  (10 Jan. 2022)

Outrage in Nepal over India’s road plan in Mahakali basin The proposal for widening of the road to the Lipulekh Pass area in Uttarakhand has led to another round of outrage in Nepal with both Opposition and parties in the ruling coalition asking India to not undermine Nepal’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/outrage-in-nepal-over-indias-plan-to-widen-the-road-to-lipulekh/articleshow/88905596.cms  (15 Jan. 2022)

Europe Norway blows up hydro dam to restore river health & fish stocks A dam that has blocked the Tromsa River in Norway for more than 100 years was blown up with dynamite this week, freeing migratory routes for fish. “It’s a big step,” said Tore Solbakken of Norwegian angling club Gudbrandsdal Sportsfiskeforening, who has campaigned for five years to have the old hydropower plant dam removed.

Built in 1916, the seven-metre high dam in the small town of Fåvang, in Innlandet, east Norway, has not been in use for more than 50 years. The Tromsa is a tributary of the Lågen River, which feeds into Lake Mjøsa, Norway’s biggest lake. Campaigners say removing the dam will help fish in the area thrive again, including grayling, burbot, Alpine bullhead and common minnows. It is hoped the main beneficiary will be the lake-dwelling trout, which can weigh more than 10kg and feeds in downstream lakes and the Lågen. Until now, the fish have only been able to live and spawn in the lower 950 metres before the dam, whereas they will soon be able to swim 10km upriver. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jan/14/norwegians-blow-up-hydro-dam-restore-river-fish-health-aoe  (14 Jan. 2022)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Study Calculating albedo-climate penalty of hydropower dammed reservoirs A trio of researchers from the University of Innsbruck and the Free University of Bolzano has calculated the effect of positive radiation due to the albedo-climate penalty on hydropower dammed reservoirs. In their paper published in the journal Nature Energy, Georg Wohlfahrt, Enrico Tomelleri and Albin Hammerle describe studying hundreds of major hydropower stations around the world and used data from their study to calculate the albedo-climate penalty for hydropower dammed reservoirs.

– Albedo is the proportion of radiation that is reflected by a surface. Damming a river creates a water surface. That surface can reflect energy from the sun, or it can allow the energy to pass through the surface to be absorbed by the water below. Prior studies have shown that hydroelectric reservoirs are typically darker than the surrounding land; thus, building a dam results in the creation of a reservoir that absorbs more heat than the land. And that heat slowly seeps into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. In this new effort, the researchers surveyed 724 major hydropower stations around the world to see how much more heat they were releasing into the environment than would have been the case had the dams supporting them not been built. They then calculated how long it would take them to overcome the albedo-climate penalty, and thus to see a climate benefit.

– The researchers found that almost half of the reservoirs they surveyed took just four years to reach a net climate benefit. Unfortunately, they also found that 19% of those surveyed took more than 40 years to do so, and approximately 12% of them took 80 years—the average lifetime of a hydroelectric plant. https://techxplore.com/news/2021-03-albedo-climate-penalty-hydropower-reservoirs.html  (03 March 2021)  https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-021-00784-y 

Interactive Map River runner map A new map called River Runner lets you choose a spot anywhere in the world and take a bird’s-eye-view path through the local watershed, down streams and rivers that wind through mountains and fields. It’s a global version of a tool released last year that initially focused on American watersheds. The same back-end data used to make the map, Learner says, could also be used to make another tool that would show everyone who’s upstream from a particular point, so people can better understand where water pollution is coming from.  https://www.fastcompany.com/90710546/this-mesmerizing-map-lets-you-follow-the-path-of-a-drop-of-water-anywhere-in-the-world (6 Jan 2022) https://river-runner-global.samlearner.com/

Study 6th mass extinction of global biodiversity already in progress The history of life on Earth has been marked five times by events of mass biodiversity extinction caused by extreme natural phenomena. Today, many experts warn that a Sixth Mass Extinction crisis is underway, this time entirely caused by human activities.

“Drastically increased rates of species extinctions and declining abundances of many animal and plant populations are well documented, yet some deny that these phenomena amount to mass extinction,” said Robert Cowie, lead author of the study and research professor at the UH Mānoa Pacific Biosciences Research Center in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST). “This denial is based on a highly biased assessment of the crisis which focuses on mammals and birds and ignores invertebrates, which of course constitute the great majority of biodiversity.”

“Despite the rhetoric about the gravity of the crisis, and although remedial solutions exist and are brought to the attention of decision-makers, it is clear that political will is lacking,” said Cowie. “Denying the crisis, accepting it without reacting, or even encouraging it constitutes an abrogation of humanity’s common responsibility and paves the way for Earth to continue on its sad trajectory towards the Sixth Mass Extinction.” https://scitechdaily.com/sixth-mass-extinction-of-global-biodiversity-is-already-in-progress/  (15 Jan. 2022)

Largest fishing colony discovered in Antarctica In Feb 2021, the team aboard the research vessel Polarstern found the mind-bogglingly massive icefish breeding colony while surveying the seabed with Ocean Floor Observation and Bathymetry (OFOBS) camera system. The photos revealed numerous fish nests. Further observation shows that on average, one breeding site per three square meters, the team found a maximum of one to two active nests per square meter. The team estimated the total number of fish nests around 60 million. The nests are round, 15 cm deep, 75 cm diameter. https://www.techexplorist.com/world-largest-fishing-colony-discovered-antarctica/44122/  (15 Jan 2022)

How much water in atmosphere? Evaporated water remains in the atmosphere for around 10 days, according to Britannica. This means the atmosphere is literally awash in water vapor. “That’s around 55 pounds [25 kilograms] of water over every square yard, most of which is in the form of vapor,” he said.  Given that the surface area of Earth is about 197 million square miles (510 million square kilometers), there’s around 37.5 million-billion gallons of water in the atmosphere, Fabry said. If all of this mass were to fall at once, it would raise the global ocean level by about 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters), he added. https://www.livescience.com/how-much-water-earth-atmosphere  (10 Jan. 2022)

UK ‘Chemical cocktail’ polluting English rivers Raw sewage, microplastics and slurry are coursing through all of England’s rivers, putting health and nature at risk, a parliamentary report concludes. Agriculture and water companies are the biggest contributors to this “chemical cocktail”, the Environmental Audit Committee warns. Car tyre particles, oils and wet wipes are also clogging waterways. https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-59955624  (14 Jan. 2022)

‘Sea dragon’ fossil found in U.K. reservoir  What started as routine maintenance on a U.K. reservoir quickly shifted to a major paleontological dig when workers discovered a massive, 180 million-year-old ichthyosaur fossil at the bottom of the lake. According to a press release from the Rutland Water Nature Reserve, the find happened in Feb 2021 during routine draining of a lagoon island that was set for re-landscaping.

The fossil, colloquially known as “Sea Dragon”, is approximately 10 metres long and its skull weighs about one tonne, making it the largest and most complete skeleton of its kind found to date in the U.K.  Two incomplete and much smaller ichthyosaurs were found during the construction of Rutland Water in the 1970s, but the latest discovery is the first complete skeleton. Researchers said that they also discovered the vertebrae of several other ichthyosaurs during the main dig. https://globalnews.ca/news/8501674/ichthyosaur-fossil-found-uk-resevoir/  (10 Jan. 2022) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pIQgwwquHU  (11 Jan. 2022) https://scroll.in/video/1014781/  (12 Jan. 2022)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 10 Jan. 2022 & DRP News Bulletin 03 Jan. 2022  

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

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