DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 070222: Union Budget provisions for ILR inappropriate, shows disrespect to statutory clearances and processes

(Feature image source Money Control:- https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/economy/union-budget-2022-live-updates-nirmala-sitharaman-crypto-bill-rail-itr-pf-contribution-cryptocurrency-income-tax-news-custom-duty-relief-gold-etf-8006461.html)

The Union Finance Minister (FM) Smt. Nirmala Seetharaman in her budget for 2022-23 presented in the parliament on Feb 1, 2022 provided Rs 4300 Cr for the controversial Ken Betwa Project in Revised Estimates for 2021-22 and Rs 1400 Cr in Budget estimates for 2022-23. The KBP has not received the final forest clearance. In fact its stage I forest clearance conditions cannot be implemented without changing the project and its cost benefits and impacts. Its wildlife clearance has been questioned by the Central Empowered Committee of the Supreme Court of India and the comprehensive scathing report of the CEC Is yet to be heard by the SC. Its environmental clearance is under challenge before the National Green Tribunal. The hydrological figures that are supposed to provide the scientific basis for the project are neither in public domain, nor has it gone through any independent scrutiny. In this situation, the allocation of the funds for the project in the Union Budget and inclusion of a statement about the project in the speech of the President of India before the Joint Session of Parliament on Jan 31, 2022 are inappropriate. They seem to be timed in view of the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections.

Similarly the announcement of the finalisation of DRAFT Detailed Project Reports of five other Inter Linking of River (ILR) projects by the FM has no meaning as none of the participating states agree to the proposition of export of water. Even the BJP ruled Karnataka has expressed its opposition to this announcement.

As the excellent detailed reports in Indian Express showed, indeed lack of any system for environmental compliance in India lets the project developers get away with all kind of non-compliances. The reports illustrated this well with example of six projects including KBP, Dibang Hydro Project, Lower Subansiri Hydropower Project, among others. The IE reports put great faith in the judiciary, but as the reports themselves showed, the dilution of judiciary including by the SC, of its own orders and non-compliance and delays tends to embolden the authorities and project developers to not bother about compliance. One only hopes the judiciary will not allow this to continue.

Ken Betwa Linking Cabinet set deadline for Ken-Betwa link before it got clearances in place EXCELLENT report that shows how little respect this government has for the environmental norms or the people. https://indianexpress.com/article/express-exclusive/environment-clearance-violation-cabinet-set-deadline-for-ken-betwa-link-before-it-got-clearances-in-place-7755887/  (04 Feb. 2022)  Some more details here: https://indianexpress.com/article/express-exclusive/ken-betwa-link-to-new-goa-airport-to-odisha-mine-6-mega-projects-ignore-green-commitments-they-made-7755848/  (05 Feb. 2022) 

The project, announced in the Budget, does not have all the statutory clearance, and poses a major risk to a tiger reserve and the region’s biodiversity. https://thefederal.com/union-budget-2022/ken-betwa-river-interlinking/  (03 Feb. 2022)

This video should have mentioned that the project does not have credible impact assessment, does not have final forest clearance, its stage I forest clearance is based on conditions which if implemented, the project cannot go forward in current form, its wildlife clearance has been declared invalid by the Central Empowered Committee of the Supreme Court, the scathing report of the CEC is yet to be heard by the SC, the fraudulent Environment Clearance has been challenged in the NGT and its hydrology claiming Ken has surplus water is neither in public domain, nor gone through any independent scrutiny. According to official Forest Advisory Committee meeting minutes, the project will lead to felling of over 2.3 million trees of girth over 20 cms and there will be an additional 23 million trees of that girth by the time submergence happens, if it does. One only hopes it never happens. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05baS-P4krI  (02 Feb. 2022)

Strangely, MP CM invites PM to the proposed Bhoomi Poojan of the Ken Betwa Project. For a project that does not have all the statutory clearances and for which cases are pending before judiciary. https://www.uniindia.com/story/Chauhan-invites-PM-for-bhoomipujan-of-Ken-Betwa-river-linking-project  (03 Feb. 2022)

EDIT in a mainstream paper on Feb 7, 2022 asking to tread carefully on river linking, asking for “a complete and reliable assessment of the environmental and social impacts” and going ahead “only if the benefits far outweigh the costs”. https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/first-edit/river-linking-tread-carefully-1078733.html  (07 Feb. 2022)

Prof T V Ramchandra of IISc: The proposed river-linking projects at a mega scale are neither technically feasible, environmentally sound, nor economically viable. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2022/feb/06/river-linking-notecologically-sound-expert-2415918.html  (06 Feb. 2022)

“The ambitious policy of interlinking of rivers is one of the ecologically destructive and economically colossal project which goes against the practices of sustainable development. The Ken-Betwa project will cost the exchequer Rs 4,4605 crore apart from compromising invaluable ecological benefits. The proposed DPR for the interlinking of five rivers — Narmada, Godavari, Krishna, Pennar and Cauvery — may end up in more inter-state water disputes and conflicts among the upper and lower riparian states apart from ecological and economic loss. Karnataka has already expressed its displeasure on the DPR and inequitable allocation of its share. Research studies observed that many mega irrigation projects have used the available water resources at sub-optimal level and in a more inefficient manner. Sourcing of water from faraway river basins impinges on the water demands of other states, inflicts ecological damage and is more expensive. Further, the justification for linking of rivers with surplus water with the deficit ones is not backed by scientific reasoning as even today, it is difficult to assess and ensure that right quantity of water is stored and distributed among the riparian states in different seasons. Most rivers are not managed with scientific inputs of river basin planning with competing water demands. Various water policies prioritise the demand-side management of water rather than the supply-side management such as interlinking of rivers. Therefore, development of mega projects should not go against the scientific basis, ecological consideration, economic feasibility and the spirit of sustainable development policies.” https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/comment/budget-fails-to-give-environment-a-fair-deal-367076  (05 Feb. 2022)

Karnataka Govt ants DPR revised, explores legal options Karnataka has asked Centre to keep the DPRs of ILR projects related to Krishna and Pennar basins on hold as the DRAFT DPRs do not provide the quantum of water states would get. It plans to clarify its stand once these figures are available. It is also exploring legal options in terms of going to SC or demand a Tribunal. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/river-linking-project-karnataka-wants-dpr-revised-explores-legal-options/articleshow/89336252.cms  (04 Feb. 2022)

Telangana No surplus water in Godavari for inter-linking of rivers: Govt  On proposal to transfer “Surplus” Water from Godavari to Krishna, Pennar and Cauvery: Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao termed the proposal as “joke of the millennium” reflecting the stated stand of the State government that there is no surplus water in Godavari for a project of this nature to run for 1,211 kms and cost ₹86 lakh crore.

– The Andhra Pradesh government too held that there is no surplus water. The inter-linking of rivers (ILR) was a major programme contemplated by the Centre in 1980 to create additional storage facilities and transfer water from water-surplus regions to high demand areas.

– The State government recalled that NWDA itself had recalled water balance at Inchampalli at 520 tmc ft in 1995, 272.25 tmc ft in 2015 and 177 tmc ft in March 2021 itself. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/no-surplus-water-in-godavari-for-inter-linking-of-rivers-govt/article38367370.ece  (03 Feb. 2022)

Linking rivers joke of the millenium: CM  Chandrashekhar Rao found fault with the Centre’s announcement on plans to interlink Krishna, Godavari and Cauvery rivers without seeking the consent of the stakeholder States. Terming it as a joke of the millenium, he demanded that the Modi government explain its policy on river interlinking and the Centre’s powers to facilitate the same. “There is a Bachawat Tribunal verdict that Telugu States have all rights on Godavari River water after the latter enters the respective States. How can you violate the Tribunal verdict which is equal to the Supreme Court judgement?” he questioned.

 “We have submitted all reports along with relevant documents, but the Centre has not responded till date. If not bluffing the people of the nation or attempting to intimidate the States in violation of the federal system of this country, how can the Centre take up interlinking of rivers without the consent of the States concerned,” the CM asked. He said due to bad water policies and ignorant administration of the Centre, there were water wars between the States as well as several parts of the nation suffering drinking water crisis.

The CM termed allocation of Rs 60,000 crore to provide tap water connection under Jal Shakti Mission as ‘bogus’, pointing outing that Telangana had spent around Rs 40,000 crore for Mission Bhagiratha to provide drinking water connections to every household in the state. https://telanganatoday.com/linking-rivers-joke-of-the-millenium-says-kcr  (02 Feb. 2022)

Study water availability before interlinking rivers Raising apprehensions, Telangana said any proposal to link rivers should be taken up only after holding consultations with both states. Telangana argued, is that the Centre was relying on two-decades-old water availability report. Several new projects based on Godavari water are also being planned, particularly after the bifurcation of AP, it contended and said the river becomes surplus only after the tributaries, Pranahita and Indravati, join it.

The feasibility report on interlinking southern rivers is also outdated, Telangana said and added it needed to be updated as new projects such as Sriramsagar stage 2, Sriramsagar flood flow canal, Devadula, Indirasagar, Rajivsagar, Pranahita-Chevella and Kanathapalli are being implemented. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/t-study-water-availability-before-interlinking-rivers/articleshow/89285627.cms  (02 Feb. 2022)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Arunachal Pradesh NHPC is awaiting financial approval of the Rs 30 000 Cr, 2880 MW DIbang Project. Rs 850 Cr is being paid to the land owners. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/new https://sandrp.in/2021/02/15/drp-nb-15-feb-2021-why-mangshri-devi-of-tapovan-should-head-uttarakhands-disaster-management-department/s/power/nhpcs-2880-dibang-hydropower-project-expected-to-begin-in-apr-jun/89394936  (07 Jan. 2022)

NHPC’s non response to Indian Exp on Dibang HEP and IE reply on Feb 7, 2022:

NWDA’s empty response to Indian Express and IE Reply on Feb 7 2022.

NHPC has said that neither the Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary (MWS) nor the Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary (DWS) will be affected by the 2,880 mw Dibang Multipurpose Project (DMP). In a press release, the NHPC on Feb. 05 said that the MWS and the DWS are located about 14 kms and about 35 kms, respectively, from the reservoir’s periphery. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/02/06/wildlife-sanctuaries-will-not-be-affected-by-dmp-nhpc/  (06 Feb. 2022)

Carbon Credits From Micro, Mini & Small Hydropower Plants Arunachal Pradesh is counting on its micro, mini, and small hydropower projects to earn carbon credits. “We expect to get credits somewhere in 3-4 months or at max, six months. Once that is done, trading can be done any time,” state’s Commissioner, Hydropower and Planning, Prashant Lokhande said. “Out of the total hydropower plants in the state, 98 micro, mini and small hydropower plants with combined installed capacity of 50.295 MW have been considered for carbon credits registration and assets management for the year 2014-2020,” said a top government official. https://www.northeasttoday.in/2022/02/05/arunachal-pradesh-to-generate-carbon-credits-from-micro-mini-small-hydropower-plants/  (05 Feb. 2022)

NHPC CMD AK Singh informed Deputy CM Chowna Mein that work on 500 mw of the 2,000 mw Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHEP) will be completed by August this year. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/02/07/work-on-500-mw-under-slhep-to-be-completed-by-aug-nhpc-cmd/  (07 Feb. 2022)

Meghalaya Villagers stage protest against Kulsi Dam project The residents, NGOs and local leaders on Feb 1 staged a protest at Kyrshai under Rambrai-Jyrngam, urging the Meghalaya government not to give the No-objection Certificate (NOC) for the said dam project at Khri river. The locals of Kyrshai — Khasi, Garo and Rabha, are of the view that if the project is completed, it will adversely impact as many as 35 villages and many of them will be inundated. The protestors have demanded both the Meghalaya and Assam government to listen to the voice of the protesting people of the area and give up the idea of construction of the dam in that area.

Residents of around 35 villages have been protesting since 2019 against the proposed construction of a dam for the generation of hydro-electricity by the Assam government through the Brahmaputra Board in Kyrshai area. It may be mentioned that Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma had earlier informed that the State government would take a call on the proposed construction of Kulsi Dam along the border with Assam after examining the detailed project report. https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/02/01/meghalaya-villagers-stage-protest-against-kulsi-dam-project/  (01 Feb. 2022)

Himachal Pradesh Dam-Building Spree Unabated A year since the tragedy in Chamoli, it’s hard not to look to the neighbouring state and anticipate similar disasters, given the ongoing dam-building spree. Unsafe construction practices have destroyed property and taken the lives of many workers in more than a dozen accidents at project sites in the last decade alone. But every time a disaster unfolds, the burden of establishing its ‘scientific’ relationship with project construction is thrust on the local community. Who is paying for this (falsely claimed) transition to a climate-friendly new India? https://science.thewire.in/environment/chamoli-floods-anniversary-dam-building-himachal-himalaya-protests/  (07 Feb. 2022)

Shanan HEP in bad shape Shanan hydropower project at Jogindernagar, is in a shambles due to the apathy of the Punjab Government. The 99-year lease of the project on Uhl river will expire in 2024, after which it will be handed over to the Himachal Government. It was set up in 1925. The Punjab Government has failed to maintain the buildings, ropeway trolley service and other equipment. After the reorganisation of the states in 1966, the Shanan powerhouse was given to Punjab by the Central Government as the lease agreement. The tail water of the project goes to two more hydro projects. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/british-era-shanan-hydropower-project-in-bad-shape-367469  (06 Feb. 2022)

Uttarakhand The first stage of the Lakhwar-Vyasi hydropower project in Uttarakhand is nearly complete, but protests, complications over land acquisitions and increasing disasters mean the debate on the 50-year-old project is far from over. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/energy/lakhwar-vyasi-project-fears-of-devastation-yamuna-river/  (24 Jan. 2022)

Ravi Chopra message on the Feb 7 2021 Chamoli disaster: https://fb.watch/b0G8Z6gUc9/

DAMS

Tamil Nadu Officials inspect Poondi reservoir, suggest repairs A team of the Water Resources Department (WRD) officials, including from the Dam Safety Directorate, on Feb 5, 2022 said steps must be taken to strengthen the dam infrastructure, including shutters, and ensure structural stability of the Poondi reservoir across the Kosasthalaiyar river. The team visited the reservoir to review flood damages and dam safety. The team observed minor leaks in the shutters and damages in the gearbox operating mechanism. It reviewed the Kosasthalaiyar river embankment damages caused during the floods and the steps for temporary protection of the structure.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/officials-inspect-poondi-reservoir-suggest-repairs/article38385722.ece  (06 Feb. 2022)

Stalin asks Kerala to maintain Siruvani Dam water level CM MK Stalin on Tuesday (Feb. 01) urged his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan to direct Kerala authorities to maintain the storage of Siruvani dam at its full capacity – i.e 878.50m to ensure uninterrupted water supply to Coimbatore corporation and surrounding areas. In a letter to Kerala CM, Stalin said, “If storage of Siruvani dam is not maintained to full capacity, the Coimbatore Corporation will be affected in the ensuing summer.” He explained for the past three years, in spite of adequate rainfall in the Siruvani catchment, the Kerala irrigation department has been maintaining the level in the dam at 877.0m instead of it full level of 878.50m.

Despite repeated requests from TN, the Kerala Irrigation department has not taken steps to maintain the level of the Siruvani dam at full capacity. Stalin added the Kerala Irrigation department has controlled the IV valve of Intake Tower from January 3 and that they can’t regulate the flow of Intake Tower IV valve until further orders from Kerala Government. TN and Kerala had agreed in 1973, to supply 1.30 tmc annually (July 1 to June 30) to Coimbatore for water for 99 years. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/feb/02/stalin-asks-kerala-to-maintain-siruvani-dam-water-level-2414172.html  (02 Feb. 2022)

Maharashtra 3.3 magnitude earthquake at Koyna dam in Satara dist Tremors were felt in the villages surrounding the Koyna dam in Satara district on Tuesday (Feb. 01) morning. The earthquake measuring 3.3 on the Richter Scale was recorded at the dam at 9.47am. The authorities claim that the epicentre –5 km deep — was near the Kodoli village, around 10 km from the dam site and there was no damage to life or property. A month ago, the dam surroundings reported tremors measuring 2.9 on the Richter Scale, and the epicentre was in the Helwak village, located a few kilometres from the epicentre of the earthquake recorded on Tuesday (Feb. 01). https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolhapur/3-3-magnitude-earthquake-at-koyna-dam-in-satara-dist/articleshow/89286092.cms  (02 Feb. 2022)

Mullaperiyar Dam ‘CWC report on Mullaperiyar dam contradictory’ Tamil Nadu water resources minister S Duraimurugan on Tuesday (Feb. 01) alleged that the status report submitted to the Supreme Court recently by the Central Water Commission (CWC) and the supervisory committee of the SC on the safety of Mullaperiyar dam remained contradictory. In a statement, the minister said the state government would file its response to the court on or before February 4. “There is no need to undertake a review now on the safety of the dam. Seepage and lime leaching is less than under the permitted level. The Tamil Nadu government is of the view that there is no need at present to review the safety of the dam in any way,” he said.

The status report submitted to the court last week cited the judgments of the apex court in 2006 and 2014, which endorsed the safety of the dam and ordered requisite maintenance and repair measures in a time-bound manner. However, the Kerala government had been adopting an obstructionist approach, Duraimurugan said. “The report also said the supervisory committee had held 14 meetings and recorded that overall condition of the dam and its appurtenant structure based upon visual inspection is found to be satisfactory. However, it also said a fresh review of the safety of the dam is required to be undertaken, which is contradictory,” he said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/cwc-report-on-mullaperiyar-dam-contradictory-tamil-nadu-minister-duraimurugan/articleshow/89280558.cms  (01 Feb. 2022)

Tamil Nadu has opposed CWC proposal of fresh safety review of Mullaperiyar Dam. https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/fresh-review-of-mullaperiyar-dams-safety-not-necessary-tamil-nadu-opposes-cwcs-statement-in-supreme-court-191091  (03 Feb. 2022)

Polavaram Project Submit report in 4 weeks: NHRC National Human Rights Commission issued notices to the chief secretary of Andhra Pradesh as well as the secretary, Union ministry of Jal Shakti, directing them to submit a report on non-rehabilitation of displaced people affected by the Polavaram dam project in East and West Godavari districts on Feb 2, 2021.

– The notices were served on the basis of a complaint filed by Dr Pentapati Pullarao, who alleged that efforts to rehabilitate affected people were not taken up and sought the NHRC’s intervention in this regard.

– The Commission considered the matter and stated that the facts of the case were disturbing. It said that the allegations were serious in nature and opined that the case involved grave human rights violations, adding that such cases were viewed seriously and issued directions to serve notices to the top bureaucrats and sought for a report to be submitted within a period of four weeks. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/030222/nhrc-notice-to-top-bureaucrats-on-non-rehabilitation-of-people-hit-by.html  (03 Feb. 2022)

Sardar Sarovar Project Kutch farmers going to HC as they are not being given proper compensation for the trees on the land acquired from them for the Narmada canal, particular in Mandavi and Mundra Talukas. https://gujarati.news18.com/news/kutchh-saurastra/kutchh-kutch-farmers-to-go-to-high-court-for-lack-of-compensation-against-trees-for-narmada-canal-kb-local18-1173937.html  (28 Jan. 2022)

Uttar Pradesh How farmers of Dhimarpura in Pahuj reservoir banks are suffering in Bundelkhand. https://www.newsclick.in/UP-Farmers-Dhimarpura-Pahuj-Reservoir-Area-Being-Forced-Jobs  (02 Feb. 2022)

Karnataka Govt to build 1,400 vented dams under Paschima Vahini Scheme Minister for Minor Irrigation, Law and Parliamentary Affairs J. C. Madhuswamy said on Sunday (Jan. 30) that the State Government has identified 1,400 places in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts to construct vented dams under Paschima Vahini Scheme. It has reserved ₹500 crore during 2021-22 for building them, he said. The Minister was speaking at a function after inaugurating four vented dams constructed at an estimated cost of ₹5.60 crore in the jurisdiction of Shivapura Gram Panchayat, Hebri taluk in Udupi district.

Mr. Madhuswamy said that the dams are being constructed in phases, while 1,400 places have been identified under the scheme. The projects will help recharge groundwater and arrange water for drinking and farming. The State Government will also chalk out plans for dredging in dams and other water bodies. Minister for Energy, Kannada and Culture V. Sunil Kumar, who presided over the function, said that it has been planned to build 100 vented dams under the scheme in Udupi district by 2023. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/govt-to-build-1400-vented-dams-under-paschima-vahini-scheme/article38350681.ece  (30 Jan. 2022)

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

Krishna Water Dispute Centre dodges direct reply to TS MP question Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Bishweswar Tudu, on Thursday (Feb. 03) evaded a direct reply to a question of TRS MP Gaddam Ranjith Reddy in Lok Sabha on allocating Krishna river water to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana at 50:50 ratio, till the Tribunal delivered its verdict. The Minister, however, said that there was no formal request from AP and TS to constituting a Tribunal on sharing of Godavari waters.

Ranjith Reddy asked the reasons why the Ministry has not distributed waters between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as per the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956. He also wanted to know if the Ministry has made any recommendation to this effect to Brijesh Kumar Tribunal and whether the Central government proposed to allot water at 50:50 ratio till the tribunal finalises water distribution between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2022/feb/04/centre-dodges-direct-reply-to-ts-mp-question-on-krishna-water-sharing-2415152.html  (04 Feb. 2022)

Punjab-Rajasthan States at loggerheads over sharing of IGNP water Rajasthan govt is again at loggerheads with the Punjab government over the ‘closing duration’ of the Indira Gandhi Nahar Project (IGNP). Rajasthan has proposed the closure of the IGNP for 60 days from March 20 to May 20, while Punjab is adamant to close it for 70 days from March 1 to May 15. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/raj-punjab-at-loggerheads-over-sharing-of-ignp-water/articleshow/89231995.cms  (31 Jan. 2022)

DEVELOPMENT OF LOCAL WATER RESOURCES

Jharkhand 3 check dams to come up inside Dalma Sanctuary In an attempt to conserve rainwater and use them in the lean months of summer, three more check dams are being constructed in the sprawling Dalma wildlife sanctuary. The facility is expected to become operational before March. The facilities are coming up on natural drains inside the sanctuary near Kathjor, Dahulbera and Asanbani villages inside the jumbo abode.

The rainwater used to otherwise flow into the Subarnarekha river and Dimna lake from the Dalma hills. There are around 30 check dams and a dozen watering holes inside the sprawling 192 sq km sanctuary abode, 30 km from Jamshedpur. Some check dams already exist near Badka Bandh, Nichla Bandh, Chotka Bandh, Rajdoha and Bijli Ghati. https://www.telegraphindia.com/jharkhand/three-check-dams-to-come-up-inside-dalma-sanctuary-to-ease-wildlifes-water-woes/cid/1850074  (01 Feb. 2022)

RIVERS

Tamil Nadu Devotees Perform Holy Bath in Water Bodies Thai Amavasai 2022, the new moon day that falls during the Tamil month of ‘Thai’ (January-February), is considered auspicious to pay respect to ancestors. On this day, people from all over Tamil Nadu gather at water bodies and temples to pay homage.  https://www.news18.com/news/india/thai-amavasai-2022-devotees-perform-holy-bath-in-water-bodies-all-over-tamil-nadu-heres-why-it-is-celebrated-4719278.html  (31 Jan. 2022)

Punjab Rivers are dying  Punjab’s air, water and land are severely polluted. The state’s air quality index is a matter of deep concern. More than half of Punjab’s districts have reported dangerous levels of uranium, arsenic, cadmium and lead in their groundwater. But the saddest fact about pollution in Punjab is that the rivers, which gave the region its name, are today mere shadows of their former selves. https://www.thehansindia.com/hans/opinion/news-analysis/the-rivers-that-gave-punjab-its-name-are-dying-726947  (30 Jan. 2022)

GANGA Uttar Pradesh NGT forms panel to inspect garbage dumping into Kila river NGT has formed a 3-member joint committee to look into a plea alleging the dumping of garbage into Kila River, a tributary of Ganga, and encroachment of shops over the Kila bridge in Bareilly. The State PCB will be the Nodal agency for coordination and compliance, said the order dated January 31. The joint Committee may meet within four weeks and undertake a site visit and look into the grievance of the applicant, the order stated. Directing the panel to furnish a factual and action taken report within three months, the tribunal posted the matter for further hearing on May 20. 

In the plea, applicant Devesh Chandra highlighted the issue of throwing and piling waste under the Kila river Bridge which is also affecting the flow of the river. Pointing out the encroachment over the bridge, the plea said some of the shopkeepers have also built their shops over the bridge. Setting on fire the garbage under the bridge is causing air pollution in the area, it stated. https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/ngt-forms-panel-to-inspect-garbage-dumping-into-ganga-s-tributary-in-up-122020200594_1.html  (02 Feb. 2022)

Over 1 crore take holy dip on Mauni Amavasya 1 crore pilgrims and devotees took holy dip at the Sangam amidst tight security on the occasion of Mauni Amavasvya here on Tuesday (Feb. 01). The unexpected arrival of devotees and pilgrims has left the mela police authorities puzzled. They had to divert the route of devotees arriving at the mela campus through Kali sadak towards Jhunsi ghats via pontoon bridge. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/allahabad/uttar-pradesh-over-1-crore-take-holy-dip-on-mauni-amavasya-in-prayagraj/articleshow/89278990.cms  (01 Feb. 2022)

Bihar Complete Ganga Water Lift Project within time frame: Nitish Kumar CM on Friday (Feb. 04) asked the water resources department (WRD) officials to complete the remaining works of Ganga Water Lift Project (GWLP) within the stipulated time frame to supply safe drinking water to Gaya, Bodh Gaya, Rajgir and Nawada towns. WRD secretary Sanjay Kumar Agarwal informed the CM that major parts of the first phase works were near completion. The department may start water supply to Rajgir by June this year. The state government has planned to lift water from Ganga river near Hathidah in Patna district and supply it to Gaya, Bodh Gaya, Rajgir and Nawada towns through pipeline.

Nitish stressed the need of interlinking of small rivers across the state to ensure water conservation and help in irrigation works. He asked the WRD officials to make practical assessments of small rivers before going ahead for their interlinking. Earlier, Agarwal informed the CM about the ongoing construction work on the right embankment of Sikrahna river, revival of Ganga river’s stream at Bakhtiarpur, Taal Vikas Yojana, Kosi-Mechi river linking project, North Koel reservoir project and problems of flood and waterlogging in north and south Bihar. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/nitish-complete-ganga-water-lift-project-within-time-frame/articleshow/89356797.cms  (05 Feb. 2022)

4 STPs to be operational in Patna by September  The STPs at Pahadi, Beur, Karmalichak, and Saidpur in Patna are likely to be operational by September, according to officials. The STPs have a combined capacity of treating 200 MLD, while covering over 1.17 lakh households in Patna. Pahadi and Saidpur STPs each have a capacity of 60 MLD, Beur STP has a capacity of 43 MLD, and Karmalichak ST MLD. Once the underground network is complete, no untreated water from household sewage lines will be discharged directly into the Ganga. After chlorination, the waste water will be treated in sequencing batch reactors and used for irrigation. According to Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (BUIDCO) sources, waste water from the areas will be discharged into the Ganga or other tributaries after being treated at the STPs. The treated water will be used on farms, in industrial facilities, and for other purposes.

The engineers successfully conducted the trial run on three of the four STPs, which included Saidpur, Beur, and Karmalichak. The STPs have a combined capacity of treating 200 MLD, while covering over 1.17 lakh households in Patna. They are designed to meet the needs of the local population for another 30 years. 2 additional STPs, at Digha and Kankerbagh, are in their initial stage of construction. Digha STP will have a capacity of 100 MLD and a 228-km-long sewer network, while Kankerbagh STP will have a capacity of 50 MLD and a 150-km-long sewer network. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/4-stps-to-be-operational-in-patna-by-september/articleshow/89376913.cms  (06 Feb. 2022)

Centre on Monday (Feb. 07) said that it has no data on the number of bodies of COVID-19 victims that were dumped in the Ganga river during the deadly second wave of the pandemic. The response came after TMC MP Derek O’ Brien asked Minister of Jal Shakti to state the number of COVID-19 related bodies estimated to have been dumped in Ganga. https://www.timesnownews.com/india/article/no-data-on-bodies-dumped-in-ganga-during-second-covid-wave-centre-in-parliament/856621  (07 Feb. 2022)

YAMUNA Delhi HC rejects farmers’ plea against DDA on Yamuna land The High Court has rejected a plea by a farmers’ society seeking to restrain the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) from taking over a large tract of land on the Yamuna riverbank. The court said the society has not been “able to establish any semblance of right on the property”. Justice Subramonium Prasad called the plea filed by Yamuna Bank Kishan Bachao Morcha a “mischievous petition”, noting that “other than making a bald assertion that they are in possession of the area for the last 100 years, there is no document on record to establish the possession”.

The petitioner society said its members are farmers who are living on the banks of the Yamuna for over the last 100 years and cultivating about 15,000 bighas of land. It said the members have proof of ‘lagaan (tax)’ being paid by their forefathers from 1932 to 2012. The farmers grow radish, brinjal, potato, onion, and other vegetables on the land and pay money to the Delhi Peasants Co-Operative Multipurpose Society Limited. The petitioner stated that on November 08, 2020, DDA officials gathered at their land on the riverbanks for evicting them. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/hc-rejects-farmers-plea-against-dda-on-yamuna-land/article38389722.ece  (07 Feb. 2022)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Tamil Nadu Pulicat fishermen stage protest seeking pay increase, permanent jobs for workers in Kattupalli port. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/pulicat-fishermen-stage-protest-seeking-pay-increase-permanent-jobs-for-workers-in-kattupalli-port/article38352575.ece  (31 Jan. 2022)

Bihar मछली व्यवसाय की रफ्तार सुस्त क्यों? बिहार में मछली उत्पादन के लिए भरपूर पानी, जमीन और मजदूर हैं बावजूद इसके बिहार के लोग आंध्र प्रदेश और पश्चिम बंगाल जैसे राज्यों से मछलियां मंगाकर खाते हैं। किसानों और जानकारों के मुताबिक सरकार की लचर नीतियों और तालाबों पर भू-माफियाओं के नजर के चलते यहां मछलियां एक बड़ी आबादी के लिए कमाई का जरिया नहीं बना रहीं। https://www.gaonconnection.com/bihar/bihar-fisheries-fish-production-consumption-and-import-nitish-kumar-fish-farming-news-in-hindi-50371  (03 Feb. 2022)

SAND MINING

Punjab Gov asks DGP to probe illegal sand mining racket Governor B L Purohit Monday asked the state police chief to probe into the alleged illegal sand mining racket in the state, with the AAP claiming that the order came after it recently submitted a memorandum seeking his intervention for the registration of an FIR in the “multi-layered racket, which is allegedly run by and under the aegis of CM Charanjit Singh Channi”.

Meanwhile, former PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar came to the rescue of Channi. “Apparently the highest court deciding a drug case kept the election process in mind but Governor has no such compunction instituting inquiry against CM Punjab. Forget the constitutional propriety, even remaining shards of federalism demolished. EC should stall order’s execution,” he said in a tweet. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/gov-asks-dgp-to-probe-illegal-sand-mining-racket-jakhar-questions-move-7750569/  (01 Feb. 2022)

Bhupinder Singh alias Honey, the arrested nephew of CM Charanjit Singh Channi, has “accepted” that he received Rs 10 crore cash in lieu of facilitating sand mining operations and transfer or posting of officials in the border state, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) claimed in a statement on Monday. He was taken into custody by the federal probe agency in Jalandhar on February 3 as part of its money laundering investigation into alleged sand mining operations in Punjab. https://www.news18.com/news/india/punjab-cms-nephew-accepted-he-received-rs-10-cr-cash-for-sand-mining-transfer-in-state-ed-4744970.html  (07 Feb. 2022)

There are reports that a few more persons linked to the business could be summoned in the coming days. Two sand mining contractors — one from Jammu and another from Chandigarh — could be summoned by the agency. The one from Chandigarh has reportedly been in the trade for many years and had been doing brisk business even during the Akali regime. The Jammu-based contractor, whom the ED officials intend to probe, was reportedly booked by the Punjab Police in a case of illegal sand mining last week and hence is on the radar.  https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/ed-likely-to-summon-two-more-contractors-367407  (06 Feb. 2022)

Madhya Pradesh Diggy seeks probe into illegal sand mining in Panna Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Saturday shot a letter to Lokayukta Justice NK Gupta asking for an investigation into the alleged illegal mining activities in Ajaigarh tehsil of Panna district. RS MP Digvijaya Singh wrote that he had previously also written to the Lokayukta about the illegal mining activities in Panna and submitted relevant documents as evidence.

But he says the investigation being done after his previous letters does not seem satisfactory since mining activities continues. He further alleged that the illegal mining scam worth thousands of crores of rupees is being undertaken under high-level political protection. The Rajya Sabha MP alleged that in Ajaigarh tehsil, more than Rs 3,000 crore worth of sand has been mined and sold from one dozen villages.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/diggy-seeks-probe-into-illegal-sand-mining-in-panna/articleshow/89375119.cms  (06 Feb. 2022)

Jharkhand Villagers Fight To ‘Protect Their Dhajwa Hill’ From Stone Quarrying Less than 50 km from the district headquarters of Palamau lies Kutmu village, where men and women, young and old, gather around to sing, talk, and debate. This has become a part of their daily routine now. They can be heard chanting, “Dhajwa toot jaihen ta gaay kahan charihain? Dhajwa toot jaihen ta nadi kahan jaihain? Dhajwa pahadiya bachai liha ji sathi Dhajwa pahadiya bachai liha ji… (If the Dhajwa hill is taken away from us, where will our cows graze? Without the Dhajwa hill, where will the river go? Please save Dhajwa hill, friends…save Dhajwa hill…).”

The protesters are demanding strict action against illegal stone quarrying and a complete ban on stone mining in the area. The Dhajwa Pahad Bachao agitation began over two months ago, on 18 November 2021, in the Pandu block of Palamau district. The protesters want to “protect the hill” from quarrying. The villagers claim that a Ranchi-based construction company – Shivalaya Construction Co Pvt Ltd – has been carrying out illegal quarrying at Dhajwa. According to an RTI filed by them – a copy of which is with The Quint – a lease was granted to the company for plot no 1,046. However, the company has been mining stones in plot no 1,048, they say. A block of the mountain where quarrying was being done by a private company.

In the demarcation carried out by the circle officer, Pandu block, Palamau, it was found that stone quarrying was being done on the plot, which was not leased out. The Dhajwa hill holds a great amount of economic and cultural significance for the villagers. Sanjay Paswan, the leader of the Dhajwa Pahad Bachao Sangharsh Samiti (DPBSS), alleged that the government, as well as the administration, have failed to provide relief to the villagers.

“Dhajwa isn’t just a cluster of rocks, it’s much more than that. It provides water into the river that flows nearby, and it provides fodder to hundreds of animals. We worship the hills and the trees as part of our tradition. Where would we all go if the mountain is flattened and all the stones are taken away?” Paswan lamented. “Once you break a hill or a mountain, you can’t fix it back, right?” he asked. https://www.thequint.com/news/india/villagers-in-jharkhand-fight-to-protect-their-dhajwa-hill-from-stone-quarrying#read-more  (03 Feb. 2022)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

SANDRP Blog World Wetlands Day 2022: People’s Actions for Wetlands in India World Wetlands Day is celebrated on February 02 annually to highlight the importance of wetlands around the world. The theme for 2022 is Wetlands Action for People and Nature. As part of our annual overview; we have compiled here positive initiatives by individuals and groups for wetlands in India in 2021. https://sandrp.in/2022/02/01/world-wetlands-day-2022-peoples-actions-for-wetlands-in-india/  (01 Feb. 2022)

ISRO Major loss to natural coastal wetlands since 2006-07 As many as 1,342 wetlands covering an area of 0.025 mha disappeared in 2017-18, according to an atlas titled “Space-based observation of Indian Wetlands” prepared by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s Space Applications Centre. According to the atlas, which was released on Wednesday (Feb. 02), the total wetland area increased by 0.64 mha compared to the inventory of 2006-07. There are 231,195 wetlands in India, it said.

Natural coastal wetlands lost around 73,961 ha over a decade. Out of this, 116,897 ha loss is related to intertidal mudflats and 5647 ha to salt marshes. There was a loss of 6,557 ha in natural inland waterlogged areas also. The gains are mostly in man-made wetlands.

The loss in wetland area for intertidal mudflat was -4.8%, salt marsh -3.7%, and waterlogged areas -2.4%. There has been a decrease in coastal natural wetlands, which have been mostly converted into the coastal man-made category. The major loss in the intertidal mudflats related to those converted into salt pans in Rann of Kutch.

There has been an enhancement in wetland area in salt pans-coastal (58%), aquaculture ponds-inlands (55.3%), salt pans-inlands (49.2%), reservoir (12.8%), and high-altitude wetlands (7.4%). The total inland wetlands area was spread over is 11.85 mha (74.1%), out of which inland natural and inland man-made wetlands are 43.9% and 30.2%. Coastal wetlands covered an area of 4.13 mha (25.9%) out of which 22.7% and 3.2% belong to natural and man-made categories.

Tamil Nadu (11.6%), Maharashtra (11.2%), Andhra Pradesh (10.4%), Uttar Pradesh (8%), and Gujarat (7.6%) have the highest number of wetlands. The area coverage with wetlands is highest in Gujarat (21.9%) followed by Maharashtra (7.2%), Andhra Pradesh (7.14%). Goa has the highest area (24.6%) in terms of the fraction of geographic area under wetlands.

Conversion of wetlands for agriculture, deforestation in wetlands like loss of mangroves, impounding of water due to damned reservoirs, groundwater depletion, and degradation of water quality have been cited among threats to wetlands.

According to the atlas, wetlands are central to meeting many of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 associated targets, focusing on poverty, hunger, health, energy, consumption, and climate change. “One of the difficulties most frequently faced for decision-making is lack of scientific data of our dynamic natural resources which are influenced by both natural and man-made activities. Often the data are sparse or unconvincing, rarely in the form of updated geospatial database (map), need monitoring,” the atlas said.

It added over a period of time, the database of wetlands has been widely used in developmental activities that require environmental clearances, etc. “Since almost a decade has been passed; it is worthwhile reassessing the current status of wetlands at national level in comparison with the database of 2006-07. The updated wetland inventory and reassessment is an attempt in this direction.”  https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/major-loss-to-natural-coastal-wetlands-since-2006-07-isro-101643800198160.html  (02 Feb. 2022)

New Ramsar Sites Sanctuaries in Gujarat, UP listed as Ramsar sites The Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary near Jamnagar in Gujarat and Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh have been listed as Wetlands of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. The announcement by the Ramsar secretariat in Iran came on the eve of International Wetlands Day (February 2). With this, the total number of Ramsar sites in India goes up to 48.

Khijadiya, which is part of the Central Asian Flyway, has become the fourth wetland of Gujarat to get the Ramsar tag. Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, Thol Wildlife Sanctuary and Wadhwana wetland are the other Ramsar sites in the state. The last two were included in April last year.

Khijadia Wildlife Sanctuary (Ramsar site No. 2464), a freshwater wetland near the coast of the Gulf of Kutch, was formed following the creation of a bund (dike) in 1920 by the then ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Nawanagar to protect farmlands from saltwater ingress. The sanctuary is now part of Marine National Park, Jamnagar, the first marine national park in the country.

On the other hand, Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary (site no. 2465), a freshwater marsh in the Sant Kabir Nagar district, is the largest natural floodplain wetland of eastern Uttar Pradesh. The Sanctuary was established in 1980 and is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act (1972); an “eco-sensitive zone” extends up to a kilometre around its boundary. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/rajkot/international-wetlands-day-sanctuaries-gujarat-up-ramsar-7752917/  (03 Feb. 2022) The Union Environment Ministry had notified the Sultanpur National Park and Bhindawas wildlife sanctuary in Jhajjar as Ramsar sites — the first two such sites in Haryana — in August 2021. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/two-more-ramsar-sites-announced-on-world-wetlands-day-7753955/  (03 Feb. 2022)

Uttar Pradesh Hulas Khera wetland in Lucknow to be ecologically restored  The Hulas Khera wetland (also known as Karela Jheel) in Lucknow’s Mohanlalganj tehsil will be ecologically restored and developed as a community reserve. A learning visit to prepare the plan was organised by the forest department in partnership with the department of environmental Science, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (BBAU) and WaterAid, India. The restoration project would be undertaken by the forest department with the assistance and inputs from BBAU and the local community. Walking trails, boating and other attractions would be also added for birders and nature enthusiasts.

Talking about the geological history of the landscape, Prof Venkatesh Dutta of BBAU said the wetland was once a part of the Sai river system, which changed its course leaving the oxbow lake of around 125 acres. The area became an ecological hot spot for birds and aquatic animals. Later, due to land use changes and farming activities, some parts of this wetland were lost. He emphasised the need of making this wetland a community reserve and water sanctuary for protection and conservation. With 10 Ramsar sites in the state, UP holds the record of maximum number of such sites in the country. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/lucknow-news/hulas-khera-wetland-in-lucknow-s-mohanlalganj-to-be-ecologically-restored-101643820419999.html  (02 Feb. 2022)

Jammu & Kashmir HC seeks MOEF’s response to PIL on wetlands preservation The High Court of J&K and Ladakh Tuesday (Feb. 01) granted the MoEF one month’s time to respond to the PIL seeking preservation and management of wetlands in J&K covered under Ramsar Convention and Wetland Rules. Hearing the suo-moto PIL, a division bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Sindhu Sharma granted the time for the response after Assistant Solicitor General of India (ASGI), T M Shamsi submitted that he wanted to file response on behalf of the MoEF.

The High Court following the directions by the Supreme Court on April 3, 2017, had treated an affidavit filed by the petitioner M K Balakrishnan before the apex court regarding certain wetlands which were covered under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands as PIL. The Supreme Court had asked the Chief Justices of the concerned High Courts to treat the affidavit as a suo moto PIL and, if necessary, appoint an amicus curiae to assist the court so as to ensure that the Ramsar Convention sites within their jurisdiction were properly maintained. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/kashmir/high-court-seeks-union-environment-ministrys-response-to-pil-on-jk-wetlands-preservation  (02 Feb. 2022)

Northeast Ramsar designated wetlands of Northeast India including Deepor Beel, Loktak Lake, Rudrasagar Lake are under imminent threat https://assamtribune.com/north-east/ramsar-designated-wetlands-of-northeast-india-are-under-imminent-threat-1352326  (02 Feb. 2022)

Maharashtra Panel backs greens on Panje wetland, junks Cidco’s claim In a major relief for environmentalists fighting to save the 289-hectare Panje wetland and its biodiversity, the Bombay high court-appointed Wetlands Committee has refused to accept Cidco’s contention that the Panje site in Uran taluka is not a wetland. During the latest meeting held by the HC-appointed wetland panel, one of its members, D Stalin, stood strong on his stand that Panje is a wetland since intertidal waters are still seen here and continue to attract hundreds of wetland birds, like the flamingos. “Cidco wanted a closure on complaints about landfills and other violations at the Panje site on the grounds that it is not a wetland. I, however, reasoned that intertidal waters are still seen at Panje, and so are wetland birds, after which the panel refused to close the case files,” said Stalin.

Meanwhile, the committee referred the issue of violations and choking of inter-tidal water flow at NRI and TS Chanakya wetlands in Nerul to the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA). “Experts, like the then chief conservator of forests (CCF) and the MCZMA, have also stated that Panje falls under CRZ 1, and that it needs to be conserved. These marine experts are not mad to concur on Panje’s wetland status,” Stalin said. The Wetlands Committee therefore decided not to close the series of pending complaints on violations at Panje. Welcoming the “positive development,” NatConnect Foundation director B N Kumar, who has repeatedly raised concerns about its destruction with the government and the mangroves and wetlands committees, said Panje has all the characteristics of a wetland as defined by the Ramsar Convention.

Nandakumar Pawar, head of Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan, who received death threats by local goons for raising the issue of reopening choked tidal water inlets with the NGT, said the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and several experts are keen to conserve Panje, and it is only “Cidco and other vested interests that are hell-bent on destroying it to create a concrete jungle”. The MCZMA has said in its affidavit to the Bombay HC that Panje is CRZ 1 area, while the environment minister had also stalled fresh constructions there. The information obtained under the Right to Information Act showed that construction of a wall and sluice gates at Panje as well as the compound wall erected by the Navi Mumbai Special Economic Zone (NMSEZ) have no CRZ clearances, Pawar and Kumar said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/navi-mumbai-panel-backs-greens-on-panje-wetland-junks-cidcos-claim/articleshow/89395266.cms  (07 Feb. 2022)

NMMC chief writes to Forest Department to take action if any destruction found in two wetlands in Nerul Navi Mumbai municipal commissioner Abhijit Bangar has written to the Forest Department to take action if they found any destruction of two wetlands located at sector 56 in Nerul behind TS Chanakya and NRI complex. Environmentalists had raised concerns over the change in the natural flow of water between the two wetlands due to human interference. Bangar has also appointed Dadasaheb Chabukaswar, deputy commissioner as the nodal officer to coordinate and follow-up with the Forest officials.

The wetlands are natural habitats of migratory bird Flamingo and every year during winter, the wetland turns pink with the presence of a large number of flamingos. However, due to blocking the inter-tidal water into the two wetlands, the migratory birds have started skipping the area and activists said the Flamingo City concept is thus threatened. Recently, Navi Mumbai city has received a tag of Flamingo city and the civic body has made paintings across the city as part of the Cleanliness Survey 2022. https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/navi-mumbai-nmmc-chief-writes-to-forest-department-to-take-action-if-any-destruction-found-in-two-wetlands-in-nerul  (05 Feb. 2022)

Kerala Study finds depletion of wetlands in Aluva, Paravur Huge encroachment in the floodplains and buffer zone of Periyar River with loss of nearly 40% vegetation changed the land pattern in Aluva and Paravur taluks, leading to extensive flooding in 2018 and to some extent in 2019. According to a study on the changing nature of land use with special reference to floodplain areas of Aluva and Paravur, there has been a drastic shrinkage of wetlands in the region. The wetland areas have decreased from 773.01 ha in 2008 to 557.55 ha in 2018. Keeping the flood damages as a benchmark, the study examines peripheral land use change of the Periyar River for a stretch of 25km flowing through these two taluks in the district.

Using satellite images of 2008 and 2018, the researchers found that the changes depict huge encroachment on the banks of the river. There is a huge expansion of the built-up area within a span of 10 years around the river, which is highly prone to flood. “These two taluks were the most flood-affected areas in 2018. The satellite images showed that the built-up area dominates the landscape in 2018, which was previously covered by vegetation in 2008. This significant decline in both vegetation and wetland has made the area vulnerable to floods. In 2008, vegetation held 66.09% of the total area in the buffer zone of 2km, around the Periyar River. But this has been drastically reduced by 36.9% of the total land use in 2018. The built-in area increased from 21.89% of the total land use (in 2008) to 61.43% (in 2018),” said Ameen Salam A, researcher at the department of geography, University College, Kerala University. He said that these are wetland areas which help in controlling the impact of flood by slowing down the flow of water. It serves as sinks for flood water wherein water finds its way to recharge the neighbouring aquifers.

The study, which was published in the journal of aquatic biology and fisheries, used four major land use/land cover classes — built-up area, vegetation, wetlands and waterbody and the area under each class for the calculations. While it is quite hard to revive the ecosystems to its past glory, checks must be placed to prevent conversion and to revive the ecosystems. There is an urgent need for proper implementation of river regulation zones to preserve the riparian vegetation and the ecosystems which are unique to the river. “Real-time flood forecasting has to be evolved through flood modelling. It is also necessary to engage the communities occupying the floodplains in disaster mitigation and also in conserving the fragile riverine and riparian ecosystems,” said Ameen, whose research aims at looking at building resilience among communities against climate change. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/study-finds-depletion-of-wetlands-in-aluva-paravur/articleshow/89356945.cms  (05 Feb. 2022)

Andhra Pradesh Conserving the wetlands In a first attempt to map the wetlands of Andhra Pradesh, the Forest Department has identified 26 new wetlands and collaborated with WWF – India to prepare documents and wetland health cards. The project was initiated in 2019-20 with an aim to notify the water bodies officially as wetlands, which provides legal protection under the Wetland Protection Rules, 2017. The findings brought to light many significant issues. “Most wetlands had similar issues — siltation, changes in drainage pattern — inflows and outflows, encroachment and spread of invasive alien species,” says Farida Tampal, State Director, WWF – India.

The project also surveyed lesser known wetlands like Perali Porugu near Guntur, which had good biodiversity.  The wetlands of Andhra Pradesh are also home to some species listed as ‘threatened’ in the IUCN Red List. The Eastern Ghats Wildlife Society (EGWS), an organisation working towards wildlife conservation in the region, documented the presence of smooth-coated otters from the wetlands of Krishna River Delta in Krishna and Guntur districts back in 2016. “Incidentally, we have also documented signs of smooth-coated otters from the wetlands of Visakhapatnam and East-Godavari districts in the recent years. There are negative interactions between otter and fishing communities due to snatching of fish catch and damage of fishing gear by otters leading to economic loss,” says Murthy Kantimahanti, founder of EGWS.

Smaller animal communities like invertebrates, fish and amphibians are indicators of ecosystem health. Healthy populations of these animals indicate the overall health of the wetland. Currently, these habitats are heavily fragmented and degraded due to anthropogenic activities like sand mining, agricultural intensification, aquaculture ponds, overgrazing, deforestation, poaching and unsustainable fishing practices. “There are also increasing instances of human-wildlife conflicts that need conservation interventions. Engaging local communities to safeguard these precious habitats, recognition of these areas for conservation, legal protection and regulation of human activities is critical for conservation of such unprotected and heavily exploited wetland habitats,” says Murthy. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/conserving-the-wetlands-of-andhra-pradesh/article38381637.ece  (05 Feb. 2022)

Delhi Man-made hurdles delay notification of wetlands According to an RTI, only eight wetlands have been notified across the country since the 2017 wetland rules were notified. Delhi, too, aims to notify 1,040 wetlands and 10 have been prioritised, but none has been notified yet. Experts, however, said they were still hopeful for the conservation of the wetlands in the city. Officials said it was yet to be ascertained how many wetlands in Delhi have been encroached upon. “Wetlands are often neglected. Only after the notification, the entire exercise of the determination of illegal constructions or encroachment can be carried out,” said environmentalist and lawyer Akash Vashistha.

For notification of a wetland, a brief document is prepared first based on which the ground work is done to ready a final draft. The public opinion is then sought and finally, the union environment ministry notifies it. “So far, 650 brief documents have been obtained. Good thing is that we have 1,040 wetlands on record. We are yet to do the ground truthing of most of these wetlands, and the 10 wetlands were prioritised on the criteria and parameters like area, biodiversity, pre-existing rights, etc. We are sure that they will be notified soon,” said Dr Madhu Verma, chief economist at World Resource Institute, Delhi who is heading the technical committee on wetlands. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/man-made-hurdles-delay-notification-of-city-wetlands/articleshow/89283887.cms  (02 Feb. 2022)

‘City wetlands need urgent care’ Most of the water bodies in Delhi, including prominent lakes such as Bhalswa, Sanjay Van and Hauz Khas lakes, require considerable attention to protect and preserve them, said many biodiversity experts. Attending a webinar on biodiversity parks, held by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to celebrate World Wetlands Day on Wednesday, experts also suggested ways to ensure revival of the such water bodies in the Capital. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/city-wetlands-need-urgent-care-101643830417602.html  (03 Feb. 2022)

Haryana Basai wetlands: An oasis in the heart of a concrete jungle More than an address for fancy high-rise apartments, Sector 101 of Gurugram is a place of ecological importance. It is for the residents — and the authorities — to fathom the critical role the Basai wetlands here plays for nature and for people. At a stone’s throw from the glitzy malls of the Millennium City, the 250-acre shallow wetland has shrunk to a quarter of its original size over the years. Home to 300-plus species of rare, common and migratory birds, Basai is recognised as a key biodiversity area by the IUCN, the Wildlife Institute of India and the BirdLife International, a global network of NGOs that work to protect bird habitats. But for the town planners, urbanisation is out of sync with environment and the Haryana government is yet to declare the site a protected refuge for birds. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/basai-wetlands-an-oasis-in-the-heart-of-a-concrete-jungle/article38389774.ece  (07 Feb. 2022)

Rajasthan Menar bird village to be developed as wetland Menar bird village in Udaipur will be developed as another wetland in the state. On the occasion of World Wetland Day, officials of the district administration, forest department and Vallabhnagar MLA Preeti Shakatwat visited the village. Both the lakes at the village are conserved for migratory birds and can prove to be an important tourist destination.

Menar villagers have been instrumental in conserving the lakes all these years. Every year, many species of migratory birds’ visit these lakes and many birds have made this spot there permanent abode. Udaipur collector Tara Chand Meena said a management plan would be prepared for systematic development of the lakes and instructed department officers to prepare an action plan to get it notified as a wetland at the earliest. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/udaipur/menar-bird-village-to-be-developed-as-wetland/articleshow/89335072.cms  (04 Feb. 2022)

Himachal Pradesh In Pong Dam Lake Wildlife Sanctuary in Kangra District 1,10,309 birds of 110 species were counted this year. Out of the total, water dependent migratory birds are 1,00,018 of 59 species and water dependent resident birds are 10,291 of 51 species. The total population of the flagship species, Bar-headed Geese, is 47,598, said Anish Sharma, DFO and spokesperson wild life. An exclusive estimation of Larks and Pipits was also carried out in draw drown areas by dividing it into 5 Grids. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/shimla/110-bird-species-at-pong-dam-sanctuary-7754023/  (03 Feb. 2022)

Tamil Nadu ‘Ensure wetlands are free from dumping’ Protection of wetlands is not only about the conservation of their avifauna and biodiversity, but is equally about the sustenance of human beings living around them, according to S. Ramasubramanian, Conservator of Forests (Coimbatore Circle). Mr. Ramasubramanian said that the civil society and non-governmental organisations were actively involved in the protection of wetlands and uplifted a few places like the Singanallur to the level of a biodiversity learning centre.

“Sustainable development will happen wherever there is water that has to be used cautiously and judiciously. There is an increasing tendency of dumping waste into wetlands, which should be stopped immediately. Ensure that wetlands are free from dumping and contamination so that we can get pure water,” said Mr. Ramasubramanian at the World Wetlands Day celebration held on the bank of Ganganarayanasamuthiram tank on Wednesday (Feb. 02). He said that wetlands play a major role in recharging the groundwater table by holding water for longer periods. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/ensure-wetlands-are-free-from-dumping/article38367289.ece  (03 Feb. 2022)

With alumni ranging from Baby Boomers to Gen Z — the youngest alumni to join the chapter are from the 2020 batch, notes Pramode Mathew Alex (from the 1990 batch) who is currently handling the Clean Pallikaranai Project — CETAAC seems to be as much at ease discussing the marsh with the general public as it with the officials. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/a-view-of-the-marsh-from-downtown-egmore/article38385068.ece  (05 Feb. 2022)

UNEP Wetlands: the unsung heroes of the planet The good news is that protection, sustainable management and restoration of wetlands work. Improving management of wetlands brings health, food and water security benefits – critical to the health and livelihoods of 4 billion people reliant on wetlands’ services, says the Global Wetland Outlook. Under Sustainable Development Goal 6, Target 6, all countries are committed to protecting and restoring wetlands by 2030, and UNEP has a special role in helping to monitor and achieve that target. https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/story/wetlands-unsung-heroes-planet  (01 Feb. 2022)

Webinar on “Mangroves never die: yet, understanding their resilience, succession and restoration is critical” through  YouTube live stream. 

ENVIS_IISC[RP] is inviting you to a scheduled webinar. Speaker: Dr Nehru Prabhakaran, DST-INSPIRE Faculty, Wildlife Institute of India, Date: 04/02/22, Time: 5.00-6.00 pm https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztUcGm3tjxA  (04 Feb. 2022)

WATER OPTIONS

Tamil Nadu Catching the rains Tiruvannamalai District Administration converged a range of schemes to ensure rainwater harvesting through creation of farm ponds. With a view to improving the groundwater potential of the district, the district administration decided to create 1,121 farm ponds in 541 village panchayats of 18 blocks at a unit cost of Rs 1.78 lakhs. This was sought to be accomplished within 30 days under Catch the Rain Campaign. Workforce, consisting mostly of women labourers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, was tapped. The Scheme was inaugurated by the district collector on August 12, 2021 at Seelapandal Village in Thurinjapuram Block and completed on September 10, 2021.

– The dimensions of each farm pond are 72 ft x 36 ft x 5 ft. The total volume of one farm pond is 12,960 cubic feet. A total of 3.63 lakh litres of water can be stored in each farm pond. Thus 40.69 crore litres of water was additionally stored during the monsoon season. Total man-days generated in 1,121 farm ponds is 6.78 lakh with each farm pond generating 603 man-days of work. An expenditure of Rs 18.52 crore under labour component and Rs 78.47 lakh under material component was incurred during this project period under MGNREGA.

– These adjudicators approved the farm ponds after the inspection and issued a provisional certificate of world record with the title ‘Most farm ponds created at multiple locations in 30 days’. This was awarded to the district collector and the additional collector (Development) on September 14, 2021.

– What has happened in the district, under the guidance of its District Collector B Murugesh and at the initiative of a young and dynamic Additional Collector M Prathap, is not only commendable but also replicable and scalable. http://www.millenniumpost.in/opinion/catching-the-rains-466992  (02 Feb. 2022)

Pune Shailendra Patelji, a passionate water warrior from Pune, is on a mission to save a live spring in the city. It is important that he is heard and action taken! https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/water-warriors-fight-springs-hope-springs  (03 Feb. 2022)

GROUNDWATER

Economic Survey 2021-2022 Punjab among top states with over 100% ground water extraction This was revealed in the Economic Survey of India (ESI) released Monday (Jan. 31) by the Union government ahead of the annual Budget. States in high (more than 100%) and medium (70-100%) category are required to focus on both medium and long term ground water recharge and conservation plans.

The Economic Survey said that closing of the gap between paddy harvesting and Rabi season sowing is a likely factor that encourages farmers to burn stubble, adding that it may be related to restrictions on early transplanting of Kharif paddy, the sowing of which cannot take place before June 10. In the Survey, images comparing the Kharif crop (mainly paddy) cycle in Moga district of Punjab have been from 2005 and 2021. The images in 2021 show that Kharif sowing cycle has shifted ahead by around two to three weeks causing the Kharif harvest to almost coincide with Rabi sowing in November. “The closing of the gap is a likely factor that encourages farmers to burn stubble and may be related to restrictions on early transplanting of Kharif paddy,” said the Survey.

It added: “These restrictions were introduced in 2009 in order to reduce pumping of groundwater but may have had the unintended consequence of damaging air quality.” Punjab Preservation of Sub-soil Act 2009, which mandatorily delayed paddy transplanting beyond June 10, was brought in 2009 to save Punjab’s groundwater so that farmer could sow it close to pre-monsoon period so as to lessen the burden on ground water. Agri experts in Punjab, however, said that not this Act, but there were other factors responsible for this shorter gap and one among them was huge area under long duration paddy variety in around 8-10 districts, including Moga, district of the state.

According to Punjab remote Sensing Centre (PRSC) at Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), Ludhiana, which is monitoring the fire incidents on behalf of Punjab pollution Control Board (PPCB), in 2021, Moga recorded the second highest fire incidents which were 6,515 in the state with 54% burning of its total paddy area, which was around 1.64 lakh hectares. Out of the fields burnt, more than 65,000 hectares was under the long duration PUSA-44 variety of paddy. This variety takes 160 days including the 30 days of nursery which is transplanted into the main field. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/jalandhar/punjab-among-top-states-with-over-100-ground-water-extraction-7750607/  (01 Feb. 2022)

Groundwater in at least 78 per cent blocks of the Punjab is overexploited said Minister of State for Jal Shakti Bishweswar Tudu in a reply to a query posed by Anandpur Sahib Member of Parliament Manish Tewari during the ongoing Lok Sabha session. The minister said out of 150 blocks, as many as 117 have been categorised as “overexploited”. The minister said as per the 2017 groundwater assessment carried out jointly by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) and the state government as many as 109 blocks were found to be “overexploited”. The reply mentioned that “Groundwater levels are declining because of continuous withdrawal necessitated by increased demand of freshwater for various uses, vagaries of rainfall, increased population, industrialisation and urbanisation etc.” https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/groundwater-in-78-blocks-overexploited-367647  (07 Feb. 2022)

Groundwater crisis deepens Groundwater is a crucial resource for the country’s agriculture, industry, and drinking water security. However, over-exploitation of groundwater resources and a decrease in “safe” groundwater assessment units have worsened the country’s groundwater crisis, revealed the Economic Survey 2021-2022 presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Lok Sabha on Monday (Jan. 31).

The survey stressed that the states and Union Territories (UTs) need to improve management of its groundwater resources through improving its recharge and by stemming its over-exploitation. As per the survey’s findings, over-exploitation of groundwater resources or extraction exceeding the annually replenish-able groundwater recharge was basically concentrated in North-West and parts of southern India in 2020.

The Central Ground Water Board and state groundwater/nodal departments jointly carried out groundwater assessments at periodic intervals in 2004, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2017, and 2020. Overall, the annual groundwater extraction has been in the range of 58-63 per cent during 2004-2020 groundwater assessment period, according to the Economic Survey. The extent of groundwater extraction varies across the country. The groundwater assessment units (blocks/ taluks/ mandals/ tehsil/ firkas) are categorised based on the Stage of Extraction (SoE) as “Safe”, “Semi-critical”, “Critical” and “Over-exploited”. The assessment unit in which the groundwater resources are entirely saline, have been categorised as “Saline”.

“During 2004-2020, units categorised as ‘safe’, declined from 2009 (73 per cent) to 2020 (64 per cent). ‘Semi-critical’ units increased from 9 per cent in 2009 to 15 per cent in 2020. The share of ‘Critical’ units remained in the range of 3-5 per cent during 2004-2020. The share of ‘Over-exploited’ units, accounted for 14-17 per cent of total assessment units during 2004-20. Moreover, approximately one per cent of assessment units have been categorised as ‘saline’,” the survey stated. The survey alerted the states and UTs to prevent the critical and semi-critical assessment units from further worsening. The findings were showed in the Economic Survey’s Chapter on “Sustainable Development and Climate Change”.  https://www.timesnownews.com/mirror-now/in-focus/article/indias-groundwater-crisis-deepens-economic-survey/854626  (31 Jan. 2022)

Maharashtra Govt panel to reassess replenishable groundwater resources A special panel has been formed to carry out the task, which is expected to submit its report by February 2023. While the reassessment will be done in accordance with the directives received from the Centre’s Ministry of Jalshakti, the National Water Policy, 2012, has also recommended that the groundwater resources of the country should be reassessed periodically. The aforementioned panel formed has 16 members from different government departments and state agencies and is headed by a secretary-level official from the water supply and sanitation department. Besides reassessing the annual replenishable groundwater resources, the panel will also estimate the status of utilisation of the annual replenishable groundwater resource.

Officials at the groundwater survey and development agency (GSDA) said the reassessment of groundwater and estimation of the status of utilisation involves multiple activities. “As a part of the exercise, data corresponding to groundwater levels and different watersheds among other focus areas is collected and processed. High-end software is available to feed the data and carry out the desired analysis,” Bhimrao Meshram, the GSDA deputy director for Aurangabad, said. As per official records, the last assessment of annual replenishable groundwater resources for Maharashtra was carried out for the 2019-20 water year. The revised “Groundwater Estimation Committee-2015 Methodology” (GEC-2015) will be used for the task that recommends aquifer-wise groundwater resource assessment. As per recommended practice, groundwater resources may be assessed to a depth of 100m in areas with hard rock, and 300m in areas with soft rock.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/aurangabad/govt-panel-to-reassess-replenishable-groundwater-resources-in-maharashtra/articleshow/89232274.cms  (31 Jan. 2022)

Haryana 3,300 waterbodies to be restored in 2 years In a move to address the issue of groundwater depletion in Haryana, the state government has identified 3,342 waterbodies, which will be restored in the next two years. The government has identified 2,461 waterbodies in the ‘over exploited’ zone, 307 in the ‘critical’ and 574 in the ‘semi-critical’ and plans to restore them in the next two years.

During a webinar—‘Creating synergies between wetlands and water management’—conducted by the state forest department, the deputy manager of the Haryana pond and wastewater management authority, Prabhakar Kumar Verma, said, “The state has been working towards identifying water bodies and conserving them. We have given unique IDs to more than 18,000 ponds. As many as 3,342 ponds are in the 110 blocks, which have groundwater depletion issues. We have an action plan to restore them in the next two years, ensuring reinstatement of the water table.”

Water-table depletion is a big concern in Haryana, which has witnessed an overall 19% decline in aquifers in the last five years. The state withdraws 137% of its extractable groundwater resources, which is the third-highest in the country. The national average is at 63%, according to the 2020 data of the CGWA. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/3300-waterbodies-to-be-restored-in-hry-to-boost-groundwater-recharge/articleshow/89392387.cms  (07 Feb. 2022)

Chairperson, Haryana Water Resources Authority (HWRA), Keshni Anand Arora said on Wednesday that the ‘Atal Jal Haryana’ programme will revolutionise groundwater governance in the state and will set an example for the entire country. Arora said this at the closing ceremony of the two-day workshop on the topic “Collective Reflection on the Submitted Water Security Plan and the Process followed during the preparation of Water Security Plans, and Water Security Plans submitted to Govt of India” organised by the Irrigation and Water Resources Department, Haryana and Haryana Water Resources Authority. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/haryana-will-revolutionalise-ground-water-governance-says-keshni-anand-arora/articleshow/88570958.cms  (29 Dec. 2021)

Kerala Iron & Nitrate found in groundwater in Thrissur A study conducted by the Central Ground Water Board found the presence of iron and nitrate in groundwater at various places in Thrissur. The presence of iron was found in Chalakudy, Pazhayannur, Kodakara, Ollukkara and Vadakkancherry. However, nitrate was found in isolated areas of Kechery, Kodungallur, Mupliyam and Perinjanam. Further, some tube wells in the western region have shown signs of saltwater mixed with the groundwater.

The study pointed out that erosion in coastal areas has resulted in groundwater quality depleting in the reservoirs. Further, the presence of saltwater was also found in those floodplains. The Board’s study reminds us that intensive water conservation activities should be implemented taking into account the status and characteristics of the groundwater table in each area of the district. https://english.mathrubhumi.com/news/kerala/presence-of-iron-and-nitrate-found-in-groundwater-at-various-places-in-thrissur-1.6400036  (29 Jan. 2022)

Uttar Pradesh Article on Drinking Water problems, focused on contamination by high arsenic, mercury etc.  https://countercurrents.org/2022/02/40-districts-in-up-are-exposed-to-high-concentration-of-arsenic-and-mercury-in-groundwater/  (03 Feb. 2022) Part 1 on fluoride contamination of drinking water in UP. https://countercurrents.org/2022/02/40-districts-in-up-are-exposed-to-high-concentration-of-arsenic-and-mercury-in-groundwater/  (03 Feb. 2022)

Report Groundwater is the largest source of water on land A recent analysis that looked 10 kilometres beneath the surface found that the true volume is likely twice as large. These new estimates mean that groundwater is the largest continental reservoir of water — even more than all the water contained in the continental ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, which were long thought to be the Earth’s second-largest stores of water.

The circulation of this deep groundwater is controlled by the forces that drive flow, such as topography, and the permeability of the rock. For example, rainwater and snowmelt circulate more deeply in mountainous areas than flatter regions. Groundwater can flow at speeds of metres per year in sandstones and limestones, or nanometres per year in intact igneous and metamorphic rocks, due to extreme variations in the permeability of different rocks.

Deep groundwaters may only be weakly connected to the rest of the hydrologic cycle but this does not mean they are unimportant to the functioning of our planet. Microbes have been found in most subsurface environments with temperatures below 80 C, typical for depths of three to four kilometres. This subsurface life likely accounts for more than 10 per cent of the Earth’s total biomass, and yet the links between deep groundwater circulation and subsurface life are largely unexplored at this time.

There’s clearly still much to learn about deep groundwater. Our windows into the deep subsurface are limited to deep mines, oil and gas wells and a handful of research sites. New approaches are required to understand deep groundwater, its environmental functions and interactions with the rest of the hydrologic cycle over deep time, both in the past and into the future. https://theconversation.com/groundwater-not-ice-sheets-is-the-largest-source-of-water-on-land-and-most-of-it-is-ancient-174031  (19 Jan. 2022)

URBAN WATER

Chandrapur CMC stopped from drawing water from Irai River The irrigation department has stopped Chandrapur Municipal Corporation (CMC) from drawing water from Irai river as it is yet to pay charges worth Rs 2.76 crore. The department has sealed the pumping station of Datala point jackwell. Sources in the department claimed that the recovery had grown exponentially since last many years. “Despite repeated reminders and notices the corporation did not pay the amount following which the water supply was stopped on Friday (Jan. 28),” they said.

The corporation has not entered into a formal agreement with the irrigation department for lifting water. The department first took note of this in 2018 and wrote a letter to the civic body, seeking deposition of the pending dues and urging CMC to sign an agreement. The charges are pending from May 2005 to December 2021.

As per the official information, CMC lifts 3.65 million cubic meter water per year from the river. The water lifted from Datala jackwell caters to the needs of nearly 40 % population of the city. The irrigation department has warned the municipal corporation to immediately pay the pending dues and sign an agreement to get back the water supply. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/irri-dept-stops-chanda-civic-body-from-drawing-water-from-irai-river/articleshow/89284081.cms  (02 Feb. 2022)

Delhi Flooding Of Basements In Greater Kailash, Amar Colony, New Friends Colony, National Park (Lajpat Nagar IV), Chittaranjan Park and other places, the water seems to lie just a few metres below the ground, percolating into basements and posing a structural risk to buildings. Bhavna Gupta’s basement at E Block, Greater Kailash II has seen constant flooding for two years. Fearing for the structural integrity of her house, she recently decided to engage a structural engineer. Residents like Gupta have been left helpless by the flailing efforts of official agencies to manage the problem.

While trying to alleviate the woes of GKII residents, CGWB carried out a study of the area and said in its final report mid-2021 that the inundation was the result of three causes: closure of all domestic tube wells by Delhi Jal Board, thereby reducing groundwater withdrawal, construction of protection walls underground at the Greater Kailash metro station from surface to 32 metre below it, thereby reducing the natural groundwater flow by acting as a subsurface dyke since 2018 and the heavy rains in 2020. DMRC refused to comment on the possibility of the subsurface dyke at GK metro station being a factor, pleading that the matter was sub-judice.

After its study of a 5sq km area straddling Hauz Khas and Kalkaji Mandir and further Jahanpanah Park and Astha Kunj Park further south, CGWB suggested extracting groundwater to contain the seepage. It also said asked for the installation of 7-8 piezometers (a device that measures the pressure of groundwater at a specific point) to monitor suitable locations in Kalkaji tehsil. It then said it would help to have 5-6 heavy duty tubewells to extract water after a geophysical survey to pinpoint the extraction point.

Residents, however, alleged the borewells were dug randomly after at low-lying points without the recommended geophysical survey. “That is the reason why three of the six borewells didn’t react well to water extraction,” claimed Gupta in GK II. “Also, the depths of the borewells are 200 ft deep while the purpose was to extract water from an aquifer lying at 18-20 ft.” CGWB had recommended 18-20 hours of water extraction, but, as Sanjay Rana, president of GKII Welfare Association, reported, “Water is being drawn out for just seven hours daily from 9am to 4pm. We have requested DJB to pump out three time the current volume and lay a pipeline to carry the water to the reservoir.”

A DJB official insisted such steps were being taken. “Two projects to carry water from GK II to the underground reservoir have been cleared for GK II. One is under way, the other will start soon,” said the official. But these measure seem specific to GKII and do not explains an identical problem in Kalkaji, where the Purnima Sethi Hpital has been flooded by seeping water, or at SDMC’s multi-level car parking in Sarai Jullena adjoining New Friends Colony, which hasn’t been operationalised fully since its completion in 2017 due to seepage in the basement level.

A K Gosain, professor emeritus, department of civil engineering, IIT-Delhi, said a scientific study of the entire region should be carried out to clarify its geological characteristics. “The reason for oozing water in one area may be different from another area. For example, underground concrete construction is a local issue and cannot be a factor for all instances of inundation,” said Gosain. “The only solution is to monitor the system from all angles and then consider the implications of the interventions being made.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/in-deep-water-south-delhi-residentsin-a-fix-over-flooding-of-basements/articleshow/89391279.cms  (07 Feb. 2022)

Gurugram ‘Not cleaned for 7 years, water tank in Sec 45 poses health risk’ The underground storage tank in Sector 45, which supplies drinking water to around 2,000 households in the area, has not been cleaned by the civic body for over seven years, alleged residents. They said the MCG has also not deployed an official to ensure that the drinking water supplied from the tank is not contaminated. “The cover of the tank is broken and uncovered electricity cables are lying around in the area which is also encroached by slum dwellers. We have made several complaints to MCG officials, urging them to clean the underground water tank which has not been maintained by them for over seven years. Also, the motor pump of the tank has been lying dysfunctional since July 2021. The civic body, however, has not taken any action so far despite repeated complaints,” OP Yadav, RWA president of Sector 45. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/not-cleaned-for-7-years-water-tank-in-sec-45-poses-health-risk/articleshow/89391431.cms  (07 Feb. 2022)

Hyderabad 200 water ATMs out of work In 2017, 114 water ATMs were installed in collaboration with Josab International AB of Sweden and Natures Spring Eco Tap Private Limited, but the entire ATM network in the city was rendered useless due to lack of maintenance. There are currently 200 automatic water vending machines in the city, but they are currently non-functional due to broken pipes, stolen tumblers, and broken coin slots. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/5-yrs-on-200-water-atms-non-functional/articleshow/89081674.cms  (24 Jan. 2022)

Neknampur residents up in arms over Pedda Cheruvu STP Hundreds of people living around the Ibrahimbagh lake staged a protest against the proposed STP in the lake, on Sunday (Feb. 06).  They staged a protest by holding placards, and demanding the government to withdraw the installation of the STP, which would cause damage to the ecosystem of the lake.

Ibrahimbagh lake, which is also known as Pedha Cheruvu, at Neknampur, sprawling across 99 acres, has a history of 400 years. It was the main source of drinking water before the drastic urbanisation took place here.  Around this lake, there are about hundred apartments and gated communities that mushroomed in a short span of time. Sewage from Manikonda municipality and surrounding colonies is flowing into this lake.

In 2017, the residents formed a committee to rejuvenate the lake, and with their efforts, the lake has been beautified. In 2018, the government sanctioned Rs 22 crore for cleaning and beautification of the lake. Till now, the government has spent Rs 8 crore and completed a portion of the work. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/070222/neknampur-residents-up-in-arms-over-pedda-cheruvu-sewage-plant.html  (07 Feb. 2022)

Vijayawada Orvakal water supply scheme for judicial preview Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation Limited (APIIC) is going to undertake the work of design, supply, construction, test and commissioning of external water supply scheme to MIH Orvakal (Phase-I under Package-1) In Kurnool district under Operate and Maintenance for 3 years. The corporation APIC submitted the RFP to the judge, Judicial Preview, Guntur in respect of the work. All the stakeholders, service providers, aspirant bidders and general public are requested to furnish their advice, comments, remarks, and objections, if any, to the judicial preview committee through the following online websites on or before February 2, 2022 till 5 pm to the following IDs. Website link: https://judicialpreview.ap.gov.in Email id: 1) judge-ipp@ap.gov.in.  apjudicialpreview@gmail.com https://www.thehansindia.com/news/cities/vijayawada/vijayawada-orvakal-water-supply-scheme-for-judicial-preview-727432  (02 Feb. 2022)

‘SCB first Cantonment to receive free drinking water supply’ Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) will be the first Cantonment in the country to receive free drinking water supply, said Animal Husbandry Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav. “Out of the 62 Cantonment Boards in the country, the SCB in the Telangana is the only Cantonment board where every household will receive 20,000 litres free drinking water per month,” he said here on Wednesday (Feb. 02).

“Though the State government incurs an expenditure of around Rs 1.50 crore per month due to the implementation of this scheme, CM KCR has decided to implement the Free Drinking Water Scheme in SCB limits to benefit the poor families here,” said Srinivas Yadav. Also, he said, Rs 3 crore for the development of Ramannakunta Lake, Rs 10 crore for strengthening of Patny nala and Rs 25 crore for building a hospital in Bollarum have been sanctioned.  https://telanganatoday.com/scb-will-be-indias-first-cantonment-to-receive-free-drinking-water-supply  (02 Feb. 2022)

WATER POLLUTION

Maharashtra Flyash from Koradi & Khaparkheda power plants polluting water Scientists from the Union environment ministry have found various violations by Koradi and Khaparkheda power plants, which are leading to contamination of water sources and a massive public health issue. The ministry officials have directed Mahagenco to constitute a committee of its officials, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), NGOs, sarpanchs of impacted villages to regularly monitor the site and curb pollution.

Following a complaint filed by Leena Buddhe, director of Centre for Sustainable Development (CFSD), officials from the MoEF on Friday (Feb. 04) conducted the site inspection. Along with the complaint, Buddhe had submitted a copy of the latest scientific analysis done by CFSD, Pune’s Manthan Adhyayan Kendra and ASAR Social Impact Advisors Pvt, Ltd which found that residents of almost 25 villages were using and drinking toxic water. TOI was the first to report about the crisis. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/scientists-find-fly-ash-from-power-plants-polluting-water/articleshow/89353682.cms  (05 Feb. 2022)

The MPCB has directed the Khaperkheda Thermal Power Plant in Nagpur dist to stop dumping fly ash into a water body in the Nandgaon village.  https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/coal/mpcb-asks-thermal-power-station-in-nagpur-to-stop-dumping-ash-slurry/89358697  (05 Feb. 2022)

NGT asks 100 industrial units to pay Rs 186 crore compensation for water pollution NGT has ordered around 100 industrial units in Tarapur MIDC area of Palghar district to collectively pay around Rs 186 crore as environmental compensation for polluting water bodies in the region by releasing untreated effluents into them.

In the order passed on January 24, despite of the tribunal also pulled up the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for failing to take action under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against the industrial units fences like releasing untreated pollutants into water bodies, and said this “inaction” has encouraged them to continue with the violations “with impunity”. It said that the ED was taking action under the PMLA in a “narrow sphere” although the scope of the law was widened in 2013 after amendments.

Criticising the MPCB officials for their “extremely negligent and lax approach, careless attitude, non bona fide conduct and lack of devotion to duty”, the tribunal also said that the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) has contributed in causing pollution “by failing to ensure its functions of maintenance of pipelines, non-clearance of sludge in a regular manner”.  Apart from the industrial units, the tribunal directed the Tarapur Environment Protection Society’s central effluent treatment plant (CETP) to pay a compensation of Rs 91.79 crore, and asked the MIDC to pay to Rs 2 crore.

The compensation has to be paid within three months to the MPCB, it said. The amount shall be utilised for the restoration of environment and healthcare activities of people in the area under the guidance and supervision of a committee, it said. The order, which runs into 500 pages, was passed on the complaint filed by Akhil Bharatiya Mangela Samaj Parishad and its office bearers. The NGT ordered a committee, which is already in place, to monitor the compliance of its order and place its report before it.

NGT’s judicial member Justice Sudhir Agarwal observed that raising grievance of discharge of untreated effluents into the Arabian Sea at Navapur, and into the creeks and nullahs in the vicinity, in flagrant violations of provisions of various Acts, the present application was filed by four applicants. The affected water bodies, according to the applicants, include Murbe creek, Murbe-Satpati creek and Navapur-Dandi creek, and the affected villages include Tarapur, Kamboda, Ghivali, Uchheli, Dandi, Navapur, Alevadi, Murabe, Kharekuran, Satapati, Shirganv, Wadarai, Tembi, Dadara, Mahim and Kelave, it said.  https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2022/jan/29/ngt-asks-100-industrial-units-in-maharashtra-to-pay-rs-186-crore-compensation-for-water-pollution-2412790.html  (29 Jan. 2022)

Notice to 11 industries for pollution violations The MPCB issued notices to 11 industries based in Taloja MIDC area following a complaint by Arvind Mhatre, corporator from Taloja, about the health hazards that residents of the neighbouring Kharghar and Taloja areas, face, due to release of chemicals and gases by chemical companies in the area. Accordingly, the MPCB officials have served closure orders to four companies for violation of air pollution norms, while six companies have been served with show cause notices and one company has been given directions.

MPCB Deputy Regional Officer at Taloja, Sachin Adkar said, “The MPCB vigilance team has been regularly carrying out night inspection of industrial units in Taloja MIDC area as the chemical effluents and gasses are mostly released in the night. Hence, we have been taking regulatory action on those industrial units found to be violating pollution norms.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/notice-to-11-industries-for-pollution-violations/articleshow/89374896.cms  (06 Feb. 2022)

JJM/ RURAL WATER SUPPLY

Budget 2022 ₹60,000 crore allocated for piped water mission The Union Budget 2022-23 has allocated ₹60,000 crore to extend tapped water coverage to 38 million households in 2022-23, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday (Feb. 01). The current coverage of “Har Ghar, Nal Se Jal”, is 80.7 million households, the FM said. “Of this, 5.5 crore (50.5 million) households were provided tap water in last two years itself.”

The previous budget had allocated ₹50,000 crore for the piped water mission. The finance minister said the implementation of the Ken-Betwa river link project at an estimated cost of ₹44,605 crore would be taken up soon. To provide greater access to irrigation and drinking water, the FM said draft project reports of five river links, namely Damanganga-Pinjal, Par-Tapi-Narmada, Godavari-Krishna, Krishna-Pennar and Pennar-Cauvery have been finalized. “Once a consensus is reached among the beneficiary states, the Centre will provide support for implementation,” the FM said.

“The key issue with the Jal Jeevan mission is sustainability. While connecting households with a water source is the easier part, past experience has shown that maintaining sustainability of the source is critical for longer-term availability of water. One would have wanted to see some policy action on this front from the budget,” said Avadhesh Kumar, a former water-policy consultant with the erstwhile Planning Commission. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/budget-2022-60-000-crore-allocated-for-piped-water-mission-101643742346624.html  (02 Feb. 2022)

The Jal Shakti Ministry has been allocated Rs 86,189 crore, an increase of 24 per cent from Rs 69,052 crore in 2021-22. The Drinking Water and Sanitation Department has been allocated Rs 67,221 crore while 18,967.88 crore has been earmarked for “Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation”. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/business/tap-water-supply-to-3-8-crore-households-366217  (02 Feb. 2022)

Karnataka 120 water schemes worth Rs 11k crore cleared Karnataka has given approvals to 120 multi-village water supply schemes that are estimated to cost Rs 11,542 crore, which are a part of the government’s rush to provide functional tap connections to every rural household. These new multi-village water supply schemes come under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), an ambitious project that is seeing Karnataka provide an average 5,500 functional household tap connections daily.

At present, Karnataka has covered 45.25 lakh rural households against the targeted 97.91 lakh. This is a coverage of 46.22 per cent, not very far behind the national average of 46.38 per cent. So far, the government has spent Rs 1,835 crore, according to data. In terms of coverage, Karnataka is ahead of Tamil Nadu (40.38 per cent), Kerala (38.15 per cent) and Madhya Pradesh (37.80 per cent). But the state is behind Gujarat (91.18 per cent), Maharashtra (67.85 per cent) and Andhra Pradesh (51.82 per cent). Six states have achieved 100 per cent coverage – Goa, Telangana, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Puducherry, Dadra & Nagar Haveli-Diu & Daman and Haryana.  https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/karnataka-clears-120-water-schemes-worth-rs-11k-crore-1078511.html  (06 Feb. 2022)

Rajasthan 100% tap water connection in 70 villages in Jaipur Around 56 villages in the district have received 90 per cent of tap water connection. Out of 5.27 lakh families in Jaipur, around 1.80 lakh families have benefitted from functional tap connections under Jal Jeevan Mission. Instructing the officials to ensure quick disposal of complaints, the district collector said that the remaining households will be provided with tap connections by 2024. He also asked the officials to organise frequent meetings of the village water and sanitation committee (VWSC), adding that workshops should be organised in each and every block. https://www.indiatoday.in/cities/jaipur/story/100-per-cent-tap-water-connection-70-villages-rajasthan-jaipur-1907314-2022-02-01  (01 Feb. 2022)

WATER

IIT Madras establishes AquaMAP To solve water problems in India, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras establishes a new inter-disciplinary water management and policy centre known as ‘AquaMAP’. The centre will offer smart solutions for water problems by designing scalable models using innovative technologies. These models will be implemented at various chosen locations across the country as proof of the concept. https://www.financialexpress.com/education-2/iit-madras-establishes-aquamap-an-inter-disciplinary-water-management-and-policy-centre/2427524/  (07 Feb. 2022)

Maharashtra 10 of 11 major dams in Marathwada hold over 75% live stock 10 of the 11 major irrigation projects including Jayakwadi dam (85%), 57 of the 75 medium dams in Marathwada and 261 of the 749 minor dams also hold over 75% storage, data available with Godavari Marathwada Irrigation Development Corporation (GMIDC) revealed. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/aurangabad/ahead-of-summer-10-of-11-major-dams-in-marathwada-hold-over-75-live-stock/articleshow/89375542.cms  (06 Feb. 2022)

PRE MONSOON 2022

Report Frequent marine heatwaves in Indian Ocean disrupt India‘s monsoon patterns Marine heat waves (MHW), which are periods of increased temperatures over seas and oceans, in the Indian Ocean region have increased significantly in the past few decades, according to a new report. The phenomenon is impacting the Indian monsoon, the study published in the journal JGR Oceans showed. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/frequent-marine-heatwaves-in-indian-ocean-disrupt-india-s-monsoon-patterns-81379  (02 Feb. 2022)

Himachal Pradesh Wettest January in 10 years Himachal witnessed the wettest January this year in the past 10 years, recording 173.2 mm average rain, against the average rainfall of 89.9 mm, an excess of 93 per cent. Sirmaur received 479 per cent excess rain, followed by Solan 352 per cent, Una 338 per cent, Bilaspur 265 per cent, Hamirpur 192 per cent, Kangra 175 per cent, Mandi 134 per cent, Kullu 114 per cent, Chamba 99 per cent and Shimla 93 per cent while Lahaul and Spiti had marginal excess of 8 per cent and one per cent. Earlier, the state had received the highest rainfall of 157.6 mm (62 per cent excess) in 2017, while the highest deficit rainfall of 91 per cent was recorded in 2018 when total rainfall during the month was a meagre 9 mm.

3 western disturbances (WD) affected the state during January and there were 2 active spells of precipitation. 2 WDs in succession affected Northwest India from January 5 to January 10, resulting in heavy rainfall over the state on January 6, and the second WD caused widespread rainfall with isolated hailstorm and heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places from January 7 to 10, local MeT office said. Another active WD affected Northwest India during January 22 and 24, causing widespread rainfall with heavy snowfall at isolated places. The heaviest snowfall of 79.8 cm occurred at Khadrala (Shimla) on January 24 while Nahan received rainfall of 76.6 mm on January 10. As many as 127 roads, including 103 in Lahaul and Spiti, 11 in Chamba, six in Shimla and four each in Kullu and Mandi districts, are still closed while 32 transformers and 44 water supply schemes are disrupted.  https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/himachal-sees-wettest-january-in-10-years-365909  (01 Feb. 2022)

DISASTERS

IMD 1st weather hazard and vulnerability atlas launched India Meteorological Department (IMD) launched its Climate Hazards and Vulnerability Atlas of India on its 147th Foundation Day. The first-of-its-kind atlas takes into account 14 extreme weather events and the risk they pose to local economies and livelihoods. The atlas features extreme rainfall, drought, coldwave, heatwave, dust storms, hail storms, thunderstorms, cyclones, snowfall, lightning, winds, and fog. The hazards and vulnerability values have been calculated utilising the Met department’s historical climate data.

– The atlas indicates that lightning is the leading cause of casualties, while cyclones, floods, and fog cause losses in economic terms and livelihood. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/imd-launches-indias-1st-weather-hazard-and-vulnerability-atlas-7723913/  (15 Jan. 2022)

ENVIRONMENT GOVERNANCE

Report Experts seek SC push, revamp in compliance Experts were unanimous that non-compliance is one of the biggest challenges facing environmental governance in the country. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/short-shrift-to-green-nod-experts-seek-sc-push-revamp-in-compliance-7757655/  (05 Feb. 2022)

Edit Missing Green Failures to honour environment commitments point to institutional deficits. Government must apply correctives. https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/the-missing-green-environmental-performance-index-mega-projects-green-commitments-7760090/  (07 Feb. 2022)

Goa Green groups want parties to put state’s environment first The manifesto that was released by several groups including the Goa Heritage Action Group, Goyant Kollso Naka (No coal in Goa), the Responsible Tourism Collective, Morjim Sea Turtle Trust and others — has sought that candidates and parties endorse “a vision of development that we citizens do want to see in Goa, grounded in local cultural, scientific and legal values.

Key demands in the manifesto include scrapping the three infrastructure projects — the railway expansion, the flyover and the power line that cut through the Western Ghats, closing Goa’s mining industry, as well as protection of the various ecosystems in Goa including the Western Ghats forests, the coastal and wetland ecosystems as well as a demand to stop treating Goa’s thinly treed lateritic plateaus that are largely grasslands as ‘wasteland’. Their demands updation of the CZMP to include missing and inadequately mapped ecosystems – for eg. sand dunes, fishing ponds, sea grass beds, bird foraging areas, seaweed forests and coral reefs and to ensure that tourist activity is regulated and some beaches are allowed to retain natural vegetation and ecosystems.

In a dig at the Goa government for planning infrastructure projects on rocky plateaus while considering them as ‘wasteland’ the groups have demanded that Goa’s rocky outcrop habitats, grasslands, pasturelands and marshes are excluded from the Wasteland Atlas of India. Besides the Green Manifesto Goa other environmental groups like the Goa Foundation has launched the Goenchi Mati (Soil of Goa) manifesto demanding that if iron ore mining is to be resumed in Goa it has to be done in a manner that benefits the people of Goa rather than the mining companies.

A third manifesto termed the Citizens Manifesto has demanded that the people be consulted before any significant decisions by the government, bringing a halt to rapid urbanisation in Goa, stalling haphazard clearances for construction and coastal development shift to renewable energy etc. “We are disappointed to see that no political party has been able to understand the needs, the vision and the legitimate rights of the land and people of Goa, for which we will struggle and succeed,” Abhijit Prabhudesai who is among those who drafted the manifesto, said. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/ahead-of-polls-goa-s-green-groups-want-parties-to-put-state-s-environment-first-101644152077662.html  (06 Feb. 2022)

Report Mountainous states, already facing climate change, lose forest cover Jammu and Kashmir has lost very dense forests, while the North East is top in terms of total forest area loss. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/forests/forest-survey-report-2021-india-s-mountainous-states-already-facing-climate-change-lose-forest-cover-81116  (13 Jan. 2022)

Karnataka 80,000 hectares ravaged by mining to be restored https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/80000-hectares-ravaged-by-mining-in-karnataka-to-be-restored-1077552.html   (03 Feb. 2022)

Report Earth has more tree species than we thought There are 14% more tree species than previously thought, according to what researchers are calling the first “scientifically credible” estimate. Of the 73,300 estimated species, the researchers predict there are 9,200 that are yet to be discovered. But most rare species are in tropical forests, fast disappearing because of climate change and deforestation. The study is based on a database of tens of millions of trees in more than 100,000 forest plots around the world. https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-60198433  (01 Feb. 2022)

Rare and ancient trees are key to a healthy forest Two studies pinpoint the need for forest diversity both in age and species https://www.science.org/content/article/rare-and-ancient-trees-are-key-healthy-forest  (31 Jan. 2022)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Maharashtra UNEP signs MoU with govt for implementing climate change actions Cabinet Minister of Tourism, Environment and Protocol, Aditya Thackeray said: “We should start to consider all possible avenues to get to net zero at the earliest.” UNEP has signed an MoU with the Maha govt to support its Majhi Vadundhara campaign on the energy and environment dimensions including climate change mitigation and adaptation. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/unep-signs-mou-with-mah-govt-for-implementing-climate-change-actions/89377335  (06 Feb. 2022)

Study Mount Everest’s highest glacier shrinking dramatically; lost 180 ft thickness in 25 yrs https://www.livemint.com/science/news/mount-everest-s-highest-glacier-shrinking-dramatically-lost-180-ft-thickness-in-25-yrs-study-11644064532344.html  (05 Feb. 2022)

Batura Glacier and the “Karakoram Anomaly” https://scitechdaily.com/exploring-earth-from-space-batura-glacier-and-the-karakoram-anomaly/  (05 Feb. 2022)

Learning How Ocean Water Melts Glaciers To learn how ocean water is melting glaciers, NASA’s Oceans Melting Greenland mission extensively surveyed the coastline of the world’s largest island. The airborne mission found that Greenland’s glaciers that empty into the ocean, like Apusiaajik Glacier shown here, are at greater risk of rapid ice loss than previously understood.  https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/learning-how-ocean-water-melts-glaciers  (31 Jan. 2022)

SOUTH ASIA

IndiaPakistanIndia dumping millions of tonnes of rock, loose soil in Jhelum’ Complaint that India is dumping millions of Tons of Debris in Jhelum River entering Pakistan, from the construction waste due to Tunnels construction. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/930583-india-dumping-millions-of-tonnes-of-rock-loose-soil-in-jhelum  (04 Feb. 2022)

Nepal Worker missing in hydel tunnel A worker has gone missing following an accident inside the tunnel of the under-construction 86 Mw Solu Khola Dudh Koshi HEP in the Solukhumbu district. Another worker who was injured has been rescued. https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/worker-goes-missing-in-hydel-project-tunnel/  (27 Jan. 2022)

ASIA

Major dams on the Mekong River. Following severe droughts that affected lower Mekong countries in recent years, China has been called on to offer transparent information about its dams (Source: Mekong Infrastructure Tracker)

MEKONG Lack of data on dam activity mars governance efforts Activists say operational data from dams on China’s section of the Mekong would aid conservation efforts and help communities guard against the impacts of changing water levels. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/regional-cooperation/lack-data-dam-activity-mars-mekong-governance-efforts/  (02 Feb. 2022)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Portugal Drought prompts Portugal to order hydropower dams to limit water use  Facing a worrying winter drought, Portugal’s government on Tuesday (2 February) ordered some of the country’s hydropower dams to temporarily limit water use for electricity production and irrigation, prioritising human consumption instead. The Portuguese Institute of Meteorology (IPMA) said the drought, which started in November 2021, has worsened, with 54% of the country now in moderate drought, 34% in severe drought and 11% in extreme drought.

– There are around 60 Portuguese hydropower dams, which produce 30% of electricity consumed in the country each year, according to the Portuguese Association of Renewable Energies. For now, just five dams in central Portugal must halt their electricity production almost completely, and one dam in the southern Algarve region, one of the areas most affected by drought, must stop using water for irrigation. https://www.euractiv.com/section/climate-environment/news/drought-prompts-portugal-to-order-hydropower-dams-to-limit-water-use/  (02 Feb. 2022)

Brazil‘s Amazon: Nearly 360 square kilometers (140 square miles) of forest cover — an area more than six times the size of Manhattan — were destroyed in the Brazilian Amazon from January 1 to January 21.  https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/braxzil-amazon-rainforest-amazon-rainforest-deforestation-record-deforestation-in-worlds-biggest-rainforest-not-a-good-sign-2746012  (03 Feb. 2022)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 31 Jan. 2022 & DRP News Bulletin 24 Jan. 2022  

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

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