DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 070322: As Tata celebrates century of Bhivpuri HEP operation, time to return the project to government and review it?

On March 5, 2022, Tata Power celebrated 100 years of operation of the Bhivpuri hydropower project in Raigad district of Maharashtra. It is possibly right time to consider by the government to ask Tata Power to return all the hydropower projects of Tata Power in that region to the government. Tatas got the right to develop these projects under a colonial agreement that handed over the public resources of land, river and rights over the project benefits to a private company like Tatas almost for free, for the company to profit from these public resources. This arrangement should have been reviewed long back, but possibly it is right time to review it now. Possibly it will be a good move in the year when India celebrates Azadi ka Amrutmahotsav!

The project transfers water from drought prone, water deficit Krishna basin to high rainfall area of Konkan. And such disastrous transfer continues even in drought years. It is high time this is reversed and the water is allowed to flow in the Krishna basin. From this perspective, the project also needs to be reviewed if at all it should continue to operate and if so under what terms and conditions.

Maharashtra Bhivpuri HEP transfer water from drought prone Krishna basin Tata Power celebrated the feat of completing the 100th anniversary of its hydroelectric power plant in Bhivpuri. The plant produces around 300 MU of power a year. The Company started building the Bhivpuri Powerhouse in 1916. It is situated in the Raigad district near Mumbai. The project was commissioned in 1922, with an installed capacity of 48 MW, which was subsequently upgraded to 75 MW including a 72 MW new powerhouse, with three units of 24 MW. It also includes 3 MW tailrace powerhouse comprising two units of 1.5 MW each.

– The water released from the Bhivpuri plant along with the Khopoli and Bhira hydel plants meets the Ulhas, Patalganga, and Kundalika rivers in the Konkan region. https://www.psuconnect.in/news/Glorious-100-years-of-Tata-Powers-Bhivpuri-Hydro-Power-Plant/31589/  (05 March 2022)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Himachal Pradesh Bajoli Holi HEP displaces tribals out of their land Tunnel testing of the 180 Mw Bajoli-Holi hydropower project triggered seepage and landslides that caused damage to the houses in Jharauta village in the Chamba district. The villagers have been protesting against the project for more than 15 years. The protest is due to the unscientific shift of the tunnel site from the barren right bank to the forested and heavily populated left bank of Ravi. The project has allegedly heavily impacted the local ecology, houses, fields, health and the Gaddi tribe. The project proponent has cut nearly 4,000 oak trees in the last 10 years making it difficult for grazing and dry wood collection. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/03/hydropower-project-nudges-a-tribal-community-out-of-their-land-in-himachal-pradesh/  (03 March 2022)

Tribal’ rights compromised for corporate power project? A privately-owned hydroelectric project, worth over Rs 1,000 crore, has threatened the very existence of a tribal hamlet in Chamba district with landslides and earth subsidence. Locals had staged protest demonstrations against the hydropower project 7 years ago; their houses have been damaged now – allegedly from the impact of the same project. https://www.newsclick.in/were-tribal-communities-rights-compromised-corporate-power-project-himachal  (06 March 2022)

Karnataka Hydropower project along the NH from Kittur to Belagavi will be set up, said CM Basavaraj Bommai on Monday (Feb 28, 2022). The project envisages tapping the rainwater along the National Highways by channelising the water and building small water bodies to generate power. https://theprint.in/india/karnataka-to-bring-hydropower-project-along-national-highways-cm-bommai/852787/  (01 March 2022)

CERC has approved hydropower contracts to be introduced in the Green Term Ahead Market on IEX. This will include large hydropower projects commissioned after March 8 2019. https://mercomindia.com/cerc-hydropower-contracts-green-term-ahead-market/  (02 March 2022)

DAMS

Gujarat Thousands of tribals gather on Monday, Feb 28, 2022 to oppose the proposed dam in Dharampur, Valsad district of Gujarat. Even some Congress and BJP leaders also joined and warned the govt against going ahead with the dam. (Gujarat Samachar March 1 2022)

Agitation for Narmada water in Banaskantha dist of North Gujarat by farmers and MLAs including Shri Jignesh Mevani. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyq7da6mXZ0  (28 Feb. 2022)

Goa Govt to oppose Fukeri dam Goa’s water resources department (WRD) has decided to oppose the ongoing construction work being carried out by the Maharashtra government on an irrigation dam on the interstate Fukeri nullah in Dodamarg. Goa has taken the stand as the dam will drastically reduce the natural flow of water into Goa’s River Kalane in Pernem taluka. A subdivision of Maharashtra’s rural development and water conservation department based in Ambadpal, Kudal, has initiated the work of constructing the dam. “As soon as the strategy in the matter is finalised, we will send the memorandum to the Maharashtra government at the earliest,” Goa WRD chief engineer Pramod Badami said.

– The 44.1m high and 345m long earthen dam with live storage of 5,231 TCM is coming up on the Fukeri nullah in Donikhol. Presently, large patches of forest have already been cleared at the dam site. After its completion, 41ha of forested areas will be submerged under its waters. “The construction will alter the natural topography. This will result in change in the downstream character of the waters caused by increased sedimentation and erosion, which will affect Goa,” a social activist from Pissurlem said. The dam is expected to have the potential to provide irrigation water to 409ha area covering the villages of Fukeri and Zolambe in Dodamarg taluka. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/goa-preparing-to-oppose-fukeri-dam/articleshow/89932059.cms  (02 March 2022)

Mekedatu Dam Tamil Nadu hits out at Karnataka for allocating Rs 1,000 cr Karnataka allocating Rs 1,000 crore for constructing a dam at Mekedatu across river Cauvery, when the matter was pending in the Supreme Court went against federalism, the Tamil Nadu government said on Saturday (March 05). Tamil Nadu Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan, referring to the 2022-23 Karnataka budget that set apart the sum towards dam construction, said that it was a unilateral act.

The dam construction proposal had no requisite approvals and this announcement of Karnataka was unjust as it had not taken the concurrence of riparian states for building the reservoir, he said. The budgetary announcement appears to have been made taking into account the Karnataka Assembly election slated to be held next year, he said in a statement. Duraimurugan reiterated that Tamil Nadu would take all steps to stop the construction of Mekedatu dam considering the welfare of state’s farmers. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chennai/tamil-nadu-hits-out-at-karnataka-for-allocating-rs-1000-crore-for-mekedatu-project-7803117/  (06 March 2022)

BBMB New rules specifies technical qualification of members: Power Min The Union Power Ministry on Feb 27, 2022 stated that the central government has specified technical qualification for power and irrigation members of Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) in the new rules following the directions of the high court.  “The recently notified rules only specifies the technical qualifications required for the functional members – Power and Irrigation – in BBMB,” a power ministry statement said. It also explained that the notified rules comply with the directions of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana in Jagmohan Singh Vs Union of India & Ors.  https://theprint.in/economy/new-rules-specifies-technical-qualification-of-bbmb-members-power-min/850919/  (27 Feb. 2022)

Telangana Officials dismiss Mallannasagar earthquake theory Critics claimed that the reservoir’s location was risk-ridden since sub-surface lineaments are believed to exist in the area. A reservoir of 50 TMC capacity and standing water column to a height of about 60 meters would induce tremors in the reservoir area which in turn will cause heavy damage to lives and properties around the reservoir in case it breached, the critics claimed, citing the example of Koyna dam in Maharashtra where, they said, standing water in the reservoir induced tremors to occur in 1967.

A top irrigation official told the government had the subsurface strata at Mallannasagar area examined by the Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS), Pune, that ruled out the existence of lineaments as claimed by the critics. Prior to the detailed sub strata examination by the CWPRS, reconnaissance and LiDAR survey were conducted in and around the reservoir site by WAPCOS, a Central government organisation, which prepared a DPR for Kaleshwaram project. Analysed borehole data extracted from hundreds of boreholes driven on dam line and within submergence area did not reveal any lineaments or loose strata in the reservoir area, the official said. https://telanganatoday.com/mallannasagar-safe-earthquake-theory-baseless-irrigation-dept-officials  (27 Feb. 2022)

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Uttar Pradesh Bundelkhand Farmers Worried by Revival of a Wasteful Project Despite increasing budgets for water conservation and irrigation, real benefits are not reaching the villages of Bundelkhand region. Wrong priorities, poor planning, alienation from people and corruption have all combined to deny badly needed benefits of widely publicized government schemes to the long-suffering people of Bundelkhand. The recent revival of Kachnauda irrigation scheme in Lalitpur district is an example of the authorities refusing to learn from past mistakes. This scheme had been abandoned over a decade back due to the strong opposition of people of several villages. The controversial project is Kachnauda dam and canal project on Sajnam river in Lalitpur district. https://countercurrents.org/2022/02/bundelkhand-farmers-worried-by-revival-of-a-wasteful-project-harmful-to-them/  (28 Feb. 2022)

बुंदेलखंड की सूखती मंदाकिनी नदी को बचाने के लिए अभियान की शुरुआत. https://hindi.news18.com/news/uttar-pradesh/lucknow-entrepreneurship-development-institute-director-car-income-tax-department-recover-40-lakhs-rupees-cash-interrogation-continues-in-lucknow-upns-4050132.html  (28 Feb. 2022)

Gujarat Tribals protest against Par-Tapi-Narmada river link Nearly 5,000 tribals from different districts of Gujarat and neighbouring Maharashtra gathered on Monday (28 Feb. 2022) at Dharampur in Valsad district to protest against the dams proposed to be constructed on Par river as part of the Union government’s river link project. They took out a rally against the dams proposed to be built under Par-Tapi-Narmada river link project, which covers areas of south Gujarat and Nashik district in Maharashtra, and handed over a memorandum to the local mamlatdar. Congress MLA and Shiv Sena leader spoke in support of the protests. https://theprint.in/india/guj-thousands-of-tribals-protest-against-centres-par-tapi-narmada-river-link-project/852201/  (28 Feb. 2022)

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

Karnataka Water Disputes Act needs amendment: CM Basavaraj Bommai on Saturday (March 05) said that amendments should be made in Inter-State Water Disputes Act to overcome the narrow political considerations over water disputes and increase the availability of water for the people. He also said that “River Basin Management” is the only solution to resolve this problem in the state.

Addressing the Southern States’ Conclave of the ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ and Swachh Bharath Mission (Rural) Projects, Bommai said, “The Inter-State Water Disputes Act needs to be totally amended to overcome the narrow political considerations over water disputes. River Basin Management is the only solution for this.” He further advocated the need for efficient use of water in irrigation and said that there is a huge misutilization of water in irrigation water channels. “At the national level, only 46 per cent of the capacity is being utilised through these canals. There is a difference of 55 per cent in the carrying capacity of the canals. More water could be made available if these canals are upgraded,” Bommai stated.

There is a view that water is being allowed to go waste to the sea due to the lack of proper watershed projects, but we have forgotten the science of nature, he said. CM asserted that the seawater could evaporate and form rain only if about 30 per cent of sweet water flows into the sea to enable 60 per cent saline water to evaporate, so this simple truth should be considered while making our plans. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/bengaluru-news/water-disputes-act-needs-amendments-says-cmbommai-101646506029928.html  (06 March 2022)

Karnataka has made its stand clear against any kind of negotiations with neighbouring States where tribunal award has been given already even as CM Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday (March 06) announced that an all party meeting would be convened to discuss water issues.

While Water Resources Minister Govind Karjol met Union Jal Shakthi Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat to convey the State’s stand on negotiated settlement for water issues as suggested by the latter on Saturday (March 05), Mr. Bommai told reporters in Hubballi that the all party meeting would be convened during the ongoing budget session of the legislature. “I will also seek time with the Union Minister to find solutions to the water issues. The state has already urged the Union Water Resources Minister to provide early clearance to Mekedaatu DPR.”

Meanwhile, Water Resources Department sources said that Mr. Karjol clearly stated that there is no need for negotiation and the question of a dialogue does not arise. “Karnataka has the right on water and the right has been established by the tribunal awards. Negotiable settlement is not advisable after tribunal awards. In case of Cauvery and Mahadayi rivers, the Centre has already gazetted the awards and Krishna tribunal 2 award is yet to be done. All these concerns were conveyed to the Centre,” sources said.

Seeking early filing of an affidavit by the Centre with respect to vacating the stay in the Krishna water dispute in Supreme Court, Mr. Karjol is learnt to have informed the Union Minister that Karnataka has been unable to utilise its share despite spending ₹13,600 crore on Upper Krishna Project-3 as the Krishna Water Tribunal 2 award has not been gazetted yet. “The centre has been informed that unless water is impounded at a height of 524 mts. at Almatti, Karnataka cannot use water. The affidavit of the centre in the court will help get a favourable decision that will help gazette the tribunal award. This will help Karnataka use the Krishna river water from this water year beginning June,” sources said.

Regarding utilisation of water from Mahadayi river, Karnataka has sought environmental and forest clearance since tribunal award has been gazetted already. “the State has informed the centre that open water trench will not be used to transfer water for drinking water purpose to Dharwad. Instead water pipes are to be used and the state has also shown alternative afforestation to the Centre.” https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-against-any-negotiation-on-river-water-sharing-after-tribunal-awards/article65195558.ece  (06 March 2022)

RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS

Lessons from the Sahibganj Multimodal Terminal By Avli Verma Ultimately, the sunk costs of the Sahibganj Terminal are of three kinds. 485 families were displaced for the project. Then there are the unacknowledged risks it poses to aquatic ecosystems and riparian communities. To top it all off, the inland port is massively underutilized, recovering close to nothing from the ₹28 crores spent on maintaining it over the last financial year alone. Grandiose aside, the viability of massive MMTs built on India’s inland waterways needs serious investigation and an honest rethink.  https://thebastion.co.in/politics-and/environment/resource-management/two-years-18-vessels-and-colossal-costs-later-lessons-from-the-sahibganj-multimodal-terminal/  (01 March 2022)

URBAN RIVERS

Kanva, Channapatna HC furious at sewage freely flowing into waterbodies Again and again, over time, such orders are issued. And never implemented. Even judicial orders.  Meanwhile, using these orders a slew of STPs are commissioned, public money looted, and those damn systems never work. These are massive systems and demand land. And of late, lakes have become the locus to dump them. (ESG Note) https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/hc-furious-at-sewage-freely-flowing-into-channapatna-waterbodies-1088681.html  (07 March 2022)

Musi; Hyderabad River rejuvenation project set to gain pace Finance Minister T Harish Rao speaking at the concluding ceremony of national convention on rivers on Feb. 27 said the CM has already started working on it and a DPR was prepared adding that Musi will be filled with Godavari water. He said the government constructed 5 barrages on Godavari River with a total capacity of 140 TMC covering over 300 km adding that the CM was implementing the concept of Waterman of India Rajendra Singh.

After Mission Kakatiya, there were no breaches to water bodies due to heavy rains during monsoon and groundwater levels had improved considerably. In addition, construction of as many as 4,000 check dams at a cost of over Rs. 6,000 crore was on, he said.  The convention was organized by the Indian Peninsular River Basin Council and Indian Himalayan River Basin Council. The main theme of the convention was rejuvenation of rivers and restoration of tanks. https://telanganatoday.com/musi-river-rejuvenation-project-set-to-gain-pace-harish-rao  (27 Feb. 2022)

RIVERS

SANDRP Blog Uttarakhand: Burying Ramganga Streams under Road Muck Syunsal village has faced a ‘cloud burst’ incident in early morning hours of Sep 7, 2021 which caused significant damages to crops, farmlands, trees, pathways, foot bridge along the gadera. The impact of the subsequent flood is visible even through Google Earth imagery and the scar of the deluge is still visible from miles distance in a clear reminder to proportion of destruction if the drainage channels are chocked with malbas and debris. The pre-monsoon season when many such events are witnessed in the state is just round the corner. In case of intense rain or cloud burst over catchment of these streams, the muck and debris are bound to amplify flash flood destruction. Hence the grim situation requires urgent intervention by the PWD and district administration. https://sandrp.in/2022/03/05/uttarakhand-burying-ramganga-streams-under-road-muck/  (05 March 2022)

Uttarakhand: Ensure safe disposal of Rural Road debris Under prevalent malpractices, the muck and debris from rural road construction are disposed of carelessly along the slopes and drainage channels affecting forest land, village pasture, farmlands and streams across the state. The road planning documents do mention of muck dump yards and prohibits its disposal into water sources; on ground the contractors openly ignore the norms, plans and instructions to save on cost and escape responsibility thinking it would gradually get stabilize or wash away with run-off. https://sandrp.in/2022/03/06/uttarakhand-ensure-safe-disposal-of-rural-road-debris/  (06 March 2022)

Sindh Walk Across its banks and beyond Aishani Goswami and Rahul Singh share their experiences from walking along River Sindh as part of our Moving Upstream: Sindh Fellowship programme. https://veditum.org/2022/03/01/sindh-across-its-banks-and-beyond/  (01 March 2022)

IWP Drugged & poisoned rivers Contamination of Indian rivers with pharmaceutical residues is not only posing a grave threat to human health, but also to river ecosystems and the survival of aquatic organisms that reside in the waters.

Another study titled ‘A review on emerging contaminants in Indian waters and their treatment technologies’ published in the journal Nature, Environment and Pollution Technology on emerging contaminants (ECs) in aquatic environments in India found that pharmaceuticals are the second largest polluting contaminants in rivers in India following pesticides. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/drugged-and-poisoned-how-do-rivers-india-fare  (24 Feb. 2022)

Meghalaya Onus on citizens to keep water bodies clean: CS RV Suchiang said the state government is working towards saving the dying rivers and water bodies but made it clear that the onus was on the public to ensure that follow the building bye-laws and refrain from polluting the water bodies. On the immediate steps being taken for cleanliness of the Umiam Lake as directed by the Meghalaya High Court, she said, “We have already issued a notice for sealing three construction sites coming up in that area. There are more steps being taken.”

She further said that the state government is working on the order of the High Court and is planning to come up with a roadmap that includes demarcation of Umiam Lake into zones. “Building permissions beyond municipal areas is also being taken care of to ensure that no construction comes up within the specified zone,” Suchiang said. The government recently issued an order under Section 144 CrPC directing that necessary environmental clearance will have to be obtained from the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) for all construction activities in areas falling within 100 metres of Umiam Lake.  https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/02/28/onus-on-citizens-to-keep-water-bodies-clean-chief-secretary/  (28 Feb. 2022)

Kerala Action against firms for polluting water sources Kochi district-level monitoring committee (DLMC) meeting has decided to ask local bodies to act against those establishments, including hotels and restaurants, that fail to set up effluent treatment plants and discharge untreated waste water into drainages. The pollution control board (PCB) has said at the meeting that discharging of untreated waste from the firms into drainages is polluting rivers in the district. To prevent the discharge, the firms should have been asked to either set up treatment plants or transport waste to a common treatment plant. The PCB will take action against the firms that fail to treat waste and discharge it into the drains even after the directions.

It has been decided to send a letter to the regional joint director (RJD) of urban affairs and deputy director of panchayats (DDP) asking them to issue a directive to local bodies in this regard. The RJD and DDP will inform at the next DLMC meeting about what action they have taken based on the PCB letter. The discharge of waste from houses should also be addressed by local bodies. The DLMC meeting also discussed the biomining of legacy waste at Brahmapuram waste treatment plant. The baled plastic waste has been kept in open ground and pollution control board officials have raised concern that the leachate from it will reach the Kadambrayar when it rains. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/action-against-firms-for-polluting-water-sources/articleshow/90023319.cms  (06 March 2022)

Gujarat Industries Have No Legal Right To Discharge Industrial Effluent Into Sewer Lines: HC https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/gujarat-high-court-sabarmati-river-pollution-textile-industries-191864  (13 Feb. 2022)  

NARMADA Madhya Pradesh HC has asked the govt why no action has been taken in the scam worth crores of rupees in the Narmada related project even after investigation recommended actions.

Punjab PPCB ‘goes slow’ on raids For the past almost two months, the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has not resumed its drive to conduct surprise raids on various industries to check compliance of pollution norms. From an average of around 50 to 100 raids or surprise inspections per month, the PPCB is now limited to “only essential checks”, following the elections.

Senior board officials said the special drive, which was “suspended” in December, was unlikely to be resumed till formation of a new government. Many senior field officials have claimed that they got verbal instructions from the top brass not to conduct any raids, primarily due to “political reasons”. However, officially PPCB claims that the raids against polluting industry had been suspended as field staff were on election-related duties. “Once they are back, raids will be conducted across the state,” it said.

“A recent raid at a unit in Sangrur recently led to lot of political hullabaloo. We had to abandon the raid findings midway, following interference from the top,” he said. Notably, in view of the fact that industry plays a significant role in raising funds during elections, the PPCB had stopped conducting raids on various industries, including distilleries, dyeing units, plastic manufacturers, brick kilns, battery manufacturers, etc. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/poll-factor-pollution-board-goes-slow-on-raids-374849  (04 March 2022)

GANGA Uttar Pradesh Why Much Hyped Protection of Ganga Has Not Succeeded Bharat Dogra: The available data for Varanasi, the most prioritized place for Ganga protection, reveals that in terms of the essential parameters which define acceptable water fit for bathing, the Ganga here remains much more polluted than what is considered to be clean in scientific terms.

– This has happened despite the Namami Gange Project committing Rs. 20,000 crore to this task. On average about one-third of the sanctioned funds were just not released ,much more in some years, but clearly even in terms of the limited amounts spent the achievement is much less than what was expected. Perhaps no other organization has monitored the water quality of the Ganga river so consistently and with such sincerity as the Sankatmochan Foundation (SF) in Varanasi. https://countercurrents.org/2022/03/why-much-hyped-protection-of-ganga-has-not-succeeded/  (03 March 2022)

Vishwambhar Nath Mishra, BHU professor talks about why the Modi government has failed in cleaning the Ganga river, even though it adds the word “Ganga” to everything. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiI6KVT0G2A  (03 March 2022)

Crores have been spent on the ‘Clean Ganga’ project but authorities agree that nearly 100 million litres of semi-treated or untreated sewage water flows into the Ganga, unchecked, every day. https://www.thequint.com/videos/news-videos/up-election-varanasi-clean-ganga-project-claims-promises-and-reality#read-more  (06 March 2022)

The New DG of NMCG, G Asok Kumar says once they are able to achieve Arth Ganga the mission will be over, and all the stake holders will manage the clean river! https://www.thestatesman.com/exclusive-interviews/sustainability-key-ganga-mission-1503050003.html  (05 March 2022)

Uttarakhand ‘Illegal hill cutting on in parts of Doon’ Members of the NGO, Citizens for Green Doon (CFGD) claimed that despite raising the matter, the authorities have not done anything to stop the violation. Sahastradhara area residents alleged that the hill-cutting activities in their area were happening clandestinely at night.The state bylaws prohibit construction wherever the natural slope is more than 30 degrees. And for flattening of hillocks, stringent environmental norms have to be cleared and requisite approvals are required from both state and central governments as Doon had been declared an eco-sensitive zone in 1989.

The CFGD members are worried because this is in contravention of an ongoing PIL at the high court regarding protection of foothill policy filed by activist, Reenu Paul. “In Sahastradhara zone, the hillocks are being cut and flattened for real estate-related works. First, they cut trees and then flatten the hillocks. This will have a disastrous impact on the region’s ecology. The foothill matter is subjudice. At least, till then, the district administration should protect these hillocks,” said a CFGD member. District magistrate of Dehradun, R Rajesh Kumar, when contacted, said, “We have not received any written complaint so far. In case someone comes across any kind of illegal hillock flattening or encroachment anywhere in Dehradun, they should approach us.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/illegal-hill-cutting-on-in-parts-of-doon/articleshow/90023359.cms  (06 March 2022)

YAMUNA Delhi Excess rain fail to dilute pollution: Report The record rainfall this January and February did nothing to dilute the pollution in the Yamuna, reveals the monthly status report. In fact, the analysis by Delhi Pollution Control Committee found the water quality worsened from December to February. In January, the city received 88.2mm of rainfall against the normal average of 21.7mm and in February, the precipitation measured 29.7mm, 65% higher than normal. Though the excess rain was expected to result in better flow and dilution of the pollutants, the river actually deteriorated in terms of parameters such as BOD, DO and faecal coliform.

The February analysis showed, as in the previous months, that at the spot where the Yamuna entered the city, DO, BOD and faecal coliform were within permissible limits but were very high at the exit spot. The faecal coliform level at the entry point at Palla was 1,000 MPN/100ml, but when the Yamuna left the city limits at Asgarpur, the faecal level was 2,520 times higher than the maximum permissible limit of 2500 MPN/100ml. The faecal level at Asgarpur in January was 8,40,000 MPN/100ml and in December, 14,00,000 MPN/100 ml. Experts feel unabated raw sewage flow into the river is the reason behind the low dilution of the pollutants despite rains in January and February. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/rain-in-excess-but-yamuna-pollution-still-rises-report/articleshow/90022374.cms  (06 March 2022)

Weirs a boost in Yamuna clean-up act  The Delhi government on Sunday (Feb 27, 2022) said that temporary weirs built on major drains flowing into the Yamuna have substantially helped to clean the drains by improving their biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) level and decreasing the amount of other pollutants as well. In its approach to clean the Yamuna, the government said that it first plans to treat the water in the major drains that flow into the river. Water Minister Satyendar Jain said: “Cleaning the contributing drains of the Yamuna will directly lead us towards cleaning the river. Construction of temporary weirs is proving to be an impactful approach to reduce the amount of pollutants contaminating the contributing drains of the Yamuna”.

– The government said that under this project, construction of 11 weirs has been completed on the supplementary drain and three weirs have been completed on the Najafgarh drain, while work on 10 weirs is in progress. It added that the Irrigation and Flood Control Department submitted a test report about the impact of these initiatives with water collected near Rithala STP, Rohini Sector 11 weir, Rohini Sector 16 weir, and Rohini Sector 15 weir. “The report shows that there is a drastic reduction in suspended solids after the construction of the temporary weirs. Total suspended solids went down from 166 mg/l in Rithala to just 49 mg/l in Rohini Sector 15. There is a substantial reduction in ammonia content in the waste water as tests found ammonia to be 26 mg/l in Rithala and 18 mg/l in Rohini Sector 15,” the government said. BOD has also gone down. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/weirs-a-boost-in-yamuna-clean-up-act/article65090203.ece  (28 Feb. 2022)

Reservoir Project Winds Up Its Pilot In 2019, government implemented a Delhi Reservoir Project, which envisioned excavating numerous ponds and reservoirs along the Yamuna floodplains to increase groundwater recharge. A pilot project was initiated in North Delhi’s Sungarpur village, which is supposed to wind up this year, and land was leased from farmers to create a 17 acre reservoir. While experts have called this project “largely successful,” farmers in the region have questions about how this pilot—and scaling it to other parts—might compromise their long-term farming productivity.

Instead of marring the floodplain’s geography and ecology, C.R. Babu suggests storing this floodwater through “off-river” reservoirs—or water storage bodies outside of the floodplain—which could be supplied flood water through smaller channels. https://thebastion.co.in/politics-and/environment/resource-management/as-delhis-yamuna-reservoir-project-winds-up-its-pilot-farmers-have-questions-about-their-agricultural-land/  (04 March 2022)

Study finds over 9,000 households live on floodplains A report on the floodplains launched on Thursday (March 03) – Bottom-Up Mapping of the Yamuna – revealed that as many as 56 bastis, with about 9,350 households, and roughly 46,750 people, are on the floodplains, Zone O in the city’s master plan, the report found. Of the total number of households, a little more than half, that is, 4,835 households, practise farming as a livelihood, while others rely on daily wage work, fishing, nurseries, and animal herding, according to the report, prepared by Social Design Collaborative, members of the Main Bhi Dilli campaign, and Basti Suraksha Manch.

The mapping exercise considered one basti as having 15 or more houses, with five people as the average size of a household. A door-to-door survey was not conducted, and a 10% margin of error would have to be factored in, noted the presentation made at the online launch of the report. The presentation added that the 56 bastis do not feature in the list of JJ clusters in the city. The average size of the bastis on the floodplains is 153 households. The report also marks the evictions that have taken place along the floodplains, including continuing ones for the Delhi Development Authority’s Yamuna floodplain ‘restoration’ project.

The study found that most residents of the floodplains had migrated here from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Rajasthan. While some of the bastis have been around for about eight decades, others are about 3 to 4 decades old. Land use along the floodplains is diverse, and includes forested areas, nurseries, houses, farmland, and mandis. The report also used Google Earth imagery and GIS mapping to note that the extent of farmland along the floodplains had reduced from 4850 hectares in 2000 to 3330 hectares in 2020. The study found that as people are evicted, livelihood shifts from farming to daily wage work.

The study makes recommendations including that of integrating the riverfront development project with farming, making farming viable by providing welfare schemes to farmers along with training for organic farming, and rehabilitation if eviction must be resorted to. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/study-9-000-households-live-on-yamuna-floodplains-7800022/  (04 March 2022)

DJB approves 575 km of sewer line in unauthorised colonies To reduce pollution in the Yamuna River, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) on Saturday approved a project to lay 575 kilometres of sewer line in nearly 1,800 unauthorised colonies in the national capital. Sewer lines will be laid in Shahbad, Sangam Vihar, Jafarpur, Galibpur, Sarangpur, Goyal Vihar, Kilokri, Kanganheri and Dichaol group of colonies. While sewer lines had been commissioned in 685 of them by October-end last year, the government plans to bring the rest under the sewer network by December 2024.  By 2022, the Delhi Jal Board plans to augment its sewage treatment capacity by 130 MGD by December.

At a board meeting chaired by Satyendra Jain, the utility also approved the construction of an “interceptor sewer” at the mouth of the Barapula drain, which is one of the four major drains falling into the Yamuna. The wastewater will be trapped and diverted to the Okhla sewage treatment plant for treatment. The meeting also approved the proposal to construct a sewage pumping station of 60 MGD (million gallons a day) capacity at Kilokari to resolve the issue of sewage overflow in many parts of Delhi. The DJB also approved the upgradation of an old STP of 10 MGD capacity at Yamuna Vihar to 15 MGD using a new technology. The ₹78-crore project will be completed in a year. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/yamuna-pollution-djb-approves-575-km-of-sewer-line-in-unauthorised-colonies-11646489947503.html   (05 March 2022)

Uttar Pradesh Boatmen Pushed to the Brink by Covid The economy of the impoverished Mallah or boatmen community living in various villages of Shamli district received a major jolt during Covid times. Many are stuck in a non-ending cycle of debt or have lost their precious valuables to local lenders.

– Mustaqueem Mallah, president of Mallah Ekta Seva Samiti and member of the district Ganga Committee in Shamli told Covid Response Watch, “We have urged the government to bail us out of our misery by making good use of our strengths. Our children are good swimmers, as they grow up living near the rivers. If promoted and helped, they can do wonders in national and international swimming championships.” “Similarly, our youngsters can be recruited for boating wherever required in prominent lakes, rivers or water bodies by the tourism department. Our folks can also be employed in the fisheries sector as well as permanently hired to clean the rivers.”  These few measures, he believed, would go a long way in alleviating poverty of the community people. https://countercurrents.org/2022/03/boatmen-pushed-to-the-brink-by-covid-in-up/  (01 March 2022)

Agra: Eco-sensitive Yamuna ravines being ‘destroyed systematically’ The forest dept in Agra is restructuring the eco-sensitive Yamuna ravines around 800 meters away from the Taj Mahal. Earth movers are being used to dig soil and level ravines behind the Taj nature walk park. Local residents claim that large-scale illegal soil mining is being done in the area, while environmentalists say that local authorities are trying to “systematically destroy” the ravines and make way for the builders. District forest officer Akhilesh Pandey claimed that he was “not aware of the work being done in the area.” City ranger Ramgopal Singh Chauhan claimed that the work was being done to “conserve water.”

“This is a blatant violation of the Wildlife Conservation Act, 1972, and the NGT orders to conserve the environment around the monument. Those Yamuna ravines are home to rare species of birds, snakes, lizards, butterflies, and other animals. Cows and buffaloes from nearby areas come for grazing there as well. Restructuring the ravine will bring destruction to the natural habitat. Besides, dust blow caused by the operation of the earth movers nearby the Taj Mahal will result in pollution, affecting the monument,” said Agra-based doctor and environmental activist Sharad Gupta.

TOI discovered that no permission was taken from the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) authorities to carry out the work in the eco-sensitive zone. TTZ is a defined area of 10,400 sq km around the Taj Mahal to protect the monument from pollution. Divisional commissioner Amit Gupta, who is also the chairman of the TTZ authority, told TOI, “The forest department has not informed us about any work being done in the Yamuna ravines. The entire matter will be investigated in detail.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/eco-sensitive-yamuna-ravines-near-taj-mahal-being-destroyed-systematically/articleshow/90019685.cms  (05 March 2022)

RIVERS BIODIVERSITY

Punjab Impact of expressway on dolphins to be studied The standing committee of the NBWL considered a proposal using 20.4 hectares of land for the construction of 5 bridges (3 on Beas & 2 on Kali Bein) as part of the expressway by the NHAI. The panel was informed that the area is rich in dolphins, soft-shelled turtles, and otters and gharials have also been released in the reserves. While the committee was told that pillars of the bridges will not be laid in the river so that animal movement is not restricted, the committee suggested the WII may be requested to provide comments on the proposal. https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2022/feb/28/impact-of-expressway-on-dolphins-to-be-studied-2424586.html  (28 Feb. 2022)

West Bengal Endangered turtles play fast and loose with borders  In just six weeks after the release, at least three of the ten individuals of the critically endangered Northern River Terrapin (Batagur baska) have travelled hundreds of kilometers and are now in Bangladesh. Of the three turtles in Bangladesh, one was caught by fishermen in Bangladesh who removed the transmitter from the animal. Of the ten animals released with the transmitter, signals are coming from six, four from India, and two from Bangladesh. Experts have pointed out that five of the animals have descended down from the site of release in Sundarbans and moved south.

The population of the Nothern River Terrapin, a freshwater turtle, had reached critical limits about 15 years ago when experts and forest officials were not sure about any surviving population of the freshwater turtles  in the Sundarbans. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/endangered-turtles-fitted-with-gps-transmitters-swim-across-to-bangladesh/article65193281.ece  (05 March 2022)

Goa Cacra fisherman finds a seahorse in his Zuari bay catch A tiny seahorse netted on Friday (March 04) morning by a fisherman off Cacra in the Zuari bay has triggered interest among fisheries scientists, as they are rare visitors to Indian waters from far east. The seahorses (hippocampus) — hippo in Greek means horse and kampos monster — swim upright like razor fish and very few are found in Indian waters. A juvenile barely three and half to four inches was found in the catch at Nauxi by Sanjay Pereira, a fisherman from Cacra. “We found it on the rocky strata in Nauxi and it was alive in the net,” he said.

An earlier paper co-authored by Sushant Sanaye, Rakhee Khandeparkar and other NIO scientists had recorded at Britona the four specimens — of 47.3mm to 60.1mm in length — as the first records of Japanese seahorses (Hippocampus mohnikei) in Goan waters. The seahorses are one of the slowest swimmers among fish and their journey from the far east to Indian waters over thousands of kilometres has amazed scientists.

The first Indian record of H mohnikei was found along Tamil Nadu coast in 2007. But it was based only on a morphological study. The Japanese seahorse was compared with two out of ten species found in India, H kuda and H trimaculatus and found to be shorter than them. H mohnikei are much darker, but being experts in camouflage, they are known to change colours. But scientists didn’t rule out the possibility of the tiny creatures colonising in their new habitat. “The issue of whether they have already adapted to their habitat after arriving as vagrants needs to be studied,” a scientist said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/scientists-intrigued-as-cacra-fisherman-finds-a-seahorse-in-his-zuari-bay-catch/articleshow/90021719.cms  (06 March 2022)

Study Fish found off Mumbai coast contains microplastics The Central Institute of Fisheries Education (CIFE) has found an abundant variety of microplastics in the gastrointestinal (GI) tracts and gills of croaker fish (Johnius dussumieri) netted off Mumbai’s coast. CIFE’s research, recently published by the renowned Elsevier journal, is based on a survey along Mumbai’s coastline in 2019-20. It found that the GI tract and gills of croaker fish had microplastics (MPs) less than 100 micron in size. “Bioaccumulation of MPs in the fish might impart risk to higher trophic animals. MPs recovered were analysed for size, morphology, colour, and polymer type. The study had sought to establish the intensity of microplastic pollution in demersal species or bottom-feeders found in the north-eastern coastal waters of the Arabian sea. According to the study, the microplastics found in fish tissue were predominantly black and blue in colour and posed a carcinogenic risk to consumers and organisms in the food chain.

“Not just Mumbai, in many places around the world, a large amount of waste flowing into the sea has microplastics. Our observations suggest that not just croaker fish samples, almost all the fish collected from Mumbai’s coast had microplastics. Even sea salts are contaminated with microplastic generated from plastic waste that gets degraded into microplastics. It’s high time we evolve a technology wherein MPs are neutralised before allowing sewage waste to flow into the coastal ecosystem,” said one of the CIFE researchers for the study who did not want to be named. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/fish-off-mum-coast-contains-microplastics/articleshow/90039078.cms  (07 March 2022)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Uttar Pradesh Fish farming comes to the rescue of farmers Farmers in Bahraich district who routinely lose crops to either floods or stray cattle are now taking up fish farming and poultry activities to supplement their income. An acre of fish pond can help earn Rs five lakh per annum. https://www.gaonconnection.com/lead-stories/uttar-pradesh-fish-farmers-stray-cattle-floods-livelihood-poultry-farming-water-trif-pisciculture-cows-50486  (05 March 2022)

SAND MINING

Himachal Pradesh To check illegal mining, more staff, changes in law sought Some very useful steps suggested for curbing illegal mining:- The district administration has pleaded that the Mining Department requires an enforcement wing headed by a DSP-level officer, who can deputed from the Police Department He should have at least 40 to 50 armed police personnel at his disposal to check illegal mining in the Swan.

-The report states that the Mining Act mentions that if any vehicle or equipment is found engaged in illegal mining, the officer can issue a challan of minimum Rs 50,000 to the violator. If a vehicle or equipment is seized two times, a challan has to be sent to court. However, no records are being kept on the number of challans issued to a vehicle or equipment, it adds.

-The administration has proposed changes in Section 22 of the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act 1957, which states that no court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under the Act except on the complaint made in writing by the person authorised by the Central or state government. Many individuals are coming forward with complaints against illegal mining and amendment should be made to the Act to authorise courts to take cognizance of the complaints. The report also recommends that illegal mining offences should be made cognizable and non-bailable.

-The district administration has recommended that an online application should be created for all officers for compounding illegal mining offences so that an alert can be generated for repeated violations.

-The administration has pointed out that the present online mechanism for generation of X forms for mining leaves scope for under reporting and the generation of fraudulent X forms. A suggestion has been made that the weight of material should be auto filled with the carrying capacity of the vehicle type chosen to check the misuse of X forms. The total quantity for which the lessee can generate the X form should be limited to the volume of mineral, which he can legally extract manually, the report states. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/to-check-illegal-mining-in-swan-more-staff-changes-in-law-sought-374282  (02 March 2022)

Report Method to replace sand in concrete with shredded plastic developed A team of researchers has developed and patented a unique method of replacing up to 70% sand in concrete with shredded plastic, cracking two of the biggest environmental issues being faced by the world. Dr R Malathy, dean (R&D) and professor, department of civil engineering is the lead inventor of the technology that has just been awarded a patent by India’s Patent Office. https://weather.com/en-IN/india/pollution/news/2022-02-26-unique-method-to-replace-sand-in-concrete-with-shredded-plastic  (26 Feb. 2022)

Jammu & Kashmir Riverbed mining crackdown, offenders have it easy A nexus ensures a court-imposed ban does not come in the way of stone crushers’ operations, penalties aren’t enforced and rules are eased for violators.

– In 2021, secretary of the J&K unit of the BJP Vikram Randhawa levelled a serious accusation at his senior in the party and a minister of state in the Union cabinet, Jitendra Singh. He said Singh, a parliamentarian from Jammu, was benefiting from corruption in the Union territory’s geology and mining department, which allowed illegal riverbed mining to flourish. Within hours of the press conference, the BJP initiated disciplinary action against Randhava, and Singh filed a defamation lawsuit. Randhava retracted his statement and apologised to the Minister, but the episode exposed the lawless state of riverbed mining in J&K. https://themorningcontext.com/chaos/in-jammu-riverbed-mining-crackdown-offenders-have-it-easy  (04 March 2022)

Punjab Mining takes toll on bridges, groundwater This report also mentions about how Ilaqa Sangharsh Committee formed last year in Ropar has been alerting administration on illegal sand mining activities. Tikka Yashvir Chand, one of the founder members of the Ilaqa Sangharsh Committee, says: “In the past one year, the committee has helped officials seize dozens of machines and vehicles linked to illegal mining.” He further says illegal mining has been restricted to Bhalan area since the agitation by the committee in March last year. “Still, it could not be stopped completely.”

The Swan and Sutlej riverbeds have been dug up till the piers of the bridges. Bridges in the Algran and Agampur areas face the threat of collapse because of rampant illegal mining. Sand has been extracted through submersible pumps up to the depth of 80 ft, much beyond the permissible limit of 10 ft. As a result, the level of underground water has dipped drastically in villages situated along the Sutlej and Swan — Harsa Bela, Mehandpur, Bhangal, Khera Kalmot, Majari lower, Haripur, Palata, Bhalan, Taraf Mazari, Nangran and Algran. Famers say they have to spend lakhs of rupees on new tubewells. According to geologist Jaspal Singh, the digging of riverbed to such level punctures the aquifer (underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock). That is the reason that the underground water emerges at mining sites, he says.

The unchecked mining and tippers overloaded with sand and gravel have also taken a toll on the infrastructure. In 2020, Punjab State Transmission Corporation Limited had submitted an estimate that required Rs 1.2 crore to repair its 220 KV power supply line tower situated in the Sutlej riverbed near Anandpur Sahib. Roads are lined with scores of tippers loaded with sand and gravel, day and night. Almost every link road in the district is in dilapidated condition as overloaded tippers ply on these roads to avoid toll plazas on highways.

ECONOMICS behind it:- Mining generates direct or indirect employment for thousands of people in Ropar district. Besides, landowners have been earning crores of rupees by selling off their land situated on the riverbed. One acre of land in Agampur area is bought for up to Rs32 lakh by the mining mafia to extract sand and gravel.

Web of ‘goonda’ tax:- To avoid transportation charges and other expenses, stone crusher owners prefer lifting sand and gravel from an unsanctioned area in collusion with landowners. As a result, construction material at auctioned sites (taken on contract) remain unsold. To make up for losses, the contractor in alleged connivance with politicians and officials set up illegal barricades and collect Rs4.25 per cubic ft as “royalty”, termed as “goonda” tax, from crusher owners.

Scale of illegal excavation:- 5.33 lakh metric tonne Extraction allowed by govt every month. 27 lakh metric tonne Material extracted illegally every month. 100 stone crushers in Ropar district. 90,000 tonnes Sand and gravel extracted every day. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/in-ropar-mining-takes-toll-on-bridges-groundwater-373654  (28 Feb. 2022)

Odisha Ensure proper enforcement of sand mining regulations “The the provisions and guidelines of Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines 2016 and Enforcement and Monitoring Guidelines for Sand Mining 2020 are to be enforced with new sand mining leases which are to be auctioned by the district administration in the future,” NGT’s East Zone Bench in Kolkata said on Thursday (March 03) while hearing a petition alleging unauthorised sand mining by a lessee. The petition alleged widespread degradation of the Mahanadi river bed due to unchecked sand mining operations by the lessee at Nuapatana under Tangi-Choudwar tehsil in Cuttack district. The petition was filed by Srikant Kumar Pakal and other residents of the area, and advocate Sankar Prasad Pani appeared on behalf of the petitioners.

The bench of Justice B Amit Sthalekar (Judicial Member) and Saibal Dasgupta (Expert Member) imposed environmental compensation of ` 38.28 lakh on a lessee for extracting sand without a valid consent to operate. The bench expected the lessee to pay the environmental compensation within three months, with Collector Cuttack being directed to recover the amount in accordance to the law on non-payment.  It said that a study on annual replenishment of sand may be carried out which would serve as a guideline for allocation of various sand mining leases and the quantity of sand to be permitted for extraction. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2022/mar/05/ensure-proper-enforcement-ofsand-mining-regulations-ngt-regarding-river-mahanadi-2426650.html  (05 March 2022)

Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel warns of action against officials Bhupesh Baghel on Friday (Jan. 28) warned that strong disciplinary action will be taken against collectors and superintendents of police (SPs) if they fail to curb illegal sand mining in their respective districts in the state, an official said. He also said that cases should be lodged against those involved in illegal sand mining activities and vehicles used in unauthorised transportation should be seized, according to the official.

“Illegal sand mining should not take place in any district and if complaints are received in this regard, then collectors and SPs will be personally accountable for it. If action is not taken against illegal mining, the responsibility of the district officials will be fixed and strict disciplinary action will be taken against them,” the release quoted the chief minister as saying. He instructed the collectors and SPs to physically visit the spots wherever such illegal activity is taking place, it said. In February 2019, the government had withdrawn the rights of panchayats over sand mining and powered the state-owned Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corporation (CMDC) for its extraction and trade.  https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2022/jan/28/illegal-sand-mining-chhattisgarh-cm-bhupesh-baghel-warns-of-action-against-officials-2412406.html  (28 Jan. 2022)

Tamil Nadu Farmers want sand mining to be stopped in Cauvery, Kollidam Members of Desiya Thennidia Nadigal Inaippu Vivasayigal Sangam staged a protest in front of the Collector’s Office in the city on Monday (28 Feb.) to press for their charter of demands, including stoppage of sand mining from Cauvery and Kollidam rivers as the construction material was being allegedly transported to Karnataka and Kerala.

The association claimed that river sand mined from Cauvery and Kollidam rivers here was being sent to Karnataka and Kerala, “which were not giving water to Tamil Nadu.” Hence, sand mining from the two rivers should be stopped here, demanded P.Ayyakannu, the association president, who led the demonstration. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/farmers-association-want-sand-mining-to-be-stopped-in-cauvery-kollidam/article65094626.ece  (28 Feb. 2022)

Maharashtra Labourer dies during illegal sand mining Labourer Maroti Gedam died on the spot after heaps of sand and soil fell on him during an illegal excavation in a tunnel on the banks of River Irai near Jamanjatti Durgah at the outskirts of the city on Monday (Feb. 28)evening. Fellow labourers took Gedam’s body to the government medical college and hospital without informing the police. After the family of the deceased reached the hospital, cops were requested to intervene in the matter.

PSI of city police station Sudhakar Ambhore said a case of accidental death has been registered. Investigation into the case is under way, he added. The owner of the sand transport tractor is learnt to have paid Rs 3 lakh as compensation to the kin of deceased. Despite no auctioning of the sand ghat, sand is being illegally excavated and smuggled on a large scale, said sources. With excessive excavation leaving the river bank empty, the sand mafia has started going underground to get sand, added sources. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/labourer-dies-during-illegal-sand-mining/articleshow/89932130.cms  (02 March 2022)

Andhra Pradesh Srikakulam: Illegal sand mining in coast goes unchecked Sand mining along the sea coast in the district is rampant in several mandals. Itchapuram, Kaviti, Sompeta, Mandasa, Vajrapukotturu, Santhabommali, Polaki, Gara, Srikakulam rural, Etcherla and Ranastalam mandals have seacoast in the district.

Due to the new sand policy being implemented by the state government, sand has become scarce across the state. Labourers charge Rs 3,000 for illegal loading per tractor in the area which has led not only to the shortage and high market prices but also low quality of sand. Locally influenced people had started sand mining along the seacoast and mix the same with the river sand. This substandard sand is being then sold to the customers with high price tags. Due to salinity in the sea sand, it is not suitable for construction works but the sand mafia in the district has crossed all limits and is selling the mixed sand illegally to the customers.

Open places and various gardens situated along the coast are the venues for mixing of sea and river sand and from here that sand is then transported to the urban areas like Palasa, Srikakulam,Vizianagaam and Visakhapatnam. Mining is unabated along the seacoast at Hukumpeta, Manchineellapeta, Kottapeta, Kotapalem, JeeruKovvada, Guppedupeta and other villages.  Sand mining activity is going on during night hours regularly and mafias mix and transport it in the darkness also. https://www.thehansindia.com/andhra-pradesh/srikakulam-illegal-sand-mining-in-coast-goes-unchecked-730316  (22 Feb. 2022)

Uttar Pradesh “We breathe in stone dust 24 hours a day” Detailed report on impact of excessive, illegal sandstone mining in Mirzapur on villagers, wildlife, water sources and environment:- “There is no part of the environment which doesn’t get affected by the khadaan (quarries). The water we drink, the air we breathe and the constant explosions of gunpowder used to break the rocks make it very difficult to live here,” said the 26-year-old villager Pandey. “The constant noise of heavy machinery operating in the quarry is also irritating. Jal, vayu aur dhwani pradooshan hota hai [water, air and noise pollution is everywhere],” he complained. https://www.gaonconnection.com/read/mirzapur-stone-mining-uttar-pradesh-elections-air-water-noise-hazard-pollution-asthma-tuberculosis-silicosis-health-rural-disease-50483  (04 March 2022)

Uttarakhand Monks on hunger strike for the Ganga The monks are protesting sand mining and the construction of dams and barrages in the Ganga and its tributaries. These are the latest in a long series of hunger strikes in protest of damage wrought on the holy river. G.D. Agarwal of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, died on October 11, 2018, after a hunger strike of 111 days for the same cause. The 86-year-old hydrologist had changed his name to Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand after joining Matri Sadan Ashram. Other monks have been on repeated hunger strikes for years. Ashram authorities have alleged that one monk was poisoned while being force-fed in a hospital. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/culture/monks-on-hunger-strike-for-the-ganga/ (30 March 2021)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Manipur Fishers’ Union gets stay on construction in Loktak Lake area On 25th February 2022, the Court responded to the review applications by  two members of All Loktak Lake Area Fishers Union of Manipur (ALLAFUM) – Smt Oinom Akashini Devi and Smt Khoirom Kiranbala reaffirmed the stay on constructions in or around the Loktak Lake Area and directed the Government to ensure that no development/construction works are initiated in or around the Loktak Lake without the leave of the Court. https://www.icsf.net/newss/manipur-fishers-union-gets-stay-on-construction-in-loktak-lake-area/ 

Claiming to promote and develop Loktak lake, the Manipur government broke the law while pushing for eco-tourism and inland waterways mega-projects. The eco-tourism project proposes to turn the lake into a “world-class tourist destination”, and involves resorts, a golf course, a recreation centre and a club. In its proposal for the inland waterways project, the state government claimed the floating islands of vegetation for which the lake is famous are a “growing menace”. Till date, the Manipur government’s plans for Loktak lake are either at odds with or have skipped over the legal protections the water-body enjoys. https://science.thewire.in/environment/manipur-bjp-government-loktake-lake-misled-high-court-broke-the-law-ecotourism-inland-waterways/  (21 Feb. 2022)

Documentary: Losing Loktak, Manipur’s largest freshwater lake https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqXCCfH1gLo  (28 Feb. 2022)

Uttarakhand HC takes suo moto cognizance of Sukhatal reconstruction High Court on Monday (Feb. 28) took suo moto cognizance of a letter sent by the concerned citizenry of Nainital in December regarding the preservation of Sukhatal Lake and stopping concretization. Treating the letter written in December 2021 and signed by over 100 people as the public interest litigation the court listed it as the PIL. The citizens also submitted a set of expert findings that establish the social/ecological and scientific grounds for our concerns.

The civil society pointing out in the letter that concerns were raised at the town meeting held with the Nainital Administration at the Lake Development Office (Nainital) on July 14, 2021, stated that in response, a panel of four experts was constituted to provide the necessary feedback and guidance on the planned project. Since then, the people say that they have been told that no information has been passed to the experts, and so, as concerned citizens fear that the authorities will go ahead with their plan of concretization of the lake bed.

“The Sukhatal development requires inputs from Hydrogeologists, Geomomorphologists, Semiologists, Ecologists, Water Policy experts, and Wetland specialists. It is our humble request to his Lordship that a holistic approach is taken before proceeding with the plan, and that his Lordship may appoint scientists from these different backgrounds to submit an independent report on the Sukhatal development report,” said the people in the letter.  Furthermore, Nainital was extremely lucky to have survived the October downpour, and nature has sent a signal to Nainital, its caretakers and residents the letter said that this good fortune may not be the case in the future. https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2022/mar/01/uttarakhand-high-court-takes-suo-moto-cognizance-of-sukhatal-reconstruction-in-nainital-2425053.html  (01 March 2022)

After hearing the matter, the bench of Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar Mishra and Justice RC Khulbe asked the secretary PWD, secretary irrigation, Kumaon Commissioner and Nainital district officer to submit their responses in the court by March 21 when the case will next be heard. In the letter, the residents have asked the court to prevent the authorities from concretising the lake bed. It adds that encroachments are also causing harm to the Sukhatal lake, which is the source of water for many poor families that do not have piped water connection yet and is also the source of recharging the Naini lake. The letter also highlights that unscientific construction activity in the town’s fragile landscape may lead to earthquakes of higher magnitudes, landslides, and even changes in the rain pattern. The residents further said that the district authorities and Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam officials were sent complaints concerning the matter but no action was taken.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/ukhand-hc-takes-suo-moto-cognisance-of-concretisation-of-sukhatal-lake-bed/articleshow/89954577.cms  (03 March 2022)  https://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/nainital-high-court-took-suo-motu-cognizance-of-beautification-and-construction-of-sukhatal-22511357.html  (02 March 2022)

Punjab Keshopur chamb on ventilator Right now, things have come to such a pass that if the wetland does not get a benefactor, it would soon lose its soul. The roads leading to the wetland remained in poor shape. Sidhu gave Rs 3 crore to develop all the four thoroughfares which lead to the area. He had personally ensured that these were reconstructed and recarpeted, but once he was shorn of his governmental position, the roads started falling victim to encroachments and government apathy.

The Tourism Interpretation Centre (TIC), which was built at a cost of Rs 5 crore with the sole aim of guiding eco-tourists, has died a natural death. Negative publicity, broken roads, a dysfunctional TIC and lack of transport facilities have stripped Keshopur of its sheen. The ornithologists claim that if the state government does not give a massive dose of oxygen in the form of funds, the birds may well start skipping the area in future. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/asias-biggest-wetland-on-ventilator-373694  (28 Feb. 2022)

Maharashtra Navi Mumbai: 42 ha dumping ground is now a forest land The residents’ long-fought battle against the dumping of garbage has come to an end. A notification to this effect has been issued in a gazette extraordinary. Panvel sub-divisional officer (SDO) Rahul Mundake has confirmed that the erstwhile dumping ground area has now been cordoned off from all sides with CCTV and security is in place to check any mischief. Mundake added that all cases against the dumping ground have been disposed of now. “The Uran Municipal Council (UMC) had commenced the bio-mining process on the dumping ground for scientific disposal of the trash. The collective efforts of environmentalists, Uran tehsildar, UMC chief officer and Raigad collector have yielded results, as the state government has declared this area as forest land. Once the process of receiving suggestions, objections and subsequent hearing is completed, the land will be formally taken over by the forest department for the preservation of marine green,” said Mundake. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/42-ha-dumping-ground-is-now-a-forest-land/articleshow/89933144.cms  (02 March 2022)

FIR against unknown persons for reclamation of Wadala wetland The Wadala police on Thursday (March 03) lodged a First Information Report (FIR) against unknown persons under relevant sections of the Environment Protection Act (1986), for reclamation and unauthorised use of an intertidal wetland in Wadala, located less than a kilometre from the Bhakti Park monorail station. Environmentalists expressed disappointment at the delay in action, considering authorities had first been alerted to the violations in early 2019. They also pointed out that the reclaimed portion of the wetland is now being used to hold weddings, community gatherings and other public functions on a commercial basis.

Stalin D, the director of city-based NGO Vanashakti and a member of the Bombay high court-appointed Wetlands Grievance Redressal Committee, who wrote to authorities highlighting the violations as early as January 2019, said, “Failure to protect and restore the wetland has led to the area being rented out for various occasions. A full-fledged dais, along with drapes and other scaffolding, has been installed in the reclaimed portion of the wetland along with an approach road, which is completely in violation of the HC orders calling for protection of mangroves and water bodies. It is disheartening to see that despite a member of the Wetlands Committee having repeatedly expressed concern over the fate of the wetland, nothing was done. Reclamation should have been stopped more than two years ago.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/fir-against-unknown-persons-for-reclamation-of-wadala-wetland-101646413883052.html  (04 March 2022)

Tamil Nadu Pelicans nesting on power transmission towers in Chennai’s wetlands Environmentalists found seven nests with 25 baby pelicans and one nest of a white-bellied eagle, a threatened species, on top of newly built transmission towers in Kattupalli and Ennore lagoons. The nests were identified by members of the Save Ennore Creek campaign during a recent field study at the rapidly industrialising Ennore-Pulicat wetlands complex. With this, the members wrote to the Chief Wildlife Warden asking for the eco-sensitive zone around the Pulicat Sanctuary to be extended from the current 10 kms from sanctuary boundaries “to cover all areas of conservation importance within the Ennore-Pulicat wetlands complex.”

These findings highlight the importance of the Kosasthalaiyar river’s backwaters as a critical wetland habitat for migratory birds and endangered species. In a letter to Shekhar Kumar Niraj, the Chief Wildlife Warden of Tamil Nadu, the team highlighted that they had also found garbage and untreated sewage being dumped indiscriminately into the backwaters by contractors housing labour camps for the workforce from the L&T and Adani ports. “Several thousand workers are housed in unhygienic and unapproved labour camps constructed on eco-sensitive sand dunes with no proper sewage facilities,” the activists said in a statement. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/pelicans-nesting-power-transmission-towers-chennais-wetlands-warn-activists-161507  (02 March 2022)

WATER OPTIONS

Researchers build low-cost solar-powered desalination system A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China have come up with an inexpensive passive solar evaporation system that can be used to clean wastewater or desalinate saline water in order to provide potable water. Most modern attempts at solar desalination use some kind of wick to draw salty water through the device. But these wicks face the problem of salt accumulation, which causes the system’s efficiency to drop and requires regular and periodic maintenance, making it much more expensive and much less practical.

The new research findings have been published in a paper in the journal Nature Communications by MIT graduate student Lenan Zhang, postdoctoral associate Xiangyu Li, professor of mechanical engineering Evelyn Wang, and four others. In order to avoid the problem of salt accumulation, the team created a wick-free system. Their system features a layered design with dark material at the top to absorb the sun’s heat, followed by a thin layer of water that sits above a perforated layer of material, which itself sits above a reservoir of salty or non-potable water like a tank or a pond. https://indianexpress.com/article/technology/science/researchers-build-low-cost-solar-powered-desalination-system-that-could-help-provide-portable-water/  (03 March 2022)

GROUNDWATER

Coca-Cola’s Indian bottler, Moon Beverages, has been fined US$ 2 million by the country’s highest green court for causing environmental damages at two of its bottling plants in India. 

PepsiCo’s bottler, Varun Beverages, has also been found guilty of damaging the environment and fined US$ 1.3 million by the NGT.

The judgment, released last Friday, faulted three bottling facilities of having violated environmental laws by operating without the required “No Objection Certificate” (NOC) to withdraw ground water which is issued by the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA).

Furthermore, the National Green Tribunal found both companies to have violated the terms of its license by not fulfilling its obligations to recharge ground water – a condition of the last valid license that both the companies had.

The Tribunal wrote that the companies “are responsible for illegal extraction of ground water at least after expiry of NOCs, issued to them by CGWA. They continued to extract ground water without any authority. Further, they are also liable to pay environmental compensation for causing loss to environment by failing to comply the most crucial condition of NOCs, i.e., recharge of water.”

“Having committed the said default, they are liable to pay environmental compensation for the said cause/loss, besides other legal action civil, criminal as the case may be. Thus, PPs shall pay environmental compensation for abstraction of ground water after expiry of NOCs and failing to recharge ground water as per the condition of NOCs”, wrote the Tribunal, with PPs referring to the Coca-Cola and PepsiCo bottlers.

Section 15 of the Environment Protection Act 1986 “provides for environmental compensation in case of illegal abstraction of groundwater. Extraction of ground water for commercial use by industries, infrastructure units and mining projects without a valid NOC from appropriate authority shall be considered illegal and such entities shall be liable to pay environmental compensation for the quantum of ground water so extracted. Moreover, under Section 16, stricter provisions of penalty for non-compliance of NOC conditions have also been incorporated in the revised guidelines,” said the Tribunal.

Although both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo tout their supposedly exemplary water conservation achievements around the world, with both companies claiming to have met fantastic (and mostly impossible) water conservation targets, the Indian High Court found that PepsiCo only recharged 4% of the water it was required to (and had agreed to) as a condition of their license. The Coca-Cola bottler did not even bother to offer any water recharge numbers to the court, even though it was invited to do so. https://greentribunal.gov.in/gen_pdf_test.php?filepath=L25ndF9kb2N1bWVudHMvbmd0L2Nhc2Vkb2MvanVkZ2VtZW50cy9ERUxISS8yMDIyLTAyLTI1LzE2NDU3ODM2MjMyMzMwNzk4NDQ2MjE4YWE0NzhlNjY3LnBkZg

Punjab Depleting water resources: Challenges ahead for Punjab-2 A discussion moderated by Umendra Dutt of Kheti Virasat Mission, and a panel of 2: Dr Balwinder Sidhu, former Agri Commissioner of Punjab and Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP, live from 7 am to 8.30 am. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTZBSt0Qppk  (06 March 2022)

Malwa Belt: 80% groundwater ‘unfit’ for drinking Although, there is no exact figure in any recent study, but all experts are unanimous that the chemical contamination of the groundwater is posing a great health risk to the people living there and it is also putting children at risk of a blood disorder.

Health activist Dr Vitull K Gupta said several studies over the years have documented that groundwater in the Malwa region is unfit for drinking and irrigation because of elevated levels of alkalinity, hardness, fluoride, uranium, nitrate, magnesium, phosphates and several contents of pesticides and fertilisers. More importantly, the carcinogenic risk of arsenic and chromium was the highest in Bathinda district.

Over 1,800 RO plants were installed in the state during 2009 and thereafter by the then SAD-BJP government, including 1,075 in Malwa, but now in many villages, these ROs are lying defunct for the past few years. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/malwa-belt-80-groundwater-unfit-for-drinking-375116  (05 March 2022)

Report  सरकारी उदासीनता से बढ़ रहा है फ्लोराइड का प्रकोप झारखंड, छत्तीसगढ़, ओडिशा जैसे राज्यों में फ्लोराइड का प्रकोप कई इलाकों में देखने को मिलता है। समय से इसकी पहचान और समुचित समाधान से इसके असर को रोका जा सकता था। पर ऐसा हो नहीं रहा और इसकी वजह से ग्रामीण और आदिवासी इलाकों में हड्डी के रोग और बच्चों के दातों मे फ्लोराइड का प्रभाव भारी मात्रा में देखने को मिलता है। फ्लोराइड-प्रभावित ऐसे कई इलाकों में कम उम्र के वयस्क भी लाठी लेकर चलने को मजबूर हैं जो उनके परिवार के जीविकोपार्जन के लिए भी खतरा पैदा कर रहा है। विशेषज्ञों का मानना हैं कि सरकार की उदासीनता की वजह से ऐसे कई क्षेत्र हैं जहां जन स्वास्थ्य का संकट बढ़ता ही जा रहा है। https://hindi.mongabay.com/2022/03/03/continued-fluoride-contamination-of-groundwater-is-a-glaring-public-health-issue-in-central-india/  (03 March 2022)

Bihar Massive groundwater contamination in 31 of 38 districts The 16th Bihar Economic Survey Report 2021-22, recently tabled in the assembly by Deputy Chief Minister Tarkishore Prasad, stated that groundwater in rural areas in 31 of the 38 districts is affected by arsenic, fluoride and iron contamination.

“The high concentration of arsenic, fluoride, and iron in groundwater in rural areas in 31 of 38 districts is posing a major health hazard. There is chemical contamination in groundwater in 30,272 rural wards. A total of 4,742 rural wards in 14 districts situated along the Ganga are particularly affected by arsenic contamination,” the report said. It said that drinking water sources in 3,791 rural wards in 11 districts are affected by fluoride contamination. There is presence of excess iron in nine Kosi basin districts, and a few areas in other districts. The consumption of contaminated water causes skin, liver, kidney and other water-borne diseases.

The affected districts include Begusarai, Bhagalpur, Bhojpur, Buxar, Darbhanga, Katihar, Khagaria, Lakhisarai, Munger, Samastipur, Saran, Sitamarhi, Patna, Vaishali, Aurangabad, Banka, Bhagalpur, Gaya, Jamui, Kaimur, Munger, Nalanda, Rohtas, Sheikhpura, Nawada and Araria. The report referred to the internal assessment and findings pertaining to the water quality mapping of Bihar by the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED). https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/patna/massive-groundwater-contamination-in-31-of-38-districts-in-bihar-economic-survey-7797082/  (02 March 2022)

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken suo motu cognizance of a report referring to the bad quality of water in Bihar. According to the Bihar Economic Survey 2021-22, in 31 of the 38 districts of the state, arsenic, fluoride, and excessive iron were found in the groundwater. The report pointed out that the groundwater in 30,272 rural wards is chemically contaminated, NHRC said. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/human-rights-commission-seeks-report-from-bihar-govt-on-water-contamination-11646550861435.html  (06 March 2022)

Karnataka Shekhawat asks govt to tackle uranium contamination in drinking water Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Saturday (March 05) expressed deep concern over uranium contamination in drinking water being supplied to households in some villages of Karnataka and said it “a matter of concern”.  Uranium contamination in water has been reported from villages of Kolar and Chikkballapur. “It has come to our knowledge that in the eastern part of Karnataka, some villages have identified uranium contamination. It is a matter of serious concern. I have instructed that this should be addressed immediately so that people are not forced to consume contaminated water,” he told reporters.

He said: “The Ministry had come to know that there are 86 fluoride affected habitations in Andhra Pradesh and 52 in Madhya Pradesh which deserve immediate remedial action.” Earlier, Mr. Shekhawat said the Centre had accorded priority to JJM and SBM(G) and allocated ₹20,487.58 crore and ₹1,355.13 crore, respectively, for six States and UT of Puducherry in 2021-22.

Under the 15th Finance Commission, ₹7,498 crore had been allocated as tied-grant to six States, he said, in his address at the Southern States’ Conclave of JJM and SBM(G) projects here. Representatives from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and two UTs of Puducherry and Lakshadweep, participated in the event.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/shekhawat-asks-state-to-tackle-uranium-contamination-in-drinking-water/article65193409.ece  (05 March 2022)

URBAN WATER

Delhi Groundwater depletion continues CGWB scientist said, “A number of anthropogenic activities, like underground construction for roads, Delhi Metro, basements, landfills, industries, etc., cause groundwater fluctuations and altering its flow. That is why some places that were stressed are now waterlogged, including Greater Kailash II, Siddharth Extension, Friend’s Colony.” He said the curbs on extraction for industrial and horticultural uses explained the rise in some areas. However, some experts were so sure about this. “Most of Delhi’s surface area has been concretised, rainwater harvesting is minimal, the floodwater drains carry sewage. Where’s the scope of recharging the groundwater?” asked Akash Vashishtha, environment activist and lawyer.

As per CGWB, 72% of the monitoring stations reported a rise in the groundwater table in the two years. However, in the long term, Delhi lost more than it gained. Against a 10-year (2011-2020) mean water level, nearly 47% of the monitoring wells rose and 53% sank. This rise was confined to western part of Delhi covering portions of South-West, West, North-West and North districts. The report said that in 2011-2020, groundwater levels depleted by 2-4m in almost all districts of Delhi. The depletion has been higher than 4m in the North, West, Central, New Delhi, Shahdara and East districts. The groundwater table was reported to be falling at a rate of 0.7m per year on average.

It’s not just the quantity, but also the quality of the groundwater that is a concern. Salinity is increasing in South-West, West, North-West, Shahdara and some parts of North districts. Fluorides and nitrates were also found beyond permissible limits in numerous areas. High concentrations of heavy metals, manganese and iron were noted in some places. The groundwater at Kanjhawala, Janakpuri, Hareoli, Nizamuddin Bridge and Jharoda Kalan had high concentration of uranium. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/groundwater-rises-in-some-areas-but-city-loses-overall/articleshow/89858952.cms  (27 Feb. 2022)

The case of disappearing waterbodies Delhi has as many as 1,043 identified waterbodies, which belong to 16 different authorities. According to official data 169 of them have been infringed on and destroyed. Of the 169 encroached waterbodies, 103 belong to the DDA. The DDA owns 836 waterbodies — the highest in the city — followed by the Revenue Department which has 131 under its ambit. Of the 836 waterbodies, the DDA has asked for deletion of 208 from the list and many of these could also be encroached upon apart from the 103 on the list, officials said. Experts say Delhi has lost its wetlands due to unplanned growth and encroachment. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/the-case-of-disappearing-waterbodies/article65184739.ece  (03 March 2022)

Aya Nagar, sewage inside homes is a way of life The village of Aya Nagar has undergone a dramatic spatial transformation from rural to urban, since the mid-1980s. Indiscriminate, unplanned construction of houses on one side of the land led to the formation of troughs on the other side, and concretisation of streets and bylanes in the area meant that water could no longer seep into the ground, creating these huge pools of water. Pipelines were laid from the houses that drained into the closed pools, which often do not connect to any other water body. One now finds them choked with sewage from the surrounding houses, untreated kitchen water and garbage. https://citizenmatters.in/aya-nagar-unauthorised-colony-in-delhi-drainage-sewage-issues-29810  (03 March 2022)

The National Capital’s Experience with Waste to Energy https://www.cenfa.org/the-national-capitals-experience-with-waste-to-energy/  (10 Feb. 2022)

Greater Noida Rs 1 cr fine on housing society for water pollution Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority on Wednesday imposed a fine of Rs 1 crore on a group housing society for dumping untreated sewerage into a rainwater drain in violation of norms. The action has been taken against Supertech’s Eco Village One project and the developer has been directed to remit the penalty amount within a week, the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA) officials said. “The sewerage is diverted into a rain drain without being treated. It’s not only causing water pollution but also in violation of guidelines of the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal,” GNIDA CEO Narendra Bhooshan said in a statement.

The GNIDA said it is mandatory for all group housing societies, institutions and commercial establishments built on an area of more than 20,000 square metres in Greater Noida to set up and run their own STP. “The sewerage coming out of the society after being treated with STP should be used for irrigation, construction etc. The sewerage of Supertech Eco Village One was being dumped in the rainy drain of GNIDA without being treated,” the GNIDA said.

The developer has also been directed to ensure proper waste management on its premises and warned of action over non-compliance of rules, the GNIDA said. So far, penalties worth about Rs 3 crore have been imposed on developers of 46 group housing societies in Greater Noida over violation of environment-related rules and guidelines, it said. Some of the housing societies are also such, which have been fined more than once and in the range of Rs 2 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, it added. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/india/rs-1-crore-fine-on-housing-society-in-greater-noida-for-water-pollution-8185511.html  (02 March 2022)

Vadodara Discarded ‘potlis’ in drain contaminate supply water The standing committee chairman of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) was in for a shock after he got a storm water drain in Navapura area opened following complaints of water contamination. The drain was blocked by ‘potlis’ or plastic pouches used to sell country-made liquor! The Rabarivas and Godadiyavas localities in the area had been getting contaminated water for about two weeks now. While the official process to identify the source of contamination became tardy, Dr Hitendra Patel decided to go to the area and check things for himself.

After seeing the storm water drain filled with water, Patel asked to open the chamber. It was literally opening of the Pandora’s box as the shocked corporator saw hundreds of empty country-made liquor pouches blocking the outflow. Patel himself picked up a shovel and fished these pouches out of the storm water drain. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/discarded-potlis-in-drain-contaminate-supply-water/articleshow/90023351.cms  (06 March 2022)

Jamshedpur Water crisis hits fringe areas, Bagbera worst-hit “Several companies have come up by filling lakes. Buildings and residential plots have come up in areas by cutting large numbers of trees and this has led to depletion of ground water tables. Several wells have gone dry and tubewells have become dysfunctional. Earlier, we had to dig a boring well up to 100 feet and could easily get water and now we have to dig a boring well for more than 200 feet. People are facing horrible times in summer heat,” said a local resident.

An official of the drinking water and sanitation department, Jamshedpur division, admitted that a large number of tubewells have become dysfunctional in the city outskirts due to depletion of ground water tables. The East Singhbhum district administration in a knee-jerk reaction has deputed senior administrative officials in each of the 11 blocks of the district for constant monitoring of the grim water scenario from Tuesday (March 01). “These senior officials will be reviewing the water scenario and presenting their report to the East Singhbhum deputy commissioner,” said the official.

Now, as the water crisis is looming large since the city received scanty rain last year, the supply of water through tankers would be increased by around 30 lakh litres. According to the district administration, water tanker trips daily will ensure the supply of water in the slum areas of the city, where the water crisis is looming large because the tube wells and hand pumps have dried up. https://avenuemail.in/jamshedpur-water-crisis-hits-fringe-areas-bagbera-worst-hit/  (05 March 2022)

Bengaluru 110 villages to get Cauvery water well before time  Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has fast-tracked the Cauvery Stage V project and is aiming to complete the work by the end of this year. If achieved, the board would have completed the project six months before the deadline, providing water supply to the 110 villages earlier than expected. BWSSB officials said they are aiming to finish the work on the ground by November and then conduct test runs for a month, to ensure the network is ready to be commissioned.

“As part of the project, three pump houses are being constructed at Thorekadanahalli (TK Halli), Harohalli, and Tataguni. Also, seven ground-level reservoirs are being built for water collection. The overall progress stands at 40%,” said a senior BWSSB engineer working on the project. The project, once commissioned, will help the BWSSB bring 775 MLD of additional water into the city, helping provide Cauvery water to the 110 villages in the city’s periphery.

While the Cauvery Stage V aims at getting the additional water into the city by laying trunk lines and setting up pump houses, the BWSSB has also simultaneously taken up work on laying water pipelines and underground sewage lines in the 110 villages to ensure that they get water connections as soon as the Cauvery Stage V is commissioned. The task of laying 2,158 km of water lines has already been completed, but the board has wrapped up a mere 85% of work to lay the underground sewage lines. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/110-villages-to-get-cauvery-water-well-before-time-1088680.html  (07 March 2022)

BBMP officers are thick-skinned: HC Observing orally that officers of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palika are “thick-skinned and it’s time to take strict action against them for disobeying orders of the court”, the High Court of Karnataka on Saturday (March 05) directed BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta to file an affidavit explaining his conduct on the issue of dumping garbage at Mittaganahalli quarry pit in violation of the court’s order of 2020.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice S.R. Krishna Kumar made these observations while hearing PIL petitions related to city’s solid waste management problems. Mr. Gupta was present before the Bench on Saturday as per the court’s February 15 order to explain how the waste is being dumped at the quarry pit contrary to the court’s March 6, 2020 order, in which the court had restrained the BBMP from dumping waste at quarry pit if the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) had not granted consent within three weeks from that date. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/bbmp-officers-are-thick-skinned-high-court/article65193495.ece  (05 March 2022)

JJM/ RURAL WATER SUPPLY

Rajasthan Adequate tap water supply to rural household top priority: CM Addressing a review meeting of the Public Health Engineering Department, Gehlot directed the officials to make necessary arrangements in advance in order to ensure an adequate supply of drinking water in the state as summer is around the corner. After assessing the requirement of every district, alternate arrangements for water sources should be immediately made on the basis of a contingency plan, he said.

While top priority should be accorded to the Jal Jeevan Mission, which intends to supply water to every household, Gehlot said efforts should also be made to ensure timely completion of all projects related to drinking water. The CM also directed the officials to effectively test and install smart metres in urban areas of the state under Mukhyamantri Rajneer Yojana.

Sufficient funds have been allocated in the Budget for the installation of hand pumps and tube wells in each Assembly constituency, Gehlot said and asked the district collectors to form committees to earmark locations for their installation.  https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/adequate-tap-water-supply-to-rural-household-govt-s-top-priority-gehlot-122030600819_1.html  (06 March 2022)

Madhya Pradesh Dhar, Burhanpur declared as drinking water scarce areas Summer is yet to knock the doors, but many parts of Nimar region have started facing water crisis. Dhar and Burhanpur districts have been declared as drinking water scarce areas until June 30 or till receiving sufficient rains. Bracing itself for the drinking water crisis in the summer, Dhar and Burhanpur district administration has also ordered different measures.

All 13 development blocks and as many as 802 villages of Dhar are fluorosis-affected while availability of clean drinking water to meet the demand is already a challenge in the district. With the collector Pankaj Jain declaring Dhar as a drinking water scarce area, local administration has put a ban on using water of different sources including tube wells, rivers, dams, canals, streams, springs, lakes, reservoirs, and wells for irrigation, industrial and such other purposes.

According to the collector, water sources can be acquired for maintaining the availability of drinking water in the affected area while tube well/borewell mining in the water scarcity area has been prohibited for any purpose without the permission of the authorized officer. On proving violation of the said order, there is a provision of punishment including imprisonment of two years or fine or both under section 9 of Madhya Pradesh Peya Jal Praikshan Adhiniyam, 1986. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/indore/dhar-burhanpur-declared-as-drinking-water-scarce-areas/articleshow/90022953.cms  (06 March 2022)

MoJS Winners of startup challenge to monitor rural water supply announced Rydot Infotech Pvt Ltd from Gujarat has won the ‘ICT Grand Challenge put forth by the Centre to help Indian startups come out with cost-effective solutions to monitor rural water supply, it was announced on Saturday (March 05). The runners-up are Greenvironment Innovation Marketing India Pvt Ltd and GLOBALm Pvt Ltd, a consortium of EyeNet Aqua Solutions Pvt Ltd and Ilonnati Innovations Pvt Ltd. The ICT Grand Challenge was conducted by the Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation (DWS) under the Ministry of Jal Shakti, in partnership with the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeTY), a release from the Jal Shakti Ministry said. The technical challenge was also to develop an in-house smart monitoring system for the idea of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=933677  (05 March 2022)

MONSOON 2022

SANDRP Blog District Wise Winter 2022 Rainfall In the just concluded Winter Season 2022 (Jan 1 2022 to Feb 28 2022), as per India Meteorological Department (IMD), India received 44% above Normal Rainfall (it was 32% below normal rainfall in winter 2021. This is coming on top of almost normal (99.32% of normal rainfall) in SW Monsoon 2021 and 43.54% above normal rainfall in Post Monsoon season 2021. https://sandrp.in/2022/02/28/district-wise-winter-2022-rainfall-in-india  (28 Feb. 2022)

‘Monsoon Mission III to be launched soon’ First launched in 2012, the Monsoon Mission has been a flagship project undertaken by the MoES to improve overall understanding of Indian monsoons. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/monsoon-mission-iii-to-be-launched-soon-7795386/  (01 March 2022)

Why hailstorms are so rampant during spring https://www.firstpost.com/india/the-weather-report-why-hailstorms-are-so-rampant-during-spring-10419051.html  (01 March 2022)

Odisha Untimely January rain damages rabi crop, vegetables in Nuapada Rainfall five times higher than normal for January has destroyed thousands of acres of rabi crops in Odisha’s Nuapada district. The farmers who rely on the produce for food as well as cash said several stretches of pulses, potato, beans and other vegetables were also totally destroyed. The state received 63.22 millimetres of rainfall this month, according to the IMD. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/untimely-january-rain-damages-rabi-crop-vegetables-in-odisha-s-nuapada-81182  (19 Jan. 2022)

LANDSLIDES

Uttarakhand Massive landslide in Rudraprayag A massive landslide occurred at Jhalimath in Sari village of Rudraprayag district in morning hours displacing a total of 11 families in the town. There has been no loss of life following the incident, according to Disaster Emergency Operation Centre (DEOC) of Rudraprayag; however, it razed several cowsheds and toilets. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/massive-landslide-in-rudraprayag-11-families-moved-out/articleshow/89907532.cms  (01 March 2022) https://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/dehradun-city-uttarakhand-news-landslide-in-rudraprayag-jhalimath-many-families-shifted-22505923.html  (28 Feb. 202)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89K-wOBRtxg

After winter season flood in Dhauliganga in Feb. 2021 and post monsoon induced landslides in Nainital in October 2021, this incidence highlights the surprises and challenges in store for disasters managers and they are accordingly required to gear up their preparedness. https://riskavoider.com/non-monsoonal-landslide-rudraprayag/  (01 March 2022)

रुद्रप्रयाग के चिरबटिया लुठियाग गांव में गुरुवार (March 03) को मिट्टी लेने के लिए खदान में गई तीन महिलाएं भूस्खलन की चपेट में आकर जान गवां बैठीं। खदान का ऊपरी हिस्सा टूटकर महिलाओं के ऊपर गिर पड़ा। मिट्टी में दबने से महिलाओं की मौके पर ही मौत हो गई। https://www.rajyasameeksha.com/uttarakhand/21714-three-women-died-in-chirbithiya-rudraprayag   (05 March 2022)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbrtoHdzWZ4  (03 March 2022)

जोशीमठ नगर के गांधी नगर वार्ड में लगभग 60 से अधिक परिवारों पर भूस्खलन का खतरा मंडरा रहा है. भूस्खलन इतना ज्यादा खतरनाक हो गया है कि गांव के कुछ परिवारों ने अपनी छतों को भूस्खलन की चपेट में आने से रोकने के लिए बल्लियों का सहारा लिया है.  आशंका है कि यहां कोई बड़ा हादसा हो सकता है. बीते साल 18, 19 अक्टूबर को हुई भारी बारिश से खासी मुश्किलें पैदा हो रही हैं. मूसलाधार बारिश से जोशीमठ नगर क्षेत्र के तमाम बड़े बड़े भवनों में दरारें पड़ गई हैं. हालात इतने खराब हो गए हैं कि लोगों का घरों में रहना मुश्किल हो गया है और कई लोग अपने घर छोड़कर किराये पर रहने चले गए हैं. https://hindi.news18.com/news/uttarakhand/chamoli-big-landslide-incident-possible-in-joshimath-town-many-people-leaving-their-houses-tehsil-alert-4047039.html  (04 March 2022)

Big Landslide At Samroli Jammu-Srinagar highway, the only surface link connecting Kashmir Valley with the outside world, has been again on Monday (Feb. 28) closed and this time due to “huge” landslide at “Samroli, Udhampur. “Jammu-Srinagar highway is blocked at Dewal near Samroli, Udhampur due to huge landslide, people are requested not to travel on Jmu-Sgr highway till the clearance work is completed,” traffic department official said. Also Srinagar-Sonamarg-Gumri road remained shut for vehicular movement in view of snow accumulation on Zoji la axis and has been closed till further orders. Kishtwar-Sinthan road also remained closed in view of snow accumulation, the traffic department official said. https://kashmirreader.com/2022/02/28/big-landslide-at-samroli-closes-jammu-srinagar-highway/  (28 Feb. 2022) https://www.dailyexcelsior.com/jammu-srinagar-national-highway-closed-due-to-landslides/  (28 Feb. 2022)

SSP Traffic (national highway) Shabir Malik, said, “A huge landslide which requires which needs more than a day for clearance occurred near Dewal bridge in Samroli area of Udhampur at 2.30am on Monday (Feb. 28). Nearly 300 Jammu bound LMVs, which reached this location quite late because of another landslide at Magerkote in Ramban district and subsequent congestion, have been left stranded.” He added that NHAI has pressed into service it’s men and machinery to clear the debris at Dewal.

Malik said, “NHAI has sought two days for clearance, but we have requested them to restore it partially for one-way traffic in a day, so that essential work of the public do not suffer. No fresh traffic was allowed either from Jammu or Srinagar this morning,” he said, adding that over 300 Jammu-bound trucks and some passenger vehicles were left stranded due to the closure of the highway. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/fresh-landslide-blocks-jammu-srinagar-national-highway-101646078033191.html  (01 March 2022)

A massive landslide led to the blocking of crucial Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Banihal town in Ramban district on March 3, 2022. Boulders fell from a hill running alongside the serpentine highway onto the road and then rolled into a deep gorge. The Jammu and Kashmir Traffic Police said the highway was blocked at Shabanbas area. The highway is the only road link connecting Kashmir with the rest of the country. A video showed large boulders tumbling down the hill.

– Landslides have been a recurring problem along the highway this season. On February 28, the highway was blocked at Dewal near Samroli, Udhampur, due because of landslide. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/jammu-kashmir-national-highway-blocked-due-to-landslide-at-banihal-2800793  (03 March 2022)

CLIMATE CHANGE

IPCC Sixth Assessment report of Working Grp 2, released on Feb 28, 2022:  https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg2/ 

“Written by 270 researchers from 67 countries, the report is “an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership,” said António Guterres, the United Nations secretary general. “With fact upon fact, this report reveals how people and the planet are getting clobbered by climate change.”

“If we act now, we have a lot of choices,” said Edward R. Carr, a professor of international development at Clark University and an author of the report. “Ten years from now, hell of a lot of less. Thirty years from now, I don’t know.” He added, “We’ll always have choices. But they’ll be less good choices, and they’ll be much harder choices to make.” https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/28/climate/climate-change-ipcc-un-report.html  (28 Feb. 2022)

The Water Chapter of the IPCC working group II Report released on 28 February 2022 tries to provide some answers to how do we adapt to an intensified water cycle? https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/climate/water-cycle-intensifying-due-to-climate-change-says-ipcc/  (01 March 2022)

Opinion Climate must become a poll agenda: Latest IPCC report is another big warning to India’s political leaders by Roxy Koll https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/toi-edit-page/climate-must-become-a-poll-agenda-latest-ipcc-report-is-another-big-warning-to-indias-political-leaders/  (28 Feb. 2022)

The latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has painted a bleak picture for India, warning that the South Asian country could face multiple climate change-induced disasters in the next two decades. “The IPCC report clearly delineates that multiple climatic and non-climatic risks will interact with each other, which will result in increased overall risks cascading across sectors and regions. It will pose unique challenges to India,” said Ritwick Dutta.

– According to the report, more than 40% of India’s population will face water scarcity by 2050, and at the same time the country’s coastal areas, including big cities like Mumbai, will be affected by rising sea levels. Flooding will intensify in the Ganges River and Brahmaputra River basins, and at the same time crop production will be disrupted by droughts and water scarcity. Another IPCC report, which is scheduled to be released in April, will suggest remedies to tackle the climate crisis and how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. https://www.dw.com/en/climate-change-why-it-is-now-or-never-for-india/a-61000680  (03 March 2022)

Menaka Guruswamy writes: India is already experiencing the effects highlighted in the recent IPCC report. Addressing it requires fiscal expenditure and policy changes fuelled by political will. https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/ipcc-report-climate-change-india-politicians-7801706/  (05 March 2022)

The Ganga, Indus, Amu Darya and other river basins in Asia could face severe water scarcity by 2050 due to climate crisis and related impacts that act as stress multipliers, the IPCC warned. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-stares-at-water-scarcity-extreme-heat-stress-report-101646070934296.html  (01 March 2022)

The adverse impacts of climate change are far greater, more frequent and vastly more disruptive than previously understood, the new assessment said, warning that “minor” or “incremental” responses would not be sufficient to deal with the crisis. https://indianexpress.com/article/world/climate-change/climate-change-impact-greater-frequent-disruptive-ipcc-report-7794684/  01 March 2022)

SOUTH ASIA

IWT Officials from India, Pakistan hold talks Besides Pakul Dul and Lower Kalnai, Pakistan has objected to 10 other hydropower projects: 19 MW Durbuk Shyok, 24 MW Nimu Chilling, Kiru, Tamasha, Kalaroos-II, Baltikulan Small, Kargil Hunderman, Phagla, Kulan Ramwari and Mandi. All these projects are on Agenda of the annual India-Pak Indus Treat discussions now going on in Islamabad during March 1-3, 2022. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/indus-water-treaty-officials-from-india-pakistan-hold-talks/89935126  (02 March 2022)

About the IWT meeting on March 1-3, 2022: Pakistan has asked the visiting delegation about any flood-flow information in advance as per the provisions of the treaty and stick to the practice that was in place between 1989 and 2018. However, India has categorically rejected Pakistan’s concerns over the provision of data on the flow of eastern rivers Ravi, Satluj and Beas as per the 1989 data sharing arrangement.

– Pakistan has been demanding that India reduces the height of the water storage capacity of the Pakal Dul dam by five metres, while its spillway gates should be 40 metres higher than the sea level.

– According to Shah, India has assured that Pakistan would be informed of the positive developments regarding the design of the project by May this year. While India’s position on Lower Kalnai was that development work on the project had been stopped since 2014. https://tribune.com.pk/story/2346314/indias-response-on-water-projects-sought  (04 March 2022)

Ali Touqeer Sheikh of DAWN writes: “To revive River Ravi, the two neighbours need to climate-proof the treaty.”

– This journey to climate proof the Indus Water Treaty can include: not allowing river systems to die by jointly devising flushing mechanisms, agreeing on flexible water allocation strategies, rather than sticking to static formulae for high and low seasons, ensuring flood and drought management to deal with water transactions as the monsoons change their patterns, Setting up a list of climate-induced water threats to craft shared responses under various extreme weather events such as cloudbursts. The Indus Waters Treaty is based on the assumption that future water supply and quality will not change. Adapting to climate change means that alterations will be needed in the institutions and policies that have existed since the Indus Waters Treaty was signed. https://scroll.in/article/1018427/the-indus-waters-treaty-between-india-and-pakistan-survived-wars-can-it-survive-climate-change  (03 March 2022)

Bangladesh River meetings in India address riparian challenges The widespread practice of indiscriminate sand extraction and the potential threat of erosion were only flagged as issues when residents of Rajrajeshwar had the opportunity to take part in a Nodi Boithok or ‘river meeting’. The process led to a national consultation with civil society organisations, scientists and activists in the capital Dhaka. Recommendations from the national dialogue were shared with the National River Conservation Commission (NRCC) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of Bangladesh.

The Nodi Boithok is a process  through which civil society and vulnerable communities work collectively to identify water governance challenges and opportunities at the grassroots level. Initiated in early 2018 in Bangladesh by the Oxfam-led Transboundary Rivers of South Asia (TROSA) programme, the concept was later adopted by international NGO CUTS International (Consumer Unity & Trust Society), a partner of the TROSA programme in India. The programme is designed to build the capacity of communities to secure their water resource rights by engaging with and influencing policymakers and bureaucrats.

Residents of Fenchuganj in Sylhet district, Bangladesh participate at a Nodi Boithok – or ‘river meeting’ – to identify important fish habitats and conflict spots in the Kushiyara River (Image: Oxfam/CNRS)

One of the most significant outcomes of the initiative in Bangladesh has been community-led indigenous river erosion control infrastructure, which was taken to the transboundary level (India and Bangladesh) through dialogue and cross-border visits among communities and civil society organisations.     

The TROSA programme, working across Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Myanmar, aims to understand and address challenges related to transboundary rivers, and work together to create conditions that reduce poverty in communities living in the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) and the Salween River basins. More than 200 Nodi Boithoks were held across 35 different locations in Bangladesh between 2018 and 2021.

In India, CUTS International organised 20 Nodi Boithoks in 2021 along transboundary rivers in West Bengal and northeast India (Assam and Tripura), namely the Barak, Raidak (Doodhkumar), Jaldhaka (Dharla), Gomti, Manu, Feni, Muhuri and Khowai rivers. At these meetings, the socioeconomic and livelihood challenges of people at the grassroots level are highlighted.

Their voices are critical to the successful implementation of policies related to river governance, regional cooperation and cross-border engagements. The village-level meetings take place each month among communities living nearby in the Brahmaputra and Meghna basins in Bangladesh and India. Each meeting is organised by the programme implementing partners, who use reflections from the Nodi Boithoks to forge partnerships with relevant civil society organisations. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/regional-cooperation/after-bangladesh-river-meetings-in-india-address-riparian-challenges/  (03 March 2022)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Australia Qld dam releases different to 2011 flood Residents are being reassured that controlled releases from Wivenhoe Dam will not cause the Brisbane River to rise above Monday’s (Feb 28 2022) 3.85 metre peak when thousands of homes flooded.

– The city received 80 per cent of its annual rainfall in three days in a “rain bomb” affecting the entire south east corner. Addressing suggestions that water could have been released prior to the weather event, Mr Foster said Wivenhoe is important for both flood mitigation and drinking supply. It was just over half full when the rain hit last week. “So we had all of the capacity, plus our flood compartment, available,” Mr Foster said. “There was absolutely no reason for us to consider the early releases.”

– The controlled releases now underway are very different to the flood disaster of 2011 when the Brisbane River peaked in the city at 4.56m, claimed officials. “It had been raining for months and months, the dam was absolutely full, the only way they could get the water out was uncontrolled releases where the gates were actually open,” she said. “This is different, it is very much controlled releases.” https://7news.com.au/weather/natural-disasters/qld-dam-releases-different-to-2011-flood-c-5883461  (01 March 2022)

A before and after of a basketball court at St Lucia.(Supplied: CJ Cannon Photography)

The weather bureau’s constantly changing forecasts about the duration of the “rain-bomb” that hit south-east Queensland highlights the unpredictable nature of the event, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says. The Premier referenced the Bureau of Meteorology’s performance as she defended her government’s handling of the crisis, which saw the region experience an extreme flooding event causing eight deaths, impacting nearly 20,000 residences and causing widespread disruption and damage to infrastructure across 17 councils.

– Seqwater — the corporation responsible for managing Wivenhoe Dam — was also adamant that there was little more that could have been done by the dam operators to provide more flood mitigation. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-01/qld-bom-weather-forecasts-flooding-brisbane/100869864  (01 March 2022)

Some suburbs of NSW experienced worse flooding than that in 2011.

– Northern New South Wales is now in the firing line. Major flood warnings have been issued for the Brunswick, Wilsons and Clarence rivers, and a moderate to major flood warning for the Tweed. In Lismore, the BoM warned at 3am that water was about to overtop the city’s levee. The 1974 flood level of 12.15 metres is likely to be exceeded at 9am, and waters may reach 13.5 metres by Monday (Feb. 28) night, authorities warned.

– Gympie has recorded its highest flood in a century. The Mary River exceeded 23m on Sunday (Feb. 27) morning, surpassing the 1999 floods (21.95m), as well as subsequent floods in 2011 and 2013, and the highest level recorded since 1898. More than 500 households and 130 businesses in Gympie are estimated to be affected by flood waters, with 550 people in emergency accommodation. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/feb/27/south-east-queensland-floods-whats-happened-and-which-areas-could-be-hit-next  (27 Feb. 2022)

‘Extreme’ atmospheric river triggers avalanche warnings An “extreme” atmospheric river is hitting the Pacific Northwest, bringing the threat of avalanches and flooding that will persist for days.  https://edition.cnn.com/2022/02/28/weather/weather-washington-oregon-atmospheric-river-avalanche-flood/index.html  (01 March 2022)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 28 Feb. 2022 & DRP News Bulletin 21 Feb. 2022  

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

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