DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 13 June 2022: Down in Dumps, MoEF becomes more opaque

(Feature image: Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav with PM Narendra Modi before taking oath on July 7, 2021 PTI/HT.)

While the news that India has achieved the worst ever ranking of 180, at the bottom of 180 country index in terms of Environment Performance Index was shocking, it should not surprise too many people considering the way environment is treated by the current central government, particularly the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). As expected, MoEF questioned the methodology of the assessment, and the criticism has been responded to and rejected by the authors of the EPI report.

Now with a dictate of the MoEF (dated Apr 8, 2022, preceding the EPI news) coming to light, the trajectory of the MoEF should leave no one in doubt. Through this dictate, the MoEF has asked the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), a supposedly autonomous institute of the Ministry, to seek the ministry’s approval before it publishes any document, that too with retrospective effect! WII in any case, was towing the ministry’s line in many of the cases as is evident from its performance in regulatory committees like the Forest Advisory Committee, National Board of Wild Life and Expert Appraisal Committee (on River Valley Projects, possibly among others). And yet the Ministry has come out with this dictate, without giving any reasons, possibly since some of WII reports have been problematic for the govt in judicial proceedings in some cases. But the MoEF move to stop WII from publishing (and hence doing) any credible studies only shows the paranoia of the ministry. Its performance index would not improve this way, it would only get worse.

Report Researchers at WII Fear for Academic Freedom With New Govt Interference The Union environment ministry through a letter on Apr 8, 2022 has asked the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to seek the ministry’s approval before it publishes any documents. It was for the first time in the WII existence (since 1986) that it was being asked to have its reports and publications approved by the MoEF. Researchers and scientists both within and beyond the institute are wary that the move will undermine its academic and research integrity. One bureaucrat said an institute report that had embarrassed the government in the Supreme Court could have been the likely trigger. https://science.thewire.in/environment/wildlife-institute-research-fear-academic-integrity-moefcc-interference/  (11 June 2022)

India ranks lowest in global EPI  India ranked lowest – 180 – in the recently released Environment Performance Index (EPI), 2022, which lists countries based on several performance indicators, such as environmental health. The MoEF rejected the country’s EPI ranking on June 8, alleging that the Index is based on “surmises and unscientific methods”. In a press release, the Union environment ministry listed several concerns regarding methodology, such as the EPI not taking into account India’s historical data on its low emissions and how the ranking and importance of some environmental indicators have changed.

– However, the lead scientist of the EPI responded to the Ministry’s allegations by saying that the EPI has always ranked countries on the current state of environmental conditions and not on historical emissions or policy intent, and would be happy to collaborate with the Ministry as the EPI improves its analyses over the years to come. https://thewire.in/environment/rankings-based-on-performance-says-lead-author-of-environment-index-india-called-unscientific  (09 June 2022) https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-ranks-lowest-in-global-environment-performance-index-by-us-researchers-101654522252514.html  (06 June 2022)


Assam Landslide kills worker at Lower Subansiri HEP site A construction worker was killed and two others injured in a massive landslide on Monday (June 6, 2022) at the under-construction 2000 MW Lower Subansiri Hydro Electrical project at Gerukamukh along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border. The landslide occurred inside one of the tunnels at the project site. The incident happen when the workers were engaged in construction work carried out by Patel Engineering. https://nenow.in/north-east-news/assam/assam-landslide-kills-worker-at-lower-subansiri-hydropower-project-site-at-gerukamukh.html  (06 June 2022)

Subansiri Hydro Power Project in Arunachal Pradesh. NE Now.

Two workers were injured near the main dam of Lower Subansiri Hydro Electrical Plant at Gerukamukh after a group of workers burnt an office housed in a container following some dramatic developments. According to the sources, a group of workers attacked two fellow workers when they were praying at the construction site of the dam this morning.

The attacking workers “mistook” the two fellows to be performing some black magic as there had been incidents of a series of deaths of three workers in the last few weeks at the LSHEP site in Gerukamukh.When contacted, the Executive Director of LSHEP-NHPC, Vipin Gupta said that the incident was the culmination of a rumour that had been going on among a section of the workers. https://nenow.in/north-east-news/assam/assam-clash-among-workers-in-lower-subansiri-dam-two-severely-injured.html  (17 March 2022)

New justifications being discovered to push hydropower projects! NHPC CMD says to support monsoon peak power generation, more hydropower projects need to be set  up urgently! “Hydro is green, neat and clean. It ensures water security for the future, and controls floods.” Neatness is a new claim, as is claim of ensuring future water security, all without basis, of course. And it is well known how hydropower projects can and do create avoidable flood disasters. On commissioning of four units of Lower Subansiri HEP, they have shifted the goal post from Aug 2022 to March 2023, now saying this is due to heavy rains since Apr 2022!  https://www.livemint.com/companies/people/urgent-need-to-develop-our-hydropower-capacity-nhpc-11654541267808.html  (07 June 2022)

MoEF Agenda of EAC meeting for River Valley Projects to be held on June 15, 2022.

1. Kishau Dam, Uttarakhand, For TOR

2. Kopra Medium Irrigation Project in Sagar Dist in MP for TOR.

3. OA No. 180 of 2021 (SZ) in the matter of Baddam Raji Reddy & others Vs Union of India and others before the National Green Tribunal Southern Zone, Chennai regarding change the scope of flood flow canal and Gouravelli reservoir by increasing the capacity of canals and reservoir from 1.410 TMCs to 8.23 TMCs under Re- engineering of Indiramma Flood Canal project in Siddipeta District of Telangana State. http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Agenda/_11062022QFWJ2GJB.pdf 

Agenda for EAC on River Valley Projects held on May 31, 2022:

1. Channaka-Korata (Rudha) barrage on Penganga River-Interstate Irrigation Project, Dist Adilabad, Telangana by Irrigation & CAD Dept, Govt of Telangana – Env Clearance

2. Sitamma Sagar Multi Purpose Project (320 MW & CCA 2.73 Lakh Ha) in 3122.38 Acres at Vil Ammagaripalli, Tehsil Aswapuram, Dist Bhadradri Kothagudem by Irrigation and CAD dept, Govt of Telangana- Terms of Reference

3. Idukki HEP (780 MW) in 127 ha at Vil – Arakulam, Tehsil Thodupuzha, Dist Idukki, Kerala by Chief Engineer, KSEBL – Terms of Reference

4. Lower Orr Dam project under Ken-Betwa Link Project Ph II (90000 CCA) in 3007.2 ha at Vil Didoni, Tehsil Chanderi, Dist Ashoknagar, Madhya Pradesh by National Water Development Agency – Env Clearance http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Agenda/2305202276505075DraftAgenda-RiverValley_28thEAC.pdf 

Minutes of the EAC on River Valley Projects held on May 9, 2022:

1. Kopra Medium Irrigation Project (48.43 MCM) in 1044.72 Ha at village Bagaspura Tehsil Rehli, District Sagar, Madhya Pradesh – Terms of Reference:  More Info Sought

2. Bhavali Pumped Storage Project (1500 MW) in 256.16 ha, Village Jamunde (Tehsil Igatpuri) of district Nashik and Kalbhonde(Tehsil Shahpur) of District Thane by JSW Energy PSP Two Ltd – Terms of Reference: APPROVED

3. Somasila Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project (900MW), in 183 ha at village Racheyapeta and Ramapuram, Tehsil Gopovaram Mandal, District Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh by New and Renewable Energy Development Corp of Andhra Pradesh Ltd. – Terms of Reference: APPROVED http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/0206202254316678Draft_minutes_27_EAC_Hydro_9_may_2022.pdf 

Meeting of FAC being held on June 15, 2022, relevant agenda:


Pumped Storage Projects NHPC Ltd plans to set up 20.8 GW of pumped storage plants at an investment of around ₹62,400 crore in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand and Mizoram to aid the country’s energy transition, according to the top executive at India’s largest hydropower firm. Of the planned pumped storage plants, 9.05 GW will be in Maharashtra and 6.6GW in Andhra Pradesh. Odisha, Jammu & Kashmir and Mizoram have a proposed capacity of 2.5GW, 1.65GW and 1GW, respectively. https://www.livemint.com/industry/energy/nhpc-in-talks-with-states-for-62-4k-cr-storage-plants-push-11653245954062.html  (23 May 2022)


Rajasthan This Dainik Bhaskar report of June 10 2022 claims, quoting govt officials that Gandhi Sagar dam is safe and fears expressed by CAG report earlier may be ill founded.

Karnataka Govt to seek national project status for UKP, says Karjol The govt is seeking National Project status for Upper Krishna Stage III project to take the Almatti dam height to 524 m, submerging 20 more villages and the project requires acquisition of 1.32 lakh acres land. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/karnataka-districts/govt-to-seek-national-project-status-for-ukp-says-karjol-1117628.html  (12 June 2022)

Supa Dam goes dry opening floodgates of memories The Supa dam in Karnataka is left with just 14.8% of its live storage capacity filled, drying up most of the reservoir and exposing the 47 villages including their wells, statues, buildings etc. The dam was filled to max capacity upto FRL of 564 m (101 m above riverbed) with capacity of 145 TMC) only once, in 2006, between 1990 and 2022. In 2019 it received a lot of water, but the water level did not touch FRL. It hit lowest level of 506.8 m in 2003.  https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/supa-dam-goes-dry-opens-floodgates-of-memories-for-residents-1117630.html  (13 June 2022)

Inflow to reservoirs from May for 1st time The inflow to Karnataka’s reservoirs, which used to be generated after the saturation of catchments by June-end or the first week of July, has begun in May itself for the first time, according to the former director of Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC), Dr G S Srinivas Reddy. This follows the 105.5 per cent excess pre-monsoon rains this year (March 1, 2022, to May 31, 2022), which is the highest in the state in the last 50 years. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2022/jun/10/amid-excess-pre-monsoon-rains-inflow-to-karnatakas-reservoirs-from-may-for-the-first-time-2463964.html  (10 June 2022)

Sardar Sarovar Project Machine replaces cleaners at Statue of Unity As many as 150 workers have been fired after the tourism regulatory authority terminated the cleaning contract and decided to use machines for cleaning the Statue of Unity and its area. When the Statue of Unity was built, PM Narendra Modi claimed that local tribals would get employment. But due to sudden replacement, workers have lost their only means to earn a livelihood. The development work is being done on the land that originally belonged to tribal people. With the decision to replace man with machines, these people have lost their jobs and lands as well. https://www.indiatoday.in/amp/india/story/narmada-news-machine-replaces-cleaners-at-statue-of-unity-1957306-2022-06-02  (02 June 2022)

Opinion How safe are India’s dams?  Vinayak ChatterjeeThe long-term safety of a dam depends on the extent of degradation of its materials, weakening of the foundations and seismological threats. https://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/how-safe-are-india-s-dams-122050401319_1.html  (04 May 2022)


Bharat Dogra on Interlinking of Rivers Project: https://countercurrents.org/2022/06/why-inter-linking-of-rivers-project-will-prove-to-be-a-very-costly-blunder/  (05 June 2022)


Report ₹5,369 करोड़ की अंतर्देशीय जलमार्ग परियोजना पर आवागमन ठप्प  बनारस से कलकत्ता (पश्चिम बंगाल) को जाने वाले अंतर्देशीय जलमार्ग से जलयानों का आवागमन ठप्प होने से अफसरों के होश उड़ गए हैं. न सिर्फ वाराणसी में रेत के बड़े-बड़े टीले बल्कि जमानिया की गंगा में मिले करीब 14 किमी पत्थर-बोल्डर से एक्सपर्ट और इंजीनियर सहम गए हैं। गंगा में रेत और बोल्डर के बीच जहाज के प्रोपलर नहीं चल पाएंगे और जबरी करना किसी आत्महत्या सरीखा कदम साबित हो सकता है। लिहाजा, आनन-फानन में अंतर्देशीय जलमार्ग प्राधिकरण ने पत्थर तोड़ने और रेत हटाने यानी ड्रेजिंग कराने के लिए टेंडर जारी कर दिया है। इसके पहले भी कई मर्तबा ड्रेजिंग का काम कराया गया था। अब एक बार फिर गंगा में रेत के टीलों ने डेरा डाल दिया है।

– 12 नवंबर 2018 को बंदरगाह के उद्घाटन के अवसर पर ‘हर हर महादेव’ के उद्घोष के साथ अपना भाषण शुरू करने वाले मोदी ने मल्टी-मॉडल टर्मिनल का विस्तार से जिक्र करते हुए कहा कि आजादी के बाद यह पहला अवसर है जब हम अपने नदी मार्ग को कारोबार के लिये इतने व्यापक स्तर पर इस्तेमाल करने में सक्षम हुए हैं। काशीवासी साक्षी हैं कि चार साल पहले जब मैंने बनारस और हल्दिया को जलमार्ग से जोड़ने की बात कही थी तो किस तरह इसका मजाक उड़ाया गया था।’

बंदरगाह के समीप बीच गंगा में उभरे रेत के टीले।

– वाराणसी के रामनगर के राल्हुपुर में लाल बहादुर शास्त्री जलपोत से 40 टन धान की भूसी को कोलकाता के लिए 20 फरवरी 2021 को पहला जलपोत निकला था। यह जलपोत इलाहाबाद, मुगलसराय, बक्सर, बलिया, आरा, पटना, मोकामा, मुंगेर, भागलपुर, साहिबगंज, फरक्का, पाकुड़ होते हुए जल मार्ग से कोलकाता पहुंचा। गंगा चैनल पर चलाए गए इस जलमार्ग में चार मल्टी मॉडल टर्मिनल बनाए गए था। जिनमें वाराणसी साहिबगंज गाजीपुर और हल्दिया टर्मिनल शामिल है। तब अफसरों ने दावा किया था- इस जल मार्ग पर 1500 से 2000 मेट्रिक टन क्षमता वाले जहाजों को चलाने के लिए कैपिटल ड्रेजिंग के जरिए 45 मीटर चौड़ा गंगा चैनल तैयार किया गया है। सड़क, रेल और हवाई मार्ग की तुलना में जल मार्ग से माल बुकिंग करने का किराया काफी कम है।

– आर्थिक और सामयिक समझ रखने वाले बनारस के वैभव त्रिपाठी कहते हैं कि ‘ बंदरगाह शुरू ही नहीं हो सका है. बनारस की गंगा में चलने वाले क्रूज ही इनके नजरिये में मालवाहक जहाज है. क्रूज से मल्लाहों का बड़ा नुकसान हुआ है. जलमार्ग की परिकल्पना और अटल जी की नदी जोड़ों अभियान ये दोनों वाहियात किस्म के प्रोजेक्ट हैं. इनका जन सरोकार से कोई वास्ता नहीं है. जो माल हल्दिया से बनारस या इलाहबाद एक हफ्ते-दस दिन में लाएंगे। इसी माल को ट्रेन और सड़क माध्यम में एक-दो दिन में इलाहबाद या बनारस सस्ते दर पर पहुँचाया जा सकता है. किस व्यापारी के पास इतना समय है कि वह अपने माल के लिए दस दिन का इंतज़ार करेगा। इस दस दिन में माल की वैल्यू क्या होगी ? सभी जानते हैं। बेशक शुरूआती दिनों में कुछ कस्टमर जलमार्ग के लिए मिल सकते हैं, लेकिन फ्यूचर में इस योजना को फेल होना है. क्योंकि यह हकीकत से परे की चीज है. बंदरगाह निर्माण खुला लूट का साधन है. भ्रष्टाचार चरम पर है.'”

– बहरहाल, अपोजिशन के लोगों का आरोप है कि बनारस बंदरगाह परियोजना लूट-खसोट और भ्रष्टाचार की भेंट चढ़ गई है। इस प्रोजेक्ट में कोई पारदर्शिता नहीं दिख रही है. इस प्रोजेक्ट के सन्दर्भ जानकारी लेने बाबत भारतीय अंतर्देशीय जलमार्ग प्राधिकरण के मकबूल आलम रोड स्थित कार्यालय में संपर्क किया गया तो परियोजना के नोडल अधिकारी राजेश कुमार अनुपस्थित मिले। कई बार फोन पर सवाल सुनने के बाद जवाब देना मुनासिब ही नहीं समझा। साथ ही फोन भी नहीं उठाया। https://janjwar.com/national/uttarakhand/janjwar-exclusive-traffic-halted-on-banaras-calcutta-inland-waterway-sand-dunes-and-boulders-drown-ships-of-banaras-calcutta-waterway-821227  (08 June 2022)

Centre moots hybrid electric boat service across Ganges and Brahmaputra The move comes as part of the Centre’s push towards green shipping initiatives and eco-friendly urban mobility measures. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/logistics/centre-moots-hybrid-electric-boat-service-across-ganges-and-brahmaputra/article65401660.ece  (11 May 2022)

Cargo from India sinks in Bangladesh river: officials A light cargo vessel carrying 1,600 tonnes of wheat worth 66.4 million Taka from India sank completely in the Meghna river at the estuary of Bay of Bengal overnight, a day after officials said the freighter was badly damaged as it hit a shoal. The vessel was heading towards Narayanganj river port on the outskirts of Dhaka to be delivered to a private flour mill after receiving the cargo from a bigger ship at the outer anchorage of Chattogram Port on Tuesday (May 19). https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/cargo-vessel-carrying-1600-tonnes-of-wheat-from-india-sinks-in-bangladesh-river-officials/cid/1865915   (19 May 2022)


Karnataka Lokayukta lens on Rs 882-crore tank-feeding project  Lokayukta has sought documents on Karnataka Neervari Nigam Ltd’s the Rs 882 Cr project to fill 74 tanks in Kudligi in Vijayanagar dist with Tungabhadra water using Singatalur Lift Irrigation Scheme. The tenders for the project approved in June 2022 were invited in the same month in two parts: Package 1 consisted of feeding 16 tanks at estimated cost of Rs 461.5 Cr and Package 2 consisting of feeding 58 tanks at estimated cost of Rs 207 Cr. The norms said that maximum 10% cost can be approved over the estimated cost, but within a month of estimatation, the tenders for 34% and 27% for the two packages were approved. In response to an RTI application, the requested documents were not provided. Three weeks after Lokayukta sent the request for documents, the dept is still to provide them. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/lokayukta-lens-on-rs-882-crore-tank-feeding-project-1117655.html  (13 June 2022)

Andhra Pradesh Irrigation minister releases water to Krishna deltas “This is the first time in recent history that water was released in the first fortnight of June,” said Rambabu. He said that they have sufficient reserve in all reservoirs to manage kharif and rabi requirements. He also said that the irrigation and agriculture departments have readied an action plan for allowing the farmers to go for a third crop by next year. Housing minister Jogi Ramesh and senior officials were present at the programme.

The state government has decided to utilise 33 tmc of water available in Pulichintala reservoir to manage the Krishna delta requirements. About 2,000 cusecs of water is being released to Krishna Eastern Delta (KED) and 500 cusecs for Krishna Western Delta (KWD) from the project for power generation, which would be increased depending on farmers’ demands. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/amaravati/minister-releases-water-to-krishna-deltas/articleshow/92138845.cms  (11 June 2022)


Study Multi-pronged approach to source attribution of heavy metals  Empirically, the study highlights the continued plight of urban streams in rapidly industrialising centers and the failure to regulate first-generation sources. Methodologically, it demonstrates the importance of temporally intensive measurement of contaminant concentration and load. Policy implications include the need for ambient water quality standards, inclusion of HMs in such standards, load-based regulation, and a problem-oriented monitoring and enforcement approach. This research is part of a larger study titled “Adapting to Climate Change in Urbanizing Watersheds (ACCUWa) in India” (www.atree.org/accuwa). https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13280-022-01734-y  (08 June 2022)

Mula-Mutha; Pune Protest Against River Rejuvenation Project For Over 100 Days Representatives of NGOs, citizens and environmentalists have started agitation to oppose the scheme and for the last 100 days, citizens have been protesting against this project. The agitators have decided to continue this agitation even after 100 days. Photographs of each day of the strike have been taken by the agitators and these photographs along with the statement of purpose are being sent daily to the PM, CM of the state, Environment Minister and municipal officials. “We want to conserve the river ecosystem, we are fighting for the rejuvenation of rivers. We do not demand beautification. Citizens and organizations in the city will come together and fight to save the rivers,” agitators stated in the attached statements. The agitators have given the message that clean, pure, natural flowing rivers are expected to the citizens of Pune, for which the agitation will continue. https://www.punekarnews.in/pune-activists-on-protest-against-mula-mutha-river-rejuvenation-project-for-over-100-days/  (11 June 2022)

Adyar; Chennai Makeover for Adyar along Meenambakkam City corporation has planned to create a Miyawaki forest along Meenambakkam and Nandambakkam stretch. Officials said the project costs 2.58 crore, covering both sides of the bunds. On one side, 3.9km will be covered with 2,512 native trees, 2,512 flower plants and 2,512 herbal plants. On the opposite side of the river will be planted 1,972 native trees, 1,974 lower plants, and 1,974 herbal plants. Deputy Mayor Mahesh Kumar said the tenders have been floated and the work will begin by the month end. He added that the corporation’s focus was on restoring Cooum bunds as well. Corporation has already planted 60,000 saplings along the Adyar stretch over the years. Officials said they would carry out the drive in coordination with CRRT officials. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/makeover-for-adyar-along-meenambakkam/articleshow/92091580.cms  (09 June 2022)

Airport plans to expand across Adyar Chennai airport could be expanded across the Adyar River to handle 50 to 60 million passengers per annum (MPPA) and a masterplan will be prepared for this within 6 months, said airport director Dr Sharad Kumar. The airport is looking to hire a consultant to prepare the masterplan for the next 50 years. According to sources, Chennai airport would soon get a new multi-level car parking (MLCP) and Rs 2,000-crore integrated terminal. The new terminal is expected to be ready by August and may be put to use by October.

A portion of the secondary runway, built over Adyar River flood basin, triggered protests after the 2015 floods in Chennai. An inspection report submitted by a panel appointed by the NGT said the Airports Authority of India did not violate any law in constructing the runway bridge across the river. The panel was constituted after a petition was filed by Marvel River View County Owners Association stating that the original river width in the area was 130 metres and the bridge was 200 metres long. IIT-Madras experts also said the bridge piers will not have any noticeable impact on the river’s floodwater-carrying capacity.   https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2022/jun/12/chennai-airport-plans-to-expand-across-adyar-targets-60-million-passengers-2464611.html  (12 June 2022)

Netravathi; Mangaluru Signboards erected to create awareness With people resuming to litter the flanks of NH 66 between Adam Kudru Cross and Netravathi Bridge despite a month-long individual campaign by a green activist last year, Hasiru Dala and APD Foundation on Wednesday (June 08) installed 40 signboards along the stretch cautioning against littering. Nagaraj Raghav Anchan of Hasiru Dala used to stand with a placard urging motorists not to throw garbage on the flanks of the highway near the Netravathi Bridge for over a month. During the time, Hasiru Dala, APD Foundation, Ullal City Municipal Council and others had removed over 33 tonnes of trash from the backwaters of Netravathi abutting NH 66. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/signboards-erected-to-create-awareness-against-river-pollution/article65510968.ece  (09 June 2022)


Report Using phosphorus from sewage could help with soaring food bills Sewage could provide a novel way of helping consumers with soaring food bills and reducing pollution in our waterways – if sewage plants separated out phosphorus, a vital ingredient of fertiliser, according to a new report. Only about 15% of the phosphorus in sewage is currently recovered around the world, but soaring fertiliser costs mean it is now far more economical to do so. The report, written by 40 international experts, led by UKCEH and the University of Edinburgh, shows that much more could be done, and at low cost, to recover phosphorus.

The report, which represents the most detailed examination yet of the global phosphorus problem, recommends a 50:50:50 goal, of a 50% reduction in global phosphorus pollution driven by a 50% increase in recycling of phosphorus by 2050. To achieve this, the scientists urge governments to improve wastewater treatment to remove and reuse phosphorus from sewage; to help farmers use more targeted techniques for using fertiliser; to encourage more livestock manure to be converted into fertiliser as an alternative to chemical fertilisers; and for people to eat less meat, which would reduce the amount of phosphorus currently used to grow animal feed. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/jun/10/phosphorus-sewage-fertlisers  (10 June 2022)

Madhya Pradesh Walking in the shadow devastating floods Some glimpses of water mismanagement during MP floods of Aug 2021. Hemant Rawat, sarpanch (head of an elected village committee) of Behgawan village in Shivpuri district blames a lack of management for the floods. “Since there was heavy rainfall in a short time, the governing authorities should have opened the gates and released water from the dams sooner,” he said.

A concrete bridge near Laanch village on the Sindh River, which was destroyed in the 2021 floods (Image: Aishani Goswami)

– But during the heavy rainfall last August, the operation of the dams added to the disaster. On 3 August 2021, all 10 gates of the Madikheda dam were opened. Three out of the 25 gates of the Mohini dam had started opening on the evening of August 2. Many villagers were unaware of this, and the sudden rise in water caught them unaware. During the night of 3 August, they scrambled from their homes to find points of higher elevation, away from the water. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/livelihoods/walking-shadow-of-sindh-river-devastating-floods/  (02 June 2022) सिंध नदी के किनारे एक सैर से ये पता चला है कि उस बाढ़ के निशान अभी भी वहां मौजूद हैं। भारी बारिश और जलाशयों के कुप्रबंधन की वजह से क्षेत्र के किसानों ने अपना सब कुछ खो दिया। https://www.thethirdpole.net/hi/514/91600/  (02 June 2022)

Tamil Nadu Revive kulams of Thamirabarani to tackle climate change London-based conservation architect Saranya Dharshini, who researched cultural landscape of the Thamirabarani, told The New Indian Express that the Thamirabarani river course has a phenomenon of recurring flood and droughts and hence kulams structures were built along the north and south banks of the river. Crediting the idea of harnessing flood waters at kulams to the Pandyan kingdom that ruled the region (4 BCE – 14 BCE), Saranya said “It is a climate-adaptive mechanism which needs to be adapted even now for climate resilience”.

The Pandyas had converted the dry lands into wetland ecosystems by diverting the flood waters into kulams, and the wetland concept is indigenous to the Thamirabarani region, she argued. Each kulams gets filled by the natural geographical pattern as the river course traverses down the slope from the several metres high mountains of the Western Ghats to the low-lying Gulf of Mannar in the eastern end.

The kulams have been a judicious plan to store waters in variable climatic conditions, as the Thamirabarani landscape being a rain-shadow region receives poor rain during southwest monsoon and high rainfall coupled by storm and cyclones during the northeast monsoon, she said. Stating that this ancient water management model has been the mainstay of the region still, catering water to the hundreds of acres of agricultural lands, Saranya appealed to the state to recognise the traditional kulam water network as the water management was schematic even before the arrival of the British. “This perspective will build confidence in local communities and learning from the past would be appropriate to adapt strategies for the changing climatic conditions,” she said. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/jun/05/revive-man-made-kulams-of-tamil-nadus-thamirabarani-river-to-tackle-climate-change-2461872.html  (05 June 2022)

2 hr headstand by river to throw light on pollution Taking the fight against alleged pollution of the Veeracholan further, a 38-year-old activist here on Thursday (May 26) did a two-hour headstand by the river banks to bring the plight of the waterbody to the attention of the authorities. He succeeded in his act, making the district collector to visit the spot and assure of action on the issue.

Kathiravan doing a headstand by the banks of Veeracholan river in Mayiladuthurai | Express

Getting down to the banks, K Kathiravan of Eluppur performed the headstand next to the stagnant waters ridden with invasive flora. Save for a few minutes of relaxation in between, he continued to do the headstand in the heat for around two hours. “The river has become a sewer from discharge of sullage from the households and shops around Sankaranpanthal into it. There has been no action over our petitions for years. We demand action on the issue,” said Kathiravan. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/may/27/mayiladuthurai-activist-performs-two-hour-headstand-by-river-to-throw-light-on-pollution-2458567.html  (27 May 2022)

SUTLEJ Punjab PAC members urge to shift textile park away from floodplains The members of Public Action Committee (PAC) for Sutlej and Mattewara, along with the members of farmers’ unions, on Tuesday (May 24) met Punjab forest and wildlife preservation minister Lal Chand Kataruchak requesting him to shift the mega textile park site in Kum Kalan area away from Sutlej floodplains. The meeting was conducted in the wake of the state government’s plan to acquire another 250 acres in Kum Kalan tehsil of Ludhiana, which has one of the largest textile clusters in North India, for the mega textile park project to be set up under the PM Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel (PM-MITRA) scheme.

The environmental activists urged the minister to save the protected forests— Mattewara forest, Jaspal Kadar forest and Haidarnagar Salempur forest— on the floodplain of Sutlej from imminent disaster as the mega textile park was being planned to be constructed between these forests. Jaskirat Walia, a PAC member, said these forests are floodplain forests and a common heritage of Punjab. Their survival depends on the survival of the floodplain itself which will get destroyed if the industry is allowed in the area. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/ludhiana-pac-members-meet-forest-minister-urge-to-shift-textile-park-away-from-sutlej-floodplains-101653420986835.html  (25 May 2022) 

Warrior Moms’ writes to forest minister to save Mattewara Forest from destruction by Industrial Textile Park https://theglobaltalk.com/2022/05/28/warrior-moms-jump-in-environmentalists-campaign-to-save-mattewara-forest-from-destruction-by-industrial-textile-park/  (28 May 2022)

GANGA NMCG Study on dolphins, hilsa in Ganga The government will now study the life cycles of dolphins and the hilsa population in the Ganga to ascertain the health of the holy river at different sections, a senior NMCG official said. He said for the last four years, around 190 fish species have been recorded from the river which provides livelihood and economic sustainability to the fishers residing in the banks of the river. https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/govt-to-study-dolphins-hilsa-in-ganga-to-ascertain-river-s-health-122061100217_1.html  (11 June 2022)

Uttarakhand Lasting Impacts of 2013 Floods Now, nine years after June 2013 flood disaster, residents narrate how their houses and agricultural fields are developing cracks, and the land is subsiding with each passing year. Noted geologists say the floods have left the mountain slopes unstable, especially areas near streams, and that the government should study the mountains and take immediate and appropriate action. Report from Ugham Ghati in Chamoli district. https://www.indiaspend.com/earthcheck/lasting-impacts-of-the-2013-uttarakhand-floods-cracks-in-houses-sinking-land-today-821191  (08 June 2022)

Glacier-fed rivers to link with rain-fed ones G government’s department of drinking water has begun a river linking project which aims to connect glacier-fed rivers of Pindari glacier in the Kumaon region with rain-fed ones in Bageshwar and Almora districts. “It would perhaps be the first such project in the country and pave the way for more such projects in Himalayan areas facing water issues,” a top official involved with the plan said on June 10, 2022. Under the project, Sunderdunga and Shambhu, major tributaries of the 105-km long Pindar river that originates from the Pindari glacier, will be linked with Gomti river in Baijnath valley of Bageshwar district and the upper catchment area of Kosi, Lodh and Gagas rivers in Almora district. Nitish Jha, secretary, department of drinking water, said, “This project aims to solve the water issues in Almora and Bageshwar districts due to the drying up of major rain-fed rivers there because of various environmental and climate-related factors.”

– Jha added that a team of experts, including engineers of the department and geologists, are already carrying out the initial ground survey work. “It started on June 8 and will continue till June 12. During this survey, they will study the area of Pindar river and try to identify the points from where water can be extracted. The initial ground and analysis work is likely to be completed within a year after which we will send a detailed project report to the Centre to seek required clearances. After two years, we are hopeful of implementing it.” A senior government official said, “Kosi is the lifeline of Almora and Nainital districts. We have at least 10-12 water pumping stations on for supply to households as well as agricultural fields. But due to decreased water level, those stations are at risk. Once implemented, this project will solve the issues to a large extent.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/in-a-1st-glacier-fed-rivers-to-link-with-rain-fed-ones/articleshow/92134636.cms  (11 June 2022)

‘Water canal tunnel’ to be converted into tourist spot Part of a 2km-long British-era water canal tunnel, which once connected Tanakpur with Boom (one of the banks of Sarda river) and was used for transporting wooden logs, will be opened up for tourism by the Champawat administration.

Nov. 2021 image of Sarada river showing tunnel outlet at Boom as shared by Emmanuel Theophilus on FB post comment.

Around 100 years ago, in the absence of roads, chopped wooden logs cut by the forest department would be ferried from Pithoragarh and Champawat to as far west as Nepal via the tunnel. The logs would be passed through the tunnel and reach Tanakpur, which was one of the biggest timber depots during the British era. The canal used to have gushing waters of the Sarda river and an adequate slope, which helped the logs travel without any manual assistance.

The Sarda river eventually changed its course, and the tunnel became dry and gradually filled with muck. “The tunnel was operational approximately between 1920 and 1970,” said Ajay Rawat, a local historian. “The British constructed these types of canals for transporting logs on the Sarda driver to the Tanakpur depot and on the Kosi river at Garampani to collect the logs at Kathgodam,” he added. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/100-yr-old-bitish-era-water-canal-tunnel-used-for-ferrying-forest-logs-to-be-converted-into-tourist-spot/articleshow/92112806.cms  (10 June 2022) 

Cost of new infrastructure in Dehradun Even as the government pushes for an elevated road over the Rispana and Bindal rivers that serve Dehradun, residents and activists cry foul. An elevated 11km road over the Rispana and another 15km road over the Bindal, to be built at a cost of Rs 4525.53 crore and 4927.18 crore respectively is planned to rid the city of its traffic congestion. But the people here would rather have authorities rejuvenate these dying rivers that are the lifeline of the city.

From a breadth of 100m, the Rispana river has now narrowed to a 10-20m drain. The many tributaries that flow into it have also become victims of unplanned development all over the city. As per the NIH report, 9.386 MLD of dirty water from 177 drains and outlets of 2,901 homes finds its way into the Rispana. In the same manner, 18.14 MLD of dirty municipal waste finds its way into the Bindal. When these rivers meet at Mothrowala, the pollution level of the water spikes so much that the Rispana transcends all prescribed parameters.

“We have yet to learn of the technical features of this elevated road. But if pillars are inserted into the river to build this elevated road, it will certainly affect its ecology,” warned Dr Ravi Chopra, director of the People’s Science Institute, Dehradun. “If the water level of the river is higher than the level of the groundwater, the river recharges the groundwater. In case the groundwater level is higher than that of the river water, then the groundwater gets discharged. When pillars are dug into the river, there’s a fair chance of an untoward effect.”

River Rispana almost turned to a nullah near Adhoiwala, Dehradun, Uttarakhand (Photo Credits – Satyam Kumar)

Advocate Reenu Paul echoed Dr Chopra’s view and cautioned: “Encroachments on the riverbank have narrowed down the river and blocked the flow of water. Every monsoon, water enters homes, resulting in a flood-like situation. With pillars being put up for the elevated road, the situation is bound to worsen.” A detailed project report is underway for this elevated road construction which should include an Environmental Impact Assessment(EIA) of the same. https://www.101reporters.com/article/environment/The_cost_of_new_infrastructure_in_Dehradun_Rivers_Rispana_and_Bindal  (13 June 2022)

Char Dham: Himalayan ecology faces the stress of post-pandemic pilgrim surge The rush of pilgrims has also aggravated irresponsible waste disposal in the Himalayas, leaving behind litter filled mountainsides and mounds of plastic waste. Environmentalists are worried that this will cause irrevocable damage to an already fragile ecology, and increase pollutants in the river systems. Anoop Nautiyal, founder of the Dehradun based SDC (Social Development for Communities) Foundation sounded a bugle of caution. “If 5 million pilgrims come for 2022 Char Dham Yatra and spend 10 days on an average, they will produce at least 75 million plastic water bottles, even if only half buy three bottles a day. This gives us a rough idea about the quantum of waste that is being generated in the state during Char Dham. It is crucial we set up a mechanism for the proper collection, disposal and processing of waste.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/char-dham-himalayan-ecology-faces-the-stress-of-post-pandemic-pilgrim-surge-101655060943874.html  (13 June 2022)

Uttar Pradesh गोमती में बहने वाले कचरे का अनुमान भी नहीं लगा पा रहा प्रशासन गोमती नदी के प्रदूषण में जौनपुर शहर की भी बड़ी भूमिका है जहां से 21 नालों के माध्यम से नदी में बड़ी मात्रा में कचरा जाता है। इसके लिए सीवर ट्रीटमेंट प्लांट लगाए जाने की तैयारी हो रही है। हालांकि दो रिपोर्ट में कुल प्रदूषित पानी का अनुमान ही अलग अलग लगाया गया है। स्वच्छ गोमती अभियान के द्वारा तैयार किये गए अनुमान के अनुसार शहर के सात नालों से रोज 40.8 एमएलडी कचरा नदी में निकलता है। पर सरकार के द्वारा तैयार रिपोर्ट के आधार पर महज 30 एमएलडी क्षमता की एसटीपी लगाया जा रहा है। https://hindi.mongabay.com/2022/06/06/polluted-gomti-river/  (06 June 2022)

गागन नदी के किनारों पर किए जा रहे अतिक्रमण की जांच के लिए जिलाधिकारी द्वारा बनाई गई टीम ने दिल्ली रोड पर जाकर निरीक्षण किया। निरीक्षण करने के बाद टीम अब रिपोर्ट जिलाधिकारी को सौंपेगी और वह रिपोर्ट एनजीटी को भेजी जानी है। मुरादाबाद महानगर की उत्तर की सीमा को रामगंगा और दक्षिण की ओर गागन नदी बनाती है। शहर के विस्तार के साथ दोनों नदियों के किनारों पर अतिक्रमण हुआ है। लाकड़ी फाजलपुर के नजदीक गांगन के किनारों पर निर्यात फर्म के साथ ही स्थानीय लोगों ने कब्जा किया है। इसकी शिकायत एनजीटी में की गई थी।

टीम जिस स्थान पर निरीक्षण कर रही है, वहां नक्शेे को लेकर पहुंची थी। वर्तमान में जिस स्थान पर नदी की धारा बह रही है, उससे मात्र 15 मीटर की दूरी पर फैक्ट्रियां बनाई गई हैं। वहीं, सिंचाई विभाग जो पुराना नक्शा दिखा रहा है, उसके अनुसार नदी पहले 200 मीटर से अधिक दूरी पर बहती थी। अब अधिकारी इसी बात को कह रहे हैं कि पुरानी वाली स्थिति के अनुसार अतिक्रमण नहीं हुआ है। लेकिन नक्शे में पहले जिस स्थान पर धारा थी, वहां भी निर्माण हो चुका है। ऐसे में नदी को बचानेे के लिए दोबारा से खोदाई नहीं की जाएगी। https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/moradabad-city-ramganga-river-way-changed-due-to-encroachment-in-moradabad-dm-team-inspected-on-orders-of-ngt-22745823.html  (26 May 2022)

Situation of Gangan river in Muradabad.

मुरादाबाद में दिल्ली रोड पर गांगन नदी की करीब 5 लाख वर्ग मीटर भूमि पर अवैध कब्जे करके निर्यातकों ने यहां 1500 से अधिक फैक्ट्री बना ली हैं। गांगन नदी पर अवैध कब्जों का आलम ये है कि यहां गांगन नदी का वजूद ही खतरे में आ गया है। अवैध कब्जों की वजह से गांगन नदी एक नाले की शक्ल में सिमटकर रह गई है। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/uttar-pradesh/moradabad/news/1500-factories-built-by-illegal-occupation-of-gangan-river-land-survey-started-on-the-orders-of-ngt-129850531.html  (May 2022)

West Bengal Greens flag Mahananda river pollution issue The organisations, under the banner of Sabuj Mancha, flagged a report of the NGT – two days ahead of the World Environment Day – and pointed that the Mahananda, that flows through Siliguri is one of the four most polluted rivers of north Bengal. https://www.telegraphindia.com/west-bengal/social-organisations-flag-river-pollution-issue-in-north/cid/1868254  (04 June 2022)

YAMUNA Delhi LG asks for report on desilting of Najafgarh drain in 2 days On Thursday (June 09), the LG Vinai Kumar Saxena directed officials to submit a feasibility report on engaging an expert agency to pulverise the silt settled in the Najafgarh drain within two days. According to a statement released by Raj Niwas the matter was discussed in a meeting headed by the L-G on Wednesday (June 08) which CM Arvind Kejriwal also attended. Both the L-G and the CM agreed that the drain needed long term solutions that addressed the issue of recurrent expenditure on its upkeep. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/l-g-cm-deliberate-on-how-to-turn-najafgarh-drain-back-into-sahibi-river/article65511442.ece  (10 June 2022)

Delhi’s water production has fallen by around 100 MGD, according to Delhi Jal Board (DJB) vice-chairman Saurabh Bharadwaj. Visiting the Wazirabad barrage on Friday (June 10), he said the level of water at Wazirabad pond has dropped from the normal of 674.5 ft to 667.7 ft. “There is only about 6 inches of water in the river. The depth of water in the river at the Wazirabad barrage is usually around 8 ft. Our pumps have not been able to lift water from the river and production has been hit. There is a shortage of nearly 100 MGD. This indicates water from Haryana is not being released into the Yamuna at all,” he said.

Temporary arrangements have been made to try and draw water from the nearly dry river. These include a dredging system and new pumps set up at the Wazirabad barrage. “Water at the barrage, which covers an area of 700-800 metres, will be collected at one place and then lifted using new pumps installed temporarily,” said a communication from the DJB. Sand is removed with the help of the dredger to create a cavity where water can collect at a depth sufficient for pumps to draw water from it.  https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/appeal-to-haryana-for-water-on-humanitarian-grounds-cm-arvind-kejriwal-7963700/ ; https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/yamuna-dried-up-as-haryana-govt-not-releasing-water-delhi-jal-board-122061100041_1.html  (11 June 2022)

Emmanuel Theophilus on FB post comment Amazing that this plea of water should be called on humanitarian grounds. While one understands the looming crisis, the plea on ‘humanitarian’ grounds is dishonest, considering all the damming and diversions of rivers, underway and planned, have wrecked and will do so at an even greater magnitude, the lives, livelihoods and landscapes of millions of people upstream and downstream, because of such appropriation of rivers to meet the needs of this and other giant cities. The solution lies elsewhere, no?

The city would need to source an additional 530 million gallons of water per day by 2031 and the challenge must be met by creating infrastructure for both sourcing and storing water, said experts. In Delhi, there has been no planning about a certain percentage of treated water to be processed to be of drinking quality, observed Depinder Kapur, director (Water), Centre for Science and Environment. He said this was a lacuna in the Master Plan Delhi 2041. “There has been no commitment to reuse at least 25% of treated water for potable purposes. All they say is that around 45 MGD of treated water will be reused for filling water bodies,” Kapur said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/delhi-will-need-to-source-an-additional-530-mgd-of-water-by-2031-say-experts/articleshow/92113673.cms  (10 June 2022)

Noida Demolition picks up at farmhouses Around 15 farmhouses and structures built along the Yamuna floodplains in Noida’s Sector 135 were demolished Wednesday in the ongoing anti-encroachment drive by the Noida Authority. Officials said there will be sustained anti-encroachment drives, especially in Yamuna floodplain zone, over the next few weeks. On June 1, an anti-encroachment drive was carried out by Noida Authority razing farmhouses in Tilwada village, Sector-150.

A farmhouse allegedly owned by one Deepak Jain, founder of NEER, an independent groundwater management consultancy organisation in Noida, was among those demolished. Jain claimed that the demolition was carried out despite him having registered it as agricultural land with the registrar’s office last year.

The drive was carried out in a 10-hectare area, near Asdullapur village. (Express photo by Gajendra Yadav)

As per the Uttar Pradesh Industrial Development Act, 1976, any construction in floodplain zone is illegal and impermissible under law, and Noida Authority has warned against the rapid construction in the area, adding that such structures will be demolished and legal action can be initiated against the builder/developer. In an order passed in May 2013, the National Green Tribunal put a restrain on illegal and unauthorised construction on the floodplain zone of river Yamuna in the NCT of Delhi, State of Haryana and State of Uttar Pradesh.  https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/demolition-picks-up-at-farmhouses-built-on-yamuna-floodplains-7959743/  (09 June 2022)

Agra  At a meeting to commemorate the World Environment Day, activists of Braj mandal have demanded prompt measures to save the river. Yamuna, along with six other rivers in the district were “virtually dead”. “Most water bodies in the Agra district, as also in Mathura and Vrindavan are virtually dead, without water. Pollution of streams, holy Kunds, pokhars had reached an alarming level. The water table had gone down steeply and a big crisis was inevitable in coming days,” warned noted environmentalist Devashish Bhattacharya.

In a resolution members of the River Connect Campaign demanded immediate start to construction work on the Rubber check dam downstream of the Taj Mahal, demolition of all illegal structures on the flood plains, renovation of ghats, dredging, desalting of the river bed to scoop out pollutants that prevented percolation and seepage of water. The meeting also demanded revisiting of the 1994 Yamuna water distribution agreement to ensure larger share of Yamuna water for Agra and Mathura.

Activists Rahul Raj and Deepak Rajput said there was an urgent need for a comprehensive national rivers policy and constitution of a central rivers authority for management of all big rivers in the country. How can Agra become a smart city, if its lifeline – the Yamuna river – remains “virtually dead”, the activists asked. The activists demanded a White Paper on measures taken to fight pollution after the 1993 Supreme Court judgement, the amount spent and the results. “Since there is zero accountability, nobody knows what is going on. The Taj Trapezium Zone authority is rudderless. It has proved totally ineffective and unresponsive. The river police squad that was announced long ago, has yet to begin operations,” river Connect campaigners charged. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=965834  (06 June 2022)

Scores of Yamuna river activists on Friday (June 10) evening, on the festive occasion of Ganga Dussehra, took a ritualistic bath, not with water but with dry and hot sand to highlight the grave condition of one of the holiest rivers of India. Environmentalist Devashish Bhattacharya said, “Even today more than 60 drains in the municipal limits are openly discharging sewer, domestic waste and toxic industrial effluents. The river has no water and heaps of garbage dumps are ubiquitously visible. Such callous negligence by powers that be is proving detrimental to the health of humans.” The river activists said that the much-flaunted River Front Development project announced by the state government will have no meaning till there is water in the river. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/north-and-central/royal-sand-bath-in-waterless-yamuna-1117178.html  (11 June 2022)

जहां एक तरफ आगरा नगर निगम के मेयर नवीन जैन कहते हैं कि एक भी नाला यमुना में नहीं गिर रहा, तो वहीं, आगरा के रहने वाले डॉक्टर देवाशीष भट्टाचार्य की आरटीआई रिपोर्ट में खुलासा हुआ कि नगर निगम ने खुद यह स्वीकार किया था कि 61 नाले यमुना में सीधे तौर पर गिर रहे हैं. मेयर सहाब ये कहते हैं कि नालों को टेप कर दिया गया है. जबकि ये कुछ ही नाले टेप किये गये हैं. एसटीपी प्लांट भी इनके नहीं चलते. एसटीपी प्लांट चलाने के लिए इनके पास डीजल और संसाधन ही नहीं होते हैं, जिस वजह से लगातार यमुना में नालों का पानी गिरने की वजह से यमुना प्रदूषित हो रही है. जिसके जिम्मेदार आगरा के नगर निगम के अधिकारी हैं. https://www.etvbharat.com/hindi/uttar-pradesh/state/agra/revealed-in-rti-report-direct-drain-water-is-falling-yamuna-in-agra/up20220612184236435435283  (12 June 2022)


Workshop Conserving India’s freshwater ecosystems A workshop organised by The Nature Conservency (TNC), India, Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) and Ooloi labs brought together citizens, researchers, and practitioners to identify challenges to freshwater ecosystem conservation, and work together to develop a shared vision on conservation and identify areas for action. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/conserving-indias-freshwater-ecosystems-shared-vision  (04 June 2022)

Study Himalayan tadpoles grow longer tails to adapt to change In a first-of-its-kind study done by scientists of Wildlife Institute of India (WII), two tadpole species in the IUCN red list — ‘Nanorana Minica’ and ‘Nanorana Vicina’ — were found exhibiting strange behavioural and morphological changes due to “increased human intervention in their habitats”. Experts said that “alteration” in natural river streams for making check dams and hydroelectric power plants “posed a threat to the physiology of amphibians”. They added that it may affect the population of amphibians in the long term as they were getting “highly exposed to predators and very hot water”. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/himalayan-tadpoles-grow-longer-tails-leave-night-activity-to-adapt-to-change-study/articleshow/92065985.cms  (08 June 2022)


Tamil Nadu Start-up helps fish and shrimp farmers increase productivity A Tamil Nadu-based start-up, Aquaconnect, is assisting several fish and shrimp farmers from across India to increase productivity through their AI and satellite remote sensing technology. It has guided over 60,000 aquaculture farmers in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha and is looking to scale up operations in West Bengal, north and the northeast. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tn-based-start-up-helps-fish-and-shrimp-farmers-increase-productivity/article65518276.ece  (11 June 2022)


Mongabay India Unaccounted deaths lay bare the dark side of sand mining  Bhim Singh Rawat, the associate coordinator of SANDRP, who has conducted the study, says, “The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) registers a death in a road accident due to mining, as a normal road accident.” But it is the mining-related speeding vehicles, bypassing police check-posts and trucks laden with gravel wrongly parked on the side of the road that are causing accidents, he said. “The NCRB also needs to look into the deaths caused by drowning in the river due to excessive mining,” he added.

Kiranpal Rana of Kanalsi village, who is associated with Yamuna Sanitation Committee, shows the pits dug for mining in the Yamuna. Most of these pits have a depth more than the prescribed limit. Photo by Varsha Singh/Mongabay.

The NCRB report on Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India (ADSI) has categories such as road accidents, speeding, overloading and drowning. But such accidents due to mining are not kept in a separate category. Sub-Inspector Preeti Sharma, who is preparing data on accidents in the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB), Uttarakhand, says, “We mention in the data that drowning occurred due to the influence of nature. The category of drowning due to mining, flood or any other reason has not been prescribed.” Sub-inspector Manmohan Singh, who prepares road accident data for the NCRB, points out that there are 35 categories of road accident deaths such as overloading and speeding. “There is no category under which we can record that the accident was caused by a vehicle connected with mining.” https://india.mongabay.com/2022/06/unaccounted-deaths-lay-bare-the-dark-side-of-sand-mining/  (07 May 2022)

Quotes SANDRP study, based on the study. https://www.eco-business.com/news/unaccounted-deaths-plague-sand-mining-operations-in-india/  (09 June 2022)

Uttarakhand ‘Illegal mining damaging riverbed in Doon’ The persistent problem of illegal mining in Doon, despite several complaints to concerned authorities, continues to destroy the ecology of the areas close to the rivers, say residents. The mining is adversely affecting the Sahastradhara and Baldi riverbeds near the Maldevta area, the locals alleged. “Trucks and JCBs moving around at night here is a common sight. The effects of incessant mining are starting to show. Till March, the river had water, but now it’s completely dry. This place is very popular with locals and tourists alike, wherein people would usually sit around the river bank but now it’s just sand, rocks and dust. With the monsoon approaching, the mining will mean even more damage in the area when the water level will go up but the river bank will be unable to hold it,” said a local eatery owner in the area. Local activists claimed that a road in the area was washed off due to a damaged riverbed last year.

Doon-based environmentalist Reenu Paul said government policies were misused to carry out illegal work. “Illegal sand mining in the area is disturbing the ecology there. The new dredging policies in the name of river draining are causing more harm than benefit and sand mining is happening under the cover of dredging. There are petitions in court challenging the new policies but a check has to be in place to ensure that mining doesn’t happen,” she said. The experts said that if the rivers are being stripped of riverbed material then nothing will hold the water when the flow of water increases during monsoon. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/illegal-mining-damaging-riverbed-in-doon/articleshow/92069033.cms  (08 June 2022)

HC seeks reply on plea challenging govt’s dredging policy High Court on Wednesday (May 11) asked both the state government and the Centre to file a reply within four weeks on a PIL that sought a stay on the state’s dredging policy alleging it encourages illegal river mining. The PIL filed by an institution called Matri Sadan in Haridwar which is actively associated with the cause of saving the Ganga claimed that illegal river mining is being encouraged in the state under the garb of Uttarakhand State Dredging Policy 2021.

The petition claims that the river dredging policy provides that the river which is to be dredged will be surveyed first. Dredging will then be done to the extent that the flow of the river is not obstructed. The material that comes out in the process will be collected on the banks of the river. However, this raw material will not be transported unless the state government permits it. However, the petition alleges that the state government is using the raw material commercially under the guise of river dredging. Therefore, on behalf of the petitioner, a stay was sought on the policy. https://www.theweek.in/wire-updates/national/2022/05/11/lgd33-hc-ukd-mining.html  (11 May 2022)

Maharashtra NGT stops sand mining from Gad River and Arabian Sea in Sindhudurg  for aggravating the impact of sea level rise and causing erosion of the village boundary. Also directed for securing the area from erosion. https://greentribunal.gov.in/gen_pdf_test.php  (30 May 2022)

Karnataka Illegal mining rampant in Phalguni Locals residing at Bangrakulur have accused that sand is being extracted illegally in copious amounts from Phalguni river. The residents say that the activities start as the sun sets. The local residents say, “Sand extraction is prohibited in this area which falls under CRZ. However, for the past 15 days illegal sand mining is in progress.

Mangaluru: Illegal sand mining rampant in Phalguni river near Bangrakulur. Daiji World

District administration is alerted by the locals and appeal is submitted. Roads and houses are on the verge of collapse because of extracting sand from river. We suspect whether officials are quiet due to the pressure exerted by strong people in society.” https://daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=966518  (07 June 2022)

Tamil Nadu Villagers ask admin to withdraw plans for sand mine On June 2, a public opinion meeting for setting up a sand mine along the river at Yenathimangalam village was held. An environmental assessment (EA) by the Public Works Department (PWD) was presented. However, youngsters and environmental activists opposed the proposal as the groundwater levels in the surrounding villages would run low. Environmental activist A Akilan said, “The district’s groundwater level has already gone down to about 500 metres in areas near the Thenpennai river, because of illegal sand mining in the last 10 years.”

According to the youngsters’ petition, “The current EA had been done by the PWD alone, and impact on agriculture in the area was done by officials. We need an agricultural impact report indicating irrigation status, and harvest rates of crops in the proposed area for the last 10 years. Further, another report is needed on future plans for the villages.” The petition further stated that agriculture here reduced in the last decade. “If the proposed sand mine will come to function, all villages will face drought in the next five years along with a severe threat of flooding in the monsoons,” it added. Officials said that the issue will be resolved after an investigation. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/jun/09/withdraw-plans-for-sand-mine-on-thenpennai-river-bed-youngsters-petition-administration-2463537.html  (09 June 2022)

Andhra Pradesh Check sand mining from Arani river bed: TDP The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has urged the government to curb “illegal sand mining” from river Arani in Satyavedu Assembly constituency in Sri Balaji district. In a letter to Minister for Mines and Geology Peddireddi Ramachandra Reddy, TDP Polit Bureau member Varla Ramaiah alleged that sand from the river bed was being smuggled to Tamil Nadu. “The indiscriminate mining poses a threat of flash floods to the villages in the vicinity and also to the paddy, sugarcane and other horticulture crops,” he said. Expressing concern over the issue, he said it could lead to change in the course of the river and depletion of groundwater. He alleged that there were enough indications to suggest that the local officials were hand-in-glove with the mafia with the tacit support of the YSRCP leaders. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/andhra-pradesh-check-sand-mining-from-arani-river-bed-tdp-urges-mines-minister/article65413633.ece  (14 May 2022)

Bihar ₹2 cr realised as fine for illegal sand mining During a meeting held by Magadh divisional commissioner Mayank Warwade on May 14, revenue department officials informed that around Rs 2.1 crore have been realised as penalty from illegal sand miners in Gaya, Jehanabad, Aurangabad, Nawada and Arwal districts. Total Rs 58 lakh fine has been realised in Gaya, Rs 55 lakh in Aurangabad, Rs 46 lakh in Arwal, Rs 33 lakh in Jehanabad and Rs 18 lakh in Nawada district against illegal sand mining. He directed mining officers to conduct raids with the help of police officials on the information of illegal mining from any sand ghat. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/2-crore-realised-as-fine-for-illegal-sand-mining-in-magadh/articleshow/91569922.cms  (15 May 2022)

Haryana Govt panel to survey Aravalis for illegal mining Over the next 15 days, an intensive screening will be carried out in the Aravalis in Gurugram, Faridabad and Nuh for evidence of illegal mining in the eco-sensitive hill ranges, which were quarried relentlessly for decades for sand and stones used in construction before the Supreme Court ordered a blanket ban on it in 2009. Mining has, however, continued at certain spots in the ranges despite the ban.

Between April 2020 and March 2021, the government seized 385 vehicles being used for illegal mining and recovered Rs 8.3 crore from gangs in Gurugram and Nuh. A petition filed recently at the NGT by the Aravalli Bachao Citizens Movement alleged mining was rampant in at least 16 locations in the Aravalis. Large tracts of the hills, the petition said, had been mined and some parts even flattened. On May 23, while hearing this petition, the NGT directed the SPCB and the administrations of Gurugram , Faridabad and Nuh to form a joint committee and carry out inspections in the Aravalis till June 20. The committee will have to submit its report in three months.

The disastrous impact of mining on the Aravalis has been seen in neighbouring Rajasthan, where 31 out of 128 hills in the Aravali region disappeared over a period of 50 years due to quarrying, according to findings of a Supreme Court-appointed central empowered committee in 2018. Haryana has a total of 119 mines, of which 61 are lying vacant and 49 are operational at present. Most of the active mines are in Yamunanagar, Charkhi Dadri, Mahendergarh and Bhiwani. In Gurugram , Faridabad and Nuh, mining stopped officially after the 2009 order of the Supreme Court. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/13-yrs-after-sc-ban-govt-panel-to-survey-aravalis-for-illegal-mining/articleshow/92049178.cms  (07 June 2022)

The Aravalli Bachao citizens movement has asked the government to constitute an independent ‘Aravalli Protection Authority’ – a body independent of state governments aimed at protecting the hill range from further habitat degradation across all the four states. According to Ahluwalia, a “lack of political and administrative will” to implement the mining ban in the area is the reason why it is continuing unabated despite a 2002 ban by the apex court. https://thewire.in/environment/aravalli-ngt-illegal-mining-conservation  (08 June 2022)

Multiple complaints of illegal mining in Aravallis, which were made by national capital region citizens to government authorities in New Delhi and Haryana, have gone unheard. This raises the question: Why are the BJP governments at the Centre and in Haryana turning a blind eye towards illegal mining in Aravalli Hills, which serve as a natural barrier between the plains of northern India and the Thar desert? https://www.newsclick.in/illegal-mining-aravallis-and-baffling-silence-authorities  (12 June 2022)


Maharashtra Flamingos face twin dangers of water pollution, wetland burial The pink guests of Mumbai and MMR are facing twin dangers as the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary (TCFS) are being polluted and their abodes, the wetlands, are being buried or dried up. The government had recommended a Ramsar Wetland status for the TSFC while Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) tagged its area as a Flamingo City as part of the Swachh Bharat drive. Environment Principal Secretary Manisha Mhaiskar Patankar asked the MS of MPCB to check environmentalists’ complaints against heavy pollutants leaking into the creek. “The officials have been in a denial mode despite us presenting them with irrefutable data and proof,” Stalin D, director of Vanashakti Foundation said.

Flamingos in Navi Mumbai. Credit: Special Arrangement/ Deccan Herald
Read more at: https://www.deccanherald.com/national/west/flamingos-face-twin-dangers-of-water-pollution-wetland-burial-1116960.html

BNHS has identified six waterbodies – Belpada, Bhendkhal, Panje, NRI, TS Chanakya and Bhandup – as TCFS satellite wetlands which have to be maintained. But now these wetlands are also under human attack, said NatConnect Foundation Director B N Kumar. Bhendkhal wetland in Uran has been buried totally by NMSEZ despite the High Court appointed wetland grievance redressal committee intervention, Belpada is being converted into a parking lot by JNPA. Panje wetland faces frequent threats as inter-tidal water flow is being blocked despite the NGT order to the authorities to save the place. NRI-TSC wetlands in Nerul too are dried up every now and then, while water pollution at Bhandup is very high. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/west/flamingos-face-twin-dangers-of-water-pollution-wetland-burial-1116960.html  (10 June 2022)

Uttar Pradesh YEIDA issues NOC for notifying 112ha in Dhanauri The Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority chairman has issued a ‘no-objection certificate’ to notify 112 hectares in Dhanauri village as a wetland, paving the way for the marshes, better known as one of the largest sarus crane habitats in the state, to be listed under the Ramsar Convention. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/west/flamingos-face-twin-dangers-of-water-pollution-wetland-burial-1116960.html  (10 June 2022)

West Bengal Govt grants Rs 2 cr to reverse EKW encroachment damage The state environment department on Sunday — World Environment Day — allocated Rs 2 crore to reverse the biggest encroachment at the internationally recognised East Kolkata Wetlands (EKW) in the 20th year of it being declared a Ramsar site. While courts have been ordering the restoration of bheris filled up by land sharks, this is the first time that funds have been set aside for restoring the encroached site back to the original condition. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/west-bengal-grants-rs-2-crore-to-reverse-ekw-encroachment-damage/articleshow/92026767.cms  (06 June 2022)

Odisha Local fishers, villagers help conduct the world’s first fishing cat census in Chilika Lake; 176 fishing cats reported. https://www.gaonconnection.com/lead-stories/odisha-fishing-cat-wildlife-environment-chilika-lake-wetland-50880   (07 June 2022)


Bengaluru A residential layout achieves freedom from water tankers and saves lakhs Thanks to a crowdfunding effort that raised around Rs 10 Lakhs and two months of intensive work by community residents, local villagers and workers from the panchayat starting April 2020, the residents of Zed Earth, a gated community in Dodaballapur, haven’t spent a single rupee on water tankers so far this year.

The result of their efforts, the lake now full of water and surrounded by greenery. Pic: Sudhir K and Shankar L Citzen Matters

In the past, their annual cost on tankers could go up to as much as Rs 2 Lakhs depending on the ground water situation. The initial cost of lake rejuvenation was completely borne by volunteers from Zed Earth. The current costs of maintaining the lake of around Rs 10,000 per month is also borne by the community. A full time gardener, whose salary is paid by the community, looks after the basic upkeep and cleanliness of the area. https://bengaluru.citizenmatters.in/water-tankers-free-cost-savings-kadathanamale-lake-restoration-81855  (06 June 2022)

Chhattisgarh 75 ponds to be constructed in each districts Under mission Amrit Sarovar, at least 75 ponds will be constructed in every district using remote sensing and geo-spatial techniques. The water-holding capacity of each pond to be constructed in an area of at least one acre (0.4 ha) would be about 10,000 cubic metres. If there would be no suitable place for any of the identified panchayats to build a new Amrit Sarovar then the work of rejuvenation or siltation of the already constructed pond can be taken as the purpose of restoring its ecological and productive utility. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/raipur/ponds-to-be-constructed-in-all-dists-for-ground-water-rejuvenation/articleshow/91730299.cms  (23 May 2022)

Uttarakhand Gram Unnati helps farmers save water Agri-tech solution company Gram Unnati worked closely with multiple stakeholders to help farmers in Udham Singh Nagar district save 4,000 liters of water per acre by bringing climate-compatible agriculture to over 5,000 acres of farmland. The farmers are taking maize crop instead of paddy they were taking earlier after Rabi crop. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/how-gram-unnati-is-helping-uttarakhand-farmers-adopt-climate-compatible-agriculture-to-save-water/articleshow/92078003.cms  (08 June 2022)


Report The visible crisis of an invisible resource The groundwater level in 33 per cent of the wells monitored by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) declined by 0-2 metres in November 2020 as compared to the decadal water level average (2010-2019). The observations also showed a decline of more than 4 m of the water table in a few pockets of Delhi, Chennai, Indore, Coimbatore, Madurai, Vijayawada, Dehradun, Jaipur, Allahabad, Ghaziabad, Kanpur, and Lucknow over the years. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/water/groundwater-management-the-visible-crisis-of-an-invisible-resource-83163  (06 June 2022)

Haryana Industries exploiting groundwater to be fined The Haryana Water Resources Authority Chairperson Keshni Anand Arora directed the DCs to conduct regular inspection of those industrial units which were using groundwater illegally. Arora said about 25,000 industrial units of the state had taken permission from the SPCB to run their projects, but out of these, only 2,500 units applied to the Authority for permission to use groundwater. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/industries-exploiting-groundwater-in-haryana-to-be-fined-402805  (11 June 2022)


Mumbai City sinking at 2mm per year The land around Mumbai is sinking at an average rate of 2mm per year, a recent research has found, prompting experts to warn that the city is likely to see increased flooding unless urgent action is taken by urban planners and municipal authorities. The study by scientists from University of Rhode Island, published in the peer-reviewed Geophysical Research Letters journal in March, analysed land subsidence in 99 countries.

– Out of 46 sq km of land in Mumbai at an elevation of less than 10 metres — which makes it extremely vulnerable to flooding — 19 sq km is subsiding at a rate faster than 2mm per year, with a maximum subsidence rate of 8.45mm a year, the study, Subsidence in Coastal Cities Throughout the World Observed by InSAR, found. Mumbai’s total land cover is 603.4 sq km.

– Land subsidence, the researchers explained, is caused by excessive groundwater extraction, destruction of natural wetlands, development of underground infrastructure, mining and other ecological disturbances. Land subsidence is irreversible, and can adversely alter local hydrology, causing floods and damaging civic infrastructure like roads, railways, bridges, telecommunications and others.

– Although the rate of subsidence in Mumbai is significantly lower than for other countries in South Asia, it can compound the impacts of sea level rise and extreme rainfall events, experts warned. “A significant portion of the city is subsiding more rapidly than 2mm per year,” noted the study. Other recent studies have also indicated that the Arabian Sea is rising by 0.5mm to 3mm per year, suggesting that some parts of Mumbai may be sinking faster than sea levels are rising.

– A study by researchers at the interdisciplinary programme in climate studies at IIT Bombay, which is awaiting peer review, found a maximum subsidence of 93mm per year in the city, and an average annual subsidence rate of 28.8mm per year, with the highest subsidence recorded in Byculla, Colaba, Churchgate, Kalba Devi, Kurla, Andheri East, Mulund, Nahur East, Dadar, Wadala, and parts of Tardeo, Bhandup, Trombay and Govandi. “Due to a prolonged decline of groundwater in the area that plays a crucial role in land subsidence along the coast, a considerable relationship between land subsidence and groundwater decline can be established over the region,” their study noted. “With this declining groundwater, high-rise buildings, and metro development projects, (Mumbai) is becoming increasingly vulnerable to subsidence, leading to increased inundation,” it said. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/mumbai-sinking-at-2mm-per-year-new-research-warns-101655060999875.html  (13 June 2022)

Bengaluru Centre to implement KC Valley model across India The Central Govt has decided to consider the Karnataka scheme of filling up water bodies using treated sewage from Bangaluru as a success story to be implemented across the country. However, before that, the centre has asked Karnataka to provide tertiary treatment and use wetlands to improve the quality of water before it is fed to lakes. The Centre is willing to provide funds for this from Atal Bhujal Yojana.

– The Koramangala-Challaghatta Valley (KC Valley) project provides treated sewage from Bengaluru to lakes in Bengaluru Rural, Kolar and Chikkaballapura districts. The project is being extended to Anekal in Bengaluru Urban and parts of Ramnagara district. THe project is said to have shown results in terms of increased GW levels. Atal Bhujal Yojana hopes to take it to 81 water scarce districts. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/north-and-central/centre-to-implement-kc-valley-model-across-india-1117544.html  (12 June 2022)

Revival hopes for Rampura lake Just two decades ago, Rampura in east Bengaluru — which is just around 18 km from the city centre — was a thriving fishing village frequented by tourists and locals alike. As the IT city started growing exponentially, it witnessed the slow death of many lakes, including the sewage-fed Rampura lake, destroying both the fish habitat and the livelihood of fishermen.

Lack of fish in Rampura lake, however, is not the only problem. The 187-acre lake, which is a part of the Hebbal valley and a ‘Bellandur lake in the making,’ has lost almost all characteristics of a water body. It is filthy, full of garbage and heavily encroached upon. It has become a favourite breeding ground for mosquitoes. Migratory birds are giving the water body a miss these days. There is now unbearable stench from the lake, forcing many residents to keep their windows closed permanently. In other words, the water body and its surrounding areas are in a total mess.

Revival project:-Among the works included in the Rs 35-crore contract are: de-silting, strengthening the main bund, forming the wetland, creating an island and a bird’s nest, constructing sewage diversion drains, a silt trap and footbridge in two places. After the restoration, BBMP believes the water storage capacity of the lake will increase from the present 9.45 lakh cubic metre (cum) to 15 lakh cum (1 cum is equal to 1,000 litres). While the present average depth of the lake is just 1.5 metres, the civic body has proposed to increase it to 2.5 metres.

The rejuvenation of this lake, which connects Kalkere lake in the upstream and Yele Mallappa Shetty lake in the downstream, is crucial as it can mitigate chances of flooding in the upstream regions of the valley such as Hebbal, Rachenahalli and HRBR Layout by holding more water. While the rejuvenation work has given hope to residents, many expressed concerns over the slow pace of work and BBMP’s failure to clear encroachments. The inlet, which receives water from Kalkere lake, is found to be frothing, indicating the poor quality of water treatment upstream. A few residents want the BBMP to be more transparent in its plans.   https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/revival-hopes-for-rampura-lake-may-come-unstuck-over-work-delays-1117417.html (12 June 2022)

Chennai Road laid inside Pallikaranai marsh, garbage being dumped Repeated directions from the Madras high court on protecting water bodies have had no effect, with the eco-sensitive Pallikaranai marshland being grabbed by encroachers who have laid a road into it and are dumping garbage there, say residents. The environment department, water resources department and the city corporation have turned a blind eye to this menace, they allege. Residents of Netaji Nagar adjoining the marshland said they spotted garbage trucks dumping debris there and a road being laid on Friday (June 10). Geo-located photos shared by the residents show debris being dumped in the heart of the marshland. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/road-laid-inside-pallikaranai-marsh-garbage-being-dumped/articleshow/92136712.cms  (11 June 2022)

Water in some parts of the Pallikaranai marshland has turned pink, pointing to the possibility of a rise in pollution in localities neighbouring the Perungudi dumpyard. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/appearance-of-pink-water-in-parts-of-pallikaranai-marshland-causes-concern/article65503482.ece  (07 June 2022)

Unknown persons on Friday (May 20) were caught on camera dumping debris on the core area of the Pallikaranai marshland. Residents, who live in a high-rise apartment facing the marshland, shot photos and videos of a truck dumping debris in the waterbody. Arappor Iyakkam activist Prashanth Gowtham, said it has been happening recently and the reasons for dumping debris were unknown.

“In other parts of the marshland, it started like this, and later, they built religious structures, and expanded the encroachments, and years later, turned them into plots,” he said. Gowtham said there were already two roads in the marshland and a new road has been laid too. “It is unacceptable to close a marshland like this. They are disturbing the soil consistency and have created a new route inside the marshland,” he said. The marshland has already shrunk from 5,500 hectares to less than 600 hectares. “The marshland needs to be protected. You cannot use it for any other purpose and the offenders need to be booked,” waterbody conservation expert S Janakarajan said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/debris-dumped-in-core-part-of-pallikaranai-marshland/articleshow/91697350.cms  (21 May 2022)

Shimla On Brink Of Acute Water Crisis Almost a 60-65 per cent drop in the availability of water at Gumma, Shimla’s oldest supplier of drinking water, due to the drying up of the perennial Giri river is a crude reminder of the water crisis that had engulfed the capital of Himachal Pradesh in 2018. The drop in the water supply has rendered the water distribution system a complete mess. With tourists’ influx at an all-time high coupled with one of the hottest summers in north India, the taps have run completely dry in the town.

Even the concept of rationing water, introduced by Satluj Jal Prabandhan Nigam (SJPN) Ltd, has failed to work. SJPN is a special purpose vehicle created to man Shimla’s water supply and the water is made available to the residents after a gap of four to six days. However, it is not enough to even fill up their tanks fully.

The total availability of the water from 6 different sources, prominently Gumma and Giri rivers, has dropped down to 34 MLD against the installed capacity of 47.75 MLD. This is expected to drop further in the next few days if there are no rains in Shimla. Against the installed capacity of 22 MLD, only 8 MLD of water is available from Gumma while Giri river is down from 20 MLD to 13. Koti Brandi is supplying just 1.5 MLD against 5 MLD of water.  https://www.outlookindia.com/national/four-years-after-2018-nightmare-shimla-is-in-brink-of-acute-water-crisis-news-201706   (11 June 2022)

Raichur 5 die due to contaminated water Raichur town, with a population of about 2.5 lakh people, is situated in a border district of north Karnataka. Since last week, the town has been facing a water contamination problem, with many still in hospital after suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting. According to the locals, all 35 wards of Raichur town get drinking water from Rampuru reservoir. Locals allege that unfiltered water was supplied to the city, leading to health problems.  

According to the locals, all 35 wards of Raichur town get drinking water from Rampuru reservoir. (Express photo)

Raichur District Deputy Commissioner Chandrashekhar Nayaka L told The Indian Express that the filtration unit was not cleaned for some time and it had led to the water contamination. “There are three sources for bulk water supply and we are looking at all the levels,” he said. “The automated water filtration unit which was unveiled a couple of years ago is yet to be handed over to the town municipality as there are some technical issues but the old filtration units are being used. As it was not cleaned for some time, it led to an incident like this.” https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/karnataka-raichur-deaths-contaminated-water-7962542/  (11 June 2022)

Thane Mini dams to tap rain water flowing down Yeoor hills The irrigation department has drawn up plans to tap rain water flowing down the Yeoor hills in the monsoon and ensure parts of Thane city including Ghodbunder gets nearly 3 mld water, enough to meet daily requirements of nearly 23,000 individuals, officials informed.

As per plans, 5 weirs or mini dams will be constructed at specific intervals along the flow of the brook that flows downhill from the Yeoor forests within Thane city in addition to repairing an existing 5-decade old weir in the path. “The project could tentatively cost Rs 90 crore, but a revised estimate will be available after the drawings are finalised by the forest department,” said Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik. It may be recalled that parts of Thane city, especially the Ghodbunder and Yeour tribal hamlets face massive water crisis throughout the year even though the city receives 485 mld water. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/thane/govt-plans-to-build-mini-dams-to-tap-rain-water-flowing-down-yeoor-hills/articleshow/92138660.cms  (11 June 2022)

Jaipur Residents get polluted water supply Around 50 houses in Topkhana Hajuri in Walled city have been getting polluted water supply for the last five days. PHED executive engineer of Walled City Sanjay Sharma said, “After the complaint, we hired workers to repair the line and from Saturday (June 11) clean water will be supplied. There was some issue with the old sewer line getting leaked due to which the water got mixed with Bisalpur supply.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/topkhana-hajuri-residents-get-polluted-water-supply/articleshow/92138859.cms  (11 June 2022)

Gurugram ‘Bandhwari Landfill Poisoning Groundwater in NCR’ The Aravalli forests are also the biggest source of recharge for Delhi-NCR’s groundwater and have the potential to push 2 million litres of water per hectare into the ground every year. For the water-starved areas of Gurugram, Faridabad, Delhi, and the rest of NCR where groundwater levels are falling dangerously low, the Aravallis are a lifeline. But unfortunately, the existence of the Bandhwari landfill in the middle of the eco-sensitive Aravallis is poisoning this lifeline, affecting the water security of millions of people living in the NCR. https://www.thequint.com/my-report/bandhwari-landfill-in-gurugram-depleting-water-around-aravallis-govt-must-step-in  (30 May 2022)

Cracking down on illegal car-washing centres using groundwater to wash cars, the flying squad conducted raids at several centres in Sohna after it received information that the centres are running illegally. There are more than 200 illegal car-washing centres across Sohna, said officials. Inderjeet Yadav, deputy superintendent of police (DSP) said there are over 500 car wash units in Gurugram and teams have been formed to check if they are using groundwater. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/gurugram-news/gurugram-lens-on-car-washing-units-using-groundwater-101650668662196.html  (23 April 2022)

Ranchi पानी के लिए क्यों मच रहा हाहाकार? इस बार रांची में पड़ी भीषण गर्मी ने पिछले 54 साल का रिकॉर्ड तोड़ दिया। लगातार गिर रहा जल स्तर दो सौ फीट से गिरकर एक हजार फीट तक चला गया है। 23 साल में पहली बार ऐसा हुआ जब अप्रैल माह में एक भी दिन बारिश नहीं हुई। एक समय में राज्य में दस हजार तालाब हुआ करते थे, जो अब करीब 8000 ही बचे हैं। जबकि रांची में तालाबों की संख्या छह सौ से सिमट कर 50 पर पहुंच गई है. गर्मी की शुरुआत में ही झारखंड की 58 बड़ी नदियों में से 30 पूरी तरह सूख गई जबकि 10 सूखने के कगार पर है। जानकारों का मानना है कि भौगोलिक स्थिति के अलावा बेतरतीब निर्माण, बेहिसाब बोरिंग, कुंओं-तालाबों का सूखना और सप्लाई वाटर की पर्याप्त व्यवस्था नहीं होने से पानी की किल्लत बढ़ती जा रही है। https://hindi.mongabay.com/2022/06/09/water-crisis-in-the-hill-station-ranchi/  (09 June 2022)


Gujarat Valsad to get water from Madhuban dam A 74.77-km pipeline network, with 28 pumping stations (15 to 300 HP capacity each), will aid the supply of around 75 million litres of drinking water daily to 4.5 lakh people in 174 villages of Valsad district. 1,028 hamlets in Dharampur and Kaprada taluka will get tap water facility with Astol Group Water Supply scheme. 95% work is over as per media. The water for the project will be sourced from Madhuban dam in Dadra and Nagar Haveli union territory. https://www.firstpost.com/india/narendra-modi-in-gujarat-the-project-that-will-provide-tap-water-to-4-5-lakh-tribals-10780321.html  (10 June 2022)


Book Review Giulio Boccaletti’s Water: A Biography review Understanding a moving force, society’s attempt to tame it through science and technology, and the impact on the environment. water. https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/giulio-boccalettis-water-a-biography-review-the-life-of-water-and-how-it-shapes-human-civilisation/article65479645.ece  (03 June 2022)

‘Watershed’ puts inequality at the heart of India’s water crisis In her book, author and activist Mridula Ramesh warns that water mismanagement in India is leading to disaster, but there is still time to change course. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/culture/watershed-mridula-ramesh-india-book/  (26 Jan. 2022)


Report Some serious short comings in India’s crop forecasting methods. https://theprint.in/india/from-tomatoes-to-wheat-indian-crop-forecasting-is-in-the-grip-of-a-raja-todar-mal-problem/985907/  (07 June 2022)


Study Change in rainfall character along the west coast According to a study published in the Nature – Climate and Atmospheric Science, rainfall over the Indian west coast, much of which is stratiform, may be trending towards being more convective (deeper and ice-bearing). This could be triggering these mini-cloud burst events or extreme heavy rainfall in smaller areas. The paper published by researchers of Advanced Centre for Atmospheric Radar Research (ACARR), Cochin University, indicated that incidents of 5-10cm rainfall in a short span of 2-3 hours could be an indicator of this changing character of rainfall in state.

“These may be connected to Arabian Sea warming, greater instability, and strengthened monsoon ascent over western India. If these trends are part of a forced climate signal, they may be likely to continue,” said S Abhilash, director-ACARR and one of the paper’s lead authors. He said that the warming of Arabian Sea and increased cyclonic activity are factors that impacted monsoon behaviour. “While a larger system is formed, it has been noticed that there are deeper smaller clouds formed suddenly, which lead to these extreme rainfall events recorded in a small area without much warning. When it is the mountainous region, this is even more intense because of the orographic (slant) nature of mountains or hills,” he said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/study-finds-change-in-rainfall-character-along-the-west-coast/articleshow/91570179.cms   (15 May 2022)

19% variability in south west monsoon in Kerala “Studies indicate that neither monthly rainfall nor seasonal or annual rainfall show any significant increasing/decreasing trend over Kerala. However, in recent years, the extreme rainfall events are significantly increasing over many parts of the country,” IMD said. This year, the southwest monsoon in Kerala has been slow and weak, recording a 54% deficiency in rainfall in the first 10 days since the declared onset on May 29. The largest deficiencies have been reported from Kollam (-64%), Idukki (-70%), Palakkad (-80%), Wayanad (-78%), Kannur (-72%) and Kasaragod (-86%). Kerala could have a below normal rainfall based on the long-range forecast issued in May. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/19-variability-in-south-west-monsoon-in-kerala-says-imd/articleshow/92094853.cms  (09 June 2022)

There is a high probability that the ongoing La Niña, which has affected temperatures and rainfall patterns, exacerbated drought and flooding globally, will continue until at least August, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Friday (June 10). Some predictions even suggest it might persist into 2023. If so, it will only be the third such instance since 1950 of La Niña lasting three years, WMO said. The current La Niña started in September 2020 and continued through mid-May 2022 across the tropical Pacific. There was a temporary weakening between January and February but it has strengthened since March

Experts said worse is yet to come during the upcoming El Nino season. Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology climate scientist Roxy Mathew Koll said intensity of El Ninos has increased and is protected to increase further under background ocean warming. “It is too early to tell if we would have an El Nino next year, but as per the climate cycle and recent trends, it might appear in the next two years and that would break records in terms of global temperatures.” Koll said El Ninos generally weaken the monsoon winds and can reduce the amount of rainfall in India. “It can also lead to intense marine heatwaves in the Indian Ocean that can affect cyclones and fisheries. So, we should be watchful of upcoming El Ninos, particularly the strong ones.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/la-nina-likely-to-last-at-last-till-august-wmo-101654860523724.html  (11 June 2022)

The WMO have warned that the La Nina that took has caught the Earth since September 2020 is set to last 2023. The UN agency also stated that if the climatic effect sustains till 2023, this will be “triple-dip La Niña” the third such instance since 1950 that La Nina has stayed on for three years. https://www.livemint.com/news/world/la-nina-phenomenon-to-persist-till-2023-know-its-influence-on-india-s-climate-here-11654861536243.html  (10 June 2022)

Why did IMD declare monsoon early?  The monsoon is declared when eight stations across Kerala, Lakshadweep, and Karnataka, receive a minimum of 2.5 mm of rain for two consecutive days. On the day IMD chose to announce the onset of the monsoon, Sunday (May 29), only five did. It wasn’t immediately clear why IMD jumped the gun — it never has in the past — but its head insisted its call was right.

“The monsoon’s onset over Kerala is a well-defined event. The onset criteria are based on the findings of multiple research studies spanning over five decades, which nicely link large-scale atmospheric conditions of the monsoon to rainfall occurring over Kerala. Thus, there should not be any room for subjectivity or assumptions in the onset declaration,” said Akshay Deoras, an independent meteorologist and doctoral researcher at the UK’s University of Reading. “Declaring a weak onset of the monsoon could be a challenging task since the rainfall criterion often remains on the borderline. However, the onset criteria must not be overlooked since it could affect research and planning of agricultural activities in India,” added Deoras who also analysed data from IMD’s 14 stations on Sunday and Monday (May 30).

Declaring early monsoon onset could lead to confusing messaging to farmers, Skymet’s Palawat added. “For example, from the current projections we can say that south Maharashtra, Madhya Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu will receive good rains around June 10. So farmers there should wait for rains for sowing or they have to re-sow which has a huge cost. There is political pressure to declare monsoon onset but these aspects are important.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/imd-announces-monsoon-onset-norm-says-not-yet-101653937443831.html  (31 May 2022)

The monsoon’s flow has weakened over the Arabian Sea, stalling its advance over parts of India by almost six days now, top Met department officials told TOI on Monday (June 06). With the monsoon weakening, the countrywide rainfall deficit for the season has hit 38%, IMD data showed.

“Rather than seeing typical monsoon features over central India, we are witnessing a convective rainfall pattern over this region. The presence of an anti-cyclone over central parts of India is also not a good sign for monsoon advancement. We are not seeing typical monsoon circulation features in parts of the country, as the Arabian Sea current has been quite weak,” a senior IMD official told TOI. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/imd-monsoon-progress-stalls-no-advance-in-6-days/articleshow/92047733.cms  (07 June 2022)

The progress of southwest monsoon appears to have slowed down since its arrival on the Kerala coast, at least its Arabian sea arm has in comparison with the Bay of Bengal side. As on date, the Northern Limit of Monsoon (NLM) continues to pass through Karwar, Chikmagalur, Bengaluru, Puducherry and Siliguri. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/monsoon-pace-slows-down-rain-likely-in-northwest-on-june-11-402191  (09 June 2022)

After a wait that lasted more than a week, the monsoon has managed to resume its northward journey from Karwar, Chikamagaluru, Bengaluru in Karnataka by Friday (June 09) evening and covered entire Goa, some parts of Konkan and some more parts of Karnataka, India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in an update. This came about even as the cumulative rain deficit over South Peninsula rose to 36 per cent as on Friday (June 10) after the monsoon arrived over Kerala 13 days ago (on May 29). https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/monsoon-to-break-jinx-over-karnataka-extend-reach-over-west-coast/article65513502.ece  (10 June 2022)

The southwest monsoon has missed the normal onset date over Goa and Maharashtra. This is the season’s first lag in progress. Last year, the monsoon arrived here on June 5 itself. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/southewest-monsoon-goa-maharashtra-7962037/  (10 June 2022)


Report Can we tame urban floods by going with the flow? by Erica Gies After epic floods in India, South Africa, Germany, New York and Canada killed hundreds in the past year, droughts are now parching landscapes and wilting crops across the western US, the Horn of Africa and Iraq. The responses have included calls for higher levees, bigger drains and longer aqueducts. But these concrete interventions aimed at controlling water are failing. Climate extremes are revealing a hard truth: our development choices – urban sprawl, industrial agriculture and even the concrete infrastructure designed to control water – are exacerbating our problems. Because sooner or later, water always wins. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/07/slow-water-urban-floods-drought-china-sponge-cities  (07 June 2022)

Recurring floods in major cities point to need for moving away from land-centric urbanism Written by Amitangshu Acharya , Ajaya Dixit https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/chennai-floods-climate-crisis-7618776/  (13 Nov. 2021)

Jammu & Kashmir Urbanisation is leading to increased monsoon rainfall in the Kashmir valley, say researchers, raising fears of catastrophic flooding exacerbated by poor urban planning. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/climate/monsoon-rainfall-increases-in-kashmir-raising-flood-fears/  (30 May 2022)

Delhi Govt to build ‘massive’ drain The government will construct a “massive drain” between Hiranki Dam and Nathupura in north Delhi at an expenditure of Rs 4.95 crore, a move that would help in eliminating the issue of waterlogging on Burari Road during the rainy season, an official statement said on Friday (09 June). https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/waterlogging-delhi-govt-to-build-massive-drain-between-hiranki-dam-and-nathupura/articleshow/92132588.cms  (10 June 2022)


Meghalaya Shillong’s deadliest disaster Infrastructure developers in the capital city and elsewhere in Meghalaya should keep the disastrous earthquake of June 1897 in mind, says Uma Purkayastha. Much of Shillong was flooded with lake water and overflowing brooks, and the water became undrinkable. The London Times also mentioned about 750 people perishing in an unnamed district town. This town probably was Cherrapunji where a landslide wrecked the Cherrapunji railway and caused 600 deaths.

‘Doomsday’ struck Shillong, the newborn capital of the erstwhile undivided Assam, at around 5.11 pm on June 12, 1897 (Saturday), snuffing out many lives and destroying almost all dwellings. Today it is the 125th year of that deadly incident of natural calamity. The earthquake of magnitude 8.2 killed over 1500 people officially. F. Smith of the Geological Survey of India, who was stationed in Shillong at the time, said the earthquake was so violent that the whole of the damage was done in the first 10 or 15 seconds of the shock. He reported that all stone buildings collapsed, and about half of ikra-built houses (wooden frames, reed walls covered with plaster) were ruined, but plank houses (wooden frames covered with plank walls, resting unattached on the ground) were untouched. https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/06/12/shillongs-deadliest-disaster/  (12 June 2022)


A Community-Led Landslide Prediction System in India Community scientists, with the assistance of professional researchers, have developed a meteorology-based landslide prediction system for India’s Western Ghats mountain range, according to a paper published earlier this year. Called “Satark,” the model is capable of predicting landslides along India’s mountainous southwestern coast a day in advance with an accuracy of 76.5%.

The team distributed rain gauges to around 50 people across the Western Ghats and also provided training on how to take measurements and read scientific literature. With these tools, communities could measure and assess rainfall data on their own.

“When rainfall begins in the monsoon season, we ask people to keep watch. And if intense rainfall persists for 3 days, they know that it is now the ‘alert stage,’” Kulkarni explained. The next stage is “warning,” wherein rainfall breaches thresholds for the next 3 days and the risk of landslides is greater than 90%. Once this stage is reached, residents are encouraged to temporarily move to safer locations. The team at CCS provides alerts to a broader audience via a website, social media, and messaging platforms like WhatsApp.

Other community-led rainfall measurement efforts (like the Meenachil River – Rain Monitoring project in Kerala) have also demonstrated how communities, and school students in particular, can fill crucial gaps in areas like flood preparedness merely by tracking rainfall and water levels. https://eos.org/articles/a-community-led-landslide-prediction-system-in-india  (07 June 2022)


A bridge broken by the outburst of the artificial lake (Image: Karuna Chhimed)

Ladakh Unsuccessful attempt at visiting Rumbak village after GLOF last year A memoir written by Karuna Chimmed from Leh, Ladakh, on her attempt to visit Rumbak village, which was affected by flash floods due to the outburst of an artificial lake in August 2021. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/unsuccessful-attempt-visiting-rumbak-village-after-glof-last-year  (05 June 2022)


Jammu & Kashmir Several vehicles washed away in flash floods in Devika river Several vehicles were washed away after heavy rains triggered flash floods in Devika river in the Purmandal area on the outskirts of the city, officials said. Hundreds of people had thronged Purmandal, called as Chota Kashi, to pay obeisance at Lord Shiva temple complex on Soma Amavasaya and a makeshift market was set up on dry Devika river bed, they said. Devika river, which is also known as Gupta Ganga, runs as dry river bed through Purmandal-Utterbani belt and devotees dug dry sand beds to take a bath, the officials said. Due to heavy rains in adjoining hilly areas, there was a gush of water, they said. Six to seven vehicles parked on dry river beds were washed away in the flash floods, the officials said. There was no loss of life, they said In Kathua district, several vehicles were trapped after heaving rains triggered flash-floods on a highway at Hatli Morh, the officials said. https://www.news9live.com/india/jammu-several-vehicles-washed-away-in-flash-floods-in-devika-river-173432   (30 May 2022)

Sikkim 15 Households Affected By ‘Suspected Cloud Burst’ A suspected cloud burst devastated Beng village in the Singtam Khamdong constituency, affecting up to 18 families; and fortunately, no human casualties were reported. The catastrophe has swept-out two dwellings and impacted the cultivations of 16 others. https://www.northeasttoday.in/2022/04/08/sikkim-more-than-15-households-in-beng-hamlet-affected-by-suspected-cloud-burst-dwellings-washed-away/  (08 April 2022)


Gujarat Canal top solar solutions Between 2012 and 2014, Gujarat’s pioneering spirit was again on show along a 750-meter pilot stretch of solar panels atop a canal. The pilot eventually led to a 10 MW solar plant winding above the Vadodara Branch Canal (VBC).

– In the few years since that pilot project, several canal-top solar installations have been commissioned across India, including two more on other sections of the VBC. In February 2022, the ongoing project successes saw Gujarat government-owned Sadar Sarovar Narmada Nigam (SSNNL) announce a 100 MW solar project to be constructed atop the canals branching off the Narmada River. According to the Gujarat State Electricity Corp., if 30% of the state’s 80,000 km of canals were converted to canal-top solar, it would produce 18 GW of clean power, and save approximately 90,000 acres of otherwise serviceable land.

– Now Project Nexus in California (USA) will see over 2.5 km of the TID covered with solar panels in three sections of canal ranging in width from 6 meters to 30 meters. Construction is set to begin in the autumn of 2022, with a completion date expected by the end of 2023, and quantifiable results available by the end of 2024. https://www.pv-magazine-india.com/2022/06/11/the-long-read-canal-top-solar-solutions/  (11 June 2022)

Report Floating solar power could help fight climate change Covering 10% of the world’s hydropower reservoirs with ‘floatovoltaics’ would install as much electrical capacity as is currently available for fossil-fuel power plants. But the environmental and social impacts must be assessed. As of 2020, the global installed capacity of floating solar panels was just 3 GW. Covering 10% of the world’s hydropower reservoirs with floating solar panels would install nearly 4,000 GW of solar capacity — equivalent to the electricity-generation capacity of all fossil-fuel plants in operation worldwide. Trade-offs between the expansion of floatovoltaics and environmental, social and economic goals remain largely unexplored in both concept and practice. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-01525-1  (07 June 2022)

Analysis of future wind and solar potential over India using climate models https://www.currentscience.ac.in/Volumes/122/11/1268.pdf  


Supreme Court Tribunals Like NGT Are Subordinate To A HC “In any case, no law is necessary to state that insofar as the Tribunals are concerned, they would be subordinate to the High Court insofar as the territorial jurisdiction of the High Court is concerned. A reference in this respect was also made to the judgment of the Constitution Bench of this Court in the case of L. Chandra Kumar v. Union of India and Others… We are, therefore, of the considered view that it was not appropriate on the part of the learned NGT to have continued with the proceedings before it, specifically, when it was pointed that the High Court was also in seisin of the matter and had passed an interim order permitting the construction. The conflicting orders passed by the learned NGT and the High Court would lead to an anomalous situation, where the authorities would be faced with a difficulty as to which order they are required to follow. There can be no manner of doubt that in such a situation, it is the orders passed by the constitutional courts, which would be prevailing over the orders passed by the statutory tribunals.” https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/supreme-court-ngt-tribunals-high-court-conflicting-orders-state-of-andhra-pradesh-vs-raghu-rama-krishna-raju-kanumuru-mp-2022-livelaw-sc-544-201074  (07 June 2022)

Kerala SC order on ESZ: Govt to file modification petition In view of widespread protests against the SC order making one km eco-sensitive zone mandatory around forest protected areas, the state government has decided to move to the apex court seeking revision in the order. A high-level meeting convened by Forest Minister A K Saseendran has decided to file a modification petition before the Supreme Court.

The state government is exploring possibilities of moving a joint petition with other states affected by the verdict. The minister said the verdict is not in favour of farmers and the state will take all steps to protect the interests of farmers and other stakeholders. The SC verdict had caused major concern in the state as development and livelihood activities in villages located around protected forests will be affected. According to Kerala Independent Farmers Association (KIFA) chairman Alex Ozhukayil, around 20 towns and one lakh families will be affected. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2022/jun/09/sc-order-on-eco-sensitive-zonekerala-to-file-modification-petition-2463394.html  (09 June 2022)


India-Nepal NEA starts selling 364 MW power in Indian market The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has started selling the entire approved 364MW of electricity in India through the power exchange market of the Southern neighbour, the power utility said on Friday, June 10 2022. The state-owned power utility body is now selling 37.7MW from Trishuli and Devighat Hydropower Projects, 140MW from Kaligandaki Hydropower Project, 68MW from Middle Marsyangdi, 67MW from Marsyangdi and 51MW from Likhu-4 developed by the private sector, according to the NEA. https://kathmandupost.com/money/2022/06/10/nepal-starts-selling-364mw-of-electricity-in-the-indian-market  (10 June 2022)

Nepal IBN recommends to Cabinet to extend deadline of Upper Karnali HEP by 2 years The 51st meeting of the Investment Board Nepal (IBN) has decided to recommend to the Council of Ministers to extend the term of the 900 MW Upper Karnali Hydropower Project to arrange for financial management within 24 months. A meeting of the IBN chaired by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Monday (June 6, 2022) decided to recommend to the Council of Ministers to extend the deadline by two years for the project’s developer, Indian company Grandhi Mallikarjuna Rao (GMR) Group.  Even after eight years of signing the Upper Karnali Hydropower Project Development Agreement (PDA), GMR has not been able to carry out important functions including power purchase, sale agreement and financial management of the project. The Investment Board and the GMR had reached a PDA on September 19, 2014 to complete the project within seven years. https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/ibn-recommends-to-cabinet-to-extend-deadline-for-upper-karnali-hydro-project-by-two-years/  (08 June 2022)

NEA was forced to shut down the power project and cut off the power supply to the 60 MW Upper Trishuli 3A Hydel station line after a person climbed on the transmission line in Nuwakot. https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/nepal-man-clings-to-power-transmission-line-hydro-electric-plant-shut-down-3059422  (12 June 2022)

Pakistan Two Films on why Indus is dying The Indus River in Pakistan is in crisis. And two filmmakers have taken it upon themselves to tell the world. Wajahat Malik’s documentary Expedition Indus 2022 covered an estimated 2,300 kilometres of the entire 3,180 km length of the Indus in Pakistan over 45 days. He filmed the river—the lifeline of Pakistan—on a raft and explained that the project was quite a challenge because no one had rafted the entire length of the river in Pakistan to date, he said. Besides garbage and effluents, climate change has also had a huge impact on the Indus.

A view of Indus river near Diamer-Bhasha Dam. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

– Filmmaker Jawad Sharif along with producer Arieb Azhar raised it in 2019 with their documentary Indus Blues. The story is told through the perspective of a father and a son stranded on an island and their struggles to migrate to a mainland city for a better life. Sharif also raised the issue of the Indus in another documentary in 2021 called Natari, which documented the shrinking and sinking Indus Delta and its impact on local communities, drinking water and fishing opportunities. https://theprint.in/go-to-pakistan/indus-river-is-dying-in-pakistan-2-filmmakers-are-showing-the-world-why/986409/  (08 June 2022)

Several reservoirs in Pakistan are facing dead level for the last couple of weeks.. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/tarbela-dam-pakistans-largest-water-reservoir-facing-acute-water-shortage-3056097  (11 June 2022)

Report Need for transboundary river accord The report suggests that “considering China’s apathy to any involvement in any basin-wide multilateral cooperation”, the South Asian countries, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal, could form a common river management framework on the lines of the Mekong River Commission. The study, commissioned by the Trans-boundary Rivers of South Asia (TROSA) programme, says that while the demand for water is increasing, its availability and quality are gradually decreasing, fuelling competition among the riparian states (countries bordering a transboundary inland river or lake). https://www.scidev.net/asia-pacific/news/south-asia-sorely-needs-transboundary-river-accord/  (31 May 2022)


Major earthquake damages 5 hydropower stations A powerful 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck that the Ya’an city in Sichuan province, China, on June 1, damaged five hydropower stations in Lushan County, India Today reported citing Press Trust of India. https://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20220603/STORY/912350334/Major-earthquake-damages-five-hydropower-stations  (03 June 2022)


Report Why hydropower operators are likely to surrender licenses In 2021, hydropower accounted for about 6% of utility-scale electricity generation in the U.S. and 32% of renewable electricity generation. Domestically, it was the largest renewable until 2019, when it was surpassed by wind. The U.S. isn’t expected to see much hydropower growth in the coming decade, in part due to the onerous licensing and permitting process. “It costs tens of millions of dollars and years of effort to go through the licensing process. And for some of these facilities, particularly some of the smaller facilities, they just don’t have that money or that time,” says Malcolm Woolf, President and CEO of the National Hydropower Association. Because the average hydroelectric plant in the U.S. is over 60 years old, many will need to be relicensed soon. “So we could be facing a raft of license surrenders.”

– While pumped storage has about 22 gigawatts of electricity-generating capacity today, there’s over 60 gigawatts of proposed projects in the development pipeline. That’s second only to China. But overall, hydropower growth is slowing, and is set to contract by about 23% through 2030.

– “Part of the reason it doesn’t look as attractive sometimes as solar and wind is because the horizon for the facilities is different. For example, a wind and solar plant typically gets looked at as a 20 year project,” Ames said, “On the other hand, hydropower is licensed and operates for 50 years. And many of them have been operating for 100 years… But our capital markets don’t necessarily appreciate a longer return like that.” https://www.cnbc.com/2022/06/02/why-hydropower-is-the-worlds-most-overlooked-renewable.html  (02 June 2022)

Dams may make flood worse Dams are often built to control floods, but on certain kinds of rivers they may make big deluges worse, a new study finds. The finding suggests river managers might need to rethink their flood control strategies on silty and sandy lowland rivers.

– “It’s a counterintuitive finding,” says Gordon Grant, a hydrologist and geomorphologist with the U.S. Forest Service who was not involved with the work. “We don’t fully understand” how dams influence flooding, he says.

– Hongbo Ma, a geomorphologist at the University of California (UC), Irvine, was interested in how dams alter riverbeds’ typical sediments—and this led to the surprising result of his study. The phenomenon involves erosive water released from a dam, which removes more of the finer particles and leaves behind the larger grains. This coarsening of the riverbed then creates underwater dunes.

– Ma and his colleagues were studying the Yellow River, which flows from mountains on the Tibetan Plateau to the East China Sea. While using sonar to scan the riverbed of the lowermost reaches, they were struck by the absence of dunes. This is likely due to the high silt content of the riverbed; the Yellow River—the muddiest in the world—is named for the heavy loads of silt it carries. The fine particles hinder the formation of dunes. But closer to Xiaolangdi Dam, the riverbed was coarser and had large dunes. “We have a really astonishing example of how the bed roughness can change so much,” Ma says.

– Study suggested large floods are now about twice as deep compared with before the dam was built in 1999, despite a channel that is up to 3.4 meters deeper, the team reports this month in Nature Communications. By checking flood records from 1980 to 2015, the scientists discovered that the magnitude of moderate and large floods had in fact increased. Over the same period, however, the magnitude of smaller floods decreased—likely because the river’s deeper channel is better able to contain them.

– Climate models suggest rainfall in the Yellow River Basin will increase by up to 30% this century. And as the river continues to dump sediment into the reservoir—it’s already 75% full—the dam will have less room to contain floodwaters. The team estimates that new dams would exacerbate large floods on more than 80% of lowland rivers.

– More broadly, engineers should also pay more attention to the complex behavior of rivers when designing new dams, Pinter says. “It’s amazing how much we’ve gotten wrong by thinking that these big alluvial rivers are just pipes,” he says. “We continue to underestimate the importance of bedforms and roughness.” https://www.science.org/content/article/dams-are-supposed-prevent-floods-some-may-make-them-worse  (10 June 2022)

Study Reshuffled Rivers Bolster the Amazon’s Hyper-Biodiversity In a new study in the journal Science Advances, Musher and his co-authors report that the endless reshuffling of rivers increases the biodiversity of the beautiful birds that color the Amazon’s dense rainforests. By acting as a “species pump,” the dynamic rivers could be playing a larger role than previously realized in molding the Amazon forest into one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet. Though the forest’s lowlands make up only half a percent of the planet’s land area, they harbor about 10 percent of all known species—and undoubtedly many unknown ones.

A satellite image of the Amazon lowlands shows the immense complexity of the constantly changing network of rivers carving their way through the forest landscape.PHOTOGRAPH: JESSE ALLEN/NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY

The idea that shifting rivers can shape bird speciation dates to the 1960s, but most researchers have disregarded the phenomenon as a driver of much diversification for birds or mammals. “For a long time, we really considered the rivers to be kind of static,” said John Bates, a curator at the Field Museum in Chicago, who was not involved in the study. But recently, biologists started paying attention to the louder and louder whispers from the geologists. “One of the most thought-provoking things for biologists was realizing how dynamic the geologists began to think the rivers were,” Bates said. https://www.wired.com/story/reshuffled-rivers-bolster-the-amazons-hyper-biodiversity/  (12 June 2022)

Arizona A rare plant that depends on wetlands for survival is now on the federal endangered species list, a designation that environmentalists say will boost efforts to protect the last free-flowing river in the desert Southwest. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/world/rare-wetland-listed-as-endangered-403177  (12 June 2022)

World Oceans Day Single-use plastic chokes rivers The United Nations observes World Oceans Day on June 8 every year. The theme for World Oceans Day, 2022, is Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s paper— From Pollution to Solution: A Global Assessment of Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution — finds that plastics make up at least 85% of marine litter — the largest and most harmful component. It is estimated that more than 14 million tonne plastic enters the ocean each year. The majority of river-borne plastic enters the ocean from just 10 rivers — eight of these are in Asia. The Yangtze in China contributes 1.5 million metric tonnes of plastic a year. The microplastics are found throughout the water column in ocean.

India’s per-capita generation of plastic waste has almost doubled in the past five years — generating about 3.5 million tonnes of plastic waste each year. A study published in April found that roughly 1,000 rivers account for 80% of the plastic waste flowing into the oceans. Several of the largest rivers — the Indus, Ganges, and the Brahmaputra — had been identified as the most prolific plastic waste carriers. The new study, however, offers a more nuanced view. It found that smaller rivers had a tendency to carry more plastic than larger rivers in heavily populated areas. https://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/science/world-oceans-day-2022-plastic-pollution-un/2552704/  (08 June 2022)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 06 June 2022 & DRP News Bulletin 30 May 2022  

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

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