DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 270622: There are many man made factors behind Assam Floods, Mr CM

(Feature Image:- DDMA, UNICEF and Oxfam have innovated boat-mounted water treatment units to provide life-saving water to the people in need within Silchar & its peripheral areas. Source:- Assam State Disaster Management Authority )

The Assam Chief Minister has called the unprecedented floods in Silchar town along Barak river in South Assam as man-made floods. The reason given is that the breach of embankment along the Barak river in the town was created by some people. It is good to see that the Assam CM Mr Himanta Biswa Sarma has recognised that some of the floods can be due to man made factors. And indeed, investigation followed by action is required in all such cases. But the CM should not limit this to just the breach of Barak embankment or the role of some of the people who may have breached the embankment earlier in May to provide outlet to one of the lakes. The investigation must also look into the role of the water resources department as to why they did not swing into action earlier, both in terms of repair and investigation. .

In fact, according to reports so far, no less than 297 embankments have breached during this monsoon so far already. Many or rather most of them have happened due to systematic neglect and lack of proper maintenance by the water resources department and needs proper investigation and action. There is also an urgent need for assessment of cost benefit and efficacy of the embankments in Assam.

Moreover, as mentioned by a number of experts and editorials in some newspapers mentioned below there are other man made reasons including destruction of forests, wetlands, dumping in and encroachment of rivers, streams and other water bodies, releases from upstream dams, among others that also contribute to worsening the flood situation in Assam each year and needs investigation and action. We hope the Assam government will bring all of these into the mandate of the forthcoming investigation and action about the man made factors in Assam flood disaster.

Assam Floods ‘Man made floods’: CM Himanta Biswa Sarma has said that strong action will be taken against those people who broke the bethukandi embankment, which led rising water from Barak River to enter the Silchar town, causing unprecedented flood. While Silchar faces floods almost every year, this year the situation is very bad, with flood waters reaching roofs of some single floor houses in the largest town in Southern Assam.

– However, this flood has been described as man-made flood by officials and the CM, not natural flood. It is notable that last month, some people had cut the vital embankment to let water from a lake to enter the river. While the water level had risen in May, the embankment was not breached. But the rising wated had flown over the embankment and entered the area. Due to this, the water level of the Mahisha Lake had gone up. As the flood situation was still worrying, the irrigation department had not opened the sluice gate, and the water in the late didn’t recede, even though the water in the Barak river started to recede.

– Due to this, people living in the area had started to dig a pathway for the water to move from the lake to the river. This did solve the problem, and the water level in the lake came down. But this was a big mistake by people, because when the water in the river started to rise again due to non-stop rain earlier this month, there was no embankment to keep the water away from the town. The strong water current quickly widened the drain that was dug through the dyke, and water started to enter Silchar through it. An FIR has been registered with Cachar police in the matter.

–  The WR dept did not take action in time to reverse this. https://www.opindia.com/2022/06/assam-cm-assures-strong-action-for-damaging-embankment-causing-flood-in-silchar/  (25 June 2022)

“Silchar’s flood was man-made. It would not have happened had the embankment at Bethukandi not been breached by some miscreants,” Mr. Sarma told journalists after visiting the flooded town for the second time in less than a week. “The Bethukandi incident is a big lesson for us. The next time there is a flood, we have to post policemen at the embankment so that nobody can breach it,” he said.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/silchar-flood-man-made-says-assam-cm/article65567667.ece  (26 June 2022)

Unprecedented floods submerge Silchar town The Barak river has submerged almost whole of Silchar town, South Assam’s biggest town and gateway to three Barak Valley districts, and even entered the first floor. This has never happened before. Water came suddenly on Monday (June 20, 2022 afternoon) and engulfed all of the town by Tuesday morning. The culprit is a breach at the Bethukandi embankment along the Barak river. The breach sent waters of the river rushing in and submerging the town overnight.

– Locals allege that the embankment was broken in May during the first spell of rains this season. “The river had entered the town and then itself most of the water had accumulated in a natural reservoir near the embankment called Mahisha Beel. Even after the river level had gone down, the reservoir’s sluice gates were not opened for the water to be drained into the river,” said Das, adding that the local residents dug up a pathway so the water had on way to escape. “Now it is the same way through which the water is coming back in.”

However, the scale of the problem is such that even rescue and relief has become a tough challenge for the district administration. Other disaster management officials said that the lack of boats was a major problem and that the administration had to resort to “country boats”. Strong currents, however, were pushing away these boats, making rescue even more challenging. “In the last few days, it was the rain but coupled with the embankment breach, it is a disaster,” said Dipankar Mishra, who owns a cyber cafe in the town’s Shillongpatty area. https://indianexpress.com/article/north-east-india/assam/assam-floods-silchar-rains-death-toll-7983001/  (22 June 2022)

A total of 297 embankments have been breached in 20 districts of Assam, with 33 in Darrang alone, according to the Assam State Disaster Management Flood Report of June 19, 2022. “Only 7 per cent of the districts have updated their disaster management plans (DDMP) until 2020 in Assam, according to our analysis,” said Abinash Mohanty, programme lead of the risks and adaptation team at the CEEW, a Delhi-based think-tank. Ensuring updation of the DDMPs and, more importantly, its practical implementation can help manage floods better.

– “Usually when embankments are breached, villages inside embankments (between the river and embankments) are affected and are supposed to be evacuated. But this year, villages lying outside embankments in Darrang district, the very land the embankments were supposed to protect, were engulfed by floods,” said Nanu Saikia, executive-director of SATRA foundation, an NGO focused on disaster mitigation in villages of Assam. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/natural-disasters/climate-change-poor-planning-why-assam-s-floods-are-getting-worse-83361  (20 June 2022)

One of worst hit areas in Assam floods is Kampur in Nagaon district. 2 policemen, including officer in-charge of Kampur police station, lost their lives in a rescue operation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dieFExDbL7U  (21 June 2022)

“It is the combination of climate change plus the infrastructural interventions that we have done without properly scientifically studying the flood plain,” Mr Rahman says. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-23/south-asia-s-heat-and-floods-spark-fears-over-climate-change/101172804  (23 June 2022)

EDIT in Deccan Herald on June 25, 2022 rightly mentions the role of these factors contributing to flood disaster in Assam: destruction of wetlands, destruction of drainage system, indiscriminate urbanisation, deforestation, mining, dysfunctional embankments, climate change and lack of multidisciplinary approach to flood management. https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/second-edit/acutely-vulnerable-assam-needs-a-plan-1121168.html  (24 June 2022)

THE HINDUSTAN TIMES Editorial on June 23, 2022 rightly highlights that the indiscriminate infrastructure development, deforestation and such actions are also responsible for the current NE floods in addition to climate change impacting rainfall pattern. https://www.hindustantimes.com/editorials/ne-floods-climate-is-not-the-only-villain-101655908074736.html  (22 June 2022)

Local residents say the embankment at Bethukandi was deliberately breached earlier in June to drain out the water from the previous spell of floods in May after the administration did not take any action.

According to data provided by Sunit Das, a senior scientist at the IMD, Silchar received 930 mm of actual rainfall, a departure of 490 mm from the normal, this month till June 21. The heavy rainfall weakened the already damaged dyke and the swollen Barak River could not be contained.

In May, too, heavy pre-monsoon rainfall triggered floods that wreaked havoc in the Barak Valley, especially Cachar district. Choudhury Parthankar, who teaches Ecology and Environmental Science at Assam University, said that excess rainfall in a short duration was to blame for the floods in the Barak Valley in May and June. According to Parthankar, other factors have also played a part – from poor drainage systems and plastic waste to unplanned urbanisation and naturally low-lying areas being constructed over.

Joydeep Biswas who teaches at Cachar College, meanwhile, recalled that floods have hit Silchar in the past as well and while this year’s situation is especially horrifying, no precautions were taken. It appears that no lessons were learnt from past mistakes, he said. https://scroll.in/article/1026724/how-incessant-rain-and-the-barak-river-in-spate-overwhelmed-assams-silchar-town  (23 June 2022)

Assam’s Dhemaji district administration has sought the Lower Siang district administration’s help in addressing the flood problem in Assam’s Silapathar and adjoining areas. During the meeting, the participants resolved to engage the Border Roads Organisation and engineers from both the states to conduct a technical survey. The team will also prepare an action plan to drain out clogged water from Likabali and Silapathar township areas and regulate the perennial streams. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/06/26/assam-seeks-arunachals-help-in-addressing-flood-problem/  (26 June 2022)

जल संसाधन पर संसदीय समिति की 2020-21 की रिपोर्ट में बताया गया है कि असम में 1954 के बाद से लेकिन अब तक बाढ़ की वजह से 4,27,000 हेक्टेयर भूमि का क्षरण हो चुका है, जो राज्य के कुल क्षेत्रफल का लगभग 7 प्रतिशत है और सालाना भूमि कटाव की दर 8,000 हेक्टेयर प्रति वर्ष रही है। इस रिपोर्ट में यह भी चौंकाने वाली बात है कि पिछली शताब्दी में ब्रह्मपुत्र नदी का क्षेत्रफल लगभग दोगुना हो गया है। यानी जमीन का एक बड़ा हिस्सा ब्रह्मपुत्र में समा चुका है।

संसदीय समिति ने केंद्रीय जल शक्ति मंत्रालय से पूछा था कि आखिर असम में आने वाली बाढ़ के क्या इंतजाम किए गए हैं। मंत्रालय की ओर से बताया गया कि बाढ़ की समस्या का दीर्घकालिक समाधान के लिए नदियों और उनकी सहायक नदियों पर अलग-अलग जगह स्टोरेज का इंतजाम करना होगा। साथ ही, ब्रह्मपुत्र पर बने तटबंध काफी पुराने हो चुके हैं, इसलिए नए सिरे से तटबंध बनाने होंगे।

संसदीय समिति ने जब पूछा कि क्या अरुणाचल प्रदेश में बने हाइड्रो प्रोजेक्ट्स की वजह से असम में बाढ़ जैसी समस्या बढ़ी है, तो केंद्रीय मंत्रालय की ओर से जवाब दिया गया कि यह असम और अरुणाचल सरकार के बीच का मसला है और यह काफी जटिल है और केंद्र सरकार केवल मध्यस्थ की भूमिका निभा सकती है। क्योंकि अगर बांध से ही दिक्कत होती तो भाखड़ा या दामोदर जैसे बांध नहीं बनते।

संसदीय समिति ने मंत्रालय से जानना चाहा कि ब्रह्मापुत्र बोर्ड में मैनपावर यानी तकनीकी और गैर तकनीकी स्टाफ कितना है? इसका जवाब भी काफी रोचक था। बताया गया कि ब्रह्मापुत्र बोर्ड में 2016 से बड़ी संख्या में सेवानिवृति हो रही है, जबकि नई भर्तियां बंद हैं, इसलिए बोर्ड में 161 तकनीकी पद स्वीकृत है, लेकिन 61 खाली हैं और 254 गैर तकनीकी पद स्वीकृत हैं, जबकि 168 पद खाली हैं। इस कमी की वजह से ब्रह्मपुत्र बोर्ड का काम प्रभावित हो रहा है। https://www.downtoearth.org.in/hindistory/natural-disasters/flood/assam-floods-every-year-eight-thousand-hectares-of-land-is-being-eroded-83394  (22 June 2022)

Silchar, the 2nd biggest city of Assam. It’s been affected destructively by #floods. “Floods in Assam”, has been a always a biggest challenge and problem every year. Poor infrastructure and management has lead the life miserable. No water to drink, no food to eat, no electricity for lights, no medicine to treat ailments… And many more…

The #Savenortheast campaign along with @thereisnoearthb and many others are raising funds for the #floodreliefs #silchar. This video contains their plan of action.

They need your help and support. Help raise funds. Help share the post. Help by reposting the post. Help tagging your friends and family. Help the way you can. The people at #silchar  needs your help. https://www.instagram.com/tv/CfNqtrAFpQX/?igshid=MDJmNzVkMjY

Flood level in River Kushiyara which is part of Barak & other rivers basin at Karimganj level forecast site in Karimganj district has reached 16.49 m at 18:00 hrs on 20.06.2022 and missed breaching HFL (16.57 m dated 10.06.2010) by 0.08 m. The river is still in SEVERE FLOOD situation.

River Barak at Fulertal level forecast site in Cachar district has breached previous HFL (26.39 m dated 21.07.2004) by 0.04 m and setting up new HFL 26.43 m at 01:00 hrs on 21.06.2022. The flood level stayed over previous HFL for about 17 hrs. The river is still flowing in SEVERE FLOOD situation.

After flowing in EXTREME FLOOD situation for 144 hours (from 16:00 hours, 16.06.2022 to 16:00 hours, 22.06.2022), water level in Kopili river at Kampur site in Nagaon has come down below old HFL (61.79 m attained on 20.07.2004). New HFL 62.2 m attained at 14:00 hours on 18.06.2022 is 0.44 m higher than the previous HFL. With 61.56 m flood level at 11:00 hours on 23.06.2022, the river is still in SEVERE FLOOD situation.

Kopili river at Kampur level forecast site in Nagaon district continues to be in EXTREME FLOOD situation for past (5 days) 120 hours. The river had breached HFL 61.79 m dated 20.07.2004 at 16:00 hrs on 16.06.2022 setting up new HFL 62.2 m at 14:00 hrs on 18.06.2022. Before this, the old HFL was breached at 16:00 hours on 15.05.2022 reaching peak of 62.17 m at 21:00 hrs on 18.05.2022 & the flood level stayed above old HFL for more than 6 days (149 hrs).

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

SANDRP Blog Fatal Disaster at Shongtong Hydro in Himachal Pradesh in June 2022 Two workers of 450 MW Shongtong hydropower Project were killed when the trolley they were using overturned inside the tunnel of the under-construction project near Ralli in Kalpa Tehsil of Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. The police have registered a case in connection with the incident. https://sandrp.in/2022/06/22/fatal-disaster-at-shongtong-hydro-in-himachal-pradesh-in-june-2022/   (22 June 2022)

Assam Subansiri dam accident claims worker’s life A worker died on Monday when a steel rib being fixed on to the roof of a headrace tunnel in NHPC’s under-construction Subansiri (Lower) dam fell on him. Talking to TOI, a project official said the deceased worker, Jitu Hatibarua, was first rushed to the hospital at the project site. Hatibarua died on the way while being shifted to the district hospital from there.

The company was expecting to operationalize the first two units producing 500 MW (250MW x 2) of clean power by August but due to early rain, the date could be postponed by a couple of months, the official said. The complete project covering all the eight units is set to be commissioned in August next year. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/guwahati/assam-subansiri-dam-accident-claims-workers-life/articleshow/92049000.cms  (07 June 2022)

Arunachal Pradesh New dam project may cost India ₹1.13 tn NHPC’s planned 10GW Upper Siang HEP could cost Rs 1.13 Tn ($14.5 B), clearly an unviable project. Prefeasibility report of the project is being prepared now. NHPC CMD claims, without substance, that if reservoirs are build on Siang, Subansiri, Lohit and Dibang, the water level of Brahmaputra during peak floods could be reduced by 1.8-2 m, which means, he says, there wont be any floods! https://www.livemint.com/politics/news/arunachal-dam-project-may-cost-india-1-13-tn-11655746016904.html  (21 June 2022)

Govt notifies LADF for hydropower projects-affected people; faces opposition from PAFs Hydropower (Monitoring) Chief Engineer RK Joshi informed that the LADF will be implemented in all the existing as well as new projects. “We have combined government of India guidelines with those adopted by hill states like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. However, the guidelines for Arunachal have been modified, keeping in mind the interests of the local areas,” said Joshi.

He said that the LADF will be implemented by a state-level committee headed by the hydropower commissioner. “But the DC, along with project-affected people will decide the kinds of projects that need to be taken up at the ground,” the CE said. He added that the feedback received from the DCs of districts like Lower Subansiri and Papum Pare, which are affected by the Ranganadi and the Pare hydroelectric projects, were taken into consideration while preparing the guidelines.

Meanwhile, the Ranganadi Hydroelectric Project MoU Demand Committee (RHEPMDC) has rejected the constitution of the LADC. The RHEPMDC claimed that, as per the NHPP-2008, Clause 10.1 (h), “the LADC must compose of a district collector as chairman, the head of the project as a member from power developers, one male member from PAF as a member from PAF family, and one female member from PAF as member from PAF family.”

“We object to the inclusion of different HoDs of the districts concerned as they have no connection to the aspirations of local PAFs and are against the spirit and provisions of the NHHP-2008. We also object to the inclusion of PRIs as 2 percent LADF is exclusively for project-affected areas (PAA). The inclusion of these bodies will only politicise the fund meant for the land donors,” the RHEPMDC stated, reacting to the notification.

It further said that “the government must understand that PAF members in LADC will be the only link between power developers and PAFs and the LADF is exclusively meant for PAAs.” “We strongly object to this composition of LADC. This is discriminatory in nature and goes against the promise made by CM Pema Khandu in 2017. After waiting for five years, we are very much hurt by this one-sided discriminatory act of the state government,” the RHEPMDC added. The RHEPMDC also warned that, in case the government neglects its concern, it would “take the next course of action as a guardian of aspirations of PAFs of the state’s first 405 mw mega hydro project.” https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/06/27/govt-notifies-ladf-for-hydropower-projects-affected-people-faces-opposition-from-pafs/  (27 June 2022)

Tamil Nadu Report ready for 3 hydropower units TN Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) has received a pre-feasibility report from a private consultant on setting up three hydropower stations with a combined capacity of 2,500 MW in Tamil Nadu. A senior Tangedco official said the corporation had on January 25 asked the consultant to prepare the report to establish 1,000 MW capacity Pumped Storage Hydropower Stations each in Upper Bhavani and Sandy Nalla and a 500 MW unit in Sigur in the Nilgiris. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/jun/24/report-ready-for-three-hydropower-units-in-tn-2469031.html  (24 June 2022)

Meghalaya AITC for periodic release of water through Umiam dam The floodgates of Umiam dam must be opened periodically to release the accumulated water and not in one go as it would affect the farming community residing downstream, according to Opposition chief whip and Umroi MLA George B Lyngdoh.  https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/06/19/aitc-for-periodic-release-of-water-through-umiam-dam/  (19 June 2022)

AITC on June 19 accused the state government of doing too little, too late to mitigate the sufferings of the people affected by the natural calamity. “The state government has always been caught slumbering and the way the Disaster Management minister has handled the disaster is a disaster in itself,” AITC state leader George B Lyngdoh said. Going all out against the government, Lyngdoh said, “Having inexperienced hand run important departments like Revenue and Disaster Management is proof of the government’s shoddy attitude with regard to tackling disaster management.” https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/06/20/disaster-management-a-disaster-in-itself/  (20 June 2022)

Report Decline in hydro capacity addition & generation The authors agree: “the share of hydropower capacity and its share in a total generation is in terminal decline”, share of private sector in hydro installed capacity is lowest at less than 10%, “both capacity addition and generation (of hydropower projects) fell to about 1 percent in 2007-2019.”. Its claim that share of hydropower in total generation is over 11% is wrong. It paddles a lot of misconceptions about Run of River Hydropower projects. The attempt to push private sector role is unlikely to succeed, the report does not even mention the economic non-viability of the hydropower projects. https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak/growth-of-hydropower-in-india/ (24 Jun 2022)

DAMS

Shahpur Kandi project J&K, Punjab Govts to hold monthly progress review. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/todays-paper/front-page/shahpur-kandi-dam-project-jk-punjab-govts-to-hold-monthly-progress-review  (26 June 2022)

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Maharashtra Tribals Protest In Nashik Over Forest Rights, River Linking Plan Thousands of tribals held a protest in Nashik on Monday (June 20) demanding implementation of Forest Rights Act and the cancellation of the Nar-Par river linking project. The protesters, who marched to the divisional revenue commissioner’s office under former MLA JP Gavit, also sought completion of water supply schemes under Jal Jeevan Mission, cancellation of bogus recruitment for tribal posts etc. https://www.outlookindia.com/national/tribals-protest-in-nashik-over-forest-rights-river-linking-plan-news-203543  (20 June 2022)

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

Cauvery Water Disputes The 16th meeting of the Cauvery Water Management Authority, will was supposed to be on June 23 in Delhi, has been postponed to July 6 at the request of the Tamil Nadu government. The decision was taken after Tamil Nadu protested that Mekadatu should not be discussed at the Cauvery Management Commission meeting. https://www.dtnext.in/tamilnadu/2022/06/21/cwma-meeting-deferred-to-be-held-on-july-6  (21 June 2022)

IRRIGATION

Punjab Irrigation Scam: Vigilance bureau seeks nod for probe against 3 former IAS officers To further investigate the multi-crore irrigation scam during SAD-BJP combine’s 10-year stint, the Punjab vigilance bureau (VB) has sought prior permission of the state vigilance secretary under the Prevention of Corruption Act to look into allegations against former chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal, former special chief secretary KBS Sidhu and former secretary Kahan Singh Pannu.

The role of then SAD ministers Janmeja Singh Sekhon and Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Sekhon’s personal assistant Dhiman and Dhillon’s OSD Sehajpreet Mangat is also under VB scanner for allegedly taking bribe for favouring contractor Gurinder Singh who was illegally allotted works amounting to over Rs 1,200-crore. The FIR was registered on August 17, 2017, during the first year of the Congress regime under the Prevention of Corruption Act and other IPC sections. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/irrigation-scam-punjab-vigilance-bureau-seeks-nod-for-probe-against-3-former-ias-officers/articleshow/92446232.cms  (25 June 2022)

Ensure canal water throughout year: Kirti Kisan Union Members of the Kirti Kisan Union (KKU) said a massive protest would be organised on June 30 at Chandigarh against the growing water crisis in the state. They demanded that toxic substances being dumped in canals by some industries should be stopped and said the Dam Safety Act must be repealed. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/ensure-canal-water-throughout-year-farm-union-405320  (20 June 2022)

Uttar Pradesh A 22 year old small farmer was killed in dispute over irrigation from tubewell in Sitapur-Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh on June 15, 2022. https://www.gaonconnection.com/uttar-pradesh/ground-water-crisis-irrigation-system-canal-uttar-pradesh-sugarcane-paddy-cultivation-ground-report-50957  (24 June 2022)

The canal irrigation network in Uttar Pradesh measures upto 74,660 kilometres and includes rajbaha (smaller canals) and drains. Still, almost 78% of irrigation needs are met by groundwater, the levels of which are fast dropping. Water conflicts around irrigation are getting violent and such clashes have left a farmer dead in the past week. https://www.gaonconnection.com/lead-stories/irrigation-uttar-pradesh-groundwater-crisis-shortage-clashes-farmers-water-levels-falling-data-canals-heatwave-diesel-prices-tubewell-sugarcane-paddy-50956   (24 June 2022)

Jammu & Kashmir Unavailability of irrigation water in Pulwama Unavailability of irrigation water is badly affecting paddy fields in several villages of Pulwama district. The affected people said the paddy saplings planted on hundreds of kanals of land are drying up due to defunct lift irrigation schemes and pumps. This is affecting thousands of families. The residents of Begpora, Ghat, Tokuna, Gulzarpora, Padgampora and Dogripora, and Chersu are unable to irrigate their paddy fields due to unavailability of water.

According to residents of Begpira, they had planted paddy saplings in their fields but after a week, lift irrigation plant stopped working as level of water in river decreased. They alleged that the concerned department is not serious to resolve the problem. “The situation is leading towards drought and we might face starvation,” locals said. They said that the situation is affecting the residents badly as their only source of income and livelihood is the agriculture lands. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/kashmir/unavailability-of-irrigation-water-paddy-fields-badly-affected-in-pulwama-villages  (15 June 2022)

URBAN RIVERS

SANDRP Blog Top 10 RFDs 2022: Destroying Rivers, Livelihoods The Central and various state governments have been pushing big budget River Front Developments (RFD) projects as panacea for all the urban water woes. In reality, these are River destruction projects with the objective of encroaching on river floodplain and even river beds of Urban Rivers. These RFDs have been failing to deliver on proposed claims and resulting in waste of public money apart from causing more damages to urban rivers eco-system and livelihoods of dependent communities.

The projects are also multiplying the Urban Flood potential. In reality, India urgently requires an Urban River Policy as a subset of Urban Water Policy to guide how to treat urban water and urban rivers. This compilation highlights situation of ten such RFD projects in the country which are failing miserably and facing stiff resistance from concerned citizens and dependent people during last one year or so. https://sandrp.in/2022/06/21/river-front-development-projects-damaging-rivers-wasting-public-money/  (21 June 2022)

Musi; Hyderabad Broken river fencing poses risk to pedestrians The broken fencing of Musi River at Puranapul till Shamshan Ghat road is posing risk to the pedestrians and motorists. A few days ago a lorry fell down in Musi river leading to a person’s death. Years ago the GHMC had constructed fencing on the bankment of the Musi river to protect people and prevent the dumping of waste. But a part of the fencing was broken and the people in Pardiwala and Municipal authorities are dumping garbage in the Musi river due to which the area has turned into a dumping ground. https://www.siasat.com/hyderabad-broken-musi-river-fencing-pose-risk-to-pedestrians-2357548/  (26 June 2022)

Shambhavi, Mangaluru River likely to get polluted due to upcoming Balkunje industrial area Primary notification for land acquisition is published in order to set up an industrial zone on 1,091 acres of land at Balkunje. The survey work and objections of farmers is in the process. If the project goes through as planned, hundreds of families will lose their livelihood from agriculture. On the other hand Shambhavi river which flows nearby will be polluted and pose serious health issues for people and environment. Phalguni river is already polluted due to industries in MSEZ. The death of tonnes of fish in the river is the witness for this fact. Shambhavi river will meet the same fate, if the Balkunje industrial zone project gets established. https://daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=972922  (26 June 2022)

RIVERS

India Rivers Forum invites nominations for Bhagirath Prayaas Samman Award & Shri Anupam Mishra Memorial Medal as part of India Rivers Week 2022. Last date for submission of nominations September 30th, 2022. Send your completed forms to indiariversforum@gmail.com; See www.indiariversforum.org  for reference to past awards.

Study India’s rivers are heating up due to climate change Climate change may turn India’s rivers into hostile environments for aquatic life by 2070-2100, scientists warned in a new study.  River water temperatures may increase during the period and dissolved oxygen levels may decrease, the study published in Scientific Reports has predicted. Under a high-emissions scenario, average river water temperatures are expected to climb 7 degrees Celsius in summer, reaching close to 35°C by 2070-2100, Rehana Shaik, assistant professor at the International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Hyderabad and one of the authors of the study said.

– The study covered seven Indian basins: Ganga, Narmada, Cauvery, Sabarmati, Tungabhadra, Musi and Godavari. Currently, the average river water temperature varies between basins. “For example, it is 30.34°C in Cauvery and 27.97°C in Musi,” M Rajesh, a PhD student with the hydroclimatic research group at IIIT, Hyderabad, said. He is one of the authors of the study. Lack of river flow data in different rivers, locations and seasons is a major problem in the research. The algorithm predicted that the summer river water temperature for the Cauvery, Godavari, Tungabhadra, Sabarmati, Musi, Ganga and Narmada basins are expected to increase by 0.5°C, 1.9°C, 3.1°C, 3.8°C, 5.8°C, 7.3°C and 7.8°C, respectively, from 2071-2100. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/india-s-rivers-are-heating-up-due-to-climate-change-shows-study-83407  (23 June 2022)

Jammu & Kashmir Springs spring hope While springs in Kashmir have still retained their good quality and have a great potential to be used for drinking water, threats to them are growing. Their protection and sustainable management is crucial. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/springs-spring-hope-kashmir-himalayas  (21 June 2022)

BRAHMAPUTRA River Reflections By Sanjoy Hazarika The uncertainty of life and livelihoods is forcing many to migrate from the temporary silt islands, locally known as chars or saporis. https://www.indiaspend.com/river-reflections/assam-soil-erosion-migration-brahmaputra-flood-823388  (25 June 2022)

SUTLEJ Punjab Textile mill threat looming on floodplain forest One the one hand, the government has unfortunately chosen the most eco-sensitive area of Ludhiana to build an industrial park.

On the other hand, little priority is given to the flood plains of Sutlej, water quality of Sutlej, drinking water issues of South Punjab, biodiversity of Mattewara, forests of Punjab, underground water of Punjab – the list goes on!  This deep denial of people’s health as well as climate change does not bode well for Punjab’s future. https://warriormomsindia.wordpress.com/2022/06/22/mattewara-sacred-no-longer/  (22 June 2022)

GANGA Uttarakhand 1 km-long lake formed near Pindari glacier due to landslides Scientists and experts in Uttarakhand doing survey work at Pindari glacier, have stumbled upon a v-shaped lake that is a km-long and 50-m wide which has formed near Bageshwar’s Kuwari village (situated at an altitude of about 1,700 m) because of landslides in the area in 2013 and 2019.

ToI Image

– Due to the impact of the landslides and the lake, the hill slope on which the village is located is slowly sliding down and obstructing the natural flow of the Pindar river, which merges into the Alaknanda at Karnaprayag in Chamoli, an official from the Bageshwar district administration, said, “Though the water from the lake is seeping naturally right now, it may cause a massive flash flood later, leading to severe damage in settlements along the Pindar and Alaknanda river.”

– He added, “The lake has formed near the Pindar river, around Kuwari village in Kapkot block. Due to landslides in 2013, the village had already been affected. But after 2019, the landslides intensified. Due to this, the village would soon be completely destroyed as the whole hill slope is sliding down. This has also further increased the blockade, trapping more water in the lake… There was no immediate danger” due to the lake. “But the monsoon season may pose a danger as we don’t know the depth of the lake. A cloud burst or heavy rain spell may cause flash floods. If that happens, the damage could be substantial in Chamoli district’s Karnprayag town, where the Pindar river merges into Alaknanda. The district administration is taking required measures to ensure that there is no loss of life in case of a tragedy,” said the official. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/1-km-long-lake-formed-near-pindari-glacier-due-to-landslides/articleshow/92460736.cms  (26 June 2022)

Environment advocates are deeply concerned about the ongoing construction of a helipad near Sri Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara at Joshimath tehsil of Chamoli district. Concerns are being raised over the environmental damage the helipad project is likely to cause in this highly vulnerable area. Surrounded by seven mountain peaks and glacial lakes, the shrine at 13,650 feet is surrounded by many glaciers. Not far from it is the Valley of Flowers, the UNESCO world heritage site where the rarest of rare flower species grow at high altitudes. https://www.newsclick.in/uttarakhand-environment-concerns-new-helipad-shri-hemkund-shrine  (24 June 2022)

The Botanical Survey of India and the forest department of Uttarakhand have discovered a carnivore plant, Utricularia Furcellata, in Mandal, Chamoli district, at an altitude of around 4,800 feet. This is the first time that the plant has been spotted anywhere in the entire western Himalayas. The recent discovery of the plant has been documented by ‘Japanese Botany’, a 104-year-old prestigious Japanese journal. The plant was last seen in the country in Meghalaya in 1986, 37 years ago. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/in-a-1st-in-western-himalayas-carnivore-plant-spotted/articleshow/92461474.cms  (26 June 2022)

वाराणसी  गंगा में लगातार हादसे, बीएचयू के विशेषज्ञ ने बताया क्यों खतरनाक हो रहे घाट गंगा घाटों पर लगातार हो रहे हादसों से लोग चिंतित हैं। स्नान के दौरान डूबने की घटनाए तेजी से बढ़ रही हैं। बीएचयू के विशेषज्ञ ने इसके पीछे गंगा की धारा से छेड़छाड़ को कारण बताया है।

– प्रयागराज से काशी तक गंगा सर्पाकार में बहती हैं। कई इलाकों में नदी की धारा में भारी मोड़ है। बनारस में गंगा प्रवेश करने के बाद विश्वसुंदरी पुल से टकराती हैं। इसका बहाव रामनगर किले से टकराता है। चूंकि किला के नीचे कंकड़ और मजबूत पत्थर हैं, इसलिए किले पर ज्यादा प्रभाव नहीं पड़ता है। किला से टकराकर बहाव आगे बढ़ने पर सामनेघाट पुल से टकराता है। यह टकराव कई प्रकार से घाटों को प्रभावित कर रहा है। https://www.livehindustan.com/uttar-pradesh/story-frequent-accidents-in-ganga-of-varanasi-bhu-expert-told-why-ghats-are-becoming-dangerous-6690566.html  (25 June 2022)

Sundaram Singh on FB post comment:- मोकामा क्षेत्र के पास विगत दो महीनों में तकरीबन 15 लोगों के गंगा में डूबने से मौत हुई है।यह गंगा में ड्रेजिंग की वजह से हुई है।

The fate of 50 MLD Ramna STP built spending over Rs 150 crore was writ large from basic planning phase however the concerned agencies seem to have deliberately kept ignoring the ground realities. https://sandrp.in/2021/11/11/uttar-pradesh-curious-case-of-ramna-stp-in-kashi/  (11 Nov 2022)

Kanpur Agency cleaning Ganga ghats awaits contract extension The Central government is spending crores of rupee under several schemes to clean the Ganga but red tapism and inert attitude of government officials is turnong to be the biggest hurdle in accomplishing this task. The ghats of three cities, Kanpur, Bithoor and Prayagraj, could not be cleaned since June 1, as the agency involved in this job did not get the extension of its contract from National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).

The condition of almost all the ghats of Kanpur and Bithoor are getting worse day-by-day. Vishal Protection Company had signed a three-year contract with the state government through NMCG to keep these ghats clean with a provision of two years’ extension. It was a tripartite agreement of Vishal Protection, NMCG and Kanpur Municipal Corporation (KMC). The KMC’s role is to monitor the agency’s work.

Vishal Protection Company’s official Vikas Dixit told TOI that as three years of the contract had expired on May 31 this year, the two-year extension should begin from June 1 but neither NMCG nor KMC have given any instructions. Due to shortage of funds, the agency has stopped the work on ghats and is waiting for some communication to this effect. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kanpur/agency-cleaning-ganga-ghats-awaits-contract-extension/articleshow/92324164.cms  (20 Jan. 2022)

West Bengal A Transboundary River calls for Attention The Mathabhanga river is a transboundary river between Bangladesh and West Bengal. Due to the effluents released by Carew and Co., a state-owned sugar mill in Bangladesh, the water has become heavily polluted. It has adversely impacted the health and livelihood of the people of Chandpur and nearby areas. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3fo6Vb5y5A  (24 June 2022)

YAMUNA Faridabad 800 MLD untreated waste being dumped in Yamuna With around 400 MLD of untreated sewage passing daily into the Yamuna in the city a matter of concern, the SPCB authorities have directed the district officials to launch an immediate action plan in this regard. The civic body has already been warned of a heavy penalty regarding the alleged violations, it is claimed. The directions to ensure a complete ban on such an activity came up during a recent meeting chaired by the HSPCB Chairperson P Raghuvender Rao.

The STPs at Mirjapur, Pratapgarh and Badshahpur villages in the district, set up over 2 decades ago under the Yamuna Action Plan, are lying non-functional as the infrastructure has suffered due to poor upkeep, said an official of the civic body, who added that the disposal had been mainly through Gonchhi drain and Budhiya Nala, the main outlet drains in the city. “The failure to keep up with the requirements and norms had made the NGT to announce a penalty of Rs 5 lakh per STP in September 2019 and since the Municipal Corporation Faridabad (MCF) has failed to comply with the norms, the penalty amount has soared to Rs 5 crore,’’ said an official. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/untreated-waste-being-dumped-in-yamuna-state-pollution-board-orders-action-plan-407015  (26 June 2022)

SAND MINING

Madhya Pradesh Govt plans to make mining legal in parts of Chambal sanctuary The Madhya Pradesh government has proposed to open 292 hectares for mining in five stretches on Chambal and its tributary Parvati rivers. Sand mining has been banned in the sanctuary since 2006. In a December 2021 proposal submitted to the MoEF-CC, the state said opening up the five stretches would minimise the conflict with illegal miners, gain local support, and fetch revenue from royalty, a fourth of which can be used to strengthen protection.

– Additionally, the proposal sought to make the contractors of the soon-to-be legal quarries responsible for checking illegal mining on adjacent sanctuary land four times their leased areas, failing which their leases would be terminated. Denotifying 292 hectares for mining would bring 1,168 hectares under the miners’ protection.

– The Madhya Pradesh forest department, records show, started working on the proposal on July 13, 2021, a day before transferring the then superintendent of NCS who made headlines for seizing 78 vehicles engaged in illegal quarrying and facing multiple attacks allegedly from the mining mafia during her three-month stint.

– The standing committee of the MoEF-CC’s National Board for Wildlife (SC-NBWL) has considered the proposal at its last two meetings on March 25 and May 30. A committee set up by the SC-NBWL to examine the proposal visited Chambal last week. “We have seen the areas and will submit our report before the next SC-NBWL meeting,” said NBWL member HS Singh.

– “Such measures have not stopped rampant illegal mining in Chambal due to weak enforcement. Our experience in the neighbourhood tells that every legal mine allows a dozen illegal ones in the vicinity to manipulate papers and move their load as legal material,” said conservation biologist Dr Dharmendra Khandal.

– Spread across three states, National Chambal Sanctuary (NCS) runs along a total stretch of 435 km of Chambal and its tributary Parvati in Madhya Pradesh. An important bird habitat, NCS is home to the critically endangered gharials, river dolphins, mugger crocodiles and several rare turtle species.  https://indianexpress.com/article/india/end-illegal-mining-mp-legal-parts-of-chambal-sanctuary-7980795/  (21 June 2022)

Haryana Minister inspects sites along Yamuna Mining and Transport Minister Mool Chand Sharma has ordered action to curb illegal mining on the riverbed of the Yamuna river in the district. Sharma, who carried out a visit-cum-raid at some of the spots located in Baghpur, Rajupur and Doshpur villages lying on the banks of the Yamuna river today, found traces of the illegal mining and stealing of the sand from the areas. Admitting that illegal mining had failed to stop despite instructions passed by the authorities, he said he would ensure strict curbs on the activity it was causing losses to the state exchequer. Though the auction of a total of seven mining pits or spots located in Palwal and Faridabad has already been held and given to the agencies after a formal process, an approval from the Union Ministry of Environment was still awaited and this had held up formal mining. He said some unauthorised persons had been engaged in illegal mining of the sand, which is used in construction work. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/to-stop-illegal-mining-minister-inspects-sites-along-yamuna-405353  (20 June 2022)

Karnataka Traditional sand extractors question NGT order on barring sand extraction The traditional sand extractors on Wednesday (June 08) accused Dakshina Kannada district administration, Mines and Geology Department of denying them the right to extract sand from the coastal regulatory zone areas in river. This step of district administration has caused severe hardship to several families, who are solely reliant on traditional sand extraction. “We are planning to submit a representation to the Chief Secretary,” Mr. Panchame and Mr. Sunil said.

In its order on May 19, the NGT’s Southern Bench in Chennai said that the sand removed from sand bars of rivers in the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) should not be sold. At the most, it can be used for levelling low-lying areas of the river bed, sand nourishment in beaches and strengthening of river bunds. It also said the State Government should stop the practice of collecting nominal amount from permit holders and allowing them to sell sand outside as it tantamounts to that amounts to mining of sand, which is prohibited under the CRZ notification.

Mr. Ullal claimed the NGT’s order applied only to Udupi district and not to Dakshina Kannada. They are prevailing upon the State Government to file an appeal against the NGT’s judgement. The members of forum will discuss the issue with their counterparts in Udupi and consider approaching the Supreme Court on the issue, he said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/traditional-sand-extractors-question-ngt-order-on-barring-sand-extraction/article65508562.ece  (09 June 2022)

Punjab Report on sand mining after budget Mines and geology minister Harjot Singh Bains said in the Vidhan Sabha on Saturday (June 25) that he will present a detailed report on illegal sand mining after Monday’s (June 27) state budget and lay a roadmap for generating revenue and preventing this mineral robbery. The minister said the state government had earned more than Rs 30 crore from mining in the last three months and booked 270 people. Sand is worth Rs 26 to 28 and gravel is worth Rs 29 to 30 in the state, for each cubic feet. Bains said this in reply to a question from former mines minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/report-on-sand-mining-after-budget/articleshow/92463732.cms  (26 June 2022)

Uttarakhand यमकेश्वर में खनन माफियाओं का आतंक बैरागढ़ में खनन माफियाओं का आतंक इतना बढ़ गया है खुले आम स्थानीय लोगो के साथ मार पीट व जान लेने पर उतारू हैं कल रात्रि 11 बजे अवैध खनन होने पर जोगियाना (बैरागढ़) में प्रधान पति व स्थानीय ग्रामीण ने रात्रि में जब 10 डंपरों से अवैध खनन कर रहे लोगों को रोकने का प्रयास किया तो उनको बुरी तरह मारा, हाथ पैर बांधकर उन्हें गाड़ी में डालकर आईडीपीएल ऋषिकेश में उतार दिया साथ ही खुले आम देख लेने की धमकी दी। पहले भी इन्ही खनन माफियाओं ने स्थानीय लोगो पर डंपर भी चढ़ा दिया था मगर प्रशासन के लोगो ने खनन माफियाओं के साथ मिल कर मामले को दबा दिया था। https://mankhi.com/terror-of-mining-mafia-in-bairagarh-of-yamkeshwar-late-night-hostage-assault-on-protesting-villagers-head-husband-admitted-to-hospital/  (27 June 2022)

Rajasthan Govt clears mining of pink sandstone for Ram temple Govt has issued environmental clearances to 37 Letter of Intent holders for restarting mining in Bharatpur district’s Bansi Paharpur region, whose pink sandstone will be used to construct the Ayodhya Ram Temple, a state official said. The Centre had earlier granted in-principle approval for the diversion of 398 hectares of forest land in Bharatpur for mining.

Additional Chief Secretary (Mines) Subodh Agarwal said in a statement Friday (June 24) that the legal mining of pink and red stone has already begun this month in three mines in the region. Agarwal said the state’s EIA Committee had issued clearance to 37 Letter of Intent holders, paving for legal mining of sandstone in Banshi Paharpur after nearly 26 years.

Legal mining in the area had stopped from December 1996 after a Supreme Court order prohibiting non-forestry activities without diversion. Last year, a standing committee of the Rajasthan Wildlife Board, headed by the Chief Minister, cleared a proposal to shift the sanctuary “southwestward” to exclude three forest blocks damaged “irreparably” by mining. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/jaipur/after-diverting-forest-land-rajasthan-clears-mining-of-pink-sandstone-for-ram-temple-7989613/  (26 June 2022)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

Tamil Nadu Plea challenges transfer of wetland to Indian Statistical Institute The Madras High Court has directed the State government to respond to a writ petition challenging the revenue department’s order to transfer a wetland to the Indian Statistical Institute. On May 16, 2014, the revenue department classified 38 acres of land adjoining Buckingham Canal in Karapakkam village in Sholinganallur taluk of Chennai as poramboke land, of which 8 acres were transferred to establish the Indian Statistical Institute. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/jun/19/plea-challenges-transfer-of-wetland-toindian-statistical-institute-2467270.html  (19 June 2022)

Maharashtra Mumbai green activists say wetlands put on back burner City-based green activists claim that the state government is refusing to address their complaints. As many as 165 complaints have piled up with the High Court-appointed wetlands and mangrove protection committees, which are scheduled to meet next Monday after a gap of over four months. The last meeting of the all-important committees was held on January 25, 2022, though they are supposed to meet regularly to attend to complaints and ensure protection of wetlands and mangroves as per separate High Court orders. The green activists and groups also alleged that the state environment department, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and the coastal zone management authority have skipped these meetings for over two-and-half years. https://origin.mid-day.com/amp/mumbai/mumbai-news/article/mumbai-green-activists-say-wetlands-put-on-back-burner-23232160  (19 June 2022)

In a significant development towards maintaining the Flamingo City’s biodiversity, Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has decided to conserve the 30-acre wetland DPS Lake at Nerul as a bird destination. The NMMC also agreed to a suggestion from environmentalists to write to the government and CIDCO to handover the twin wetlands of NRI and TS Chanakya to the civic body for conservation. Responding to a suggestion from NatConnect Foundation to take over and maintain the wetlands, NMMC Commissioner Abhijit Bangar said the civic body is in talks with BNHS to work together on protecting DPS Lake, one of the flamingo destinations. NatConnect has earlier submitted a written request to NMMC for conserving the wetlands as per the BNHS research reports to save them as wildlife mitigation measures for the Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA) and Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL). https://www.deccanherald.com/national/flamingo-city-navi-mumbai-to-conserve-wetland-as-bird-destination-1116071.html  (07 June 2022)

Open gym construction along wetland enrages Kharghar residents Several residents and environment activists have taken up the issue with authorities including the Panvel City Municipal Corporation (PCMC), CIDCO and the State Ministry. The gym is also on a CRZ buffer area, accepted CIDCO. The open gym on the wetland was constructed by the PCMC on the proposal of BJP corporator Sanjana Kadam.

An officer from CIDCO said, “When we got to know about it, we escalated the matter with PCMC and said that no such funds should be released to develop anything to construct on wetlands. The corporation has promised to look into this as it flouts the CRZ norms.” Meanwhile, the BJP Corporator defended the project by saying that the residents loved the open gym and it was built as per their demand. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/open-gym-construction-along-wetland-enrages-kharghar-residents-environmentalists-101655475024388.html  (17 June 2022)

Kerala Kuttanad: The next vanishing wetland? Kuttanad, a unique wetland complex in central Kerala, is under severe ecological threat from both climate change and policy impasse. A land that lies below sea level, it has been studied and debated intensely over the years. Kuttanad is the downstream deltaic formation of five inflowing rivers that originate in the Western ghats. These rivers debouch into the Vembanad Lake, one of the largest brackish-water lakes in the country, which flows into the Lakshadweep Sea at Kochi. It thus forms part of the ecological continuum that links the Western ghats and the sea. https://frontline.thehindu.com/environment/will-kuttanad-be-the-next-vanishing-wetland/article65546163.ece  (26 June 2022)

Jammu & Kashmir Govt to develop non-motorable walkway around Wular Lake In this regard earlier this year, Forest, Ecology and Environment Department issued an order which reads, “Administrative approval is accorded to the construction of non-motorable walkway around Wular Lake from Banyari bridge to Naaz Nallah (Phase1) including approach road to Delta park at a technical vetted cost of Rs 19.42 Cr to be completed in two working seasons.”

Over 640 kanals of the Wular Lake – South Asia’s one of the largest freshwater lakes – have been encroached upon, divisional administration here has revealed. “In total, 640 kanals of land is under encroachment including the government authorized/accommodated Sher colony. It was apprised that there was approximately 90 kanals of land under encroachment situated at outer parameters of the Wular lake out of which encroachment at 10 kanals have been removed,” reads an official note of a meeting chaired by Divisional Commissioner on conditions of wetlands in Kashmir. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/todays-paper/front-page/govt-to-develop-non-motorable-walkway-around-wular-lake  (27 June 2022)

Rajasthan Udaipur’s ‘bird village’ set to be declared wetland Recognised as the “bird village” following community-driven conservation efforts, Menar in Udaipur district is set to be notified as Rajasthan’s new wetland. This will pave the way for getting the Ramsar site status for this rural heartland of the Mewar region. The two lakes in the village – the Brahma and Dhandh – play host to a large number of migratory birds in the winter season every year.

The State government’s Forest Department has initiated the process for notification of Menar as a wetland, which will recognise its role in the storage of sediment and nutrients and enable the local authorities to maintain the Brahma and Dhandh lakes. With the status of wetland, the two lakes will be strengthened for increasing vegetation of aquatic plants and protecting biodiversity.

Image Source: The Hindu

The villagers in Menar, situated 45 km away from Udaipur, have built a healthy ecosystem for birds during the last four years with activities such as patrolling, rescue of injured birds and reporting any attempts for poaching. Menar sarpanch Pramod Kumar Dholi told The Hindu that the volunteers known as Pakshi Mitras (friends of birds) were maintaining the lakes as a safe haven for birds.

Mr. Dholi said the villagers had stopped using water from the lakes for irrigation and started regular weeding to get rid of water hyacinth, while the panchayat had prohibited fishing in the water bodies. “When the water level declines in summer, we fill the lakes with water through tankers for saving the fish and birds. Pakshi Mitras have also taken up development of pastures near these reservoirs,” he said.

The district administration has also formulated a management plan for systematic development of the lakes, while an action plan is under way to get Menar notified as a wetland at the earliest. The fresh water lakes supporting the ecosystem of the region will be protected with the application of the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2019.

With a rich history connecting it closely with the erstwhile rulers of Mewar, Menar has come on the radar of birdwatchers in the State because of the villagers’ conservation initiative. Umesh Menaria, a local volunteer, said the undisturbed environs of the lakes would be a great attraction for experts and researchers to study the behaviour of birds and find out their migration routes. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/udaipurs-bird-village-set-to-be-declared-wetland/article65563912.ece  (25 June 2022)

Bhopal 24 bags of garbage removed from Bhoj Wetland About 24 bags of garbage including plastic disposables, glass bottles, pouches etc were removed from Bhoj Wetland during a cleanliness drive. The Bhoj Tal Cleaning campaign was conducted by Bhopal Birds and VNS Nature Saviours in Bilkheda area in the city on Sunday (June 12). https://www.freepressjournal.in/bhopal/bhopal-24-bags-of-garbage-removed-from-bhoj-wetland  (12 June 2022)

Include wetland conservation in upcoming biodiversity, climate change negotiations: Experts. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-biodiversity/include-wetland-conservation-in-upcoming-biodiversity-climate-change-negotiations-experts-83378  (21 June 2022)

WATER OPTIONS

Karnataka Groundwater monitoring yields encouraging results in Chikkaballapur villages The exercise, being spearheaded by India Observatory, Foundation of Ecological Security (FES) among the more than 100 non-profit organisations, seeks to create a water table map with granular data. In Bagepalli, groundwater monitoring exercises began with 99 open wells in the pre-monsoon days of 2020. Over the last two years, the number of wells monitored has gone up to 177. “This has improved location-specific granular data, which will in turn aid informed decision making at the village level for better usage and governance of water resources,” FES Senior Programme Manager Kiran Singh said. The agencies have adopted Groundwater Monitoring (GWM) Tool, a standard methodology for data collection to ensure data quality.

Speaking to DH, Kiran said, “The data uploaded to the portal is reviewed for errors. We have found a 5% error margin, which can be rectified. For us, groundwater data is one of the most important ways to show the impact of the work we do.” All-India campaign The organisations are now taking the movement to new places. In a first-of-its-kind volunteerdriven initiative, more than 5,500 individuals will measure the groundwater levels across the country to crowdsource data. The exercise will also spread awareness of the importance of the commons. Sanjay Joshie, executive director of FES said that a campaign in six languages, including Kannada, Telugu, Marathi and Hindi, would be run to attract more participants in the GWM exercise. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/karnataka-districts/groundwater-monitoring-yields-encouraging-results-in-chikkaballapur-villages-1118502.html  (15 June 2022)

खेती के लिए बारिश के पानी का सदुपयोग कर रहे अयप्पा मसागी कृषक अयप्‍पा मसागी का मानना है कि वर्षा के पानी के अच्‍छे उपयोग से ‘अन्‍नदाता’अपनी खेती और फसल का बेहद उत्‍पादन कर सकतेहैं. यहां तक कि उन क्षेत्रों में भी, जहां कम वर्षा होती है. कर्नाटक का यह ‘कृषि विशेषज्ञ’ बारिश के पानी के बेहतरीन उपयोग के बारे में काम कर रहा है. उसने कई दशकों में जो कुछ भी सीखा है, वह लोगों के साथ शेयर करना चाहता है. https://ndtv.in/videos/how-water-warrior-ayappa-masagi-is-making-good-use-of-rain-water-for-agriculture-view-this-report-638987  (23 June 2022)

Gujarat Neeta Patel’s conservation innovations are helping tribals Due to Patel’s efforts, women-run water committees have been formed in many villages, which are working closely with the panchayats to solve the water problem in the villages. Dang has helped form four women’s empowerment groups with a total of 2,900 members. 230 villages of Dang are getting help for irrigation of 1000 hectares. The entire team is works with public participation to repair wells, build check dams and repairs, in which drinking water schemes run by women have improved the water level of at least 25 villages, so that 24000 people have been able to overcome the problem of water. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/water-champion-neeta-patel-conservation-innovations-helping-tribals-gujarat-1964617-2022-06-20  (20 June 2022)

Shimla Welcome news: Shimla High Court has asked the Shimla authorities to harvest rain, rejuvenated water bodies.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/build-water-storage-capacity-in-shimla-406080  (23 June 2022)

Delhi Good to see Govt seeing value of rain water and is preparing to dig 1500 RWH pits. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/1500-rainwater-harvesting-pits-to-curb-waterlogging-in-delhi-101655922775305.html  (23 June 2022)

Madhya Pradesh With the support of social organisations, tribal farmers of the Korku community began to practise water-soil conservation and recorded a significant raise in their yields. https://101reporters.com/article/The_Promise_Of_Commons/Moving_earth_and_water_Farms_in_MP_turn_fertile_with_groundwater_revival  (15 June 2022)

Uttarakhand The World Bank has approved a project worth ₹1,000 crore for taking rain-fed farming to new heights in the hilly regions. The project named Uttarakhand Climate Responsive Rain-fed Farming Project will be implemented by the watershed department. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/world-bank-approves-project-to-promote-rain-fed-farming-in-uttarakhand/article65554937.ece  (23 June 2022)

GROUNDWATER

Karnataka Kolar’s groundwater over-exploited Groundwater in  Kolar district is most over-exploited, followed by Chikkaballapur district, said a new report on groundwater situation in the country prepared by the Central Ground Water Board. The report, titled “Dynamic Ground Water Resources Assessment of India”, said that in the state, Kolar is categorised as groundwater over-exploited (199 per cent) district followed by Chikkaballapur (145 per cent) Bengaluru Rural (137 per cent) and Bengaluru Urban district (138 per cent). In Kolar, of the total 399 mcm annual extractable ground water, 799 mcm is being extracted. Of the total current annual ground water extraction, total 753 mcm is being used only for irrigation purposes in the district, said the report.

Udupi district is categorised as having the lowest extraction of groundwater, where 143 mcm is being extracted annually against the total annual extractable groundwater of 604 mcm, which is just 23 per cent, said the report.

In Karnataka, a total of 227 units have been assessed, spreading across all districts, in which 130 units were categorised as safe, 35 units were semi-critical, 10 units were critical and 52 were overexploited, said the report. In the state, 88 per cent of groundwater is being used for irrigation. Annual groundwater recharge has been assessed as 18.15 bcm (billion cubic meters) and the annual extractable ground water resource is 16.4 bcm. The current annual groundwater extraction is 10.64 bcm and the extent of groundwater extraction is 64.85 per cent.

The total annual groundwater extraction of the entire country has been estimated as 244.92 bcm. Agriculture is the predominant consumer of groundwater resources, with about 89 per cent of total annual groundwater extraction i.e. 217.61 bcm being used for irrigation. Only 27.3 bcm is for domestic and industrial use, which is about 11 per cent, said the report.

The overall stage of groundwater development in the country is 61.6 per cent. The stage of groundwater extraction is very high in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan, where it is more than 100 per cent, which implies that in these states, the annual groundwater consumption is more than annual extractable resources. In Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Chandigarh and Puducherry, the stage of ground water extraction is between 60-100 per cent. In the rest of the states, the stage of ground water extraction is below 60 per cent, said the report. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/kolars-groundwater-over-exploited-in-karnataka-report-says-1121670.html  (26 June 2022)

Himachal Pradesh HKS demands steps to save GW Himachal Kisan Sabha (HKS) has written to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur to draw his attention to illegal and unregulated extraction of groundwater in villages adjacent to towns and tourist places. “These people include hoteliers, private institutions or people who have purchased land in rural areas. The water tanker mafia is also very active in the local panchayats, which is selling water from local sources without a permit,” said HKS president Kuldeep Tanwar. “Due to this, the natural water sources of the surrounding villagers are drying up and are facing severe water crisis,” he said. Expecting the intervention of the government in this regard, the Himachal Kisan Sabha demanded that no private person, institution, commercial organization or society should extract groundwater through bore well/ tube well/ hand pump without the permission of the gram sabha. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/himachal-kisan-sabha-demands-steps-to-save-groundwater-404284  (16 June 2022)

Punjab Groundwater Will Vanish in 22 Years This forecast is based on current level of groundwater, current rate of depletion and assessment for one of the districts that usable groundwater is available till 300 m depth. Interesting, though a lot of questions will arise. https://science.thewire.in/environment/punjab-farming-groundwater-depleted-2039/  (18 June 2022)

Govt plans crop diversification scheme Government is firming up a plan on crop diversification, whereby around a million hectare (MH) or a third of water-intensive paddy grown areas in the state would be gradually shifted to alternative crops such as cotton, maize, oilseeds and pulses, over the next five years. According to Gurvinder Singh, director, agriculture department, the state government will also provide incentives to farmers for shifting around 10% of wheat area to alternative crops such as oilseeds and pulses.

According to a statement by agriculture ministry in Parliament in April, crop diversification programme initiated in 2013-14 as a sub-scheme under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana in the Green revolution states such as Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, has brought only 0.63 MH under the demonstration of alternative crop at farmers’ field.

According to experts, crop diversification in Punjab has been virtually a non-starter as because of the open-ended rice and wheat procurement system followed by Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state agencies, farmers are reluctant to adopt less water intensive crops because of lack of procurement or marketing avenues. https://www.financialexpress.com/economy/punjab-plans-crop-diversification-scheme-to-cut-a-third-of-paddy-area-in-5-years/2564726/  (18 June 2022)

URBAN WATER

Hyderabad Govt departments, agencies owe Rs. 1,267 Cr to HMWSSB: RTI Mission Bhageeratha, the Telangana government’s drinking water project, owes Rs. 601.32 crores to the Hyderabad Metro Water Supply and Sewage Board (HMWSSB). This is the highest amount due to HMWSSB by a state government department as per an RTI response filed by Forum for Good Governance.

The Revenue department said Rs. 1,519 crores are due from various state and Central government departments and agencies. Of this, Rs. 1,267 crores are due from the state government departments and Rs. 252 crores from the Central government departments. While the Central government organisations owe Rs 233.69 crores, public sector units owe Rs. 18.15 crores. The state government agency that owes the highest amount is Mission Bhageeratha that owes HMWSSV Rs. 601.32 crores. The RTI further mentioned that they regularly pursue the matter by writing letters, but there is no response from the organisations. https://newsmeter.in/hyderabad/ts-govt-departments-agencies-owe-rs-1267-cr-to-hmwssb-mission-bhageeratha-biggest-defaulter-rti-696803  (21 June 2022)

Inc to help protect city lakes The 25 lakes identified for conservation and restoration include Peeda Cheruvu in Mansoorabad, Yapral lake in Malkajgiri, Mulgoud lake in Rajendranagar, Masjid Banda lake in Kondapur and Nanakaramguda lake. As a part of the exercise, the agencies have been instructed to submit a detailed action plan for the development of lakes, draw up an agreement and sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the GHMC Superintending Engineer, Lakes wing. https://telanganatoday.com/hyderabad-inc-to-help-protect-city-lakes  (26 June 2022)

Mumbai Mira Bhayandar dam near SGNP not feasible: Irrigation dept The state irrigation department has poured water on the ambitious plans chalked out by the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) of constructing a dam on the outskirts of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) in Kashimira. Mooted by legislator-Geeta Jain, last year, the proposal aimed with a dual objective- to create a natural rainwater catchment area and store the water in the reservoir formed by the dam and at the same time try and put an end to the havoc owing to water gushing from the hillocks into nearby settlements during heavy downpours.

After examining the technical aspects, geological investigations and topographical survey, officials from the state irrigation department concluded that the proposed site was not suitable for the dam which needed a minimum space of nearly 17 acres and acquiring such a huge forest area was not possible.

Moreover, an expected augmentation of just four MLD supply and that too only during the rainy season had made the project largely unfeasible coupled with the immense cost factor. As against the requirement of over 225 MLD, the twin-city has an allotted supply of 211 MLD provided jointly by the MIDC (125 MLD) and STEM (86 MLD) water supply authority. However, the actual supply continues to hover below 200 MLD as the twin-city is still losing a huge quantity of potable water in transit daily owing to leakages, unaccounted supply and theft. https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/mira-bhayandar-rain-harvesting-dam-near-sgnp-not-feasible-says-state-irrigation-department  (19 June 2022)

Slicing of hill base on, locals hit panic button This is from Navi Mumbai, similar situation at many other places in Mah and around Delhi-Haryana and elsewhere. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/navi-mumbai-slicing-of-hill-base-on-locals-hit-panic-button/articleshow/92346742.cms  (21 June 2022)

The water supply in the City and Industrial Area Development Corporation (CIDCO) administered area was cut off on Saturday (June 25) evening after a pipeline was damaged at Vahal village near Gavan Phata. In a tweet, CIDCO stated that an FIR has been filed against GAIL for causing damage to the pipeline. https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/navi-mumbai-no-water-supply-in-the-cidco-area-after-pipeline-damage-in-gavan-phata  (26 June 2022)

Bengaluru Gowdanakere lake desilting process faulty The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had earlier this year announced that it will restore 54 lakes within the municipal limits. Spread in an extent of 9.57 acre, the Gowdanapalya Lake or the Gowdanakere, located in Bengaluru South, is under the process of being rejuvenated by the civic body this year.

With desilting of the lake underway, conservationists explain that scientific disposal of the desilted soil and rejuvenation adhering to quality standards should be abided by the BBMP. Presently, a huge pile of desilted soil has been kept at the lake bed which the conservationists fear that during heavy showers of rain, a part of it has settled back into the lake.

Ram Prasad, co-founder and convener of Friends of Lakes, a citizens’ collective that works on the restoration of lakes, said, “During rejuvenation, the BBMP should put silt and garbage traps in order to arrest silt and garbage from entering the lake. The cleaning of silt and garbage traps should be done regularly. Sedimentation ponds and the wetland should be a part of the rejuvenation.” Pachhapur pointed out that lake rejuvenation tends to focus on storm water drains (SWD) for rainwater and forgets to harness rainwater from around the adjoining areas directly to the lake. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/lakes-of-bengaluru-bbmp-rejuvenation-gowdanakere-activists-desilting-process-faulty-7977499/  (19 June 2022)

Govt to pump Rs 200 cr into rejuvenation of 67 lakes Some of these allocations and work done through them are criticised as inappropriate. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/karnataka-govt-to-pump-rs-200-crore-into-rejuvenation-of-67-bengaluru-lakes-1121492.html  (26 June 2022)

Coimbatore CCMC floats Rs 5.66 crore tender for smart water supply system Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation (CCMC) floated a tender for procuring, installing and maintaining SCADA systems and bulk flow meters in the added areas of the city. CCMC deputy commissioner Dr M Sharmila said the smart water supply systems including the SCADA and bulk flow meters will be installed at a cost of ₹5.36 crore to sort out the water supply distribution issues in the city.Sources said to fill the huge gap in water supply frequency in the areas, modernised water flow meters will be installed and data will be collected through the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) method. Administrative sanction has been accorded by the Director of Municipal Administration and Commissionerate Municipal Administration (CMA) approved for technical sanction for the detailed project report sent by the civic body. The CCMC has now floated a tender for executing the project. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/jun/20/ccmc-floats-rs-566-crore-tender-for-smart-water-supply-system-2467631.html  (20 June 2022)

Kerala releases Siruvani dam water a day after Stalin’s letter A day after Chief Minister MK Stalin wrote to his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi K Vijayan requesting him to maintain water level in Siruvani dam at full capacity, Kerala on Monday released additional water to cater to drinking water needs of Coimbatore.

CCMC Commissioner M Prathap took the Siruvai water supply shortage issue to the notice of Municipal Administration and Water Supply minister KN Nehru during his visit to Coimbatore last week who took it up with the Chief Minister.  Prathap said, “With increased water release, the water supply frequency will now be cut short from 15 days to 7 days in Coimbatore. Also the leakages in the Siruvani pipelines are being fixed now to sort out the distribution problems.” https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/jun/21/kerala-releases-siruvani-dam-water-a-day-after-stalins-letter-2467951.html  (21 June 2022)

Gurugram GW table records 1m reduction per year Data from the hydrology department reveals that the average groundwater level in the city in 1974 was 6.64 metres, which fell to 19.85 metres in 2006 and to 26.3 metres in 2014. But in the past four years, the decline has accelerated. The average pre-monsoon water level in Gurugram was 33.23 metres in 2018, 35.85 metres in 2019, 36.21 metres in 2020 and 36.99 metres in 2021, data shows. Experts, in fact, warn that given the speed with which the groundwater level is falling, particularly in urbanised villages such as Kapashera, Dundahera, Chakkarpur, Baliawas, Kasan, Kherki Daula, Gurgaon village and Wazirabad, there is a major possibility of the city’s desertification because rainwater can only seep to 1,000 feet underground.

More than 200MLD treated wastewater is released into the Najafgarh drain, which can instead be used for construction, horticulture and other needs, emphasise experts. The Central Ground Water Board, a subordinate office of the ministry of water resources, had in fact, categorised the city as a ‘dark zone’ – an area where groundwater extraction exceeds its recharge by 100%– nearly a decade ago in 2013, after which authorities swung into action and sealed 1,040 illegal borewells in a year.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/gurugram-news/gurugram-in-dire-straits-as-groundwater-table-records-1m-reduction-per-year-101655311633549.html  (15 June 2022)

Chandigarh Municipal Corporation Commissioner Anindita Mitra, on Friday (June 17), stated that 20 MGD groundwater is being drawn from the bore wells, supplementing the canal water for drinking purpose, and that 118 ground water recharging wells have been constructed in various schools, colleges and government offices. Mitra was giving a gave a detailed presentation on the progress made under the Jal Shakti Abhiyan to Manmeet K Nanda, Joint Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), appointed as central nodal officer in respect of Jal Shakti Abhiyan for Chandigarh.

The commissioner also stated that rejuvenation of 7 water bodies in various villages, laying of the Tertiary Treated Water in Industrial Area and other out areas in city, 24×7 water supply scheme in pan city, installation of recharging wells in community centers, government buildings will be implemented in the coming months. This will improve the ground water levels, as existing 289 tube wells will be closed in a phased manner after commencement of 24×7 water supply, it was stated.

The works of ‘Rejuvenation of 7 water bodies’ will also be completed by the end of October, 2022. The usage of Tertiary Treated Water will also reduce the consumption of potable water. Groundwater will be improved significantly after the completion of above work. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/20-mgd-groundwater-being-drawn-from-borewells-chandigarh-mc-commissioner-7976294/  (18 June 2022)

Delhi 5 WTPs affected In a fresh notice on Sunday, DJB stated that the water treatment at plants of Haiderpur phase I and II, Bawana, Nangloi and Dwarka were affected due to “fluctuations and unusual floating material”. According to DJB, the water level in the Yamuna at Wazirabad on Saturday (June 18) stood at 667.30 feet against the normal level of 674.5 feet. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/5-treatment-plants-affected-water-woes-may-worsen-in-delhi/articleshow/92323368.cms  (20 June 2022)

According to DJB officials, the city reuses around 18% or 100 MGD of the 528 MGD of treated water that is generated at the DJB’s wastewater treatment plants. Treated water is supplied for horticulture purposes and washing buses, a senior official said. “The treated water that is currently being used is far below our original requirement of approximately 8 MGD for the green areas. Of this, the STPs only supply around 0.5 MGD. We sometimes manage with water tankers, but that does not suffice. The cost is high to bring the network from the DJB’s STPs to these areas for reuse of treated water,” the official added.

The large gardens in the NDMC area have decentralised STPs that supply water to them. The STPs have a combined capacity of around 27 lakh litres per day, according to an official in the NDMC’s horticulture department. The 100-acre Lodhi Garden, for instance, draws treated water from a 5-lakh litre STP, and so does Nehru Park.

The DJB will soon supply treated water to farmhouses. “We’ve received consent from a few RWAs, we are working on providing a network to supply water. Farmhouses in Chattarpur, Kapashera, and Bakkarwala will be connected to the network and are likely to consume around 20 MGD of water,” said a DJB official.  The city generates around 768 MGD of sewage, of which around 544 MGD is being treated. DPCC report from May states that samples of treated water collected from 16 out of 26 waste water treatment units of the DJB did not meet the standards.  https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/amid-crisis-only-18-of-treated-waste-water-being-reused-in-delhi-7991694/  (26 June 2022)

WATER POLLUTION

Haryana Industrial water pollution threatens residents in Kundli area In Kundli industrial zone unchecked disposal of contaminated water into the ground is posing a threat to people’s health. Local residents complain of skin diseases and stomach-related ailments due to regular consumption of contaminated groundwater. Many are now forced to purchase clean drinking water even as they continue using the polluted groundwater for other purposes such as washing clothes.

Subhash Chand, a resident of Kundli village, shows a drain in which the local industries are disposing untreated chemical water. Photo by Sat Singh/Mongabay.

The industrial zone requires a common effluent treatment plant of 10 MLD capacity to treat the wastewater released by factories. But the existing capacity of the plant is only 4 MLD. Despite, repeated complaints to various local authorities the condition of the area remains poor. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/06/industrial-water-pollution-threatens-residents-in-haryanas-kundli-area/  (24 June 2022)

Maharashtra ZP finds 123 water bodies in 13 tehsils of Pune contaminated The ZP’s health department found 123 contaminated water bodies in 13 Pune tehsils after collecting samples from 2,408 such bodies during a survey conducted in the last few weeks. The ZP has now directed the gram panchayats concerned to take necessary measures to improve water quality. At present, people are restricted from using the water from these sources, said the officials. “These are mostly small water bodies such as open wells, borewells and others. If the water body is big, we release the water. We have also made alternate arrangements of drinking water. In some cases, we have started water tanker services,” said a senior official with the health department.

District health officer Dr. Bhagwan Pawar said bacteriological tests on samples showed that the contaminated samples had bacteria that can cause typhoid, cholera, dysentery among other ailments. “Considering this danger, our employees in each tehsil has started depolluting the water bodies,” he said. The release of sewage water, faecal contamination, and leakage of pipes that go into the gutter are the reasons behind the contamination, said Pawar. “The village-level monitoring is the need of the hour to prevent water pollution in the district. It is practically not possible for the PHC officials to maintain the standard of the water sources,” added Pawar. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/zp-finds-123-water-bodies-in-13-tehsils-of-pune-contaminated/articleshow/92482199.cms  (27 June 2022)

Punjab All 8 water samples of Jhill village fail potability test Water samples collected from diarrhoea-affected Jhill village have failed the potability test. All eight water samples are said to have had bacterial contamination. The water supply to the village is being provided by the Patiala Municipal Corporation as the area comes within the municipal limits. The corporation had started cleaning of water overhead tanks only after the diarrhea outbreak at Jhill village. A health official, pleading anonymity, said, “Negligence by the department concerned leads to such major outbreaks. Accountability should be fixed and strict action should be taken against officials of the corporation.” Patiala DC has issued show cause notice to XEN of the municipal corporation. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/patiala/all-8-water-samples-of-jhill-village-fail-potability-test-407097  (26 June 2022)

Telangana Village Sewage Routed into Dalit Man’s Farmland  In Jayashankar Bhupalapally district, a farmer from the Dalit community has been suffering for long as sewage from his entire village is channelled to be emptied into his agricultural field. A number of petitions requesting authorities to resolve the issue have not brought about any redressal, instead, officials say it was a “fait accompli” and nothing can be done, The Hindu has reported. https://thewire.in/caste/telangana-village-sewage-routed-into-dalit-mans-farmland-fait-accompli-say-authorities  (17 June 2022)

Jharkhand झरिया कोयला क्षेत्र में पेयजल की दिक्कत पूरे झरिया कोयला खनन क्षेत्र में पेयजल की दिक्कत तो है ही प्राकृतिक पेयजल स्रोतों पर भी संकट है। धनबाद जिले के बलियापुर प्रखंड के सुरंगा ग्राम पंचायत में स्थित सुरंगा तलाब कोयला खदान के बगल में स्थित है। गांव जाने वाली सड़क के एक ओर तालाब है तो दूसरी ओर कोयला खदान के मलबे या ओबी का पहाड़।

Image Source: Samridhi Jharkhand

माइनिग के दौरान या तेज हवा में उसका धूल तालाब में उड़ कर जाता रहता है, जिससे तालाब का पानी तो प्रदूषित होता ही है, उसका आकार भी सिकुड़ रहा है। https://samridhjharkhand.com/state/jharkhand/dhanbad/difficult-life-in-jharia-coal-field-drinking-water-crisis-and-the-problem-with-natural-water-sources  (22 June 2022)

JJM/ RURAL WATER SUPPLY

Odisha Rural areas in the verge of acute water scarcity Despite the implementation of various schemes like Basudha and Jal Jeevan Mission, safe drinking water continues to elude many rural areas of Ganjam and Gajapati districts. In Kandhasarala village under Tarasing panchayat of Ganjam’s Jagannathprasad block, womenfolk are forced to trek a distance of over 1.5 km to fetch drinking water. Around 103 families residing in the village which reels under water scarcity almost throughout the year. In 2017, a local NGO sunk a bore well and constructed an overhead tank. The villagers got water for around 2 months. But due to lack of maintenance, the bore-well project became defunct. Social worker Bighneswar Sahu alleged that as no steps were taken to revive the project, its intake well is now packed with mud and soil. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2022/jun/20/odishas-rural-areas-in-the-vergeof-acute-water-scarcity-2467614.html  (20 June 2022)

Women washing utensils near the stream in Baliganda | Express

Drinking water, a far cry for Baliganda village Baliganda, a tiny village of 80 families under Mohona block in Gajapati district has been facing drinking water scarcity. Sources said the village has two tube-wells both of which are defunct since three years. While one of them releases muddy water, the other has turned into a garbage dumping yard. A stream on the hill nearby is the only source of water for the locals. As the water level dips during summers, villagers have reportedly dug a pit close to the stream to store water for domestic purposes. Women in the village alleged that despite their repeated appeals, neither elected representatives nor block officials have initiated any measures to redress their grievances. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2022/jun/27/drinking-water-a-far-cry-forbaliganda-village-in-odisha-2470168.html  (27 June 2022)

Ladakh Amid tourist season in Ladakh, many areas, mainly Kargil, have been facing acute water shortage. Low rain and snowfall in the recent past and receding glaciers are the main reasons behind water scarcity. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/j-k/ladakh-villages-face-acute-water-shortage-406657  (25 June 2022)

AGRICULTURE

Andhra Pradesh Delta farmers considering crop holiday Farmers in the fertile and water-rich delta of the Godavari river are contemplating a ‘crop holiday’, not growing this year’s Kharif crop, citing non-payment of dues, bad policies and shoddy infrastructure.

Farmers in the Dr BR Ambedkar Konaseema district, carved from East Godavari district this year, said that they had not been paid for their crop; the rise in input costs had not been matched with a rise in minimum support prices (MSP) and water from canals was flooding their fields.  https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/crop-holiday-what-made-these-andhra-paddy-farmers-consider-it-83357  (20 June 2022)

MONSOON 2022

Why north is rain-starved and northeast is having worst flood EXCELLENT report by ROXY KOLL of IITM (Pune) on the South West Monsoon in India so far, foot print of Climate Change and its connections with wider climate and implications. One of the best I have come across. Very clear headed and also suggesting what is required: We need to urgently disaster-proof every district and village of South Asia and make it climate resilient. We need to prepare our houses and farms for both droughts and floods. We need policies that help redesign our cities and prepare our rural areas for intensifying cyclones, floods and heatwaves. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/why-north-is-rain-starved-northeast-is-flooded/articleshow/92342773.cms  (20 June 2022)

Scientists unpack the influence of black carbon aerosols on rainfall in northeast India A recent modeling study shows that increasing black carbon emissions leads to a decrease in low-intensity rainfall in the pre-monsoon season in northeast India while pushing up severe rain. Long-term trends show that while pre-monsoon rainfall is declining, aerosol in this region is increasing. Fossil fuel and biomass burning are major sources of black carbon in the northeast. Some levels of black carbon from the Indo Gangetic Plains also make their way to northeast India. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/06/scientists-unpack-the-influence-of-black-carbon-aerosols-on-rainfall-in-northeast-india/  (23 June 2022)

Editorial Monsoon’s unpredictability challenge to policymakers That said, the monsoon’s increasing unpredictability — not just delays and breaks, but also fewer rainy days and more extreme precipitation — is cause for concern. Take last year, when surplus rains in June led to brisk sowings. But this was followed by a long dry spell from the second week of July to the third week of August and, then, excess rainfall in the subsequent five months till January. The kharif crop, then, suffered both moisture stress during the vegetative growth stage and inundation at harvesting time. That, along with the hit to wheat yields from the sudden rise in temperatures after mid-March, was the clearest evidence of the challenges posed by climate change: To policymakers, breeders and, of course, farmers. https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/monsoons-increasing-unpredictability-is-cause-for-concern-7978998/  (20 June 2022)

Chennai Heaviest rainfall in June in the past 10 years Heavy rains have been lashing Chennai over the past two days with some areas receiving record-breaking amounts of rainfall. According to data by the India Meteorological Department on Monday, June 20, Taramani in Chennai recorded 11 cm rain, while Chennai airport area, Alandur, and Anna University areas witnessed 9 cm rain each. Nungambakkam recorded 8 cm and Sholinganallur saw 7 cm rain. In MGR Nagar and Ayanavaram Taluk office, 6 cm rain was recorded.

As of 8.30 am on June 21, Tuesday, Chennai Nungambakkam received 48.9 mm rainfall, and Meenambakkam saw 30.9 mm rainfall. According to IMD statistics, this is the highest amount of rain recorded in the past 10 years. The highest rainfall recorded in June in the past ten years earlier was in 2016 when Chennai saw 53.2 https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/chennai-sees-heaviest-rainfall-june-past-10-years-165138  (21 June 2022)

In an unusual development for the month of June, the sluice gates of the Chembarambakkam reservoir in Chennai were opened on Tuesday, June 21, as heavy rainfall over the past two days led to the reservoir reaching capacity level. According to reports, the reservoir reached 23.48 feet on Tuesday evening just inches away from the full reservoir capacity of 24 feet. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/first-time-june-chennai-s-chembarambakkam-reservoir-gates-opened-165143  (21 June 2022)

Jammu & Kashmir Srinagar city on Tuesday (June 21) recorded maximum of 15 degrees Celsius – the coldest June temperature in nearly a half century. A Met department official said that Srinagar city’s maximum temperature was the coldest June day temperature since 1975. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/kashmir/srinagar-records-lowest-june-temperature-in-nearly-half-century  (21 June 2022)

FLOOD 2022

Jammu & Kashmir What Caused a Floody-February-Wednesday in June?  By Faizan Arif Both Kashmir and Jammu regions had been experiencing rather unnerving wet weather since the 18th of June. Emblematic of the weather unpredictability, people were quick to wear their best unpredictable gears. In Kashmir, the age-old Kashmiri truism of keeping the Pheran ready by the hook, on-the-go, had new takers. Higher reaches recorded heavy snowfall, at the same time, plains were lashed by heavy spells of rain. Temperatures dropped untypically. The quiet Jhelum went tempestuous, bringing with it the currents of the turbulent memory of the 2014 floods. https://kashmirobserver.net/2022/06/25/what-caused-a-floody-february-wednesday-in-june/  (25 June 2022)

Bihar A pillar of under construction bridge on Kosi river in Bihpur area of Bhagalpur district washed away on June 18 following 2 metre rise in river water level. https://www.livehindustan.com/bihar/story-bhagalpur-news-kosi-river-water-level-up-under-construction-four-lane-bridge-pillar-flown-away-in-bihpur-6661369.html  (19 June 2022) 996 करोड़ रुपए से बन रहे पुल का पाया बहा भागलपुर के नवगछिया-बिहपुर कोसी नदी के तेज बहाव में निर्माणाधीन पुल का पाया बह गया। बहुप्रतीक्षित एनएच 106 मिसिंग लिंक (30 किलोमीटर ) बिहपुर से फूलोत तक कोसी नदी पर बन रहे पुल का 124 नंबर पाया (पिलर) हरिओ के त्रीमुहान घाट के समीप कोसी नदी के तेज बहाव में बह गया। कोसी की मुख्य धारा में चार पाया हैं। उसमें से एक पाया बह रहा है। कोसी नदी पर पुल मुंबई की एफकॉन कंपनी बना रही हैं। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/bihar/bhagalpur/news/the-bridge-under-construction-was-found-in-bhagalpur-in-the-strong-current-of-kosi-it-weighed-1400-tons-129954348.html  (19 June 2022) https://www.jagran.com/bihar/bhagalpur-bihar-news-an-under-construction-bridge-in-bhagalpur-caused-a-loss-of-2-crore-27-lakh-22818065.html  (19 June 2022)

DISASTERS

Report Just a reminder of what is known that a large earthquake is due in North East India. https://www.indiatoday.in/science/story/tectonic-movement-in-north-east-indian-plate-building-stress-for-future-earthquake-1957036-2022-06-01  (01 June 2022)

LANDSLIDES

Meghalaya Landslide again hits vital Sonapur tunnel The Sonapur Tunnel in East Jaintia Hills district was hit by another round of landslides as torrential rains continue to hit the North-Eastern state. The Sonapur Tunnel, which was cleared on Sunday (June 19), witnessed another major landslide on Monday (June 20). During the 48 hours, landslides were reported from East Jaintia Hills, West Jaintia Hills, and East Khasi Hills districts. Flood and landslides have so far claimed lives of 27 people in Meghalaya this year. In a landslide at Dangar, five people had lost their lives including four minors and at Kenmynsaw husband-wife duo lost their lives in landslides, leaving behind three children.  https://nenow.in/north-east-news/meghalaya/meghalaya-24-hours-after-clearing-landslide-again-hits-vital-sonapur-tunnel.html  (21 June 2022) https://www.sentinelassam.com/north-east-india-news/meghalaya-news/sonapur-tunnel-reopened-for-two-way-traffic-deputy-commissioner-of-east-jaintia-hills-598177

At least seven people including an infant were killed in multiple landslides in Meghalaya’s Mawsynram on Friday (June 17) morning. https://nenow.in/north-east-news/meghalaya/meghalaya-7-killed-in-landslide-in-mawsynram.html  (17 June 2022)

4 killed in South Garo Hills due to landslides. https://nenow.in/north-east-news/meghalaya/meghalaya-4-killed-south-garo-hills-landslides-4-children-missing-west-garo-hills.html  (17 June 2022)

Four children killed in Laitlarem due to landslide https://nenow.in/north-east-news/meghalaya/meghalaya-four-children-killed-laitlarem-landslide.html  (16 June 2022)

Floods, landslides wreak havoc in Garo Hills. https://nenow.in/north-east-news/meghalaya/photos-videos-meghalaya-floods-landslides-garo-hills.html  (10 June 2022)

Floods, landslides wreak havoc in Garo Hills region. https://nenow.in/north-east-news/meghalaya/meghalaya-floods-landslides-havoc-garo-hills.html  (09 June 2022)

Wooden bridge over Ruga river in Garo hills washed away. https://nenow.in/north-east-news/meghalaya/watch-meghalaya-floods-bridge-ruga-river-garo-hills-washed-away.html  (09 June 2022) Seven landslides reported, at least two including minor killed. https://nenow.in/north-east-news/meghalaya/meghalaya-seven-landslides-reported-at-least-two-including-minor-killed.html  (07 April 2022)

J&K About 100 metre portion of NH 44 washed away in Tawi river after a massive landslide triggered by heavy rainfall near Deval Bridge in in Samroli area of Udhampur district on June 22. A JCB machine also got swept into the river when the landslide occurred.

-Due to the heavy inflow of water in Chenab river, Salal Dam authorities released an enormous amount of water as they conducted emergent reservoir flushing in Reasi district. The Tawi river was also reported to be in spate due to incessant rainfall in Toldi Nullah area in Udhampur district. https://www.timesnownews.com/india/jammu-srinagar-national-highway-massive-landslide-hits-nh-44-jcb-machine-also-swept-into-the-river-pictures-article-92389821   (22 June 2022) Image @FaheemTak https://twitter.com/FaheemTak/status/1539507059124686848?s=20&t=ypS_irnvzbWsnTqJ2zkuIw

Ramban-Peera Bridge collapses due to flash floods https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30vWW1lPh_c  (22 June 2022)

Massive landslide hits NH 44  About 100 metre portion of NH 44 washed away in Tawi river after a massive landslide in the Samroli area of Udhampur district on June 22. A JCB machine also got swept into the river when the landslide occurred.

Due to the heavy inflow of water in Chenab river, Salal Dam authorities released an enormous amount of water as they conducted emergent reservoir flushing in Reasi district. The Tawi river was also reported to be in spate due to incessant rainfall in Toldi Nullah area in Udhampur district. https://www.timesnownews.com/india/jammu-srinagar-national-highway-massive-landslide-hits-nh-44-jcb-machine-also-swept-into-the-river-pictures-article-92389821  (22 June 2022) Image @FaheemTak https://twitter.com/FaheemTak/status/1539507059124686848?s=20&t=ypS_irnvzbWsnTqJ2zkuIw

Flash floods, landslides throw life out of gear in Jammu region https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/j-k/flash-floods-landslides-throw-life-out-of-gear-in-jammu-region-406066  (23 June 2022)

Arunachal Pradesh Better prepared roads can withstand monsoon disasters The government should think about bringing necessary changes in its policies regarding its schemes and make sure that roads under the PMGSY and the MGNREGA are maintained every year and not every 10 years as is the existing rule. In a state like ours, which has a rough topography, small road projects under the PMGSY and the MGNREGA are equally, if not more, effective than major highway projects. They can not only play a major role in connecting remote villages to the outside world but can also serve as lifelines during annual natural disasters. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/06/27/better-prepared-roads-can-withstand-monsoon-disasters/  (27 June 2022)

CLOUD BURSTS

Jammu and Kashmir Cloudburst, Windstorms Kill 4 A sudden cloudburst, accompanied by strong winds and hailstorms, impacted Budgam district on Monday, May 9, thereby wreaking havoc and claiming the lives of four individuals. According to local officials, the cloudburst — a sudden, very heavy downpour that is local and of brief duration — hit a brick kiln in Budgam’s Chandpora village, killing three non-local labourers (a mother and her two sons) that were working within. https://weather.com/en-IN/india/news/news/2022-05-10-rain-over-jammu-kashmir-himachal-uttarakhand-till-may-13   (10 May 2022)

ENVIRONMENT GOVERNANCE

What are Eco-Sensitive Zones and why are there protests in Kerala against them? https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/eco-sensitive-zones-supreme-court-verdict-kerala-protests-7988081/  (24 June 2022)

CLIMATE CHANGE

How can India’s concretised cities be cooled down sustainably? Extreme weather can reduce productivity and GDP. Ensuring waste management, robust public transport and more open, green spaces could bring some respite. https://scroll.in/article/1026573/climate-change-how-can-indias-concretised-dangerously-hot-cities-be-cooled-down-sustainably  (22 June 2022)

SOUTH ASIA

Bhutan Hydro projects comprise 73% of total external debt However, delays in hydropower projects could pose risks and could raise the country’s debt. The cost of the 2 major ongoing hydropower projects in the country, 1,200 megawatts (MW) Punatsangchhu-I (P-I) and 1,020MW Punatsangchhu-II escalated to Nu 93.75B from Nu 35B and 89.77B from Nu 37B estimated in 2009 respectively.

– The current account deficit rose in 2021-22. This was attributed to a decline in energy generation and lower hydro exports and a significant increase in imports.

– At Nu 162.197B, hydro-debt contributed to 73 percent of the total external debt. https://kuenselonline.com/is-bhutans-economy-at-risk/  (25 June 2022)

Nepal A number of Chinese companies, including those in hydropower projects have been black listed in Nepal for the delay and incomplete works. https://www.aninews.in/news/world/asia/chinese-companies-blacklisted-in-nepal-due-to-extreme-negligence-and-delay-in-work20220620215543/  (20 June 2022)

Why Nepal is facing water stress The issue is multi-faceted, with factors such as rapid urbanisation, pollution, and climate change having a part to play in its fast-depleting groundwater resources.     https://www.straitstimes.com/world/science-journals-why-nepal-rich-in-water-resources-is-facing-water-stress-today  (27 June 2022)

PoK Deteriorating Environmental Situation Zafar Iqbal A statement issued at the end of the virtual panel discussion on Monday said that the process of diverting rivers for power generation projects has multiplied the local temperature, which is having a serious impact on the local population. https://www.eurasiareview.com/21062022-calls-to-address-deteriorating-environmental-situation-in-pakistan-administrated-kashmir-oped/  (21 June 2022)

ASIA

MEKONG Cambodia World’s largest freshwater fish caught The world’s largest ever freshwater fish has been caught in Cambodia’s Mekong River, according to US and Cambodian scientists. The giant stingray measured almost four metres from snout to tail and weighed in at just under 300 kilograms (660 pounds). The previous world record was a 293kg (646lb) Mekong giant catfish, caught in Thailand in 2005.The stingray was snagged by a local fisherman on the night of 13 June, south of the town of Stung Treng. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Iw2tsmnkGY ; https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-61862169  (21 June 2022)

Environmental leader wins prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize Niwat Roykaew of Chiang Khong Conservation Group is a recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize, for a momentous win for the Mekong River where the Thai Cabinet formally called for the cancellation of the Lancang-Mekong Navigation Channel Improvement Project, known as the Mekong “rapids-blasting” project. The cabinet decision was the culmination of decades of campaigning by Thai Mekong communities and civil society groups, aided by environmentalists, who have worked tirelessly to raise concerns over the China-led project and the future it would represent for the Mekong.

– “When we started the campaign in the early days, locals asked me how ordinary people like us could fight to protect the Mekong, as it was a regional issue involving powerful state and non-state actors,” Niwat said. “But this proves that we can do it, with evidence-based campaigns. At last, this project is officially canceled. But major problems still exist for the Mekong River, with more dams in the upper reaches, and in the lower basin. We need better accountability over transboundary natural resource governance in the Mekong.” https://www.internationalrivers.org/news/mekong-environmental-leader-niwat-roykaew-wins-prestigious-goldman-environmental-prize/  (25 May 2022)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

USA Catastrophic Flooding in Yellowstone This year has been historic for Yellowstone National Park in more ways than one. Founded in 1872, America’s first national park is celebrating its 150th anniversary. It also experienced historic flooding, with rivers cresting at heights not seen in 100 years. In the second week of June 2022, an atmospheric river—a narrow band of tropical moisture—soaked the Pacific Northwest before dumping several inches of rain on northern Wyoming and southern Montana. The inundation coincided with a warm spell that exacerbated melting of the heavy snowpack.

– “This led to flooding rarely or never seen before across many area rivers and streams,” according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Billings, Montana. On June 13, park officials closed Yellowstone—which spans 2.2 million acres (8,900 square kilometers) in northwest Wyoming, southwest Montana, and eastern Idaho—and announced the evacuation of more than 10,000 visitors due to safety concerns. Campsites were flooded, roads were washed out, and rocks tumbled onto roadways.

– At Corwin Springs, north of Gardiner, Montana, the Yellowstone River crested at 13.88 feet on June 13, 2022, breaking the previous record of 11.5 feet set on June 14, 1918. A record river discharge of 51,400 cubic feet per second was also measured that day, breaking the previous record-high flow of 32,200 cubic feet per second in 1996, according to U.S. Geological Survey stream gauges. https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/150010/catastrophic-flooding-in-yellowstone  (23 June 2022)

South Africa Taps ran dry in parts of Kwanobuhle in March, and since then, thousands of residents have been relying on a single communal tap to supply their households with potable water. And the township is just one of many in Gqeberha city’s Nelson Mandela Bay area in South Africa that rely on a system of four dams that have been steadily drying up for months. There hasn’t been enough heavy rain to replenish them. https://edition.cnn.com/2022/06/20/africa/south-africa-water-crisis-climate-weather-intl/index.html  (20 June 2022)

Study Discovery of microplastics in fresh Antarctic snow While microplastics have been found across the world, from the world’s deepest ocean floors to the peak of Mount Everest, researchers say that this is the first time that they have been found in freshly fallen snow in Antarctica. The pollutant, scientists argue, poses a growing threat to the region’s ecosystem and could increase the melting of ice and snow.https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-why-is-the-discovery-of-microplastics-in-fresh-antarctic-snow-troubling-pollution-7974455/  (17 June 2022)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 20 June 2022 & DRP News Bulletin 13 June 2022 

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

3 thoughts on “DRP NB 270622: There are many man made factors behind Assam Floods, Mr CM

  1. बाढ़ बुरी नहीं होती; बुरा होता है बाढ़ का लम्बे समय तक टिक जाना; किसी नए रास्ते पर निकल जाना और वेग का आवेग में तब्दील हो जाना.

    लिहाजा, असम में इस बार कुछ ज्यादा ही टिक गई बाढ़ के कारणों का निवारण जरूरी है . जरूरत इस बार की असमिया बाढ़ में ब्रह्मपुत्र एक्सप्रेस की भूमिका का विश्लेषण की भी है .

    अरुण तिवारी

    Like

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