(Feature image: An aerial view of the flood-affected areas in Godavari districts on July 15. Photo by arrangement/Deccan Chronicle)
One of the noteworthy feature of the floods in ongoing on monsoon so far has been what is happening around large dam projects, particularly in Central India, Eastern India and Southern India. The Polavaram dam on Godavari river, the largest under construction dam in India, again suffered damage this monsoon as confessed by the Andhra Pradesh Irrigation Minister Ambati Rambabu after his frequent visits to the dam. The dam had suffered damage in 2019 floods and it is still not clear what is way forward and the dam has again suffered damage. This will make the unviable project even more unviable, but the government will continue to sink good money after the massive sunk funds.
The Kaleshwaram project in Godavari basin, the largest lift irrigation projects of India has also faced damages with at least two pump houses with large number of massive capacity pumps getting submerged, and third one partially flooded. The full impact of this damage will only be known after assessment once the floods recede.
In the same Godavari basin in the northern Telangana district of Adilabad, Kadam irrigation project received such unprecedented quantities of inflows that the water level went above the Full Reservoir Level, even after opening all the gates, as per reports. This posed such a risk to the structure, and it also led to evacuation of several villages. It is not clear if the dam was following the rule curve or if it has an updated rule curve. Why was the dam full so early in the monsoon? Was advance action taken to release the excess water?
Further south in Krishna basin, Tungabhadra dam was so full that for several days it has been releasing over a lakh cusecs of water also submerging the UNESCO designated heritage site at Hampi in the downstream of the dam, upstream from two bridges that are also reportedly acting as bottle necks. Again the question arise if the Tungabhadra dam followed rule curve, if it took advance action to ensure that water was released so that it does not have to release large quantities of water into flooded downstream areas. No answers are forthcoming.
All these episodes (and there are many more) raise the questions about the structural and operational safety of India’s dams particularly in monsoon and also shows the abysmal performance of Central Water Commission and other dam authorities. It also shows how inadequate is the dam safety act recently passed by the parliament.
Polavaram Project Godavari floods prove engineers wrong about Polavaram impact The Polavaram project-affected families are in a sad plight as the rehabilitation colonies too have been inundated. This, as the officials’ estimations have proven wrong. Officials had erected a rehabilitation colony at Kivvaka village in Kukunuru mandal for the inhabitants of four villages –Dacharam, Kivvaka, Damacharla and Vupperu. This colony is now under water. The residents of the colony have been evacuated to safer places.
The people of the merged mandals and the administrations of Polavaram and Devipatnam mandals had repeatedly urged the authorities to settle their R&R packages by bringing their villages under the 41.5 contour instead of the 45.5 contour before taking up the project construction. The officials have not heeded their pleas and proceeded with the construction works.
Now all the merged mandals including erstwhile East and West Godavari district have been marooned. Before 2019, the government included the villages like Devipatnam, Pudipalli, Damanapallil, Kothagudem, K Veeravaram, Devanapalli etc in the 45 contour. But, during the 2019 floods, all these villages had been submerged and the government as well as the people of the area faced a lot of hardships. With this experience, these villages have been included in the 41 contour list in 2020.
The AP High Court had, in a judgment in 2007, directed the government that it should not take up any project construction works until the Rehabilitation and Resettlement package was completed. The government did not heed this call and started the work. Now, the people are facing hardships due to the floods and the backwaters in the cofferdam at the Polavaram project. Adivasi MahaSabha legal adviser Inapurapu Suryanarayana has requested the government to include all the villages under the 41 contour and construct the rehabilitation colonies in areas that will not be affected by the floods or any other natural disasters in future. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/170722/polavaram-project-contours-proven-wrong.html (17 July 2022)
Ambati Rambabu says all measures taken at Polavaram to avoid threats Andhra Pradesh Irrigation Minister Ambati Rambabu said that dangerous conditions have arisen at Polavaram dam due to the flood. Ambati Rambabu said after inspecting the flood situation at Polavaram on Friday (July 15 2022): (IF) the flood flow reaches 30 lakh cusecs, the lakh situation at Coffer Dam will become alarming and hence taking strong measures. “As the lower copper dam has already sunk, the work has come to a standstill due to the water entering above the diaphragm wall,” Ambati said. The minister further said that Upper Coffer Dam can withstand 28 lakh cusecs exceeding than that will be a troublesome situation. He said have made arrangements to increase the height as part of the preliminary measures. https://www.thehansindia.com/andhra-pradesh/ambati-rambabu-says-all-measures-take-at-polavaram-to-avoid-threats-753590 (15 July 2022)
Ambati Rambabu, AP Water Resources Minister said that they were expecting nearly 14 lakh cusecs of water to reach the Polavaram project in due course of time, nine lack cusecs is already there. The minister said that since the lower coffer dam was not constructed to the safe level, flood water from the river entered into the project site through lower coffer dam affecting the progress of ongoing works.
– Recently a team of the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation officials visited the dam to make study on diaphragm wall. They had come to find out the health of the diaphragm wall and to come up with proposals to carry out repair works to the damaged portions of the diaphragm wall or to take up a new diaphragm wall parallel to the existing one. The minister said that their work might be affected due to the floods. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/110722/polavaram-project-expected-to-get-14l-cusecs-water.html (11 July 2022)
The diaphragm wall of the Polavaram project is under a sheet of floodwater by Friday (July 15, 2022) as a result of the flood in the Godavari river. Excluding the spillway that was designed to withstand up to 50 lakh cusecs of inflow, there is an uncertainty on the structural stability of the other facilities of the irrigation project due to incomplete construction of the main dam, as it is receiving an unprecedented inflow.
– The inflow of 19.30 lakh cusecs at the Polavaram project on Friday evening, was beyond the expectations. The outflow is 10.30 lakh cusecs. At the upstream spillway, the water level was +35 metres, and in the downstream of the spillway at +27 metres on Friday evening. Since 1920s, the river has never witnessed such an inflow at the project in July.
– Water Resources Minister Ambati Rambabu said, “The present flood level is scary. We are sure that the spillway can withstand up to 50 lakh cusecs of floodwater discharge. However, the diaphragm wall has been submerged. The construction of the lower cofferdam is incomplete. The floodwater is now entering the diaphragm wall areas from the lower cofferdam. As a result, the entire facility of diaphragm wall has been submerged”.
– In the earlier flood, the diaphragm wall was partially damaged, leading to an additional project cost of ₹600 crore, he said. Subsequently, several groups of experts had been roped in by the Ministry of Jal Shakti to find a scientific solution for the damage. That exercise has remained incomplete. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/polavaram-project-diaphragm-wall-under-a-sheet-of-floodwater/article65644104.ece (15 July 2022)
The CM discussed with officials the filling of Gap-1 and Gap-2 that had previously formed in the ECRF dam of the project. Officials said nine types of tests and reports were required for the Gap-1 and Gap-2 works. Some tests were complete and the rest would be done after the floods subside. They said the lower cofferdam works were also disrupted due to the floods, and the works would resume after the water level comes down to 2 lakh cusecs. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/140722/ap-to-seek-funds-from-centre-on-ad-hoc-basis-for-polavaram-cm-jagan.html (14 July 2022)
Polavaram this year has created history by getting centuries’ heaviest inflows of flood water. The Irrigation department had expected that Polavaram would receive heavy flood in August but the water level near the coffer dam of the project on Tuesday was recorded as 34.20 metres. The lower coffer dam and Gap-2 main dam-related works are still pending. Currently, the entire Gap-2 area has become waterlogged. Additional inflow of 15 lakh cusecs may come into the irrigation project by Wednesday (July 13), according to Chief Engineer of the Project B Sudhakarababu. https://www.thehansindia.com/andhra-pradesh/expectations-on-polavaram-distorted-753172 (13 July 2022)
According to the Godavari river flood history, an inflow of 15 lakh cusecs has never been reported downstream of Bhadrachalam in the month of July since the 1920s. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/andhra-pradesh-polavaram-spillway-withstands-flash-floods/article65635776.ece (13 July 2022)
There are indications that more than 16 lakh cusecs of water could be released at the barrage by Tuesday (July 12) night. At Polavaram, where a massive dam is being built on Godavari river, the water level reached up to 34.10 metres, forcing the authorities to open all the 48 flood gates to release 15 lakh cusecs of water. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/godavari-in-spate-in-andhra-several-villages-inundated-101657651848897.html (13 July 2022)
The lankas (island villages) located in the bed of the river are part of the Godavari, said irrigation adviser to State government Dr P Ramaraju. He said that there is no alternative to cultivators except vacating the land at the time of floods. “These are fertile lands, but not patta lands. To my knowledge, nobody can claim ownership to these lands,” Ramaraju, who worked as assistant conservator at Dowleswaram barrage during the 1986 flood, said.
Now all eyes are on submerged island villages in Godavari districts. These islands formed due to changes in the course of the river. There are 51 island villages in Konaseema district, six in East Godavari district and 24 in West Godavari district. These islands spread between branches of Gowthami, Vasista and Vynatheya rivers. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2022/jul/16/island-villages-part-of-river-people-should-vacate-during-floods-andhra-pradesh-government-advisor-2477203.html (16 July 2022)
Telangana Floods damage Kaleshwaram pumping stations Two Massive pump houses of Kaleshwaram LIS in Telangana submerged and a third one partially damaged in Godavari floods.
– “The present flood of 28.46 lakh cusecs (as on Thursday) is the highest since August 19, 1986 which was 28.18 lakh cusecs.Before that the last highest recorded flood was recorded at 30.03 lakh cusecs on August 19, 1953,” an irrigation official said.
– According to irrigation department officials, the Kannepalli pump house at Medigadda village of Mahadevpur block in Jayashankar Bhupalpally district was completely flooded by Thursday evening. The pump house comprising of 17 giant motor pumps — popularly referred to as “Baahubali motors” — has the capacity to lift three thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) of water every day. Each motor pump weighs 2,376 metric tonnes and has 139 megawatts capacity.
– Similarly, another mega pump house at Annaram in the upstream of Godavari river near Peddapalli district, was also completely flooded. This pump house comprises of 12 such gigantic pump houses.
– The third major pump house under the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation scheme (KLIS) at Sundilla also suffered partial damage, but the irrigation engineers have ensured that the water did not enter the pumps. “But at Medigadda and Annaram, the pump houses are submerged at least 10 metre deep and it will be a gigantic task to drain out the water,” said a senior irrigation engineer working on the Medigadda site, on the condition of anonymity. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/floods-damage-kaleshwaram-pumping-stations-in-telangana-101657910825389.html (16 July 2022)
The heavy inflows were at danger level at Kadam project since Wednesday (July 13, 2022) morning, touched 705 ft as against the dam’s full reservoir level (FRL) of 700 ft by late evening. Officials of Irrigation department deny the reports with videos that Kadem project suffered damage due to heavy inflows. “We have not received any such information from our engineers from the dam site,” a senior official said. He however said the situation was definitely beyond human control and 300 mm rainfall was reported in the catchment areas of Kadam project. “This is 500 years frequency flood” the official added. He said the Kadam project was receiving five lakh cusecs of water and as much as three lakh cusecs of water released downstream. https://telanganatoday.com/kadem-project-water-level-reaches-705-ft-as-against-700-ft-frl (13 July 2022)
The govt has evacuated people from 12 flood prone villages near Kadem Dam in Nirmal District of North Telangana. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/south/rain-fury-continues-in-telangana-kadem-project-safety-becomes-a-concern-1126443.html (13 July 2022)
The government will take up construction of residential colonies for people living in flood-prone areas, develop embankment around Sri Sitaramachandra Swamy temple and also take up repair works of embankment towards Burgampadu. https://telanganatoday.com/cm-kcr-announces-rs-1000-crore-to-protect-bhadrachalam-from-flooding (17 July 2022)
With the Godavari river in spate due to incessant rains, water levels at Bhadrachalam dam touched 70 feet, for the first time in 30 years. The last time that water levels rose this high was in 1990. As per data available with the Central Water Commission, the highest that the river rose to was 75.6 feet amid devastating floods at the temple town in 1986. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/godavari-touches-70-ft-telangana-s-bhadrachalam-first-time-1990-165881 (15 July 2022)
CM Chandrashekar Rao today (July 17) said the floods in the state’s Godavari region were the result of a cloudburst — suspected to be a “conspiracy planned by other countries”. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/cloudburst-a-foreign-conspiracy-telanganas-kcr-in-flood-hit-area-3166454 (17 July 2022)
Karnataka According to a report submitted to Archaeological Survey of India by a technical expert, two bridges downstream of Hampi are majorly responsible for the submergence of Hampi, downstream of Tungabhadra reservoir. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/karnataka-districts/two-bridges-behind-flooding-of-hampi-monuments-1127650.html (18 July 2022)
HYDRO POWER PROJECTS
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Presenters will highlight issues around hydropower projects whose power is earmarked for export to Europe. This includes the proposed Inga Dam in DRC, where Australian firm Fortescue has signed deals to produce hydrogen for sale to the UK and Germany. Registration link: https://bit.ly/3ImexRz
Uttarakhand घुघुलेख में हाइड्रो पॉवर के टनल के ऊपर जमीन धंसने से सुरंग बनी शुक्रवार (July 01) रात कपकोट के घुघुलेख (खारबगड़) हाइड्रो पावर कंपनी के टनल के ऊपर जमीन धंस गई। इससे जमीन के भीतर काफी लंबे क्षेत्र में सुरंग की तरह दिखाई दे रहा गड्ढा बन गया है। इसके भीतर पानी भी बहता दिखाई दे रहा है। जिस स्थान पर जमीन धंसी है, उसके नीचे हाइड्रो पॉवर कंपनी की सुरंग है। लोगों ने इलाके की सुरक्षा की दृष्टि से इस गड्ढे को भरने की मांग की है। लोगों का कहना है कि यदि भूधंसाव का दायरा बढ़ता है तो यह नाचती, खारबगड़ आदि के लिए गंभीर खतरा पैदा करेगा। इसी के नीचे नाचती इंटर कॉलेज है। इस वजह से भी लोगों को भय सता रहा है। टनल से करीब डेढ़ सौ मीटर ऊपर भूधंसाव की सूचना मिली थी।
कंपनी के अधिकारियों को मौके पर भेजा गया। भू वैज्ञानिकों से पड़ताल कराई जाएगी। जमीन खोखली क्यों हो रही है, इसका पता लगाया जाएगा। टनल के कारण भूंधसाव हो रहा है या कोई और कारण है, इसका भी पता लगाया जाएगा। – कमलेश जोशी प्रबंधक उत्तर भारत हाइड्रो पॉवर कंपनी https://www.amarujala.com/uttarakhand/bageshwar/landslide-like-situation-in-tunnel-bageshwar-news-hld467816313 (03 July 2022)
इधर, नगर पंचायत अध्यक्ष गोविंद बिष्ट ने बताया कि उसी स्थान से वरुक-बड़ेत निर्माणाधीन सड़क भी है। जिसमें भी लगातार भूस्खलन हो रहा है। हाइड्रोपावर के अधिकारी कमलेश जाेशी ने बताया कि 2016 में सुरंग बन गई थी । छह वर्ष बाद भू-धंसाव की समस्या नहीं हो सकती है। https://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/nainital-land-above-the-tunnel-of-uttar-bharat-hydro-power-in-kapkot-submerged-22856414.html (02 July 2022)
ग्रामीणों के अनुसार यहां काफी मात्रा में पानी का भी रिसाव हो रहा है. रास्ते के नीचे बड़ी सी सुरंग बन गई है और वह धंसते जा रही है. इससे खारबगड़ गांव को खतरा पैदा हो गया है. इस गांव में करीब 60 परिवार रहते हैं, जो भू-धंसाव के कारण सहमे हुए हैं. ग्रामीणों ने बताया कि टनल से पानी रिसने की दिक्कत लंबे समय से आ रही है, लेकिन सुरंग नुमा गड्ढा कुछ दिन पहले ही बना है. टनल के नीचे रेवती नदी बहती है. https://hindi.news18.com/news/uttarakhand/bageshwar-kapkot-in-danger-of-chamoli-like-disaster-north-india-hydro-power-tunnel-started-leaking-4366068.html (04 July 2022)
पूर्व जिला पंचायत अध्यक्ष बागेश्वर हरीश ऐठानी ने मामले को गंभीर माना है. उत्तर भारत हाइड्रो पावर कंपनी ने अगर उस वक्त पहाड़ों पर ब्लास्ट का प्रयोग नहीं किया होता तो आज परेशानी सामने नहीं आती. https://www.abplive.com/states/up-uk/bageshwar-landslide-like-situation-above-the-tunnel-of-uttar-bharat-hydro-power-in-kapkot-ann-2160182 (03 July 2022)
टीएचडीसी की पीपलकोटी विष्णुगाड जल विद्युत परियोजना के डंपिंग जोन से चारा पत्ती लेकर आ रही महिलाओं की पुलिस और सीआईएसएफ की महिला जवानों से तीखी झड़प हुई। पुलिस ने डंपिंग जोन को प्रतिबंधित बताते हुए यहां से चारा पत्ती न लेने को कहा जबकि महिलाओं ने कहा कि यह उनकी चारापत्ती की भूमि है और यहीं से लेकर जाएंगे। जवानों ने चारों महिलाओं से जबरन चारा पत्ती के गठ्ठर छीन लिए।
इसके बाद पुलिस महिलाओं को जबरन वाहन में बिठाकर जोशीमठ थाने लेकर ले आई और चालान करने के बाद उन्हें छोड़ दिया। दरअसल, टीएचडीसी की ओर से हेलंग के पास राजस्व भूमि को डंपिंग जोन बनाया गया है। यहां पर जमीन का समतलीकरण करने के बाद उसमें कई निर्माण कार्य प्रस्तावित हैं, जिसका हेलंग गांव के कुछ परिवार विरोध कर रहे हैं। उनका कहना है कि यह उनकी गौचर और चारा पत्ती की भूमि है। https://www.amarujala.com/dehradun/clash-with-women-of-police-and-cisf-for-bringing-fodder-leaves-from-dumping-zone?pageId=1 (18 July 2022)
वीडियो 15 तारीख का है और जोशीमठ से 13 किलोमीटर पहले हेलंग गांव का है। उसका कसूर बस इतना है कि वह अपने एकमात्र बचे हुए चारागाह को डम्पिंग क्षेत्र बनाने का विरोध कर रही थी क्योंकि जहां हजारों टन प्रदूषित मलबे को डाले जाने की कम्पनी की योजना है उसके बाजू में 100 मीटर से कम दूरी पर उनका घर है जहां यह हजारों टन मलबा डाला जाना है, वह हरी घास और वृक्षों से भरा बचा रह गया एक मात्र क्षेत्र है इसलिए इन महिलाओं को शांति भंग करने का अपराधी माना गया। इन पर धारा 107, 116 के तहत कार्यवाही की गई। इनको गिरफ्तार कर जोशीमठ थाना लाया गया। 6 घण्टे बैठाने के बाद छोड़ा गया। कसूर वही, अपनी भूमि के नजदीक अपने चारागाह पर डम्पिंग क्षेत्र नहीं बनाने की मांग।
प्रशासन और कम्पनी का तर्क है कि गांव वालों ने ही सहमति दी है खेल का मैदान बनाने की। 22 जून को डम्पिंग क्षेत्र के विरोध में एक पत्र जिलाधिकारी को गांव वालों ने लिखा है, जिसमें 50 लोगों के हस्ताक्षर हैं। इस पत्र में वे कह रहे हैं कि पूर्व में एक और भूमि खेल मैदान बनाने के नाम पर ली गयी थी। ऐसा कम्पनियां करती ही हैं। जिस सहमति की बात हो रही है उस पर बहुत से लोग सवाल उठा रहे हैं। ऐसी किसी बैठक होने पर ही सवाल हैं, जिसमें ऐसी सहमति बनी। इस मामले में प्रशासन को बार—बार बताया गया पर स्थानीय प्रशासन ने जिला प्रशासन के निर्देश पर यह किया, ऐसा कहा जा रहा है। https://www.nainitalsamachar.org/gidho-ke-saye-mai-harela/ (18 July 2022)
Himachal Pradesh The Role Of Himalayan Dams In Climate Crisis Climate scientists have failed to adequately acknowledge risks associated with large-scale hydropower development in the Himalayas. (Manshi Asher) ” Their (Himachali People’s) everyday struggle is to adapt, not so much to ‘nature’s wrath’, as to the repercussions of top-down policies of the government and market forces that have impacted the resilience of local landscapes and economic systems. The push for hydropower development in the region is but one example in this scenario… Even the community of climate scientists have failed to adequately acknowledge risks associated with large-scale hydropower development in the Himalayas. Technocrats in the environment ministry continue to ignore the hazardous impacts of damming Himalayan rivers. ‘Natural calamity’ and ‘global climate change’, have been turned into convenient alibis to carry on with ease-of-doing-business as usual.” https://www.outlookindia.com/national/the-role-of-himalayan-dams-in-climate-crisis-news-208448 (12 July 2022)
GE Renewable Energy’s Hydropower business has for developer GMR commissioned the 180 MW Bajoli Holi Project on the river Ravi in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh in northern India, supplying power to Delhi. https://www.waterpowermagazine.com/news/newsge-commissions-bajoli-hydropower-project-in-india-9838701 (11 July 2022)
Jammu & Kashmir NHPC has said that the Union Power Ministry has given approval for pre investment activities at the cost of Rs 973 Cr for the 1856 MW Sawalkot project in J&K. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/power-min-nod-for-pre-investment-for-sawalkot-hydro-project/92863757 (14 July 2022)
MoEF FAC meeting to be held on July 15, 2022, relevant agenda: – DIVERSION OF 426.763 HA. FOREST LAND FOR MAJHAGAON MEDIUM IRRIGATION PROJECT in PANNA DISTRICT IN MADHYA PRADESH http://forestsclearance.nic.in/AgendaDetail.aspx?id=272!dis1
Decisions as per the Minutes of the EAC meeting for River Valley Projects held on July 1, 2022:
1. Sukhpura Standalone Pumped Storage Project (5040 MW), Dist Chittorgarh (Rajasthan) by Greenko Energies Pvt Ltd – Amendment in Terms of Reference: Approved.
2. Teesta Low Dam – I & II (Combined) Hydro-Electric Project 71 MW (2×30+1x11MW) in 170 ha in Triveni town, Tehsil Rangli Rangliot, Dist Darjeeling, W Bengal by West Bengal Electricity Distribution Company Ltd – For Terms of Reference: Deferred as site visit report not yet submitted. http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/1807202262565806Final_minutes_30_EAC_river_1_july_2022.pdf
Report The ever-growing risk of big dam failure “India is one of the biggest dam builders in the world,” says Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of the SANDRP. “We have a stock of very large and very old dams, many of which have growing safety and maintenance issues. Big dams need constant monitoring and maintenance, but unfortunately we are pretty bad at this.”
After decades of deliberations, India passed its Dam Safety Act – which mandates surveillance and maintenance of large dams – in 2021. But, says Thakkar, the bill “does not inspire confidence” because rather than creating a new regulatory body, the same institutions that have long mismanaged the country’s dams have simply been given larger responsibilities. https://www.energymonitor.ai/finance/risk-management/the-ever-growing-risk-of-big-dam-failure (14 July 2022)
NBA Attempts to Implicate Medha Widely Condemned Exactly 15 years after this judgment of the Supreme Court of India, a FIR has sought to implicate Medha Patkar and close colleagues in NNNA in several false allegations. Within a short time hundreds of activists, academics, journalists and others have rallied to the support of Medha and her close colleagues. https://countercurrents.org/2022/07/attempts-to-implicate-medha-patkar-and-colleagues-in-false-allegations-widely-condemned/ (12 July 2022)
Withdraw the trumped-up FIR filed against Medha Patkar and other trustees of Narmada Nav Nirman Abhiyan https://napmindia.wordpress.com/2022/07/11/withdraw-the-trumped-up-fir-filed-against-medha-patkar-and-other-trustees-of-narmada-nav-nirman-abhiyan/ (11 July 2022)
Maharashtra Koradi plant’s ash bund falls, toxic slurry in farms, houses In an accident that villagers said has not happened for the first time, the Khasala fly ash bund of Koradi Thermal Power Station breached on Saturday (July 16), flooding three villages with toxic fly-ash slurry. From farmlands to houses to natural nullahs and even Kanhan, which provides drinking water to Nagpur city, and Kolar rivers, the slurry reached everywhere thus leading to massive damage and contamination.
According to residents of affected villages, the embankment wall of the bund collapsed around noon, immediately after which fly-ash slurry started heavily flowing out, submerging nearby villages. The most affected ones were Kawtha, Khairi and Mhasala. Koradi Thermal Power Plant is located in the outskirts of the city. The slurry destroyed several agricultural fields, entered houses and submerged Kalamna-Godhni track which is used for goods trains. The most threatening damage, however, was it entering into drinking water wells & water sources.
Leena Buddhe, director of NGO Centre for Sustainable Development (CFSD) which works in the area, said that approach roads to the three villages were completely flooded. “The bund had about 2.47 crore metric tonnes of ash slurry. Imagine the damage that it has done. Koradi plant authorities have been mindlessly dumping ash and the bund was overflowing,” she said.
Villagers said that a similar but less severe accident had happened last year. “The bund had breached but we had managed to control the flow of fly-ash slurry. Since then, we filed repeated complaints with Mahagenco but they turned a deaf ear. This mishap was bound to happen,” said villagers of Khairi. They further said that the work of increasing the height of the embankment wall was going on which could not be completed before monsoon. “We have been hearing rumours that the contractor and plant officials were hand in gloves and the materials that were being used were of poor quality. They have been playing with our lives. This is criminal,” the villagers said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/koradi-plants-ash-bund-falls-toxic-slurry-in-farms-and-houses/articleshow/92926900.cms (17 Jul 2022)
Ulhas; Ambernath Dirty water affecting paddy fields Most of the paddy fields from Jambhul, Ambivli (Chon) and Vasat villages are affected by the dirty water entering the fields from the nearby dumping ground used by the Ambernath Municipal Council (AMC). The villagers had complained to AMC earlier this month, asking to divert the water flow from the dumping ground. However, there was no action taken, the villagers claimed. “The entire dirty water from the dumping ground is entering the paddy fields and accumulates there. The water from the field further flows to Ulhas River too,” said Parikshit Pisal, sarpanch of the Jambhul village who is also a farmer. The dumping ground is located on the boundary of Jambhul village. Around 100 hectares of farmland is affected due to the dirty water from the dumping ground.
The dumping site, which has been used since August last year, is a result of the closure of the dumping site at Ambernath Pipeline Road by the AMC, following the Bombay High Court order. The civic body randomly shifted its dumping activities to this new site at Chikhloli. The new dumping site is not just affecting the nearby villages but also the high rises located nearby. Residents of the high rises had also complained about the stench and sewage water mixing with borewell water. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/dirty-water-from-dumping-ground-in-ambernath-affecting-paddy-fields-claim-villagers-101657970782094.html (16 July 2022)
Study Warming waters will lead to gasping rivers in India A recently published study titled ‘Impact of climate change on river water temperature and dissolved oxygen: Indian riverine thermal regimes’ published in Nature Scientific Reports informs that global warming has been found to have an adverse impact on River Water Temperatures (RWT), which in turn are known to adversely impact Dissolved oxygen (DO) levels in rivers, which are important indicators of river water quality. The study provides an assessment of the impacts of rise in river water temperatures (RWTs) on dissolved oxygen content in the river waters indicative of the health of rivers and its ecology under climate change scenarios, which will be greatly helpful for the policymakers and pollution control authorities to design sustainable river water quality management strategies for the future, argues the paper. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/warming-waters-will-lead-gasping-rivers-india (08 July 2022)
SUTLEJ Punjab Farmers plan to protest against Corporates plunging waste into Rivers A massive agitation has been planned from July 21 to 25, 2022 by the farmers organization in Punjab to thwart the bid of the corporates to grab the land and pollute the waters of the rivers. Despite being the dominant state of agriculture, Punjab is a facing severe shortage of water for agriculture. https://countercurrents.org/2022/07/farmers-organisations-in-punjab-plan-to-protest-against-corporates-plunging-waste-into-rivers-and-robbing-water/ (15 July 2022)
Govt scraps Mattewara textile project Following widespread protests over the move for setting up a textile park in Mattewara forest area in Ludhiana, the government on Monday (July 11) scrapped the project after a meeting of the eight-member committee with CM Bhagwant mann. Talking to The Tribune, Kapil Arora, a member of the committee that met Mann, said the project had been scrapped. The government would not allow any major industrial project near the water bodies, they had been assured, he said. Agitation leaders Kuldeep Khaira and Col CM Lakhanpal were also present on the occasion. Khaira said, “We have been assured that no industrial parks near the water bodies will be allowed,” Khaira said. Forest Minister Lal Chand Katarachak was present on the occasion. The government land will be used for a biodiversity park and the acquired land will be returned to the villagers. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/following-widespread-protests-punjab-govt-scraps-mattewara-textile-project-in-ludhiana-411431 (12 July 2022)
GANGA Uttarakhand Ambitious river-linking project meets with stiff local resistance Several residents of Chamoli, where devastating flash floods killed around 200 people in February 2021, have come out against the project, through which the government intends to connect glacier-fed rivers with rain-fed ones. The protesters claim that the project threatens the livelihood of local people and the biodiversity of Pindar Valley, which spreads over an area of around 400 km across several hill districts and is home to eco-sensitive meadows like Bedni and Aali. Grains, vegetables and fruits unique to the region are also grown here, including hill pulses, rice, apple, plum and potato.
On Friday (July 15), villagers handed over a memorandum (addressed to chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami) to naib tehsildar of Tharali, Pradeep Negi. The memorandum asks the government to halt the project immediately and threatens “massive protests” if this is not done. “Natural resources are public property and any such project requires public consultation as well. Where are all the scientific and feasibility studies related to this project? How many water and river experts have given green light to the project? The government should understand that diverting rivers is neither easy nor good for the ecology for a young mountain range like the Himalayas,” said Bhupal Singh Gosain, 68, a statehood agitator and resident of Malbajwar village in Tharali, Chamoli.
Nearly 60,000 villagers of Deval, Tharali, Narayanbagar and Karnaprayag have declared they would support the protest. “Apart from ecological consequences, diverting the natural course of the Pindar river would rob us of our cultural and traditional identity. Not only that, it will jolt the fragile landscape of these four blocks,” said a villager. Incidentally, geologists, water scientists, ecologists and environmentalists had protested against the project, saying it is “unnatural, unscientific and an invitation to more natural disasters in an ecologically- sensitive area.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/uttarakhand-ambitious-river-linking-project-meets-with-stiff-local-resistance/articleshow/92929013.cms (17 July 2022)
YAMUNA Haryana NGT slaps Rs 115 crore fine on builders in Kundli While coming down heavily on builders of Kundli in Sonipat district for violation of the Environment Protection Act by discharging untreated sewage directly into a river, the NGT on Friday (July 15) slapped a penalty of 115 crore on TDI group and other builders of the area. The decision came from the NGT’s full bench chaired by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goyal while disposing off a complaint moved by Kisan Uday Samiti, a registered body of villagers from Nagal Kalan and adjoining villages where builders have developed residential as well as commercial projects.
The complaint was filed in 2018 when office bearers of the Samiti had apprised the tribunal about the problems faced by them due to the discharge of untreated sewage waste by the occupants and inhabitants of the colonies. Notably, the complaint had also exposed the nexus between HSIIDC, HSPCB , HSVP and the local district administration who used to protect the said builders. The samiti had also mentioned in details the representations made upto CM’s redressal mechanism level, but all had gone unheard. According to the judgement, a fine of over Rs 95 crore alone has been slapped on TDI and its group companies for violations, while the rest of the builders were fined between Rs 1 crore and 10 crore. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/haryana-ngt-slaps-rs-115-crore-fine-on-builders-in-kundli/articleshow/92927968.cms (17 July 2022)
The Kisan Uday Samiti, Sonepat, a registered society of the residents of Nangal Kalan, Patla, Aterna, Rasoi and Badh Malik villages, had filed an application before the NGT alleging violation of environmental norms by not providing proper sewerage and sanitation system in housing societies in Sectors 58 to 64 at Kundli.
The samiti alleged that several groups had constructed housing complexes there, but there was no appropriate infrastructure and sanitation facility for the disposal of sewage and waste water. The villagers said the builders collected waste in tanks and safety tanks, and then poured it in the open near Nangal Kalan village, causing severe pollution in the area. The NGT also ordered that the amount be utilised for rejuvenation and restoration of environment in the area. A plan should be prepared within three months and executed within six months from the date of deposit of environmental compensation by the companies, it said. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/pay-rs-153-66-crore-for-violating-norms-in-kundli-projects-national-green-tribunal-tells-4-builders-413087 (17 July 2022)
Delhi NGT panel flags 2 projects that could affect Yamuna floodplains The Principal Committee constituted on the orders of the NGT to monitor projects concerning the “rejuvenation” of the Yamuna has raised concerns about two project proposals that could affect the floodplains in Delhi — a power transmission line and an elevated road along the riverbank.
One of the proposals that the committee considered at its recent meeting was a project of the Public Works Department (PWD) to construct an elevated road along the riverbank from Wazirabad to DND. Manoj Misra, convenor of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, who was the petitioner in the NGT case that eventually led to the constitution of the committee, raised the matter of the elevated road for the committee’s consideration, stating that it is “against the ecology of the river”, and will “sharply reduce the expanse of floodplains”. At a meeting earlier this year, the PWD had informed the committee that the proposed elevated road would decongest the existing Ring Road.
The DDA informed the committee that PWD was asked to re-examine the proposal, and it had suggested that the proposal over the floodplain should be avoided and instead, “roads can be developed over the existing Ring Road”, as per the minutes of the meeting. While the PWD said construction over the Ring Road may not be possible, the panel asked for a discussion with the PWD, experts, and DDA to resolve the issue. In response to the proposal, professor A K Gosain, another expert member of the panel, stated that after dismantling the Rajghat Power Plant, the area should have been retrieved for the river. The power plant is located on the floodplains. The committee has directed Delhi Transco to review the proposal. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/panel-flags-2-projects-that-could-affect-yamuna-floodplains-8034025/ (17 July 2022)
SANDRP said that the Yamuna is witnessing frothing leading to a foul smell as some of the ITO barrage gates have not been functioning, creating problem in smooth flow in the river. Bheem Singh Rawat, Associate coordinator of SANDRP said, “Normally during the monsoon season, the flow of river is normal which helps in diluting pollutants. However, this time the sight was unusual and unprecedented. In the past three-four days, we have witnessed good spells of rain, after which a low level of flood spell should have reached the Yamuna by now but nothing of that sought happened.” https://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2022/jul/03/frothing-in-yamuna-a-rare-sight-in-monsoon-season-saysexperts-2472253.html (03 July 2022)
मथुरा अपनी बदहाली पर आंसू बहा रही यमुना नदी केंद्र सरकार के नमामि गंगे प्रोजेक्ट के तहत यमुना शुद्धिकरण पर करोड़ों रुपए खर्च किए गए, लेकिन आज भी यह बदहाल है. यमुना में आज भी गंदे नाले सीधे गिर रहे हैं. 2017 में मथुरा, वृंदावन क्षेत्र को नगर निगम बनाया गया, लेकिन अभी तक हालातों में कोई सुधार नहीं हुआ.
यमुना के किनारे लगा गंदगी का अंबार यमुना की दुर्दशा को दर्शा रहा है. यमुना में गिरते गंदे नाले यह साफ बयां कर रहे हैं कि यमुना की तरफदारी और यमुना शुद्धिकरण की बात करने वाले सिर्फ दावे करते हैं. धरातल पर कोई भी इन दावों का असर दिखाई नहीं देता है. मथुरा नगर निगम की तरफ से जाने वाली कचरे की गाड़ियां भी यमुना किनारे कचरे को डाल कर चली जाती हैं. यमुना का किनारा धीरे-धीरे कचरे के ढेर में तब्दील होता जा रहा है, लेकिन कोई भी अधिकारी इसकी तरफ ध्यान नहीं दे रहा है. https://hindi.news18.com/photogallery/uttar-pradesh/mathura-yamuna-river-will-be-cleaned-by-december-2023-know-realty-check-in-mathura-nodark-4378408-page-2.html (13 July 2022)
FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS
Wading through the Kosasthalaiyar river near Chennai, Govindamma has been catching prawns since she was a little girl. Now in her 70s, she does it to support her family, despite her bruises and failing eyesight. https://ruralindiaonline.org/en/articles/govindamma-i-have-been-in-water-all-my-life/ (14 Jul 2022)
Karnataka A road for a port cuts through the livelihoods of fisherwomen A 4 km long road under construction on a beach at Kasarkod-Tonka, a coastal village in Uttara Kannada is threatening the livelihood of over 2,000 fisherwomen. The road is part of Honnavar port project and the site of road construction comes under the No Development Zone of India’s coastal regulation norms. It is an unsurveyed land, part of the village coastal commons, and has been used by fishers for generations for drying fish. A petition filed at the NGT contends that the private company misguided authorities while seeking coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearance. Fishers are worried about their livelihood and their existence but are determined to keep fighting. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/07/a-road-for-a-port-cuts-through-the-livelihoods-of-fisherwomen-in-uttar-kannada/ (14 July 2022) Port-development spree ignores coastal communities’ concerns https://india.mongabay.com/2022/07/karnatakas-port-development-spree-ignores-concerns-by-local-coastal-communities/ (13 July 2022) An upcoming port in Karnataka is shrinking space for olive ridley turtles https://india.mongabay.com/2022/07/an-upcoming-port-in-karnataka-is-shrinking-space-for-olive-ridley-turtles/ (15 July 2022)
Kerala Residents to intensify protest against sand-mining at Thottappally Local residents under the aegis of Karimanal Ghanana Virudha Ekopana Samithi will intensify their protest against mineral-sand mining at Thottappally. Suresh Kumar S., chairman of the Ekopana Samithi said the indiscriminate mineral sand-mining had increased the intensity of sea erosion in the area.
“Mineral sand-mining continues unabated at Thottappally pozhi (sandbar at sea mouth) and Thottappally harbour. If it continues like this, five grama panchayats- Purakkad, Thrikkunnapuzha, Arattupuzha, Ambalapuzha North and Ambalapuzha South will soon be wiped off the map in the near future. Already a number of houses were destroyed and several families got displaced by sea erosion. The government should immediately halt all mining activities at Thottappally and take measures to protect the shoreline,” Mr. Kumar said. The Ekopana Samithi has alleged massive corruption behind sand mining at Thottappally. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/residents-to-intensify-protest-against-sand-mining-at-thottappally/article65627784.ece (12 July 2022)
Maharashtra RTI activist exposes illegal excavation in Pen, gets assaulted An RTI activist was attacked inside the Pen tehsildar office premises while he was on his way to attend a hearing on his complaint about illegal excavation of earth and ‘murrum’. After a complaint was lodged by Amod Mundhe (44), the Pen tehsildar office had unearthed illegal excavation of over 18,000 brass of soil and penalised several persons collectively over Rs 8.5 crore. The activist had lodged a complaint with the Pen police station a month ago about a threat to his life, but no action was taken. During lockdown in March and April 2021, large scale excavation of earth and murrum along the Pen-Khopoli road had come to light. This was done in three villages — Dhavate, Ambeghar and Sapoli. Mundhe had complained to the Raigad collector after the Pen tehsildar failed to take any action. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/rti-activist-exposes-illegal-excavation-in-pen-gets-assaulted/articleshow/92760198.cms (09 July 2022)
WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES
Tamil Nadu Revise CZMP maps in 6 months: NGT to MoEF, state govt The Southern Bench of the NGT has directed the Union Environment Ministry and the Tamil Nadu government to conduct a technical study to revise the classification of ‘flawed’ CRZ areas within six months. Many non-urban areas were wrongly classified as CRZ-II (urban areas) in the Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMPs) because of which illegal constructions are coming up near the sea endangering the fragile coastal ecosystem.
The NGT bench of judicial member Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana and expert member K Satyagopal passed the order in a case filed by A Anthony Raj Williams, a Chennai resident, who alleged that two real estate firms DS Properties and Indira Projects and Developments Pvt Ltd developed a residential layout consisting of 545 plots in Marakkanam in Villupuram claiming the property was towards the landward side of an existing road. Although the area was undeveloped, it was classified as CRZ-II instead of CRZ-III.
According to CRZ notification of 2011, CRZ-II constitutes developed land areas up to or close to the shoreline within existing municipal limits or in other existing legally designated urban areas that are substantially endowed with drainage, approach roads and other infrastructural facilities. However, the Thalangadu village in Marakkanam where the residential project was planned doesn’t meet the CRZ-II specifications.
These discrepancies were proved during the hearing and the green bench cancelled the CRZ clearance granted to the project in 2019. The bench said “Pending revision of CZMPs, the district and State Coastal Zone Management Authorities are directed to examine all the pending proposals in so called CRZ-II areas, not merely relying on the approved CZMP, but by inspecting the area physically…,” the order had said.
The tribunal even questioned the authority of CZMA in issuing CRZ clearances for projects measuring more than 20,000 sq m. As per rules, such projects attract provisions of EIA Notification, 2006, and require prior composite environment clearance and CRZ clearance from the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority or the Union environment ministry. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/jul/14/revise-czmp-maps-in-six-months-ngt-to-union-environment-ministry-tamil-nadu-government-2476303.html (14 July 2022)
Punjab Dept to map 700 wetland sites for migratory birds Going beyond its yearly exercise of a water bird census of the protected wetlands of Punjab, the Forest and Wildlife Preservation Department has started an exercise to map nearly 700 of the 1,445 natural and man-made sites for migratory birds, spread across 21 districts of the state. Based on satellite imagery provided by the Centre, wildlife officials have identified 700 such sites — mostly in Bathinda, Faridkot, Kapurthala, Muktsar, Patiala, Ropar, Sangrur and Mohali. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/dept-to-map-700-wetland-sites-for-migratory-birds-412443 (15 July 2022)
Pune Citizens’ initiative helps in water conservation at Baner-Pashan hill It has taken 15 years for volunteers of Vasundhara Swachata Abhiyan to turn Baner-Pashan hill from barren to lush green, with an increase in groundwater levels and also control the flooding in the area. Baner-Pashan hill was declared as a biodiversity place by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) in 2005, post which Vasundhara Swachata Abhiyan (VSA) started a plantation and growth drive since 2006 on this hill.
Rajesh Uttarwar, another volunteer said, “Continuous Contour Trenches (CCT) are small check dam structures, which we began in 2017 for water and soil conservation. Structures like this arrest rain water from wasting downhill. With the trees growing more than 10 feet, and water and soil conservation resulted in grass of larger height which helped in reducing the speed and impact of rain.”
The CCTs led rainwater to percolate in the soil resulting in the increase of groundwater level and avoid a flood-like situation around the hill. In 2013-14, it was observed that despite the drought, the use of water tankers in the housing societies was considerably reduced because of the increase in ground water, said volunteers. According to volunteers it takes three-five years for the results to show. This was eventually seen during the 2019 flash floods where there was no loss of life in the area. Even on July 13, when the city battered rains, Pashan recorded 69 mm rainfall, highest in Pune, however, all water on the hill percolated inside within 8 hours. “Hills are important as it helps maintain groundwater level, avoid flood and landsliding if it is supported by water and soil conservation work like that on Baner-Pahan hill,” said Shrote. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/citizens-initiative-helps-in-water-conservation-at-baner-pashan-hill-101657994060363.html (16 July 2022)
Report Govt body names 2,069 units, grants relief Just over a fortnight after it declared as “illegal” the extraction of groundwater by 2,069 industries on June 27, 2022, including projects and units of big corporates like Tata Steel, Adani Wilmar and Ramdev’s Divya Pharmacy, the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) granted relief to them on July 14, 2022, as it extended the last date for applying for no objection certificates (NOCs) from June 30 to September 30. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/illegal-groundwater-extraction-govt-body-names-2069-units-grants-relief-8030096/ (17 July 2022)
Bengaluru Ailing Vidyaranyapura lake calls for urgent attention Contrary to the claims by government authorities, untreated sewage from residential and commercial premises nearby is entering Vidyaranyapura lake in Bengaluru city through stormwater drains, that are meant to carry only rainwater. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/lakes-of-bengaluru-vidyaranyapura-lake-urgent-attention-8033834/ (17 July 2022)
TNM in conversation with Anand Malligavad who left his richly paying job for a cause close to his heart— reviving lake ecosystems in Bengaluru. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/most-bengaluru-lakes-under-bbmp-need-immediate-attention-165905 (16 July 2022)
Bengaluru has lost most of them to urbanisation and pollution. And to the politics of encroachment. https://frontline.thehindu.com/environment/where-are-bengalurus-lakes-urbanisation-pollution/article65611149.ece (18 July 2022)
Hyderabad Lakes protection: NGT slams GHMC While noting that serious steps were not taken in letter and spirit by the GHMC, the NGT directed officials from the irrigation department and the district collector to submit a detailed report on the number of water bodies and their encroachments, as well as the future course of action to be taken to restore and protect the lakes.
Meanwhile, Purushottam Reddy, a city environmentalist, expressed his displeasure, saying, “NGT is lamenting that nothing has been done. The NGT established a rapid response mechanism. What prevents the NGT from holding a hearing on court conduct? The state government has failed to comply with an earlier NGT order. This is not the first time the state government has disobeyed a court order.”
Further, the environmentalist noted that several cases had previously been filed regarding Musi pollution, Jawaharnagar garbage, and water body protection. “My contention is that neither the Supreme Court nor the NGT issues a compliance order. Nothing will happen unless the court puts the Chief Secretary and the municipal commissioner behind the bars. What prevents the NGT and the Supreme Court from putting the Chief Secretary behind bars if he does not comply with the NGT or the Supreme Court order,” he questioned. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/lifestyle/environment/160722/lakes-protection-ngt-slams-ghmc.html (16 July 2022)
Mumbai BMC issues tender to stop discharge of sewer water in Powai Lake After years of abuse, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has finally issued a tender to make a detailed project report to stop the ingress of sewer water and also its detection, interception and diversion in the Powai Lake. The tender was issued by the Sewerage Projects Department
The BMC received several complaints of water from sewers being released into the lake due to which it always appears to be full, but the discharge of unclean water led to an increase in hyacinths and algae content in the water body. Before the pandemic, the then municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta had tried to address the issue.
Kamlesh Sharma, Secretary of Maharashtra State Angling Association, said, “There are 17 outlets, which release sewer water in Powai Lake. BMC claims that these are closed but we feel that sewer water is still let inside. Our boats go in the Powai Lake for angling and we experience sewer water in the lake.” https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/bmc-tender-stop-discharge-sewer-water-powai-lake-8033944/ (17 July 2022)
Coimbatore Efforts on to fix pipe burst in Siruvani water line Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage (TWAD) Board that operates and maintains the 32-km-long pipeline from Siruvani to Coimbatore detected a damage in the pipeline. A TWAD board official told The Hindu that a 1,000 mm diameter giant pipeline was damaged due to heavy rain in Siruvani. The damage happened in between a 7 km stretch in the dense reserve forest area, where there was frequent elephant movement, the official added. The prestructured concrete water pipelines in the siruvani system were installed more than 40 years ago. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/efforts-on-to-fix-pipe-burst-in-siruvani-supply-line-in-coimbatore/article65650539.ece (17 July 2022)
Kolkata KMDA plans to harvest storm water on 5-km stretch of EM Bypass The Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA), with the assistance of a Mumbai-based agency, is preparing a plan to harvest stormwater for recharging the underground water level on the five-km stretch of the EM Bypass from Ultadanga to Chingrighat in order to keep up with the state government’s “Jol Dharo Jol Bharo” scheme to harvest rainwater, which could be used for artificially recharging the city’s declining groundwater level.
“Presently, there is no storm water discharge point between the eastern drainage channel at Chingrighata and the circular canal at Ultadanga. The accumulated stormwater on this 5-km-long Bypass stretch is now drained out towards those canals through the drainage network system. The plan is to hold the stormwater and wasted surface water which accumulates on this stretch and to channelise it underground to recharge the groundwater,” said an official. https://www.timesnownews.com/kolkata/kolkata-kmda-plans-to-harvest-storm-water-on-5-km-stretch-of-em-bypass-for-recharging-groundwater-article-92829385 (12 July 2022)
Gurugram High contaminants in leachate near landfill Samples of leachate collected from the Aravalis near the Bandhwari landfill were found to contain toxic substances and chemicals much higher than the permissible limits, according to results of tests released by the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) on Thursday (July 14). The samples were collected on May 24 to evaluate if untreated leachate was flowing into the Aravalis. The report said among the contaminants were suspended solids, oil and grease. All these, the report said, were being discharged into the Aravalis and could adversely impact the groundwater.
A spokesperson for Ecogreen, the concessionaire that manages waste in the city and operates the Bandhwari site, said, “Only treated leachate is released. They are within the limits mentioned in the SWM Rules, 2016.”
The tests were conducted after environmentalists alleged that leachate released from the Bandhwari landfill was seeping into the groundwater in the Aravalis. Environmentalists, however, pointed out that the report missed out on the data on the levels of lead, mercury and zinc. “The examination of heavy metals was not carried out. This is a cause for concern,” said Vaishali Rana Chandra, a green activist.
In 2017, a Wildlife Institute of India (WII) report recognised the Gurgaon Aravalis as a critical leopard habitat, with more than 32 sightings. A 2019-20 survey, supported by CEDAR and WWF-India, showed that the encounter rate of leopards was 2.7 per km in the Gurgaon Aravalis compared to 1.4 per km in the Asola sanctuary and 4.6 in Mangar Bani. HSPCB officials said they planned to collect groundwater samples in the area and take action if it was contaminated. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/high-contaminants-in-leachate-near-landfill-groundwater-to-be-tested/articleshow/92888156.cms (15 July 2022)
उत्तर प्रदेश एटा: 50 गांवों में पेयजल संकट, योजनाएं फेल- उद्योगों पर पानी खारा करने का आरोप एटा के करीब 50 गांव भयानक पेयजल संकट का सामना कर रहे हैं. इन गावों में कई सालों से पीने के पानी की भारी समस्या है. कुछ गांवों में पानी तो है लेकिन खारा पानी है. आज भी लोगों को कई किलोमीटर दूर जाकर पानी लाना पड़ता है.
गांव वालों का आरोप है कि कुछ फैक्ट्रियों के कारण पानी खारा हुआ है. इसके बाद कई परेशान लोगों ने पलायन किया कुछ अब पलायन को मजबूर हैं. https://hindi.thequint.com/news/up-etah-50-villages-water-crisis-industry-pollution-ground-report#read-more (13 July 2022)
JJM/ RURAL WATER SUPPLY
Uttarakhand पिथौरागढ़ शहर के नौले उपेक्षित अब घर-घर नल से पानी की आपूर्ति की सुविधा होने के बाद शुद्ध पानी इकट्ठा करने के मकसद से पहाड़ों में परम्परागत तकनीक से बने नौले के पानी का उपयोग घटता गया, जिससे पिथौरागढ़ शहर के नौले उपेक्षित होते गए और आज हालात यह है कि शहर के अधिकांश नौलों का पानी अब पीने योग्य नहीं रह गया है. शहर बढ़ते गए और भूमिगत जल स्रोत दूषित होते गए. आज अधिकांश नौलों की स्थिति यह है कि पीना तो दूर, कपड़े धोने के लायक भी पानी नहीं बचा है. https://hindi.news18.com/news/uttarakhand/pithoragarh-naula-is-the-oldest-technology-of-underground-water-conservation-in-uttarakhand-localuk-nodark-4393127.html (15 July 2022)
वर्तमान के कई प्राकृतिक स्रोतों के सूखने से चिंता बढ़ गई है. भीमताल-हल्द्वानी मार्ग पर भी एक ऐसा ही स्रोत स्थित है, जो आज की तारीख में पूरी तरह सूख गया है. कभी यह स्रोत भीमताल को रिचार्ज करता था. भीमताल राजमार्ग पर मौजूद यह स्रोत वर्षों से बहता आया है. यहां से निकलने वाली गाड़ियों के चालक यहीं रुककर पानी भरा करते थे. इसके नजदीक ही स्थित थकुड़ा वार्ड के लोग भी इसी स्रोत से पानी भरा करते थे, लेकिन अब इस स्रोत से पानी की एक बूंद भी नहीं गिरती है. https://hindi.news18.com/news/uttarakhand/nainital-water-source-in-haldwani-bhimtal-road-dried-after-many-years-localuk-nodark-4393198.html (15 July 2022)
Maharashtra Water Policy Review report from WOTR provides a review of existing key policies and programs in the water sector of Maharashtra. It has designed policy sensitivity index which ranks policies and programs according to their potential and strengths to meet the different concerns. The report makes recommendations on water governance in the state. The report is authored by Dr. Eshwer Kale and Pallavi Kulkarni. https://bit.ly/CTWTST
Madhya Pradesh Women’s lives get harder in Bundelkhand as water scarcity grows Story on how women face the water scarcity impacts in Satna in MP. Satna is not generally considered part of Bundelkhand, so it is not correct representation, but the report is good. The report also uncritically mentions that rainfall in Bundelkhand has reduced, which is not backed by facts. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/livelihoods/womens-lives-get-harder-in-bundelkhand-as-water-scarcity-grows/ (08 July 2022)
Tamil Nadu Better water resource management discussed Public Works Department Senior Engineers’ Association held an awareness meeting in Madurai on strengthening water resources across the State on Saturday (July 16). It was the first time that farmers from the district were also part of the meeting, said Mr. Veerappan. Speaking to the reporters, he said that Tamil Nadu is often considered a water-scarcity state, but in reality it is not.
“We have all the means to change it. The State needs 2,500 thousand million cubic feet (tmc) per year. But the current water resources are only equipped to hold between 900 to 1,260 tmc. On an average, 260 tmc per year is let into the sea without being harvested. If we implement better rainwater-harvesting methods and carry out various developmental projects, the State can become self-sufficient,” he said. The panel also called for improving coastal hydrology to ensure a better groundwater table. Farmers associations and resident associations raised issues prevailing like desilting, removal of water hyacinth, lifting soil sediment in kanmois in places like Viraganoor, Parasuramapatti, Virathanoor, Nilayur, Paravai etc. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/madurai/article65648727.ece (16 July 2022)
Kerala Kasaragod needs watershed mapping to counter water shortage Water shortage is severe in Kasaragod, and it affects hilly regions the most, as 98% of them is constituted of laterite soil, and during rains, water flows into the sea without being stored, said T.S. Anitha, Kerala Regional Director, Central Ground Water Board (CGWB). Speaking at an awareness programme on ‘Watershed mapping and groundwater management’, organised by the Ministry of Jal Shakti here on Tuesday (July 05), she said as a district facing water shortage, there should be maximum use of the watershed mapping system in Kasaragod.
As for Kasaragod, Manjeswaram, Nileswaram and Kanhangad blocks, the depth of the laterite area is 40 to 50 metres, and taking into account the slope of the areas, rain water cannot be stored, and it immediately flows into the sea. As a remedy, there is a need to strengthen check dams, bunds, and well recharging systems, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, CGWB Kerala Regional Assistant Chemist took classes on the quality of groundwater in the district. He said water in Kasaragod was high in iron content. He added that owing to the intrusion of seawater into rivers, the electrical conductivity of groundwater in the district was on the rise. The scientists, while pointing out that groundwater in areas other than estuaries was clean, they warned against the practice of digging tube wells, which was prevalent in the district. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ground-water-level-on-the-rise-in-kasaragod/article65603041.ece (05 July 2022)
Haryana Govt hikes tariff: Drinking water to cost 5 times more Haryana has increased the bulk water tariffs across the state after the Haryana Water Resources Authority proposed to “increase the tariff by 2.5 times for bulk water supply to industries and 5 times for drinking water from the prevailing tariff of 2018”. The revised tariff will be applicable from August 1, 2022. These rates are applicable to users other than agriculture.
In 2018, the tariff for beverage and bottled water industry was Rs 2,000 per 100 cum (Rs 20/KL), which has now been increased to Rs 5,000 per 100 cum (Rs 50.KL) — an increase of 150%. For other industries, power plants and bulk users, the tariff was Rs 1,000 per 100 cum (Rs 10/KL) and this will now be increased to Rs 2,500 per 100 cum (Rs 25/KL).
Similarly, the tariff for drinking water was Rs 25 per 100 cum in 2018 and it will now be increased to Rs 125 per 100 cum. Justifying the proposed increase, Chief Executive Officer of Haryana Water Resources Authority (HWRA) Satbir Singh Kadian said that rate revision is a normal procedure that is amended over time, taking availability, usage, and supply of water resources into consideration. He said that the rates were first revised in 2012 and then in 2018. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/haryana-hikes-tariff-drinking-water-to-cost-5-times-more-8034000/ (17 July 2022)
SANDRP Blog June 2022: High Rainfall district days in India’s SW Monsoon An analysis of the daily district wise rainfall data from India Meteorological Department (IMD) for the month of June 2022, the first month of India’s South West Monsoon 2022 shows that there were 462 instances (442 in June 2021) when district rainfall of a day was above 50 mm.
This is high considering that the rainfall of India in June 2022 was 152.3 mm, or daily average rainfall is about 5 mm. The high rainfall instances in June 2022 included 339 (371 in June 2021) instances when rainfall was 50-100 mm, 68 instances (59 in June 2021) when it was 100-150 mm, 26 (5 times in June 2021) times it was 150-200 mm and 29 (7 times in June 2021) times above 200 mm. https://sandrp.in/2022/07/14/june-2022-high-rainfall-district-days-in-indias-sw-monsoon/ (14 July 2022)
Report बारिश की अनियमितता के पीछे हवा में मौजूद ब्लैक कार्बन भी जिम्मेदार हाल ही में किए गए एक मॉडलिंग अध्ययन से पता चलता है कि ब्लैक कार्बन उत्सर्जन बढ़ने से पूर्वोत्तर भारत में प्री-मानसून सीज़न में कम तीव्रता वाली वर्षा में कमी आई है, लेकिन मूसलाधार बारिश में बढ़ोतरी हुई है। लंबे समय के रुझान बताते हैं कि जहां प्री-मानसून बारिश कम हो रही है, वहीं इस क्षेत्र में एरोसोल बढ़ रहा है। पूर्वोत्तर में जीवाश्म ईंधन और बायोमास जलाना ब्लैक कार्बन के प्रमुख स्रोत हैं। गंगा के मैदानों से भी ब्लैक कार्बन का कुछ हिस्सा पूर्वोत्तर भारत में पहुंचता है। https://hindi.mongabay.com/2022/07/15/scientists-unpack-the-influence-of-black-carbon-aerosols-on-rainfall-in-northeast-india/ (15 July 2022)
Uttar Pradesh Scanty rain in largest state The IMD has reported that 41 of 42 districts in eastern Uttar Pradesh, except Varanasi, are reeling under severe rain shortfall. The eastern UP subdivision has an overall rain deficit of 67 per cent as of July 14, 2022, according to IMD. Most farmers in eastern Uttar Pradesh are apprehensive about sowing their crops and have therefore refrained from taking up sowing. The major worry is over kharif crops, especially paddy. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/scanty-rain-in-india-s-largest-state-kharif-sowing-hit-in-eastern-up-83734 (15 July 2022)
SANDRP Blog Rivers Breaching and flowing close to HFLs in May-June 2022 In pre-monsoon month of May 2022 and first month of south west monsoon season June 2022, there have been Highest Flood Level (HFL) breach incidents at 6 sites on rivers in North East and North India. The rivers have also touched or missed crossing the HFLs at as many sites in the region in these two months.
This include Kopili river at Kampur Level Forecast (LF) site in Nagaon district of Assam breaching HFL in both May and June 2022 months and Barak river at Fulertal LF site in Cachar district, Assam narrowly missing HFL breach in May 2022 and breaching the extreme flood level in June 2022. https://sandrp.in/2022/07/14/rivers-breaching-and-flowing-close-to-hfls-in-may-june-2022/ (14 July 2022)
Gujarat Rain record in Ukai dam, fills 1,000 million cubic metres water in 4 days “This must be the first time when the dam received 1,000 MCM rain water in just four days.” said a senior official at Ukai dam. The maximum amount of rain water received in the dam has come from blind catchment areas where there are no gauge stations. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/surat/rain-record-in-ukai-dam-fills-1k-mcm-water-in-4-days/articleshow/92838260.cms (13 July 2022)
Assam This video tries to highlight some causes of Assam flood devastation. Misses talking about embankments.
Maharashtra:- River Penganga in Godavari basin at Mungoli level monitoring site in Yavatmal district has crossed previous HFL 97.55 m dated 14.08.1986. Present flood level is 98.85 m at 22:00 hours on 13.07.2022.
River Wardha in Godavari basin at Sirpur (Town) level forecast site in Chandrapur district has breached previous HFL 161.34 m dated 18.08.2018. River is still in extreme flood situation with rising trend.
Telangana:- River Godavari at Mancherial level forecast site in Adilabad district has crossed old HFL 137.386 m dated 20.10.1995. Current flood level 138.016 m at 22:00 hours on 13.07.2022.
River Godavari at Kaleswaram level forecast site in Bhupalpally district has crossed previous HFL 107.05 m attained on 15.08.1986 with rising trend.
Andhra Pradesh Sabri river in Godavari basin at Chinturu level forecast site in Alluri Sitharama Raju district has breached previous HFL 44.91 m dated 18.08.2022. Present flood level is 45.69 m at 07:00 hours on 15.07.2022.
Karnataka:- River Bhadra in Krishna basin at Lakkavalli site in Chikmagalur district has crossed previous HFL 609.99 m dated 07.09.2019. Present level is 611.94 m at 22:00 hours on 14.07.2022 with rising trend.
Madhya Pradesh:- Again after three days River Narmada at Machak Barangi Level Monitoring site in Harda district has breached previous HFL 272.72 m attained on 25.08.2019. Current water level is 275.35 m at 14:00 hours on 13.07.2022. River Narmada has again set new HFL for the site with is 276.7 m attained at 11:00 hours on 18.07.2022.
River Beda in Narmada basin at Beda Satwadi (Gogawa) level monitoring site has crossed previous HFL (202.32 m dated 90.08.2019) by a rise of 3.2 m thus setting up New HFL 205.52 m at 00:00 hours on 14.07.2022. The flood level remained above old HFL for 07 hours. Current water level is 199.41 m at 09:00 hours on 14.07.2022.
Chhattisgarh:- River Pairi in Mahanadi basin at Malgaon level monitoring site in Gariaband district has crossed previous HFL 326.67 m dated 18.08.2019 with rising trend.
Kalyan Major portion of under-construction city park project on Waldhuni bank submerged For the third year in a row, major portion of an under-construction city park project under Smart City Mission on the banks of the Waldhuni river was submerged after heavy rainfall in Kalyan.The Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) is constructing a park on a 23-acre plot at the cost of Rs 112 crore. At present, under phase 1, the civic body is spending Rs 64 crore for the project, under which, retention wall and several constructions have taken place on the bank of river. The environmentalists and several NGOs from city have been demanding cancellation of the project, for last five years.
Pushpa Ratnaparkhi, an environmentalist from city said, “KDMC is encroaching on Waldhuni river. It constructed a retention wall, due to which the river’s natural flow was diverted, and for the last three years, it is leading to flood like situation in surrounding areas.” Earlier, when the water entered inside the project, all equipment were damaged and the KDMC suffered heavy losses. “River water have entered inside some portion of project due to heavy rain, but it has not caused any losses to project,” said Tarun Juneja, executive engineer, KDMC. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/thane/kalyan-major-portion-of-under-construction-city-park-project-on-bank-of-waldhuni-river-submerged/articleshow/92857871.cms (13 Jul 2022)
Nagpur Check dam bursts, water gushes into 50 Wardha houses Around 50 houses in three villages in Wardha district of Maharashtra were damaged after a check dam constructed by the forest department on a nullah burst on Tuesday (July 12, 2022) night at Pavnoor village near Anji. Water entered 30-35 houses of Pavnoor, 10-15 houses of Khanapur and few of Kamthi villages. Local police shifted affected people to temple in the night. MP Ramdas Tadas, who visited the villages on Wednesday (July 13) morning, said, “I have ordered inquiry and action against persons responsible for this disaster.” The dam was constructed with mud. “It will have to be constructed in cement and concrete this year,” he said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/check-dam-bursts-water-gushes-into-50-wardha-houses/articleshow/92860947.cms (14 July 2022)
NDRF starts nationwide safety audit of ropeways In view of recent accidents in Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh & Jharkhand, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has launched a nationwide survey of passenger cable cars and ropeway systems to find out possible security flaws & prepare a structural blueprint for effective rescue operations. The NDRF has decided to train its rescuers in specific ropeway rescue skills, apart from purchasing a range of tools for transporting team to evacuate stranded people from a hanging car.
“We have launched a survey of all passenger ropeway and cable car systems,” a senior NDRF official said. “Officers from all 16 NDRF battalions across the country have been asked to conduct a survey in their jurisdiction and visit ropeway systems, carry out a security and operations analysis and submit a report to their headquarters here. A final report on this would be submitted to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs with recommendations on remedial measures for the public and private sector operators,” he added. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/ndrf-starts-nationwide-safety-audit-of-ropeways-411227 (14 July 2022)
SANDRP Blog Uttarakhand June 2022: Shambhu River Landslide Lake in Alaknanda basin As per experts, the area needs constant monitoring and comprehensive study to prepare mitigation plan including relocation of Kunwari village.
While the persistent landslides have been threatening the Kunwari village the resultant blockage of Shambhu river poses flash flood risks for downstream villages. Indeed, the landslide has provided a warning about the twin disaster threat which require due attention and timely action. https://sandrp.in/2022/07/14/uttarakhand-june-2022-shambhu-river-landslide-lake-in-alaknanda-basin/ (14 July 2022)
Badrinath-Rishikesh National Highway closed near Khankra due to a heavy landslide in the area | reported by news agency ANI. https://twitter.com/ndtvvideos/status/1548493617492545538?s=20&t=jPC0mMg9ta893GGYI7qelQ (17 July 2022)
Policymakers Mindset Must Change for Disaster-Free Hill Roads In this interview with NewsClick, leading geologist Prof YP Sundriyal, who specialises in the Garhwal region of the Himalayan range, expresses concern about the rising frequency of landslides. He believes the government must set up a special fund to maintain the slopes to stop the frequent landslides and adopt scientific norms of strengthening the fragile hillsides. https://www.newsclick.in/policymakers-mindset-must-change-disaster-free-hill-roads (12 July 2022)
Landslide at Tawaghat-Lipulekh road. https://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/nainital-uttarakhand-weather-update-tawaghat-lipulekh-road-closed-due-to-landslide-22891800.html (14 July 2022)
Manipur Slope cutting for railway station led to landslip Extensive cutting of a steep slope to build a railway station in Noney district resulted in the massive landslide on June 29-30 intervening night, killing 55 people so far, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) said in its first technical report. Till Tuesday, 55 bodies have been retrieved from under the debris by rescuers, while another six are still missing. The killer landslide, owing to the unscientific excavation, came down on an under-construction Tupul railway yard, a barrack of the Territorial Army, one railway camp and a labour camp just about 30 minutes past midnight and trapped 79 people, including 43 soldiers. The landslide swept away 0. 60 sqkm area of the hill slope, which has completely blocked the flow of Ijai river at the downhill location, the preliminary report by GSI, Imphal states. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/slope-cutting-for-railway-station-led-to-manipur-landslip/articleshow/92839319.cms (13 July 2022)
Jammu & Kashmir Triggered by melting glaciers, massive mudslides in Kargil Unheard of in the past, massive mudslides in the northernmost Union Territory of Ladakh are not only damaging agricultural fields and houses of people, but also triggering concern among experts who believe changes in climatic conditions are its root cause.
Villages on the feet of mountains, especially in Zanskar region in Kargil, are facing the unique phenomenon of mudslides with such intensity that roads are getting blocked and fields filled with pebbles and slush, making cultivation impossible. Experts say it is not the rain but the intense heat in the region that loosens the soil, which flows downhill during rainfall. Melting of glaciers at a high speed due to heat is another apparent reason behind the mudslides. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/j-k/triggered-by-melting-glaciers-massive-mudslides-in-kargil-411208 (11 July 2022)
SANDRP Blog Himachal July 2022: Cloudburst at Malana II HEP in Parbati Valley Hydropower projects are force multipliers when cloud burst happens close to them. In 2021 at least 11 HEPs (4 each in Uttarakhand & Himachal, 2 in J&K and 1 in Ladakh) projects had faced cloud burst induced deluge and damages in lesser or greater degree.
In the latest such incident, the 100 MW Malana II Hydro Electric Project (HEP) in Parbati Valley in Himachal Pradesh has been affected by flash floods following cloud burst in Malana village area in early hours of July 6, 2022. The operational project is located on Malana stream, a tributary of Parbati river in Kullu district. This incident seemingly coincided with another devastating cloud burst near Choj village in Parvati valley located about 15 km south west from Malana. https://sandrp.in/2022/07/14/himachal-pradesh-july-2022-cloudburst-at-malana-ii-hep-in-parbati-valley/ (14 July 2022)
Get rid of structures along rivers, rivulets Talking to The Times of India, Himanshu Thakkar said nothing should be allowed to be constructed along the natural path of a river or a rivulet. “Illegal construction along rivers and nullahs in Himachal has increased in recent decades. This is the primary reason why many people die when a cloudburst hits. If you stand right in the way of a river what else do you expect?” said Thakkar, who is also coordinator of SANDRP, an organisation working on issues related to rivers and dams. “If a cloudburst strikes, say in the forests of the Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal, no one would even notice it. Only when there is damage, we talk about it,” said Thakkar. Even in the latest incident of a cloudburst and the resulting flash flood in the Choj village of Parvati valley in Kullu, many camping sites had been washed away, prompting the local administration to ban camping on river banks.
– “We require actionable cloudburst forecasts,” said Thakkar, adding there was a need to identify more locations for installing Doppler weather radars. We also need to use remote sensing to report high intensity rainfall events promptly after it happens. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/himachal-pradesh-end-to-cloudburt-losses-get-rid-of-structures-along-rivers-rivulets/articleshow/92927984.cms (17 July 2022)
Jammu & Kashmir Cloudburst in Doda triggers flash floods Flash floods and mudslides, caused by a cloudburst, left a few vehicles and buildings damaged in Thathri area of Doda district on Saturday (July 09). There was no report of loss of life. Several major roads, including the highway and those connecting Thathri to other areas, got clogged due to the slush the floodwaters brought along. Vehicles parked alongside roads got stuck. Men and machinery were immediately pressed into service to remove the boulders and slush from the roads. The roads were cleared for traffic by evening. The incident occurred at around 4 am when there was no movement of vehicles on the roads in the area otherwise it could have worsened the situation, said residents. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/j-k/cloudburst-in-doda-triggers-flash-floods-ramban-on-alert-411120 (10 July 2022)
Uttarakhand लोखंडी लोहारी गाँव में तेज बरसात के बाद पहाड़ी से पानी के साथ आया मलबा, भू धसाव से मकानों को खतरा बताते चलें ब्रहसपतीवार (July 14) को शाम के वक़्त लोहारी गाँव में तेज बरसात के बाद अचानक ही पहाड़ी से भारी पानी गाँव की तरफ आ गया जिससे गाँव के कुछ हिस्सों में जमीन धंस गयी और वहाँ स्थित मकानों के लिये खतरा पैदा हो गया। https://bit.ly/3J0vIsh ; https://www.raibarpahadka.com/2022/07/big-breaking-in-this-village-of-kalsi-two-dozen-goats-died-in-a-flood-like-situation-caused-by-heavy-rains-cracks-in-the-houses-watch-video/ (14 July 2022)
Opinion When We Lose Our Environmental Protection Laws Manoj Misra The environment ministry’s proposal to weaken laws that deter environmental and ecological degradation threatens human health as well as important legal principles. Industry leaders must realise that many environment laws are apiece with the historical evolution of environmental consciousness in the country and can’t be wished away. Especially pernicious is the ministry’s idea to transform criminal offences into civil offences, which won’t deter the mega-corporations that are today’s biggest polluters. https://science.thewire.in/environment/moefcc-dilute-environmental-laws/ (14 July 2022)
Report Centre Can Approve Diversion of Forests Without Consent of Forest Dwellers MoEF continues dilution of essential environmental rules which curtail rights of forest dwellers and weakening environmental governance in the country. https://thewire.in/rights/new-forest-conservation-rules-consent-dwellers-diversion (09 July 2022)
The critics said while the Forest Conservation Rules 2022 shifts the responsibility on forest rights to the state governments, the clause on obtaining gram sabha consent is completely missing from it. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/clause-for-gram-sabha-consent-missing-in-forest-conservation-rules-2022-critics-101657724333814.html (13 July 2022)
Odisha Forest rights good for forests too Local varieties of tubers and other plants were depleting around Kamtana village in Odisha’s Kandhamal district until a decade ago. But the villagers, mostly from the tribal Kondh community, have managed to reverse the trend.
The village got its community forest resource rights in 2012, which gave them back the freedom to harvest small amounts of timber, bamboo, saili leaves and mushrooms without interference. Before that, locals had to depend more on cultivated food, deviating from their cultural practices.
The independence and ownership of the forest have allowed them to regenerate the woods with depleted vegetation. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/forests/forest-rights-good-for-forests-too-this-odisha-village-shows-how-83620 (08 July 2022)
Karnataka Government okays rail line in the Western Ghats About 2.2 lakh trees in the Western Ghats are to be felled to lay a railway line between Hubballi and Ankola. The state wildlife board had earlier approved an alternative rail route, which needed felling trees in only six-seven hectares, but the government had cancelled that proposal. Experts predict that the loss of vegetation in the ecologically sensitive region will lead to a host of problems such as erratic rainfall, soil erosion, drying up of water sources, etc. The rail line will also shrink the habitat of tigers and Asiatic elephants, restrict their movement and cause an increase in human-animal conflict. https://india.mongabay.com/2020/05/karnataka-government-okays-rail-line-in-the-western-ghats/ (06 May 2022)
State opposing Centre’s draft eco-sensitive area norms for Western Ghats The draft notification states there shall be a complete ban on mining, quarrying and sand mining in the ESA. All existing mines are to be phased out within five years from the date of issue of the final notification or on the expiry of the existing mining lease. It also bars setting up of new thermal power projects and expansion of existing plants in the sensitive area, and the banning of all new ‘Red’ category industries. However, all existing health care establishments shall continue in ESA and so will new hydropower projects on the basis of the Environmental Impact Assessment notification. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-why-karnataka-opposing-centres-draft-eco-sensitive-area-norms-western-ghats-8029909/ (15 July 2022)
Report NCERT Drops Climate Change Chapters Among these are chapters on ‘Greenhouse Effect’ in the Class 11 geography syllabus, ‘Weather, Climate, and Water’ in the Class 7 syllabus, and the ‘Indian Monsoon’ in the Class 9 syllabus. “This is like a step backward,” said Dr Roxy Mathew Koll, a renowned climate scientist, professor, and lead author of IPCC reports. “It’s a bad idea because whatever stream they go, whether it’s engineering or medicine or something else, they will have to integrate climate and weather into their education. If you’re engineering roads or buildings, they have to be climate resilient for the future,” he noted.
A teachers’ body called ‘Teachers Against the Climate Crisis (TACC)’ has vocally opposed this decision. The TACC put out a statement saying that it is extremely important that senior school students all over India are taught the essence of such updated information in an accessible, easy-to-understand manner. “It is bizarre that the NCERT has decided to drop related topics from the syllabi in schools because that is where young people are first exposed to and develop an understanding of these issues,” said Nagraj Adve the founder member of TACC. “Young people are also exploring ways to respond; that agency, seeking to intervene is very important, for which understanding the changing realities is a crucial first step,” he added. https://www.thequint.com/news/education/ncert-drops-climate-change-chapters-syllabus-students-teachers-scientists-disappointed#read-more (10 July 2022)
Tamil Nadu Govt sets up climate change missions in all 38 districts The missions will be headed by the Collectors as Mission Directors. The District Forest Officers will function as Climate Officers. The missions will help to strengthen the government’s climate response at the grassroots, said Supriya Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Forest.
The Collectors will have to prepare district-level climate change mitigation and adaptation plans, build capacity and provide inputs for low-carbon, climate-resilient development plans. Another key deliverable is strengthening the ‘Meendum Manjappai’ campaign against the use of single-use plastic. The Collectors will also work towards strengthening Climate Smart Villages and create bio-shields in the coastal areas.
The government has initially sanctioned ₹3.80 crore for 38 district missions which will function under the supervision of the Tamil Nadu Climate Change Mission and Tamil Nadu Green Climate Company, a special purpose vehicle established to manage Tamil Nadu Climate Change Mission, Green Tamil Nadu Mission and Tamil Nadu Wetlands Mission. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tamil-nadu-sets-up-climate-change-missions-in-all-38-districts/article65635181.ece (14 July 2022)
Jammu & Kashmir Heatwave spells difficult future for pastoralists
This year’s heatwave has left the pastoralist community of Jammu and Kashmir with inadequate fodder and water, and many fear an uncertain future in a warming world. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/livelihoods/heatwave-in-kashmir-spells-difficult-future-for-pastoralists/ (12 July 2022)
Kerala Sea erosion fears grip Chellanam, but residents refuse rehabilitation From Ernakulam’s exorbitant land prices to fear of alienation, TNM speaks to the residents of Chellanam and surrounding areas to understand the staunch opposition towards Kerala government’s Punargeham rehabilitation project. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/sea-erosion-fears-grip-chellanam-residents-refuse-rehabilitation-here-s-why-165912 (16 July 2022)
India-Bhutan Outgoing Ambassador of India to Bhutan, Ruchira Kamboj: – On Punatsanghchu I: “The PHPA-I Project is facing a geological issue, which merits a detailed technical examination to ensure a safe, reliable and robust way forward for the Project. We have received the barrage proposal from the Royal Government, and it is being examined by Hydro experts in India. Very soon, we shall be holding further discussions with the Royal Government of Bhutan on a technically sound way forward.”
– On Kholongchu HEP: “Similarly, on the Kholongchhu Project, we have noted the concerns of the Bhutanese shareholder… the Govt of India (GoI) had agreed to the Royal Government’s request to offload 20 percent of major works to Bhutanese contractors… we are of the view that it would be a lost opportunity if the project doesn’t take off. We are looking forward to the visit of Lyonpo Loknath Sharma to India in July 2022, to hold detailed discussions on the future of the Project.” https://kuenselonline.com/both-countries-should-ensure-minimum-cost-and-avoid-delays-to-maintain-viability-of-future-hydro-projects/ (14 Jul 2022)
Pakistan Authorities Unable To Detect Fault In Neelam Jhelum Hydrpower Tunnel, MPs Told National Assembly Committee on Water Reprocess was Thursday (July 14 2022) informed that authorities are unable to detect the fault in Neelam Jhelum hydrpower tunnel after the passage of 10 days, and it may take a month for finding it out. It may take a month to find out the fault in the Neelum Jhelum hydropower project. Giving the detail, it was informed that on July 4, there was a malfunction in the Neelum Jhelum hydropower plant, Secretary Water Resources said. Neelum Jhelum Power Plant has two tunnels. A tunnel which is three and a half kilometers long, is blocked, Secretary Water Resources Kazim Niaz said. He said that first, water will be extracted from the tunnel. This process of extracting water will be completed in a month, secretary said. https://nation.com.pk/2022/07/15/authorities-unable-to-detect-fault-in-neelam-jhelum-hydrpower-tunnel-mps-told/ (15 July 2022)
The 969 MW Neelum-Jhelum power plant has had to be shut down due to “major cracks in its tailrace tunnel”. It commissioned in early 2018. The fault that could well point to much deeper engineering flaws. https://www.brecorder.com/news/40186251/the-neelum-jhelum-shutdown (16 July 2022)
Unfortunately, on Jul 6, 2022, the project shut down after cracks were detected in the tailrace tunnel… trying to generate electricity through tunnels in an earthquake-prone area is more criminal than incompetent. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/973735-damned-dam (15 Jul 2022)
Nepal Three people (a woman – wife of a security guard at the project and her two children) died after being buried when asleep, when Bhitri Khola hydropower project’s powerhouse caved in, in Hima rural municipality in the Jumla district of northwestern Nepal in the wee hours of Friday, July 15, 2022. https://english.onlinekhabar.com/jumla-hydro-caves-in-kills-3.html (15 July 2022)
Bangladesh ENIGMA CALLED HILSA FISH Bangladesh has three kinds of Hilsa. The most famous species which we call Padma Ilish is called Tenualosa Ilisha. This Hilsa is widely found in Bangladesh from the Bay of Bengal to our rivers. They are the tastiest of all hilsas – rich in fat and flavour. The second kind is known as Chandana Ilish. In scientific terms it is called Nenuacosa Toli. Chandana Ilish was once widely available in the Meghna estuary and the Bay, but its number has decreased over time due to over-catching and netting of fries or Jatka.
The third kind is known as Gurta Ilish or Hilsha Kelle in scientific terms. This species does not travel to the rivers and are found only in the sea. Hilsha was known in English as Indian Shad as it falls under the family Calpidae Shad. But now it is referred to as Hilsa.
The fish has a wide geographical distribution. But about 60 percent of the fish is caught in Bangladesh amounting to 3.87 lakh metric tons last year. About 20 percent of the population is caught in Myanmar and 15 percent in India. The rest are found in Oman, Pakistan and Bahrain. “We are trying to patent Hilsa of the Padma as our own distinct fish,” said Hilsha researcher Dr Md Anisur Rahman, principal scientific officer of Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute. “We are proud of this fantastic fish. It is our own wealth.” https://www.thedailystar.net/country/hilsha-the-mystery-fish-1208074 (12 April 2016)
Bangladesh indeed needs to raise voice about impact of Chinese hydropower projects on Bangladesh’s water and disasters. Bangladesh has remained silent for too long and even Bangladesh media seems to have remained mostly silent so far. https://www.thedailystar.net/op-ed/bangladesh-should-be-worried-about-chinas-brahmaputra-dam-160111 (21 Oct. 2015)
THE REST OF THE WORLD
USA How one hydropower project sparked a $100m ‘hoohah’ Opposition to hydropower as clean energy source: A proposal to transport hydropower from Canada to the state of Maine in USA has led to launch a fierce court battle. New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) was to transport 1,200 MW of Canadian hydropower to Massachusetts across 145 miles of transmission line. The $1bn (£840m) project, funded by utility company Hydro-Quebec and Central Maine Power (CMP), which is owned by the Spanish energy giant Avangrid, received final approvals, including a Presidential Permit from the US Department of Energy. Construction began in January 2021. Now, the hydropower project could be dead in the water, after a majority Mainers voted to cancel it last November. The legality of that referendum, as well as the lease for a one-mile stretch of public lands, is currently before the Maine Supreme Court, which could issue its decision any day.
– If the court sides with opponents, and the corridor is not allowed to proceed as planned, Hydro-Quebec could lose out on $10bn in future revenue from this project. Several environmental groups have expressed concern about the ecological impact on the North Woods, and have called into question whether the energy will be as clean as advertised.
– In total, the referendum battle cost over $100m, according to the Maine Ethics Commission. Those in favour of the project raised about $82m, mostly coming from Avangrid, Hydro-Quebec & CMP. Some of the biggest donors to the opposition came from fossil-fuel companies. Energy firm NextEra gave over $20m, most of which was spent on television advertising. While the company supplies green energy elsewhere, in Maine it mostly delivers oil & gas. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-62072844 (13 Jul 2022)
GERD Structure contains cracks: university professor The international committee of experts formed by Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to study the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in 2013 have recently questioned the safety of the dam. Hany Sweilem, Academic Director of the Water Department at the German University of Aachen, said, confirming that the Saddle Dam (the auxiliary or complementary dam for the Renaissance Dam project)’s structure has cracks. Sweilem added that the Ethiopian dam consists of two parts, the first of which is the concrete part, and the second is a dam with a length of five kilometers. He pointed out that the construction of the dam was completed two years ago, adding: “Anyone who accesses the Google Earth app and compares the images of the dam in 2020 and 2022 will find cracks as wide as the walls of the dam facing the water it receives.”
– Sweilem stressed the seriousness of the situation if the water level reached 595 meters (current water level is 575 m), with the continued existence of those cracks, adding at the same time, that he could not confirm whether the dam would collapse, simply by relying on satellite images. Sweilem said he does not wish the dam to collapse in order to preserve the Ethiopian money and protect the Sudanese and Egyptian peoples.
– “The company is required to come out and say the cause of the cracks, and I challenge anyone from the company to completely deny the existence of cracks in the dam. If the water level rises to 595 meters, with the continued cracks, water leakage would cause a drop in the structure,” Sweilem mentioned. https://egyptindependent.com/gerd-structure-contains-cracks-university-professor/ (12 July 2022)
Egypt Will Egypt Drain the World’s Second Largest Wetlands? Sudd is Africa’s largest freshwater wetland at roughly 3,500 sq miles in an otherwise dry region of South Sudan. It’s under threat by a megaproject named Jonglei Canal that has the potential to devastate this ecological gem. According to conservationists: “Even a partial loss of the Sudd would be an ecological disaster, desiccating the world’s second largest swamp & ending seasonal flooding of the surrounding grasslands, which comprise Africa’s largest intact area of savannah.” (Source: Will Nile Canal Project Dry Up Africa’s Largest Wetland? Grist, Jul 8, 2022)
– Egypt has Sudd’s water in its sights, some of it or all of it, only time will tell. Its plans involve a 40-yr disrupted work-in-progress that is now moving ahead once again, diverting water from the Sudd watershed to Egypt. Completion of a 240-mile canal will divert White Nile River flow directly to Egypt. This risks draining Sudd to levels that’ll negatively impact the ecosystem forever. Ecologists claim the magnificent Sudd is under threat of turning into desert. Sudd is home to thousands of crocodiles, hippos, elephants, zebras, and the great majority of the world’s shoebill storks. It serves as one of the world’s mightiest mammal migration pathways, including 1.3 million antelope that cross through the ecosystem’s 100s of miles of rich grasslands to Gambella, Ethiopia. Ecologists fear that much of this will be lost. (Grist, July 8th) Furthermore, hydrologist claim the project will reduce rainfall for farms and the rainforests across South Sudan as well as in neighboring countries. https://countercurrents.org/2022/07/will-egypt-drain-the-worlds-second-largest-wetlands/ (16 Jul 2022)
Comment Beyond just floodwater Jim Best, Peter Ashmore & Stephen E. Darby Flooding, already the largest hazard facing humankind, is becoming more frequent and affecting more people. Adapting to flooding must consider more than just water to encapsulate the effects of sediment movement, re-imagine flooding through a socio-geomorphic lens and expand approaches to knowing about floods. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-022-00929-1 (14 July 2022)
Chile 16-feet monster fish caught A giant 16-feet fish was recently caught by a group of fishermen in Chile. The sighting of the fish rather caused panic among fishermen at a port in Chile as it is believed to be associated with a ‘bad sign’ sent by the sea god. According to the Japanese folklore, these long and serpent like silver fish are signs of major earthquake or Tsunami. The Japanese also consider the person who found this monster fish as cursed.
The marine species, identified as oarfish, is a ‘rare deep-water fish and it has become a folk legend for their supposed future-telling powers, especially after 2011 when dozens of the creatures were spotted in Japan before the deadly Fukushima earthquake’, reported Daily Star. Though it is claimed that deep-sea seismic activities causes the oarfish to flee, there is no scientific proof to back the claim. Oarfish were first described in the year 1772. https://odishatv.in/news/miscellaneous/watch-16-feet-monster-fish-with-future-telling-powers-caught-video-goes-viral-180748 (14 July 2022)
The creature is traditionally seen as a bad omen for tsunamis and earthquakes. This theory has never been confirmed by science but local authorities must now consider what brought the fish to the surface. Oarfish can reach lengths of up to 11 metres. They usually live in deep water and only return to the surface when they are sick, dying or breeding. Meanwhile, spotting this fish is rare. Back in April, an oarfish was found on a beach in New Zealand, where it was spotted by local beachgoers. https://www.ndtv.com/offbeat/watch-fishermen-in-chile-catch-16-feet-long-deep-sea-creature-3158717 (14 July 2022)
Compiled by SANDRP (email@example.com)