DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 080822: Why is Centre not taking action against violations, defects of Kaleshwaram Project of Telangana?

(Feature image source: Pratidin News)

Union Water Resources or what is now called Jal Shakti minister Shri Gajendra Shekhawat made a rare and rather interesting statement this week about Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project of Telangana, supposed to be the world’s biggest lift irrigation project, India’s most expensive ever irrigation project. The Union Minister publicly said that the Kaleshwaram project did not have all the clearances, project thus involved violations, and had defects, leading to submergence of three barrages and a massive power house last month. It is not clear if the Union Minister has also written to this effect to the Telangana state government and also taken action against the project. This is because the allegations made by the Union Minister are about such a huge project and are serious in nature.

If the Union Minister has done neither, as seems to be the case, he hope he is doing something on these lines soon. We do not expect a responsible Union Minister not take any action on such an important matter and is only making such statements for public consumption (incidentally, he seems to have made these statements in Karnataka, not in Telangana). Questions will be raised if the Union Minister fails to take such an action.

Telangana Kaleshwaram project ‘defective’, lacks clearances: Gajendra Shekhawat  Interesting to note that Union Water Resources Minister Shri Gajendra Shekhawat says that Telangana’s Kaleshwaram project does not environment and investment clearances and is defective. Why is the Union Govt allowed the project to go ahead without Env Clearance and why it is still not taking any action against the project for these violations? Also when the BJP chief has been alleging corruption against the project? Union Minister says three barrages and a power house of the project were submerged due to wrong design and defects. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/south/telangana-s-kaleshwaram-project-defective-lacks-clearances-gajendra-singh-shekhawat-1132491.html  (02 Aug. 2022)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Industry Fish-safe turbine claims lack substance This claims to have designed new hydropower turbine that is safe for fish passage. Sufficient details not given here to judge if the claims have substance. https://news.mit.edu/2022/natel-energy-hydropower-0805  (05 Aug. 2022)

Emmanuel Theophilus on FB post comment:- Yes, too sketchy, and prima facie pretentious. How can blunt blades do anything about all the other parameters? Water pressure, temperature, turbidity, and much more? How can stored and piped water ever mimic natural flows of a river?

Madhya Pradesh A 600 MW (in two phases of 300 MW each) floating solar power project proposed at the Omkareshwar Hydropower reservoir on Narmada river in Khandawa district. It will cost Rs 3000 Cr and is claimed to be the largest such project of the world. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/worlds-largest-floating-solar-power-plant-to-be-built-on-narmadas-omkareshwar-dam-in-mp/93341491  (04 Aug. 2022)

MoEF Agenda of EAC on River Valley Projects meeting to be held on Aug 12 2022:

1. Shongtong Karchham Hydroelectric project in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh: Amendment in Env Clearance.

2. Kurha Vadhoda Islampur Lift Irrigation Scheme UPSA Sinchan Yojna with CCA 32372 Ha at Village Rigaon, Tehsil- Muktainagar District. Jalgaon, Maharashtra by Tapi Irrigation Corporation: TOR

3. Teesta Low Dam -I & II (Combined) H.E. Project (2×30+1x11MW) Tehsil Rangli Rangliot, Dist Darjeeling, West Bengal TOR.

4. Basin Wise Reassessment of Hydroelectric Potential in the Country – Submission of draft report of West Flowing Rivers Basin

5. Review meeting for proposal of Three Tier Monitoring Mechanism http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Agenda/_05082022CLAF46CV.pdf 

DAMS

Maharashtra NGOs approach PMO for action against Koradi ash bund breach It’s been over a fortnight since the massive breach of Koradi thermal power station’s ash bund but no concrete action has been taken against the offenders. Angered by this, Nagpur and Pune-based NGOs have now knocked the doors of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), revealing that the plant was issued a prosecution notice at the beginning of the year but in vain. In a complaint to PMO, Nagpur-based Centre for Sustainable Development (CFSD) and Pune-based Manthan Adhyayan Kendra have highlighted the catastrophic event which submerged large parts of five villages in toxic fly ash slurry.

With villagers continuing to suffer due to crop damage and extensive pollution, the NGOs stressed on the lack of accountability and punishment. “The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), which is the regulatory body, has been lax in following up on its show cause and prosecution notices. On January 27 this year too, a prosecution notice was issued to Koradi power plant but no prosecution took place. This led to the violation of norms and the ash bund mishap,” they wrote. According to the complaint, fly ash was being unscientifically discharged by Koradi and Khaparkheda power plants even before the mishap. “The matter got so serious that Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) and Orange City Waterworks have been forced to stop lifting of water from one side of Kanhan river due to fly ash contamination,” it stated. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/nagpur/ngos-approach-pmo-for-action-against-koradi-ash-bund-breach/articleshow/93308690.cms  (03 Aug. 2022)

Fly-ash dyke, Koradi thermal power plant. Counterview

Not only did ash dyke of the Khaparkheda power station break, on July 16, 2022, the ash bund of the Koradi thermal power plant also broke. Fly-ash and water stored in the dyke gushed downstream to six villages — drowning houses, water bodies and farmlands. With such large-scale devastation, contamination of food, land and water resources, the community is staring at an uncertain future. https://www.counterview.net/2022/08/a-countdown-to-disaster-breach-in-fly.html  (07 Aug. 2022)

The PMO has sought action on the various irregularities at the Koradi Thermal Power Plant. It has also asked for an action taken report in 15 days.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/pmo-seeks-report-on-koradi-plant-irregularities/articleshow/58268837.cms  (20 April 2017)

Book Review The Narmada Andolan in the Words of Adivasi Leaders An account of the Narmada Bachao Andolan’s activities woven from the memories of two Adivasi activists, who were in the midst of it all, provides rich insights into the movement and gives voice to grassroot activists. https://www.theindiaforum.in/article/narmada-andolan-words-adivasi-leaders  (01 Aug. 2022)

Report Music and environmental protests in India From the Chipko movement to Save Aarey, music—whether by local bands or famous artists—has been a vital part of environmental protests

They built dams/ Drowned villages and built factories/ They cut down forests, dug out mines and built sanctuaries/ Without water, land and forest, where do we go? These are the lyrics of Gaon Chodab Nahi, easily the biggest hit in contemporary music environmentalism. Originally penned sometime in early 2000 in Odia by the Adivasi leader Bhagwan Majhi to protest bauxite mining in Kashipur, Odisha, the earthy tune has travelled far, inspiring the music protest videos of the Word Sound Power project led by reggae/dancehall artist Delhi Sultanate and electronic music producer Chris McGuinness. https://lifestyle.livemint.com/news/big-story/songs-for-the-earth-music-and-environmental-protests-in-india-111659697366583.html  (06 Aug. 2022)

INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

Ken Betwa Linking This TOI report SPECULATES that Ken Betwa project issues between MP and  UP may be taken up at this Central Council Meeting to be held in Bhopal on Aug 22, 2022 under chairmanship of Amit Shah. The Council meets once in two years. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/shah-to-chair-zonal-council-meet-in-bhopal-on-aug-22/articleshow/93382742.cms  (06 Aug. 2022)

TOI seems to be on a mission. It is publishing the same report again! The committee set up under Water Resources Ministry clearly lacks credibility as the MoWR has been a loud lobby pushing the project. What credibility it has to implement environmental action plan? https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/ken-betwa-project-new-body-to-enforce-environment-management/articleshow/93097717.cms  (25 July 2022)

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

Krishna Water Dispute Centre ‘unable to take call’ on Krishna water The Centre on Monday said it is unable to take a call on the regulation of surplus water from Krishna river as both AP and Telangana did not submit the requisite data. The Centre, however, observed that Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) has constituted a Reservoir Management Committee (RMC) to oversee flood flows from the projects till the outcome of the technical committee.

– In response to a query posed by YSRC MP V Vijaysai Reddy, Union minister of state for Jal Shakti, Bishweswar Tudu told Parliament that they have constituted a Technical Committee of Central Water Commission (CWC) for regulation of surplus water spilling from the main stem projects on Krishna river during monsoon period for supply to the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. “However, the committee could not complete its mandate because of non-submission of requisite data by the two states. As per the final order of the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-I (Bachawat Tribunal), the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh was given liberty to use in a water year the remaining water that may be flowing in the river Krishna without acquiring any right over it. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/amaravati/centre-unable-to-take-call-on-krishna-water/articleshow/93286461.cms  (02 Aug. 2022)

Telangana, AP can now operate unapproved irrigation projects The Jal Shakti Ministry has issued a gazette notification, giving permission to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to operate certain unapproved projects on Krishna river. On July 15, 2021, the first gazette notification ordered both the states to stop all the ongoing works on unapproved projects and stated that if approvals are not obtained within six months the ongoing unapproved projects shall cease to operate. The term was further extended by another six months. The gazette notification has been amended, however, to exempt some projects from the clause, allowing them to operate unapproved. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2022/jul/30/telangana-ap-can-now-operate-unapproved-irrigation-projects-2482105.html  (30 July 2022)

Siruvani Dam Dispute TWAD officials inspect Siruvani dam in Kerala A team of Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage (TWAD) board officials, led by TWAD Superintendent Engineer Senthil Kumar, visited the Siruvani dam in Kerala on Friday (Aug. 05) and inspected water pumping stations and drawing wells, and urged their counterparts in Kerala to maintain the water level at the full reservoir level (FRL). According to sources, this is the first dam visit by the officials in two years since the floods in Kerala and the pandemic.

After the 2019 floods, Kerala government has been maintaining water levels in all dams below FRL. Due to this, the Kerala irrigation department is maintaining the maximum water level of Siruvani at 877.00m instead of the FRL at 878.50m, stipulated in the interstate agreement. Lowering the water level by 1.5m results in a shortage of 122.05 MCFT of water, which is 19% of the total storage. This creates difficulties in catering to the needs of Coimbatore in summer. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/aug/07/twad-officials-inspect-siruvani-dam-in-kerala-2484845.html  (07 Aug. 2022)

IRRIGATION

Rajasthan नर्मदा विभाग अभी तक किसानों को सिस्टम से पानी देना शुरू नहीं कर पाया है। इस वजह से अंतिम टेल के किसान सिंचाई के पानी के लिए तरस रहे है। जिसको लेकर चितलवाना बी माइनर के किसानों ने जिला कलेक्टर के नाम उपखंड अधिकारी को ज्ञापन देकर अंतिम टेल तक पानी पहुंचाने की मांग की। सैकड़ों किसान सिंचाई से वंचित किसानों ने ज्ञापन में बताया कि नर्मदा नहर में 2008 में पानी छोड़ा था। जिसके 14 वर्ष बीत जाने के बावजूद रतोड़ा वितरिका से निकलने वाली चितलवाना बी माइनर में अभी तक अंतिम छोर तक पानी नहीं पहुंच पाया है। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/rajasthan/jalore/sanchore/news/demand-to-deliver-water-to-the-last-tail-the-system-of-narmada-canal-has-not-improved-even-after-14-years-130142045.html  (04 Aug. 2022)  

URBAN RIVERS

Gomti; Lucknow LMC fails to act as waterhyacinth covers river Flora and fauna of the Gomti continue to suffer due to the unhindered flow of water hyacinth from Sitapur to the state capital, but the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) is unable to remove this at an equal pace. As a result, the five-km stretch of the Gomti passing through the Pakka Pul to the Gomti Barrage has been covered with a carpet of water hyacinth. It is consuming the dissolved oxygen of water making it fatal for aquatic life.

There are multiple reasons behind the unchecked growth of water hyacinth in this stretch. The irrigation department has closed the Gomti barrage to recycle water for domestic consumption. The stretch has two obstructions hindering the flow of the river in form of temporary dams made for the beautification of Gomti riverfront project. But because of CBI enquiry, they can’t be removed. Another reason is around 17 drains are continuously discharging sewage into the river unchecked.

Experts say that the problem needs multiple approaches for solution. The permanent solution is the natural flow of water must be maintained and drains discharging effluent into the Gomti be tapped. Till the permanent solution is done, civic authorities must increase their manpower and equipment for cleaning this weed from the river. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/lmc-fails-to-act-as-waterhyacinth-covers-gomti/articleshow/93284014.cms  (02 Aug. 2022)

Musi; Hyderabad Water pollution continues to be hazardous to life  Untreated water from chemical and pharmaceutical companies is being directly discharged into Hussainsagar and Musi, along with hazardous waste, domestic sewage, and garbage, posing a risk to the downtown villages. Environmental experts noted that groundwater contamination was a major issue in the areas where the Musi and Krishna rivers meet at Vadapally. Nearby villages at this intersection have complained about the groundwater in borewells becoming contaminated over time due to the seepage from the Musi. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/010822/water-pollution-becomes-continues-to-be-hazardous-to-life-in-hyderabad.html  (01 Aug. 2022)

RIVERS

SANDRP Blog BOOK REVIEW: Rare book on Rivers and fisherfolks of North India Guest Article by Dr. Ruchi Shree The arrival of books viz. Dipesh Chakravarty’s The Climate of History in Planetary Age (2021), Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (2016), A Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis (2021), Sunil Amruth’s The Unruly Waters: How Mountain Rivers and Monsoons have shaped South Asia’s History (2019) and numerous others has blurred the disciplinary divide between literature, politics and environment.

These books have brought attention to the worsening environmental crisis worldwide and how developing countries or the global south is facing its severe brunt. As a consequence, one may notice an upsurge in literature in hindi and other regional languages around environmental issues in India. Last year, Shekhar Pathak’s book Hari Bhari Ummeed (2021) narrated the complexities of Chipko Movement at its 40 years and now this book here for review joins the club of interdisciplinary texts on environmental issues in India. https://sandrp.in/2022/08/04/book-review-rare-book-on-rivers-and-fisherfolks-of-north-india/  (04 Aug. 2022)

Report RIVERS: HOLY WATERS We need thriving rivers in order for life on Earth to flourish. But often how we treat them shows little understanding of this basic principle. Dinyar Godrej ventures into the maelstrom. https://newint.org/features/2022/06/08/big-story-rivers-holy-waters-dams  (06 Aug. 2022)

Opinion River as a person with rights Venkatesh Dutta In both law and practice, having a right means that someone else has a corresponding obligation to fulfil it. If the rivers and human beings are cognizant of their shared rights and liabilities, legal rights for rivers will be far more effective. How the river may be made into a legal person just so it could file a lawsuit in its own defence has been the most challenging aspect of granting personhood to rivers.

-However, not everyone agrees that giving rivers legal standing—the capacity to sue or be sued in court—is a wise idea. The bar for establishing locus standi has been substantially lowered by the recent easing of environmental compliance and the concept of ‘damage’ to individuals and societies.

-Furthermore, having legal protections is only valuable if they can be enforced. We know very well that our enforcement agencies like pollution control boards and environment departments have not been able to safeguard the interests of our rivers. There are several instances of NGT orders when the rights have been upheld in court but the local actors in charge of enforcement have not been able to effectively implement the court’s ruling. The existing institutional arrangements have largely been unsuccessful in complying with the required regulatory standards. https://www.civilsocietyonline.com/column/living-rivers/river-as-a-person-with-rights/ 

West Bengal Ichamati: River of poetry is dying a slow death River Ichamati is venerated as a living entity and its fertile flood plains have been catering to the expanding human-mediated demands apart from harbouring an enormous assemblage of aquatic flora and fauna. Ichamati’s rich floodplains directly sustain the livelihoods of indigenous riverine communities coupled with thousands of migrant labourers and refugees residing along and across its basin in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal.

Ichamati is being choked by plastics, solid waste, water hyacinths, phytoplankton & abandoned fishing gears near Nadia (Image: Prithviraj Nath @ TheWaterChronicles)

A study estimates that there are around 200,000 people whose livelihoods are directly dependent on this river. During 1991-2001, many Bangladeshi immigrants permanently inhabited the rural (333,000) and urban (565,000) stretches respectively along the Indian side of the Ichamati basin due to better economic prospects in the agricultural, allied, industrial and tourism sectors. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/ichamati-river-poetry-dying-slow-death  (14 July 2022)

Madhya Pradesh नर्मदासोन नदी घाटी के नीचे धरती में चल रही बड़ी उथलपुथल बीते ढाई साल में नर्मदा और सोन नदी घाटी वाले जिलों में धरती के नीचे करीब 37 बाद भूकंप आ चुका है। हालांकि इसकी तीव्रता रिक्टर स्केल पर सिर्फ 1.8 से 4.6 के बीच रही, लेकिन धरती के गर्भ में हो रही कंपन की इन घटनाओं ने केंद्रीय पृथ्वी विज्ञान मंत्रालय की चिंता बढ़ा दी है। भूगर्भीय वैज्ञानिकों को मध्यम तीव्रता के इन भूकंपों से संकेत मिल रहे हैं कि टेक्टोनिक प्लेट्स के खिसकाव के कारण धरती के गर्भ में लगातार बड़े बदलाव चल रहे हैं।

नेशनल सेंटर फॉर सिस्मोलॉजी से प्राप्त डेटा के मुताबिक इन 37 में से 22 भूकंप का केंद्र 10 किमी गहराई में रहा है। इससे संकेत मिलता है कि भूगर्भ में जो बदलाव हो रहा है, वो इसी गहराई के करीब है। इसलिए मंत्रालय ने 6 महीने से नर्मदा घाटी की निगरानी बढ़ा दी है, ताकि इन झटकों से भविष्य पर पड़ने वाले असर को आंका जा सके। अमरकंटक से आलीराजपुर के बीच आने वाले जिन 15 जिलों को संवेदनशील माना जा रहा है, उनमें इंदौर और जबलपुर समेत डिंडौरी, मंडला, सिवनी, छिंदवाड़ा, बालाघाट, नरसिंहपुर, देवास, धार, खरगोन और बडवानी भी शामिल हैं। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/bhopal/news/big-upheaval-going-on-in-the-earth-below-the-narmada-sone-river-valley-here-in-two-and-a-half-years-37-tremors-happened-130127880.html  (01 Aug. 2022) 

Rajasthan फिर छोड़ा गया लुणी नदी में रसायनिक पानी हर बार की तरह इस वर्ष भी लूनी नदी में पाली जिले की औद्योगिक इकाइयों द्वारा इकट्ठा रासायनिक पानी लूनी नदी में छोड़ा गया है. केमिकल युक्त बदबूदार काले रंग का प्रदूषित पानी धुंधाड़ा की रपट के नीचे से बाड़मेर जिले की सीमा में प्रवेश कर रहा है, जो करीब अजित के समीप पहुंच गया है. ग्राम पंचायत कोटडी का मठ खरंनटीया से महेश नगर रास्ता अवरुद्ध हो गया, खंरटिया से पातोकाबाड़ा का भी रास्ता अवरुद्ध है. करीब एक दशक से अधिक समय बीतने के बावजूद भी इस समस्या का स्थाई निवारण नहीं किया गया है.

जनप्रतिनिधियों और प्रशासन के आला अधिकारी हर वर्ष आने वाले रसायनिक पानी पर किसानों को आश्वासन देकर अपनी जिम्मेदारी से पल्ला झाड़ देते है. प्रदूषित पानी के कारण किसानों की उपजाऊ भूमि बंजर होती जा रही है. वहीं मरूगंगा के नाम से विख्यात लूनी नदी पूरी तरह से दूषित हो रही है. प्रदूषित पानी को पीने से हर वर्ष सैकड़ों की तादात में मुक पशु मौत के आगोश में समा जाते है.

लूनी नदी के तट पर कृषि कुओं का पानी भी रसायनिक पानी के कारण पूरी तरह से रिसाव के चलते खराब हो चुका है. बजरी माफियाओं द्वारा खोदे गए बड़े-बड़े गड्ढों में रसायनिक पानी महीनों तक जमा रहता है. लूनी नदी को सुप्रीम कोर्ट की रोक के बाद बजरी माफियाओं ने अपना अड्डा लुणी नदी में बना रखा है और चांदी कूट रहे है.  दिन रात अवैध खनन के चलते आलम यह है कि जहां नजर घुमाओं, वहां बड़े-बड़े गड्ढे नजर आते हैं, जिसके अंदर यह रसायनिक पानी भर जाने के बाद कई महीनों तक वहीं पड़ा रहता है. पानी के आवक की सूचना पर अंधाधुन खनन कर संग्रहण करने में लगे हुए हैं जिससे अगर लूनी नदी में पानी आ जाए तो फिर चार गुना ऊंचे दामों पर बजरी को आसानी से बेचा जा सके. https://zeenews.india.com/hindi/india/rajasthan/barmer/chemical-water-in-luni-river-again-released-from-pali-industrial-units-farmers-worried/1281455  (31 July 2022)

GANGA Uttarakhand HC pulls up govt over sewage draining into Ganga The High Court on Friday (Aug. 05) asked the state’s urban development department, irrigation department secretary and senior engineers about the installation of the STP in Rishikesh that were supposed to treat sewage water before it drains into the Ganga. The bench also took note of the corruption allegations that have surfaced against those involved in the STP projects. According to the petition, a few engineers, private stakeholders and the chief engineer associated with the STP projects were found guilty of corruption during an internal probe. After hearing the petition, the HC bench also asked the state about the action taken in these graft cases.

The HC bench of Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice RC Khulbe asked the state about the steps taken so far to complete the installation of STPs. All respondents have been given 4 weeks to tell the court when the STPs would start functioning. The order came during the hearing of a PIL which pointed out that the state government has already received crores of rupees from NABARD and the central government to construct the STPs and yet the facilities are not in place. The PIL filed by state resident Ratanmani Dobhal states that the central government is paying Rs 2260.57 lakh for Ganga Flood Control Commission (GFCC), the NABARD is spending Rs 2365.39 lakh, and a sum of Rs 695.98 lakh is to come under Centre’s Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Project and yet none of the STP projects have been completed so far. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/hc-pulls-up-uttarakhand-govt-over-sewage-draining-into-ganga/articleshow/93401573.cms  (07 Aug. 2022)

500 landslide-prone zones in Alaknanda valley: Study At least 510 landslide-prone zones — 290 in Rudraprayag and 220 in Chamoli district — were identified in the upper Alaknanda valley by 2016, details of a field study conducted over several years by geologists Sushil Khanduri and Piyoosh Rautela from the Disaster Mitigation & Management Centre (DMMC), now merged with Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority (USDMA), has revealed.

These spanned major pilgrimage and tourist sites like Kedarnath, Triyuginarayan, Joshimath, Pipalkoti, Auli, etc. Landslide zones were created mainly because of “unmindful” road construction in the hills and abandoned and damaged agricultural terraces, the study said. The study, to inspect the effects of road network and drainage channels on landslides, was necessitated after the Kedarnath deluge of 2013, when nearly 440% excess rain in a span of just three days (June 15-18) resulted in landslides that killed and displaced nearly 5,000 persons. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/uttarakhand-500-landslide-prone-zones-in-alaknanda-valley-finds-study/articleshow/93382266.cms  (06 Aug. 2022)  

HC stays felling of trees on Sahastradhara road The Uttarakhand high court on Thursday (Aug. 04) revised its earlier order and directed the state government to stop the ongoing felling of trees to widen a 14-km stretch of the Sahastradhara road in Dehradun. During the hearing on Thursday, the HC bench of Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Ramesh Chandra Khulbe ordered the public works department and the forest corporation to not fell any more trees. The case will next be heard on August 17.

The development comes a few days after the Supreme Court refused to intervene in the matter but allowed the petition against tree felling to be mentioned before the Uttarakhand high court for an urgent hearing. Earlier, in June, the high court, while hearing the petition filed by Dehradun-resident Ashish Garg, had allowed the state government to cut over 2,000 trees while asking it to transplant at least 972 of the total chopped trees. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/uttarakhand-high-court-stays-felling-of-trees-on-sahastradhara-road/articleshow/93358588.cms  (05 Aug. 2022)

Uttar Pradesh राप्ती-रोहिन नदी में रोज गिर रहा साढ़े सात करोड़ लीटर गंदा पानी, हाईकोर्ट ने की है तल्ख टिप्पणी प्रदूषण नियंत्रण बोर्ड की हीलाहवाली वाली शैली के कारण जिले से बहने वाली नदियां राप्ती, आमी और रोहिन मैली हो रही हैं। रामगढ़ताल भी अछूता नहीं है। राप्ती व रोहिन नदी में रोजाना नालों का साढ़े सात करोड़ लीटर गंदा पानी जा रहा है। वहीं, रामगढ़ताल में 18 नालों का पानी सीधे गिर रहा है। उधर, जिम्मेदार अधिकारी कहते हैं कि प्रदूषण रोकने के लिए प्रयास किया जा रहा है।

नमामि गंगे परियोजना में हीलाहवाली व गंगा नदी में प्रदूषण रोकने में नाकामी पर इलाहाबाद हाईकोर्ट ने प्रदूषण नियंत्रण बोर्ड व जलनिगम की कार्यप्रणाली पर गंभीर सवाल उठाए हैं और तल्ख टिप्पणी की है। इससे जिले में तैनात प्रदूषण नियंत्रण बोर्ड के अफसर भी चिंतित हैं। उनका कहना है कि प्रदूषण नियंत्रण की जरूरी परियोजनाएं धरातल पर नहीं उतर सकी हैं। https://www.amarujala.com/gorakhpur/seven-and-a-half-crore-liters-of-dirty-water-falling-daily-in-rapti-rohin-river  (29 July 2022)

YAMUNA Noida Sewage in canal: NGT orders ₹150cr compensation NGT has directed the Noida Authority to pay Rs 100 crore for fail-ing to prevent untreated sewage from flowing in-to the Kondli irrigation canal, which empties into the Yamuna. The tribunal, which also directed DJB to pay Rs 50 crore, said the interim compensation should be deposited with the CPCB and utilised for remedial measures.

The 20-km-long canal originates from Kondli village in Delhi and enters Noida via Ghaziabad. It winds through sectors 11, 12, 22, 50 and 92 in Noida for about 17km before meeting the Yamuna in Sector 168. Noida Authority failed to stop waste water from 30 drains from being released into the canal, the tribunal concluded. Officials also didn’t ensure that waste water is adequately treated at individual STPs of housing societies in the city, it said.

The tribunal noted that of the 95 group housing societies in Noida, only 76 had their own STPs. Of these, 38 – or 50% – did not comply with the standards of water treatment. NGT directed the Authority to divert sewage from 30 drains in the city to STPs and certify that all such plants – including the six Authority-run plants that treat 231 MLD water per day – meet the norms. “The CPCB may independently monitor the directions and give its report to the chairman, CPCB, who may issue further directions for compliance,” the tribunal added.

Petitioner Abhisht Kusum Gupta, a Sector 137 resident, said, “Noida had been directed to intercept 30 drains and channelise wastewater to STPs. But it did not. NGT sought a report from the UP Pollution Control Board, which showed that the water quality did not meet standards.”

The UPPCB report, dated April 11, found both BOD and faecal coliform count much higher than standards at the confluence point of the drain and the river.  “The order is based on a CPCB report for the non-compliance of 90 MGD Kondli STP, polluting the river resulting in imposition of the compensation by National Green Tribunal. Now, a review petition will be filed in the Supreme Court” a DJB official told TOI. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/noida/sewage-in-canal-ngt-orders-150cr-compensation/articleshow/93382459.cms  (06 Aug. 2022)

The order came in response to a 2018 plea by one Abhisht Kusum Gupta, a resident of Noida’s Sector 137, who said Noida, Ghaziabad and Delhi were discharging untreated water into the Kondli and Shahdara drains, which merge with, and pollute, the Yamuna and Ganga. During multiple hearings in the past, the green tribunal has directed municipal authorities in the two state to act and stop the discharge of untreated water. However, the water samples taken and reports submitted by pollution control boards have repeatedly shown that the water in these drains is of poor quality.

NGT on Wednesday (Aug. 03) also directed that the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) issue directions within two months to all state pollution control bodies that canals, water bodies and natural stormwater drains are not used to discharge treated or untreated trade or sewage effluents. Stormwater drains, canals and water bodies need to also be geo-tagged and given UID (unique identification), the court said.

“Noida authority has allowed third party rights to be created and allowed a situation in which water pollution load can be controlled by preventing occupation. If without functional STPs, the group housing societies were not allowed to be occupied, the situation could have been better handled. There is no effective monitoring by Noida to perform its essential duties. It is surprising that it could not create an environment cell and hire any professional in seven months. It is difficult to believe that this job was so difficult. For this lapse, it is necessary to fix accountability of Noida authority. Even seven months after this lapse was pointed out vide order dated 23.12.2021, no effective action has been taken either to stop pollution or to make the group housing societies effectively accountable. No coercive steps have been taken like blacklisting, cancelling occupancy certificate/completion certificate. Further, six STPs of Noida, have been wrongly classified as compliant,” states the NGT order. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/noida-news/ngt-slaps-100-crore-interim-compensation-on-noida-for-polluting-rivers-101659725927208.html  (06 Aug. 2022)

Delhi 9,000 ha of land available in floodplains for plantation: forest department Land measuring around 9,000 hectares is available in the Yamuna floodplains, which could be used for raising plantation suitable to the river ecology and compensatory afforestation for projects of national importance, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has been informed by the city forest department. The DDA has repeatedly raised the issue of ”shortage” of land for greening activities in the national capital. The forest department said it has conducted a detailed analysis of the land available for plantation in the Yamuna floodplains, considering the Centre’s project to rejuvenate 13 major rivers, including the Yamuna, through forestry intervention. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/environment/9000-hectares-of-land-available-in-yamuna-floodplains-for-plantation-delhi-forest-department-8966911.html  (06 Aug. 2022)

Work begins to restore ghats The INTACH has kickstarted work on the restoration of what may be ghats from the period between 1857 and the 1940s on the banks of the Yamuna near Kashmere Gate. Permanent structures are not allowed to be constructed on the floodplains, as per a National Green Tribunal order. On the work on the ghats, Gupta said that no concrete will be used and that they are only being restored or strengthened using piling techniques. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/work-begins-to-restore-ghats-along-yamuna-8071579/  (05 Aug. 2022)

Himachal Pradesh Dumping yard along Yamuna now public park Local officials have transformed a dumping yard on the banks of the Yamuna and within 100 m of the famous gurdwara at Paonta Sahib into ‘Yamuna Van Vihar’. The area was a dumping yard owing to 33-year ownership issues and consequent court cases with Uttar Pradesh (UP) as a barrage was to be set up on the land. No development could take place and the land become a favoured spot for drug addicts, says Paonta Sahib SDM Vivek Mahajan. It was in 2021 that officials of the revenue and forest departments decided to put the land to some use. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/dumping-yard-along-yamuna-now-public-park-419247  (06 Aug. 2022)

Haryana Govt rejuvenates Rakshi river Irrigation department officials said the 32-km stretch of this river has been made operational by diverting the waters of the Chetang nullah from the Bubka head in Yamunanagar district. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/after-25-years-haryana-government-rejuvenates-rakshi-river-101659910498251.html  (08 Aug. 2022)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Maharashtra Work on Uran Bypass Road stayed by Bombay HC The Bombay High Court has stayed the construction of the proposed 11-metre wide Uran Bypass Road at Uran Koliwada. Considering it would affect the livelihood of fishermen from the village, the HC came down heavily on the Maharashtra government for failing to conduct a proper survey before undertaking the project. A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Gauri Godse, on July 29, stayed the construction while hearing a petition filed by 134 fishermen (kolis) who have been using the site as fish landing and boat maintenance area. https://www.freepressjournal.in/legal/fisherfolk-first-work-on-uran-bypass-road-stayed-by-bombay-hc  (03 Aug. 2022)

SAND MINING

Himachal Pradesh Chakki Bridge declared unsafe by railway authorities It may be recalled that the railway department initially had suspended three night up and down trains on July1st keeping in view the monsoon rains and threat of triggering landslides on the railway track. But later on July 17 all remaining four up and down day time trains had been suspended due to the dilapidated condition of the Chakki railway bridge.

Chakki railway bridge has been closed with fencing of iron barbed wire. Tribune Photo

Unabated illegal mining near this bridge for the past over three decades had weakened the supporting pillars and protection wall of the bridge. The railway department had spent lakhs of rupees for the repair of the damaged pillars and protection wall several times during the past one decade but failed to chalk out any plan to re-construct this over ninety years old bridge that had outlived its utility. Now sudden closure of the narrow-gauge railway track has left thousands of daily train passengers in Kangra district in lurch.   https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/train-service-on-pathankot-jogindernagar-route-cancelled-indefinitely-chakki-bridge-declared-unsafe-by-railway-authorities-418071  (02 Aug. 2022)

Punjab Border Security Force has told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that in Pathankot and Gurdaspur districts, illegal mining along the Ravi river has been going on without any hindarance. The Punjab Govt has kept silence in the matter in HC. https://www.amarujala.com/haryana/panchkula/mining-is-happening-day-and-night-in-the-border-area-the-presence-of-hundreds-of-laborers-is-a-threat-to-the-country-bsf-panchkula-news-pkl4585250110  (04 Aug. 2022) https://www.etvbharat.com/hindi/uttarakhand/bharat/bsf-worried-about-mining-in-border-areas/na20220806091518395395082  (06 Aug. 2022)

Fearing land mafia, Ferozepur residents mum At dusk, scores of JCBs and tractor-trolleys come out of “daylong hibernation” and make a beeline to the illegal mining sites often referred to as “khuds” to excavate sand in this border district.  When The Tribune visited some of these sites, those were almost inundated with rainwater. But the contours of the field amply indicated towards the illegal mining activity afoot there.

In the past five months from March to July, 40 cases were registered in connection with illegal mining and more than 50 tractors/JCBs were confiscated. But these activities have not stopped. While the officials concerned deny any kind of mining activity in the district, sand-laden trolleys are being sold at a cost ranging between Rs 5,000 and 8,000, while a tipper costs around Rs 15,000. These are being supplied by small-time vendors or by farmers directly. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/fearing-land-mafia-residents-mum-419219  (06 Aug. 2022)

Deep ditches in villages along the International Border (IB) with Pakistan stand testimony to the Border Security Force’s submission in the High Court that mining near the IB continues unabated. In its report dated August 1, the BSF has stated that mining begins before sunrise and goes on till late night. At times, it goes on throughout the night. “Hundreds of labourers”, whose antecedents had not been verified by the local police, so close to the International Border was perceived to be a “big security hazard”, the BSF has submitted in the HC. This is not for the first time that the BSF authorities have raised a concern. They had earlier written to the Central authorities regarding it.

Residents of border villages corroborate the BSF’s claims.  Since January 1, the police have registered 85 cases in connection with illegal sand mining. In all, 41 persons have been arrested and 60 vehicles laden with illegally excavated sand seized in Amritsar. The police said 86.5 sq ft of illegally excavated sand was also seized during this period. The majority of seizures were made during the late-night checking.

In the absence of auction of sand mining sites in Tarn Taran district, illegal mining continues on a large scale round the clock. Sand is excavated illegally from the Mand area, which is along the Beas river. This year, the district police have registered 24 cases of illegal mining and arrested 26 persons. The police have not submitted a chargesheet even in a single case. In all, 29 sand-laden vehicles have been impounded during raids. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/deep-nexus-deep-ditches-abound-in-border-villages-of-punjab-418875  (05 Aug. 2022)

Unabated illegal excavation of white sand in sensitive border villages of the district has been continuing for nearly two decades allegedly with political patronisation. The district is known for high quality white sand and has remained in controversy for illegal excavation. Leaders have allegedly made huge profits through the trade and have shown scant regard for ecology. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/white-sand-mined-in-the-dark-along-fazilka-border-418888  (05 Aug. 2022)

Jammu & Kashmir ‘Mafia’ Destroys Kashmir’s Rivers and Wildlife While riverbed mining has always been conducted in this area, it was carried out manually by local workers, so the environmental impact was low. However, in the last few years, contractors have been bringing in heavy machines for riverbed mining, which is degrading and destroying these rivers. Since the cost of construction materials has also nearly doubled, locals believe that an organised mining mafia is working across the Kashmir valley, clandestinely backed by officials from several government departments including the geology and mining department, the irrigation and flood control department, and the departments of fisheries, revenue and police.

The mining at Shali Ganga. Photo: Raja Muzaffar Bhat

The riverbeds of the Doodh Ganga and the Shali Ganga in Budgam district are already over-exploited and unfit for mining. Any further mining will result in a disruption of water flow, which will impact the Hokersar wetland, a designated bird sanctuary just 10 km from Srinagar. In fact, the Hokersar wetland has already been impacted by the deep mining in the Shali Ganga and the Doodh Ganga. Silt has begun to accumulate in the area due to the muddy water brought to it by the Shali Ganga and the Doodh Ganga, which is the result of the deep mining of the riverbeds.

Part of the problem is the fact that no replenishment study has been conducted as demanded by the Enforcement & Monitoring Guidelines for Sand Mining, 2020. In fact, the entire tendering process is flawed. https://thewire.in/environment/as-govt-drags-its-feet-mining-mafia-destroys-kashmirs-rivers-and-wildlife  (02 Aug. 2022)

Odisha NGT seeks govt’s reply in 2 weeks The bench of Justice B Amit Sthalekar (Judicial Member) and Justice Saibal Dasgupta (Expert Member) said, “Janmejaya Katikia, additional government advocate appearing for the State, prays for and is granted two weeks and no more for filing counter-affidavit.” “In case, his counter affidavit is not filed by August 25, the Collector and District Magistrate of Mayurbhanj shall be present personally before the Tribunal with his explanation,” the bench cautioned in the order.

The bench had constituted a committee to ascertain the veracity of the allegations in the petition on April 20. According to the August 3 order, SPCB had filed an affidavit along with the inspection report in which Rs 12.35 crore was calculated as the total compensation to be levied on the lessee for damaging the environment and illegal operation of the quarry without valid consent to operate. “The lessee has changed the natural river flow of Budhabalanga river water at Mahupura through random and mechanical sand mining and by creating sand bandh,” the committee had observed in its report.

The committee also recommended construction of concrete wall at the damage site of the river embankment and massive plantation of native species to protect the river bed from further damage. The committee further directed the tehsildar/additional tehsildar of Badasahi to take necessary action with immediate effect to stop operation of Balanga sand quarry, Mahupura till obtaining of valid environmental clearance and other permissions. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2022/aug/06/illegal-sand-mining-ngt-seeks-odisha-governments-reply-in-twoweeks-2484686.html  (06 Aug. 2022)

Maharashtra Illegal sand mining racket busted, activists suspect officials involved An illegal sand mining racket was busted from the Mutha riverbed at Shivne by a team of Pune district officials along with the police department on Thursday (Aug. 4) night. This, despite the state government having strictly prohibited sand mining in any of the riverbed areas. A raid was carried out and a JCB machine and a tractor were seized from the spot following repeated complaints from local citizens and civic activists. According to the activists, some of the government staff, too, are involved in the racket as workers at the mining site had already escaped when the police arrived.

Sarang Yadwadkar, environmentalist and city-based activist, said, “There is a huge sand mining racket operational in the Mutha riverbed area which is behind the Nanded city area. We have complained about this issue several times at all levels of the Pune district and state government machinery. The issue came to light after some responsible citizens from nearby areas objected to the sand mining going on a few months back and after several complaints, the activity was stopped around three months ago. Whereas again it started from yesterday and so, we immediately complained to the concerned government and police authorities, and the raid was conducted last night.”

“During the last three months, the people who were carrying out this illegal sand mining tried to contact the complainants and tried to hush-up the matter with some kind of settlement. So, our question is how information about the complainants has been shared with the accused people. In yesterday’s raid as well, the people carrying out the illegal activity had already escaped from the spot when the official team reached there. We suspect someone from the government team is also involved in the racket. We have already met Pune divisional commissioner Saurabh Roa and Pune district collector Rajesh Deshmukh this week and demanded strict action against the people involved in this illegal sand mining,” said Yadwadkar. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/illegal-sand-mining-racket-busted-activists-suspect-govt-officials-involved-101659726887267.html  (06 Aug. 2022)

Bihar 4 die in LPG cylinder blast on a boat in Maner At least four persons were charred to death and several others injured in an LPG cylinder blast on a boat with 20 labourers allegedly mining sand illegally on the Sone river near Maner in Patna district on Saturday (Aug. 6). One of the labourers was cooking food on the boat when the explosion took place at Patila Ghat in Rampur Diara area under the Maner police station.

Image Amar Ujala

The labourers were illegally mining sand in the river, police said. Maner SHO Rajiv Ranjan said the boat was laden with sand which scattered all over the ghat after the explosion. “It seems they were carrying out illegal sand mining when the incident took place. The police have been investigating the matter,” he added. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/patna-four-die-in-lpg-cylinder-blast-on-a-boat-in-maner/articleshow/93400610.cms ; https://www.amarujala.com/bihar/bihar-cylinder-blast-while-cooking-food-on-boat-four-laborers-died  (07 Aug. 2022)

Rajasthan The Bharatpur MP said she was informed that illegal mining was taking place in an area in the district and visited the spot. “When I reached Kaman on getting information, I found more than 100 vehicles related to illegal mining on the spot. When I tried to stop them, there was a deadly attack on me,” she claimed on Twitter. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/bjp-mp-claims-attack-by-mining-mafia-in-bharatpur-3235485  (08 Aug. 2022)

Haryana Illegal mining scars Aravalli tail-end Deep gorges, craters and flattening of several hills and hillocks of the Aravalli range have scarred the tail-end of the oldest mountain chain irreparably as illegal mining goes on with impunity despite a ban.

Unlike Nuh where mining is usually carried out after it gets dark, the difficult terrain and alleged lack of checks have made carrying out covert operations easy for locals even in the day in the home district of Haryana Mines Minister Mool Chand Sharma. He said his department was committed to curbing the menace. As many as 38 cases had been registered this year, he said.

Despite a ban imposed two decades ago, mining of stone and construction material is spread over 79,316 hectares known as “gair mumkin pahad” (mountains or land not fit for cultivation), which was admitted by the state government in an affidavit filed before the NGT in 2019 in response to a petition.

“The first crusher zone in the district came up in 1987, when such plants operating in Lal Kuan in Delhi were banned by the Delhi High Court for creating pollution and shifted here,” says Subhash Sharma, who had filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 1999 over a threat to his life from the mining mafia.

According to Sharma, a CBI investigation later had detected a loss of Rs 85 crore to the state exchequer due to large-scale mining. He said besides leasing of mines to influential political persons, around 200 stone crusher plants were set up between 1988 and 2022. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/deep-nexus-illegal-mining-scars-aravalli-tail-end-flattens-several-hillocks-in-faridabad-418179  (03 Aug. 2022)

Comment Tapping technology to check minor mineral plunder Amar Patnaik, MP Odisha, former CAG bureaucrat A State-wise review of EACs and EIAAs in key industrial States such as Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, shows that these authorities review over 50 project proposals in a day and the rejection rate at the State level has been a mere 1%. This raises a pertinent question on whether introducing clearances alone can help eliminate irregularities in the illegal mining of minor minerals?

As per an estimate, U.P. is losing revenue from 70% of mining activities as only 30% area is legally mined. Similarly, the absence of royalty has caused a loss of ₹700 crore in Bihar while non-payment of various cesses due to unregulated mining has resulted in a loss of ₹100 crore to Karnataka and ₹600 crore to Madhya Pradesh in 2016-17. Judicial orders are often neglected by State governments. Lax compliance can be seen in States such as West Bengal, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh too.

A State-wide review of the reasons behind non-compliance suggests a malfunction of governance due to weak institutions, a scarcity of state resources to ensure enforcement, poorly drafted regulatory provisions, inadequate monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, and excessive litigation that dampens state administrative capacity.

Protecting minor minerals requires investment in production and consumption measurement and also monitoring and planning tools. To this end, technology has to be used to provide a sustainable solution. Satellite imagery can be used to monitor the volume of extraction and also check the mining process. Additionally, drones, the internet of things (IoT) and blockchain technology can be leveraged to monitor mechanisms by using Global Positioning System, radar and Radio Frequency (RF) Locator. https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/tapping-technology-to-check-minor-mineral-plunder/article65742444.ece  (08 Aug. 2022)

WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES

15 More Ramsar Wetlands Very misleading title and claim that Ramsar tag helps in protection of wetlands. Past experience shows it does not.

– In fact, a Ramsar site tag does not make any difference, said environmental activist and water expert Himashu Thakkar, coordinator of the SANDRP. The government seems to be just in a race to name more sites, possibly because it wants to attain a certain target number in the 75th year of independence, he added. “There is no effective change in governance or management of the wetlands even after they get Ramsar tag and past experience shows that none of the Ramsar wetlands had any additional protection from destruction,” said Thakkar. https://science.thewire.in/environment/india-gets-five-more-ramsar-wetlands-heres-why-that-could-help/  (04 Aug. 2022)

10 more wetlands designated as Ramsar sites India adds 10 more wetlands designated as Ramsar sites to make total 64 sites covering an area of 12,50,361 ha in the country. The 10 new sites include:  Six (6) sites in Tamil Nadu and One (1) each in Goa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha. https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1847983  (03 Aug. 2022)

Tamil Nadu 6 more wetlands declared as Ramsar sites This now takes the state’s tally to 10 Ramsar sites. The six wetlands in Tamil Nadu are Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary, Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve, Vembannur Wetland Complex, Vellode, Vedanthangal, and Udhayamarthandapuram Bird Sanctuaries. A week earlier, three wetlands including the Pallikaranai Marshlands in Chennai, Karikili Bird Sanctuary in Chengalpattu district and Pichavaram Mangrove in Cuddalore district were recognised as Wetlands of International Importance. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chennai/six-more-tamil-nadu-wetlands-declared-as-ramsar-sites-tally-at-10-8069482/  (04 Aug. 2022)

Karnataka Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is 1st Ramsar site It is the first wetland from Karnataka to get this status. According to the authorities, for the last ten years, the forest department was working towards this goal. This bird sanctuary is located on the banks of river Cauvery. It is located 18km from Mysuru city. According to the forest department documents, the bird sanctuary has a history of over 80 years. Ranganathittu attained the status of a bird sanctuary during the survey of the birds by of legendary ornithologist Salim Ali of Mysuru in 1940. It was notified as the bird sanctuary on July 1, 1940 during the rule of Mysuru Maharaja Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mysuru/ranganathittu-bird-sanctuary-is-karnatakas-1st-ramsar-site/articleshow/93359890.cms  (05 Aug. 2022)

Andhra Pradesh NGT orders ONGC to pay ₹22cr to APPCB The Chennai Bench of the NGT comprising judicial member Justice K. Ramakrishnan and expert member Saibal Dasgupta directed the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) to pay compensation of ₹22.77 crore to the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) within six months for causing large-scale air, sound, soil and water pollution in the erstwhile East and West Godavari districts.

The NGT has also ordered the APPCB to take further action that may be required against ONGC for non-compliance with the environmental laws in the process of operating its units and gave it the liberty to impose further compensation. Besides, the tribunal directed the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) to operate its units in strict compliance with the recommendations made by a joint committee set up by it, after obtaining the relevant statutory clearances.

The allegation was that the ONGC and GAIL have not provided a mechanism needed to check the pollution likely to be caused by their activities, such as discharging polluted water into the sea, water bodies and open land, causing gas leakages by not providing a leakage detection system, and for conducting blasting in Kesavadasupalem, Kesanapally, Antarvedi, Nagaram, Nagi Cheruvu, Uppudi and around 100 villages of the Godavari districts. In its judgment, the NGT ordered that ONGC and GAIL should carry out safety measures stipulated by the MoEF&CC to prevent incidents of leakage in the future, and adhere to norms related to the utilisation of CSR funds. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/national-green-tribunal-orders-ongc-to-pay-22-cr-to-appcb/article65720688.ece  (03 Aug. 2022)

Kondakarla Ava Wetland Management Committee formed After a hectic effort by the District Forest Officer, the Kondakarla Ava Wetland Management Committee has been finally formed. As per DFO Anant Shankar, the committee will be headed by the District Collector of Anakapalli who will be the chairperson and DFO- Visakhapatnam will be the co-chairperson and convenor. The committee has been constituted with 16 members consisting of district officers from the departments of irrigation, agriculture, PR, tourism, education, industries, fisheries, horticulture and the APPCB. In addition there will be four experts and one representative from local NGO East Coast Conservation Team.

Kondakarla Ava is located in Atchutapuram and Munagapakka mandals of Anakapalli district and is the second largest freshwater wetland in Andhra Pradesh. It is a pristine habitat for several water birds and migratory ones too, said Mr. Anant Shankar. The formation of the committee was necessary to manage and conserve the wetland scientifically. The committee will meet once every quarterly to discuss and take decisions on issues and activities related to management and conservation. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/kondakarla-ava-wetland-management-committee-formed-in-andhra-pradesh/article65737201.ece  (06 Aug. 2022)

Kerala Ignorance Of Law & Its Development Through Judgments Main Reason For Accumulation Of Cases: HC The High Court recently observed that the primary cause of cases stockpiling under the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act, 2008 was the ignorance of law and its developments through judicial decisions. Justice P.V Kunhikrishnan thereby set aside orders passed by the Local Level Monitoring Committee and by the Revenue Division Officer, citing unsustainability under the law, while calling the petition a classic example of such ignorance. In this case, the permit issued by the Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) under Section 27(1) of the Act to the petitioner for the construction of a commercial building on his property was subsequently revoked by the same officer pursuant to the Local Level Monitoring Committee’s (LLMC) order. The Committee’s order reported that the petitioner’s land was at a lower level in the data bank and if developed, the neighbouring properties were likely to be submerged. Aggrieved by the said orders of the RDO and LLMC, the petitioner moved the High Court. https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/kerala-wetland-act-ignorance-of-law-its-development-through-judgments-main-reason-for-accumulation-of-cases-high-court-202863  (04 Aug. 2022)

Fishermen use wastewater in Kolkata to rear fish (Image Source: India Water Portal)

West Bengal Heavy metal pollution is poisoning the East Kolkata wetlands, affecting fish and posing a threat to the health of humans who depend on this fish for their food. Urgent action is needed! https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/poisoned-wetlands-toxic-fish  (27 June 2022)

Jammu & Kashmir Wetland Authority approves Rs 150 cr conservation plan for Wular Lake The Chief Secretary approved the proposal of the Forest, Ecology & Environment Department to designate Wular Lake as Wetland in terms of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. The Wular lake is spread over 13,000 ha of area with an additional 486.12 ha area as its zone of influence.

The J&K Wetland Authority also approved the Integrated Management Plan for Conservation of Wular lake to promote an integrated and multi-disciplinary approach for conservation and management of the water body. The Chief Secretary advised the Forest Department to engage scientific methods for dredging, de-silting and de-weeding for restoration and rejuvenation of Wular lake.

Under the Integrated Management Plan, various activities worth Rs. 150 crores will be undertaken for scientific management of the wetland. The proposed activities include extensive survey and demarcation, catchment conservation, water management, bio-diversity conservation, sustainable livelihood generation, and institutional development. https://ziraattimes.com/2022/08/jk-wetland-authority-approves-rs-150-cr-conservation-plan-for-wular-lake/  (03 Aug. 2022)

WATER OPTIONS

Uttarakhand Natural Spring Revival Unites Women Natural springs are a key source of water for villages in Uttarakhand. But since the last few decades, springs from the village have been drying up, both because of mismanagement and the changing climate, experts say and research shows. And as a result, the once-fertile Garhwal region of Uttarakhand is increasingly gripped by water shortage.

Springs can be in the form of a Dhara (pictured left) or a Naula (pictured right) in Himalayan villages. Dharas have water flowing out of them continuously, whereas Naulas have a well structure that harvests water.

– With water scarcity increasing, the villagers of Bajwad teamed up, earlier this year, with People’s Science Institute (PSI), a non-profit organisation based in Uttarakhand, to revive the springs. In the neighbouring Almora district, a similar initiative has yielded benefits to the locals. In the village Chanoli, over the last five years the residents, along with a local organisation called Laxmi Ashram, have revived five springs–one used by the upper castes, three by other backward classes and one by the Dalit community. https://www.indiaspend.com/climate-change/natural-spring-revival-unites-women-but-caste-still-decides-its-use-in-uttarakhand-828654  (01 Aug. 2022)

Gujarat Researcher adopts stepwells to recharge depleted water reserves Considered to be a fine example of Gujarati architecture, Vav or stepwell is not only an ancient site but also has a cultural tradition associated with it. Amritalingam’s book ‘Ecological Traditions of India’ states: “Wells and stepwells have played a very important role in the history of Indian architecture.

Kapil Thacker, a history and architecture lover of Ahmedabad, has taken up the challenge of restoring these places to their former glory and importance. He has been running a magazine called ‘Atulya Varso’ on water body tradition and architecture for a long time with a special focus on architecture and culture. Thacker, founder of Atulya Varaso, recently adopted a stepwell and a well. He spoke to IANS about this. https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/gujarat-researcher-adopts-stepwells-to-recharge-depleted-water-reserves-122080700160_1.html  (07 Aug. 2022)

Delhi MCD converts 150 defunct tubewells into RWH pits Municipal Corporation of Delhi has completed work on 150 of the 258 defunct tubewells that were targeted to be converted into rainwater harvesting pits during this monsoon season. A budget of Rs 25 lakh was allocated for the project. “The remaining 108 pits are expected to be completed by August end. During a meeting at the LG’s office, the 258 defunct tubewells were identified for making rainwater harvesting systems in different parks. Subsequently, work started intensively on the ground,” said an official. In June, the Delhi high court had taken cognisance of the lack of rainwater harvesting facilities and sought the stand of various government departments on the issue. Later, MCD submitted the information in court. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/municipal-corporation-of-delhi-converts-150-defunct-tubewells-into-rwh-pits/articleshow/93416135.cms  (08 Aug. 2022)

Jamia Hamdard students to revive three waterbodies Jamia Hamdard has started working on a project to revive the baolis, or stepwells, at Tughlaqabad Fort. The project, undertaken in collaboration with the central government, will look at reviving three waterbodies. The university team is now readying a proposal on how it will revamp the reservoirs, exploring options like rainwater harvesting or finding ways to make the waterbodies look scenic and apt for a vibrant public space. Jamia Hamdard has taken up the project under the Mission Amrit Sarovar — Jal Dharohar Sanrakshan jointly with the Union housing and urban affairs ministry and All India Council of Technical Education. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/delhi-jamia-hamdard-students-hold-the-fort-at-tughlaqabad-to-revive-three-waterbodies/articleshow/93415758.cms  (08 Aug. 2022)

GROUNDWATER

SANDRP Blog Sacred Springs and Kites: Groundwater reaches the skies Groundwater management is an area where almost all of the world seems to be faltering right now. Like in India, in Texas too groundwater is private property, and its use, regulation and conservation is a complex and often an unsuccessful task. Groundwater is a major source of water in Texas, providing about 60 percent of the 16.1 million acre-feet of water used in the state.

Cities like Amarillo, Bryan-College Station, El Paso, Lubbock, Houston and San Antonio use groundwater to supply water for homes and industry. This year, Texas has seen record hot months and lowering water tables with 99% of the state facing drought right now, and 21% area facing exceptional drought. Jacob’s Well, an iconic artesian spring, has officially ceased flowing for the fourth time in recorded history as a result of the ongoing drought and increased levels of groundwater pumping. https://sandrp.in/2022/08/06/sacred-springs-and-kites-groundwater-reaches-the-skies/  (06 Aug. 2022)

Opinion Can a fee curb groundwater exploitation A Narayanamoorthy A nominal levy may not dissuade large users. More importantly, there’s a need to revisit power pricing policies:-

Instead of having a uniform fee for all users, a discriminated fee can be fixed for agriculture, industry and domestic users keeping in view the ability-to-pay principle. For non-agricultural purposes, the fee can be fixed based on the level of exploitation of water, depth of the well and HP of the pump-set. For agriculture, the fee can be fixed by farm size or HP of the pump-set or based on the consumption of electricity. In any case, the fee alone will not be sufficient to control the over-exploitation of groundwater.

Groundwater exploitation and electricity pricing policies are intertwined. Most States that provide electricity free or at a low unit cost for irrigation are experiencing over-exploitation of groundwater. Therefore, there is a need to revisit the electricity pricing policies. While free electricity may be provided for marginal farmers having pump-set capacity of less than 5 HP capacity, progressive pro-rata (kWh-based tariff) pricing may be fixed for all other farmers. This may also discourage the farmers from cultivating water-intensive crops, which is the root cause for the increased exploitation of groundwater.

Wherever free electricity is supplied, judicious rationing has to be followed in its supply. Studies show that solar-powered irrigation pumps help reduce the exploitation of groundwater besides saving huge subsidies on electricity. An ambitious scheme, PM-KUSUM, was introduced in 2019 with a budget of ₹34,422 crore, and with a huge subsidy component, for the installation of solar pumps. The benefits of solar-powered pumps need to be communicated to all the stakeholders. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/can-a-fee-curb-groundwater-exploitation/article65667108.ece  (21 July 2022)

Punjab Rs 6,773 cr plan to recharge depleting groundwater The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has given Punjab a Rs 6,773 crore plan for constructing at least 11 lakh structures for recharging the fast-depleting underground water in rural as well as urban areas all over the state. The project details form a part of the reply by the Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Bishweshwar Tudu, to a question posed by MP Balubhau alias Suresh Narayan Dhanorkar during the ongoing session of the Lok Sabha. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/monsoon-session-6-773-crore-plan-to-recharge-depleting-underground-water-in-punjab-418889  (05 Aug. 2022)

Protest against distilleries grows A protest against a Ferozepur-based distillery, which is accused of contaminating groundwater and polluting the air, is gaining ground. Activists have written to the state government to take note of pollution by the distillery, saying it was seriously affecting people’s health, especially that of children, in its vicinity.

Activists from farm and social organisations have been holding a protest outside the distillery, owned by Malbros International Private Limited, at Mansoorwal village in Zira sub-division of Ferozepur district for the last 12 days. The activists said waste from the liquor factory was being mixed in groundwater and this was posing serious problems to locals as even water drawn from a depth of 600 feet was not fit for drinking. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/protest-against-distilleries-grows/articleshow/93402555.cms  (07 Aug. 2022)

Bihar High Volume Of Uranium In Groundwater Leaves Authorities Worried: Report The high concentration of uranium in groundwater in certain districts in Bihar has left the authorities worried and 100 water samples from ten districts have been sent to Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) center in Lucknow for scientific analysis, a top official said. Districts from where the groundwater samples have been recently collected are Nalanda, Nawada, Katihar, Madhepura, Vaishali, Supaul, Aurangabad, Gaya, Saran and Jehanabad. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/high-volume-of-uranium-in-groundwater-in-bihar-leaves-authorities-worried-3230442  (06 Aug. 2022)

URBAN WATER

Pimpri-Chinchwad PCMC to fine big housing societies for non-functional STP The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has decided to impose a fine on big residential housing societies if the STP at their premises are found non-functional. The civic administration has warned the housing societies that it would start severing their drainage and water lines if they do not operationalise the STPs. “We have already served notices to several housing societies to get their STPs in order. If they do not act in the next one month, we will cut off their drainage lines through which the sewage flows into the nearby STP set up by the civic body,” Sanjay Kulkarni, PCMC’s joint city engineer, told The Indian Express. “Besides, drainage line, we also plan to sever their water connections,” he added.

– The STPs with a capacity of 300 KLD will face a fine of Rs 2,500 and those between 300 to 500 KLD will face a fine up to Rs 4,000 and those above 500 KLD will face a fine of Rs 5,000, according to officials. Pimpri Chinchwad has 145 housing societies with over 200 flats each, setting up STPs is mandatory for these. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/pimpri-chinchwad-civic-body-sewage-treatment-plants-drainage-water-8067902/  (04 Aug. 2022)

Ahmedabad AMC allotted 81 lakes for boosting level of groundwater The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) will take up 81 government-owned lakes in the city to boost the groundwater level and develop new areas for recreation. Pointing out that concretisation of the area around the lakes makes it difficult for water to reach them, the official said, “Encroachment will be the biggest challenge that will face during the development project,” said the official. The official also said that there are 153 lakes in the city, of which 21 were given to the AMC for development work last year, Rs 10 crore was allocated for the work. “This time, 81 lakes were given… but we do not know the actual number of lakes that would be taken for the development work,” the official added.. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/amc-allotted-81-lakes-for-boosting-level-of-groundwater-8064683/  (02 Aug. 2022)

Jaipur New water projects to boost supply near Bani Park, Jal Mahal Additional chief secretary for Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) Subodh Agarwal has approved several projects that will help give water supply to residents living in areas around Jal Mahal and Bani Park. Agarwal during a review meeting on Friday (Aug. 05) gave approval for the project for water pipeline connectivity to Kanak Ghati and surrounding hilly areas where the groundwater level is low.

“The colonies situated in the hilly area beyond the Jal Mahal of Jaipur city will now get water of Bisalpur dam and to provide water from there an amount of Rs 2.63 crores has been approve under the Urban Water Supply Scheme. A pipeline will be laid to connect these areas with the pump house at Brahmapuri and drinking water will be supplied to these areas,” said officials. Officials further said that with this connectivity, residents will not have to depend on tankers for water supply.

Further, for low water pressure areas like Barodia Basti, Sen Colony and surrounding areas a three-kilometre-long pipeline will be laid to connect the areas with a high reservoir of 20 lakh litre capacity located at Amanishah head works. For this, Rs 4.28 crore has been approved. Both these schemes were approved in the meeting of finance committee of Rajasthan Water Supply and Sewerage Management Board (RWSSMB) chaired by Agarwal. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/new-water-projects-to-boost-supply-near-bani-park-jal-mahal/articleshow/93402300.cms  (07 Aug. 2022)

WATER POLLUTION

Tamil Nadu Industries discharge effluents into water bodies: Erode farmers Farmers and activists of Perundurai have urged the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to take steps to stop industries from discharging untreated effluents into water bodies. According to farmers, due to the widespread rainfall in the State, water bodies in remote villages too were getting copious inflow. In Perundurai taluk for instance, water bodies in Odaikkattur, Sullimedu, Palatholuvu villages located close to State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu Limited (SIPCOT) units have recorded good inflow but the color of the water is different, hinting at possible untreated effluents from industries being let into water bodies.

Tamilselvan, a farmer and activist, said, ‘’Every rainy season, these water bodies face this issue. A few factories discharge polluted water into common sewage canals at night. We have lodged a complaint with TNPCB and the board must immediately take action,” he said. ‘’Palatholuvu pond comes under Athikkadavu Avinashi drinking water and irrigation scheme. The project is expected to be completed soon. If the pond is contaminated, the long years of struggle of farmers will go waste as the contaminated water will not be fit for drinking,” he added. Nanthakumar, a farmer from Ingur near Sullimedu, said, ‘’We have filed several complaints with officials. But a solution still eludes us.” https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/aug/07/industries-discharge-effluents-into-water-bodies-erode-farmers-2484848.html  (07 Aug. 2022)

JJM/ RURAL WATER SUPPLY

Report The Jal Shakti Ministry has identified 13 states that have fallen behind in implementing the Jal Jeevan Mission. The 13 focus states include Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Assam, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/to-expedite-piped-water-scheme-centre-asks-states-to-submit-detailed-plans-in-a-month/articleshow/93240274.cms  (31 July 2022)

MONSOON 2022

SANDRP Blog June July 2022: District wise rainfall in India’s SW Monsoon In the just concluded month of July 2022, the second month of India’s South West 2022 monsoon, India received 327.7 mm rainfall, 16.8% above the normal July rainfall of 280.5 mm as per India Meteorological department. In July 2021, the rainfall was 266.1 mm, about 6.7% below normal and in July 2020, the rainfall was 257.1 mm, or about 9.9% below normal. The rainfall has been far from normal in July 2022. June 2022 had ended with 8% deficit in rainfall. June 2022 also had very large number of high rainfall days.

However, rainfall in first 15 days of July 2022 was consistently above normal. The Highest one day rainfall at all India level in July 2022 was 16.7 mm (90% above normal) on July 13. By July 15, the cumulative SW Monsoon rainfall deficit of 8% as on June 30 was wiped out and there was 14% surplus rainfall at all India level. However, after July 15, on most (10 out of 16) days rainfall was normal or below normal. By July 31, 2022, the cumulative SW Monsoon rainfall at all India level was 8% above normal. The spatial distribution of SW Monsoon in July 2022 was even more skewed with Gangetic plain areas of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and parts of W Bengal having huge deficit, while parts of peninsular India having high surplus rainfall. https://sandrp.in/2022/08/05/june-july-2022-district-wise-rainfall-in-in-indias-sw-monsoon/  (05 Aug. 2022)

Report East & northeast India recorded warmest July in 122 years East and northeast India, which received low rainfall last month, also experienced its warmest July in 122 years, according to a monthly climate report by IMD on Friday (Aug. 05). The report, which underlined that the two regions recorded the highest mean, minimum and maximum temperatures for July in 122 years, showed that the severe and prolonged dry conditions through July also led to extreme heat. The dry and warm temperatures in the east and northeastern region come on the back of June when two northeastern states, Assam and Meghalaya recorded the highest June rainfall in 122 years with 858.1mm, breaking the earlier record of 789.5mm recorded in 1966.

Rainfall for the country as a whole for July was 327.7mm, 17% more than the long period average making it the second highest since 2001 after 2005, the report said. Rainfall over South Peninsula was second highest since 1901 after the year 1961 and rainfall over central India was fifth highest since 1901 after 1944, 1932, 1942 and 1956. Around 12 meteorological stations recorded the highest ever rainfall in July including Pauri, Pathankot, Srinagar and Bhilwara. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/east-and-northeast-india-recorded-warmest-july-in-122-years-101659703579276.html  (05 Aug. 2022)

IMD Normal monsoon rainfall likely in August-Sept In the first half, till July 31, it was 8% above average, although rainfall was highly uneven in different parts of the country, weather office data show. Parts of eastern and northeastern India, which recorded scanty rainfall in June and July, may not get adequate showers in the next two months as well, the weather office said, raising concerns over the kharif or monsoon crop.

Rainfall up to July 31 was 8% more than normal across the country, IMD data showed. There was 16% rain deficiency over eastern and northeastern India; 17% excess over central India; 28% excess over south peninsula and 5% excess over northwest India so far.

In July, there was 16.9% excess rain over the country with 10.8% excess over northwest India; 42.7% excess over central India; 60.4% excess over peninsular India and 44.7% deficiency over east and northeast India as on July 31. Rainfall was lower by 8% of average in June.

In July, the country recorded the highest rain after 2005, with a 17% excess. But east and northeast India recorded the lowest July rains in 122 years at 45% deficiency, according to IMD data. It was deficient by 41.3% in 1903. Highly uneven rainfall so far in the southwest monsoon is impacting the cultivation of paddy and other crops, particularly in the Gangetic plains of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, although they were 8% more than normal across the country since June, HT reported on Monday.  https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/normal-monsoon-rainfall-likely-in-august-september-imd-101659379983915.html  (02 Aug. 2022)

There was 16% rain deficiency over eastern and northeastern India; 17% excess over central India; 28% excess over south peninsula and 5% excess over northwest India so far. In July, there was 16.9% excess rain over the country with 10.8% excess over northwest India; 42.7% excess over central India; 60.4% excess over peninsular India and 44.7% deficiency over east and northeast India as on July 31. Rainfall was lower by 8% of average in June.

Till July 31, Uttar Pradesh had a rain deficiency of 46%, Jharkhand 49%, Bihar 39% and West Bengal 26%. The uneven distribution of rainfall spells bad news for the country’s farm sector. There was hardly any rain over eastern India in July, the crucial sowing period for paddy.

Referring to the situation in east & northeast India, Mohapatra said the acute rainfall deficiency may remain in Bihar and some other parts of the Indo-Gangetic plains and northeastern states during August-September even as there are chances of the deficiency reducing in Jharkhand, east Uttar Pradesh and parts of Gangetic West Bengal. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/normal-rains-likely-in-aug-sept-but-bihar-ne-may-see-deficit-imd/articleshow/93282915.cms  (02 Aug. 2022)

Tamil Nadu 99% more rainfall than usual A statement issued by the state Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) on August 4 stated that Nilgiris district had the most rainfall in the recent southwest monsoon with 67.50 mm of rain between June 1 and August 4. The statement also said that the state received 99% more rainfall than usual (256.3 mm), recording nearly 100 mm of rainfall in the last 24 hours alone. Coimbatore received the second highest amount of rainfall (53.46), followed by Dharmapuri (38.63) and Thiruvannamalai (23.27).  https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/tamil-nadu-receives-99-more-rainfall-usual-nilgiris-records-most-rain-166569  (06 Aug. 2022)

Gujarat 70 per cent of season’s rainfall in 49 days A month and a half after the onset of the Southwest monsoon, Gujarat has received almost 70 per cent of the season’s rainfall until July 31—the highest in the past five years. The figure is also around twice as much as the rainfall received during the same period last year when the average was just 35 per cent.

Barring 2017, when the state recorded an exceptionally heavy rainfall during the third and fourth weeks of July that led to flooding in large parts of the state, including Banaskantha, Aravalli, Morbi, Patan and Surendranagar districts, this year’s share of southwest monsoon rainfall is the highest since 2015. As per the State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC) data, until July 31, Gujarat has received 596 mm or 70.20 per cent of rainfall of which a major portion—531 mm—was received in July compared to 64 mm in June.

Of the total 251 talukas, 101 have received rainfall between 251 to 500 mm while 89 talukas above 500 mm and below 1,000 mm. Thirty-one talukas recorded more than 1,000 mm rainfall, while the rest 30 between 126-250 mm. Kutch (117 per cent), Narmada (112 per cent), Valsad (93 per cent), Navsari (86 per cent), Porbandar (84 per cent), Gir Somnath (83 per cent), Devbhoomi Dwarka (81 per cent) and Chhota Udepur (81 per cent) are the districts that received the highest rainfall.

Among regions, Kutch received the highest of 117 per cent followed by South Gujarat at 82 per cent. The East Central region and Saurashtra recorded 62 per cent each, followed by north Gujarat at 57 per cent. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/gujarat-gets-70-per-cent-of-seasons-rainfall-in-49-days-8064672/  (02 Aug. 2022)

Chandigarh July rain breaks record, second highest ever The city recorded 52.4-mm rainfall today (July 31), taking the total rainfall this month to 525.7mm, the second highest rainfall in the city ever. According to the airport observatory, 602.1-mm rainfall reported in 1994 is the all-time high for July. The Chandigarh IMD observatory in Sector 39 started maintaining the data from 2011 onwards. The airport observatory has the rainfall data of period prior to 2011. July 2000 saw 442.1-mm rainfall, followed by 411.1 mm in 2005 and 406.5 mm in 2010. The normal rainfall in July is 275.6 mm, which is the average rainfall of the past 30 years.

For the second time this July, the UT Administration had to open the floodgates of the Sukhna Lake on Sunday (July 31) after the water level reached 1162.7 feet in the afternoon. The danger mark is 1,163 feet. Earlier on July 17, the administration opened the floodgates after the water level reached 1,162.54 feet. The heavy rain caused damage to the Faidan bridge. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/chandigarh/july-rain-breaks-record-second-highest-ever-417589  (01 Aug. 2022)

FLOOD 2022

SANDRP Blog 2022: Overview of CWC’s Flood Monitoring Sites in North East India As of July 2022, the total number of flood monitoring sites have come down to 201 which includes 68 Level Forecast sites, 128 Level Monitoring sites and 05 Inflow Forecast sites. Out of 128 Level Monitoring sites 23 are either inactive or repeated. Excluding these would further bring down the number of active sites to 178. This is contrary to CWC’s claim of increasing flood monitoring stations in the country. There is NO Level forecast site in 4 states of Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram while Sikkim has 5 Inflow Forecast sites. The analysis shows that CWC has been arbitrarily adding and removing flood monitoring sites in the region. Most of CWC’s hydrographs in the region are running late by several hours which has emerged as a new problem across the states in North East India. https://sandrp.in/2022/08/06/2022-overview-of-cwcs-flood-monitoring-sites-in-north-east-india/  (06 Aug. 2022)

2022: CWC Flood Monitoring Sites in North India In 2022, the North India region comprising of 5 states and 4 UTs have 306 flood monitoring sites of which 115 are Level Forecast, 183 are Level Monitoring and 8 are Inflow Forecasting sites in CWC’s flood forecasting system. Of 115 LM sites 8 sites including 5 in Himachal Pradesh of which 2 unrelated sites and 3 site in Uttarakhand are inactive. Similarly Rihand dam IF site is also inactive. If these are excluded from final count, there are 297 flood monitoring station active in the region.

The number of sites has come down in J&K from 9 in 2020 to 7 and in Uttarakhand from 78 in 2020 to 75 in 2022. The number of sites has doubled in Himachal from 15 in 2020 to 30 in 2022. Surprisingly, there is not a single flood monitoring site existing in the Ladakh, Chandigarh and Punjab. In Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh number of Level Forecast sites have further gone up. https://sandrp.in/2022/08/05/2022-cwc-flood-monitoring-sites-in-north-india/  (05 Aug. 2022)

Edit Flood fighting inept Tribune edit on Aug 6, 2022 is on flood management this monsoon, a welcome sign. It rightly calls flood management as inept and in fact could have mentioned more instances of the same and also lack of maintenance of the embankment, lack of early warning system, failure of CWC’s flood forecasting system and failure of NDMA in ensuring even basic norms of dams following updated rule curves. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/editorials/flood-fighting-inept-419207  (06 Aug. 2022)

Bihar On Kosi’s banks, lives upended every monsoon with little support, succour Useful, indepth story of floods in Kosi river basin in Bihar. However, the way it has narrated river frequently changing  course is problematic, lacks accuracy and depth.

Also it fails to highlight accountability on maintenance of embankment and breach and CWC’s failures in flood forecasting. It could have also highlighted the role of Farakka in increasing silt levels in Bihar rivers something even Nitish Kumar raised earlier. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/on-kosi-s-banks-lives-upended-every-monsoon-with-little-support-succour-101659724401138.html  (06 Aug. 2022)

Assam Floods a boon or a bane for fish diversity? The paper emphasises the need for having better information and data on floods, more information and research on the impact of floods on biodiversity, use of new technologies that can aid in getting more data, preventing floods and for efficient assessment and management of flood related challenges, better information, data and infrastructure to manage and monitor floods, develop warning systems and spread awareness and help vulnerable populations to cope with floods.

Intensive floods not only destroy fish habitats and reproduction, but also lead to introduction of invasive species. Excessive flooding can also lead to pollution of flood plain wetlands through surface runoff from paddy field, tea gardens or other agricultural activities where a variety of pesticides are commonly used for pest management. Pesticides can serve as a major threat to fish diversity.

Floods can have both – negative and positive impacts on inundated areas. The nature, extent and severity of destruction caused by floods can vary according to the nature of the resources, intensity and duration of floods along with many other factors and can have a significant impact on fish biodiversity.

Erosion and siltation caused by floods has led to reduction in area and depth in most of the river systems as well as flood plain wetlands. Sudden release of huge volumes of water without any precaution or warning from the Hydroelectric power plants under the NEEPCO, situated in different parts of NE Region of India also lead to devastating floods in the downstream areas. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/floods-assam-boon-or-bane-fish-diversity  (02 Aug. 2022) https://bioconservation.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/ABC-2020-0207-Corrected-Final-version.pdf

Kerala State stares at repeat of 2018 floods as rain fury continues As many as three persons were killed in various rain-related incidents on Thursday (Aug. 4), taking the total deaths to 22 in five days. A total of 6,411 people were shifted to 221 relief camps after a combination of intense rainfall coupled with full reservoir levels and overflowing rivers created a worrying scenario. The release of water from the Parambikulam and Thoonakkadavu dams to the Poringalkuthu dam has resulted in the Chalakudy river breaching the banks in many places, forcing district administrations in Thrissur and Ernakulam to evacuate people from the banks of the river.

The inflow of water into the Chalakudy river will gain strength by night as authorities have announced that Kerala Sholayar will be opened by 3 p.m. after inflow from Tamil Nadu Sholayar to Kerala Sholayar has increased. Kerala Minister for Water resources Roshy Augustine has written to his counterpart in Tamil Nadu S. Duraimurugan requesting steps to regulate water discharge from the Mullaperiyar dam following heavy rains in the catchment area. Rivers in Central Travancore, including Meenachil, Pampa, Manimala, Achencoil, and Pullakayar, and Manali, Kurumali and Karuvannur in Thrissur are also in spate, where evacuation of people began by afternoon.

Landslides were reported from Kodunga near Koottickal, Wagamon and Aranamudi along the Angamoozhi-Vandiperiyar route in Pathanamthitta. The flood waters gushing through the Pampa also took over the causeway at Arayanjilimon for the second time in just a few days while the causeway to Kurubanmuzhi on the upstream of the Perumthenaruvi waterfalls has remained submerged for days on end. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-stares-at-repeat-of-2018-floods-as-rain-fury-continues/article65727557.ece  (05 Aug. 2022)

CM writes to Stalin to regulate water flow With Kerala experiencing heavy rainfall over the past few days, IMD has issued a red warning in 8 districts, including Idukki. In view of this, CM Pinarayi has flagged that the water level in Mullaperiyar dam is nearing 136 feet and if the situation persists, there will be a drastic rise in the water level in the dam due to heavy inflow. Pinarayi has asked the Tamil Nadu CM to give directions to the authorities concerned to ensure that the discharge from the dam is more than the inflow, considering the heavy rainfall in the catchment area of Mullaperiyar dam.

A statement issued by the CMO said that 6 major dams — Ponmudi, Lower Periyar, Kallarkutty, Erattayar and Kundala in Idukki and Moozhiyar in Pathanamthitta districts have reached red alert water storage levels. According to the latest update from the Kerala government, 46 people have lost their lives from July 29 to August 4 in connection with rain-related incidents. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/mullaperiyar-situation-precarious-kerala-cm-writes-stalin-regulate-water-flow-166545  (05 Aug. 2022)

Kerala started taking advance action by releasing water from the Idduki dam even before the water level reached FRL. Some bit of lessons learnt from the dam floods of 2018 and 2019. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/one-shutter-of-cheruthoni-dam-to-be-raised-today/article65737639.ece  (06 Aug. 2022)

Three of five shutters of Cheruthoni dam of Idukki reservoir were raised on Sunday (Aug. 7) to release 100 cumecs (around 3,531 cusecs) of water. The water will be released in a phased manner until Monday morning. This is the 11th time since the dam’s commissioning in 1976 that the shutters have been raised. The upper rule curve (level to be maintained in a reservoir at different times of the year) of Idukki dam for August 10 was set at 2,383.53ft against the full reservoir level of 2,403ft. On Saturday, it crossed the red alert level and reached 2,382.53ft at 7.30am, necessitating the raising of shutters on Sunday.

– Meanwhile, six out of 10 open shutters of Mullaperiyar dam were further raised to 50cm from the earlier 30cm at 10am on Sunday due to heavy inflow. Discharge of water was increased to 3,232 cusecs. Water level in the dam was 138.4ft against the permissible level of 142ft. The 10 shutters were opened on Friday, August 5. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2022/aug/08/three-idukki-dam-shutters-raiseddischarge-set-at-100-cumecs-2485170.html  (08 Aug. 2022)

In view of heavy rainfall, the State Water Authority of Kerala on Tuesday (Aug. 2) opened a shutter of Kerala’s Idukki dam as the water level continues to rise. “Shutter No 3 of the Cheruthoni dam was opened at 6 in the morning by 40 cm but it was raised to 60 cm on 8.30 am,” said Idukki district officials. The district administration has issued an orange alert as the water level in the reservoir there touched 2401.58 feet.

Earlier, on Friday (Aug. 5) also, the administration opened four shutters of the Malampuzha dam and also issued a warning for those living close to the banks of the Mukkaipuzha, Kalpathipuzha, and Bharathapuzha rivers. As per the rule curve, the capacity of the dam is 112.99 meters. The situation is not alarming at present but the shutters were opened and raised up to 5 cm in view of the heavy rains.

Earlier in the month of July, the Kannur and Kasargod districts witnessed heavy showers with the rivers of Kasargod overflowing. Several houses in Kannur collapsed and got partially damaged due to the inundation of rainwater inside. One family had to be shifted from the Payannur municipality due to the overflow. On August 4, the shutters of Sholayar and Peringalkuthu Dams were raised and the Chalakudy river is in the state. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/idukki-dams-shutter-opened-after-heavy-rainfall-in-kerala/articleshow/93409598.cms  (07 Aug. 2022)

Karnataka Water discharge from dams rises As monsoon picks up in Kodagu district again after a short break, Cauvery river is in spate with over 1 lakh cusecs of water being let out from KRS and Kabini dams. As rain has intensified in Wayanad district in Kerala, inflow to Kabini dam is increasing rapidly, forcing the authorities to let out 25,000 cusecs of water, which is almost double the amount released till Thursday (Aug. 5). It has led to flood-like situation in parts of Chamarajanagar district.

Around 7,500 cusecs of water is being released from Harangi reservoir which has added to the pressure on the downstream KRS dam, which is discharging 78,614 cusecs of water. Although the inflow is 66,345 cusecs, the dam authorities are not taking any chances as there are indications that the inflow could spike given incessant rainfall in the catchment areas of the KRS dam.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mysuru/water-discharge-from-dams-rises-cauvery-is-in-spate/articleshow/93382918.cms  (06 Aug. 2022)

The Tungabhadra dam, with a storage capacity of 1,633 feet, already has water level reaching 1,631 feet. To maintain the balance, 1 lakh cusecs of water was released, which has created a flood scare among the people living in the lower riparian of Tungabhadra dam. Of the 33 floodgates, 30 were opened on Sunday, August 7, following which many heritage sites of the Vijayanagara dynasty in Hampi were submerged. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/karnataka-rains-gate-tungabhadra-dam-opened-districts-alert-taking-166615  (08 Aug. 2022)

DAM FLOODS: Over 1 lakh cusecs of water was released from the KRS Dam, leading to a flood situation in the downstream areas. At 12pm on Sunday (Aug 7, 2022), 1.01 lakhs cusecs of water was released from the dam, as against the inflow of 85,247 cusecs. [According to CWC definition, a dam is said to have created flood when outflow is higher than inflow. So even by CWC’s definition, this is a case of dam induced flood.] Both the inflow and outflow are a new record for this monsoon. At 6 am, the outflow was 75,185 cusecs, while the inflow was 76,655 cusecs, but it shot up by noon. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mysuru/water-released-causes-floods-downstream/articleshow/93419001.cms  (08 Aug. 2022)

Tamil Nadu Amid incessant rainfall in the several parts of State, massive amount of water was discharged from Kallanai Dam built across Cauvery river in Thanjavur on August 06. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/city/chennai/tamil-nadu-massive-amount-of-water-released-from-kallanai-dam-in-thanjavur/videoshow/93393155.cms  (06 Aug. 2022)

The delta districts of Tamil Nadu are on high alert after the Bhavanisagar reservoir released 1.89 lakhs cusecs of water, starting from Friday, August 5. Officials from the state’s water resource department told IANS that of the 1.89 lakh cusecs of water released from the Bhavanisagar reservoir, 59,661 cusecs were released into the Cauvery river and 1.29 lakh cusecs into the Kollidam river. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/tn-delta-districts-high-alert-after-water-released-bhavanisagar-reservoir-166605  (07 Aug. 2022)

One wishes our politicians were better informed than this AIADMK leaders about the danger of filling up the dams before the end of monsoon. This also shows why we need legally enforceable Rule Curves to be followed by each dam operators so that they are not victims of whims and fancies of politicians. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/tamil-nadu-store-water-up-to-142-feet-in-mullaperiyar-say-o-panneerselvam/articleshow/93416829.cms  (08 Aug. 2022)

Andhra Pradesh Srisailam at full storage level amid heavy rains Prescription for disaster, violation of rule curve: Srisailam Dam authorities lifted five gates, discharging 2.02 lakh of outflows towards Nagarjunasagar as also the power generation units of the dam. Water storage was at 214.84tmc-ft with 99.55 % storage full, as against gross capacity at an FRL of 215.81tmc at 6pm on Friday (Aug 5 2022). The water level was recorded at 884.84 ft. Inflows were 2.38 lakh cusecs. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/060822/srisailam-at-full-storage-level-amid-heavy-rains.html  (06 Aug. 2022)

Gujarat SSP water level reaches 132.5 m (FRL is 138.68 m) on Aug 4, 2022. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/baroda/at-132-5-metres-water-level-in-narmada-dam-nears-frl-8069340/  (04 Aug. 2022)

Jammu & Kashmir Flood management plan faces heavy criticism Eight years after the devastating 2014 floods, residents of Srinagar fear a repeat despite a much-touted plan to reduce damage. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/livelihoods/kashmir-flood-management-plan-faces-heavy-criticism/  (03 Aug. 2022)

HFL Breach

Karnataka:- River Shimsa in Cauvery basin at Thoreshettahalli level forecast site in Mandya district has crossed previous HFL 624.59 m dated 21.11.2021. Current flood level is 626.7 m at 09:00 hours on 02.08.2022 which is 2.11 m higher than the old HFL. The site has been upgraded into Level Forecast from Level Monitoring hence the Danger Level is higher than the Highest Flood Level.

River Shimsa at TK Halli level monitoring site in Mandya district continues to be in Extreme Flood Situation for more than past 80 hours. The old HFL 585.95 m attained on 03.10.1984 was crossed at 07:00 hours on 02.08.2022 setting up new HFL 588.05 m at 01:00 hours on 04.08.2022 which is 2.1 m higher than the old HFL. Current flood level is 586.38 m at 21:00 hours on 05.08.2022.

River Shimsa at TK Halli site in Mandya district continues to be in Extreme Flood Situation for more than 36 hours.  Current flood level is 588 m which is 2.05 metre higher than the old HFL 585.95 metre attained on 03.10.1984.

River Shimsa in Cauvery basin at TK Halli level monitoring site has breached old HFL 585.925 m attained on 03.10.1984. Present flood level is 587.65 m at 21:00 hours on 02.08.2022 with rising trend.

River Suvarnavathi in Cauvery Basin at Bendrahalli level forecast site in Chamarajanagar continues to flow in extreme flood situation for past more than 40 hours. Present flood level is 635.88 m at 21:00 hours on 05.08.2022 which is 1.18 m higher than its old HFL 634.7 m attained on 13.09.2013.

River Suvarnavathi in Cauvery Basin at Bendrahalli Level Forecast site in Chamarajanagar district has crossed previous HFL 634.7 m attained on 13.09.2013. Present flood level is 634.82 at 09:00 hours on 04.08.2022 with rising trend.

Tamil Nadu:- River Cauvery at Urachikottai level forecast site has crossed its old HFL 165.92 m dated 12.09.1981. The river has set new HFL 165.95 m at 19:00 hours on 04.08.2022. Current flood level is 165.93 with falling trend.

Bihar:- River Kosi at Basua level forecast site in Supaul district has breached old HFL 49.24 m dated 13.08.2017. Current flood level is 49.52 m at 22:00 hours on 02.08.2022 with rising trend.

URBAN FLOODS

Bengaluru Layouts flooded, lakes overflow An unrelenting rainfall of 104 mm, which lashed the city on Tuesday (Aug. 02) night brought several areas under knee-deep water, triggering a series of woes to citizens from flooding of over 1,000 homes to lack of access to clean drinking water. As almost all the 201 lakes were overflowing and stormwater drains were inadequate to carry the extra load of rainwater, a large number of roads turned into rivulets, bringing traffic to a halt. According to officials, water had entered the houses of 270 residents in Sai Layout, 14 residents in Pai Layout and 12 residents in Nagappa Reddy Layout, all in Horamavu. The situation was no different in HBR Layout where houses of close to 250 residents were flooded. The other worst-hit areas were Horamavu Main Road, CV Raman Nagar, Panathur, Carmelaram, Belathur, Gunjur etc. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/layouts-flooded-lakes-overflow-as-overnight-showers-pound-bengaluru-1132888.html  (04 Aug. 2022)

Chennai Diversion channel may prevent flooding The southern suburbs along the Adyar river may not face flooding this monsoon as the Water Resources Department (WRD) has expedited the construction of a diversion channel from Somangalam tributary-Adyar confluence point. The channel is expected to divert excess water from this point to the downstream portion of the Adyar river near Vandalur-Walajabad Road. Nearly 40% of the work on the channel has been completed. The department plans to complete the work ahead of the monsoon.

Every monsoon, areas like Mahalakshmi Nagar, Ashtalakshmi Nagar in Varadharajapuram and West Tambaram that are at a lower altitude than the Adyar get flooded whenever the river flows at its maximum level. Officials said the channel would carry a portion of surplus water of 1,000 cusecs to downstream where the river was wider. This would prevent flooding of neighbouring areas. Surplus water of several tanks and tributaries upstream join the river. However, the culvert capacity was inadequate near these flood-prone areas along the Outer Ring Road.

About ₹70 crore would include work to increase the depth and enhance the flood-carrying capacity of the river for 13.2 km. The department will be spending a share of the project cost on strengthening the bund and on building flood protection walls, particularly between Adanur and Tiruneermalai. These works would prevent breaches in the river during heavy flow in the waterway. Dense rocks in the riverbed in the upstream portion would be cut to facilitate smooth flow. The Adyar had carried a peak flow of nearly 20,000 cusecs in upper reaches during monsoon last year, the officials added. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/diversion-channel-may-prevent-flooding-of-southern-suburbs-of-chennai-this-year/article65721896.ece  (03 Aug. 2022)

GCC to strengthen real time flood forecasting In a bid to improve flood preparedness, the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) is likely to integrate the Real Time Flood Forecasting Decision Support System, being developed by the Tamilnadu Urban Infrastructure Financial Services (TNUIFSL) and the State Disaster Management Authority, with the Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC) in Ripon Buildings shortly.

Currently, the data received by the ICCC from sensors, cameras and other sources within the city is limited. The Real Time Flood Forecasting Decision Support System will get more data about rainfall and flooding from outside the city, and the GCC will react accordingly. “They will have models and devices to predict flooding in the city because of rainfall in other river basins, enabling the GCC to take decisions,” said an official. Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi has instructed officers to coordinate with various agencies to improve flood preparedness.

GCC officials said rainfall forecasting at the ward level would improve ahead of the upcoming monsoon. Lake Inflow and outflow forecasting for four major lakes, including Red Hills, Cholavaram, Chembarambakkam and Poondi, and river level monitoring for 32 points are the components of Real Time Flood Forecasting Software, said Corporation Deputy Commissioner (Revenue and Finance) Vishu Mahajan. The flood monitoring system available in ICCC includes 42 flood sensors, installed at 14 subways, 22 canals, four lakes and two river mouths. For example, Kargil Nagar Canal and Pump Station, Kosathalaiyar Canal, Korattur North Canal, MGR Canal and Madley Subway have flood sensors.

Flood cameras have been deployed at 62 locations, including 21 canals, four lakes, two river mouths and 14 subway locations. Some locations have multiple cameras based on the requirements. For example, Kargil Nagar Canal and Pump Station, Kosasthalaiyar Canal, Korattur North Canal, MGR Canal, Madley Subway, Korattur Lake, and Ambattur Lake have flood cameras. Rain sensors have been installed at 30 locations. Zonal offices have 15 sensors each, and 15 devices have been installed at division or unit offices of the GCC. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/greater-chennai-corporation-to-strengthen-real-time-flood-forecasting-using-integrated-command-and-control-centre/article65717683.ece  (02 Aug. 2022)

Gurugram Several areas in Gurugram reported waterlogging on Sunday after heavy rains lashed the city. Due to waterlogging, vehicular was also affected. Rainwater entered in some houses. Whereas, multiple city roads were submerged. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/gurugram-heavy-rain-leads-to-waterlogging-at-several-areas/articleshow/93407931.cms  (07 Aug. 2022)

DROUGHT

Bihar Should a drought be declared? Scanty or erratic rains in June and most of July qualified Bihar to be declared as a drought state for monsoon 2022, experts said. However, government officials said it was too early for the declaration, as light rains began in the state on July 20. The erratic rainfall has majorly affected Kharif agriculture, especially paddy cultivation, in the state. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/should-a-drought-in-bihar-be-declared-experts-say-yes-govt-says-wait-84072  (01 Aug. 2022)

Assam Paddy farmers are worried with the deficit rain after flood in June. https://www.newsclick.in/assam-deficient-rain-massive-floods-add-worries-paddy-farmers  (29 July 2022)

LANDSLIDES

Uttarakhand 500 landslide-prone zones in Alaknanda valley: Study At least 510 landslide-prone zones — 290 in Rudraprayag and 220 in Chamoli district — were identified in the upper Alaknanda valley by 2016, details of a field study conducted over several years by geologists Sushil Khanduri and Piyoosh Rautela from the Disaster Mitigation & Management Centre (DMMC), now merged with Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority (USDMA), has revealed.

These spanned major pilgrimage and tourist sites like Kedarnath, Triyuginarayan, Joshimath, Pipalkoti, Auli, etc. Landslide zones were created mainly because of “unmindful” road construction in the hills and abandoned and damaged agricultural terraces, the study said. The study, to inspect the effects of road network and drainage channels on landslides, was necessitated after the Kedarnath deluge of 2013, when nearly 440% excess rain in a span of just three days (June 15-18) resulted in landslides that killed and displaced nearly 5,000 persons.

The findings have mentioned that 42% of identified landslide zones are in “close proximity” to roads (within 50 metres), and that “landslide occurrence in an area is highly influenced by spatial distribution of roads…as one goes away from the road, the possibility of a landslide reduces”. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/uttarakhand-500-landslide-prone-zones-in-alaknanda-valley-finds-study/articleshow/93382266.cms  (06 Aug. 2022)

Landslide mitigation centre draws flak After the Uttarakhand cabinet recently gave approval to set up a Landslide Mitigation and Management Centre in the state, claimed to be the first-of-its-kind in the country, the proposal has drawn flak from geologists, who feel that they have been under-represented in a largely “engineer-driven” body. The proposed centre would come up with long-term strategies and immediate steps to prevent landslides or minimise the damage caused by them in the Himalayan state, which witnesses over 50 minor or major landslides every year, causing loss of life and recurring economic losses. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/landslide-mitigation-centre-in-uttarakhand-draws-flak/articleshow/93336162.cms  (04 Aug. 2022)

Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology is putting early warning systems at 349 identified risky glaciar lakes in the Himalayas in Uttarakhand, 70% work is done. This is useful. However, the system in place to act once the early warning is received needs to be in public domain and confidence inspiring. https://newsstate24.com/city-and-state/the-risk-of-disaster-like-kedarnath-is-now-less-sensors-are-being-installed-on-the-lakes  (04 Aug. 2022)

चमोली जोशीमठ के हेलंग के सामने टूटा पहाड़ https://twitter.com/saritatiwariuk/status/1556266754468622337?s=20&t=YcywE6Zvjw6OK8Qlp9Tizw  (07 Aug. 2022)

Kerala 2,239 out of 3,782 major landslides in the country in the past 7 years, he Union ministry of earth sciences told the Lok Sabha. West Bengal recorded the second highest number of landslides with 376 landslides between 2015 and 2022.

– Based on inputs from the ministry of mines, Geological Survey of India (GSI) collected data of 3,782 major landslides in the country during the period. For all these landslides, GSI collected preliminary geo-parametric attributes for each of the landslides, including studying its impacts, future vulnerability etc. GSI also carried out a national landslide susceptibility mapping (NLSM) since 2014-15 and prepared a 1: 50,000 scale Iandslide susceptibility mapping of an area of 4.3 lakh sq km in different Iandslide prone states. GSI also collected historical information on 8,645 landslide polygons using both remote sensing (RS) and field based source data for 29,738 landslides.

– Post disaster investigations of the landslides reveal that major trigger for landslides is unprecedented high rainfall. Other important geo-factors include terrain character, slope forming material, geomorphology, land use and land-cover in different terrains etc. Anthropogenic causes such as unprotected slope cuts, blocking of drainage are also seen in many landslide analyses. The number of field validated landslides analysed as part of NLSM since 2014-15 which uses historical landslide data shows the number of field validated landslides is highest in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Kerala with 6,420, 4,927 and 3,016 landslides. The landslides polygons mapped are again highest in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/kerala-recorded-highest-number-of-landslides-in-india-in-past-7-yearscentre-101658917106327.html  (27 July 2022)

Himachal Pradesh किन्नौर मे भावा नगर के पास पहाड़ गिरा https://twitter.com/himachalkesari/status/1556498186251907072?s=20&t=YcywE6Zvjw6OK8Qlp9Tizw  (08 Aug. 2022)

Major landslide near Koti bridge in Chamba district. https://twitter.com/ndtv/status/1554534029709688832?s=20&t=YcywE6Zvjw6OK8Qlp9Tizw  (02 Aug. 2022) चंबा में दरका पहाड़, लोगों में दहशत. https://twitter.com/BBCHindi/status/1554784999433732096?s=20&t=YcywE6Zvjw6OK8Qlp9Tizw  (03 Aug. 2022)

CLOUD BURSTS

Himachal Pradesh चंबा के सलूणी में तीन जगह फटे बादल चंबा जिला के दुर्गम क्षेत्र सलूणी में रविवार (Aug. 07) रात तीन जगह बादल फटने से से भयंकर तबाही हुई। बधोगा गांव में 15 साल केके विजय कुमार की मलबे में दबने से मौत हो गई, जबकि दो अन्य घायल हुए। सलूणी के ही गुलेल गांव में बादल फटने के बाद पानी के तेज बहाव में करीब आधा दर्जन घरों और कई ग्रामीणों की फसलों व जमीन को भी नुकसान हुआ। सलूणी में ही एक अन्य जगह भी बादल फटने की सूचना है।

सलूणी में बादल फटने के बाद तबाही के निशान

वहीं किन्नौर के भावानगर में भूस्खलन से नेशनल हाईवे-05 अवरूद्ध है। लाहौल स्पीति जिला के मुख्यालय केलांग को जोड़ने वाला NH भी छतरू के पास भूस्खलन होने के बाद बंद पड़ा है। प्रदेश के अन्य क्षेत्रों में भी बीती रात बारिश के बाद 81 सड़कें और 79 बिजली के ट्रांसफॉर्मर बंद हैं। राज्यभर में बारिश के दौरान 619 करोड़ रुपए की सरकारी व गैर सरकारी संपत्ति तबाह हो गई है। अकेले PWD की 323 करोड़ और जल शक्ति विभाग की 277 करोड़ रुपए की संपत्ति तबाह हो चुकी है। 5 से ज्यादा पेयजल योजनाएं ठप होने से लोगों को पीने को पानी नहीं मिल पा रहा है।

मानसून के पहले 42 दिनों में बाढ़, भीषण सड़क हादसों और अचानक बाढ़ आने की घटनाओं में 169 लोगों की जान जा चुकी है, जबकि 298 व्यक्ति घायल हुए हैं। शिमला में सबसे ज्यादा 28 और कुल्लू जिला में 22 लोगों की जान गई। कुल्लू की मणिकर्ण घाटी में बादल फटने के बाद बाढ़ में 5 और चंबा का एक व्यक्ति करीब एक माह से लापता है। राज्यभर में 88 मकान जमींदोज हो गए हैं, जबकि 272 मकान को आंशिक नुकसान हुआ है। बारिश में 252 गौशालाएं और 14 घाट भी तबाह हुए हैं। इनमें 126 पालतू मवेशी काल का ग्रास बन चुके हैं। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/himachal/shimla/news/cloud-burst-in-chamba-damage-to-5-to-6-houses-nh-05-or-505-closed-havoc-in-himachal-land-slide-in-many-parts-of-state-130162149.html ; https://www.amarujala.com/shimla/himachal-weather-update-cloudburst-in-chamba-15-year-old-boy-killed-in-landslide-79-roads-blocked  (08 Aug. 2022)

उपमंडल सलूणी की कंधवारा पंचायत और पिछला डियूर के गुलेल गांव में बादल फटने से भारी नुकसान हुआ है। भडोग गांव में एक मकान भूस्‍खलन की चपेट में आ गया। इस हादसे में कमरे में सो रहे 15 साल के विजय कुमार पुत्र ब्‍यास देव की मौत हो गई। डांड मुहाल के भड़ोग गांव में दस गाड़‍ियां बाढ़ की चपेट में आ गईं। डांड बाजार में दो कारें, दो पिकअप और छह बाइक्स पानी में बह गईं। कंधवारा में सड़क सहि त पुल भी बह गया है। इसके अलावा घराट भी चपेट में आए हैं। लोगों के खेतों में पानी व मलबा भर गया है। डियूर के गुलेल गांव में लोगों के घरों में पानी व मलबा घुस गया है। इसके अलावा सलूणी के चकाेली में नाले में आई बाढ़ से नुकसान हुआ है। चकोली में एक मकान क्षति ग्रस्‍त हो गया है। इसके अलावा भरमौर उपमंडल के तहत प्रंघाला नाला में निर्माणाधीन पुल क्षतिग्रस्‍त हो गया है। पहाड़ी से भारी भरकम चट्टानें पुल पर आ गिरी , जिससे पुल टूट कर गिर गया है। चंबा -हड़सरमणि महेश मार्ग पर एक पुल क्षतिग्रस्त हो गया , जिसके चलते दर्जनों वाहन फंस गए हैं। इसके अतिरिक्त तीसा उपमंडल में भी बारिश ने खूब तबाही मचाई है। https://www.jagran.com/himachal-pradesh/kangra-himachal-pradesh-weather-cloudburst-in-chamba-salooni-bridge-damage-in-bharmour-22963565.html ; https://www.jagran.com/himachal-pradesh/kangra-himachal-weather-update-today-heavy-rain-in-chamba-churah-and-salooni-alert-issued-for-tomorrow-22963534.html  (08 Aug. 2022)

ENERGY OPTIONS

Report Push for floating solar and off shore wind among renewable energy options for future. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/india-set-to-turn-to-water-for-the-next-wave-of-renewable-energy-growth/93326146  (02 Aug. 2022)

ENVIRONMENT GOVERNANCE

Goa CM Urges IIT to Help With Environmental Issues In the backdrop of concerns raised by some MLAs from coastline areas, CM Pramod Sawant on Saturday urged the Indian Institute of Technology, Goa to deal with the threat of sea erosion, micro-plastic looming in fish and environmental issues. https://weather.com/en-IN/india/pollution/news/2022-08-01-iit-goa-urged-to-tackle-states-environmental-issues  (31 July 2022)

SOUTH ASIA

Pamir Times:- Major bridge on KKH washed away after fresh flood in Uchar Nallah, Kohistan. Chinese laborers’ camp also damaged severely by the fresh flood that came down at around 2am last night.  There are reports that the flood debris blocked the Indus River for several minutes last night. Chinese laborers are building Dassu Dam in this area. Reporting by Shahab Uddin Ghauri, Photos by Rehmat Karim. (01 Aug. 2022, 10:00 AM) https://twitter.com/pamirtimes/status/1553961941642665984?s=20&t=o2xtkRuRpORc4IHrfF9JVQ

Bhutan Govt halts 2,560MW Sunkosh project The government will for now not pursue the 2,560-megawatt Sunkosh hydropower project, the country’s biggest, according to the economic affairs minister, Loknath Sharma. This means that developmental activities like the construction of roads, bridges and plantation of cash crops, which were halted before, will be allowed.

– Explaining the rationale behind not pursuing the project, the economic affairs minister said that technologies were changing fast and that the long-term benefits of hydropower projects must be studied properly. However, Lyonpo Loknath Sharma added that small storage hydropower projects would be pursued and their benefits studied before starting large projects like Sunkosh.

– The government on July 8 inaugurated the construction of three small hydropower projects, one each in Lhuentse, Zhemgang and Haa, with a combined generation capacity of 104 megawatts (MW). The Sunkosh project did not make it to the agenda of the recent talks between the economic affairs minister and his Indian counterpart. https://kuenselonline.com/government-halts-2560mw-sunkosh-project/  (06 Aug. 2022)

Plan to secure tigers of the rivers Golden Mahseer (Tor putitora), also known as Tigers of the Rivers, is an endangered fish species found in rivers of Southern and Eastern Bhutan. The fish is locally called sernya. – The Golden Mahseer Conservation Action Plan for Bhutan 2022-2032 identified illegal fishing, hydropower dam, and weak protection of spawning areas as the top three threats to golden mahseer conservation in the country. The plan, prepared by the Nature Conservation Division under the forests and park services department, aims to conserve viable populations of golden mahseer and sustain its ecosystem. The division has identified 12 threats to golden mahseer conservation in Bhutan. https://kuenselonline.com/plan-to-secure-tigers-of-the-rivers/  (03 Aug. 2022)

Nepal How decentralisation is undermining climate action In 2015, in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake, Nepal adopted a new Constitution and moved to a federal structure. The Constitution gave local governments the “right” to deal with the impacts of climate change, which was placed within the ambit of disaster management. But another section of the Constitution states that disaster management is a common “right” of federal, provincial and local governments. This has created confusion and turf wars, weakening Nepal’s ability to deal with the impacts of climate change. (Is it right to blame decentralisation for this? Is not lack of coordination by Federal govt to be blamed for this?) https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/climate/analysis-how-decentralisation-in-nepal-is-undermining-climate-action/  (28 July 2022)

Bangladesh Hunting for water in flood-prone drought-ridden hills For the 1.6 million people who live in the Chittagong Hill Tracts area of southeastern Bangladesh, a warming planet means nearly half of them lack regular access to water during the summer. That means less school, as girls spend more time collecting water; less income, as fewer crops grow; and higher expenses, as bottled water becomes a shopping list staple. https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/photo-feature/2022/08/01/Bangladesh-drought-flood-water-climate-crisis  (01 Aug. 2022)

ASIA

Tajikistan & Kyrgyzstan: New research by an NGO exposes the human misery and environmental damage inflicted by hydropower projects. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/energy/investors-central-asia-hydropower-must-address-human-rights/  (26 July 2022)

Europe

Rhine River Is on the Brink of Effectively Closing Water levels on the Rhine River are set to fall perilously close to the point at which it would effectively close, putting the trade of huge quantities of goods at risk as the continent seeks to stave off an economic crisis.

The river at Kaub, Germany — a key waypoint for the shipment of commodities — is set to drop to 47 centimeters (18.5 inches) by the weekend. That would take it to within 7 centimeters of being all but impassable. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-02/europe-s-vital-rhine-river-is-on-brink-of-effectively-closing  (02 Aug. 2022)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

Study Scientist studies how torrential rainfall will change our rivers What a fascinating study of impact of climate change on river channel morphology and erosion!

“The shape of even the largest river channels starts with the smallest rocks on a river bed.

Pebbles of all shapes and sizes are locked in a delicate balance between friction, gravity and the tug of the water current.

When the current running over the river bed is gentle, it tamps down protruding pebbles into a more compact pattern, making the river more resistant to erosion.

But if the flow of the river strengthens enough to overcome the forces holding rocks in place, the ones sticking furthest out of the river bed are swept downstream. And when the big pebbles move, they dislodge their neighbors, forming a moving mass of sediment flowing downriver.

In other words, the channel erodes. The river gets wider. Stronger flows rip more rocks from the river bed, leaving behind a jagged surface of protruding edges. And the more rocks jut out of the river bed, the easier it is for water to pluck them up.

“These are the points of weakness in the bed that can kick off erosion,” Masteller said.

This natural balance between erosion and compaction is key to how rivers evolve their shape over time. Scientists have found that streams widen with intense flows of water, like floods, until they’re just large enough that flooding happens about every two years.

Climate change throws a wrench into the system.

In Missouri, rising temperatures are expected to increase the frequency of extreme storms, like the one that dumped record rain on St. Louis last week, by making the ingredients necessary for big storms more common.

And as more storms bombard more rivers with more floods, river bed sediment might not have time to naturally lock together, researchers worry. That would mean the channel would be constantly vulnerable to erosion.

“When another big rainstorm hits,” Masteller said, “that riverbed’s already primed to go.”

On the other hand, climate change is expected to dry up some regions like the West, leaving rivers more reliant on water trickling in from snowmelt. That could leave plenty of low flow for grains to pack together more closely, developing resistance to erosion.

And if the river can’t erode to accommodate a storm, the water has to go somewhere else.

“Our container is too small, so that extra water has to go over the top,” Masteller said.

To better understand the dynamics, Masteller has set up an experimental water slide.

The $250,000 setup, called a flume, is a glass-walled channel lined with river rocks that scientists can gush water through to simulate floods. It tilts up and down to mimic different slopes.

“We can jack it all the way up to the ceiling and get some pretty gnarly stuff,” Masteller said.

Basically, she said, they can model everything from the Mississippi River to mountain streams of the Swiss Alps.

And that’s what they’ll do. They’ll create different types of stream channels in the flume matching different rivers and subject each one to flooding to test how it responds.

A chaotic mix of large and small rocks will imitate mountain rivers. A more uniform blend of small, similarly sized gravel will represent lowland rivers.

“We’re starting with the most fundamental building block,” Masteller said, “which is literally what does a single grain do when you run water over it?”

Sediment will rush down the tube into the scale in varying amounts depending on the power of the flood and the ingredients of the river bed. The researchers will weigh their catch using a basket hanging from the mouth of the flume to quantify how much erosion happens with each flood pattern. They’ll take photos of the river bed itself to quantify how many rocks are projecting out of the surface.

At the same time, they’ll run water through wider stream tables—basically, big sandboxes—to better understand how the shape of a river can change with erosion.” https://phys.org/news/2022-08-scientist-torrential-rainfall-rivers.html  (04 Aug. 2022)

UK Source of River Thames dries out ‘for first time’ during drought The source of the Thames has dried up during the drought, with river experts saying it is the first time they have seen it happen while forecasters warn of further high temperatures to come.

The dried up bed of the River Thames at Kemble in Gloucestershire. Photograph: Stephen Shepherd/LNP

The river’s source has shifted from its official start point outside Cirencester during the continuing dry weather and is now more than 5 miles (8km) downstream. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/04/source-of-river-thames-dries-out-for-first-time-during-drought  (04 Aug. 2022)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 01 August 2022 & DRP News Bulletin 25 July 2022  

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

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