Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 120922: Decisive judicial action dire necessity for wetlands

( Feature Image:- Satish Acharya’s illustration on Bengaluru floods: Whose land is it anyway? 07 Sept. 2022)

The wetlands reports tell us a lot, but the key point is that decisive judicial action is necessary if our wetlands are to have any future. The directions of the Tamil Nadu High Court to geo reference all wetlands of Tamil Nadu, including small (Less than 2.25 ha area) is good beginning, but the court will need to ensure continuous monitoring and ensure implementation. Because the past shows that the government and other stakeholders have collectively failed to take any decisive action to save our wetlands. The disastrous results are evident at so many places, this week it is most clear from the flooding of Bangalore, mainly due to encroachment of lakes, wetlands, water channels and their catchments.

The Bangalore example also shows the collective governance failure. The Union govt is only interested in giving Ramsar tag to more and more wetlands, but as we have been saying for long and now CAG reports show, the Ramsar tag does not help protect the wetlands. The Union govt’s. smart city projects are everywhere destroying the wetlands, as it again shown by what is happening in Coimbatore the reports say this week.   

Tamil Nadu HC directs govt. to geo-reference all 24,684 wetlands mapped in 2010 The Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu Government to geo-reference and superimpose on satellite imagery the 24,684 wetlands mapped in the State under the National Wetland Inventory and Assessment (NWIA) in 2010 so that their exact location could be identified and present status determined before being notified under the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017.

Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N. Mala issued the direction after amicus curiae P.S. Raman submitted a compact disc containing the georeferenced maps of the wetlands in Tiruvallur district, taken up on a pilot basis. The court had on July 1 directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests to share with the senior counsel a web link containing the shape and vector files of the wetlands so that he could take a Google impression and superimpose.

– Therefore, in order to ascertain the names of the villages and the taluks where the 24,684 wetlands in the State were located, it was essential to geo-reference them, the Bench said and directed the government to complete the work within two months. Thereafter, the government officials could take another two months to conduct personal inspections and ascertain the current status of the wetlands before safeguarding them and notifying them under the 2017 Rules, it ordered.

Since the amicus curiae had already completed geo-referencing the maps related to Tiruvallur district, the government officials could straightaway begin the second stage of physical verification in that district alone, the judges said.

– Since the National Wetlands Atlas: Tamil Nadu, 2010, had identified 18,294 small wetlands, too, apart from the 24,684 regular wetlands, the amicus curiae told the court that the government could locate those wetlands, too, in the process and ascertain their current status. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-directs-tn-govt-to-geo-reference-all-24684-wetlands-mapped-in-2010/article65825757.ece  (29 Aug. 2022)

Encroachment of water bodies leading to floods, drought in Tamil Nadu: Madras HC https://www.barandbench.com/news/law-policy/encroachment-water-bodies-results-nature-striking-tsunami-earthquake-madras-high-court  (05 Sept. 2022)

Smart Cities works destroy wetland ecosystem  The Smart Cities Mission works, including development of roads and bunds, in Krishnampathy tank at the behest of the Coimbatore Corporation have destroyed the wetland ecosystem, allege nature enthusiasts. Though the damage caused to the wetland ecosystem was brought to the attention of the authorities, the works continue. There is no scientific study or assessment on the impact on birds and several other creatures that inhabit the waterbody, they claimed.

A road being developed using an earthmover inside Krishnampathy tank in Coimbatore on Sunday. | Photo Credit: M. Periasamy/ The Hindu

A researcher told  The Hindu edges of the tank, which used to have shallow waters that were very important for shore birds, had been dug into deep pits. The mud removed had been used to lay roads and bunds inside the water body. Further, concrete pathways had already been built around a major portion of the tank which bordered Poosaripalayam Road and Sundapalayam Road. The researcher pointed out that unscientific digging and creation of deep pits might also prove fatal for people who ventured into the tank.

Sources with the Corporation said the plan was to construct a natural water filtering system by creating layers of bunds. The system would prevent solid waste, including plastic, from entering the tank, the sources said. K. Mohanraj of Save Coimbatore Wetlands said that accumulation of solid waste in tanks was the result of improper waste management by the Corporation. Had the solid waste collected properly, they would not have entered waterbodies, he said. “Similarly, household sewage should ideally be carried to treatment plants through underground drainage. But domestic sewage is let into tanks now,” he said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/smart-cities-works-destroy-wetland-ecosystem-in-krishnampathy-tank-in-coimbatore/article65879329.ece  (07 Aug. 2022)

Kerala Vembanad lake continues to shrink, decay 20 years after being declared Ramsar site The lake, which is a source of livelihood for farmers of Kuttanad and the fisherfolk community, continues to undergo ecological degradation due to pollution and unauthorised constructions on its banks, with experts calling for “committed efforts” to save its wetland ecosystem. With a gradually shrinking area of over 2,000 sqkms and a length of around 96 km, it is one of the largest lakes in Kerala and the longest in the country and is bound by the districts of Alappuzha, Kottayam and Ernakulam.

According to ecological experts and various studies conducted over the years, the lake is facing serious environmental degradation due to recurring floods, increased pollution, reduction in water spread area and increased weed growth. Experts like E J James, who was a member of the national committee on wetlands and a former director in Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM), believe the steps that the state government claims to be taking remain on paper and nothing is ever implemented at the ground level.

James, who was part of the expert panel which had pushed for Vembanad to be declared a Ramsar site, said the solution to the threat of ecological decay faced by the lake is not as simple as removal of encroachments or building an outer bund to prevent silt deposition in the Thanneermukkom bund. The bund was constructed to regulate saline water intrusion into the freshwater lake. “After it was declared a Ramsar site, hardly anything has been done to protect the wetland system or maintain the ecological balance there,” he claimed.

Vembanadu Lake in Kuttanad at Alappuzha. | Photo Credit: PTI/ The Hindu

“Everything has been left to the state government. The state government is taking steps, but it is not enough. A lot of projects were announced with regard to conservation of the lake, but they are yet to be implemented,” he told PTI. Besides environmental concerns, pollution and recurring floods in the lake also paint a bleak picture regarding the livelihood of the fisherfolk in the area and farmers as Kuttanad, also known as the Rice Bowl of Kerala, lies on the southern portion of the water body, James told PTI.

He said the lake has to be managed in a manner that both agriculture and fisheries sector can complement each other. “This requires a scientific and efficient operation of the Thanneermukkom bund and Thottapalli Spillway,” he said. Even the Swaminathan Foundation report of 2011 and a subsequent joint study of 2012 by teams from IIT Madras and CWRDM were of the same view. Regarding the spillway, James said that it was not constructed as per original plans and now it would be difficult to change its dimensions. All this is resulting in a situation where either agriculture or fishing would be possible, but not both together. “This is one of the major conflicts in the area,” he added.

Another conflict, he pointed out was tourism, which while a major boost to the state’s economy could pose a threat to the ecology and water quality of the lake and its wetland system if waste disposal and treatment along the lake was not closely monitored. James also said that it has to be seen whether effluents from the houses as well as the houseboats, as the lake is a major tourist destination in the state, are being treated before they flow into the water body. “Kerala’s biodiversity and its water bodies are the main assets of the state. They also give a boost to the tourism sector. We need to protect them.” https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/vembanad-lake-continues-to-shrink-decay-20-years-after-being-declared-ramsar-site/article65878461.ece  (11 Sept. 2022)

Dumping of untreated sewage has impacted the ecosystem along the Alappuzha and Kottayam stretches of Vembanad Lake, according to the PCB. The report submitted to the NGT says faecal coliform exceeds permissible limit, while the oxygen content is below the desired limit.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/alappuzha-kottayam-stretches-of-vembanad-lake-choked-by-sewage-pollution-says-pcb/article65861352.ece  (07 Sept. 2022)

Irked by the worsening pollution of the ecologically vulnerable Vembanad and Ashtamudi lakes, NGT asked the Additional Chief Secretary (Environment) to appear in person with an action-taken report on restoring the waterbodies to their original state at the next sitting scheduled for January 6, 2023. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/steps-taken-to-check-pollution-of-vembanad-ashtamudi-lakes-inadequate-says-ngt/article65809489.ece  (26 Aug. 2022)

Faecal contamination levels on the Vembanad Lake stretch near Goshree bridge, oil tank jetty near Marine Drive, Willingdon Island, and Thoppumpady have exceeded permissible limits, indicating continued illegal discharge of untreated sewage into the Kochi Kayal. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/indiscriminate-sewage-pollution-in-kochi-kayal/article65826100.ece  (29 Aug. 2022)

Revenue, Survey and Local Self-Government departments have initiated steps to identity and remove encroachments along the Vembanad Lake, according to CM Pinarayi Vijayan. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/vembanad-lake-protection-will-get-priority-cm/article65801473.ece  (23 Aug. 2022)

Kuttanad, a unique wetland complex in central Kerala, is under severe ecological threat from both climate change and policy impasse. https://frontline.thehindu.com/environment/will-kuttanad-be-the-next-vanishing-wetland/article65546163.ece  (25 Aug. 2022)

The Vembanad Wetland System, the second-largest Ramsar site of the country, is fraught with peril due to the accumulation of silt on the beds and illegal filling. The depth of the lake has diminished to an average of 3 metres from 9 metres over the past few decades that also saw a sharp fall in its fish wealth, says a study.  https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2022/feb/03/vembanad-wetland-system-shrinking-drastically-report-2414562.html  (03 Feb. 2022)

CAG flags gross violations of environmental norms at Ramsar sites Two separate reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) have flagged violations of environmental norms in at least four Ramsar sites in the country. The CAG report on ‘Conservation of Coastal Ecosystems’, tabled in Parliament on August 8 containing observations of performance audit for the period 2015-20, pointed out illegal construction on islands at Vembanad Lake in Kerala and mismanagement of equipment at Chilika Lake in Odisha. Another CAG report, presented in the West Bengal Assembly earlier, raised red flags on violations of environmental norms at East Kolkata Wetlands (EKW) and Sundarbans in the state. https://thefederal.com/news/cag-report-flags-gross-violations-of-environmental-norms-at-ramsar-sites/  (16 Aug. 2022)

Gurugram Extension of Najafgarh jheel now a dump yard  Residents of Sector 107 and nearby areas have complained of waste dumping and dewatering at a half-acre vacant plot on the Delhi-Gurugram border. Filled with rainwater, the low-lying plot in the sector is an extension of Najafgarh jheel and is home to several bird species. According to revenue records, it is ‘banjar kadim’ (barren land) and belongs to the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG).

Residents and environmentalists said green patches are gradually being destroyed in the city due to illegal dumping of garbage. Such low-lying areas where water has accumulated help recharge the city’s receding groundwater table. The Central Groundwater Board had earlier categorised Gurgaon as ‘over-exploited’. The authorities must create and preserve such spaces so that excess water gets accumulated there and the city isn’t flooded during monsoons, activists said.

Residents of areas near the plot said they have raised concerns on the waste dumping and complained several times to MCG, but no action has been taken. They also said the area is 209.3 metres below sea level, which means it is vulnerable to flooding and naturally acts as a wetland. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/earlier-a-bird-haven-extn-of-najafgarh-jheel-now-a-dump-yard/articleshow/94086775.cms  (09 Sept. 2022)

HYDRO POWER PROJECTS

Himachal Pradesh Fresh bids invited for 2 hydro power projects in Lahaul 3 years after allocating two major hydro power projects, having total generation capacity of 520 MW, in Lahaul valley of tribal Lahaul-Spiti district, the state government has once again invited global bids as the company that was allotted the project could not start the work for years. Harnessing the hydro power potential of Chenab basin has become a challenge for the government as already its is struggling to start work on 300 MW Jispa Dam project that is hanging fire for last 13 years, and now even the 400 MW Seli hydri power project and 120 MW Miyar are facing hurdles despite the signing of MoU with NTPC Limited in 2019. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/fresh-bids-invited-for-2-hydro-power-projects-in-lahaul/articleshow/94126423.cms  (11 Sept. 2022)

Jammu & Kashmir Hydropower Projects in Chenab Valley ‘Ticking Time Bombs’ Nearly, a dozen hydropower projects have either been constructed or are in various phases of development on the Chenab. Geologists and environmentalists have been sounding the alarm about the terrible effects of this ‘thirst for power’ on the area and have urged an immediate reassessment.

Heavy machines being used to build tunnels through the rugged mountains in Kishtwar while constructing hydropower projects on the Chenab. Image Source: News Click

– “No study has been conducted so far. But as a geologist, I understand there is a relationship between these mountains and gorges. These deep valleys and high mountains are already vulnerable and prone to cloudbursts. If there’s a huge body of water in between, it will definitely hit [the dams],” GM Bhat, a geologist at Jammu University said. “An earthquake of around 8.4 is anticipated to strike the entire Jammu and Kashmir region,” he said. In a study ‘Kashmir Valley megaearthquakes: Estimates of the magnitudes of past seismic events foretell a very shaky future for this pastoral valley’, leading American geologists Roger Hulium, SE Hough, and Ismail Bhat predicted that an earthquake of 8.6 magnitude in J&K will kill about 3 lakh people. The experts believe that these dams will amplify the devastation caused by an earthquake of such a magnitude. The reason for the higher devastation, as per the experts, is that these dams are either located on or near the fault lines. https://www.newsclick.in/photo-essay-hydropower-projects-chenab-valley-ticking-time-bombs  (06 Sept. 2022)

Opinion Hydro Power – Most Controversial Of All RE Sources Manoj Misra Any hydro power that is micro scale and respects a river as an ecosystem should be OK. It is now a technologist’s challenge to devise ways and means that meet the before mentioned expectations vis a vis rivers. Also not all hydropower is riverine. The marine environment with energy carried by ocean currents in tides and waves is now being increasingly harnessed to produce electricity. Tidal turbines are under development to produce electricity with huge potential although till 2016 global marine energy generation capacity was only 500 MW. But this was also because global dependence on fossil fuels for energy production had ensured little exploratory efforts for non-fossil fuel sources.  https://thedialogue.co.in/article/85vFKc3N6GmB9qzUSfbP/hydro-power–most-controversial-of-all-re-sources-  (07 Sept. 2022)     

MoEF Key decisions from Minutes of EAC on RIver Valley Projects held on Aug 29, 2022: 1. Dugar Hydro Electric Project (500 MW) in 220.62 ha in Luj Village, Chamba Dist, Himachal Pradesh by NHPC Ltd. – Environmental Clearance: APPROVED

2. Patgaon Pumped Storage Project (2100 MW) in 140.25 ha in Kolhapur & Sindhudurg Dist, Mah by Adani Green Energy Ltd – Terms of Reference: APPROVED

3. Sirkari-Bhyol Rupsiabagar Hydro Electric Project of 168 MW in 30 ha in Tehsil Munsiyari, Pithoragarh Dist (Uttarakhand) by UJVN LTD – Reconsideration for grant of Environmental Clearance: Site visit by a sub-committee. http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/0609202262648832DraftMoM33rdEACRVHEPheldon29_08_2022.pdf

Key Decisions from Minutes of EAC on River Valley Projects held on Aug 12 2022: 1. Shongtong-Karcham (402 MW) HydroPower Project in Dist Kinnaur of Himachal Pradesh by Shongtong Karchham Hydro Electric Project, HPPCL – Amendment in Environmental Clearance: PP absent, DEFERRED TO NEXT MEETING

2. Kurha Vadhoda Islampur Lift Irrigation Scheme UPSA Sinchan Yojna with CCA 32372 Ha at Village Rigaon, Tehsil Muktainagar Dist Jalgaon (Mah) by Tapi Irrigation Development Corp – Site Visit Report: TOR already approved

3. Teesta Low Dam – I & II (Combined) Hydro-Electric Project 71 MW (2×30+1x11MW) in 170 ha in Triveni town, Tehsil Rangli Rangliot, Dist Darjeeling, W Bengal by W Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd-Terms of Reference: Not recommended for ToR in July 2022 meeting.

4.  Basin Wise Reassessment of Hydroelectric Potential – Submission of draft report of West Flowing Rivers Basin: Comments provided on Env aspects.

5. Review meeting for proposal of Three Tier Monitoring Mechanism: Comments given. http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/0609202229817290Draft_minutes_32_EAC_12_August_2022_RiverValley.pdf 

Agenda of EAC on River Valley Projects meeting to be held on Sept 14, 2022: 1. Palamuru Rangareddy Lift Irrigation Scheme (CCA 497976 Ha) Phase II (Irrigation) in Mahbubnagar, Rangareddy & Nalgonda Dists of Telangana – For Environmental Clearance

2. Tarali Pumped Storage Project 1500 MW in 108.95 ha in Patan Tehsil, Satara Dist of Maharashtra by Adani Green Energy Limited – Terms of Reference http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Agenda/_07092022YPJRQMYM.pdf 

DAMS

NBA People in power trying to crush 37-year-long social movement: Medha Addressing the media persons here in Barwani district, Patkar openly challenged the Gujarat CM for debate over the issue. She said that BJP trying to woe Kutch and Gujarat voters. She added that many court cases have been registered against her, her NGO and NBA, but she won’t be budged. https://www.freepressjournal.in/indore/barwani-people-in-power-trying-to-crush-37-year-long-social-movement-claims-nba-leader-medha-patkar  (11 Sept. 2022)

Image Source: FPJ

In this interview Medha Patkar rebuts Aiyar’s false claims and political propaganda. https://www.newsclick.in/Columnist-Aiyar-Biased-Wants-Praise-Government-Medha-Patkar  (08 Sept. 2022)

Dilip D’Souza explains how NBA (& Medha Patkar) helped a village in Kutch, hit by the 2001 earthquake, to get water from a small stream nearby. Totally contradicting the propaganda of Gujarat govt and Swaminathan Aiyar. https://scroll.in/article/1032149/how-a-lagoon-in-gujarats-toraniya-shows-up-the-governments-fake-claims-about-the-narmada-project  (11 Sept. 2022)

Another nonsense from Swaminath A Aiyar exposing his lack of knowledge, understanding & bias against people and environment. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/the-real-story-of-how-narmada-dam-oustees-became-crorepatis/articleshow/94121155.cms (11 Sep 2022)

Polavaram Dam ECR dam not to be taken up until diaphragm wall damage is assessed: Minister The Water Resources Minister Ambati Rambabu has asserted that construction of the Earth cum Rock fill (ECR) dam of Polavaram project cannot be taken up until damage to the diaphragm wall was assessed. Addressing a press conference on Sept 7, 2022, Mr. Rambabu said that the State government was of the view that the diaphragm was damaged. Mr. Rambabu said there are no institutes or organisations in the world that can certify to what extent the diaphragm wall was damaged. However, efforts are being made to assess the damage. The National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) has taken up the study in this regard. The Corporation did not specify any time to submit its report, he said.

File picture of the Polavaram irrigation project | Photo Credit: Special arrangement/ The Hindu

– “It was a result of grave mistake committed by then Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. How can the diaphragm wall be constructed without constructing the cofferdam?” he said.

– The Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) and Central Water Commission (CWC) owes an explanation as to why the then State government was allowed to go ahead with its lopsided plans to construct the diaphragm wall even before the cofferdam was constructed, he said, adding, “at an appropriate time, we will ask the Central government as well.”   https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/polavaram-projects-ecr-dam-not-to-be-taken-up-until-diaphragm-wall-damage-is-assessed-minister/article65860851.ece  (07 Sept. 2022)

The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to hold talks with chief secretaries of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha and Chhattisgarh to resolve the issues of Polavaram irrigation project. A bench of Justices Sanjay Kaul, Abhay Oka and Vikram Nath on Sept 6, 2022 held a hearing on a batch of petitions, complaining about violation of environmental laws and submergence of low-lying areas when Godavari river witnessed floods and also due to the formation of backwaters from the project. The court observed that the Union ministries of Jal Shakti and Environment and Forests must play a pioneering role and ordered the Centre to hold a meeting with the chief secretaries of stakeholder states to resolve the contentious issues in a month’s time. The court asked for filing of the reports before it. The court also suggested a meeting of chief ministers of these states to iron out the issues related to Polavaram and posted the case for next hearing on December 7.  https://thefederal.com/news/sc-tells-centre-to-hold-talks-with-stakeholder-states-to-resolve-polavaram-dam-issues/  (07 Sept. 2022)

Andhra Pradesh 3 barrages on Krishna to use surplus water Irrigation Department has prepared detailed project reports (DPRs) for three barrages — two downstream of Prakasam Barrage and one upstream with a total holding capacity of 20 TMC. Now, the three projects with an estimated cost of Rs 7,500 crore are awaiting administrative sanction.

Speaking to TNIE, Water Resources Department Vijayawada Circle Superintending Engineer S Tirumala Rao said one barrage with a holding capacity of 10 TMC with an estimated cost of Rs 2,500 crore has been proposed at Damuluru in Ibrahimpatnam mandal of NTR district and two more barrages with a holding capacity of 5 TMC each at Chodavaram in Penamaluru mandal and at Bandikollalanka in Mopidevi of Krishna district. The estimated cost of the two projects is Rs 5000 cr. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2022/sep/12/three-barrages-on-krishna-to-use-surplus-water-2497347.html  (12 Sep 2022)

Bihar Largest rubber dam on Falgu inaugurated CM Nitish Kumar inaugurated the country’s largest rubber dam and a steel bridge over the Falgu river near Vishnupad temple on Sept 8, 2022. According to mythology, Goddess Sita had cursed Falgu to remain a subterranean river.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/bihar-cm-inaugurates-indias-largest-rubber-dam/articleshow/94085889.cms   (09 Sept. 2022)

Odisha NGT stays Vyasa Sarovar project The NGT Wednesday (Sept. 7) put a stay on the ongoing development and beautification works of historic Vyasa Sarovar peetha in Jajpur district, citing a reason that there were irregularities in the conduct of Gram Sabha for the project. A division bench of the NGT also directed the SEIAA, CPCB, the MoEF&CC and the state Forest and Environment department to clear their stand on the issue within four weeks. A case (103/2022/ED) relating to developmental works on this forest land is sub-judice at the NGT.

Earlier, Jajpur Collector had put forth his stand before the NGT while Cuttack DFO August 25, 2022 submitted an affidavit in this regard. In the affidavit, the DFO stated that the land belonging to khata 40 in Mundomal mouza falls under the forest category and works of various projects including roads and a community centre are being executed on this patch of land. It may be noted here that Rs 64 crore has been sanctioned from the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) fund for Vyasa Sarovar development project while National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) is executing its projects through New Delhi-based Krishna Constructions. https://www.orissapost.com/ngt-stays-vyasa-sarovar-project/   (08 Sept. 2022)

CWC Reservoir Storage Bulletin of 08.09.2022

The live storage available in 143 reservoirs as per 08.09.2022 Bulletin is 125% of the live storage of corresponding period of last year and 119% of storage of average of last ten years.  http://cwc.gov.in/sites/default/files/08092022-fb.pdf Monsoon below par in northwest, but water level in dams above normal. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/monsoon-below-par-in-northwest-but-water-level-in-dams-above-normal-430496  (11 Sept. 2022)

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES

SYL Punjab not responding to meeting requests: Centre Punjab is not cooperating to resolve the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue, the central government has told the Supreme Court, referring to a water-sharing dispute that’s lingering for over three decades now. The canal, which is to give water mainly to Haryana and some to Delhi, remains incomplete. In its latest affidavit, the Centre said the CM of Punjab has not responded to its letter for a meeting with the Haryana CM and Union Jal Shakti minister, which the court had suggested for an amicable solution. Next hearing on Jan 15, 2023. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/on-sutlej-yamuna-link-canal-punjab-not-responding-to-meeting-requests-centre-to-court-3320155  (06 Sept. 2022)

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday (Sept. 07) sought the Centre’s intervention to ensure water for Punjab and Haryana even as he accused the BJP and the Congress of playing politics over the decades-old SYL canal dispute. This came a day after the Centre told the Supreme Court that the Punjab government was “not cooperating” in resolving the SYL canal issue.

Mr Kejriwal also asked the Centre not to make the two states fight over the issue. Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, who was accompanying Mr Kejriwal, said he has no hesitation in meeting with his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar over the SYL canal dispute. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/sutlej-yamuna-row-centre-must-ensure-water-for-punjab-haryana-says-delhi-chief-minister-arvind-kejriwal-3325731  (08 Sept. 2022)

SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday (Sept. 07) condemned AAP convener, Arvind Kejriwal, for asserting that water from SYL canal should be given to Haryana from Punjab and also slammed CM Bhagwant Mann for “endorsing the anti-Punjab statement”. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/wont-let-one-drop-of-water-go-out-of-punjab-sukhbir-on-syl-101662598125528.html  (08 Sept. 2022)

IRRIGATION

Telangana NSP’s left canal breached; crop in over 1,000 acres submerged Left canal of Nagarjuna Sagar Project (NSP) breached at 32.109 mile stone near Vempadu of Nidmanoor mandal in the district late on Wednesday (Sept. 7), forcing authorities to stop release of water into the canal. Following the breach crops in more than 1,000 acres in Mupparam, Gantukagudem and Narsimhulagudem were submerged setting off panic among villagers who apprehend that there is a possibility of water entering the residential areas in villages too.

Superintendent Engineer of NSP Dharma Naik said that CC lining of the canal was damaged at the place of the breach and the supervisors did not notice it during regular checking before releasing the water. Canal was breached due gap created in the canal bank due to high pressure of water flow. Water release to the left canal was stopped within 10 minutes of the breach. There was less chances for the water reaching the residential areas. The water would flow through the agricultural fields and join “Nidmanoor vagu”. https://telanganatoday.com/nagarjuna-sagar-projects-left-canal-breached-crop-in-over-1000-acres-submerged  (07 Sept. 2022)

URBAN RIVERS

Vadodara The riveting story of Sneha Shahi, a UNEP Plastic Tide Turner and a conservationist who started a clean-up drive of a stream in Vadodara.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maQzojOBQ44  (09 June 2022)

Dahisar; Mumbai Immersion in river, activists protest Idol immersion in Dahisar river inside SGNP is set to resume this year on the 10th day of the Ganesh festival on Wednesday (Sept. 7). “All preparations have been made for immersion in the Dahisar river in SGNP, based on demand from local political leaders and Ganesh mandals. On September 9, immersion will take place at this spot,” a senior police officer said.

Immersion for the Ganesh festival in the river was stopped around 2018, and an artificial pond was set up outside the park. In August, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court had directed the state to make a comprehensive policy that promotes immersion of idols in artificial water bodies. In December 2021, BMC had inaugurated a Rs 246 crore-project for the rejuvenation of Dahisar. Mumbai March, a Mumbai-based citizens’ initiative working to push for rejuvenation of rivers has issued a statement criticising the move. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/immersion-in-dahisar-river-activists-protest-8137577/  (08 Sept. 2022)

Mutha; Pune PMC to construct one more bridge on River to connect Sinhagad Road to Karvenagar. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/pune-infra-watch-pmc-bridge-on-mutha-river-to-connect-sinhagad-road-karvenagar-8138404/  (09 Nov. 2022)

RIVERS

Rajasthan Excellent narrative about the Arvari river Parliament of Alwar by Arun Tiwari, presented by All India Radio.

The narrative provides detailed account till March 2000, not after that. There are some minor inaccuracies, but on the whole excellent effort. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfUK_Ayx230  (08 Sept. 2022)

Telangana Massive waterspout in Manjira river A waterspout, caused by a weather anomaly, occurred in the Manjira river in the Nirjipala of Vatpally mandal in Ranga Reddy district on Monday (Sept. 5) afternoon, creating panic among villagers who considered it to be a tornado. According to the IMD, it was a “feeble funnel cloud” or “waterspout” that occurred at 1.12 pm. The cloud extended to a height of 7 km and covered an area of about 5-6 km. The intensity lasted for 20-25 minutes and gradually dissipated in half-an-hour.

Hyderabad IMD head Dr K. Naga Ratna told Deccan Chronicle: “The waterspout was a type of thunderstorm formed because of the increase in the heat gradient and the moisture holding capacity in the region. It is an unusual phenomenon because such instability in weather conditions form thunderstorms but this was a waterspout, also called a cumulonimbus cloud.” After the waterspout, the regions of Vatpally and Palvatla recorded 7 mm of rainfall as an after-effect.

“This type of waterspout usually occurs in backwaters or water bodies. No such similar phenomenon was observed in Telangana in recent years. There was one occurrence in the Eluru canal in Andhra Pradesh around two years back. We can also expect this phenomenon to occur in the Musi under similar instability in the weather conditions” she added. Such spouts also occur on land, called a ‘land spout; while the one that occurs in conjunction with land and sea is called a tornado which moves with a speed of 200 kmph. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/050922/waterspout-occurred-in-nirjipala-in-rangareddy.html  (06 Sept. 2022)

Kerala Evolve monitoring mechanism to deal with Periyar pollution: NGT The bench was dealing with three similar complaints over the pollution of the Periyar river, the longest river in the state which is also known as “the lifeline of Kerala”. Pulling up the state government, the green court said, “Reports of the authorities during the last several years do not show improvement in water quality of the River Periyar at any of the locations in question. It is not clear whether the river water is fit for bathing purpose, with Fecal Coliform counts being within acceptable level.”

The green court also pointed out the earlier action plan of May 2019, saying it identified short-term and long-term actions but there is no mention of execution of the said plan. The tribunal, while noting the long pending complaints over a decade, said that since all issues related to the river pollution stand identified and there are binding directions of the Supreme Court and the Tribunal to enforce the State’s obligation to provide clean environment to citizens, no purpose will be served by endless proceedings before the Tribunal. It is high time that the State takes over its responsibility and higher level monitoring mechanism is evolved, the green court averred.

Accordingly, the tribunal directed the Chief Secretary, Kerala to constitute a monitoring committee comprising of four Additional Chief Secretaries of concerned Departments – Environment, Local Self-government, Irrigation/Water Resource and Finance. The Additional Chief Secretary, Environment will be the Coordinator. The Committee may hold its first meeting within two weeks to take stock of the situation of execution of action plan with time-bound targets. Progress on such targets must be reviewed atleast once in a month, the order said. https://www.timesnownews.com/mirror-now/in-focus/ngt-on-kerala-water-pollution-crime-against-humanity-victims-poor-voiceless-article-94137963  (11 Sept. 2022)

Odisha CAG asks for data on water contamination The health and family welfare department will submit data to the CAG of India on water contamination diseases in urban local bodies (ULBs) in the state for performance audit on storm water drainage and sewerage management system in municipal corporations. The CAG has decided to undertake the performance audit from 2016-17 to 2021-22. The NGT has expressed its displeasure that all the rivers in Odisha are polluted due to wastewater of the cities pouring into rivers causing serious health hazards. The CAG has asked for information through a proforma. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/cag-asks-for-data-on-water-contamination/articleshow/93844637.cms  (29 Aug. 2022)

Maharashtra Govt charged with ₹12,000 cr for improper waste management The continuous damage to the environment was required to be stopped in the future, and the past damage was to be restored, they said, adding that the compensation in respect of the gap in the treatment of liquid waste to be about ₹10,840 crore, and in respect of un-remediated legacy waste to be around ₹1,200 crore, and rounded the amount off to ₹12,000 crore. The state government has been ordered to deposit the compensatory amount in a separate ring-fenced account to be operated according to the directions of the chief secretary and utilized for restoration measures.

According to the bench, the restoration measures for waste management include establishing sewage treatment and utilization systems, upgrading systems/operations to ensure full capacity utilization, ensuring compliance with standards, including those for faecal coliform, and establishing proper faecal sewage and sludge management in rural areas. t also cautioned that the restoration plan must be executed in a time-bound manner, and if violations continue, additional compensation may be considered against the state. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/maharashtra-govt-charged-with-rs-12-000-cr-for-improper-waste-management-11662865669368.html  (11 Sept. 2022)

Punjab Form panel for groundwater pollution by distillery The NGT has issued directions for the constitution of a joint committee to verify allegations of a distillery in Ferozepur polluting groundwater. The committee will comprise members of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), State Ground Water Board, and the deputy commissioner of Ferozepur.

The NGT’s directions came on a petition filed by Public Action Committee (PAC), which prayed for the closure of the distillery operated by Malbros International Private Limited. The NGT bench, on August 30, directed the committee to meet within two weeks, visit the site, look into grievances of the applicant, associate the applicant and representative of the concerned project proponent, verify the factual position and submit its report within a month. It posted the matter to December 8. Many organisations have been protesting for over one and half months outside the distillery at Mansoorwal village in Zira subdivision of Ferozepur. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/form-panel-for-groundwater-pollution-by-distillery-ngt/articleshow/94064123.cms  (08 Sept. 2022)

In recent months there have been growing signs of increasing assertiveness of environmental movements in Punjab. This should be widely welcomed and is much needed, given the rapid degradation of the ecosystem here at several levels in recent decades. There was an impressive and successful mobilization recently to save the Mattewara forest in Ludhiana from the onslaught of an ill-conceived industrial project. Less attention has been drawn to another welcome protest against the pollution caused by a liquor factory near Zira in Ferozepur district. There are early signs also of people getting mobilized in Ropar district to protect environmental concerns in the context of an upcoming paper mill near Budha river and Sirhind canal.

In this context the setting up of paper mills and distilleries near rivers and canals has come in for special scrutiny as these industries are known to be particularly problematic in the context of water health and toxicity. All of these movements have raised important issues and this increasing assertiveness of environmental movements should be widely welcomed. In fact at no other time in its history has Punjab faced such many-sided environmental degradation as during the last 55 years or so. Hence a strong environmental movement in Punjab is clearly a very important need of these times. https://www.thecitizen.in/life/restless-environmentalists-341032  (11 Sept. 2022)

GANGA Govt plans geospatial mapping & monitoring of areas The Centre is considering using geospatial technology for mapping and monitoring water quality, and waste dumps in the river channel and to generate flood hazard potential zones on the entire Ganga Basin. A proposal to develop a geo-portal of the entire Ganga basin by the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun (IIRS) was considered during the latest meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) at a proposed cost of Rs 5.4 crore. https://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2022/sep/11/government-plans-geospatial-mapping-and-monitoring-of-areas-in-ganga-basin-to-check-water-quality-2496928.html  (11 Sept. 2022)  

Bihar Boat carrying 55 people capsizes in Ganga, 10 missing https://www.firstpost.com/india/bihar-boat-carrying-55-people-capsizes-in-ganga-10-missing-11183371.html  (05 Sept. 2022)

YAMUNA Delhi Development Authority (DDA) Wednesday (Sept. 7) inaugurated the Asita East project near Laxmi Nagar. The project is a part of the land-owning agency’s ongoing Yamuna floodplain restoration and rejuvenation drive. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/yamuna-floodplains-restoration-asita-east-project-8137843/  (07 Sept. 2022)

LG Vinai Kumar Saxena on Saturday (Sept. 10) asked the DDA to explore developing constructed wetland systems for natural treatment of sewage water over major drains in the city similar to Neela Hauz. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/develop-constructed-wetland-systems-for-natural-treatment-of-sewage-water-l-g-to-dda/article65875608.ece  (10 Sept. 2022)

Ghaziabad NGT imposes ₹200 cr fine for shoddy sewage, waste management Issuing its final order on a petition filed in 2018 by the Confederation of Trans-Hindon RWAs, an umbrella group of residents’ associations, the tribunal observed that different committees constituted over the past four years have submitted several reports agreeing in essence to the confederation’s contention that the solid waste management at Indirapuram’s Shakti Khand landfill was “improper”, posing health hazards to nearby residents.

The tribunal observed that different committees constituted over the past four years have submitted several reports agreeing in essence to the confederation’s contention that the solid waste management at Indirapuram’s Shakti Khand landfill was “improper”, posing health hazards to nearby residents. (Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

A penalty of ₹212 crore was imposed on account of the 7 non-compliant STPs and another ₹5.17 crore was imposed owing to a gap of 500 tonnes daily in the amount of solid waste generated and treated in the city. The tribunal, however, rounded off the overall fine to ₹200 and directed that the amount be deposited within 2 months with the Ghaziabad district magistrate. It also directed that the amount be utilised on remediation measures as per the action plan that is to be jointly prepared the CPCB, UPPCB and the district magistrate, along with inputs from the GDA and the civic body.

Citing another CPCB report with respect to the sewage management, the tribunal said 10 drains carrying sewage and sludge are emptying into river Hindon. The underground sewage lines terminate at eight sewage treatment plants having a combined capacity of 480MLD. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/noida-news/ngt-imposes-200-crore-fine-on-gzb-authorities-for-shoddy-sewage-waste-management-101662726598209.html  (09 Sept. 2022)

NGT dismissed applications filed by the Noida Authority and the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) for a review of the Tribunal’s order from last month that imposed a compensation amount of Rs. 150 crore on the two authorities for water pollution. The Tribunal dismissed the Noida Authority’s review application on the grounds that requisite tertiary treatment plants are yet to be installed by Noida Authority, and many of the STPs at group housing societies remain non-compliant. The DJB’s review application was also dismissed for continued non-compliance. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/ngt-junks-noida-authority-djb-plea-seeking-review-of-order-imposing-damages-for-water-pollution-8135465/  (07 Sept. 2022)

Banda Boat capsizes in Yamuna; 4 drowned, 17 missing. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/up-boat-capsizes-in-yamuna-river-in-banda-four-drowned-17-missing/videoshow/93507456.cms  (11 Aug. 2022)

RIVERS BIODIVERSITY

Report Invasive south red-eared slider turtle poses threat to Indian biodiversity The presence of invasive and non-native south red-eared slider turtles would lead to the extinction of native species of their own kind, according to experts. The small and easy-to-maintain species is a hit in the pets market. The species breeds faster compared to other local turtle varieties. “As their size increases, they no longer fit in small tanks or ponds. The owners release them in the wild or nearby waterbodies and once released, they become a threat to the local fauna,” said Jayaditya Purkayastha, a wildlife biologist from Assam and a member of the IUCN turtle specialist group.

The species has a wide set of diet and eats almost all vegetation, unlike native species. “The red-eared slider is also aggressive, it drives away the native species. Its paws are also lethal,” said Shailendra Singh, director of Turtle Survival Alliance, a non-profit which works for turtle conservation. The species is already spread across many Indian states and poses a threat to all species of its kind, including soft-shell and hard-shell turtles.

“It is widely found in urban wetlands, such as — Sukhna lake in Chandigarh, temple ponds of Guwahati, lakes of Bengaluru, Sanjay Gandhi national park in Mumbai, Yamuna river in Delhi — among other water bodies,” he said. These turtles should be restrained, captivated and sent to local zoos, he suggested.

The species is considered as one of the world’s 100 worst invasive non-native species. Also, the populations are observed in every continent except Antarctica and at least 73 countries, noted another study published in Reptile and Amphibians Conservation and Natural History. “We need manual intervention to procure and rehabilitate these turtles from urban wetlands. A campaign to declare or give up turtles should be held to take these turtles in custody,” Singh said. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-biodiversity/invasive-south-red-eared-slider-turtle-poses-threat-to-indian-biodiversity-84815  (08 Sept. 2022)

FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS

Kerala Could aquaponics be the answer to poison-free fish and vegetables? Cherai is India’s first aquaponics village in Kerala where the need for cleaner, chemical free food prompted close to 200 families to set up aquaponics systems. https://scroll.in/video/1032511/eco-india-can-aquaponics-be-the-answer-to-poison-free-fish-and-vegetables  (11 Sept. 2022)

SAND MINING

Haryana Yamuna is dying due to sand mining From flora and fauna to human residents, no one has been left untouched due to the wanton extraction of sand in the area. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/mining/a-river-ruined-our-yamuna-is-dying-due-to-sand-mining-say-locals-in-haryana-84758  (06 Sept. 2022)

A boat crossing the Yamuna. Photo: Varsha Singh/DTE

Part 2:- Are India’s mining laws deterrent enough? Mining has to be considered not as either a law-and-order or an administrative issue, but rather as one of environmental management. Bhim Singh Rawat, associate coordinator, SANDRP, said: There has been below average monsoon rain in the Yamuna river basin in the past four years (2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021). Less rain means less amount of minerals. This year too, there was 10 per cent less than average rain in the Upper Yamuna and 30 per cent less than average rain in the Middle Yamuna from June 1-August 26.

S Narayanan, MS, HSPCB, said: We have never had to reject permission to mine on the basis of replenishment rate. But we will be doing so from now on. He added: “Yes, illegal mining is taking place on a huge scale in the Yamuna. We have received several complaints regarding this. We have made a district-level task force for monitoring such mining. We have also made a mobile application to report illegal mining. Stopping such mining is very difficult. It requires round-the-clock monitoring.”

Narayanan said the state government had not conducted any research to find out the effect of the extraction of sand on the Yamuna and its biodiversity. Paritosh Tyagi, former head of the Central Pollution Control Board, posed a query: “We have an excellent institution like the Forest Research Institute in order to study forests. But we do not have a single research institute for rivers. That shows our priorities.” https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/mining/a-river-ruined-are-india-s-mining-laws-deterrent-enough–84846  (09 Sept. 2022)

This report mentions about death of 12 persons mostly teenagers after drowning in deep sand mining pits at Mimarpur Ghat in Murthal and Bega Ghat in Gunaur area of Sonipat since Aug. 2018.

Aravali miners target govt team with stones, third attack 2 months A team of enforcement officials was pelted with stones at Bader village in Nuh as they went after miners who had JCB-like machines for excavating in the Aravalis. The joint team of police and mining department officials had to call forces for backup on Thursday (Sept. 8). One policeman was injured in Thursday’s attack at Bader. An FIR was registered against five accused, one of whom is a juvenile driver apprehended by the police, and 50 others who are yet to be identified. The accused have been booked under IPC sections 307 (attempt to murder), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), and the Mines and Minerals Act, the SP said.

The incident comes close on the heels of the Tauru DSP’s killing in Pachgaon, 70km from Bader, in Nuh. DSP Surender Singh Bishnoi was run over by the driver of a dumper truck carrying illegally mined stones that he had intercepted. The targeted attack in Bader – close to the state border with Rajasthan – is another reminder of the challenges in clamping down on illegal mining in the Aravalis. In 2009, the Supreme Court had imposed a blanket ban on the ecologically sensitive hill ranges in three districts of Haryana — Nuh, Faridabad and Gurugram. Despite the ban, mining continues to thrive in the region, often with help from locals who say they have few employment opportunities in their hometowns. On August 19, just about a month after the Tauru DSP was killed, a team of mining officials was thrashed by suspected miners at Sehjawas village of Sohna when it tried to stop a tractor during an inspection. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/haryana-aravali-miners-target-govt-team-with-stones-third-attack-since-dsp-surender-singh-bishnoi-murder/articleshow/94108312.cms  (10 Sept. 2022)

Bihar SDM’s bodyguard critically injured in sand mafia attack The bodyguard of a sub divisional magistrate (SDM) Dehri was critically injured in a sand mafia attack on Sunday (Sept. 04) night. The administration and police team led by Dehri SDM Sameer Kumar Saurabh were conducting raids against the illegal sand storage and transportation in coal depot locality and had seized 10 sand loaded vehicles when mafia men attacked on and started heavy stone pelting, police said.

The SDM’s bodyguard Santu Kumar was critically injured and admitted to Narayan Medical College and Hospital at Jamuhar. The sand ghats of river Sone in Rohtas, Bhijpur and Aurangabad districts of Bihar and adjacent Garhwa and Palamu districts of Jharkhand are the highest and good quality sand producers. The mining mafia, in collusion with the concerned departments officials, has continued its mining, transportation and sell mostly to UP markets to get lucrative earnings. At least 28 persons have been killed in mafia gang war to control the lucrative trade during the last two years. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/patna-news/bihar-sdm-s-bodyguard-critically-injured-in-sand-mafia-attack-101662360446109.html  (05 Sept. 2022)

Bihar had banned sand mining from July 1 to September 30 last year following a NGT order. However, the Supreme Court lifted the ban in November observing that it causes huge loss to the public exchequer. The three-month ban was a boon for illegal miners, as it created a sand crisis and they got an opportunity to sell it at a higher rate in the market.

According to a police report submitted to the Patna HC in 2017, there is a huge nexus between police, miners who enjoy political clout and mines department officials. Image credit: Mohd. Imran Khan/ News Click

“Illegal sand mining increases during monsoons as big boats easily move and extract sand with the help of machines due to sufficient water level,” Satrughan Rai, who has been observing illegal sand mining in the Koilwar riverine belt, Bhojpur, told NewsClick. An investigation by this reporter revealed that miners transport sand from near and far-off places at night by allegedly paying heavy bribe per truck to the police. For instance, at Pahleja Ghat, small miners told this reporter that at the Sonepur Police Station, in Saran, Rs 8 lakh-Rs 9 lakh per day was being paid for letting over 150 trucks pass.

In another horrifying latest incident, a group of local sand mafia threw an ASI(police official) from a sand laden tractor and tried to crush the SPDO(a DySp rank official) at Anjanpir Chowk under town police station in Hajipur in Vaishali district on Monday (Sept. 5) night. https://www.newsclick.in/bihar-powerful-fearless-illegal-sand-miners-challenge-nitish-govt  (06 Sept. 2022)

The Bihar cabinet on Tuesday (Aug. 30) approved a 100 per cent hike in the royalty on sand to be paid by the miners from five rivers, from ₹75 to ₹150 per cubic metres, a move that is certain to sharply increase building construction costs in the state.

“A decision was taken to increase the price of fine quality sand excavated from Sone, Kiul, Falgu, Chanan and Morhar rivers to ₹150 per cubic metre from ₹75. This hike will increase revenue,” additional chief secretary (cabinet secretariat), S Siddharth, told reporters after the cabinet meeting chaired by CM Nitish Kumar.

“The sand quality in these rivers is high and it is mainly used for construction purposes. So, the royalty has been increased,” Siddharth said. He said the royalty on sand extraction by lease holders in other rivers, including Ganga, would remain the same. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/patna-news/bihar-doubles-royalty-on-sand-mining-101661877389778.html  (30 Aug. 2022)

Uttar Pradesh  13 sand-laden tractors storm through toll plaza in Agra Raising questions on the law and order situation in UP, at least 13 sand-laden tractors belonging to the sand mafia were seen storming through the toll booth barricading, even as the workers tried to stop them with sticks.

The incident, which took place at the Jajau toll plaza on the Agra Gwalior Highway, was captured on CCTV and went viral on social media. On Monday (Sept. 5), the police registered 6 FIR at two different police stations. One of the accused was arrested.

A day after the video went viral on social media, Agra police registered 6 FIRs – 3 at Saiyan and 3 at Kheragarh police station. The FIRs were registered under sections of the Mines and Minerals (development and regulation) Act, 1957 and various sections of IPC including 307 (attempt to murder).

According to police, the men on speeding tractors tried to run over the toll plaza workers and policemen on duty at various locations when they tried to stop them. One of the accused Compounder Singh, a resident of the neighboring Dholpur district of Rajasthan, was arrested with sand-laden tractor. According to sources, the tractors used in illegal mining of sand are fuelled with premium petrol instead of diesel to boost their load-carrying capacity and speed. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/13-sand-laden-tractors-storm-through-toll-plaza-in-agra-6-firs-registered/articleshow/94011016.cms  (05 Sept. 2022)

Goa Following murder, CM instructs strict vigil on illegal sand mining The direction follows the recent murder of a sand extraction worker from Jharkhand. On August 31, one sand extraction worker from Jharkhand was killed while another was critically injured in a firing incident at Curchorem in South Goa. Yusuf Alam, 23, and Mohammed Sahu, 33, were rushed to a health centre where the former was declared dead, while Sahu was shifted to Goa Medical College in a critical condition. According to police, the firing took place when Alam, along with Sahu and another person, went into the river during night to allegedly extract sand using a wooden canoe. However, the third person had escaped unhurt in the firing. Though sand mining is banned in Goa, sources say that it is taking place at various spots during night time.  https://newsroomodisha.com/following-murder-goa-cm-instructs-strict-vigil-on-illegal-sand-mining/   (06 Sept. 2022)

Punjab Mining ban, crackdown on mafia see sand prices soaring in Malwa Construction works in the Malwa region have taken a hit owing to the skyrocketing prices of sand and gravel. Sand is selling at Rs 45-46 per cubic ft in Malout and adjoining areas against the fixed retail price of Rs 9 per cubic ft (excluding freight charges). Sources said mining ban in the state for three monsoon months (July-September) and crackdown on mafia led to a spurt in the prices. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/mining-ban-crackdown-on-mafia-see-sand-prices-soaring-in-malwa-430229  (10 Sept. 2022)

Amid HC ban on sand mining, a reality check: most cases against landless farmers, labourers. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/amid-hc-ban-on-sand-mining-a-reality-check-most-cases-against-landless-farmers-labourers-8143201/  (11 Sept. 2022)

Karnataka CRZ Notification allows manual removal of sand, rules HC A division bench headed by acting Chief Justice Alok Aradhe said this while granting relief to a group of 30 temporary permit holders from Dakshina Kannada. The petitioners submitted that they are traditionally engaged in fisheries and were granted temporary permits for the removal of sand bars accumulated in the river banks within the CRZ in the Dakshina Kannada district. They claimed that a seven-member committee had issued temporary permits to them on May 7, 2022, which is operative till March 4, 2023, excluding four months during the monsoon between June and September 2022. The petitioners jointly challenged the District Sand Monitoring Committee’s order dated May 21, 2022, that suspended their licence as well as the notices issued on May 23, 2022, by the Deputy Director of Mines and Geology. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/crz-notification-allows-manual-removal-of-sand-rules-karnataka-hc-1144004.html  (10 Sept. 2022)

White liquid discharge at Kappatagudda noticed White colour liquid is being discharged at the foothill of the Kappatagudda which has diverse and rare medicinal plants. A portion of the hill has caved in following heavy rains recently. Discharge of liquid mixed possibly with unknown white chemicals caused panic among residents around the foothill. According to villagers, pits were dug up during the colonial era in order to extract gold. Traces of wells created for the mining are still visible. Chemicals were used atop the hill for mining activity, which perhaps mixed with the water causing white discharge. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/karnataka-districts/karnataka-white-liquid-discharge-at-kappatagudda-noticed-1142833.html  (06 Sept. 2022)

Kerala Mining the River Pamba for Flood Prevention- Novel ideas for evading Regulations: Case Study of Thottappally in Alapuzha, Kerala, India by VT Padmanabhan. https://countercurrents.org/2022/09/mining-the-river-pamba-for-flood-prevention-novel-ideas-for-evading-regulations-case-study-of-thottappally-in-alapuzha-kerala-india/  (11 Aug. 2022)

Tamil Nadu No chemical-based application is used for beach sand mineral mining: IREL https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/aug/07/no-chemical-based-application-isused-for-beach-sand-mineral-mining-irel-2485007.html  (07 Aug. 2022)

Telangana Destruction of Khajaguda Rock precinct unabated Six months have elapsed since Hyderabad’s administrative czar Arvind Kumar said “we will protect” the Khajaguda Rock formation, but there has been no action. The latest action witnessed is that of fencing of a part of the lake, cutting down of trees and blasting of rocks by a private party. https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-telangana/destruction-of-khajaguda-rock-precinct-unabated/article65860082.ece  (07 Sept. 2022)

WATER OPTIONS

Hyderabad India’s first city to fully treat its sewage Hyderabad can become the only city in the country to have 100 per cent sewage treatment facility by the end of next year. Work on the 31 Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in Greater Hyderabad and its outskirts are on at a brisk pace and are expected to be completed by next summer. In fact, some of them are expected to be ready by the end of this year. Apart from treating the generated sewage, the new STPs would also help protect water bodies including lakes, tanks and ponds. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2022/sep/05/hyderabad-all-set-to-become-indias-first-city-to-fully-treat-its-sewage-2494886.html  (05 Sept. 2022)

Karnataka Small soak pits, big changes Surrounded by lush greenery, a soak pit with a square border and a circular lid complements the many environment-friendly practices at organic farmers Peter and Lona Serrao’s farm in Permude in Dakshina Kannada – located about 22 km from Mangaluru. The soak pit has proved transformative in the management of wastewater in the area.

A model Soak pit. Deccan Herald.

“Earlier, grey water was discharged in the open, resulting in waterlogging, bad odour and increased incidence of diseases like malaria,” Peter recollected. The term ‘grey water’ is used to describe wastewater generated from bathing, washing clothes, kitchen and other household activities. https://www.deccanherald.com/spectrum/spectrum-top-stories/small-soak-pits-big-changes-1143081.html  (08 Sept. 2022)

Opinion Time to put waste water to good use With water scarcity in India becoming alarming, industries and apartments should use tech to treat and reuse wastewater writes S Vishwanath. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/time-to-put-wastewater-to-good-use/article65867417.ece  (08 Sept. 2022)

Centre Road infra projects can address water woes and cut costs: Gadkari “There is no dearth of water, but no proper management of water. We can use our highways for building lakes. Highways require soil, which can be obtained in a manner that new water bodies can be formed,” Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways said. This would not only fulfill the road construction requirement but also create new lakes in rural areas, which would eventually increase the groundwater table, the minister added. He said, for example, a university got 36 new lakes and the nearby villages got 22 new wells thanks to certain projects by the NHAI. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/road-infra-projects-can-address-water-woes-and-cut-costs-union-minister-nitin-gadkari/article65866075.ece  (08 Sept. 2022)

“You all know that the Centre has come up with the ‘Amrit Sarovar’ scheme. The road, transport and highway ministry can do great work in addressing the water woes,” he said during the ‘Manthan’ programme under the ‘Bharatmala’ series in Bengaluru. The ‘Mission Amrit Sarovar’ was launched on National Panchayati Raj Day on April 24, 2022, as a part of the celebration of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav with an objective to conserve water for the future. The Mission, launched by the Ministry of Rural Development, is aimed at developing and rejuvenating 75 water bodies in each district of the country. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/can-use-our-highways-for-building-lakes-says-gadkari-1143381.html  (08 Sept. 2022)

GROUNDWATER

Karnataka Groundwater overflows from sumps in HC basement Sumps constructed for collection of groundwater overflowed in the basement of the High Court of Karnataka due to excess inflow of groundwater, resulting in partial inundation of the basement on Sunday night (Sept. 4), following heavy rains. All the sumps are fitted with pumps to lift collected water automatically when water level reached a certain level. However, sumps overflowed on Sunday night as inflow of groundwater into the sumps was at least three to four times the capacity of the pumps, said officials of the High Court and the Public Works Department, which maintains the court building.

Underground sumps were constructed decades ago as part of the basement drainage system to address the issue of seepage of groundwater into the basement as the court building is surrounded by Cubbon Park where rain water is absorbed by soil. As water entered the lift pits in the basement, operation was stopped on Monday (Sept. 5) and Tuesday (Sept. 6) resulting in litigants, advocates, and court staff taking the stairs. Seepage of groundwater was so severe that water seeped into the pit of another lift, situated at the ground level, near the front portico of the court building. Operation of this lift, used only for judges, too was halted awaiting inspection by experts. A small portion of the records kept in lower racks of the index section situated in the basement partially became wet and the court staff took measures to protect the records. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/groundwater-overflows-from-sumps-in-high-court-basement/article65857061.ece  (06 Sept. 2022)

URBAN WATER

Hyderabad Water pumping to commence from Annaram, Medigadda soon Finance Minister T Harish Rao said pumping would resume from Annaram and Medigadda pump houses by third week this month and October last week respectively. https://telanganatoday.com/water-pumping-to-commence-from-annaram-medigadda-soon  (06 Sept. 2022)

HMWS&SB plans special campaign to mop up ₹100cr dues from consumers Dues will be collected from those who are not eligible for the free water scheme of 20,000 liters per month provided by the government and who have not registered for the free water scheme. The monthly water bills are supposed to fetch 22 crore every month for the water board, but it imanaged to collect 7 crore only. As a result, the dues were accumulated.

The water board, which has issued notices to the consumers to pay the bills from January to August 2022, plans to collect nearly ₹100 crore though the bills. Along with the bills, the water board also decided to collect old dues through special drive. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/water-board-plans-special-campaign-to-mop-up-100cr-dues-from-consumers/articleshow/94141028.cms  (12 Sept. 2022)

Failure of the city authorities to effectively communicate the location of artificial immersion tanks and ponds resulted in thousands of people thronging the Hussainsagar for the immersion ritual on Sunday. The situation could worsen as immersion day approaches on September 9, amid questions over how effectively the Supreme Court ban is implemented. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/040922/ghmc-fail-to-prevent-ganesh-idol-immersions-at-hussainsagar.html  (05 Sept. 2022)

Gurgaon The city’s pre-monsoon groundwater levels have receded again this year, this time by 0.74 metres compared to 2021, underlining the grave concerns on over-extraction that have been a persistent worry for the city for years. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/gurugrams-groundwater-table-recedes-again-but-pace-slows-this-year/articleshow/94015486.cms  (06 Sept. 2022)

Indore Reportedly, Narmada pipeline bursts at Jinsi crossing in Indore followed by gallons of water on the roads on September 10. The water began to rise high as a result of the line bursting, which attracted many people to the scene. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/toi-original/indore-water-flows-on-roads-after-narmada-pipeline-burst/videoshow/94133404.cms  (11 Sept. 2022)

Image Source: Nai Duniya

एयरपोर्ट रोड स्थित बीएसएफ परिसर में पानी की टंकी भरने वाली नर्मदा की मुख्य पाइप लाइन में कान्यकुब्ज नगर और सिटीजन अस्पताल के सामने गुरुवार अलसुबह 5.30 बजे रिसाव हो गया। इस कारण सड़क, खाली भूखंडों और कान्यकुब्ज नगर के कुछ घरों और दुकानों में पानी भर गया। यहां के कुछ एक घरों में लोग सुबह जागे तो घरों में पानी जमा देख उन्हें आश्चर्य हुआ। https://www.naidunia.com/madhya-pradesh/indore-narmada-pipeline-burst-in-indore-water-filled-in-houses-and-shops-7389093  (17 March 2022)

Shimla Stuck in time, Shimla’s struggling to find the right development plan that keeps its heritage fresh, environment safe, and meets the needs of its population. https://theprint.in/features/is-shimla-story-over-bengaluru-like-jams-no-water-collapsing-buildings-swelling-crowds/1116455/  (05 Sept. 2022)

WATER POLLUTION

Delhi HC takes cognizance of deaths while sewer cleaning, registers PIL The Delhi High Court on Monday (Sept. 12) took suo motu cognisance of the death of two persons allegedly while cleaning a sewer in the city last week, and directed that a public interest litigation be registered on the issue. A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad issued notice to the MCD, Delhi government and DJB on the matter on the basis of a news report dated September 11 and also appointed senior advocate Rajshekhar Rao as amicus curiae to assist the court. A sweeper and a security guard died on September 9 in Outer Delhi’s Mundka area after they inhaled toxic gases inside a sewer they had gone down to clean, police had said last week. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/delhi-hc-takes-cognizance-of-deaths-while-sewer-cleaning-registers-pil-1144337.html  (12 Sept. 2022)

IMD’s State, Sub-Division, District and River Basin wise cumulative rainfall maps from June 01 to Sept. 12, 2022.

SANDRP Blog High Rainfall days in India’s districts in August 2022  An analysis of the daily district wise rainfall data from IMD for the month of Aug 2021, 3rd month of India’s South West Monsoon 2021 shows that there were 667 (much higher than 431 in Aug 2021) instances when district rainfall of a day in a district was above 50 mm. The normal monthly rainfall of India Aug is 258.2 mm and actual rainfall was 3.5% above normal at 263.8 mm. Such high rainfall instances included 553 (371 in Aug 2021) instances when rainfall was 50-100 mm, 98 (48 in Aug 2021) instances when it was 100-150 mm, 13 (11) times it was 150-200 mm and 3 (1 in Aug 2021) above 200 mm. Interestingly, in June 2022 and July 2022 there were 462 and 809 instances when rainfall in a district was above 50 mm. The July 2022 and June 2022 rainfall all over India was 16.8% above normal and 8% below normal respectively. https://sandrp.in/2022/09/05/high-rainfall-days-in-indias-districts-in-august-2022/  (05 Sept. 2022)

Karnataka Highest rain in 51 yrs The state has received 22% excess South West Monsoon rainfall from June 1 to August 31, which is the highest in 51 years. With all reservoirs in the Cauvery basin full, the state has released 47 tmcft excess Cauvery water for the entire water year (June to May) to Tamil Nadu during the same period, which is the highest in 48 years. Karnataka received 844 mm of average rain during South West Monsoon in three months, as against the average 691 mm (in 30 years), the highest since 1971, during the period. Also, 224 tmcft of Cauvery water has already been released to Biligundlu reservoir in Tamil Nadu in the said period, which is the highest since 1974. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2022/sep/10/highest-rain-in-51-yrs-karnataka-releases-excess-water-to-tn-2496629.html  (10 Sept. 2022)

Research A framework to incorporate spatiotemporal variability of rainfall extremes in summer monsoon declaration by Vimal Mishra, Amar Deep Tiwari and Rohini Kumar Abstract:- Using the long-term (1901–2021) gridded rainfall observations, we highlight the limitations in the current approach to the declaration of the normal summer monsoon, which ignores the role of spatiotemporal variability of rainfall. Dry and wet extremes within the same monsoon season can lead to a normal monsoon. Moreover, different parts of the country face drought and wet extremes, while the summer monsoon can be declared normal. Considering the profound implications of dry and wet extremes on agricultural activities, we propose a novel framework to account for the rainfall variability in the declaration of the summer monsoon. The proposed framework accounts for the temporal variability through a combined severity coverage index, while spatial variability using a clustering approach. The new framework of summer monsoon declaration can account for the occurrence of extremes and their implications for agriculture and water management. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ac8c5c 

FLOOD 2022

Report Only 4 Enforced Floodplain Zoning Law Environmental activist and water expert Himanshu Thakkar said even though some states have enacted the legislation, no state in the country has implemented it.  “The only state which did a little bit of work on it was Maharashtra, where they assigned ‘red’ and ‘blue’ line on floodplains, which meant that no activity within ‘red line’, which was restricted behind the ‘blue line.’  “Even that was de-notified. So even Maharashtra is not following it now. No political party is being serious about its implementation and there is no political will,” he said. Thakkar stressed that if floodplains are encroached upon or become a dumping ground then it is an invitation to major trouble.

Experts have warned of “dire consequences” if floodplain zoning is not done at the earliest Photo: AP/PTI/ Out Look

– “In terms of increased floods and more urban footprint the situation is worsening. Also, in the context of climate change, again the flood intensity increases so it is urgent to come out with a floodplain protection plan,” he said.    https://www.outlookindia.com/national/flood-devastation-states-impervious-to-huge-losses-only-4-enforced-floodplain-zoning-law-news-221035  (04 Sept. 2022)

Karnataka Hidkal dam water touches danger mark People residing on Ghataprabha river banks near Hidkal reservoir in Belagavi district have been asked to move to safer places as water levels rise to dangerous levels in the dam following copious rains in the region. The Hiranyakeshi river in Hukkeri taluk, linked to Hidkal reservoir, is overflowing due to heavy inflow to Markandeya river following incessant rains in Karnataka as well as neighbouring Maharashtra.

In order to maintain safe water levels, dam authorities will release around 20,000 cusecs of water into Ghataprabha river. The river flows through Gokak, one of the commercial centres in the border district that has already seen several localities inundated due to the recent rains. Gokak town and most parts of this taluka were submerged in the second and third week of August as water was released to the river from the reservoir. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/bengaluru-news/villagers-asked-to-relocate-to-safer-areas-as-hidkal-dam-water-touches-danger-mark-101662921434894.html  (12 Sept. 2022)

Tamil Nadu Flood alert in Cuddalore With the discharge of 90000 cusecs water from Mettur dam in Salem, a flood alert has been sounded on the banks of the Kollidam river in Cuddalore. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/sep/07/flood-alert-sounded-in-cuddalore-following-increased-discharge-from-mettur-dam-2495792.html  (07 Sept. 2022) 

Arunachal Pradesh Intake point, water supply pipes washed away Heavy downpour on Monday (Sept. 05) washed away the intake point and the water supply pipelines in Sood village near Yupia in Papum Pare district. Naharlagun PHED Subdivision Assistant Engineer Tamchi Shyam informed that the intake point was washed away “due to heavy mudslides and landslides triggered by heavy downpour in Sokun Nallah.” “More than 100 metres of 50 mm diameter GI pipes have also been washed away and submerged inside the mud, and cannot be retrieved,” he said, adding that the department has engaged men and machinery to restore the water supply. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/09/06/intake-point-water-supply-pipes-washed-away/  (06 Sept. 2022)

Researchers develop national map of areas most vulnerable to rainfall-induced soil erosion Researchers at IIT Delhi have developed a map identifying areas in India which are most vulnerable to rainfall-induced soil erosion with the aim of helping in the planning and implementation of watershed development activities to minimise soil erosion. The map has been developed by PhD student Ravi and Professor Manabendra Sahari and Professor Sumedha Chakma from the institute’s Department of Civil Engineering. “This is the first such national-scale assessment of rainfall erosivity over India using gridded precipitation datasets (rather than raingauge data alone), which will aid in understanding and mitigating rainfall-induced erosion,” it adds.

– The map has been developed using multiple datasets including Indian Monsoon Data Assimilation and Analysis (IMDAA) at an hourly temporal scale, India Meteorological Department (IMD) data on a daily scale, and the Global Climate Hazards Group Infrared Precipitation with Station data (CHIRPS) on a daily scale.

– The areas most prone to rainfall-induced soil erosion are located in Assam and Meghalaya which mostly have loamy, silt loamy, sand clay loamy and sand clay loamy textured soil and sloping terrain. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/iit-delhi-research-national-map-rainfall-soil-erosion-8040969/  (22 July 2022)

HFL BREACH

Karnataka 1. River Swarnamukhi in Krishna basin at Hoovinahole level monitoring site in Chitradurga district has breached old HFL 97.71 m (dated 13.10.1999) and set 97.78 m as new HFL at 10:00 hour on 09.06.2022. Present flood level is 97.69 m at 15:00 hour on 06.09.2022 with falling trend.

2. River Suvarnavathi in Cauvery basin at Bendrahalli level forecast site in Chamarajanagar district has again breached old HFL 638.01 (dated 30.08.2022) and has set 638.03 as new HFL at 14:00 hour on 06.09.2022. Present flood level is 636.02 m at 16:00 hour on 06.09.2022 with steady trend.

Tamil Nadu River Ponnaiyar at Singasadanapalli level forecast site in Krishnagiri district continues to be in extreme flood situation for past 30 hours. Present flood level is 847.07 m at 15:00 hours on 06.09.2022 with rising trend. The river had breached its old HFL 845.73 m at 11:00 hour on 05.09.2022.

URBAN FLOODS

Bengaluru ‘Forgotten river’ overflows near IT hub Dakshina Pinakini, a river running dry for over three decades and was all but forgotten by Bengalureans, on Wednesday overflowed following heavy rain in the catchment area. The impact was such that a portion of the busy Channasandra Main Road near the city’s tech corridor was submerged in four feet flowing water, throwing traffic out of gear. The river originates near Nandi Hills and flows through Chikkaballapur, Hoskote, Kadugodi, Sarjapur and Malur before meeting waters discharged from Bellandur and Varthur lakes to enter Tamil Nadu. It used to run dry till Malur for the past two decades and its existence was almost forgotten. On the reason for overflowing, Arun Kumar of Samethanahalli said: “It has been raining heavily in Chikkaballapur and Kolar. Water has been flowing towards Yele Mallappa Shetty lake and Hoksote lake. Since both these lakes are full, their water is flowing into the otherwise dried river.” Arun Kumar, an agriculturist, said: “I was told the river used to flow like this 30-40 years ago. This a wake-up call for all of us.”  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/bengaluru-forgotten-river-overflows-near-it-hub-hits-traffic/articleshow/94061394.cms  (08 Sept. 2022)

Patralekha Chatterjee:- What is happening in Bengaluru is horrific. But this is not just about one city. And while unpacking the dramatic images we are seeing we must ask a fundamental question that goes beyond Bengaluru. The unvarnished truth is that unregulated and unplanned urbanisation means an urban India which is likely to be underwater every time it rains heavily.

One key reason behind the current catastrophic “flood” in Bengaluru is property developers filling up drains, wetlands and lakes and building homes, offices, malls, roads and so on right on top of it. The rainwater has nowhere to go now. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/opinion/columnists/080922/patralekha-chatterjee-indias-sinking-story-can-we-reimagine-our.html  (09 Sept. 2022)

Where roads are rivers: Decoding, fighting a man-made flood. S Vishwanath on the need for multi-pronged approach to overhauling the storm water drainage infra in Bengaluru and implementation of CAG audit recommendations. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/where-roads-are-rivers-decoding-fighting-a-man-made-flood-101662485738501.html (07 Sept. 2022)

S Vishwanath, who has also worked on the Karnataka Water Policy in 2019 and is a technical advisor to the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, explained why this spell of rains is causing unprecedented damage. https://scroll.in/article/1032209/  (06 Sept. 2022)

Leo Saldhana on Bengaluru floods: ‘The corrupt gnawed into every open space … and somehow managed to get building permits’. https://frontline.thehindu.com/the-nation/bengaluru-floods-the-corrupt-gnawed-into-every-open-space-and-somehow-managed-to-get-building-permits/article65865793.ece  (11 Sept. 2022)

Satish Acharya on Bengaluru floods: Whose land is it anyway? https://twitter.com/satishacharya/status/1567352433944444929?s=20&t=JzaCQWNjdiIlPXgfjCBhKA  (07 Sept. 2022)

Map source: Money Control

After parts of Bengaluru were inundated this week, experts try to make sense of the devastation, its causes and the tough solutions needed to prevent a repeat. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/real-estate/mc-explains-the-curious-case-of-bengalurus-floods-9157801.html  (06 Sept. 2022)

Situations similar to the Bengaluru floods have been described in detail in IPCC’s sixth assessment report titled Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability released in March. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/ipcc-warned-that-climate-crisis-and-poor-planning-will-lead-to-sinking-cities-101662644429726.html  (08 Sept. 2022)

Tikender Singh Panwar:- As it is evident, the rainfall pattern is changing dramatically. There is a trend in the increase in rainfall, but the precipitation occurs in a shorter time period. If it continues, this pattern requires resilient infrastructure, and the core of such infrastructure is creating more open spaces rather than usurping them across the country. This will only increase the vulnerability and endanger people’s lives and assets for no fault of theirs. https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/increased-rainfall-urban-flooding-and-the-travesty-of-our-infra-planning-1142695.html  (06 Sept. 2022)

The real issue is not how Bengaluru will survive these floods, but future ones, says Harini Nagendra:- A multi-pronged approach is needed: To desilt lakes so they can hold more water, widen stormwater channels, restore wetlands, and create recharge pits and wells across the city so that rainwater has a way to penetrate the ground. But there are also systemic changes that are needed to challenge the current, blinkered developmental vision that focuses only on real estate-fuelled economic growth. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/sunday-times/all-that-matters/the-real-issue-is-not-how-bengaluru-will-survive-these-floods-but-future-ones-says-harini-nagendra/articleshow/94121300.cms  (11 Sept. 2022)

Harini Nagendra:- Epigraphical inscriptions found on hero stones, temple foundations, pillars, and metal plates reveal the origins of lakes in Bengaluru. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/blessings-and-curses-the-construction-of-lakes-in-bengaluru/article7339775.ece  (22 June 2015) History shows that it was nature that helped Bangalore grow – and now the city is destroying it.  https://scroll.in/article/855516/history-shows-that-it-was-nature-that-helped-bangalore-grow-and-now-the-city-is-destroying-it  (29 Oct. 2017)

T.G. Halli reservoir gates opened after 30 years Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) chairman N. Jayaram told The Hindu that four gates had been opened after 30 years (after 1992) to let out 3,000 cusecs of water. Ironically, water from the reservoir has not been supplied to Bengaluru since 15 years, as it was under maintenance. A new project to counter excess pollution in the water will take a few more months, after which water (3.4 MLD capacity) will be supplied to 10% to 15% of the city from T.G. Halli again, he said.

The water outflow from the reservoir coincided with a bridge connecting Sugganahalli village to Ramanagaram collapsing. PWD officials, who visited the spot, said the bridge was inaugurated in 1983 and would have to be rebuilt now. A large crack was seen on the road leading to the dam, with the police cordoning off the area to prevent the locals from venturing close to the destruction. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/tg-halli-reservoir-gates-opened-after-30-years/article65858839.ece  (06 Sept. 2022)

As heavy rain brought Bengaluru to a standstill on Monday (Sept. 05), Telangana minister KT Rama Rao – who has frequently claimed that his state’s capital city, Hyderabad, is superior to its fellow IT hub and the Karnataka capital – proposed ‘bold reforms’ in urban planning and governance, urging Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri to ‘come up with a plan’. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/on-bengaluru-rain-ktr-proposes-bold-reforms-in-urban-planning-urge-minister-hardeep-puri-to-101662387680854.html  (05 Sept. 2022)

Blatant storm water drain encroachments in Varthur Kodi, residents complain. Width of storm water drain reduced to 6 ft from 16 ft. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/cover-story/drain-storm/articleshow/93991645.cms  (05 Sept. 2022)

The city received more rain in the 24 hours to 8.30 AM Monday than it did in 99.9% of the days since the beginning of the 20th century (the average for the city was 58.5 mm, the 44th highest in any 24-hour period since January 1, 1901). https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/what-explains-massive-flooding-in-bengaluru-101662405726211.html  (06 Sept. 2022)

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board’s (BWSSB) has warned of water supply disruption in several areas of the city for two days as pumping station in the Mandya district is flooded. https://www.hindustantimes.com/photos/news/bengaluru-floods-drinking-water-supply-to-be-stopped-in-city-for-2-days-101662436991435-1.html  (06 Sept. 2022)

CM will be visiting the TK Halli unit of Bengaluru Water Board in Mandya district that will manage the drinking water supply to Bengaluru city due to the rushing of water into the unit following heavy rain on Sunday (Sept. 04) night. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuRs-ISVCmw  (05 Sept. 2022)

Drinking water access to Bengaluru will be stopped for two days as Kaveri drinking water station in Mandya district was inundated. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouqgZrsBLyA  (05 Sept. 2022)

Incessant rain, govt apathy wreak havoc in slum at Bengaluru’s Bellandur. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/incessant-rain-govt-apathy-wreak-havoc-slum-bengaluru-s-bellandur-167579  (06 Sept. 2022)

Residents of Munnekollal locality have had their entire life washed away in overnight rains — food, clothes, groceries, books — it is all gone.  https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/civic/we-have-lost-all-that-we-had/articleshow/94012465.cms  (06 Sept. 2022)

A division bench of the Karnataka High court has directed the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palika (BBMP) to set up a committee that will look into the issue of rain related issues on city roads and file a report. It has asked that ward wise grievance redressal committees should be set up in which the ward engineers should be involved. https://theprint.in/india/karnataka-high-court-orders-bengaluru-civic-body-to-form-panel-to-submit-report-on-potholes/1119935/  (07 Sept. 2022)

According to IMD data, the Bengaluru City observatory recorded 251.4 mm of rainfall in the last four days, including 131.6 mm on Sunday (Sept. 04), the highest 24-hour precipitation in September in 34 years. https://www.ndtv.com/bangalore-news/bengaluru-rain-flooded-living-room-of-villa-evacuation-on-tractor-6-photos-from-bengaluru-rain-3326152  (08 Sept. 2022)

While excessive rainfall is one of the reasons for the city’s woes, many activists are pointing out that this problem is manmade and caused by a design and governance problem. One of the major reasons pointed out by many experts is the encroachment of stormwater drains, which has resulted in much of the flooding.

One man who has been working on clearing encroachments on SWDs for the past few years is Captain (Retd) Santhosh Kumar. The retired army officer returned to his native Muthanallur in Anekal taluk in 2008. He would observe the condition of the lakes and rajakaluves near his house. It was in 2017 that he started getting worried. https://www.thebetterindia.com/296793/ex-army-officer-restores-stormwater-drains-bengaluru-rains-floods-water-logging-solution/ 

Bengaluru’s Outer Ring Road near Bellandur and Sarjapur turned into a river on August 30 and September 5. The News Minute’s Prajwal Bhat breaks down why this particular stretch is prone to flooding. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPh8BVOrCXc  (08 Sept. 2022)

List of stormwater drain encroachments by IT parks, developers compiled by BBMP in Bengaluru’s Mahadevapura zone. Prajwal, The News Minute. https://twitter.com/prajwalmanipal/status/1569287411410284544?s=20   (12 Sept. 2022)

BBMP engineers went to Bagamane Tech park to clear encroachment but Goons didnt allow engineers to clear. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycfeAymKOHU  (12 Sept. 2022)

Despite SC, NGT orders, no action has been taken on the IT SEZ-project on the wetland of Bellandur lake, which led to the flooding in Bengaluru. https://www.news18.com/news/politics/bengaluru-rain-this-illegal-sez-building-has-been-encroaching-upon-bellandur-lake-for-2-yrs-despite-sc-ngt-orders-5922265.html  (09 Sept. 2022)

The flooding of Rainbow Drive is ironic given that it is a pioneer in rainwater harvesting and waste water treatment and one of the few neighbourhoods in Bengaluru’s peripheries that is completely water sustainable. But their current situation is the cumulative result of decades of uninformed decision making at multiple levels – from the state to real estate developers to the individual property owners in the entire area. https://bengaluru.citizenmatters.in/rainbow-drive-layout-or-lake-bengaluru-flood-prone-neighbourhoods-88599  (05 Sept. 2022) https://scroll.in/article/1032186/at-bengalurus-rainbow-drive-a-snapshot-of-the-citys-man-made-flood-challenges  (07 Sept. 2022)

Spread out across 61 acre behind the RMZ Ecospace near Sarjapura Road in Bangalore East, Saul Kere is one of the largest lakes in the area. According to a list released by the BBMP on Friday (Sept. 09), it was one of the 126 lakes which overflowed following the downpour on Sept. 5 in the city.

Saul Kere lake is near the Sarjapura Road in Bangalore East. (Express photo by Jithendra M./TIE)

Located upstream, the Kaikondrahalli lake drains into the Saul Kere lake from where it enters Bellandur and finally flows into the Varthur lake. Experts pointed out that the water holding capacity of the lake being not good is one of the major reasons behind the overflowing of the lake. In 2017 as well, Saul Kere had breached, leading to the inundation of the nearby areas.

A volunteer also pointed out that the Kaikondrahalli lake, which was rejuvenated a few years ago and received applause from the NITI Aayog, is in shambles today. “The government presented Kaikondrahalli lake as an example of how a lake should be rejuvenated. The Union government showered praises. Just look at it and see it today. The lake’s bund has been broken by the people in the neighbourhood and it receives sewage,” he added.

Lake activist Jagadeesh Reddy said, “There are flaws with the rejuvenation of this lake. The lake bund was created unscientifically. Saul Kere receives water from upstream lakes and in between this the drains are encroached which is one of the reasons behind the flooding of the lake. From this lake, the water through the canal enters Bellandur lake and ultimately enters Varthur lake but this canal too has been narrowed down.” https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/lakes-of-bengaluru-saul-kere-overflowed-inundated-areas-around-it-8142831/  (11 Sept. 2022)

The Bengaluru East tahsildar has issued notice to 13 residents of the luxury Rainbow Drive gated community in the city, which was flooded after heavy rain recently, for alleged encroachment of a storm-water drain. The authorities alleged that the residents’ properties block major areas of the culvert, making the layout prone to flooding during the rain.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/rainbow-drive-flooding-some-residents-get-notice-for-encroachment/article65879523.ece  (11 Sept. 2022)

After record rain that flooded many homes in Mahadevapura, residents are now afraid that the dirty water from the polluted Bellandur tank and sewage from drains will engender a new spate of infections. Some areas in Domlur, Bellandur, and its nearby stretches have already complained of foul smell for which the BBMP has already deployed personnel to disinfect the area. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2022/sep/11/as-water-recedes-mahadevapura-residents-now-fear-infections-2497006.html  (11 Sept. 2022)

Report Behind the systemic roots of urban flooding The language is at times confusing, but the essence is clear: Lack of drainage in Urban areas in India leading to increased flood disasters.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/behind-the-systemic-roots-of-urban-flooding-in-india-101662484178630.html (07 Sept. 2022)

Pune Heavy rains cause waterlogging, disrupt power supply.  https://scroll.in/latest/1032603/  (12 Sept. 2022)

The many warnings that Pune ignored before it went under water. https://citizenmatters.in/pune-september-flash-floods-causes-and-aftermath-14109  (04 Oct. 2022)

Delhi Rapid infra growth nullified its natural topography advantage Manoj Misra:- Delhi actually was far more fortunate as a city for it had the ridge and an undulating terrain between the ridge and the river which sheltered the city quite well. Reportedly some 201 storm period streams which together formed catchments of Najafgarh and Barapullah drains, drained the city without any issues every monsoon. Some of them also acted as the source of water to the first few Dillis. In addition, large number of wetlands (reportedly some 800 of them) spread all over the city were recharged during the monsoon and non-monsoon storm events.

In short, Delhi especially the Dilli west of the river Yamuna had no reason to suffer any urban flooding thanks to its natural topography. Just that it failed to account for mindless construction activities sans any concern for its drainage lines and the result is for all to witness and the Delhiites to suffer. Dilli ka monsoon once looked forward to has since been turned into an event to dread. A shame really! https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/bengaluru-news/delhis-rapid-infra-growth-nullified-its-natural-topography-advantage-101662404248796.html  (06 Sept. 2022)

DROUGHT

Vimal Misra:-A classic example of agricultural drought over the Indo-Gangetic Plain during this monsoon season! This might have caused massive groundwater pumping in the region with already depleting groundwater! Source: India Drought Monitor. https://twitter.com/vmishraiit/status/1568098083229282304?s=20&t=a-A709t3Y1JUwl9-P5962A  (09 Sept. 2022)

News9 spoke to agriculture expert Devinder Sharma about some states in India facing a drought-like situation and about how the impending drought can affect the economy of the country. https://www.news9live.com/india/will-rain-deficit-affect-food-security-194779  (09 Sept. 2022)

A severe deficit in the rainfall during monsoon 2022 has affected Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Bihar. However, state governments have shied away from declaring a drought in the states even though Kharif-sowing was badly hit. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/monsoon-2022-why-a-drought-wasn-t-declared-in-4-states-with-drought-like-conditions-84881  (12 Sept. 2022)

LANDSLIDES

Meghalaya Landslide in Sonapur tunnel area Heavy rainfall trigged a massive landslide near the Sonapur tunnel area on Tuesday morning. Vehicular movement on NH – 6 was briefly stopped even as restoration work commenced. As rain continues to pummel the northeastern states, multiple landslides had blocked several roads across Sikkim towards the end of last week. A massive landslide in 20th Mile area between Singtam and Rangpo in East Sikkim blocked NH 20 and cut off Gangtok – the second time in a matter of days that the main highway connecting the Sikkim capital with Siliguri in West Bengal was blocked due to a landslide at the same spot.

More recently on Sunday (Sept. 04), several landslides had blocked the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Ramban district as heavy rains lashed wide parts of Jammu province overnight. Officials said that the landslides and shooting of stones from hillocks overlooking the strategic highway at Cafeteria and Mehad had forced the suspension of vehicular traffic. https://www.timesnownews.com/india/heavy-rainfall-triggers-massive-landslide-in-meghalayas-sonapur-tunnel-area-vehicular-movement-on-nh-6-briefly-stopped-article-94026424  (06 Sept. 2022)

The Chandigarh-Manali highway was blocked to traffic between Mandi and Kullu near 6 Mile in Mandi district this evening due to a massive landslide in the area. As a result, traffic has come to standstill on the highway. A long queue of vehicles was witnessed on both sides of the road at the landslide spot. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/landslide-blocks-chd-manali-nh-429309  (07 Sept. 2022)

Rocks and debris block Jammu-Srinagar national highway after landslide. https://scroll.in/video/1032296/  (07 Sept. 2022)

CLOUD BURSTS

Why cloudburst forecast in India still remains elusive Roxy Mathew Koll Monitoring stations on the ground can hardly capture the cloudburst characteristics due to their highly localised and short occurrence. Hence, most of these events go unreported due to the lack of monitoring mechanisms in the region, weakening our ability to understand these events in complete perspective.

A long-term measure would be mapping the cloudburst-prone regions using automatic rain gauges. If cloudburst-prone regions are co-located with landslide-prone regions, these locations can be designated as hazardous. The risk at these locations would be huge, and people should be moved, and construction and mining in nearby regions should be restricted as that can aggravate the landslides and flash flood impacts. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/why-cloudburst-forecast-in-india-still-remains-elusive/article65872538.ece  (10 Sept. 2022)

Cloudbursts in Indian Himalayas: A review Present paper reviews into the cloudburst mechanism and definition so far available. Though there are very few important studies available on the topic, but nowhere a distinct definition either based on either precipitation threshold amount or on mechanism is given. This study tried to justify and provide such insight for researchers for better understanding as far as cloudburst with the southern rim of the Indian Himalayas is concerned. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0012825216304883  (May 2017)

Uttarakhand House collapses in Pithoragarh after cloudburst At least 50 houses have been submerged in Pithoragarh after a cloudburst was reported in the Dharchula town. The cloudburst – that was reported to have occurred near the India-Nepal border at around 1 am on Saturday (Sept. 10) – has also claimed a life. Videos captured the aftermath and the Kali river in the area in fierce flow. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/houses-collapses-on-camera-50-homes-submerged-in-pithoragarh-after-cloudburst-101662796065328.html  (10 Sept. 2022)

Muddy water carrying debris gushed into the Lasku naala, which choked the flow of the Kali river for some time, said Pithoragarh district magistrate Ashish Chauhan. It created a lake and flooded the area, he added. Five people in Nepal and one elderly woman in Khotila village on the Indian side died. The administration had earlier alerted the villagers about the possibility of very heavy rainfall in the area, following which the locals, nearing about 170, took shelter at higher places.

The cloudburst occurred past midnight in Bangabagar village across the India-Nepal border. The affected village on the Nepal side of the border received 132.2 mm of rainfall, said officials. According to sources, 11 persons have gone missing in Nepal, and at least eight houses were completely damaged there. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/uttarakhand-cloudburst-kills-one-destroys-40-houses-in-pithoragarh/articleshow/94114330.cms  (10 Sept. 2022)

नेपाल के दार्चूला के ऊंचाई वाले क्षेत्र दल लेख में बादल फटने से उफनाए लास्कू नाले ने भारी तबाही मचाई है। इसका पानी काली नदी में जाने से नवगाड़ गांव और महाकाली नगर पालिका में पांच लोगों की मौत हो गई और 11 लोग लापता हैं जबकि 30 से अधिक मकान जमींदोज हो गए हैं। इधर, भारतीय क्षेत्र में भी भारी मात्रा में आए पानी और मलबे की वजह से धारचूला के खोतिला में 36 मकानों में मलबा, पानी भर गया है। घर में घुसे पानी में डूबने से एक महिला की मौत हो गई।

मलबे से सल्ला गांव के आठ मकान समेत कुल 30 मकान जमींदोज हो गए हैं। गांव के बीरा ठगुन्ना को गंभीर चोटें आई है। खलंगा स्थित दशरथनगर का स्कूल बह गया है। दुहु और महाकाली को जोड़ने वाले लास्कू सस्पेंशन पुल और मोटर पुल भी बह गए हैं।दार्चूला तिंकर सड़क पर खड़े चार वाहन बह गए हैं। महाकाली के प्रवाह को रोकने के लिए बनाए गए तटंबध भी क्षतिग्रस्त हो गए है।

धारचूला पीएमजीएसवाई की गलाती रमतोली सड़क भारी बारिश से बंद हो गई है। गलाती पेयजल योजना और छह पुलिया ध्वस्त हो गई हैं जिससे करीब सात हजार से अधिक की आबादी को दिक्कतों का सामना करना पड़ रहा है। https://www.amarujala.com/photo-gallery/dehradun/weather-heavy-rains-landslides-in-uttarakhand-cloud-burst-in-pithoragarh-death-rescue-helicopter-cm-dhami  (11 Sept. 2022)

उस मंजर को याद कर गांव के लोग सहम जाते हैं। ग्रामीणों ने कहा  कि शुक्रवार की रात काली नदी ने ऐसा भयंकर रूप दिखाया कि तल्ला खोतिला गांव जलमग्न हो गया। उस समय सभी लोग नींद में थे। जैसे ही मकानों के भीतर पानी भरने लगा 60 परिवारों के 150 से अधिक लोगों ने सुरक्षित स्थान की ओर दौड़ लगाई। ये परिवार अब घर बार छोड़कर धारचूला के स्टेडियम में रहने के लिए मजबूर हैं। लोगों ने बताया कि घर से निकलते वक्त कोई भी अपने साथ एक तिनका भी नहीं ला पाया। जो जिस हाल में था, वह वैसे ही सुरक्षित स्थान की तरफ भागा। https://www.amarujala.com/amp/photo-gallery/dehradun/disaster-in-uttarakhand-many-houses-collapse-after-cloudburst-woman-told-aapbeeti  (11 Sept. 2022)

Dainik Jagran Image

खोतिला व्यासनगर के पास काली नदी में लगभग दो किमी लंबी झील बनने से व्यासनगर के 50 से अधिक मकान जलमग्न हो गए। https://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/nainital-cloud-burst-in-uttarakhand-nepal-border-many-houses-washed-away-in-pithoragarh-see-the-pics-23058012.html  (10 Sept. 2022) बादल फटने से आए मलबे से काली नदी का प्रवाह प्रभावित होने से बनी झील में खोतिला के व्यास नगर के लगभग पचास मकान जलमग्न हो गए। https://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/nainital-devastation-on-nepal-border-in-pithoragarh-due-to-rain-23057939.html ; https://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/nainital-cloud-burst-in-uttarakhand-nepal-border-many-houses-washed-away-in-pithoragarh-see-the-pics-23058012.html  (10 Sept. 2022)

कुमाऊं में पिथौरागढ़, बागेश्वर, चंपावत और नैनीताल में भारी वर्षा हुई। इधर, देहरादून, टिहरी समेत रुद्रप्रयाग में भी भारी वर्षा दर्ज की गई। करीब छह घंटे के भीतर धारचूला में 140 मिमी, ऊखीमठ में 142 मिमी, चंपावत में 127 मिमी और देहरादून में 107 मिमी वर्षा रिकार्ड की गई। https://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/dehradun-city-uttarakhand-weather-news-heavy-rains-in-dharchula-and-ukhimath-23059388.html  (10 Sept. 2022)

दार्चुला इलाके में बादल फटने से हुई तबाही से जुड़े तमाम पहलुओं का वैज्ञानिक अध्ययन किया जाएगा। वाडिया संस्थान के दो वैज्ञानिकों सपनामिता चौधरी और पिंकी बिष्ट को धारचूला भेजा गया है, जो आपदा का अध्ययन करेंगी।  https://www.amarujala.com/dehradun/uttarakhand-weather-wadia-team-arrived-to-study-dharchula-disaster-in-pithoragarh (12 Sept. 2022)

मुख्यमंत्री पुष्कर सिंह धामी ने कहा कि धारचूला की एलधारा पहाड़ी का उपचार वरुणावत पर्वत की तर्ज पर किया जाएगा। इसके लिए वाडिया इंस्टीट्यूट देहरादून या आईआईटी रुड़की के विशेषज्ञों से सर्वेक्षण कराया जाएगा। उन्होंने यह भी कहा कि धारचूला-मुनस्यारी के सभी आपदा प्रभावितों का विस्थापन किया जाएगा। https://www.amarujala.com/uttarakhand/pithoragarh/treatment-of-eldhara-hill-of-dharchula-will-be-done-on-the-lines-of-varunavat-mountain-cm-pithoragarh-news-hld4753788129  (11 Sept. 2022)

प्रदेश की ग्रीष्मकालीन राजधानी गैरसैंण के विधानसभा परिसर भराड़ीसैंण के पास शनिवार दोपहर करीब डेढ़ बजे बादल फटा। इससे विधानसभा से करीब डेढ़ किलोमीटर दूर हेलीपैड का 20 मीटर लंबा किनारा क्षतिग्रस्त हो गया। साथ ही चोरड़ा गांव के जंगल में बांज, बुरांश, फनियाट के सैकड़ों पेड़ मलबे में दब गए। घटना में कोई जनहानि नहीं हुई है। इसके अलावा मल्ला दारमा के ग्राम सोबला तोक झिमीर गांव भेती नाले में बदल फटने से बीआरओ की तवाघाट सोबला सड़क पर भेती नाले में एक बेली ब्रिज बहने की सूचना मिली है। बादल फटने के कारण अचानक धौली नदी और महाकाली का जल स्तर बढ़ गया है। फिलहाल जनहानि की कोई सूचना नही है। धारचूला में भी बादल फटने की खबर है।  https://www.amarujala.com/dehradun/cloud-bursts-in-gairsain-damaged-helipad-near-assembly-complex-hundreds-of-trees-buried-under-the-rubble  (31 July 2022)

ENERGY OPTIONS

Study Solar, wind power not so green 85% of India’s renewable energy projects, specially solar power projects sit on agriculture and eco-sensitive lands, says a new study: “An artificial intelligence dataset for solar energy locations in India” published in “Nature” and conducted by the Nature Conservancy India and Microsoft. The solar and wind projects of 45 GW capacity are set up on: 67.6% on agri lands (800 sq km) and 18.7% (280 sq km) on eco sensitive land. It recommends greater use of roof tops, waste lands and lands used for roads, canals, reservoirs, coal mines, etc. https://www.deccanherald.com/science-and-environment/solar-wind-power-not-so-green-may-hit-food-basket-too-study-1143626.html  (09 Sept. 2022)

ENVIRONMENT GOVERNANCE

Opinion How India lost its global steward leadership in environment conservation From the centre stage of global environmental stewardship in the 1970s and 1980s, India is now the worst performing nation in the world. A critical look at 75 years of India’s performance on environment policy and action. Sridhar Radhakrishnan

In 2014, the right-wing BJP government led by Narendra Modi came to power. It marked the beginning of an era in which the environment became the least priority. The Union government has claimed it launched several environmental initiatives, such as the National Clean Air Programme, Namami Ganga Programme, the much hyped Swachh Bharat Mission, and recently the National Hydrogen Mission. But we also saw the government tactfully and meticulously weaken all the laws that prevent exploitation of the environment.  One of the first decisions of the Modi government in 2014 was to remove all hurdles to investment in the name of ease of doing business. A ban on setting up more factories in industrial belts classified as “critically polluted” was lifted.

The powerful National Board for Wildlife (NBWL), which has 47 members, never met even once at least until 2020. All approvals, which till date comes to an unprecedented 99% of the applications, were given by a down sized Standing Committee of the NBWL. In July 2017, the government through a finance bill tried to literally strip away the autonomy of the National Green Tribunal, a legally empowered watchdog of the environment, but the Supreme Court intervened in 2019 and struck it down.

TNM

Although environmentally violative activities across India continue unabated, most of them face challenges, both popularly and in the courts. This includes the threat on the Aravali in Gurgaon, the Aarey in Mumbai, the Kachhua sanctuary for turtles in Varanasi, which is critical for the success of the Namami Ganga project. In Madhya Pradesh, the proposed Ken-Betwa river linking project threatens to destroy 6,000 hectares of Panna tiger reserve and the chopping down of an estimated 46 lakh trees. The Bullet Train project in Maharashtra threatens tens of thousands of mangroves. Repeated flash floods and landslides occur in Uttarakhand every year. Hundreds of people are killed and property destroyed. But dams and other development projects continue to get patronage from the government leading to massive cutting down of trees and destruction of the fragile ecosystems. Coal mining clearance in virgin forest areas continues, as in Chattisgarh Hasdeo Arand region in Sarguja, one of the largest forest patches in Central India. This was declared a no-mining zone in 2010 by the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests, but this has hence been revoked.

The attempt to amend and dilute the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification of 2006 with a diluted one in 2020 was opposed not only by experts but also by lakhs of students and youth. The government was taken aback by the unprecedented response and soon abandoned the effort. Later, on other pretexts, they did retaliatory crack down on activists, arresting them under sedition charges, an act that further brought shame to the government. Yet, this government has weakened the EIA 2006 notification more than a dozen times in the last four years through various orders.

It is no hidden fact that even with penalising provisions, India has one of the worst polluted rivers in the world. A study conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board in 2018 found that 351 out of more than 400 rivers in India are polluted.

The worst also happened this year of “Amrit Mahotsav”. India ranks at the bottom of 180 countries assessed by the Global Environmental Performance Index (EPI), established as a data-based summary of sustainability worldwide. From the centre stage of global environmental stewardship in the 1970s and 1980s, India is now the worst performing nation in the world in just 30 years. This is primarily owing to two leaders and their world view.

There has always been hope. India has been a nation of active civil society engagements on all critical issues it faces. Such movements were mostly led by villagers, tribal communities, activists, enlightened and committed scientists and officials and in some cases even political leaders. Such efforts were also supported in many cases by a few journalists, advocates, writers and socio-cultural leaders.

The question now is whether India will ever return to be the global leader in environmental stewardship. The possibilities are bleak. But the aspiration of the Indian government for an “Amrit Kaal” in the next 25 years, can only be achieved if we have a government that will drive an eco restorative transformation. A pro-active eco-literate government, to be more specific, one such Prime Minister, is what this nation needs desperately. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/how-india-lost-its-global-steward-leadership-environment-conservation-167601  (06 Sept. 2022)

Arunachal Pradesh Oil exploration proj put on hold due to lack of forest clearance: Min Petroleum exploration activities in Tirap district had to be put on hold for want of necessary clearances from the state forest department as well as the union environment ministry, Geology & Mining Minister Kamlung Mossang told the assembly on Thursday (Sept. 08).  A standing committee of the National Board of Wildlife (NBWL), too, is yet to give its nod to the project, which was to be undertaken in the vicinity of national park, Mossang said, responding to a question from Congress MLA Wanglin Lowangdong.

Mossang also said that the Oil India Limited (OIL) had initially submitted two clearance proposals to the state forest department and the union environment ministry in 2016 and 2017, respectively. “The Stage 1 clearance was accorded by the Centre in August 2020 but Stage 2 wasn’t,” he said.

As the Dihing-Pataki wildlife sanctuary, located 10 kms from the petroleum exploration site at Deomali, was declared a national park in June last year by the Assam government, an NBWL clearance was also needed, the proposal for which is pending with the neighbouring state, the minister explained. Responding to another query, Environment & Forest Minister Mama Natung said “the project won’t be able to progress till the time an area around the park is marked as eco-sensitive zone.” Work can be undertaken only beyond the demarcated zone. The Supreme Court has directed that every national park and wildlife sanctuary in the country will have to have mandatory eco-sensitive zone. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/09/09/oil-exploration-proj-put-on-hold-in-arunachal-due-to-lack-of-forest-clearance-min/  (09 Sept. 2022)

CLIMATE CHANGE

Study World on brink of 5 ‘disastrous’ climate tipping points The climate crisis has driven the world to the brink of multiple “disastrous” tipping points, according to a major study. It shows five dangerous tipping points may already have been passed due to the 1.1C of global heating caused by humanity to date, including: The collapse of Greenland’s ice cap, eventually producing a huge sea level rise, The collapse of a key current in the north Atlantic, disrupting rain upon which billions of people depend for food, An abrupt melting of carbon-rich permafrost.

– At 1.5C of heating, the minimum rise now expected, four of the five tipping points move from being possible to likely, the analysis said. Also at 1.5C, an additional five tipping points become possible, including Changes to vast northern forests, The loss of almost all mountain glaciers 

– In total, the researchers found evidence for 16 tipping points, with the final six requiring global heating of at least 2C to be triggered, according to the scientists’ estimations. The tipping points would take effect on timescales varying from a few years to centuries. Passing one tipping point is often likely to help trigger others, producing cascades. But this is still being studied and was not included, meaning the analysis may present the minimum danger. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/08/world-on-brink-five-climate-tipping-points-study-finds  (08 Sept. 2022)

Ladakh Global warming has been leading to melting glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalayan Range, where Ladakh’s located. This has caused a water crisis in the region. https://theprint.in/india/melting-glaciers-water-scarcity-exodus-how-climate-change-reality-is-biting-ladakh-villages/1123797/  (12 Sept. 2022)

Opinion Adaptation is best seen as a long-term anti-poverty measure whose policy relevance grows as the zone of climate vulnerability expands on the Indian map by Aditya Valiathan Pillai. https://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/forging-a-national-consensus-on-climate-adaptation-is-key-101662482855567.html  (07 Sept. 2022)

Video Climate Change and its impact on agriculture and farmers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lK2WVpFWlDA  (25 May 2022)

SOUTH ASIA

India-Bangladesh Treaty to share Kushiyara water signed For the first time in 26 years, India and Bangladesh Tuesday signed a treaty to share the water of a key transboundary river, Kushiyara, while the long-pending pact to share the waters of Teesta River — a politically-sensitive issue for Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina — continued to remain stuck.

The plan to sign the river agreement was finalised last month when the India-Bangladesh joint river commission met in New Delhi after 12 years. At that time, it was also agreed by both sides to expand cooperation to areas like addressing pollution in rivers. India has been sharing real-time flood data with Bangladesh, the period of which has now been extended, said sources. However, sources added, Hasina will have to hard-sell the Kushiyara treaty back home as her constituency has been demanding the Teesta pact for several years now. https://theprint.in/india/india-bangladesh-ink-treaty-to-share-kushiyara-river-water-teesta-pact-remains-stuck/1118738/  (06 Sept. 2022)

India and Bangladesh have welcomed the establishment of a joint technical committee that will study the use of the Ganga waters in Bangladesh, a joint statement issued on the third day of the visit of PM Sheikh Hasina has announced. The technical committee on the Ganga is one of the several initiatives that the two sides announced that included several major connectivity and energy initiatives. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-bangladesh-welcome-panel-on-use-of-ganga-waters/article65863157.ece  (07 Sept. 2022)

Why is the Kushiyara river treaty between India and Bangladesh important? https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/explained-why-is-the-kushiyara-river-treaty-between-india-and-bangladesh-important/article65874597.ece  (11 Sept. 2022)

IWT Pakistan demands another round of water talks with India Pakistan has demanded to hold another round of water talks with India in October to discuss issues pertaining to sharing of water resources under the Indus Water Agreement. Pak’s Indus Water Commissioner Syed Mehar Ali Shah has penned down a letter to his Indian counterpart in this regard. Pakistan has demanded with India to convene a meeting on India’s water projects including Pakal Dul. The last meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) was held in May 2022. Islamabad’s position on the project was that the design of the project could affect the flow of the Chenab River in Pakistan. This would have a direct impact on the agricultural areas adjacent to Head Marala, a major reservoir near Sialkot. https://nation.com.pk/2022/09/09/pakistan-demands-another-round-of-water-talks-with-india/  (09 Sept. 2022)

Pakistan Lake Manchar is Overflowing

NASA satellite photos of lake Manchar in Sindh (the largest freshwater lake of Pakistan) in Pakistan between June 25 (when it was mostly empty) Aug 28 (when it was full on the verge of overflowing) and on Sept 5 (when it was manually breached to release excess water to avoid the threat of explosive breach into dense populated areas). https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/150306/lake-manchar-is-overflowing  (07 Sept. 2022)

Pakistan needs to employ another 435 years of flood-protection measures to mitigate flood-like situations in future, according to a 2021 study. The study titled Residual Flood Damage Under Intensive Adaptation, published in journal Nature, calculated the extent of flood-protection levels, which countries need to employ in terms of years. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/natural-disasters/flood-protection-measures-pakistan-is-in-for-a-long-haul-84773  (08 Sept. 2022)

Flood losses likely to slash GDP to 3% from 5%. https://indianexpress.com/article/world/flood-losses-likely-to-slash-pakistans-gdp-to-3-per-cent-from-5-per-cent-8142316/  (10 Sept. 2022)

EUROPE

UK Wildlife lover and artist records 5 decades of change on iconic river The Itchen and other rivers like it have been called England’s coral reefs due to their biodiversity.

They are like small watersheds the world over that get little attention, but where the web of life is unraveling due to human-induced change. In such unsung places, local activists often step up to document and preserve nature. https://news.mongabay.com/2022/09/wildlife-lover-and-artist-records-5-decades-of-change-on-iconic-u-k-river/  (07 Sept. 2022)

Spain Over-consumption, drought reduce lake in vital wetland to puddle The largest permanent lake in Spain’s Doñana national park, one of Europe’s biggest and most important wetlands, has shrivelled to a small puddle as years of drought and overexploitation take their toll on the aquifer that feeds the area and sustains millions of migrating birds. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/05/santa-olalla-lake-dries-up-in-vital-spanish-wetland-blamed-on-overexploitation  (05 Sept. 2022)

The Dolmen of Guadalperal, a Bronze Age stone monument newly exposed by plummeting water levels in Europe, is now imperiled by tourists. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/09/science/stonehenge-spain-guadalperal-archaeology.html  (09 Sept. 2022)

THE REST OF THE WORLD

South Africa Jagersfontein tailings dam failure by Dave Petley On 11 September 2022 a catastrophic tailings dam failure occurred at the Jagersfontein diamond mine in South Africa. Reports indicate that at least three people have been killed and about 40 people have been hospitalised by the failure. The image shows a large breach in the southern wall of the facility. 

It appears that the pond, which is about 1 km long and 500 m wide, has largely emptied.  Many houses downstream of the facility have been inundated. Worryingly, the satellite images also indicate that the tailings have entered the main channel. Once again, a major tailings failure has caused loss of life and severe environmental damage.  This event, in a facility in which mining has ceased, will further raise questions about the long term stewardship of these facilities. https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2022/09/12/jagersfontein/  (12 Sept. 2022)

Helicopter footage shows the degree of devastation wrought by a burst dam wall on the town of Jagersfontein in the Free State. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNcbLhwcI8A  (12 Sept. 2022)

USA California: Drought, record heat, fires, and now maybe floods “This is perhaps the singularly most unusual and extreme weather week in quite some time in California — and that is saying something. Whew,” Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, wrote on his western weather blog. https://www.financialexpress.com/world-news/california-drought-record-heat-fires-and-now-maybe-floods/2661970/  (10 Sept. 2022)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 05 Sept 2022 & DRP News Bulletin 29 Aug 2022  

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

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