(Feature Image:- The construction of the Polavaram dam across the Godavari river has posed a big threat to the Pulasa fish, as its movement to the upstream of the river could be curtailed. HT PHOTO).
Telangana state has demanded fresh backwater study for the Polavaram dam based on a number of grounds including the higher spillway capacity and outdated river cross sections of 1990s used in the old study. The changing rainfall pattern and resultant changing river flow pattern, both due to changed rainfall and changed state of catchment area also should be a reason for such a fresh study. However, more importantly, the study needs to be done in a credible way involving independent experts, not just state or central govt officials or academics from govt run institutions. Moreover, the study and all the information related to it has to be completely and promptly in public domain as these studies are required for the affected people and affected area. Normally Central Water Commission does such studies and refuses to make it public. What is the use or reason for backwater study to be secret? Possibly CWC is not confident of the quality of the study and that is why it is very important to have experts in the study team who are known to take independent stand. It is useful not only for the states of Telangana, Odisha and Chhattisgarh, but also for the people of Andhra Pradesh too. And earlier this is done, better it will be for all concerned.
Polavaram Dam Telangana seeks fresh study on backwater effects The Telangana govt has appealed to the Centre to commission an independent study to observe the effects on the backwaters of Godavari river due to the construction of Polavaram major irrigation project in Andhra Pradesh, persons in the know of the development said on Sept 23 2022.
– In a letter to Union irrigation secretary Pankaj Kumar on Wednesday, Telangana special chief secretary (irrigation) Rajat Kumar said a committee of a technical team comprising of chief engineers from all riparian states — Telangana, AP, Chhattisgarh and Odisha — besides experts from Central Water Commission and National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) may be constituted to study the backwater effects of Polavaram project on the riparian states. “There is every need for transparency in sharing the data and formulating a sound technical solution acceptable to all,” Kumar said, in the wake of the Centre calling for a meeting of all officials of the riparian states in Delhi on September 29 to study the issue. In his letter, Kumar expressed apprehension that Telangana would witness massive submergence all along for about 30 km stretch upstream from the Telangana-AP border on either side of the Godavari river due to the Polavaram backwaters once the project was completed.
– The Telangana official pointed out that technical studies for backwater effect were carried out by the CWC only for a probable maximum flood of 36 lakh cusecs flood as against designed 50 lakh cusecs. “This would pose threat to the historical temple town of Bhadrachalam with adjoining villages, the critical Manuguru Heavy Water Plant & Bhadradri Thermal plant all upstream of Polavaram,” he said. Kumar said the studies on backwater effect were based on the river cross sections surveyed prior to 1990, but the river course had undergone several changes in the last 30 years due to climate change, land use, sedimentation etc. “So, a fresh survey has to be conducted on the cross sections of the river upstream of Polavaram,” he said. Kumar said the backwater effect of Polavaram would also result in local drainage congestion along the river banks & local streams like Peddavagu, Edullavagu, Pamuleruvagu, Turubakavagu etc joining the river Godavari causing loss & destruction in the areas in Telangana. This would result in submergence of around 60 villages & a huge extent of agricultural lands, he said. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/telangana-seeks-fresh-study-on-backwater-effects-of-polavaram-project-101663958123025.html (24 Sep 2022)
HYDRO POWER PROJECTS
Uttarakhand HC issues directions to halt muck dumping near Chamoli temple The Uttarakhand high court has issued directions to halt dumping of muck in the vicinity of 8-9 century old Laxmi Narayan temple cluster built on the Alaknanda River in Chamoli district’s Haat village by Vishnugad Pipalkoti Hydro Electric Project authorities. The directions were issued by the division bench of chief justice Vipin Sanghi and justice Ramesh Chandra Khulbe while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) on Sept 21 2022 filed by Haat Gram Sabha through its Pradhan. The next hearing in the matter has been fixed for December 6, 2022. Akash Vashishtha, counsel of the petitioner, said the court also issued notices to the Union ministry of culture, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), ministry of environment and forests, the Uttarakhand government, State Pollution Control Board and Uttarakhand directorate of culture, seeking their responses within four weeks.
– The PIL stated that last year taking cognisance of the cultural importance of the village and ancient temple structures, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) also recommended restoring the entire village in its letter to the World Bank and THDC India Ltd. “Due to the high significance attached to the ancient temple site and Haat village, we urge THDC to recognise the ancient temples and remains as assets of national importance, and the funding agency – World Bank – to restore the impacted sites and also conserve the historic village in entirety as part of the project, to encourage the World Bank mandate of sustainable livelihood,” the latter stated. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/dehradun-news/uttarakhand-hc-issues-directions-to-halt-muck-dumping-near-chamoli-temple-101663864574339.html (22 Sept. 2022)
अपने अस्तित्व के लिए जूझती शंकराचार्य की बसाई ‘छोटी काशी’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_lJ55obiJ8 (24 Sept. 2022)
Power component cost of Kishau dam, if hiked, be borne by 4 states: CM At a meeting between Union WR Minister and CMs of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana on Sept 21 2022 it was decided that the increased power component cost of the controversial 660 MW Kishau Dam will be shared by the power beneficiary states of Haryana, Rajasthan, UP and Delhi. The project is being implemented by Kishau Corp Ltd, a joint venture between Uttarakhand and HP. The project cost at March 2018 price level is Rs 11550 cr, but the project DPR is still in the process of being done, the cost is expected to go up hugely. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/power-component-cost-of-kishau-dam-if-hiked-be-borne-by-4-states-pushkar-singh-dhami/94362941 (22 Sept. 2022)
Arunachal Pradesh NHPC’ Subansiri dam partially damaged in flooding A guard wall at the powerhouse of the NHPC’s much-delayed 2,000 mw Subansiri hydro project along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh boundary collapsed due to rising water level in the Subansiri river, officials said on Sunday (Sept. 25). The incident took place on Saturday (Sept. 24) night due to the overflowing of the Subansiri river, and the company has evacuated all its workers from the powerhouse, where all the machinery is located, they said.
Another NHPC official said that the damage is recognised as a threat to the ongoing last phase of construction work of the powerhouse, which is almost ready. On Friday (Sept. 23), one of the diversion tunnels at the project got damaged due to landslides. No person was injured in the incident, a senior official said. According to NHPC consultant AN Mohammed, the landslides at the tunnel had no effect on the main Subansiri project.
“The cavity above the diversion tunnel number two is being filled up and stabilised, though the works are being hampered due to rainfall in the project area during the last few days,” he said in a statement. The company had constructed five diversion tunnels as temporary measures to divert the river for the construction of the dam foundation. However, two diversion tunnels – tunnel number five was blocked in the outlet in 2020, and tunnel number two was blocked near the entry point on September 16 – due to landslides.
The construction work of the ambitious project at Gerukamukh along the Assam-Arunachal border was stalled from December 2011 to 14 October, 2019, due to protests by locals and many groups, fearing safety and downstream impact. According to a company estimate in January 2020, the cost of the mega project, which was scheduled to be commissioned in December 2012, has escalated to around Rs 20,000 crore from the initial worth of Rs 6,285 crore. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/09/26/nhpcs-2000-mw-subansiri-dam-partially-damaged-in-flooding/ (26 Sept. 2022)
SIC imposes penalties on EEs The State Information Commissioner (SIC) on Sept 22 2022 imposed a penalty of Rs 25,000 on the Geku (Upper Siang) Hydropower Division Executive Engineer (EE) for failing to furnish information sought by appellants Rajesh Paron and Isaac Ejing, and also directed the EE to pay Rs 5,000 as compensation to the appellants. Disciplinary action under Section 20 (2) of the RTI Act, 2005, will be initiated if the EEs fail to comply with the orders, the SIC said. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/09/23/sic-imposes-penalties-on-ees/ (23 Sep 2022)
Sikkim A tweet by Sunil Saraogi, Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to CM Prem Singh Golay inviting investors to invest in Sikkim hydro projects has raised a furore on the social media. https://www.eastmojo.com/sikkim/2022/09/24/sikkim-tweet-inviting-investors-to-sikkim-hydro-projects-faces-social-media-wrath/ (24 Sept. 2022)
Himachal Pradesh A Decade Of Resisting Law That Gives Adivasis Rights Over Forests Manshi Asher:- Climate change-induced floods, landslides have ravaged a land of mountains. Yet, successive state governments continued to seek exemptions from settling the land rights of forest-dwellers—stewards of forest lands—as mandated by law. They diverted forests for dams, industry in violation of the Forest Rights Act. Though 70% of its land is under forests, only 164 land titles have been distributed in Himachal, 15 years after the law was enacted. https://article-14.com/post/a-decade-of-resisting-law-that-gives-adivasis-rights-over-forests-climate-disasters-for-himachal-pradesh–632a76b4c9269 (21 Sept. 2022)
Sardar Sarovar Dam Prime Minister’s address to the Environment Ministers of India at Kevadia on Sept 23, 2022. It has a number of statements that are problematic without full explanation, and there are some that are not correct about Sardar Sarovar Project and why it is still incomplete even today. These statements have been wrongly quoted by the media to possibly spread fear psychosis among people raising questions about such projects, which should not be the case if we have any belief in democratic governance. https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetailm.aspx?PRID=1861687
The PIB PR about the meeting actually calls for people’s participation, campaigns and movements! That would surely need transparency and questioning of wrong decisions where needed? https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1861958
PM redefines the role of environment ministries: to provide environment clearances quickly! https://theprint.in/environment/urban-naxals-stalled-narmada-project-modi-tells-environment-ministers-urges-faster-clearances/1139880/ (23 Sept. 2022)
CWC As per reservoir storage bulletin dated 22.09.2022, live storage available in these reservoirs is 156.111 BCM, which is 88% of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs.
However, last year the live storage available in these reservoirs for the corresponding period was 138.154 BCM and the average of last 10 years live storage was 133.804 BCM. Thus, the live storage available in 143 reservoirs as per 22.09.2022 Bulletin is 113% of the live storage of corresponding period of last year and 117% of storage of average of last ten years. http://cwc.gov.in/sites/default/files/22092022-fb.pdf
INTERLINKING OF RIVERS
Why Bedti-Varada river linking project is not technically feasible The adverse effects that will be caused by the interlinking of rivers and diversions from the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats terrain, are not to be overlooked. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/water/why-the-bedti-varada-river-inter-linking-project-is-not-technically-feasible-84074 (01 Aug. 2022)
INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES
Rajasthan-Punjab Gehlot urges Punjab to stop direct flow of polluted water into rivers through Harike barrage The polluted water of Ludhiana city of Punjab through Budha Nullah and the urban and industrial waste of cities/towns situated near Sutlej river through drains reaches Harike barrage, Gehlot told Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann in his letter on (Sept. 19). Gehlot asked the Punjab CM to direct his government officials to complete the construction of STP and CETP under the Budha Nullah Rejuvenation Project in Punjab on time and to stop the flow of untreated waste directly into the rivers/nullahs.
CM further said, “The water coming from Harike barrage is released into Rajasthan feeder (Indira Gandhi feeder) and Ferozepur feeder. Water is provided for irrigation and drinking purposes through Indira Gandhi feeder in western Rajasthan and through Ferozepur feeder in Hanumangarh and Sri Ganganagar districts. He wrote in the letter that Rajasthan is getting polluted water from Harike barrage. There has been a demand from time to time by the farmers and general public of this area to stop the supply of polluted water”.
On August 28, 2022, a joint inspection of Budha Nullah and Sutlej river was done by the Principal Secretary of the Water Resources Department with the officials of Punjab and Rajasthan. During inspection it was found that the untreated waste is flowing into Budha Nullah which is reaching Harike barrage through river Sutlej, according to his letter. Whereas Municipal Corporation and Punjab Pollution Board have communicated to the Rajasthan government that STP and CETP are under construction for treatment of waste. https://www.thestatesman.com/india/gehlot-urges-punjab-to-stop-direct-flow-of-polluted-water-into-rivers-through-harike-barrage-1503112961.html (20 Sept. 2022)
Tamil Nadu- Andhra Pradesh TN flays Andhra’s plan to increase capacity of Pullur check dam Opposing Andhra CM’s announcement that the capacity of Pullur check dam near the Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh border would be increased by 2 TMC at a cost of ₹120 crore, AIADMK interim general secretary and former CM Edappadi K. Palaniswami on September 25 urged the ruling DMK Government to move the court and stop it. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/palaniswami-opposes-andhras-plan-to-increase-capacity-of-pullur-check-dam/article65934165.ece (25 Sept. 2022) https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/ammk-ttv-dhinakaran-opposes-andhras-plan-to-increase-pullur-check-dams-capacity/article65933830.ece (25 Sept. 2022)
RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS
River cruise service between Varanasi & Bogibeel to begin next year: Sonowal India’s “longest river cruise service” will begin early next year between Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Bogibeel in Assam, traversing a distance of more than 4,000 km, Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has said. The route will connect rivers Ganga and Brahmaputra via Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBRP), the Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) stated.
The Union Minister laid the foundation stone for the construction of floating jetties at Bogibeel and Guijan, besides inaugurating the Bogibeel Riverfront Passenger Jetty which has been built by the Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR) as part of the development initiatives near the bridge. The two floating jetties at Bogibeel in Dibrugarh district and Guijan in Tinsukia will be constructed as state-of-art terminals at an estimated cost of ₹8.25 crore, using advanced and updated technology. The project is scheduled to be completed by Feb, 2023, the Minister said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/river-cruise-service-between-varanasi-and-assams-bogibeel-to-begin-next-year-sonowal/article65912938.ece (20 Sep 2022)
Rajasthan WAPCOS of Union WR Ministry contradicts Union WR minister Shekhawat regarding DPR of Rajasthan Project over dependability issue for ERCP. https://www.bhaskar.com/local/rajasthan/jaipur/news/the-dpr-which-the-union-minister-shekhawat-told-is-wrong-the-company-of-his-own-ministry-told-it-to-be-right-said-it-is-wrong-to-raise-the-question-130346374.html (22 Sept. 2022)
Mahanadi; Cuttack Riverfront plan hits NGT wall, no construction allowed “There is clear anticipated danger of flooding. We are guided by ‘precautionary principle’ under section 20 of the NGT Act.” The 426 acre of river bed was reclaimed by dumping sand dredged from the reservoir area of Jobra barrage over a stretch of 5 km in length and width 0.5 km to 1.2 km upstream up to a height of 6 feet. The bench said, “While 2/3rd of reclaimed land be developed as a dense forest, the remaining 1/3rd may be developed as parks/playgrounds without any permanent or temporary constructions but without allowing any commercial activities. It is made clear that no concretisation of any sort will be allowed on the entire 426 acre of land.
While allowing Baliyatra on 34 acre of land, all due precautions for maintaining sanitation and hygiene shall be observed.” It further stated that area where forest is to be developed may be handed over to the Forest department after demarcation. “Rest of the area be maintained by concerned local body/Flood and Irrigation department, as may be decided by the Odisha government,” the green panel ordered while ruling out restoration of the reclaimed river bed on grounds of viability.
Acting on two petitions, the Tribunal had appointed a committee to assess the ecological impact and combined hazard vulnerability of the reclaimed river bed. The tribunal observed, “We further agree with the recommendations of the committee that while Baliyatra ground (34 acre) may be retained, though in floodplain zone, there should be no expansion and concretisation or compacting of the said ground. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2022/sep/24/mahanadi-riverfront-plan-hits-ngt-wall-no-construction-allowed-2501450.html (24 Sept. 2022)
Aji, Rajkot Govt approves Rs171cr for 1st phase of riverfront project The state government has given in-principle approval to give Rs.171.95 crore for the first phase of the proposed Aji riverfront project involving further development of Ramnath Mahadev temple, Rajkot Mayor Pradip Dav announced on Friday (Sept. 16). In an official release, the mayor said that the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) had sought Rs187 crore grant for the first phase of the proposed Aji river front project. The first phase includes developing a one-kilometre long stretch of the river near Ramnathpara and further development of Ramnathpara Mahadev temple.
“For the said project, the state government, under the Swarnim Jayanti Mukhya Mantri Shaheri Vikas Yojana has given in-principle approval to allocate Rs171.95 crore for development of Ramnathpara Mahadev temple and the Aji river front and thereby create a unique identity to the city,” the release quoted the mayor as saying. The RMC has plans to develop a riverfront along the 10-kilometre long stretch of Aji river, beginning from the Aji river bridge of the National Highway 27 on the eastern outskirts of the city to the Aji river bridge on Morbi Bypass Road in the north-western outskirts of the city. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/rajkot/govt-approves-rs-171-cr-for-first-phase-of-aji-river-front-project-8156060/ (16 Sept. 2022)
Gomti; Lucknow LMC sanctions ₹47 crore for Lakshman statue project The executive committee of the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC), on Sunday (Sept. 18) and cleared a budget of ₹47.11 crore for the 111 ft Lakshman statue project while expressing its displeasure over the irrigation department’s delay in granting NOC for the project. The LMC had sought the NOC from the irrigation department, through a letter on June 6. However, the NOC has been held up as the department stated that the place where the LMC wanted the statue installed was a flood zone.
Some officials claimed that the irrigation department official who delayed the NOC was known to create hurdles in important projects. Guru Govind Singh ward corporator, Shravan Nayak, who is also an LMC executive committee member said, “The same irrigation department, (who delayed the NOC) never had the courage to oppose development of Samtamoolak crossing and Gomti river front but has trouble with the statue of Lord Lakshaman.”
Executive engineer, irrigation department, Satypriya said, “The decision is to be taken at the higher level. All I can say is that presently the NOC is not given to LMC for installation of Lord Laskhman statue. As per a mandate of February 3, 1992, the place where the river banks and marginal embankments are constructed, the distance between the two embankments is marked as flood zone and any construction is prohibited in these areas.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/lucknow-news/lmc-sanctions-rs-47-crore-for-lakshman-statue-project-in-lucknow-101663529057038.html (19 Sept. 2022)
Hindon; Ghaziabad Riverfront, development of STPs part of river revival plan Ghaziabad district will prepare a proposal for the revival and rejuvenation of river Hindon as part of a combined work plan to be submitted by the Saharanpur and Meerut divisions to the CMO. District officials said that their measures will be part of the plan being prepared by the Meerut division.
Earlier in 2019, the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) planned a four-kilometre riverfront on the lines of the Gomti riverfront in Lucknow. However, the plan could not materialise as per kilometre cost was estimated at ₹50 crore. The city at present has 10 drains which release untreated waste into the river. Ghaziabad municipal corporation recently said that a ₹599 crore project was approved by the government for the development of sewerage networks in Sahibabad, including the construction of a 68 MLD capacity STP which will tap three of the 10 drains.
According to the UPPCB, the river Hindon has been classified in the lowest class E category whose water is not fit for drinking, bathing and propagation of aquatic life. “There have been a host of different plans chalked out by different agencies in the past 15-20 years but none of them has materialised to revive the river. The river’s water quality has gone from bad to worse and there has been no sincere attempt by any government agency so far to remedy the situation. The river is exposed to industrial effluents, discharge from drains and other polluted water sources,” said Akash Vashishtha, city-based environmentalist and lawyer.
According to the state pollution board’s “Action plan for restoration of polluted stretch of river Hindon,” the stretch of river Hindon from Saharanpur to Ghaziabad has 31 drains of which 29 are untapped while the remaining two are partially tapped. Together, these drains discharge about 674.03 MLD into the river which also includes untreated discharge. The report also states that the entire stretch has 10 STPs which include eight in Ghaziabad and one each in Saharanpur and Muzaffarnagar. Together, the STPs have an installed capacity of 524.5 MLD and their utilised capacity is about 224 MLD. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/noida-news/riverfront-development-of-stps-part-of-ghaziabad-s-plan-for-revival-of-river-hindon-101663093181666.html (13 Sept. 2022)
Ganga; Varanasi Impact of floods on Namo Ghat, Varanasi. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=196mI_mxyk0 (10 Sept. 2022)
World Rivers Day 2022 Restoring healthy, free-flowing rivers Venkatesh Dutta:- It is also important to mention that we should move beyond the river channel and look for developing connectivity – from upstream to downstream, groundwater connectivity to improve the base flow, wetland connectivity, and connectivity of riparian vegetation. The most important is re-establishing the relationships and processes that occur on a watershed scale. To rehabilitate degraded river streams, we should focus on restoration processes that are based on ecological principles. The traditional hard-engineering approach is not suitable for long-term resilience of natural ecosystems.
Riverfront projects may be beneficial in enhancing economic and social engagement along the river, but they may also restrict ecological processes that occur in the river and the floodplains. The re-modelling of a river from a meandering channel to a single-channel could be visually impressive in the urban stretch, but it would be unsuitable for the river’s health and overall landscape features of the area.
It is imperative that substantial improvements must be made to the ecological condition of the river. The river and the surrounding ecosystem should become more self-sustaining and tolerant to external disturbances of floods, droughts or pollution threats with the barest minimum amount of follow-up care.
The idea of river basin management is still in its initial stages. Inadequate tool kits and lack of knowledge in technical aspects of restoration science among line departments make things difficult. Many cities developed their master plans, but did not consider avenues for circularity of water. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/up-restoring-healthy-free-flowing-rivers/articleshow/94428728.cms (25 Sept. 2022)
Why we need a new relationship with nature, water & river ecosystems In recent years the Ganga and other rivers in India have been facing a serious threat from pollution, dams, construction, sand mining and other human activities, impacting people and species dependent on them for their existence. (Sumaira Abdulali) https://www.forbesindia.com/article/take-one-big-story-of-the-day/world-rivers-day-2022-why-we-need-a-new-relationship-with-nature-water-and-river-ecosystems/80043/1 (23 Sep 2022)
It’s important to spread river education in its totality, before dams and canals take over ‘rivers’ in the perception battle By Ranjan Panda https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/water/world-rivers-day-does-a-river-exist-for-us-only-when-it-floods–85107 (24 Sept. 2022)
Down To Earth talks to Sneha Shahi about the issues facing Indian rivers and her own experience of working with two of them. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/interviews/water/world-rivers-day-adopt-bottoms-up-approach-says-student-who-cleaned-vadodara-stream-85101 (23 Sept. 2022)
Odisha NGT scanner on disposal of waste in Jira river According to the petitioners, the Bargarh municipality has been discharging the sewage water/waste water to Jira river without setting up any facility for treatment. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2022/sep/03/ngt-scanner-on-disposal-of-waste-in-jira-river-2494390.html (03 Sept. 2022)
Tamil Nadu The ongoing water conservation exercises in the district under the Nellai Neervalam (Water Resources of Tirunelveli) scheme to restore neglected water bodies and conserving the Tamirabharani will effectively take the water quality of the perennial river from the now ‘bathing quality’ to ‘drinking quality’ by July 2024, Collector V. Vishnu has said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/tamirabhrani-will-have-drinking-quality-water-by-july-2024-says-collector/article65934643.ece (25 Sept. 2022)
GANGA Study Gangotri glacier retreated by 1,700m since 1935 The Gangotri glacier retreated by 1,700 metres between 1935 and 2022, a study by Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun has found, attributing it to reduced snowfall and more rain, apart from rising temperature in the upper reaches of the Himalayas. Worryingly, the study has also found that the rate of retreat is increasing.
According to various studies, the mean glacial retreat rate between 1935 to 1996 was 20 meters per year which has increased to up to 38 meters per year after that. The studies show that retreat has further gained steam with Gangotri retreating by about 300 meters in the past decade or so. Gangotri is the largest glacier in Uttarakhand Himalayas, with a length of around 30 kms, width of 0.5 to 2.5 km and an area of around 143 sq km.
In March, Centre informed Rajya Sabha that the Gangotri glacier had lost nearly 0.23 square kilometre area in 15-year period (2001-2016). Bhambri said most of these changes are happening due to changes in the pattern of snowfall and rainfall in the area, apart from other factors, like global warming. There are 9,575 glaciers in the Indian Himalayas of which 968 are located in Uttarakhand. Currently, less than two dozen glaciers are being monitored in the state including Gangotri, Chorabari, Dunagiri, Dokriyani & Pindari. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/gangotri-glacier-retreated-by-1-700m-since-35-study-101663783000831.html (22 Sept. 2022)
YAMUNA Uttar Pradesh Govt given notices over destruction of ravines The government has been issued notices by the NGT of destroying the ravines near the Taj Mahal. Along with the UP-government notices have also been issued to seven other concerned authorities. The tribunal has sought their response over the restructuring of the eco-sensitive Yamuna ravines around 800m away from the Taj Mahal, months after the matter was highlighted in the media. The green court has directed the divisional commissioner, who is also the chairman of Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ), and DM Agra, to appear for the next hearing on January 10, 2023.
Earlier in May, the tribunal had constituted a joint committee to investigate the matter and take remedial action in accordance with the law. The fresh orders by the NGT were issued after the committee submitted its report, Times of India reported. NGT has also sought response from the Union ministry of Jal Shakti, regional office of the environment ministry, the chairman of TTZ authority, the state director for mining and geology, municipal commissioner, the state pollution control board and DM Agra.
Dr Gupta in his complaint had described how earthmovers were being used to dig up the soil and the ground was being levelled behind the Taj Nature Walk Park. He also said that Work carried out by the forest department was in violation of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. The destruction of forest ravines, which are the natural habitat of over 1,000 species of animals and plants, will lead to the destruction of the ecological chain and also harm the Taj Mahal.
Locals even claimed that there was large scale “illegal soil mining” taking place in the area. Environmentalists also claimed that the authorities were working to help destroy the ravines to help their land sharks and builders. No permission had allegedly been taken from the district administration and the TTZ authority to carry out the work in the eco-sensitive zone. TTZ is a defined area of 10,400 sq km around the Taj to protect the monument from pollution. https://www.timesnownews.com/mirror-now/in-focus/delhi-up-govt-given-notices-by-the-ngt-over-destruction-of-yamuna-ravines-near-taj-mahal-article-94432535 (25 Sept. 2022)
Delhi Free link to sewers to cut river pollution Launched in 2019 by CM, more than 65,000 sewer connections have been provided under this scheme, mainly to tap sewage in unauthorised colonies that lack proper sewer lines. Due to this, sewage flows into open drains and ultimately enters Yamuna. By the end of this year, DJB’s target is to provide sewer connections to around 1 lakh houses.
Approximately 19 MLD of sewage still remains untapped daily. Experts believe if the city has to improve the condition of its river, then it must increase the overall capacity of STPs. The current capacity of treatment of wastewater at the city’s 35 STPs stands at 632 MGD. In July 2020, around 34 MGD of sewage was flowing into storm-water drains, but by September 2022 this figure dropped to 19 MGD as a result of proper sewer connections and lines. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/delhi-free-link-to-sewers-to-cut-pollution-level-in-yamuna/articleshow/94256052.cms (17 Sept. 2022)
Indian skimmers by the Chambal Janaki Lenin The birds’ nesting behaviour is unique. The riverine islands where they hatch need protection for the species to multiply. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/indian-skimmer-chambal-river-environment-janaki-lenin/article65902383.ece (23 Sept. 2022)
FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS
Diversification of Body Shape in Catfishes of the Ganga River https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40009-022-01168-w (24 Sept. 2022)
Odisha Villagers Attempt To Gherao DC Against Sand Mining Palpable tension prevailed at the office of deputy collector in Gunupur of Odisha’s Reyagada district on Tuesday (Sept. 20) as villagers attempted to gherao the collector in protest against sand mining. According to sources, the people of Kuturu village under Gunupur Municipality in the district have been opposing sand mining on river bed of Bansadhara that is flowing close to the area since long. They have been maintaining that due to the sand mining, the river is likely to change its course and devour their village.
On Monday (Sept. 19), when the lease holders went to Bansadhara with trucks and tractors to lift sand, the villagers opposed them and did not allow to sand to be lifted. On being informed, the officials from the sub-division office went to the spot and pacified the villagers by advising them to take up the matter with district administration. The villagers in large number including women and old people went to put forth their issues during the hearing at pubic grievance cell of the district collector at deputy collector’s office in Gunupur. When district collector Swadha Dev Singh came to the office, the villagers tried to present their problem on the way. https://odishabytes.com/villagers-attempt-to-gherao-district-collector-against-sand-mining-in-odishas-rayagada/ (20 Sept. 2022)
NHAI, contractor, supplier have joint liability in road construction NGT has directed the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) to ascertain veracity of allegations regarding use of illegally mined minor minerals in construction of the Bhadrak-Balasore stretch of NH-16 widening project of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). The construction of the road was undertaken with use of an estimated 10,50,000 cubic metre of soil/earth/morrum, 44,523 cubic metre of sand, 10,95,000 cubic metre of stone aggregates and 1,73,142 cubic metre of stone crusher dust without consent/environmental clearance (EC). NGT’s East Zone bench also asked the SPCB to determine the environmental compensation if any violations are found and file an action taken report within three months with the Registrar.
Alay Samantaray, a social worker filed the petition alleging illegal mining of the minor minerals. Advocate Sankar Prasad Pani argued on the petitioner’s behalf. It was argued on behalf of NHAI that having been awarded the contract, it is the contractor who is liable for compliance. The contractors took stand that they procure material for executing the contract and have no accountability for violations by suppliers as they are not by themselves undertaking any mining. The suppliers also sought exemption from requirements of obtaining consents/EC for mining on the ground that road construction projects fall under such exemption. However, a five-member bench headed by chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel ruled that exemption from environmental clearance for road construction projects does not extend to the mining of different minor minerals used in them. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2022/sep/26/odisha-nhai-contractor-supplier-have-joint-liability-in-road-construction-says-ngt-2502008.html (26 Sept. 2022)
Tamil Nadu 6 killed, 2 injured as sand truck rams into omni bus Six people, including three members of a family were killed as a speeding sand laden truck rammed into an stationary omni bus in Salem on Saturday (Sep 17) night. https://www.dtnext.in/tamilnadu/2022/09/18/six-killed-two-injured-as-truck-rams-into-omni-bus (18 Sept. 2022)
Head-constable suspended for assisting illicit sand mining Kanniyakumari district Superintendent of Police Hari Kiran Prasad has suspended a head-constable for facilitating illicit sand mining. Sources said head-constable Lingesh, attached to Anjugramam police station, facilitated illegal quarrying of red soil in the area. The matter came to light when red soil-laden mini lorry was seized by the police recently. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/head-constable-suspended-for-assisting-illicit-sand-mining/article65927589.ece (23 Sept. 2022)
Punjab Govt orders VB probe against former Speaker Mining Minister Harjot Singh Bains has directed the Vigilance Bureau (VB) to probe the alleged involvement of then Vidhan Sabha Speaker and senior Congress leader Rana KP Singh in illegal mining by “misusing” his position. A committee of senior department officials will conduct a parallel inquiry in a time-bound manner.
The orders to the VB cited a CBI letter to the Chief Secretary, dated July 8, 2021. It was alleged despite the CBI flagging the issue, no investigation was conducted. Bains alleged the preliminary probe revealed many crushers in Anandpur Sahib were operated by close relatives of Rana KP and properties worth crores were purchased through “ill-gotten” money. He also alleged companies carrying out development works were forced to purchase material from select crushers at high rates. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/punjab-orders-vb-probe-against-former-speaker-433756 (21 Sept. 2022)
Amend mining policy in 48 hours, Pathankot crusher owners warn govt All 140-odd crusher units in the mining-rich district of Pathankot have threatened to surrender their electricity connections en masse if the government does not amend the new mining policy within 48 hours. Vijay Passi, president of the Pathankot District Crusher Association, said the main aim of the new policy was to provide mining material at cheap rates. “However, this is not possible because the old system of auctioning quarries is still in place. If, say, the bid goes for a high rate, it is clear that the contractor will obviously jack up the rates, which will ultimately affect the common man,” he said.
The crushing season commences on October 1. “However, we cannot commence our business because legal quarries are yet to be auctioned,” said Passi. “Legal quarries are identified on the basis of district survey reports (DSR). However, the reports have not yet been finalised. The process is on, but nobody knows when these will be finalised. If there is no DSR, there can be no quarry. In such a scenario, auctions cannot take place. We have taken up this issue with the Mining Department, but haven’t received a response,” said Passi.
Sanjay Anand, secretary of the association, said “Scores of trucks enter Punjab from HP and J&K daily. The government levies a royalty at Rs 7 per cubic feet. Does levying royalty make them legal? This is a clear violation of the NGT norms,” he said. “The Mining Department is issuing recovery notices to owners claiming they were carrying out illegal mining in some quarries. Some of these sites are 35 years old. ‘Fake’ FIRs are being registered. It has become unviable for us to operate,” said Anand. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/amend-mining-policy-in-48-hours-pathankot-crusher-owners-warn-govt-434995 (25 Sept. 2022)
Himachal Pradesh Relevant agenda for the Forest Advisory Committee meeting held on Sept 21 2022:
– NON-FORESTRY USE OF 54.668 HA OF FOREST LAND FOR EXTRACTION OF SAND, STONE AND BAJRI FROM BED OF RIVER YAMUNA MINING PROJECT BY RANDEEP SINGH, MAUZA AND MOHAL BHAGANI, DISTRICT SIRMOUR, WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF PAONTA FOREST DIVISION, DISTRICT, SIRMOUR HIMACHAL PRADESH http://forestsclearance.nic.in/AgendaDetail.aspx?id=275!dis1
Just 1% of the illegal mining cases end up in court, rest are let off with fine. It is not a non bailable offense. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/only-1-illegal-mining-cases-in-kangra-reach-court-434332 (23 Sept. 2022)
Jammu & Kashmir Mining Allegedly Goes Unchecked In Doodh Ganga Mining is allegedly going on unabated in Doodh Ganga tributary of river Jhelum contrary to the Mineral Concession Rules framed in 2016. Locals from a Budgam locality alleged that mining is on at Doodh Ganda Nallah during the monsoon season which is in defiance of the mining regulations. https://kashmirobserver.net/2022/07/29/despite-monsoon-mining-allegedly-goes-unchecked-in-doodh-ganga/ (29 July 2022)
Jharkhand CM’s arrested aide ran illegal mining worth crores: ED The Enforcement Directorate has informed a special court in Ranchi that it detected illegal mining of stones worth more than Rs 1,000 crore in Sahibganj district and adjoining areas of Jharkhand, all controlled by Pankaj Mishra, the arrested MLA representative of Chief Minister Hemant Soren in the Barhait Assembly constituency. The ED, in its prosecution complaint (the equivalent of a chargesheet) to a PMLA court, said Mishra even controlled installation of crushers and had a “fixed share in almost all mines” and transportation of material. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/sorens-arrested-aide-ran-illegal-mining-worth-crores-ed-tells-pmla-court-8169458/ (24 Sept. 2022)
WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES
Study In a new study published in Science Advances, scientists have found that the oscillation of the moon’s orbit or ‘moon wobble’ has a significant impact on the mangrove canopy cover of the world. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/the-strange-effect-of-the-moon-on-mangrove-forests/article65910123.ece (24 Sept. 2022)
Punjab Villager crowd fund STP, treat 4 lakh litter waste water daily The Ransinh Kalan village residents contributed a whopping Rs 4 crore to set up a STP through which they are cleaning 4-lakh litre polluted water on a daily basis. The sarpanch said the STP daily converted about 4-lakh litre of polluted water into clean water, which was used for irrigation purposes. “Three wells have also been constructed to clean the contaminated water. The water goes to three ponds where fish perform the activity of cleaning the water. Thereafter, water is cleaned through the sewage plant for irrigation purposes,” he said.
He said the villagers also cleaned the dirty water ponds in the village spread across 5 acres and connected them to the STP. “The ponds have been given a look of a lake and are giving an annual income of Rs 1 lakh from fish farming to the village,” the sarpanch said, adding that the villagers were now planning to go for rainwater harvesting in the village. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/moga-youth-show-the-way-clean-4l-litre-polluted-water-daily-434997 (25 Sept. 2022)
Telangana Rise in groundwater level highest in India The state has experienced an average increase of 4.26 metres in the groundwater level in the last seven years, according to an irrigation and command area development (I&CAD) department release here on Friday, Sept 23 2022. The report, released by special chief secretary, I&CAD, Rajat Kumar said the groundwater levels rose in 83 per cent mandals, which was the highest in the country. The total extractable groundwater availability stood at 680 thousand million cubic metres, which was more than twice the water allocation to Telangana state in the Krishna basin. This year there has been an eight per cent reduction in groundwater extraction as compared to 2020, as a result of improved irrigation and rainfall. The report also said that the state’s contribution to the extractable groundwater resources had increased from 3.5 % in 2014 to 4.8% this year. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/240922/rise-in-groundwater-level-in-telangana-highest-in-india.html (24 Sept. 2022)
Punjab NGT panel submits report on groundwater contamination by Zira ethanol plant NGT on Friday (Sept. 23) submitted its report of the water samples collected from Malbros International Private Limited, an alcohol-making unit located at Mansurwal village in Zira, Ferozepur, to DC. Amrit Singh, deputy commissioner, Ferozepur, while talking to HT said that the report is too technical, hence they asked the Punjab PCB) to interpret the same and submit the report accordingly. “We will further deal with the matter in accordance with the interpretation of the NGT report by the PPCB which might be received by tomorrow,” she said.
Since July 24, a massive protest by farmers associated with various farm unions has been going on over the alleged contamination of groundwater by an ethanol plant owned by former SAD MLA Deep Malhotra. Protesters alleged contamination of groundwater in several villages due to the discharge from the alcohol-making unit. Following the protests, the liquor factory had been lying closed since July 26 which has more than 3,000 employees.
“In the second week of July, a borewell was dug at a gurdwara in Miayanwala Kalan, located about 4 km from Mansurwal. At 670 feet, we found contaminated water which smelt like lahan. We took up the matter with the administration but to no avail. So, we launched an indefinite protest outside the factory on July 24 that has been continuing even now,” said Sandeep Singh, a protester. “Concerned over the contamination of groundwater, a large number of people are taking part in the protest and it will continue till the unit is closed permanently. As of now, it is temporarily closed as we are not allowing anyone to enter the factory,” he said. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/contamination-of-groundwater-by-zira-ethanol-plant-ngt-submits-report-to-dc-101663965564094.html (24 Sept. 2022)
Bengaluru Treated water could quench of ever-growing thirst Srinivasulu MS, KSPCB:- As much as 637 MLD of treated water is being utilised to fill lakes and water bodies of Kolar and Chikkaballapur, a development that has brought smiles to many faces. There is a huge potential to treat sewage and utilise treated water for secondary purposes. Around Rs 2.0 to 2.5 crore is required to set up 1.0 MLD tertiary treatment plant, where treated water can achieve potable water-quality standard. Therefore, Rs 2,000 to 2,500 crore investment is required to set up a 1,000 MLD tertiary treatment plant.
The best part of the initiative is with the investment and a comprehensive plan to utilise treated water, one can provide 13 TMC of water at 920 MSL altitude, which can be naturally supplied to Bengaluru and all surrounding districts by gravity, as Bengaluru is the overhead tank of Karnataka. Utilisation of treated water not only benefits sewerage boards with hundreds of crores of revenues, but also silences critics questioning the effectiveness of treatment and operationalisation of STPs in the public domain. Abatement of lake pollution, Arkavathi and Vrishabhavathi river pollution are the additional benefits that can be derived from the project.
The availability of water at an altitude of 920 MSL is an opportunity. Efforts to strengthen sewage treatment systems by budgetary provisions or by inviting private players must be explored. The private sector can establish/operate STPs and recover costs by selling treated water to consumers, strengthen operationalisation of STPs by improving UGD network, attend to the missing links and divert sewage to STPs; supply excess treated water from decentralised private STPS to nearby secondary usage requirements through tankers and supply treated water from large STPs to lakes around Bengaluru/bulk industrial areas. https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/panorama/treated-water-could-quench-bengaluru-s-ever-growing-thirst-1148233.html (25 Sept. 2022)
Volunteers remove plastic from Sarakki lake. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/civic/volunteers-remove-plastic-from-sarakki-lake/articleshow/94439999.cms (26 Sept. 2022)
Hyderabad Fatehnagar STP inspection The foundation stone for the construction of 17 STPs with a capacity of 376.5 MLD including the one at Fathenagar, was laid by the Minister in August 2021. Once these STPs are operational, the city will be equipped with 31 STPs with a capacity to treat 1,259 MLD of sewage water and Hyderabad will become the first and only city in the country to treat 100 per cent of its sewage.
The HMWS&SB has also formed six safety protocol teams with the motto ‘worksite safety is public safety’. These teams will visit the places where works related to water pipelines, sewerage network and others are underway. A new surveillance system has been developed at all work sites to ensure works related to water pipelines, sewerage lines, cleaning of manholes, leakage prevention works, manhole repairs and security measures are executed efficiently. https://telanganatoday.com/hyderabad-ktr-conducts-surprise-inspection-of-stp-in-fatehnagar (24 Sept. 2022)
Gurugram Protect Ghamroj bundh, don’t allow toll plaza near it The NGT has directed the Haryana government to protect and preserve the Ghamroj bundh area and ensure the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) does not encroach on the land while expanding the highway passing by the embankment. The NHAI had initiated work on the submergence area of the bundh — a 2km-long natural rainwater canal that restores groundwater during the monsoon — as part of its project to construct a toll plaza for trucks on NH-248A (Sohna Road).
According to the petitioner, the NHAI work allegedly began without any approval from the irrigation department, which is a violation of the Canal and Drainage Act and the Centre’s guidelines. While passing the order on Friday (Sept. 16), a bench headed by NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel said Haryana should ensure compliance of the directive within a month.
The NGT was hearing a plea filed by local resident Prem Mohan Gaur, who alleged that building the toll plaza and widening the highway would not only damage the embankment but also violate the Sohna master plan for 2031. The order stated that, “No further use of the said embankment will be allowed by the project proponent and the same must be protected and preserved to enable drainage of water into the bundh area, flow of the river and recharge of ground water. The said embankment with necessary buffer area may be appropriately demarcated and left unused for the project.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/protect-ghamroj-bundh-dont-allow-toll-plaza-near-it-ngt/articleshow/94290796.cms (19 Sept. 2022)
Delhi LG on Saturday (Sept. 24) ordered the state’s chief secretary to register an FIR against officials of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), authorities of a public bank and private entities for allegedly “embezzling” ₹20 crore in water bills, said people in the LG’s office. Urging strict actions against errant officials, AAP said that deputy CM earlier recommended an inquiry into the matter when it was brought to his notice. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/delhi-lg-orders-fir-in-alleged-embezzlement-of-20-cr-in-jal-board-101664012666679.html (25 Sept. 2022)
Solan Residents of the Nalagarh civic body are reluctant to avail sewerage connections from the STP which was set up at a cost of Rs 20 crore. The plant was established on the directions of the NGT after it was found that the Sirsa river flowing in this industrial belt was contaminated with sewage. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/fearing-high-water-bills-residents-not-keen-on-sewerage-connections-in-nalagarh-435379 (26 Sept. 2022)
Punjab Rs 2,000-cr fine for failure to treat waste According to the NGT, the total compensation is rounded off at Rs 2,180 crore. Out of this, the Punjab government has already deposited with the tribunal Rs 100 crore for its failure to prevent discharge of untreated sewage and solid waste. “The remaining amount of Rs 2,080 crore may be deposited by the state of Punjab in a separate ring-fenced account within two months,” the bench said. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/national-green-tribunal-slaps-over-rs-2-000-crore-fine-on-punjab-for-failure-to-treat-waste-434577 (24 Sept. 2022)
JJM/ RURAL WATER SUPPLY
Meghalaya PVC pipes used in EGH; dept says villagers stole materials Very informative report revealing mal-practices, corruption by contractor and department in JJM project in a village under Songsak C&RD Block in East Garo Hills resulting in wastage of Rs. 25 lakh and no water supply to villagers.
In what can only be described as incredulous, an entire project under Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) under Songsak C&RD Block in East Garo Hills (EGH) has been built using PVC pipes instead of the approved GI or HDPE, with the department now claiming that the villagers had stolen the pipes while construction was in progress. The project in question was undertaken in the village and apparently completed in 2020 though as per the villagers, they are yet to see a drop of water in their homes from the undertaken construction. The village comprises over 70 households with the total project cost pegged at just above Rs 25 lakh.
“Since the completion of the project our village has not received a drop of water from these pipes. The ring-well that they set up has been reduced to such an extent that even if water is in full flow, it will only reach 3-4 households. The tank they provided us has no water as the solar pump used in the ring-well cannot push water uphill. Overall the entire project has been in name only,” a local told this scribe during a visit to the village. Just to show that they had done nothing to with any form of theft, the villagers dug up the site through which pipes were provided revealing broken PVC pipes inside.
“Why will we steal pipes for a project that is meant to benefit us? We have been immensely cooperative with the department and even told them to not use PVC pipes as it would break easily and cause us problems. They just would not listen. If the sanction was not enough, why undertake the project and not seek a review,” said Rakbat Momin, a resident of the village.
As per PHE sources, the work for the project was given to one Sahidur Rehman, a contractor from West Garo Hills (WGH) who revealed that since the amount sanctioned was not enough to use GI pipes, an approval from the JE of PHE Songsak was verbally taken. “As the money would not allow for GI pipes to be used, I sought approval for PVC pipes that were used in all homes. Once approved, I used the pipes,” said Rehman. He confirmed that money for the project he had completed in the village has been released to him.
His confirmation has busted the words of the JE who had earlier claimed that GI pipes were stolen by the villagers. Further, most of the PVC pipes were dug underground and still remain for scrutiny for anyone interested in investigation.
What is even more interesting is the fact that despite the claims of theft by the department, no FIR has been lodged either by the contractor or the department, something that should have been done in such a serious matter. The JE further claimed that a new project for the same village had been sent for approval after which he felt the situation would be taken care of. Whether a double approval of a project in a village where a similar project has already been completed can be made under JJM however remains a question.
What is even more interesting is that the entire project, despite the use of PVC pipes was passed by the third party inspectors, raising serious questions on the process of scrutiny undertaken and the neutrality of inspectors. “The third party inspectors should have objected to the project in the first place as it was done using materials that have not been approved by the state government. In 2020, only GI pipes were approved. PVC has not been approved at all. So how is it that the third party inspectors chose not to raise the red flag despite the norms being violated? There is something extremely fishy about the entire situation,” said social activist TR Marak. https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/09/26/pvc-pipes-used-for-jal-jeevan-mission-in-egh-dept-says-villagers-stole-materials/ (26 Sept. 2022)
NITI Ayog WRA draft to guide India’s future water-trading on bourses NITI Ayog is in the process of putting out draft recommendations for public consultations, pitching all options including futures and spot trading of water and tradable licences. India’s total annual utilizable water resources is 1123 billion cubic metres (bcm). Of this, 690 bcm is surface water and 433bcm ground water.
When contacted, a NITI Ayog official said that they were indeed working on the idea. “The idea is being discussed and it is at a very nascent stage. This idea is much ahead of its time. Water politics is a minefield in our country,” the official who did not wish to be named explained. https://www.etvbharat.com/english/national/opinion/opinion-news/niti-ayogs-draft-on-wra-to-provide-directional-input-for-indias-future-water-trading-on-bourses/na20220923212357861861004 (23 Sept. 2022)
Rajasthan IIT Jodhpur has joined hands with the Jodhpur City Knowledge and Innovation Foundation (JCKIF) to organise “Udbhaas” from September 24 to 26, 2022.The Union Minister of Jal Sakthi, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat inaugurated the Centre for Sustainable Drinking Water, Dharohar – the Phygital Craft Museum and Craft Exhibition and Sale, at the occasion. https://www.news18.com/news/education-career/iit-jodhpur-sets-up-centre-for-sustainable-drinking-water-6035347.html (25 Sept. 2022)
IMD’s State, Sub-Division, District and River Basin wise cumulative rainfall map for June 01 to Sept. 26, 2022 monsoon season.
IMPORTANT WEATHER UPDATE 2: by Weatherman Navdeep Dahiya @navdeepdahiya55 at 10.30 am, 24.09.2022
• The low pressure area is over South Haryana is in Re-curving phase. • Deep moisture incursion from Arabian sea is feeding the system along with the trough. • Low will be moving across Haryana tonight into Uttarakhand by tomorrow.
For Delhi NCR & Haryana: Moderate to heavy rains will continue across the day in South – Central and North Haryana. Areas of Gurgaon, Faridabad and South Delhi to experience very heavy rains 50-150mm till tomorrow morning. North Haryana cities 100-200mm.
For Chandigarh and Punjab: Heavy rains have already picked up in South PB. Noon onwards Tricity (Chandigarh-Mohali-Panchkula) and South East PB cities will experience extremely heavy rains lasting up to tomorrow evening. Massive 150 – 300mm on cards!!
For Himachal and Uttarakhand: Rains will pick up this evening into Sunday night across states with impacts in Shimla and Dehradun
Heavy to extremely heavy rains are expected in the span of 24 to 36 hours, 100 to 350mm on cards(Model Underestimating).
With consistent rains in the plains across Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, West UttarPradesh – Rural and urban lands are flooded and heavy rains left for another 24 hours. Extreme rains shifting towards foothills/hills may flood rivers, Canals. Flood threat looms large! https://twitter.com/navdeepdahiya55/status/1573537892886257664?s=20&t=e46o_niWD_5d-UdZ2zvIJw (24 Sept. 2022)
Himachal Pradesh More than 1,550 people died in 5 years during monsoon More than 1,550 people have lost their lives in the last five years during monsoon season in Himachal, state disaster management director Sudesh Mokhta said. Providing data, Mr. Mokhta said the highest 476 people died in 2021 monsoon, followed by 343 in 2018, 276 in the current year so far, 240 in 2020 and 218 in 2019.
Besides, the government property worth ₹6,537.39 crore was destroyed in the monsoons in the last five years. The highest ₹1,732.58 crore loss to government property occurred in 2022, followed by ₹1,578.08 crore in 2018, ₹1,151.72 crore in 2021, ₹1,202.69 crore in 2019 and ₹8,72.32 crore in 2020.
In 2022 itself, the public works department lost property worth ₹949.62 crore, followed by ₹710.23 crore to Jal Shakti Vibhag and ₹5.72 crore to electricity department, he said. Besides, 12,444 houses were damaged in monsoons in the five years, Mr. Mokhta said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/more-than-1550-people-died-in-five-years-during-monsoon-in-himachal-pradesh/article65822246.ece (28 Aug. 2022)
Gue village is one of the nearest border villages to China. It is also a tribal village situated in the Lahaul Spiti district. Gue has experienced flooding in the last two decades as a result of ecological changes caused by global warming.Gue village has lost approximately 17 hectares (200 Bigas) of agriculture land due to frequent floods in the 21st century. So the flood point is at the top of the village, and it’s so dangerous for the village to wash out. The main impediment to our solution is the in Forest Act of 1980. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2nEpAGQ2gs (25 Sept. 2022)
Kerala Parabikulam dam in Palakkad develops snags Kerala has been put on high alert after two shutters of the Parambikulam dam developed snags and opened on their own, leading to a dangerous rise in water level in the Chalakudy river. While hectic efforts are being made to plug the leakage, people living on the banks of rivers near the dam have been alerted and those living in low-lying areas have been evacuated. Shutters of the Peringalkuthu dam have been opened to ease the pressure. The state government has meanwhile requested neighbouring Tamil Nadu to open all sluice gates. Parambikulam dam, situated in Palakkad district, is one of the major water sources for Coimbatore city. Fishing and tour activities in all rivers in the two districts of Palakkad and Thrissur were restricted in view of unexpected development. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/high-alert-in-kerala-after-parabhikulam-dam-in-palakkad-develops-snags-101663724963797.html (21 Sept. 2022)
The spillway damage in the Parambikulam dam did not swell the rivers in the district on Wednesday (Sept. 21), although there were fears about flooding. The district authorities had warned the people living on the banks of the Bharathapuzha, especially in Chittur and neighbouring areas. The Minister indicated that the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) would suffer a heavy loss because of the loss of water that could be used for power generation. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/flood-threat-from-parambikulam-blows-over/article65918923.ece (21 Sept. 2022)
A new shutter will be installed on the Parambikulam dam in place of the one that was damaged and washed away four days ago. The new shutter will cost Rs 7 crore.The government has also constituted a special team to inspect all the 90 dams managed by TN to prevent such incidents. The task should be completed by October end. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/sep/25/parambikulam-dam-toget-new-shutter-at-rs-7-crore-2501650.html (25 Sept. 2022)
Uttar Pradesh घाघरा के पानी ने सीतापुर में घरों और फसल का किया ये हाल सितंबर में 15 से 19 तारीख तक हुई बारिश में जब समाचारों में शहर पानी-पानी हो रहे थे उस वक्त गांव भी भारी बाढ़ का सामना कर रहे थे। इस सीजन में भले ही यूपी के करीब 62 जिलो औसत से कम और 35 से ज्यादा जिले सूखे की चपेट में हो.. यूपी में लखीमपुर, सीतापुर, बाराबंकी और गोंडा समेत कई जिलों में घाघरा और शारदा नदी के करीब बसे लोगों ने कई बार बाढ़ का सामना किया.. लेकिन सितंबर की बाढ़ ने भारी नुकसान पहुंचाया..
सितंबर महीने के तीसरे हफ्ते में यूपी, उत्तराखंड और नेपाल में भारी बारिश हुई,. जिसके चलते सूखे का सामना कर रहे यूपी के कई जिलों में बाढ़ जैसे हालात हो गए। नेपाल और यूपी के बांधों और बैराजों से छोड़े गए पानी से घाघरा और शारदा नदियां उफना गई। तेज रफ्तार पानी लोगों के घरों में घुस गया, गांव पानी से घिर गए.. नदियों से आई सिल्ट से सैकड़ों एकड़ फसलें पट गईँ। जान बचाने के लिए लोगों को बंधे और दूसरे ऊंचे स्थानों पर शरण लेनी पड़ी। https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aY-ds8BAjmM (21 Sept. 2022)
Bihar भागलपुर जिले में एक तरफ जहां बाढ़ का पानी घटने से लोगो की राहत मिली तो दूरी ओर गंगा से सटे इलाकों में लगातार कटाव तेज हो गया है। जिससे गंगा अपनी आगोश में कई घरों समा लिया है https://www.bhaskar.com/local/bihar/bhagalpur/news/half-a-dozen-houses-covered-in-ganga-peoples-life-was-helpless-130335405.html (19 Sept. 2022)
Haryana:- Around 2.96 lakh cusec water released from Hathini Kund Barrage, Yamuna Nagar at 05:00 hour on 26.09.2022. This is expected reach Delhi within next 36 hours and will again inundate parts of Yamuna floodplain near CWG village, Noida More which are facing encroachment by DDA & other private developer.
Delhi Flood warning issued as Yamuna level nears ‘danger’ mark https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/delhi-flood-warning-issued-as-yamuna-level-nears-danger-mark-101664103968891.html (25 Sept. 2022)
HFL BREACH 2022
Uttar Pradesh River Noon in Ganga Basin at Orai 2 Mangrayan level monitoring site in Jalaun district has again breached old HFL 134.04 m (dated 30.07.2021) at 16:00 hour on 21.09.2022. Present flood level is 135.28 m at 06:00 hour on 22.09.2022 with rising trend.
River Sengar in Yamuna basin at Bulakipura level monitoring station in Auraiya district has breached old HFL 136.33 m (dated 19.09.2019) at 03:00 hour on 23.09.2022. Present flood level is 136.73 m at 11:00 hour on 23.09.2022 with rising trend.
River Kali in Aligarh district at Atrauli level monitoring site has crossed the old HFL 175.91 m dated 28.09.2019 however CWC has abruptly removed the HFL level from the hydrograph. Present flood level is 176.03 m at 11:00 hour on 23.09.2022.
Madhya Pradesh River Kunwari in Yamuna Basin at Bagchini level monitoring site in Morena district has crossed old HFL 161.14 m dated 04.08.2021. Present flood level is 161.62 m at 21:00 hour on 23.09.2022 with rising trend.
Bengaluru Stormwater drain chasers As focus turned to the choked rajakaluves and a sense of fear spread among encroachers, the citizen-led initiative is working on releasing 1923-era maps that depict the rajakaluve network in Anekal Taluk to further public awareness. Captain Santhosh Kumar of Anekal Environmental Protection Federation told BM that they have started the initiative to create awareness about rajakaluves. “We will be publishing 1923-era maps for the benefit of the public which details the extensive network of rajakaluves in this area. Building owners can verify the path of rajakaluves and if any building is obstructing it using the RTC documents and maps. Without such details, property buyers will be clueless about the property.”
Kumar added that similar digitised maps are available but often carry a watermark preventing legal use. ”Even today, the maps used are based on surveys conducted by the British. One survey was conducted in the 1800s for the Mysore presidency. Another was conducted in Bengaluru during 1923-1928 covering Anekal Taluk,” added Kumar. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/cover-story/stormwater-drain-chasers/articleshow/94310507.cms (20 Sept. 2022)
Amitangshu Acharya:- The importance of wetlands and waterbodies in urban planning has come to the fore after the devastating floods in India’s Bengaluru. They absorb and distribute rainwater and the runoff. https://questionofcities.org/water-in-the-city-a-matter-of-ecology-public-health-and-livelihoods/ (23 Sept. 2022)
Urban floods as in Bangalore are not just a result of failed governance. They also reflect a failure of our democracy, where the citizen does not participate in decision-making and later sees spectacles like demolitions as signs of action by Sushmita Pati. https://www.theindiaforum.in/society/what-bangalore-floods-tell-us-about-our-democracy (28 Sept. 2022)
Encroachment of lakes, tanks and drains, poor planning of drainage systems and lack of regulation of floodplains have exposed Bengaluru to the threat of urban flooding, say experts. Multiple studies and reports have highlighted the vulnerability of the city to urban flooding. A 2017 study said that Bengaluru has lost 88 percent of its vegetation and 79 percent of its water bodies in 45 years. Government data claims that the city earlier had a total of 260 lakes in 1940s which came down to 65 till now. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/09/bengaluru-floods/ (23 Sept. 2022)
The city of Bengaluru is a victim of a paradoxical situation – urban flooding on one hand and depletion of ground water levels on the other, as a recent CAG audit report on Management of Storm Water in Bengaluru Urban Area informs. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=1003444 (25 Sept. 2022)
Speaking at a webinar organised by Breakthrough Science Society here on Sunday (Sept. 25), Ramachandra, coordinator at IISc’s Energy and Wetland Research, said Bengaluru has lost 88 per cent of its vegetation and 75 per cent of its waterbodies. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/urbanisation-ate-away-88-of-forest-75-of-waterbodies-in-bengaluru-expert-1148246.html (26 Sept. 2022)
Experts say floods pose serious threat to Bengaluru’s buildings; more safety reforms needed. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/experts-say-floods-pose-serious-threat-to-bengalurus-buildings-more-safety-reforms-needed-9225301.html
Koramangala, Vrishabhavathi valleys lost 50% of drain length: CAG report The September 2021 report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the city’s SWD network has revealed that the Koramangala and Vrishabhavathi valleys have lost close to 50% of their drain length over the years, bringing down their carrying capacity. A similar reduction in vegetation cover was also observed.
“Valleys have a major role in carrying the rainwater out of the city, to avoid flooding. Over the years, the authorities have neglected them leading to such reduction in vegetation cover and open land space,” said V Ramprasad, co-founder of Friends of Lakes. He said authorities allowed construction in the valley zones where maintaining topology was vital. “The Revised Master Plan (RMP) 2015 had stated that the valley zones were to be no-construction areas. The government discarded that and allowed construction on them.”
Also, the Karnataka Tank Conservation and Development Authority (KTCDA) Act was amended only to fuel such construction. Apart from the length, the vegetation cover of the Koramangala Valley has come down by close to 5%. The CAG report also revealed that, over the years, the number of waterbodies that existed in the Koramangala Valley came down to 8 from 41, and those in the Vrishabhavathi Valley reduced to 13 from 51, mainly owing to the conversion of lakes. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/koramangala-vrishabhavathi-valleys-lost-50-of-drain-length-cag-report-1146869.html (21 Sept. 2022)
It is not just the urban areas, even rural Bengaluru is facing the brunt of urbanisation. According to the findings of a recent study conducted by Bengaluru based researchers in Nelamangala, Doddaballapura, Devanahalli and Hoskote taluks, major changes have occurred in the Land Use and Land Cover pattern (LULC) in the areas between 2001 and 2021.
The study conducted with the help of satellite images showed there is a significant decrease in the area covered by vegetation and waterbodies over the past 20 years across the four taluks; meanwhile, the total area under settlements, barren land, and agricultural land shot up dramatically. All four taluks together recorded a drop of 87.77% in green cover. The area under waterbodies shrunk by 75.93%; whereas settlements increased by 446% and land under agriculture went up by around 50% across the four taluks. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/cover-story/suburban-disturbance/articleshow/94335596.cms (21 Sept. 2022)
In the wake of heavy rainfall leading to serious floods in Bengaluru, CM Basavaraj Bommai on Monday (Sept. 19) said he has ordered an inquiry into encroachment of lakes and stormwater drains (SWDs). A special task force has been formed to ensure the SWDs are constructed properly as per norms, the CM noted.
The CM said he has approved ₹600 crore for the development of Bengaluru, which includes ₹300 crore for remodelling of the SWDs, according to news agency PTI report. Additionally, the CM said he has ordered having sluices in major lakes in all the four valleys of Bengaluru – Hebbal valley, Koramangala-Challaghatta Valley and Vrushabhavati Valley. He said he has directed the civic agencies to set up STPs to prevent sewage going into the lakes and polluting them. Meanwhile, he said out of 42 lakes closed down in Bengaluru so far, 28 have been “swallowed” by Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), five by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), one is BDA authorised, and seven by encroachers. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/karnataka-cm-bommai-orders-inquiry-into-closure-of-lakes-encroachments-in-bengaluru-11663594544550.html (19 Sept. 2022)
Wipro begins razing encroachment. Wipro’s Sarjapur Road campus, one of several offices and houses affected by the recent floods, is located between Halanayakanahalli Lake and Sowl Kere. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/wipro-springs-into-action-begins-razing-encroachments-1146580.html (20 Sept. 2022)
Bagmane Development Pvt Ltd began demolishing drain encroachments just as BBMP was preparing to deploy earthmovers after a fresh survey by the revenue department. The civic body may also ask the company to widen the drain as per the maps. A team of surveyors led by the tahshildar revealed that Bagmane Tech Park has created a park encroaching 0.50 guntas of the rajakaluve. It also covered 1.5 guntas of the drain with cement slabs. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/bagmane-voluntarily-removes-drain-encroachment-1146872.html (21 Sept. 2022)
House owners of the posh `Sterling Ascentia’ residential apartment complex on Outer Ring Road on Monday (Sept. 19) filed three complaints at the Marthahalli police station against their builder. The complaints pertained to the following issues: excessive noise caused due to construction activity inside the premises, non-functional Water Treatment Plant (WTP), STP, lack of drinking water supply post flooding of their two basements on September 5 and for car damages. Following this, the builder Sterling Urban Venture Private Limited has filed a complaint against residents for locking up its office inside the complex. A total of 29 cars had got submerged due to water entering the basement of Towers 5 & 6, in this multistoried building in Bellandur comprising 172 flats. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2022/sep/20/bengaluru-orr-apartment-homeowners-reach-out-to-police-against-builder-2500193.html (20 Sept. 2022)
Kochi Risk-informed planning essential to prevent floods As climate change makes weather patterns more erratic, it is crucial to understand factors that cause flooding at a localised levels. According to experts, for a coastal city such as Kochi, that lies at sea level and is interspersed with a network of canals and low-lying wetlands, making risk-informed plans is vital. Studies have shown that structures built on wetlands, pollution leading to choking canals, and improper constructions causing siltation in backwaters stem the natural flow of water, leading to flood-like situations in the city. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/09/risk-informed-planning-essential-to-prevent-floods-in-kochi/ (15 Sept. 2022)
Chandigarh A day after the city recorded 120.6 mm rainfall, making it the wettest September day since 2010, the flood gates at Sukhna Lake had to be opened after the water-level reached the danger mark (1,163 feet) on Sunday (Sept. 25). The rainfall necessitated opening of the Sukhna Lake floodgates for the fourth time. Earlier, the floodgates had to be opened twice in July and once in August.
So far, September has witnessed 215.9 mm rain, the highest since 2018 as per IMD when 319.4 mm rain was recorded. This monsoon season, 898.2 mm rain has been recorded till now, which makes the monsoon 6.2% in excess of the 845.7 mm normal value for the season, which stretches from June to September. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/sukhna-floodgates-opened-after-water-level-nears-danger-mark-101664146899273.html (26 Sept. 2022)
Aligarh Rain For 2 Days Drowns ‘Smart City’ People could be seen dragging their motorbikes through knee-deep water on the streets of Aligarh after two days of intermittent rain. Rainwater mixed with sewage — a result of blocked drains — has entered houses, schools and administrative buildings too. Inside the houses people were seen restricting themselves to upper floors and roofs or, since it’s still raining, sitting on stacked furniture. Municipal Commissioner Amit Osri underlined that he’s “taken charge today itself” while promising to deal with the waterlogging “on priority”.
Aligarh is part of the Smart Cities Mission launched by PM Narendra Modi in 2015. “We are taking up projects related to that immediately,” said the Municipal Commissioner. The Aligarh Smart City Project is worth more than ₹ 500 crore but still at a nascent stage. Drainage improvement is a major part of it. The official website says the mission is “a bold, new initiative”. “It is meant to set examples that can be replicated both within and outside the Smart City, catalysing the creation of similar Smart Cities in various regions and parts of the country,” it adds. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/rain-for-two-days-drowns-ups-smart-city-aligarh-water-enters-houses-3361069 (20 Sept. 2022)
Lucknow Parts of city flooded Incessant rainfall in Lucknow district has led to massive waterlogging and a wall collapse incident that killed nine people on Friday (Sept. 16). Lucknow recorded 160 mm of rainfall in the last 24 hours till 8:30 am, according to the IMD. The weather department has also predicted heavy downpour in UP for the next two days.
The heavy downpour in the UP capital led to waterlogging and disruption of normal life. Amid the incessant rain, an under-construction boundary wall of an Army enclave collapsed, killing nine construction laborers. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/lucknow-news/heavy-rain-batters-lucknow-parts-of-city-flooded-normal-life-hit-5-points-101663324114481.html (16 Sept. 2022)
9 killed as wall collapses due to heavy rain At least 9 people, including three children, were killed after an under-construction boundary wall collapsed on Friday (Sept. 16) early morning due to heavy rain since last night. The incident happened in Dilkusha area in Lucknow cantt. Joint Commissioner of police, law and order, Piyush Mordia told TOI that heavy downpour caused the tragedy. “We have so far learnt that all the nine deceased were from Jhansi district and had made their shacks near the under-construction site,” said Mordia.
Lucknow and neighbouring areas have been witnessing heavy rain since yesterday. The district authorities have declared holiday for all schools in view of rain and heavy waterlogging in several areas. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/nine-killed-as-wall-collapses-due-to-heavy-rain-in-lucknow/articleshow/94235794.cms (16 Sept. 2022)
Meghalaya Cave reveals India’s drought records of past 1,000 yrs “This seemingly reassuring but rather myopic view currently informs the region’s present-day water resource infrastructure and contingencies policies, and discounts the possibility of protracted monsoon failures in the future,” the researchers cautioned in their study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday (Sept. 19). “But historical documentary and proxy evidence show that Indian summer monsoon’s drought history in the past millennium was characterized by sub-decadal to multi-decadal periods of weaker monsoon that contained protracted droughts.”
Even India’s deindustrialisation history in the 18th and 19th centuries has a climate link as loss of farm productivity led to the limited supply of grain, leading to an increase of wages in the weaving industry. This was coupled with a sharp rise in the prices of cotton. “The early phase of deindustrialisation coincides with the most severe 30-year spell of the weak monsoon of the past millennium,” they reported.
While El Nino is widely blamed for poor monsoon in India, the researchers demonstrated that only in 20-50% of cases, the unusual warming of the Pacific could be held responsible for India’s historical droughts. The monsoon’s internal dynamics and other external forcing are equally critical. https://www.deccanherald.com/science-and-environment/meghalaya-cave-reveals-india-s-drought-records-of-past-1000-yrs-1146584.html (20 Sept. 2022)
The Mawmluh Cave, locally known as Krem Mawmluh, is a geological treasure field. Inside the cave, rainwater has been slowly dripping from the ceiling in the same spots for over 1,000 years. With each drop, minerals in the water accumulate on the floor below, slowly growing into calcium carbonate towers known as stalagmites.
These stalagmites are more than geological wonders – like tree rings, their layers record the region’s rainfall history. They also carry a warning about the potential for catastrophic multiyear droughts in the future.
These stalagmites have revealed an accurate chronicle of severe and protracted droughts in India over the past 1,000 years coinciding with historical events like the abandonment of Fatehpur Sikri by the Mughals (between 1585 and 1610) due to water shortage, the infamous Chalisa Famine (1783-84) in north India and the Deccan Famine (1630–32). https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/09/21/krem-mawmluh-a-storehouse-of-indias-drought-records/ (21 Sept. 2022)
By analysing the geochemistry of these stalagmites in a new study published September 19 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, we were able to create the most precise chronology yet of the summer Indian monsoon over the past millennium. It documents how the Indian subcontinent frequently experienced long, severe droughts unlike any observed in the last 150 years of reliable monsoon rainfall measurements. The drought periods we detected are in striking synchrony with historical accounts of droughts, famines, mass mortality events and geopolitical changes in the region. https://scroll.in/article/1033267/what-1000-year-old-stalagmites-in-a-cave-in-cherrapunji-reveal-about-indias-monsoon-patterns (21 Sept 2022)
Report New landslide reporting tool uses SM, AI -The paper explores a well-known microblogging platform, Twitter, to identify landslide-related posts, specifically those with images containing landslides. A new methodology is presented that harvests landslide photographs from Tweets automatically and in real-time. To do this, different types of noise and irrelevant content that can be associated with landslide-related social media imagery data are identified. Moreover, a further aim is the annotation and release of a dataset for the community to develop image filtering and landslide detection tools.
-This technical paper describes the underpinning theory and presents a detailed experimental approach to the model development step. The tool extracts information from Twitter through keywords such as landslide, landslip, earth slip, mudslide, rockslide, and rock fall. The algorithm then looks for an image attached to the tweet. The system harvests photographs in real-time from these data and tags each image as landslide or not-landslide. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/new-landslide-reporting-tool-uses-social-media-and-artificial-intelligence (16 Sept. 2022)
Sikkim Documentary about the impact of a landslide on Tanyang village Save the Hills is an NGO that raises awareness and helps in the management and mitigation of landslides in the Darjeeling-Sikkim area of northern India. One of their current projects focuses on Tanyang, a remote village two hours from Kalimpong. The village is located at 27.006, 88.494. Tanyang is being affected by a major landslide that is removing land at a prodigious rate, threatening the livelihood and wellboing of the population. This pattern is repeated in many locations. There is rarely any substantial level of relief for the affected people. (Dave Petley) https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2022/09/20/tanyang-1/ (20 Sept. 2022)
Arunachal Pradesh Several key roads in Siang district have been snapped owing to landslides triggered by incessant rainfall for the last two days, affecting the denizens of the district. http://echoofarunachal.in/news_details.php?nid=18791 (24 Sept. 2022) Heavy rainfall also caused landslides in several portions of the Pasighat-Mariyang-Yingkiong road, which were cleared by the construction agencies entrusted to maintain different portions of the highway. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/09/26/landslides-disrupt-road-communication/ (25 Sept. 2022)
A landslide in the Tippi waterfall area of West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh washed away several vehicles on Saturday evening, official sources said. The landslide occurred due to heavy rains in the last two days, following which passengers using the Balipara-Chardwar-Tawang (BCT) road were advised to take the Orang-Kalkatang-Shergaon-Rupa-Tawang (OKSRT). https://www.etvbharat.com/english/national/videos/top-videos/watch-massive-landslide-in-tippi-falls-area-of-west-kameng-district-of-arunachal-pradesh/na20220925225234087087958 (26 Sept. 2022)
Alarming visuals of a car disappearing down the slopes of a hill have emerged on Twitter. The visuals, reported to be from the Chipata village in Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh, display a white SUV slowly being propelled towards the edge of a mountain road during flash floods in the area. https://www.etvbharat.com/english/national/videos/top-videos/suv-washed-away-in-flash-floods-in-arunachals-lower-subansiri-district/na20220924165942868868103 (24 Sept. 2022)
Uttarakhand पिथौरागढ़ में चीन सीमा को जोड़ने वाली तवाघाट-लिपुलेख सड़क पर लखनपुर और नजंग के बीच शुक्रवार (Sept. 23) दोपहर बाद पहाड़ी दरकने से भूस्खलन हुआ है। इस कारण सड़क यातायात के लिए फिर बंद हो गई है और चीन सीमा के निकटवर्ती गांवों का शेष जगत से संपर्क कट गया है। यह सड़क पिछले दिनों मलघाट में भूस्खलन के कारण बंद हो गई थी। 12 दिन बाद बुधवार की देर शाम इस सड़क पर यातायात सुचारु हो सका था। दो दिन बाद शुक्रवार दोपहर बाद चार बजे लखनपुर और नजंग के बीच तम्पा मंदिर के पास अचानक पूरी पहाड़ी दरक गई। पहाड़ी जैसे ही खिसकी पूरा क्षेत्र धूल के गुबार से भर गया और सड़क फिर बंद हो गई। मौके पर मौजूद लोगों ने भागकर जान बचाई। सड़क बंद होने से व्यास घाटी के सात गांवों का संपर्क कट गया है। प्राइवेट टूर ऑपरेटर के माध्यम से आदि कैलाश यात्रा पर गए 50 यात्री बुंदी में फंस गए हैं। https://www.amarujala.com/uttarakhand/pithoragarh/road-connecting-china-border-closed-again-due-to-hill-cracking-pithoragarh-news-hld4767057193 (23 Sept. 2022)
The Rishikesh-Gangotri National Highway was blocked by rocks and boulders falling from the hills near Helgugad and Swarigad in Uttarkashi, while the Vikasnagar-Kalsi-Barkot National Highway in Dehradun district was also blocked, the State Emergency Operation Centre (SEOC) said. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/watch-parts-of-hill-crashes-in-massive-landslide-in-uttarakhand-3373285 (24 Sept. 2022)
Supreme Court Grant Of Ex Post Facto EC Permissible In Exceptional Circumstances The Supreme Court has ruled that ex post facto Env clearance can be given in exceptional circumstances and is not ruled out by the Env laws. It can be given in cases where the denial of clearance will have greater negative consequences than approval. It also said that the adherence to the laws is non negotiable. But the ruling gives a signal contrary to this. This is another unfortunate anti environment ruling of the Supreme Court. https://www.livelaw.in/environment/supreme-court-ex-post-facto-environmental-clearance-permissible-d-swamy-vs-karnataka-state-pollution-control-board-2022-livelaw-sc-791-210012 (22 Sept. 2022)
MoEF Centre overhauls process to grant clearances for projects on forest land By Jayashree Nandi The Union environment ministry has overhauled the process to grant clearances to projects requiring forest diversions under the Forest Conservation Rules 2022, officials familiar with the matter said. The government’s latest format of application forms and process flows on the environment ministry’s Parivesh website focuses a lot more on subjective details to avoid queries raised by various departments when applications are being considered. It also aims to complete the entire process in a time-bound manner.
The new process seeks to know from the applicant details such as reasons behind developing a project on forest land, details of the project and the concerned forestland, geo-referenced maps, legal matters, if pending, whether the project falls in a scheduled or an eco-sensitive area and cost benefit analysis among other inputs, the officials cited above said. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/centre-overhauls-process-to-grant-clearances-for-projects-on-forest-land-101663700974908.html (21 Sept. 2022)
India-Nepal 9th JCWR meet to focus on water related issues; Pancheshwar Project Nepal and India have scheduled the 9th meeting of the Secretary-level Joint Commission on Water Resources (JCWR) in Kathmandu on Wednesday, Sept 21, 2022. The first two days of the meeting of the Joint-secretary level Joint Steering Committee (JSC) will discuss the various aspects of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project. The meeting on the third day will endorse the agendas approved by the JSC meetings. https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/nepal-india-holding-9th-jcwr-meeting-on-wednesday-talks-to-focus-on-water-related-issues-including-pancheshwar-project/ (20 Sept. 2022)
India and Nepal have agreed to take up further studies on proposed Kosi dam, as senior officials of the two sides met in Kathmandu and comprehensively reviewed the bilateral water-sector cooperation, including the implementation of the Mahakali Treaty and cooperation in areas of flooding and inundation. The 9th meeting of the Joint Committee on Water Resources (JCWR), co-chaired by Pankaj Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Govt of India and Sagar Rai, Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, was held in Kathmandu on Friday, Sept 23 2022. This was preceded by the 7th meeting of the Joint Standing Technical Committee on Water Resources on Sept 21-22.
– Pancheshwar: The JCWR extended the tenure of the Team of Experts (ToE) unto March 2023 for the finalisation of the DPR of Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project and agreed to hold the 4th ToE meeting at the earliest. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-nepal-agree-to-take-forward-sapta-kosi-high-dam-project/articleshow/94415401.cms (24 Sept. 2022)
India-Bangladesh Sweet deals and contentious issues it needs to be recognised that both the Farakka barrage and the GWT are epitomes of a reductionist engineering paradigm that has ingrained “arithmetic hydrology” (looking at water through its quantity only, by ignoring all other parameters of a flow regime) in water governance in south Asia. As such, Himalayan rivers like the Ganges carry high levels of sediments along with water. These sediments perform important ecosystem services like soil formation and enhance soil fertility. The Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) delta is formed by the sediments brought by the rivers—something that the treaty fails to acknowledge.
– Large components of the sediments of the Ganges are getting trapped upstream of the Farakka barrage and have been allegedly stated to be inhibiting the delta’s soil formation. On the other hand, in the Indian Sundarbans part of the delta, sea-level rise and salinity ingression are resulting in land losses without simultaneous land resuscitation that the sediments used to perform. Furthermore, sediment accumulation, upstream of the Farakka has also been allegedly stated to be responsible for aggravating flood damages in Bihar due to backwater effects. This can happen when high flows from the Koshi river in Bihar and the mainstream Ganges converge, and are unable to get a passage through the sediments. Therefore, it becomes imperative for the proposed Joint Technical Committee (mentioned in the statement) to bring in the concern of sediment and the delta in their study without limiting the scope of the study to water allocation only. The concern of sediment must feature as one looks at 2026.
– TEESTA: A succession of around 30 operational, non-operational and planned hydropower projects—with 80 percent of them being in Sikkim—are located on the Teesta. Though claimed to be “run-of-river” projects, all these projects (located at short intervals) have upstream storage mechanisms where water is stored due low flows during the lean season, and is then released for the turbines to generate hydropower. This disrupts the flow regime; dries up the downstream flows; fragments the river; arrests sediments; results in a loss in the horizontal integrity of the river; and leads to losses in fisheries and biodiversity. https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak/bangladesh-india-hydro-politics/ (23 Sept. 2022)
IWT The Indus Treaty highlights many times the scope of cooperation and shared governance (in Articles 4, 5 and 7). Translating these words in the Treaty into more tangible action would greatly increase the bargaining range between India and Pakistan. For example, Article 4 emphasises the use of communication channels regarding areas of concern across eastern and western rivers. It also tasks signatories with avoiding measures which cause direct or indirect harm to the other. Article 5 also outlines key areas that can foster cooperation between India and Pakistan, such as collaborating to prevent river erosion, promoting river protection, and treatment of sewage and industrial water at the source point. Article 7 utlines the possibility of optimum river development through a consultative data-sharing process for issues relating to drainage works.
– This not only necessitates alternative ways of undertaking suitable interventions to manage the Indus Basin, but also demands that a relational approach to the rivers and the ecosystem of the Indus Basin become a priority concern for both India and Pakistan. This will not only help us critically engage with what ‘water’ means, but also open up new pathways for benefit sharing mechanisms to future-proof the Indus Water Treaty. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/water/india-and-pakistan-can-future-proof-their-threatened-rivers-85091 (23 Sept. 2022)
Pakistan Flood delays Mohmand Dam by one year In the wake of devastating floods, the Mohmand Dam’s completion, which is under construction in KPK, has been delayed by one more year. Its cost overrun is estimated to increase by Rs20-25 billion. This is because the coffer dam constructed for diversion tunnel had breached when the Swat River faced high flows after unprecedented heavy rains, senior officials at WAPDA and Ministry of Water Resources said.
With the breach of cofferdam, the under-construction diversion tunnel also sustained huge damage. According to the PC-I, they said, the Mohmand Dam was to be completed and commissioned in December, 2025 at the cost of Rs311 billion. But because of the flood that also hit the coffer dam and diversion tunnel, the cost of the project is estimated to increase by Rs20-25 billion following the cost escalation to be incurred on purchase of material and required items during the period of one more year. The construction work on the dam began on September 20, 2019. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/991759-flood-delays-mohmand-dam-by-one-year (16 Sept. 2022)
Imran announces 10 more dams to avert deluges https://tribune.com.pk/story/2373287/imran-announces-10-more-dams-to-avert-deluges (26 Aug. 2022)
Trouble at the Ravi River front EDITORIAL: Farmers who own farm lands in the area are up in arms over the plan accusing the Ravi Urban Development Authority (Ruda) of forcibly taking possession of their land where they grow food crops and vegetables for supplying to the city of Lahore. They have vowed to “resist the project by all means”.
Their key concern, though, is more about what they deem as fair compensation than losing cultivable lands. They are reportedly complaining that ignoring their demand for two kanal developed plots in exchange for one acre Ruda is offering them only 15 marla plots per acre. https://www.brecorder.com/news/40198128/trouble-at-the-ravi-river-front (18 Sept. 2022)
Bangladesh Demand for sand escalates illegal activities Demand from Bangladesh’s construction industry for sand has led to a boom in unregulated and illegal mining from rivers, activists say. This extracted sand flows into the country year-round through 57 transboundary rivers from India and Myanmar. In all, these waterways carry around 2.4 billion metric tons of sediment, including sand, clay and silt.
Excessive sand mining is destroying the ecology of river systems as well as their biodiversity, and increasing the risk of river erosion, a study says. A 2010 law meant to keep sand mining in check has instead allowed the illegal industry to thrive, critics say, thanks to weak punishment, lax enforcement, and the involvement of politically connected players in the business. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/09/demand-for-sand-in-bangladesh-escalates-illegal-activities-threatens-environment/ (22 Sept. 2022)
Nepal Invasive species inch northwards Researchers are warning of increasing presence of non-native plant species in Nepal’s mountains, a threat that may be growing with climate change. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/nature/invasive-species-inch-northwards-in-nepal-threatening-mountain-ecosystems/ (15 Sept. 2022)
China has plans for grand canals The southern province of Guangxi has a project that fits the bill: a canal costing $10.5bn that will link its main river system to the sea. It will involve a spree of demolition, digging, dredging and building over the next four and a half years. Mulled over for more than a century, the project began last month. https://www.economist.com/china/2022/09/15/china-has-plans-for-grand-canals (15 Sept. 2022)
Record-Breaking Droughts Dried Up Yangtze More than 400 million Chinese people receive water from the Yangtze, China’s most significant river. With rainfall in the Yangtze basin being about 45% below average this summer and huge parts and dozens of tributaries drying up, it has reached record-low water levels. Sichuan, which derives more than 80% of its energy from hydropower, has experienced issues due to the reduction in water flow to China’s enormous hydroelectric infrastructure. https://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/52968/20220907/record-breaking-droughts-dried-up-yangtze-the-worlds-third-largest-river.htm (07 Sept. 2022)
The central Chinese province of Jiangxi has declared a water supply “red alert” for the first time after the Poyang freshwater lake, the country’s biggest, dwindled to a record low, the Jiangxi government said on Friday (Sept. 23). The Poyang Lake, normally a vital flood outlet for the Yangtze, China’s longest river, has been suffering from drought since June, with water levels at a key monitoring spot falling from 19.43 metres to 7.1 metres over the last three months. The Jiangxi Water Monitoring Centre said Poyang’s water levels would fall even further in coming days, with rainfall still minimal. Precipitation since July is 60% lower than a year earlier, it said. https://www.reuters.com/world/china/chinas-biggest-lake-declares-red-alert-long-drought-lingers-2022-09-23/ (23 Sept. 2022)
Dutch rewilding project turns back the clock 500 years Big infrastructure is at the heart of the Dutch “offensive” – as opposed to “defensive” – approach to sorting out rivers, which involves relandscaping entire catchments, rather than rewetting specific at-risk areas. This approach is particularly revolutionary given that the seed for this project was planted decades ago. By contrast, the UK has only started thinking about implementing natural solutions at scale in the past few years.
A key part of Border Meuse has been separating nature and agriculture by buying out farms along two river catchments and returning them to a natural state. Some farmers opposed being moved, but most were struggling to farm because of the flooding and were generously compensated. Farmers have moved away from hundreds of kilometres of Dutch rivers where flood protection and ecological restoration are priorities, says Schepers.
The €550m project is being paid for mainly by companies wanting to extract sand and gravel from the riverbed, which has helped widen the river and lower riverbanks and so expand the floodplain. Because of the involvement of industry, Border Meuse was the only large river restoration project that wasn’t withdrawn during the 2008 financial crash.
In the UK, land ownership is very complex and generally that is not how we would do it,” says the Trust’s Dan Turner. “We tend to take a much more bottom-up approach and look to incentivise landowners and farmers by working collaboratively.” The Rivers Trust works with farmers to create landscapes such as wetlands and riparian forests in the floodplain. Turner believes educating farmers and communities, rather than compulsory purchase, leads to longer-term change, because everybody is invested in looking after the river. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/20/dutch-rewilding-project-turns-back-the-clock-500-years-aoe (20 Sept. 2022)
England ‘Flood gardens to combat drought and biodiversity loss’ Experts say ditching concrete and creating mini wetlands could help water systems cope better with effects of extreme weather. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/25/flood-gardens-to-combat-drought-and-biodiversity-loss-says-natural-england (25 Sept. 2022)
THE REST OF THE WORLD
Study Most big coastal cities have areas sinking faster than sea level rise 44 of the 48 most populous coastal cities have areas sinking faster than the sea is rising, driven by groundwater pumping and compacted soil from heavy buildings. Cities in south and South-East Asia were some of the most rapidly subsiding cities, including Tianjin in China and Ahmedabad in India, which both had areas sinking faster than 20 millimetres a year. https://www.newscientist.com/article/2338652-most-big-coastal-cities-have-areas-sinking-faster-than-sea-level-rise/ (19 Sept. 2022)
This increase in sea levels is a major concern to cities and towns that lie on the edges of the sea. But many cities also face another problem—land subsidence, in which land sinks due to removal of groundwater or gas and compaction of the ground from the massive weight of buildings on top of it.
In all, the researchers measured land subsidence for 48 of the largest cities in the world over the years 2014 to 2020.They found that nearly all of the cities they studied were experiencing some degree of land subsidence. And in 44 of them, some areas were sinking at a faster rate than the sea is rising. https://phys.org/news/2022-09-coastal-cities-faster-sea.html (20 Sept. 2022)
Compiled by SANDRP (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Also see: DRP News Bulletin 19 Sept. 2022 & DRP News Bulletin 12 Sept. 2022
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