(Feature Image: The report also states that the monitoring of the groundwater resources was affected by the Covid-19 outbreak in the country. Source: Bloomberg/TIE)
This sounds so counter intuitive. The Ministry Jal Shakti on Nov 9, 2022 made some findings of its latest “National Compilation on Dynamic Ground Water Resources of India, 2022 public, strangely, without making the report public. It is not clear why the govt did not make the report public, though the counter intuitive nature of the findings provide some hint. The report claims that at all India macro level, the ministry claimed that the groundwater extraction is the lowest in 2022 since 2004, or 18 years and that the groundwater recharge has gone up.
These are counter intuitive findings, even if at macro level for a number of reasons. It is also unclear what methodology is used to arrive at these conclusions and if there has been any independent scrutiny of the same. Since groundwater extraction has been going up for over six decades now, this reversal will need plausible reasons. There are no indications that there is any reduction in this groundwater use. Secondly, the groundwater recharge mechanisms are under attack all over India, and thus the finding that there is increase in recharge raises questions. Particularly since the efforts at groundwater recharge through rainwater harvesting are far from convincing.
More importantly, the real story is at micro level, since groundwater occurs in decentralised aquifers and any significant reduction in use, increase in recharge has to happen at the aquifer level and the assessment also needs to be done and made available at aquifer level for it to have any impact on future regulation of groundwater. In fact the only regulatory body working for groundwater regulation, the CGWA, works in a centralised way and its work has been far from confidence inspiring. That makes this whole findings questionable. Moreover, it would also be useful to see if the extraction has reduced in over exploited areas and if the recharge has increased where it is required most: in over exploited areas. Too many questions and no answers, unfortunately.
MoJS Groundwater extraction this year down 6 BCM from 2020 -While no specific reasons have been given in the latest groundwater assessment report — National Compilation on Dynamic Ground Water Resources Of India, 2022 — released by the Ministry of Jal Shakti on Nov 10 for a sharp decline in the extraction of groundwater for irrigation, domestic and industrial uses during 2022, the report says, “These variations are attributed mainly to refinement of parameters, refinement in well census data and changing groundwater regime.” https://indianexpress.com/article/india/groundwater-extraction-this-yr-down-6-bn-cubic-metres-from-20-8261807/ (11 Nov. 2022)
Level of groundwater extraction lowest in 18 years The total annual groundwater recharge for the entire country is 437.60 billion cubic metres (bcm) and annual groundwater extraction for the entire country is 239.16 bcm, according to the 2022 assessment report. Further, out of the total 7,089 assessment units in the country, 1,006 units have been categorised as “over-exploited” in the report. By comparison, an assessment in 2020 found that the annual groundwater recharge was 436 bcm and extraction 245 bcm. In 2017, recharge was 432 bcm and extraction 249 bcm. The 2022 assessment suggests that groundwater extraction is the lowest since 2004, when it was 231 bcm. Such joint exercises between the CGWB and States/Union Territories were carried out earlier in 1980, 1995, 2004, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2017 and 2020.
– “A detailed analysis of the information collected from the assessment indicates increase in ground water recharge which may mainly be attributed to increase in recharge from canal seepage, return flow of irrigation water and recharges from water bodies/tanks & water conservation structures. Further, analysis indicates improvement in ground water conditions in 909 assessment units in the country when compared with 2017 assessment data. In addition, overall decrease in number of over-exploited units and decrease in stage of groundwater extraction level have also been observed,” the Ministry of Water Resources said in a statement. The full report wasn’t made public by the Ministry. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/level-of-groundwater-extraction-lowest-in-18-years-finds-study/article66116836.ece (10 Nov. 2022)
Punjab Twisted Tale of Preservation of Subsoil Water Act, 2009 Harsh Dabas To arrest the declining water table and to address the issue of overexploitation, the State Legislature of Punjab rolled out Preservation of Subsoil Water Act, 2009 to alleviate the crisis. Interestingly, the Act dealt with the dates and specified periods in which the sowing and transplanting of Paddy crops, the cultivation of which is water-intensive activity, could be undertaken. The rationale was that, if the time of Paddy Cultivation could be mandated during the sowing months, the burden on the Water Level could be eased.
Recent studies in this area claim that because Punjab is so heavily dependent on the production of paddy to feed the nation, the Center is strategically hostile to diversification in the state. In such cases, proper governmental intervention that emphasizes fair price compensation and secure markets for purchasing goods and services may encourage farmers to vary their planting patterns. Furthermore, Punjab declined to approve the prototype groundwater management bill from the Center in 2010, stating it was too onerous for farmers. In the same vein, institutionalized machinery must be set up to dispose of grain effectively. The state’s ecological survival will continue to be in jeopardy unless such prompt action is taken. https://www.livelaw.in/columns/falling-groundwater-table-and-rising-pollution-green-revolution-punjab-preservation-of-subsoil-water-act-212623 (28 Oct. 2022)
Delhi 5 districts consume more groundwater than recharged annually Five out of Delhi’s 11 revenue districts — New Delhi, North Delhi, South Delhi, Southwest Delhi and Shahdara — are extracting more groundwater than is being recharged annually. Of these, compared to the annual recharge, New Delhi had the highest annual extraction. The stage of extraction, which is the percentage of groundwater extracted against what was recharged, was around 121.41% in New Delhi. This was followed by South Delhi with 116.25%. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/five-districts-consume-more-groundwater-than-is-being-recharged-annually-in-delhi-8261806/ (11 Nov. 2022)
HYDRO POWER PROJECTS
SANDRP Blog Repeated Disasters at Subansiri Hydro project in 2022 Over the course of past two years, series of disasters and accidents have taken place at construction site of the controversial 2000 MW Lower Subansiri Hydro Power Project resulting in damages to project structure and death of construction workers thus raising questions over its safety and sustainability. Since 2005-06, the largest ever under-construction hydropower project is being developed by NHPLC Ltd (formerly known as the National Hydro Power Corporation Limited), a central government company in geologically fragile, seismically vulnerable and biodiversity rich area in the face of pending judicial case and very strong opposition from people across the Assam.
What is clear from the list of incident mentioned below is that in each of the last three years (2020, 2021 and 2022), both in monsoon and pre monsoon months, there has been series of disasters and accidents happening at the project. In fact in an unprecedented event, the Central Electricity Authority, the highest technical body under the Union Power Ministry had submitted a report dated April 2022, titled “Tour Report of Subansiri Lower Hydro Electric Project” raising fundamental questions about the safety situation at the project. https://sandrp.in/2022/11/08/repeated-disasters-at-subansiri-hydro-project-in-2022/ (08 Nov. 2022)
Study Increasingly deadlier landslides imperil hydel hopes The study predicts that a quarter of the 274 hydropower projects in operation, under construction or being planned in India, Nepal and Bhutan are likely to face severe damage from quake-triggered landslides. In Nepal, the Independent Power Producers are building projects totaling 2,781 MW while the Nepal Electricity Authority is undertaking projects with a total capacity of 943 MW, according to a recent World Bank report.
Dave Petley, an earth scientist and vice-chancellor at the University of Hull in the United Kingdom, said he is worried about the wave of hydroelectric projects being constructed in the steep river systems of Nepal (and elsewhere).
“I am also worried that sites being impacted by large landslides and debris flows haven’t been properly considered,” he said. “There is also the threat of a major earthquake, which would impact the facilities directly, but, more worryingly, would trigger landslides upstream that would threaten the facilities over the long term.”
But seismic hazards aside, the rise in landslide events would be significant in the border regions of Nepal and China, according to a 2020 NASA report, which projects a surge anywhere between 30 percent to 70 percent.
Landslides would occur in areas covered by glaciers and glacial lakes, according to the study.
Glacial lake outburst floods are imminent threats not just in Nepal but also upstream in China, like the most recent one in 2016 when the small Gongbatongsha glacier lake outburst flood, triggered by heavy precipitation, resulted in a massive transborder flooding and debris flow which swept parts of the Arniko Highway and severely damaged the Upper Bhotekoshi HEP. https://kathmandupost.com/climate-environment/2022/11/13/increasingly-deadlier-landslides-imperil-nepal-s-hydel-hopes (13 Nov 2022)
Himachal Pradesh In Kinnaur, locals want end to hydel projects Campaign, ‘No Means No’, has been gaining momentum with support from not only those who are likely to get affected by the upcoming 804MW Jangi-Thopan-Powari hydroelectricity project, but people from all walks of life. Everyone in this tribal region, including employees, students and youngsters and even those settled in other parts of the country, are supporting the movement against hydro projects.
-Villagers of Spillow, Kanam, Moorang, Jangi, Akpa and Rarang informed that the proposed Jangi-Thopan-Powari hydroelectricity project was a major threat to inhabitants. They said such projects had ruined the area’s ecology and now threatened the existence of tribal people who are otherwise protected through special statute. TOI accessed the minutes of meetings held between officials of the district administration and representatives of six villages, which are likely to be affected due to Jangi-Thopan projects, in which locals categorically conveyed their refusal to the project.
-Activists of Zila Van Adhikar Sangharash Samiti, Kinnaur, and Him Lok Jagriti Manch, Kinnaur, have been submitting memorandum to all candidates contesting assembly polls, asking them about their stand on ill-effects of hydroelectricity projects. Some villages had even boycotted and abstained themselves from polling in the byelection held for Mandi parliamentary seat in 2021.
-Another activist, Dinesh Negi, a member of a block development committee (BDC), said another demand was to let the Satluj river from Spiti to Powari and the Chenab flow freely. A former banker, Dinesh said youngsters of the area had organised themselves with the backing of elders and women. “We want immediate implementation of PESA 1996 and The Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006 that secures the legitimate community ownership rights of the tribal communities living in forest areas,” he said.
-A letter by locals to the PMO has explained the threat Western Himalayan tribal areas were facing from hydro projects. “Catastrophic landslides have hit the region, leading to loss of lives and infrastructure. We understand these events are not standalone natural disasters, but a lethal combination of a sensitive landscape altered rapidly by detrimental climatic events and destructive development projects,” says the letter sent to PMO. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/in-kinnaur-locals-want-end-to-hydel-projects/articleshow/95416247.cms (13 Nov. 2022)
Following residents of Kinnaur, locals in Lahaul-Spiti also started campaigns against proposed hydel projects after landslides in Kinnaur and neighbouring Uttarakhand. Residents of both Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts, which have a similar topography, have been protesting against proposed hydel power projects in their respective regions. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/shimla/kinnaur-and-lahaul-spiti-districts-we-will-vote-for-whoever-opposes-hydro-projects-8252208/ (10 Nov. 2022)
Uttarakhand विष्णुगाड़ पीपलकोटी जल विद्युत परियोजना का कार्य कर रही एचसीसी कम्पनी के मजदूरों ने आज से (Nov. 12) हड़ताल की है। मजदूरों की मांग है कि कोरोना काल में उनसे लिए गए कार्य का भुगतान किया जाय। कोरोना के समय मजदूरों से काम तो ले लिया गया किन्तु दो साल बाद भी उसका भुगतान नहीं किया गया। मजदूरों का आरोप है कि एचसीसी ने परियोजना निर्मात्री कम्पनी टीएचडीसी से तो भुगतान ले लिया किन्तु मजदूरों को उनका पैंसा नहीं दिया। यह वह कम्पनी है जो जुलाई महीने में हेलंग में घास ला रही महिला का घास छीन कर उनके चारागाह की भूमि कब्जा कर रही थी। आज तक उस घास छिनने वाले मामले में भी सरकार द्वारा किसी पर कोई कार्यवाही नहीं की गयीं है। https://twitter.com/atulsati1/status/1591332867434778624?s=20&t=shesI9tghNPVUfKopz5_RQ (12 Nov. 2022) विष्णुगाड-पीपलकोटी जल विद्युत परियोजना का कार्य कर रही हिंदुस्तान कंपनी के कर्मचारियों को चार माह से वेतन नहीं मिलने से कर्मचारी हड़ताल पर चले गए https://www.amarujala.com/uttarakhand/chamoli/project-workers-went-on-strike-gopeshwar-news-drn3442539119 (14 May 2020)
Centre Power PSUs set to take over 29 stuck private hydel projects Union Power Minister RK Singh said: The power ministry is pushing state-run majors under its wings to take over 29 hydel projects entailing estimated investments of up to Rs 2.7 lakh crore that are languishing with private developers.
The projects have a combined capacity of 30,000 MW and were awarded to private companies by six north-eastern states but have not made much progress. [Private sector is no longer interested as they do not see these projects economically viable.]
– The state governments were agreeable to the proposal but pointed out the projects could get stuck in litigation with promoters if the awards are cancelled. The best alternative, it was felt would be the joint venture or special purpose vehicle route. “We are open to the idea that the PSU taking over a project will pay genuine costs incurred by the promoter.” Singh said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/power-psus-set-to-take-over-29-stuck-private-hydel-projects/articleshow/95389025.cms (09 Nov. 2022)
Large Hydro (capacity above 25 MW) projects to be excluded from financing renewables from India’s first Green Bonds fund. The government aims to issue 160 billion rupees ($1.93 billion) of such bonds between October and March. https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/india-govt-use-proceeds-green-bonds-fund-renewable-energy-clean-transportation-2022-11-09/ (09 Nov. 2022)
NHPC Board has approved the merger of its subsidiary Jalpower Corp Lted into NHPC Ltd, it said on Nov 10, 2022. NHPC Ltd had paid Rs 165 Cr to acquire the Jalpower company, owner of the Under construction 120 MW Rangit IV project in Sikkim. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/nhpc-board-okays-jalpower-corp-merger/95438409 (11 Nov. 2022)
Arunachal Pradesh Minor landslide cause for Siang turning muddy again Chintan Seth:-Satellite images reveal that construction activities are not the cause for the muddiness but in fact, a minor landslide has occurred from the Sengdampu valley into the Yarlung Tsangpo river, a few km upstream of Gyala. This valley has several glaciers that feed the river rising up to the mountain peak of Gyala Peri (7294 m). The glaciers in this valley have been receding for several decades and in the last 5 years have been wasting mud, debris and rocks into the river valley.
The condition of the river is improving, however, due to climate change, extreme heat waves and possible precipitation the Sengdampu valley seems to be continuously wasting debris and mud. This may as well turn out to be the new baseline condition for this river. However, we must not forget what the river was before 2017 and the people of Siang valley may try their best to document the stories and memories from their elders about its condition and aquatic life.
The fact that after 2017 the Siang has changed and remained muddy intermittently indicates how perhaps climate change has changed the nature of the river particularly in the winter months. A robust monitoring system is the need of the hour that continuously measures turbidity, volume and various other chemical and geophysical parameters so as to understand how the river condition is changing and affecting aquatic biodiversity. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/11/10/minor-landslide-cause-for-siang-river-turning-muddy-again/ (10 Nov. 2022)
-As per the official, the change in colour or the mud in the water is unnatural as there has been no rain in the recent past. The authorities are now monitoring the situation. Another cause may be landslides in Upper Stream but nothing can be said till a proper investigation is done. https://nenow.in/north-east-news/arunachal-pradesh/arunachal-concern-grows-as-siang-river-turns-muddy.html (09 Nov. 2022)
Kameng river recovers from turbidity Independent researcher and geographer Chintan Sheth, who trekked all the way up to the Kameng river’s origin, near Khyarii Satam, in November 2021, had reported that “the geomorphic stresses were eased by the earthquakes that occurred unexpectedly in the region, which triggered a massive landslide and flow of heavy debris.” Expressing concern over the habitats and aquatic lives, Sheth said, “Further upstream, many habitats have changed, and the river no longer has large pools like it used to have before the incident. So, that, too, needs investigation.”
On 13 Oct, 2021, the earth sciences ministry’s National Centre for Seismology detected a shallow earthquake of 3.4 magnitude near a ridge separating the Kameng river and the Wapra Bung river. Subsequently, on the 30th, another earthquake of 3.4 magnitude occurred 46 kms southwest of the area. Satellite images of the area before and after 13 Oct did not reveal any detectable change in the geomorphology. No landslides were observed. By the 29th, the river was already heavy with sediments. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/11/08/kameng-river-recovers-from-turbidity/ (8 Nov 2022)
Total Number of hits on SANDRP website crossed 5 MILLION on Nov. 11!
Polavaram Project Funding gets a leg up after PM-CM meetings Following a direction from the PMO after CM Reddy requested PM Modi for an advance ad-hoc allocation of Rs 7,278 crore to ensure the project does not get stalled because of dearth of funds till the Union cabinet approves the enhanced amount required to complete the Polavaram dam, the Union finance ministry is considering the request of the state government.
The Jal Shakti ministry has also sought an estimate of probable requirement of funds till March 2023 and a detailed assessment of the damage caused to the diaphragm wall because of flooding in Godavari river in 2019-20. But Andhra government officials admit that all this exercise will take time. A revised deadline of June 2024 has been set but off-the-record officials admit that it will take more than that to complete. Work on the Polavaram project had started in 2005. At that time the project cost was estimated at Rs 10,151 crore as per 2005-06 price level. The project had missed several deadlines since then and the cost also escalated manifold.
The Centre and the Andhra Pradesh government had earlier locked horns over the actual cost of the project. The Centre has capped the project cost at 2013-14 price levels, which comes to Rs 20,398 crore. But the state wanted the project cost to be approved based on the 2017-18 price level, which came to Rs 55,548.87 crore. The state government has said that it will be difficult to complete the project at the reduced rate as the cost has increased manifold since 2014, when it was declared a national project.
The Polavaram multipurpose dam was declared a national project in 2014, implying that the state government will execute it on Centre’s behalf and the latter will reimburse every penny spent by the state to complete it. But funding remained a sticky issue. Earlier, the finance ministry was funding just the irrigation component of the project, excluding the water component to the tune of Rs 4,068.43 crore, leaving it to the state government to bear the cost. After a lot of back and forth, the central government has now agreed to the state’s proposal to treat the irrigation and water component of the project together. https://theprint.in/india/polavaram-dam-funding-gets-a-leg-up-after-pm-cm-meetings-but-project-unlikely-to-meet-deadline/1213126/ (13 Nov. 2022)
Telangana Wardha Barrage project run into rough weather The TRS government’s irrigation project proposed on the Wardha river may land in a fresh inter-state dispute with neighbouring Maharashtra. The Rs 1000-crore project named as Dr BR Ambedkar Wardha Barrage was part of realising TRS election-eve commitment to irrigate 2.5 lakh acres in Kumuram Bheem Asifabad district.
– The TRS government came out with the barrage proposal in 2018 to draw 4-5 tmcft of water by investing Rs 1000 cr, the farmers from Chandrapur and Gadchiroli mandals in Maharashtra staged protests against the barrage fearing submergence of their farm fields. Publication of a news report reinforcing the government’s commitment regarding the location of the barrage on the Wardha river in Namaste Telangana, mouthpiece of the ruling party, on November 2 is said to have acted as a trigger for the protests. Around 1,500 acres of farm fields in Chandrapur and Gadchiroli mandls are expected to face submergence in view of the barrage.
– KCR during his first stint as the Chief Minister tried to resolve a dispute over a barrage at Tummidi Hutti on the Pranahita river in 2016 as part of the Dr. BR Ambedkar Pranahita- Chevella Sujala Sravanti scheme. Accordingly, the Telangana government has agreed to reduce the height of the barrage to 148 m above msl (mean seal level) from the originally designed height at 152m enabling drawl of 0.2 tmcft for irrigation of 50,000 acres in Kumuram Bheem Asifabad district. Later, the TRS government changed its mind regarding construction of a barrage at Tummidi Hutti and made fresh proposals for another barrage on the Wardha river at the point where the rivers Wardha and Wainganga meet the Pranahita, a tributary of the Godavari river.
– Raka Sudhakar, a pollical analyst, said that the agreements the KCR government made with Maharashtra for the barrage construction at Tummidi Hutti became null and void after Telangana moved over to Wardha with fresh barrage proposals.
– Irrigation experts are however skeptical of the efficacy of the barrage at Wardha. Construction of a barrage at Wardha exposes the KCR government’s lack of forethought and vision, says D. Lakshminarayana, an irrigation expert. https://www.news9live.com/opinion-blogs/kcrs-tiff-with-bjp-lets-his-brainchild-wardha-barrage-project-run-into-rough-weather-207531 (12 Nov. 2022)
Madhya Pradesh People of Raisen and Narsinghpur in upper Narmada basin are opposing the proposed Chinki Boras barrage project at the public hearing to happen today on NOv 9, 2022. The MP PCB website even does not have the full EIA nor the ENg version of the ex summary, in complete violation of the norms. जनसुनवाई करने आए अधिकारियों ने कहा कि जिसे बांध कहा जा रहा है वह बैराज है और उसे बनाया ही जाएगा तय है। अत: इसका विरोध करने की बजाय अन्य विषयों पर अपनी आपत्तियां दर्ज कराएं, जिनका उचित निराकरण किया जाएगा।
परियोजना का विरोध कर रहे करीब 20 गांवों के सैकड़ों ग्रामीण सुनवाई में शामिल हुए और अपना पक्ष रखते हुए बांध बनाने का विरोध किया। करीब एक साल से इस परियोजना के विरोध में मुहिम चला रहे किसान नेता बाबूलाल पटेल ने किसानों की ओर से उनका पक्ष रखते हुए लिखित आपत्ति दर्ज कराई व कहा कि चिनकी से 8 किमी नीचे पिपरहा में छोटे भेड़ाघाट में करीब 83 फीट ऊंचाई का बांध बनाने यहां के करीब 20-21 गांव पानी में डूब जाएंगे। सरकार ने इनके विस्थापन की कोई योजना नहीं बनाई है। बांध बनने पर गांवों की कृषि भूमि डूब जाएगी और किसानों की आजीविका छिन जाएगी। बरगी के गेट खोलने पर अभी केरपानी में पानी भर जाता है और बांध बनने के बाद उसके 17 गेटों से पानी छोडऩे पर हालात भयावह होंगे। केरपानी, समनापुर, बमोरी, करहिया, रम्पुरा सहित कई गांवों के किसानों की जमीन चली जाएगी। बाबूलाल पटेल के अलावा समनापुर के रमेश पटेल, बमोरी के छोटेलाल रमपुरा के मुकेश पटेल सहित कई अन्य किसानों ने मौखिक रूप से अपनी आपत्तियां दर्ज कराईं । https://www.patrika.com/narsinghpur-news/chinki-boras-barrage-project-public-hearing-rural-objection-redres-7859607/ (09 Nov. 2022)
-रिवर आफ लाइफ फेस्टिवल के दौरान 8 नवंबर 2022 को पन्नालाल पाटीदार और बंगाल के बाउल संगीतकारों द्वारा प्रस्तुति दी गई प्रस्तुति में केवल सिंह, और गिरधर पावरा द्वारा नर्मदा बचाओआंदोलन के गीत गाए। https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35_DGG2FY3A (09 Nov. 2022)
Dams & nature economy Mahesh Rangrajan, here as most academics do, tries his best to belittle the critics of large dams of Nehru era. In the process, he ignores many crucial facts and just highlights convenient details. Unfortunate. https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/the-other-nehru-dams-and-nature-economy/cid/1797589 (16 Nov. 2020)
RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS
Work starts on 9,000cr plan to develop 23 waterways The government has begun implementing a Rs 9,000 crore investment plan for development of 23 national waterways and is hoping to treble the cargo moved to 300 million tonnes annually by 2030, said ports, shipping and waterways minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Nov 10 2022. While nearly half the amount is being earmarked for the National Waterway 1 on Ganga, around Rs 1,250 crore will go to new ones with the government aiming to take the number of waterways to 111. The immediate focus is on 23 of them. Around 60 new jetties have been added along the two banks of Ganga, the 40 exiting ones are also being upgraded. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/work-starts-on-9000cr-plan-to-develop-23-waterways/articleshow/95437144.cms (11 Nov. 2022)
Longest river cruise to set sail from Varanasi in Jan The Varanasi-Dibrugarh cruise is expected to be run on a PPP model with the memorandum of understanding to run the first set of cruise liners signed between the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and Antara Luxury River Cruises and JM Baxi River Cruises. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/worlds-longest-river-cruise-of-4-000-km-to-set-sail-from-varanasi-in-jan-11668098944353.html (11 Nov. 2022)
The ‘Ganga Vilas Cruise’ (to be launched by the govt, operated by Antara Luxury River Cruises) will set off its journey from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and reach Dibrugarh in Assam via Bangladesh in 50 days. The voyage will cover a distance of 4,000 km, covering 27 river systems and passengers will be able to visit over 50 tourist sites. Union Minister Sonowal said this will be the single largest river journey by a single river ship in the world and would put both India and Bangladesh on the river cruise map of the world. https://www.firstpost.com/explainers/the-big-sail-the-worlds-longest-river-cruise-that-will-set-off-from-varanasi-11609461.html (11 Nov. 2022)
Bihar Story of how people collectively worked to rejuvenate a stream in Betia district that had dried up 4 decades ago. Pankaj Malviya also contributed to this effort.
BRAHMAPUTRA Assam Book Review: Slow disaster. This book by Dr. Mitul Baruah presents a fascinating, ethnographic account of the challenges faced by communities living in Majuli, India, one of the largest river islands in the world, which has experienced immense socio-environmental transformations over the years, processes that are emblematic of the Brahmaputra Valley as a whole. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/slow-disaster-political-ecology-hazards-and-everyday-life-brahmaputra-valley-assam (30 Oct. 2022)
Arunachal Pradesh Untold stories of Siang river Tayi Taggu, DC, East Siang district For the Adis, the Siang is a symbol of vibrant power, energy, and dynamism, and only the almighty god Donyi-Polo has the power to make it flow or stop. No other power can ever do it. To the Adis, the Siang is not only a river, but it gives and shapes the cultural identity of the people as far as their memories can go back. And the Siang river has been the source of folktales, folksongs, folklores, rhapsodies, and lullabies of the people living along the Siang valley.
We call the Siang river Aane or Aane Siang; it means big or large Siang and here Aane means big and not ‘mother’. And the Siang itself is of masculine gender and, for instance, in counting the genealogy, the Siang is the name of the great, great grandfather of the Adis, and it carries the patrilineal culture of the Adi society. And it is not only a mere coincidence that Tibetan, Adis and Assamese consider the Siang river the largest, most turbulent, and most dynamic male river in the Indian subcontinent.
Rivers are roots of human civilisation, and let the Siang river continue to be mellifluous with lullabies and rhapsodies of the Adis and be a source of inspiration for the generations to come. Siang is the river of our hope and aspiration; our culture and traditions flows with it. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/09/04/untold-stories-of-siang-river/ (04 Sept. 2022)
Mission Clean Kley River The 24-km-long Kley river runs through Hapoli and Ziro, and touches a few villages of the valley, as well. The Apatani Youth Association (AYA) initiated MCKR in 2015 to clean the river on 13 November with help and support from the district administration, NGOs and schoolchildren. Since then, MCKR has become an annual calendar event. The participants picked up several tons of garbage from their respective sectors. The garbage was later picked up by garbage disposal vans of the urban development & housing department and dumped at the designated dump sites.
This year, around 3,000 persons, including members of the Tani Supun Dukun, the Apatani Women Association of Ziro (AWAZ), the Bazaar Welfare Committees, members of NGOs, officials of all the departments, and school and college students participated in the cleanliness drive. AWAZ president Hibu Yapa Lilly appealed to the women not to dump sanitary napkins, diapers and plastic items into the river. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/11/14/mission-clean-kley-river/ (14 Nov. 2022)
Chhattisgarh High Court Appointed team visits the ARPA river origin place to identify and prepare plan to protect the same.
https://www.etvbharat.com/hindi/chhattisgarh/state/bilaspur/high-court-team-reached-place-of-origin-of-arpa-in-gaurela-pendra-marwahi/ct20221108174734251251986 (08 Nov. 2022)
NARMADA Madhya Pradesh NGT Forms Committee To Verify ‘Factual Position’ The NGT has formed a committee to verify the “factual position” regarding discharge of sewage into Narmada river in Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh, and directed it to submit its report within a month. A bench comprising Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi and expert member Afroz Ahmad said that prima facie, the allegations made in a plea raised questions relating to the environment. “In view of the allegations made in the application, we consider it appropriate that a joint committee be constituted to verify the factual position,” the bench said. The NGT was hearing a petition filed by advocates Samayak Jain, Manan Agrawal and Dheeraj Kumar Tiwari complaining about serious damage to the environment of the Narmada river in Dindori. The letter petition sought legal proceedings against the government and the local authorities for failing to stop the release of untreated sewage into the river. https://www.outlookindia.com/national/narmada-river-pollution-ngt-forms-committee-to-verify-factual-position–news-235976 (09 Nov. 2022)
GANGA The Jal Shakti Ministry celebrated Ganga Utsav on Friday (Nov. 04) to spread awareness of the significance of river rejuvenation across river basins in India. https://www.outlookindia.com/national/jal-shakti-ministry-to-celebrate-ganga-utsav-on-friday-to-spread-awareness-on-river-rejuvenation-news-234598 (03 Nov. 2022)
Bihar NHAI alters rules, govt plans bridge NHAI has cleared a crucial bridge project on the Ganga in Begusarai, which would shorten the travel route from North Bihar to South Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand, and Nepal by at least 70 km. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/patna/centre-to-approve-begusarai-ganga-bridge-bihar-8215220/ (18 Oct. 2022)
YAMUNA Delhi HC issues bailable warrants against residents of floodplains The Delhi High Court Friday (Nov. 04) issued bailable warrants against residents of Moolchand basti located at the Yamuna floodplains at Bela Estate, Rajghat, after they failed to comply with its earlier directives. The order was passed over a plea moved by 19 residents of the basti living in “T-huts”, claiming that officials of the Delhi Development Authority and the Delhi Police had visited them in August and “threatened them to vacate their jhuggies (huts) else the same would be demolished forcefully”.
On Friday (Nov. 04), the High Court observed that a “detailed order was passed” on August 17 where it was noted that the “petitioner had clearly concealed material facts” and had been asked to show cause as to why criminal contempt should not be initiated against them. The petitioner’s counsel submitted that a reply had been filed by them but the affidavit attached to the reply was not notarized. The HC noted that the “petitioner had failed to comply with” the directions of the court observed on August 17.
The plea was filed seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against DDA officials and other authorities claiming that the action of the DDA to remove the jhuggies (huts) is in contravention of a 2019 judgment of the HC in Ajay Maken & others v UOI. The contempt plea states that as per Ajay Maken’s case, jhuggis have to be surveyed and rehabilitated prior to their removal. The HC, thereafter, issued bailable warrants against the petitioners and listed the matter for hearing on January 13. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/delhi-high-court-yamuna-floodplains-8264140/ (12 Nov. 2022)
Assam Concern over release of 2 exotic fishes in water bodies Environmentalists and fish biologists have expressed serious ramifications over the release of two exotic fishes without carrying out proper impact studies to control spread of Japanese Encephalitis (JE), malaria dengue etc. instead of effective native larvivorous fishes.
-The Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) recently released two exotic fishes, namely Gambusia and Guppy (Poecilia), into municipal drains of Guwahati. According to Dr SP Biswas, former professor of Dibrugarh University and also an expert in fish biology, these exotic fishes create negative impact on water bodies.
– Aparajita Gogoi of Digboi College viewed that the exotic fishes impart adverse effects on native fishes as seen in the case of giant Thai Magur which literally wiped out many indigenous local fishes over the years. They have urged the authorities to look into alternative method of biocontrol to deal with mosquito larvae by using indigenous fishes. https://www.sentinelassam.com/north-east-india-news/assam-news/assam-concern-over-release-of-two-exotic-fishes-in-water-bodies-621717 (05 Nov. 2022)
Tamil Nadu Govt notifies Cauvery South Wildlife Sanctuary The declaration was an outcome of a draft notification proposal by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and the Chief Wildlife Warden. According to the notification, the landscape now declared as the Cauvery South Wildlife Sanctuary is an important elephant habitat comprising of two elephant corridors: the Nandimangalam-Ulibanda Corridor and the Kovaipallam-Anebiddahalla Corridor.
The ecosystem of the Cauvery basin is also critical to a large number of riverine species dependent on River Cauvery, the government notification said. The sanctuary’s rich biodiversity supports over 35 species of mammals and 238 species of birds, which also includes red-listed species in need of conservation. The Cauvery South Wildlife Sanctuary is also seeing a spill-over effects of tiger conservation in the adjacent contiguous areas, and habitat improvement will help recover prey base and support tigers that once inhabited this landscape in the past, the notification stated. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/tn-notifies-680-sq-km-of-reserve-forest-as-cauvery-south-wildlife-sanctuary/article66110363.ece (08 Nov. 2022)
New species of estuarine crab discovered Researchers have discovered a new species of estuarine crab at the mangroves of Parangipettai near the Vellar River estuary in Cuddalore district. The species has been named Pseudohelice annamalai in recognition of Annamalai University’s 100 years of service in education and research. “This is the first ever record of this genus, Pseudohelice, collected from high intertidal areas in front of the CAS. So far, only two species — Pseudohelice subquadrata and Pseudohelice latreilli — have been confirmed within this genus. The species discovered is distributed around the Indian subcontinent and the eastern Indian Ocean,” says S. Ravichandran, Associate Professor, CAS.
“Specimens of Pseudohelice annamalai were collected from the high intertidal areas of the Vellar River estuary, Parangipettai, with sediments composed of mud and sand. The mangroves in the habitats were artificially planted on five hectares along the northern bank of the river, with two distinct zones — Rhizophora spp. towards the estuary and Avicennia spp. towards the land in the intertidal area. The recent discovery was the first-ever record of this species,” the researchers said.
This species is not aggressive and can move fast like other intertidal crabs. As many as 17 species of intertidal crabs have been recorded in the same region,” Mr. Ravichandran added. The occurrence of Pseudohelice in India links the distribution gap between the western Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean. The new species provides additional evidence of the geographic isolation of the eastern Indian Ocean for some marine organisms, the researchers said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/new-species-of-estuarine-crab-discovered-in-cuddalore-named-after-annamalai-university-centenary/article66110524.ece (08 Nov. 2022)
Report Turtle poaching for pet trade threatens half of world’s species Turtle poaching to meet the rising demand for the species as pets has pushed more than half of the nearly 300 living turtle and tortoise species closer to extinction, a global wildlife conference has heard. The 184-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), which is meeting in Panama from 11 to 25 November, has seen one proposal that would ban or limit the commercial trade in more than 20 mud turtle species. More than 10 other proposals have been received that would increase protection for freshwater turtles. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/11/turtle-poaching-cites-endangered-species (11 Nov. 2022)
FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS
Chennai Scores of dead fish wash ashore near Adyar estuary Fishermen near Adyar estuary were in for a shock in the wee hours of Thursday (Nov. 3) after witnessing scores of dead fish washed ashore dead along with water hyacinths and garbage. “Such incidents occur during the first spell of every monsoon as the toxins from the land wash into the sea,” said Nityanand Jayaraman, an environmental activist.
-fishermen pointed out that the government agencies removed water hyacinths along the Adyar river but left them near the bunds. “The rains washed them into the sea.”
– It may be noted that the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (Metro Water) pumped more than 970 million litres of sewage on Thursday but treated only around 750 million litres. The remaining 120 million litres, which was a mixture of rainwater and sewage entered the sea untreated. https://www.dtnext.in/city/2022/11/04/scores-of-dead-fish-wash-ashore-near-adyar-estuary-along-with-hyacinths (04 Nov. 2022)
YAMUNA Saharanpur Hundreds of fish were found to be floating near the confluence of Hindon and Kali Rivers; locals claim that release of untreated effluent led to this situation. Our teams are there and gathering required information. https://twitter.com/BhadPunyasloke/status/1590191790669574144?s=20&t=yYPmdAFqvod-6Y8zlZlIpg (Punyasloke Bhadury 09 Nov. 2022)
West Bengal TMC worker hacked to death over illegal sand mining A Trinamool Congress (TMC) worker was hacked to death allegedly by a group belonging to a local party strongman at Banshjor village in Birbhum district’s Suri Sadar sub-division on Saturday (Nov. 05) night. The incident, which led to tension in the area triggered by a clash between supporters of the victim, identified as Sheikh Faizul (20) of Banshjor, and the strongman, Kajal Shah, is believed to a fallout of a dispute over control on illegal sand mining.
According to local residents, nearly 10 people attacked Faizul with sharp-edged weapons around 9pm when he was sitting with his associates near a graveyard in the village. On this, his associates retaliated and the two groups even hurled crude bombs at each other before the assailants fled from the spot, it is learnt. On Sunday (Nov. 06), the 15 arrested accused were produced in a court that sent Kajal Shah and four others to five-day police remand and the rest to judicial custody of 14 days.
Kajal Shah, a former acting president of the Tilpara panchayat samiti of TMC, has been linked with illegal sand mining for long, officials said. Addressing a press conference in Suri on Sunday (Nov. 06), state minister Firhad Hakim, who was in the district at the time of the incident, said the government will not allow illegal sand mining, he said, adding that he also spoke to CM and requested her to recruit more police personnel for this area. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/tmc-worker-hacked-to-death-over-illegal-sand-mining-15-held-8253620/ (07 Nov. 2022)
Andhra Pradesh No sand mining at bridges on Godavari river Excavating sand at rail-cum-road bridges across Godavari is a punishable offence and criminal cases will be registered against those who violate the rules, warned the East Godavari District Collector K Madhavilatha. While reviewing the sand excavations with officers of irrigation, railways, mines, revenue, Special Enforcement Bureau and boat association representatives on Friday (Nov. 11), she said no question of allowing the digging of sand near bridges in river Godavari at any cost. She asked the boatmen associations and JP infra company representatives to adhere to the guidelines of river conservative act. It may be recalled, the railway officials had recently inspected the road-cum-rail bridge and made it clear that the state government should not allow any excavations of sand near pillars of bridge. The officials asked the government to ban sand digging immediately at the pillars of the bridges as it will weaken them. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2022/nov/12/no-sand-mining-at-bridges-on-godavari-river-2517543.html (12 Nov. 2022)
Meghalaya Construction firm ‘illegally’ runs stone crusher in EGH A Guwahati-based construction company called Midas Constructions is allegedly in the docks after it ran a newly set up crusher in the village of Rongsak under Samanda C&RD Block in East Garo Hills (EGH) despite not having the requisite permissions for the operation of a stone quarry in the area. The matter was brought to light after residents from around the area informed on the issue.
The company won the contract to upgrade the Asanang to Williamnagar road in an auction last year and work on the project has already begun though the pace is slack. They are also involved in many such contracts in the state of Meghalaya. The manager of the firm at Rongsak later messaged with permissions from the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) but these only related to a hot mix plant and the setting up of a stone crusher unit. They, however, are yet to get permission from the SPCB for the setting up of a quarry from where stones are to be carried to the crusher. The two permissions were obtained in July this year.
However, the operation of the crusher has raised several serious questions as the stones being used seem to have been brought from the Simsang River bed, located just nearby. The company personnel at the site stated that the stones were not being picked by them but brought and sold to them by locals. They are currently testing the machines, something that they seem to have been doing for close to two months now.
When contacted on the matter, the DFO of East Garo Hills, Sathish K, who is currently on leave, said that they had obtained a ‘non forest land’ letter from the office but till the time of his leaving, no permissions had been given for the quarry, despite their application for the same. He is expected to return tomorrow to the office and will look into the matter. Meanwhile, another crusher unit run by the same company in Rongdenggre in West Garo Hills has also come under scanner. As per sources, the company is yet to obtain a stone quarrying licence there as well though the same could not be independently verified. https://theshillongtimes.com/2022/11/14/construction-firm-illegally-runs-stone-crusher-in-egh/ (14 Nov. 2022)
Punjab No end to illegal sand mining in Amritsar, 1 nabbed Illegal sand mining is going on unabated in many parts of the border belt. Despite continuous seizures made by the Punjab Police and mining officials, there is no end to the activity in the area. A team of the police stumbled upon an illegal sand pit where it was being excavated. The police have arrested a driver of the JCB machine from the spot, while another person fled the spot with a sand-laden tractor-trailer. ASI Pargat Singh said the police got a tip-off that accused Kuldeep Singh was involved in illegal mining. Following this, a police team along with Mining Department officials raided the spot. A huge pit (110-feet long, 120-feet wide and 30-feet deep) was found there. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/amritsar/no-end-to-illegal-sand-mining-1-nabbed-450224 (12 Nov. 2022)
Odisha NGT directs Puri Jagannath temple admin to pay ₹12 cr. for illegal mining The National Green Tribunal, Eastern Zone Branch, has directed Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), which manages affairs of 12th century Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri, to pay ₹12 crore for illegal laterite stone mining in Odisha’s Khordha district. Two persons, Bidu Bhusan Harichandan and Dilip Kumar Samantaray, had moved the NGT alleging that laterite stone mining was carried out at 40 different sites over 500 acres of land in villages such as Tapanga, Anda and Jhinki Jhari under Nijigarh Tapang Panchayat in Khordha district. These areas were basically cashew jungle, gramya jungle (village forest) and gochar land (common land). The petitioners had alleged that neither an environmental clearance nor a consent to operate was obtained from the respective authorities while mining activities were taken up after clearing trees.
The NGT subsequently directed the committee to submit an action plan for restitution and restoration of the land by reclaiming it with pulverised fly ash and to take up afforestation immediately after reclamation. “Since the cost of renovation, reclamation and restitution of the quarries has been estimated at ₹12 crore, we direct SJTA to deposit the amount of ₹12 crore with Khordha district administration,” directed NGT bench comprising B. Amit Sthalekar, Judicial Member and Saibal Dasgupta, Expert Member. The District Collector, Khordha, would constitute a committee for purposes of carrying out the work of restitution, reclamation and renovation of the excavated areas as per plan already prepared and complete the entire work within four months, it said. https://www.thehindu.com/incoming/ngt-directs-puri-jagannath-temple-administration-to-pay-12-cr-for-illegal-mining/article66114309.ece (09 Nov. 2022)
Arunachal Pradesh Bailey bridge at Kiyit on Mebo-Dhola road collapses The steel Bailey bridge over Ngopok river between Kiyit and Borguli along Mebo-Dhola road collapsed on Wednesday morning, snapping road communication between Pasighat and Lower Mebo (Namsing) area in East Siang district. The weak bridge collapsed when a boulder-laden dumper truck was crossing it at around 9 am. The driver escaped unhurt, the villagers said. The affected villages are Borguly, Serum, Kongkul, Namsing, Mer and Gadum in East Siang district and Bijari, Anpum, Banggo, Kebang area in Lower Dibang Valley district.
Supply of food, medicines and other essential commodities to these villages is likely to be affected during the coming monsoon as there is no alternate route to reach Mebo-sub divisional headquarters or Pasighat. The locals alleged that due to the apathy of the authority, the decades-old bridge was in a dilapidated condition. It was left unrepaired for several decades, they said. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/04/28/bailey-bridge-at-kiyit-on-mebo-dhola-road-collapses/ (28 April 2022)
WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES
SANDRP Blog Conserving wetlands to realize global climate and biodiversity goals Guest Article by Mridhu Tandon The Sudd wetland in the Nile basin is one of the world’s largest freshwater ecosystems. Nourished by the White Nile-a tributary of the Nile, Sudd is a mosaic of open water and submerged vegetation, seasonally inundated woodlands, rain-fed grasslands, and floodplain scrubland. An integral part of Africa’s largest intact savannahs-the Jonglei plains, Sudd supports the world’s second-largest mammal migration after Serengeti. An estimated 1.3 million antelope: white-eared kob, taing, and Mongalla gazelles move from Sudd every year to reach Ethiopia’s Gambella National Park. Sudd has been in the international news recently. Revival of the 40-year-old 240-mile Jonglei canal will divert the waters of the White Nile around the Sudd wetland and send it to Egypt. The canal will desiccate the wetland, and end seasonal flooding of the Jonglei grasslands. Why is it necessary to protect Sudd from drying up? Why has the subject received global attention? More generally, why protect wetlands at all? https://sandrp.in/2022/11/13/conserving-wetlands-to-realize-global-climate-and-biodiversity-goals/ (12 Nov. 2022)
COP 27 Mangrove Alliance for Climate At the 27th Session of Conference of Parties (COP27), this year’s UN climate summit, the Mangrove Alliance for Climate (MAC) was launched with India as a partner on Tuesday (Nov 8). The move, in line with India’s goal to increase its carbon sink, will see New Delhi collaborating with Sri Lanka, Indonesia and other countries to preserve and restore the mangrove forests in the region. An initiative led by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Indonesia, the Mangrove Alliance for Climate (MAC) includes India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Japan, and Spain. It seeks to educate and spread awareness worldwide on the role of mangroves in curbing global warming and its potential as a solution for climate change.
However, the intergovernmental alliance works on a voluntary basis which means that there are no real checks and balances to hold members accountable. Instead, the parties will decide their own commitments and deadlines regarding planting and restoring mangroves. The members will also share expertise and support each other in researching, managing and protecting coastal areas.
South Asia houses some of the most extensive areas of mangroves globally, while Indonesia hosts one-fifth of the overall amount. India holds around 3 percent of South Asia’s mangrove population. Besides the Sundarbans in West Bengal, the Andamans region, the Kachchh and Jamnagar areas in Gujarat too have substantial mangrove cover. However, infrastructure projects — industrial expansion and building of roads and railways, and natural processes — shifting coastlines, coastal erosion and storms, have resulted in a significant decrease in mangrove habitats.
Between 2010 and 2020, around 600 sq km of mangroves were lost of which more than 62% was due to direct human impacts, the Global Mangrove Alliance said in its 2022 report. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/what-is-the-mangrove-alliance-for-climate-which-india-joined-at-cop27-8261674/ (11 Nov. 2022)
Uttarakhand Despite ‘urgent’ tag, Nainital’s Sukhatal Lake PIL drags After over 100 people, including green activists, sent a letter to the high court chief justice to safeguard Nainital’s Sukhatal Lake, which is the main recharge zone for the Naini Lake, the chief justice turned the matter into a PIL on March 2, 2022.
Since then, nine months have passed, but no hearing has taken place in the case despite the court terming the PIL an “urgent matter”. The court had then ordered, “We find a very serious question to be answered in this case… since the matter is very urgent, it shall be listed on each date of listing of PILs, as a ‘fresh admission’ matter.” Reacting to the Sukhatal case not coming up for hearing, one of the signatories of the letter, remarked, “Like many urgent matters critical to ecology and prevention of disaster in the Indian Himalayan region, this PIL has gone into a ‘black hole’ too.” Advocate Kartikay Hari Gupta, amicus curiae in the PIL told TOI: “There is no specific reason behind the matter not being listed for hearing.”
Amid all this, the recharge zone of Naini Lake that provides nearly 20 million liters of drinking water per day to its residents and tourists has touched the “zero level” at least 10 times between 2002 to 2016. The Sukhatal issue is getting public support as it is the primary “feeder lake” for Naini ake. It acts as an upstream storage for Naini Lake during the monsoon by holding the runoff from the catchment of water. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/despite-urgent-tag-nainitals-sukhatal-lake-pil-drags/articleshow/95413040.cms (10 Nov. 2022)
Local activists and a group of citizens have expressed their concern about the unscientific development of Sukhatal Lake in Nainital district. They said that the proposed development of Sukhatal Lake that includes its preservation and concretization has the potential to collapse the ecology of the Naini lake and to endanger the livelihood of all the citizens of Nainital. https://www.pioneeredge.in/citizens-concerned-at-unscientific-development-of-sukhatal-lake/ (10 Nov. 2022)
Maharashtra Water pollutants endangering Waterbird species in wetlands Water pollution from agricultural runoff, effluents, and sewage are a consistent threat to six key wetlands in Maharashtra where as many as 112 species of water birds from 18 families have been found, a study by BNHS shows. The bird monitoring survey of the avian guests coming via the Central Asian Flyway was done by the research body BNHS between October 2021 and April 2022 across six wetlands in Maharashtra – Nandur Madhmeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary in Nashik (Ramsar Site), Jayakwadi Bird Sanctuary in Aurangabad, Gangapur Dam in Nashik, Ujjani Dam in Solapur, Hatnur Dam in Jalgaon, and Visapur Dam in Ahmednagar. The project was commissioned by the State Mangrove Foundation.
“Protecting these wetlands will help us achieve our sustainable development goals and commitments to the global community on Central Asian Flyway that the Prime Minister had announced during the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS COP 13) in Gandhinagar in February 2020,” said Mr Virendra Tiwari, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Maharashtra Mangrove Cell and Executive Director, Mangrove Foundation. The study determines the role of these wetlands in supporting migratory as well as resident birds, with special reference to rare and threatened species. https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/bnhs-study-water-pollutants-endangering-waterbird-species-in-maharashtra-wetlands (12 Nov. 2022)
Punjab Kapurthala admn begins clean up of Kanjli Wetland again Once home to a thriving forest, the wetland, which had begun attracting migratory birds in good numbers in winters till a few years ago, is currently choked with water hyacinth. Due to this, the site has failed to attract birds in recent years.
However, locals were quick to ask what caused the once-clean Kanjli Wetland to choke in the first place. Even Seechewal, an environmentalist, is himself sceptical about some parts of the process. He said, “The wetland had been cleaned but the hyacinth keeps coming back. Last year, Rs 5 crore had been earmarked for a project here. I don’t know what happened to that money.” https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/kapurthala-admn-begins-clean-up-of-kanjli-wetland-again-444712 (27 Oct. 2022)
Jammu & Kashmir Restoration work of Gharana Wetlands The Gharana Wetland, which is 35 kilometers from Jammu, becomes home to 25,000-30,000 birds in the winter months of December, January and February. However, the wetland had been suffering because of negligence and encroachments. Domestic watershed was demarcated and no steps were taken to recover the occupied land.
In this regard, a PIL had been filed in the J&K High Court which has issued instructions to the government from time to time, following which the Jammu district administration is now working diligently for the protection of this important place. According to Wildlife Warden, Jammu, Anil Kumar Attri, “The process of acquiring 408 kanals of land has been completed, now four walls are being built around the reservoir, road construction and structures are also being built to reach here. The total area of the Gharana watershed is 1600 kanals, i.e., 80 hectares.”
The construction of a STP has also been started to dispose of the waste and garbage of the villages. According to the said officer, the administration is also solving the compensation issues of the farmers whose land has been acquired for the project on a priority basis. For this purpose, a four-member committee of the finance department officials has been formed to resolve the land disputes in the villages. https://www.timesnownews.com/mirror-now/in-focus/restoration-work-of-jks-gharana-wetlands-on-fast-track-as-winter-birds-flock-article-95486488 (13 Nov. 2022)
UNEP’s Executive Director Inger Andersen delivers a message to Ramsar. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amRcVusnrAg ; https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/speech/wetlands-important-tool-build-resilience (05 Nov. 2022)
Manipur Cost-effective jalkunds help farmers tide over water woes The farmers of Manipur turn to jalkunds – low-cost water harvesting structures that go beyond irrigation needs and double their income. A jalkund is a low-cost water harvesting structure in which a pit, or pond, is lined with a polyethylene film. Jalkunds are being built in Manipur’s villages to cope with the changing climate and the errant rainfall, which lead to loss of livelihood for farmers.
This rainwater harvesting concept was started in 2010 by Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) from the Imphal East district when two jalkunds were built in Andro village. “They are built by excavating earth up to a depth of 1.5 m and have a length and breadth of 4 m and 5 m respectively. The side and the base are covered with high density 400 micron polyethylene plastic to prevent water seepage,” said Soram Molibala Devi, senior scientist from KVK. https://www.villagesquare.in/cost-effective-jalkunds-help-manipurs-farmers-overcome-water-woes/ (04 Nov. 2022)
Rajasthan Traditional water harvesting structures in the Thar desert are vanishing Nadis are usually shallow ponds that store rainwater for human and animal consumption. In the Thar desert, nadis often exist as part of orans or sacred grasslands in the form of mixed water pasture regimes. Khadeens are low embankments constructed across flatlands to temporarily store water to help grow a winter crop from residual moisture. Both khadeens and nadis need conservation to maintain the fast-declining water equity of the Thar desert. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/10/commentary-traditional-water-harvesting-structures-in-the-thar-desert-are-vanishing/ (17 Oct. 2022)
Opinion Recharging groundwater by water-harvesting measures D. Balasubramanian The average rate of groundwater decline in this part of India has been 1.4 cm per year in this century. Depletion is not so acute in regions where groundwater is brackish.
An important factor contributing to the good health of aquifers in some parts of our country is community based movements to recharge groundwater. A good example is seen in the semi-arid regions of Saurashtra. Here, thousands of small and large check dams have been built across seasonal rivers and streams. These slow the flow of water and contribute to groundwater recharge as well as to check soil erosion. In villages, bori bandhs are built, which are essentially sand-filled bags placed in the path of rainwater runoffs.
Studies comparing the water table status in Saurashtra with the climatically similar regions of Marathwada and Vidarbha show a net positive impact. It is heartening to note that in the last decade, these regions of Maharashtra have also started their own Managed Aquifer Recharge programmes such as the Jalyukt Shivar.
Another part of the country facing a marked decline in groundwater levels is a region overlapping Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, where the aquifers are located in crystalline bedrock. In such rocks, water is found only in cracks and fissures as the rock itself is not porous. Under these circumstances, tanks and ponds do not contribute much to groundwater recharge. In rural areas of this region, recharge is mostly affected from rainfall and irrigation-related recycling. Interestingly, the major source of groundwater recharge in an urban area (Bengaluru) is from leaks in water distribution pipes. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/recharging-groundwater-by-water-harvesting-measures/article66121437.ece (12 Nov. 2022)
Bengaluru It’s not that Japaneasy! However, water pollution experts and lake activists are of the view that the Bokashi ball technique is unscientific with no proven record. “It is an unscientific method to deal with waterbodies with high nutrient content. It does not decrease any nutrients in the lake, but ends up adding more phosphate. While it gives respite from the foul smell in the first week of application or so, the stench increases over the next few days due to higher concentration of nutrients,” said V Ramprasad, founder, Friends of Lakes.
According to the researchers at the ATREE, the BBMP had conducted this experiment at Jakkur Lake sometime ago — there was no improvement in water quality recorded after the treatment, they said. “It is supposed to be a biological process that breaks down organic matter. We collected the water samples before and after the balls were immersed at Jakkur Lake; we found that there was no difference in the organic matter content of the waterbody before and after the treatment,” said Dr Priyanka Jamwal, research fellow, ATREE.
According to researchers, going ahead with any technique without understanding the biology and chemistry of the process is not the best way to deal with issues on the ground. “For any reaction to happen inside a waterbody, a certain hydraulic retention time is required. For instance, the retention time for a wastewater treatment plant is about five to eight hours. Also, there should be some design principles deployed in such processes. It is important to take up some pilot experiments in the lab and develop these principles before taking it to the field,” said Dr Jamwal. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/cover-story/its-not-that-japaneasy/articleshow/95478897.cms (13 Nov. 2022)
Where lakes once were Around 233 lakes have been encroached in Bengaluru and authorities are yet to ensure that they are completely protected. While buildings are being razed to make way for stormwater drains, experts are saying that the civic authorities need to focus on protecting lakes as many of the lakes are encroached.
A rainy day too many Officials said that the rainy days in the city are 70 to 80 days in a year on average. However, this year, the city has witnessed more than 140 rainy days which has resulted in lakes overflowing and flooding the neighbourhood areas.
Besides lakes, the encroachment of rajakaluves has resulted in breaking the chain of lakes. Rajakaluves are key links that connect one lake to another. It also plays an important link in draining off the rain water. However, since decades, the rajakaluves have not been cleared which are the main reasons for the water logging in the city.
BBMP is planning to carry out a major encroachment eviction drive starting November 17. The drive is being guided by the Koliwad Committee report submitted in 2017. Activists express that the encroachment eviction should not be an eyewash. “Encroachment drives should be aimed at freeing lakes and not to regularise encroachments. The encroachments should be cleared up till the buffer zone of the lakes,” said lake activist Ram Prasad. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/bengaluru-where-lakes-once-were/articleshow/95363827.cms (08 Nov. 2022)
Mumbai Tunnel that will end Mira-Bhayandar’s water woes half-ready The tunnel is 4.45 km in length with an internal diameter of 2.85 metres. As per the Surya Regional Water Supply Scheme, raw water is to be lifted from the Kawadas pick-up weir, which is located downstream of the Surya dam and it is proposed to be treated at the water treatment plant at Surya Nagar. The treated water will be transmitted via a gravity main along state highway no 30 and national highway no 8 up to the Vasai-Virar City Municipal Corporation’s master balancing reservoir at Kashidkopar and Ghodbunder in the Mira-Bhayandar Region (MBR). The project seeks to provide about 218 MLD and 185 MLD of water to Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation and Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation respectively. https://www.mid-day.com/mumbai/mumbai-news/article/mumbai-tunnel-that-will-end-mira-bhayandars-water-woes-half-ready-23254924 (11 Nov. 2022)
The state government has given its approval for the Rs 516.78 crore project to overhaul the internal water distribution system of the twin-city. A government resolution (GR) has been issued by the urban development department (UDD) sanctioning release of funds for the project which will be executed under the central government sponsored-Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) 2.0. The master plan of the project outlines laying new pipelines (176 km), 23 elevated storage reservoirs, feeder mains (38 km) to enhance supply and eliminate in transit leakages that are hurting the water delivery system. https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/mira-bhayadar-huge-respite-for-mbmc-as-state-govt-okays-rs-516-cr-for-overhaul-water-distribution-network (10 Nov. 2022)
Faridabad Residents oppose plan for new sites in Aravalis Shortlisting areas to create more mountains of garbage in the Aravalis cannot be the solution to the city’s waste management problem, the residents of 20 villages in Faridabad have said, opposing the proposal for disposal sites other than Bandhwari.
The Gurugram civic authority has identified 3 large parcels of land — the largest spanning over 92 acres in Gothra Mohabbatbad (Faridabad), followed by 52 acres in Pali (Faridabad) and 20 acres in Balola (Gurugram ) to dispose waste.
These areas were zoned in on after the NGT told the Haryana government to pay Rs 100 crore as environmental compensation for failing to clear legacy waste from Bandhwari. NGT also told the civic authorities to stop dumping more waste at the burgeoning landfill located on the Gurugram -Faridabad highway.
Though a final decision is yet to be taken, the residents of Pali and Mohabbatbad have pointed to the 38-metre-high Bandhwari landfill as an example of what not to do. The mainstay of their concern is groundwater pollution, a longstanding complaint of those living in and around Bandhwari. A landfill in the ecologically fragile Aravalis, especially in the abandoned mining pits, will only fasten the process of waste water or leachate trickling into the ground and polluting it. A waste mountain in the forest area will also affect wildlife there, they say.
Others said the overarching problem was waste management. Until now, Bandhwari was where most of the waste from Gurugram and Faridabad was dumped. Gurugram alone generates 1,100 metric tonnes of garbage every day. Experts believe the city will be generating around 2,900 metric tonnes daily by 2041. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/faridabad/no-more-bandhwaris-fbd-residents-oppose-plan-for-new-sites-in-aravalis/articleshow/95497896.cms (14 Nov. 2022)
Report Sewer deaths: why machines are not replacing people But in India it is Dalits, the poorest and most marginalized community, who are sent into manholes with no protective equipment, to unclog filthy, stinky sewers or clean up septic tanks. Invariably, they die after breathing in noxious fumes. Newspapers report such deaths with frightening regularity. In almost every Indian city or town, the sewerage network is a death trap. Such manual scavenging work was banned in 2013. Sanitation workers were supposed to be rehabilitated. Everyone is aware of the practice. Activists have protested. Award-winning films, like Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court, refer to the stark reality of the sanitation worker’s plight. Machines have been invented to do this nasty job. And yet manual scavenging continues.
– Only 68 percent of India is sewered and most sewer lines disgorge into ponds, lakes and rivers. Both Baradi and Malhotra point out that long sewer lines linked to STPs are not sustainable. Smaller STPs at colony or housing level would be better suited to cities. Even better are Frequent Sludge Treatment Plants (FSTPs) which towns and cities in Odisha are opting for. Some of these systems are being managed by SHGs and groups of transgenders in the state. “The problem is not in technicalities. We have great designers, architects, engineers and planners. But we have terrible managers. We don’t manage our cities well. It’s not going to happen with a few IAS officers or state-level officials who get frequently transferred,” says Baradi. https://www.civilsocietyonline.com/cities/sewer-deaths-why-machines-are-not-replacing-people/ (07 Nov. 2022)
Innovation New way to remove microplastics from water Aerogel, a light and porous substance developed by researchers using egg whites have a wide range of uses, including acoustic and thermal insulation, energy storage, and water purification. As vice dean of innovation at Princeton and the Susan Dod Brown Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Craig Arnold collaborates with his lab to develop new materials, such as aerogels, for use in engineering. https://theprint.in/science/researchers-find-new-way-to-remove-microplastics-from-water/1213585/ (13 Nov. 2022)
A year of extreme weather events has weighed heavy on agri sector After the drop in wheat production due to heat waves, extreme weather events have now cast a shadow on rice production, which is likely to drop beyond centre’s initial 6% loss estimate. In six years (2015-21), the country lost 33.9 million hectares of the cropped area due to floods and excess rains and 35 million hectares due to drought, which are likely to intensify as various studies predict.
Centre recently assured of developing climate-resilient varieties and district-level contingency plans to deal with the emerging climate crisis. Experts say a lot more needs to be done. https://india.mongabay.com/2022/11/in-india-climate-impact-on-agriculture-is-already-a-reality-now/ (07 Nov. 2022)
SANDRP Blog High Rainfall days in India’s districts in SW Monsoon 2022 An analysis of the daily district wise rainfall data from India Meteorological Department (IMD) for India’s South West Monsoon 2022 shows that there were 2079 instances when a district rainfall of a day was above 50 mm. Such high rainfall instances included 1712 instances when rainfall was 50-100 mm, 288 instances when it was 100-150 mm, 53 times it was 150-200 mm and 26 times above 200 mm. Out of 694 districts of India, 527 districts or, about 76% of the districts experienced such high rainfall days during SW monsoon 2021. https://sandrp.in/2022/11/08/high-rainfall-days-in-indias-districts-in-sw-monsoon-2022/ (08 Nov. 2022)
DAM FLOODS Tamil Nadu Mettur releases huge quantity of water into flooded downstream, adding to the misery of downstream areas. It was expected that NE monsoon will bring more rainfall into its catchment, but the dam has remained near full since over two months when there was opportunity to release water to make space so that it does not have release water when downstream is flooded. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/storage-in-mettur-dam-stands-at-its-full-level-of-120-ft/article66128258.ece (12 Nov. 2022)
Google expands flood tracking Google announced a big expansion of its flood forecasting and wildfire tracking services on Nov 2, 2022. It launched a tool called Flood Hub globally, which patches together forecasting across 20 countries.
– Google started using AI to predict floods in the Patna region of India back in 2018. That program expanded across the entire country and into parts of Bangladesh in 2020. By 2021, Google had sent flood notifications to 23 million people in the two flood-prone countries. That service will now reach 15 countries in Africa and three more countries in Asia and Latin America. (That includes Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Angola, South Sudan, Namibia, Liberia, South Africa, Brazil, Colombia, and Sri Lanka.)
– Previously, Google had to rely primarily on data from water level gauges. Now, the main driver of the model is weather forecast data rather than water level gauges. That update allows the company to now issue flood warnings up to a week in advance, compared to around 48 hours previously. https://www.theverge.com/2022/11/2/23434777/google-wildfire-flood-tracking-expands-floodhub-app (02 Nov. 2022)
New drought monitoring tool A new satellite-based drought-monitoring tool will be able to indicate the presence of drought and its level of severity, providing authorities the maximum possible lead time to put mitigation strategies into place in India and across South Asia. In India, the South Asia Drought Monitoring System (SADMS) was developed by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the country’s premier agricultural research institution.
– It has been tested in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives, Afghanistan and Bhutan. The system will not just monitor the drought conditions but also incorporate this information of real-time weather updates and open-access satellite data, and provide extension workers as well as agriculture and water resources authorities with all the information needed to forecast, monitor and manage drought on a weekly basis. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/new-drought-monitoring-tool-gives-hope-of-better-preparation-mitigation-at-farmer-level-85777 (04 Nov. 2022)
EWS for the entire world in next 5 years Amitabh Sinha The programme, launched by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, envisages an investment of $ 3.1 billion between now and 2027 to create the infrastructure and build capacities in early warning systems. Nearly half the countries in the world, most of them least developed a small island states, do not have any early warning systems, the WMO said. “Early warnings save lives and provide vast economic benefits. Just 24 hour notice of an impending hazardous event can cut the ensuing damage by 30 per cent,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said at the launch of the initiative.
– The WMO statement said the Global Commission on Adaptation had found that spending about $ 800 million on early warning systems could avoid losses up to $ 3-16 billion every year. https://indianexpress.com/article/world/early-warning-system-for-the-entire-world-in-next-five-years-8255423/ (08 Nov. 2022)
Nepal 6 dead after powerful earthquake An earthquake of magnitude 6.6 struck Nepal early Wednesday (Nov. 9), killing at least six people and destroying multiple houses in the western district of Doti, close to populous towns, officials said. 5 other people were seriously injured as eight houses collapsed, said Bhola Bhatta, deputy superintendent of police in Doti, confirming an earlier figure shared by home ministry official Tulsi Rijal.
Nepal’s seismological centre set the earthquake at a magnitude of 6.6. The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) had pegged the earthquake at a magnitude of 5.6. The quake was centred about 158 km (100 miles) northeast of Pilibhit, a populous city in the neighbouring Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, and occurred at a depth of 10 km, EMSC added. Media reports after the quake showed tremors were also felt in India’s capital, New Delhi, and surrounding areas. https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/earthquake-magnitude-56-strikes-nepal-emsc-2022-11-08/ (09 Nov. 2022)
Scientists on Wednesday (Nov. 09) said there is a strong possibility of a major earthquake in the Himalayan region and underlined the need for better preparation to minimise the damage to life and property.
The magnitude of future earthquake might be of 7 or more on the richter scale claimed Ajay Paul, senior geophysicist of Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology. Paul, however, said the release of strained energy or an earthquake cannot be predicted. “No one knows when it would happen. It may happen the next moment, the next month or after 100 years,” he said. 4 major earthquakes were recorded in the Himalayan region over the past 150 years, including the tremors in Shillong in 1897, in Kangra in 1905, in Bihar-Nepal in 1934 and in Assam in 1950. An earthquake occurred in Uttarkashi in 1991 followed by one in Chamoli in 1999 and one in Nepal in 2015.
Despite these pieces of information, nothing can be said about the frequency of earthquakes, he said. Instead of fearing earthquakes due to their unpredictability, it is important to keep ourselves prepared to deal with them in a better way and minimise the damage they might cause to life and property, he said. The constructions should be earthquake resistant, people should be made aware of what can be done by way of preparations before earthquakes, at the time of their occurrence and after they have happened, Paul said.
Citing the example of Japan, Paul said due to its better preparedness, the country does not suffer much damage to life and property despite being constantly hit by medium intensity earthquakes. Another senior geo-physicist at the institute Naresh Kumar said Uttarakhand has been placed in seismic zone IV and V due to its vulnerability to earthquakes. Around 60 earthquake observatories have been set up in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand to register seismic movements round the clock, he said. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/chances-high-of-big-earthquake-in-himalayas-need-to-prep-scientists-3505403 (09 Nov. 2022)
For the second time this week, Delhi-NCR felt tremors from an earthquake in Nepal. On Saturday (Nov. 05), an earthquake of magnitude 5.4 on the Richter scale hit Nepal around 7.57 pm, at a depth of around 10 km, and 212 km southeast of Joshimath in Uttarakhand, according to the National Centre for Seismology. Tremors were also felt in parts of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. According to the National Earthquake Monitoring and Research Centre, Nepal, the epicentre of the quake was in Bajhang.
Earlier on Saturday (Nov. 05), the Pauri Garhwal region of Uttarakhand recorded a smaller earthquake of magnitude 3.4 around 4.25 pm. Delhi falls in seismic zone IV, according to the seismic zone map of the Bureau of Indian Standards. Zone IV comprises regions that are the second most active seismically, zone V being the most active. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/earthquake-tremors-delhi-ncr-8265048/ (13 Nov. 2022)
Earthquake hits Nepal for third time in a week, tremors felt in Delh. Tremors were felt in Delhi-NCR and some other northern states on Saturday night, November 12, as a 5.4-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, 212 km southeast of Joshimath in Uttarakhand. Earlier on November 9, a 4.3 magnitude earthquake hit the region, and the 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck on November 10. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/earthquake-hits-nepal-third-time-week-tremors-felt-delhi-169876 (13 Nov. 2022)
Geographically, Delhi falls under the ambit of seismic zone-4 which can expect the second highest level of earthquakes but despite repeated interventions of the Delhi high court, the urban local bodies have been slow in ensuring compliance with structural safety audits and retrofitting of risky buildings. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/tremors-turn-spotlight-on-delhi-s-earthquake-prep-101668373804831.html (14 Nov. 2022)
Arunachal Pradesh HLC visits cloudburst-hit Yangte, assures of govt assistance A high-level committee (HLC) of the state government, headed by MLA Tanpho Wangnaw, visited Yangte valley in Kra Daadi district on Monday (Nov. 07) and assessed the damages caused by the cloudburst that hit the area on 28 September night.
The committee members, including Disaster Management Secretary Dani Salu, the SEs of RWD, PWD and the PHE&WS department, were guided by Palin MLA Balo Raja, Kra Daadi DC Higio Tala and HoDs during the visit. Addressing a public meeting on the occasion, Wangnaw appealed to everyone to “cooperate and support the executing agencies for bringing normalcy in the valley.” He gave assurance that the state government would provide “every possible assistance after completing all official procedures.” https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/11/09/hlc-visits-cloudburst-hit-yangte-assures-of-govt-assistance/ (09 Nov. 2022)
Heavy rainfall in the Siang region has resulted in rising of the water level of the Siang river and its tributaries in East Siang district. Torrential rain in the Siang belt triggered heavy landslides at Lelek Erak, near Rottung, along the Pasighat-Pangin highway in East Siang. Incessant rain also caused heavy landslides at Lileng, near the Simang river, in between Boleng and Dite-Dime, in Siang district, thereby snapping road communication for the last three days.
As per a report, road communication has been partly restored at the block point near Lelek but the Lileng portion is not yet clear. It may be recalled that a large portion of the highway at Lelek Erak had been eroded by monsoon rains last year, which snapped road communication for several weeks. 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/ (26 Sept. 2022)
Villagers hit hard by damaged PMGSY road, soil erosion The Nari-Ruksin PMGSY road, which connects Nari area of Lower Siang and Depi-Detak area of East Siang district with Ruksin headquarters, was badly damaged by monsoon rain this year. Heavy rain eroded a portion of the road at the Gutun hillside near the Depi-Gutun RCC bridge, thereby creating immense problems for the commuters.
The villagers of Depi partly repaired the damaged portion at a culvert point, but the late monsoon shower this year eroded the earth filling and made it worse. A part of the Nari-Ruksin PMGSY road in the Gutun hill portion. The 18 kms long PMGSY road, developed by the Nari rural works department division, is lying unrepaired for the last couple of years as the maintenance period (under the PMGSY scheme provision) was over in early 2021. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/10/23/villagers-hit-hard-by-damaged-pmgsy-road-soil-erosion/ (23 Oct. 2022)
New Anaya village hit hard by flashflood New Anaya village in Dibang Valley district was hit hard by a flash flood on the Oct 13. The houses of four families, headed by Torku Mimi, Jeme Mimi, Sikku Mimi and Paha Mimi, were totally destroyed in the flashflood, leaving them homeless. The houses of several others have also been partially affected. Sharing the ordeal, Sikku Mimi termed the disaster “manmade.”
“The flood which devastated New Anaya is a manmade disaster. The ongoing PMGSY project being executed by Zee Engineering Construction Company is the main cause. The reckless earth-cutting and dumping of waste materials without following the proper engineering technology caused the disaster,” alleged Mimi.
He claimed that the villagers tried to warn the contractor and the department concerned of potential danger many a time. “When the execution of the project got started, people tried to stop it because the villagers feared a landslide. Many a time the public of New Anaya urged the authority of the company to stop the execution, but they didn’t stop the work. Due to their negligence, the incident took place,” he added.
Mimi further claimed that the area had been hit by a landslide earlier also, “due to wrong construction.” “First of all, they are not following proper road alignment. Secondly, this project, from Ranli 0 Point to Old Kano village, at the cost of Rs 56 crore for approximately 46 kms, is being implemented where human population is almost nil,” he said. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2022/10/18/new-anaya-village-hit-hard-by-flashflood/ (18 Oct. 2022)
Nicobar project gets assent for diversion of 130 sq km of forest Pankaj Sekhsaria It is nearly a quarter of all the forest land diverted in the past three years across the country; 8.5 lakh trees will have to be cut for the ₹72,000-crore project. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/great-nicobar-project-gets-in-principle-clearance-for-diversion-of-130-sq-km-of-forest/article66111489.ece (08 Nov. 2022)
Jammu & Kashmir Ganderbal admin, residents in hot water The Ganderbal district administration Saturday (Nov. 12) ordered a ban on the sale and use of heaters, boilers, blowers, and other electrical heating appliances in the district but the decision evoked widespread condemnation, forcing the authorities to issue a corrigendum and modify the order stating that the sale, purchase and use of only banned Nichrome coils-based crude water heaters and crude cooking heaters had been banned. An order in this regard was issued by the District Magistrate Ganderbal, Shyambir. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/todays-paper/front-page/ganderbal-admin-residents-in-hot-water (13 Nov. 2022)
Shrinking glaciers A third of the glaciers on the UNESCO World Heritage list are under threat, according to a study conducted by the UN body. However, the study said, it was still possible to save the other two-thirds. This could be possible if the rise in global temperatures did not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial era. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/watch-what-is-happening-to-the-worlds-glaciers/article66123420.ece (11 Nov. 2022) Timelapse video shows Italian glacier melting at a worrying pace over four summers. https://scroll.in/video/1037216/watch-timelapse-video-shows-italian-glacier-melting-at-a-worrying-pace-over-four-summers (12 Nov. 2022)
COP 27 Burst sewage pipe adds to infrastructure woes First there was no water. Then there was too much of the wrong kind. Attendees of this year’s U.N. climate conference in Egypt found themselves stepping over streams of foul-smelling fluid Wednesday (Nov. 9) after a pipe or tank holding liquid waste appeared to have burst near one of the venue’s main thoroughfares.
The incident was the latest of several infrastructure and planning problems that have emerged this week during the conference, which runs through Nov. 18. Participants have complained that basic necessities such as drinking water and food are not available or require lengthy queuing under the simmering Sinai sun. Floors sometimes buckle and toilet paper in the various venues has frequently run out. Giant AC units blow cold air into vast tent-like buildings with little insulation and doors wide open. Empty rooms are brightly lit into the night. Solar panels, wind turbines or electric vehicles are hard to find.
The problems raise broader issues about planning for an event meant to help solve climate change and promote green living. Questions around sustainability have dogged U.N. climate meetings for years. For example, during the meeting in Katowice, Poland, in 2018, hot air had to be pumped into the prefabricated buildings to keep participants warm in sub-zero temperatures. Last year in Glasgow, Scotland, the plastic wrapping of sandwiches and drinks being stored in open refrigerated units raised eyebrows. This year’s meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, a resort by the Red Sea, drew 33,449 participants at the last count, many of whom arrived by plane. https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/burst-sewage-pipe-adds-infrastructure-woes-cop27-93001344 (10 Nov. 2022)
Methane Cloud Spotted By Satellite Landfills and wastewater are responsible for about 20% of the methane emissions generated from human activity. The satellite image was taken at 1:28 pm Mumbai time on Nov. 5 and shows a plume of methane that GHGSat attributed to a landfill in Lucknow, India. The estimated emissions rate was 1,328 kilograms per hour of methane.
Methane is the primary component of natural gas and responsible for about 30% of the Earth’s warming. Failing to curb releases from the waste sector could derail global climate goals. In 2021, concentrations of methane in the atmosphere had the biggest year-on-year jump since measurements began four decades ago, according to the World Meteorological Organization. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/methane-cloud-spotted-by-satellite-near-india-waste-site-3496977 (08 Nov. 2022)
Nepal Rs 420 million needed to modernize Gandak hydropower station Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is going to rehabilitate and modernize the 15 MW Gandak hydropower plant located in Pratappur Rural Municipality-7, Suryapura of Nawalparasi (Bardghat Susta West). Electricity production was started from April 1979 by the hydroelectric power station built according to the Gandak Irrigation and Hydropower Project Agreement between the governments of Nepal and India. According to the Gandak Agreement, the hydropower plant was handed over to Nepal on 31 August 1981 by the Government of India.
– It is estimated that about 420 million rupees will be required for the rehabilitation and modernization of the hydropower station. There are three turbines of 5 MW each in the powerhouse. Two of them are operational while the third one is damaged and has not been operational for a long time. Several equipment of the unit in operation are old and need to be replaced.
– “For maintenance and inspection, the Indian side closes the canal for nearly four months every year in October-November and March-April. After the canal is closed, the power plant cannot be operated due to the lack of water. When power production is stopped for four months, we lose millions of rupees in income daily,” NEA Managing Director Kulman Ghising said, “Even when water is available, the power plant is not running at full throttle.” https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/nea-to-modernize-gandak-hydropower-station-rs-420-million-needed/ (13 Nov. 2022)
MEKONG Cambodia Phnom Penh lake community make last stand against developers Cambodian capital has lost more than half its lakes to a housing boom – but a group of women are risking jail to fight against land grabs and evictions. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/nov/08/why-do-we-have-no-rights-phnom-penh-lake-community-make-last-stand-against-developers (08 Nov. 2022)
THE REST OF THE WORLD
Dave Patley Williamson Mine tailings dam breach. https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2022/11/10/williamson-mine-3/ (10 Nov. 2022)
USA How the Kenney Dam Broke the Nechako River -On Oct. 8, 1952, the Kenney Dam blocked the flow of water into the Nechako River, forming a massive reservoir and hydroelectric facility to create an aluminum industry. Seventy years later, The Tyee explores the lasting impacts of the Nechako Reservoir and work underway to restore some of its damage. Second in a three-part series.
-First Nations want BC and Rio Tinto Alcan to save the river. The nations say they want a new agreement to replace the one they were shut out of in 1987 — one that benefits all downstream communities and resolves the issues currently before the court.
-The solution, Mueller and neighbouring downstream communities say, is a return to more natural flows to the Nechako River. It’s a request they’ve taken as far as the B.C. Supreme Court in their bid for greater control over how the river is managed.
-“The dam is destroying the river,” Mueller says. “I think it’s all about money. It’s not about the environment. Otherwise they would come to the table and say, ‘Yeah, let’s look at these solutions. Let’s work together.’”
-In early October, they renewed their calls for Rio Tinto Alcan to restore more natural flows to the river, in light of the recent surge in white sturgeon mortality.
-“For us, it’s not about the money. It’s about the river and restoring the river. It took 50 years to almost destroy the river. It’s going to take another 50 years, at least, to fix the flow and make it into a healthier river,” Mueller says.
-“We’re not asking for much. We’re just asking that we be part of decision-making.” https://thetyee.ca/News/2022/11/10/How-Dam-Broke-Nechako-River/ (10 Nov. 2022)
Satellites Help Scientists Track Dramatic Wetlands Loss in Louisiana New research uses NASA satellite observations and advanced computing to chronicle wetlands lost (and found) around the globe.
From Lake Pontchartrain to the Texas border, Louisiana has lost enough wetlands since the mid-1950s to cover the entire state of Rhode Island. Using a first-of-its-kind model, NASA-funded researchers quantified those wetlands losses at nearly 21 square miles (54 square kilometers) per year since the early 1980s.
In the new study, scientists used the NASA-U.S. Geological Survey Landsat satellite record to track shoreline changes across Louisiana from 1984 to 2020. Some of those wetlands were submerged by rising seas; others were disrupted by oil and gas infrastructure and hurricanes. But the primary driver of losses was coastal and river engineering, which can have positive or negative effects depending on how it is implemented. https://www.nasa.gov/feature/esnt/2022/satellites-help-scientists-track-dramatic-wetlands-loss-in-louisiana (08 Nov. 2022)
Spain Their lagoons languishing, precious Spanish wetlands go dry Flamingos, herons and fish once filled a freshwater lagoon in southern Spain. Today, it’s a fetid brown splotch. The whisper of wind in the grass is a sad substitute for the cacophony of migratory birds. Biologist Carmen Díaz steps onto cracked mud. The lagoon in the heart of Spain’s Doñana nature reserve is a puddle. The park called “the crown jewel of Spain” may be dying.
Farming and tourism had already drained the aquifer feeding Doñana. Then climate change hit Spain with record-high temperatures and a prolonged drought this year. The disappearance of Doñana’s Santa Olalla lagoon’s in August makes Díaz, 66, fear that the ecosystem she has studied for four decades may have vanished for good. Now Doñana is a case study in how humans destroy natural resources. “Seeing this last bit of water makes me think that the entire park is dry,” Díaz said.
Doñana’s Santa Olalla lagoon was the biggest of the handful of lagoons that maintained some water year-round, providing a summer reservoir of aquatic plants and animals. “The solution should have come at least 20 years ago but nothing was done. The environment always loses against the economy,” said Díaz, a researcher for the Spanish National Research Council. “Doñana has been the crown jewel of Spain because it is an emblematic park, and we are letting it slip away.”
Sitting on an estuary where the Guadalquivir River meets the Atlantic Ocean, Doñana covers 74,000 hectares (182,000 acres). The reserve was founded in the 1960s with help from environmental group WWF. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve, Doñana is a wintering site for a half-million waterfowl and a stopover spot for millions more birds that migrate from Africa to northern Europe. Home to five threatened bird species, including the endangered Spanish imperial eagle, Doñana also hosts a breeding-and-rescue center for the endangered Iberian lynx.
“The solution should have come at least 20 years ago but nothing was done. The environment always loses against the economy,” said Díaz, a researcher for the Spanish National Research Council. “Doñana has been the crown jewel of Spain because it is an emblematic park, and we are letting it slip away.”
Doñana encompasses two large ecosystems. Besides the wooded dunes, there are marshlands along the Guadalquivir. Spanish galleons once brought silver back from Spain’s American colonies here on their way upstream to Seville. Then, scientists and conservationists came from all over the world. Now Doñana is a case study in how humans destroy natural resources. https://apnews.com/article/science-travel-business-europe-d69520e5f6af8f3be2a2eecb8a14f9ce (08 Nov. 2022)
Russia-Ukraine war Kherson mayor warns of ‘critical’ water shortages after Russian forces destroyed key infrastructure. https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2022/nov/13/russia-ukraine-war-kherson-mayor-warns-of-critical-water-shortages-after-russian-forces-destroyed-key-infrastructure-live (13 Nov. 2022)
Compiled by SANDRP (email@example.com)
Also see: DRP News Bulletin 07 Nov 2022 & DRP News Bulletin 31 Oct. 2022
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3 thoughts on “DRP NB 14 Nov 2022: Jal Shakti Ministry says: Groundwater extraction down, recharge up???”
Report is available on CGWB Website from 11 Nov.
I had checked it on 10th, it was not available. Will check tomorrow.