(Feature Image:-Nayapakkam a lake near Chennai and a bird hotspot. 190 species have been recorded here and is a refuge for migratory harriers. https://ebird.org/hotspot/L3396760 Excavators were filling one end of the lake yesterday. Allegedly the ACS group is building an International school over it. M Yuvan, 05 Feb. 2023)
On the occasion of World Wetlands Day 2023 on Feb 2, 2023, SANDRP brought out five overviews about state of India’s wetlands. These included overview related to: 1. India’s Ramsar Wetlands 2. General overview of India’s wetlands 3. Top Ten stories about govt actions about wetlands 4. Top ten stories about judiciary actions about wetlands and 5. Positive stories about India’s wetlands. The links to the five overviews are available below.
The first thing that strikes from these overviews is that state of wetlands in India is bad, getting worse, they continue to face systemic neglect, damages, threats and govt apathy including Ramsar wetlands, which are supposed to have better protection than other wetlands, which is unfortunately not true. The nameplate of Ramsar wetland has now been given to 75 wetlands, but that provides no additional protection to them. in the name of information of Ramsar sites, there is only a combined interactive map apart from two separate pdf file links with location map and state wise listing Ramsar wetlands on Wetlands of India portal by MoEF&CC. The govt has neither prepared any concrete plan to address the threats nor has it developed credible monitoring mechanism which clearly shows it has no intention to improve the governance of these sites.
The state of the lesser wetlands, one can imagine, is worse. Considering that the theme of World Wetlands Day 2023 is restoration of wetlands, this is very sad state of affairs.
The judiciary has taken some protective action in the year gone by, but they have been unable to bring a systemic change in governance of our wetlands. The only saving grace is that there have been a number of instances where communities and civil society groups have come forward for protection of wetlands and that is the only thing that seems to help. One hopes there are many more cases where the communities and civil society groups come forward to protect wetlands.
SANDRP Blogs WWD 2023: India’s Ramsar Wetlands face Damages, Threats & Govt Apathy Marking the World Wetlands Day 2023, this fourth overview by SANDRP compiles reports from 2022 revealing the worsening situation of Ramsar wetlands sites in India. In past few years, the government has shown great hurry in getting Ramsar tag for 75 wetlands from 26 in the country to symbolically mark 75th anniversary of Independence without showing any interest in resolving the existing and looming threats including increasing pollution, siltation, encroachments and climate change threats over old and even new Ramsar wetlands.
The ground reports show that the sole focus of the government is on pushing destructive and ornamental projects in the name of tourism and beautification on these wetlands which are only seen damaging their remaining eco-systems and threatening the livelihoods of dependent communities as an additional threat which only underlines that Ramsar tag does NOT help in wetlands protection and conservation. Experts, citizen groups have been raising this fact for years but in vain. Furthermore the process for seeking Ramsar recognition lacks consultation and participation of primary stakeholders and concerned citizens. https://sandrp.in/2023/02/02/wwd-2023-indias-ramsar-wetlands-face-damages-threats-govt-apathy/ (02 Feb. 2023)
WWD 2023: India’s Wetlands facing threats & misgovernance The reports show that the wetlands continue to face rising threats and misgovernance. https://sandrp.in/2023/01/31/2022-indias-wetlands-continue-to-face-rising-threats-and-misgovernance/ (31 Jan. 2023)
In this second part of annual wetlands overview of 2022, SANDRP compiles the top ten actions by various governments in India regarding wetlands in 2022. The compilation also highlights some of the controversial steps planned and taken by the governments with an adverse impacts on wetlands conservation. https://sandrp.in/2023/02/01/wwd-2023-top-ten-india-wetlands-stories-about-govt-actions/ (01 Feb. 2023)
In this third part of wetlands overview, SANDRP tracks top ten judicial interventions regarding protection of wetlands in India in 2022. https://sandrp.in/2023/02/01/wwd-2023-top-ten-judicial-interventions-to-improve-wetlands-governance/ (01 Feb. 2023)
In final part of annual World Wetlands Day overview, SANDRP highlights ten positive actions, efforts made by local communities, citizens groups for protection and conservation of wetlands in India in 2022 so far. https://sandrp.in/2023/02/02/wwd-2023-some-positive-india-wetlands-stories/ (02 Feb. 2023)
HYDRO POWER PROJECTS
Joshimath Disaster Residents of Joshimath in Chamoli (Uttarakhand) taking out procession against the NTPC, developer of the Tapovan Vishnugad HEP.
Hundreds of affected people descended on the streets of subsidence-hit Joshimath on Friday (27 Jan.) to take part in a protest rally against alleged slow pace of efforts to save the sinking town. The Joshimath Bachao Sangharsh Samiti had given the call for the rally to press for demands of permanent rehabilitation and compensation to affected families. “The urgency necessary to save Joshimath is still missing. Permanent rehabilitation and compensation on the lines of Badrinath and the scrapping of the NTPC project for good are some of the issues which remain unresolved,” Joshimath Bachao Sangharsh Samiti spokesperson Kamal Raturi said. https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2023/jan/28/locals-protest-in-joshimath-against-slow-pace-of-efforts-to-save-town-2542167.html (28 Jan. 2023)
Ravi Chopra Interview in FRONTLINE: “I was struck by the level of anger visible on the streets, in the homes of people, and the protest demonstrations. Across town, posters were plastered on walls saying “NTPC go back”. People are upset that officers talk among themselves and not with them. A part of the anger stems from the protest against the Tapovan Vishnugad Hydro Power Project. For 20 years, locals have been protesting against this project, which they say is responsible for the disasters taking place. In spite of warnings by scientists, environmentalists, and local people, the government has not acted to secure lives and livelihoods.” https://frontline.thehindu.com/environment/interview-ravi-chopra-on-joshimath-collapse-the-only-way-to-describe-it-is-madness/article66413621.ece (26 Jan. 2023)
Shailendra Yashwant: Two other multiplying factors speeded the sinking, the first is the ongoing dam building and tunnelling activity for NTPC’s Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower project and the second, is the construction of the Chardham highway, the government’s plan to build highways to connect four of the most inaccessible Hindu pilgrimage hotspots in the most fragile parts of the Himalayas. Needless to say, too much construction has led to several large-scale landslides. Between 2009 and 2012, there were 128 landslides recorded in the Chamoli-Joshimath region alone.
On June 16 and 17, 2013, the mountains unleashed two days of monstrous floods that killed about 30,000 people according to the Wadia Institute for Himalayan Geology. The June flood also seriously damaged at least 10 big hydropower projects in operation and under construction in Uttarakhand. Another 19 small hydropower projects that generate under 25 megawatts were destroyed according to the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP). https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/opinion/joshimath-disaster-time-for-a-moratorium-on-dam-building-in-the-himalayas-9840711.html (10 Jan. 2023)
While the NTPC project is closest to Joshimath town, many other hydropower projects are under construction or have been proposed or set up in the vicinity. Other projects under construction are Vishnugad Pipalkoti (444 MW) and Lata Tapovan (170 MW) – the Supreme Court stayed construction on the latter, also an NTPC project, after floods in 2013. Projects that have begun operation include the Jaypee group’s 400 MW Vishnuprayag project – another, the Rishiganga power project, was washed away in a flood in Feb. 2021.
Proposed projects include the Alaknanda-Badrinath project (300 MW), Rishiganga I and II (105 MW), the Tamak-Lata project (250 MW), the Jelam-Tamak project (126 MW) and the Malari-Jelam (114) project. Most of these fall within the Nanda Devi National Park or its buffer zone, and within 10 km of the Valley of Flowers, a UNESCO natural world heritage site. https://scroll.in/article/1042961/greed-sank-joshimath-i-saw-it-happen (01 Feb. 2023)
जोशीमठ शहर में लगातार सूखते जलस्रोत चिंता बढ़ा रहे हैं। पिछले कुछ दिनों में ही तीन जलस्रोत पूरी तरह सूख चुके हैं। इनका पानी एक माह पहले कम होने लगा था। इसके अलावा अन्य कई जलस्रोतों में भी पानी काफी कम गया है। क्षेत्रवासी भूधंसाव को इसका कारण मान रहे हैं। जोशीमठ नगर क्षेत्र में 30 के आसपास प्राकृतिक जलस्रोत हैं। इनमें कई तो सौ से भी अधिक वर्षों से क्षेत्रवासियों की जरूरतों को पूरा कर रहे हैं। लेकिन, आपदा के बाद प्राकृतिक जलस्रोतों के सूखने से क्षेत्रवासी काफी परेशान हैं। हालिया दिनों में ही शहर के तीन जलस्रोत सूख चुके हैं और कइयों में पानी काफी कम हो गया है। सिंहधार वार्ड की प्रेमनगर कालोनी के स्रोत के अलावा मारवाड़ी तिराहे पर कोतवाली के पास से निकलने वाला गदेरा पूरी तरह सूख गया है। यह गदेरा सिंहधार से मारवाड़ी गांव होते हुए अलकनंदा नदी में गिरता था।
इसके अलावा सिंहधार वार्ड के माधवाश्रम में पुराने पोस्ट आफिस के पास स्थित जलस्रोत का भी नामोनिशान नजर नहीं आ रहा। साथ ही मनोहर बाग के प्राकृतिक जलस्रोत समेत अन्य स्रोतों पर भी पानी कम हो गया है। सिंहधार निवासी 65-वर्षीय जगदीश प्रसाद उनियाल बताते हैं कि प्रेमनगर कालोनी के जलस्रोत को उन्होंने बचपन से देखा है। उस वक्त यह स्रोत पूरे मोहल्ले में पानी की आपूर्ति का एकमात्र माध्यम था। यहां तक कि निर्माण कार्यों और आसपास मौजूद खेतों की सिंचाई के लिए इसी स्रोत का पानी उपयोग में लाया जाता था। https://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/chamoli-joshimath-sinking-within-a-month-three-water-sources-drought-23319683.html (05 Feb. 2023)
सिंहधार वार्ड में बारह महीने बहने वाला प्राकृतिक जल स्रोत पूरी तरह सूख गया है। इस मोहल्ले की दुल्हनें धारा पुजाई की परंपरा को इसी जलस्रोत पर संपन्न करती थीं लेकिन अब यह सूख गया है। नगर में प्राकृतिक जल स्रोत के सूखने का यह दूसरा मामला है। दो सप्ताह पहले रोपवे के पास के प्राकृतिक स्रोत का पानी अचानक कम हो गया। इस स्रोत से 90 के दशक में पांच घराट संचालित होते थे। अब इसमें बहुत कम पानी रह गया है। दूसरा मामला अब सिंहधार वार्ड में आया है जहां प्राकृतिक स्रोत सूख गया है। https://www.amarujala.com/photo-gallery/dehradun/joshimath-stream-which-bride-used-to-worship-now-that-natural-water-source-has-dried-up-2023-02-03?pageId=2 (03 Feb. 2023)
जोशीमठ में पिछले कुछ समय से नई दरारें आने का मामला नहीं आया है। लेकिन जिन घरों में पुरानी दरारें आई थी वह अब फिर बढ़ने लग गई हैं। सीबीआरआई के वैज्ञानिकों का कहना है कि यहां पर 60 से अधिक मकानों में क्रैकोमीटर लगाए गए हैं। हमने इनका करीब 15 दिनों तक निरीक्षण किया है। अब प्रशासन को आगे की कार्रवाई करनी है।
सिंहधार वार्ड के पास बदरीनाथ हाईवे पर पड़ी दरारें भी बढ़ रही हैं। सिंहधार वार्ड के प्राथमिक विद्यालय के पास भू धंसाव के चलते यहां घरों और खेतों में बड़ी-बड़ी दरारें आई हुई हैं। इस जगह पर एक बड़ा पत्थर है। जिसके नीचे दरार आई हुई है। पत्थर गिर गया तो भारी नुकसान हो सकता है। इसलिए प्रशासन ने पत्थर के नीचे लोहे के पाइप लगा रखे हैं, जिससे पत्थर खिसकने से रुक जाए। हालांकि यह पाइप पत्थर का वजन कितना सहन कर पाएंगे यह कहना मुश्किल है।
केंद्र सरकार की ओर से भेजी गई रैपिड एक्शन फोर्स अचानक रविवार (Feb. 05) को वापस चली गई। शनिवार (Feb. 04) को टीम के जोशीमठ पहुंचने पर बताया गया था कि यहां पर 10 फरवरी तक विभिन्न क्षेत्रों में कई तरह की जांच की जाएगी। रविवार को टीम के अचानक वापस लौटने से लोगों में चर्चाओं का दौर शुरू हो गया है लेकिन प्रत्यक्ष तौर पर कोई भी कुछ भी कहने से बच रहा है। https://www.amarujala.com/photo-gallery/dehradun/joshimath-sinking-cracks-become-big-in-house-crack-meter-leaves-its-place-2023-02-05 (05 Feb. 2023)
NGT orders study for Mussoorie Noting that a study on the carrying capacity of eco-sensitive areas in the Himalayan region is imperative for the protection of the environment, the NGT has ordered that such a study be conducted for Mussoorie. The study may cover how many constructions can be allowed and with what safeguards, what safeguards be used for existing buildings and “all other relevant and associated aspects including vehicular traffic, sanitation management, maintaining ecological integrity in terms of soil stability and flora/fauna”, said a recent order issued by the Principal Bench of NGT.
Additional District Magistrate (Administration), Dehradun, K K Misra, has submitted to NGT that an inspection was done on January 12 this year with regard to seepage and land subsidence of the road adjoining buildings at Landour Bazaar, Mussoorie. The tribunal has noted that Misra’s statement “confirms to some extent that potential for disaster at Mussoorie is not ruled out unless safeguards are taken”. The order added: “Such potential exists in other hill cities of the country also, particularly in the Himalayan region which has been noted in some orders of the Tribunal earlier to which brief reference may be made. The Tribunal noted that hilly areas have their own ecosystem with peculiar needs on account of fragility and their unique flora and fauna.” https://indianexpress.com/article/india/joshimath-land-subsidence-ngt-8419359/ (02 Feb. 2023)
It is not only Joshimath which is facing possible disaster from any unusual weather event and the monsoon rains of this year. Other towns and villages are facing similar risks. The causes being entirely man made. For instance, many areas in the popular hill stations of Mussoorie and Nainital are facing land subsidence. More than 50 houses in Karanprayag, a town neighbouring Joshimath, have suffered damage, forcing people to abandon them.
Many villages in Rudraprayag, Pauri and Tehri districts have alleged that the 126 kilometer long Karanprayag-Rishikesh railway line, which comprises blasting through mountains to build a large number of tunnels; the blasting work for the ‘Char Dham’ All Weather road, which would run more than 800 kilometres in the Garhwal Himalayas, has led to cracks in their homes and soil subsidence. In response, the state government had identified 465 villages for relocation till 2021. However, only 1100 families in 44 villages have been relocated so far. https://citizenmatters.in/joshimath-himalayas-land-subsidence-committee-reports-scientist-warnings-32709 (31 Jan. 2023)
Uttarakhand उत्तर भारत हाइड्रो पावर प्रोजेक्ट के टनल की मरम्मत की मांग के लिए परियोजना प्रभावित ग्रामीणों ने सोमवार (July 10) को दूसरे दिन भी पॉवर हाउस परिसर में धरना दिया। प्रभावित ग्रामीणों ने कहा कि टनल के ऊपर जमीन दरकने से इलाके को खतरा पैदा हो गया है। कंपनी इस ओर ध्यान नहीं दे रही है। संघर्ष समिति ने मंगलवार (July 12) को कंपनी के पॉवर हाउस में तालाबंदी करने की चेतावनी दी थी। प्रशासन की पहल को देखते हुए तालाबंदी का कार्यक्रम स्थगित कर दिया गया है। https://www.amarujala.com/uttarakhand/bageshwar/protest-over-hydro-power-tunnel-bageshwar-news-hld468773020 (12 July 2022)
Sikkim Dam Floods: The Sikkim High Court has awarded a compensation of Rs. 35 lakhs each to two widowed mothers whose young sons died by drowning in swollen river downstream caused due to sudden release of water by the Gati Hydro power project company, in non-compliance of government guidelines and directions previously issued by the court in light of similar mishap earlier. https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/hydro-power-projects-shall-follow-safety-guidelines-issued-state-letter-and-spirit-sikkim-high-court-220501 (02 Feb. 2023)
Arunachal Pradesh NHPC advertisement about Dibang Project. They should have mentioned what is happening at Subansiri Lower HEP or Parbati HEP among others. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/voices/sustainable-development-measures-at-dibang-multipurpose-project/ (02 Feb. 2023)
Jammu & Kashmir Land subsidence in Doda V.P. Mahajan, DC Doda said that the Nai Basti village was affected by massive land subsidence on Friday (Feb. 03), prompting the district administration to shift 19 families to safe locations. He said that 3 houses have collapsed so far, while many others have developed cracks. The administration has also declared a religious school and a mosque in the area as unsafe. “A team of the GSI has arrived in Doda and will carry out an assessment of the area on Saturday (Feb. 04),” Mahajan told The Wire.
Some 30 kilometres from Doda town, Nai Basti is a standalone village located on a hillock in Thathri town overseeing the Doda-Jammu highway and the Chenab river. A Srinagar-based environmentalist said that the Pir Panjal mountains, which separate Doda and other districts in the Jammu region from the Kashmir Valley, have become highly unstable due to dynamite blasts and hill cutting for building roads and power projects.
In its bid to improve connectivity, the J&K administration has taken up expansion work on National Highway 244 which connects Doda and Kishtwar districts in Jammu with the Anantnag district in south Kashmir. Some seven km away from Thathri, the government is in the midst of building the 850 MW Ratle hydropower project.
“So far there is no evidence to suggest that these projects are causing the land subsidence in Thathri, but it is a fact that the wanton destruction of mountains in the name of development has put thousands of people living in the mountainous districts of Pir Panjal and Chenab Valley at grave risk,” the environmentalist, who didn’t want to be named, told The Wire. https://thewire.in/environment/land-subsidence-jammu-doda-19-houses (04 Feb. 2023)
21 structures including 19 residential houses, a Masjid and a Madrassa were declared unsafe while three houses collapsed after they developed cracks following the sinking of a portion of Nai Basti Mohalla in Thathri town in Doda district. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/front-page-2/21-structures-declared-unsafe-3-houses-collapse-in-thathri (04 Feb. 2021)
Himachal Pradesh Bharmour area cut off after bridge collapse A 33-metre-long Luna bridge on the national highway 154A collapsed due to a landslide in Bharmour subdivision on Saturday (Feb. 04) late night. The mountainous terrain of Bharmour has been cut off from Chamba, the district headquarters, after the bridge collapse. The DC said this was the second case of a bridge collapse in Bharmour tribal subdivision in the last two days. Earlier, the bridge built on the Choli rivulet on the Chamba-Holi road was damaged. The construction work of this bridge was going on in full swing. He instructed the JSW manager to speed up the construction work of Choli bridge. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/bharmour-area-cut-off-after-bridge-collapse-477016 (06 Feb. 2023) This is the second such incident within three days in the Bharmour region. Last Friday (Feb. 03), one person was killed after a valley bridge collapsed at Choli near Holi town. The bridge had collapsed when overloaded dumper trucks were passing through it. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/bharmour-cut-off-after-highway-bridge-collapses-due-to-landslide-101675622882907.html (06 Feb. 2023)
वर्ष 1971 में बना पुल टूटने से जनजातीय क्षेत्र भरमौर की 29 पंचायतें अलग-थलग पड़ गईं हैं। जिस स्थान पर यह पुल टूटा है, वहां से भरमौर उपमंडल की जनजातीय सीमा शुरू होती है। पुल दोबारा बनने में कई दिन लग सकते हैं। पुल टूटने से भरमौर और होली में पन विद्युत परियोजनाओं का कार्य कर रही कंपनियों समेत हर वर्ग के लोगों को परेशानी का सामना करना पड़ेगा। https://www.amarujala.com/shimla/cement-bridge-in-chamba-luna-was-broken-due-to-falling-rocks-29-panchayats-lost-contact-with-bharmour-2023-02-05 (05 Feb. 2023)
A bailey bridge at Choli (Dalli) in Bharmour tribal subdivision collapsed on Friday (Feb. 03), Deputy Commissioner DC Rana said. The bridge collapsed while two loaded dumpers were crossing it. Drivers of both dumpers were injured. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/2-injured-in-bridge-collapse-476446 (05 Feb. 2023)
As per initial reports, Bridge broke due to overloading. Vehicles were being passed through the bridge simultaneously, while one vehicle at a time and that too with a capacity of less than 9 tonnes was allowed to pass. https://twitter.com/shubhamtorres09/status/1621764590710456321?s=20&t=-BbWPzeWP4rbPEMRt31vpQ (04 Feb. 2023)
Bharmour known for rocky, rugged terrain, is in the upper Ravi river valley. News of collapse of this bridge on NH154A. 2 dumpers seem to have been on it when it fell. The area has seen rampant construction & movement of heavy vehicles/machinery for large #hydropower dam building. https://twitter.com/EndangeredHimal/status/1622202833495015424?s=20&t=-BbWPzeWP4rbPEMRt31vpQ (05 Feb. 2023)
चंबा-खड़ामुख-होली मार्ग पर चौली नाले पर बना बैली ब्रिज टूट गया। इससे गुजर रहे दो वाहन (डंपर) ब्रिज समेत नाले में जा गिरे। हादसे में एक व्यक्ति की मौत हो गई, जबकि एक व्यक्ति घायल हो गया है। धराशायी होने से नौ पंचायतों की 25 हजार आबादी का संपर्क भरमौर और चंबा से कट गया है। भरमौर-पांगी के विधायक ने उपायुक्त चंबा से कंपनी प्रबंधन और लोनिवि पर इस लापरवाही को देखते हुए एफआईआर दर्ज करवाने की बात कही है। शुक्रवार (Feb. 03) देर को शाम निजी कंपनी प्रबंधन की गाड़ियां एडिट-थ्री से मलबा भरकर चौली पुल से होकर कुठेड़ स्थित डैम साइट में क्रशर प्लांट की ओर आ रही थीं। चौली नाले पर बीचोबीच पहुंचने पर ब्रिज टूटकर मालवाहक वाहनों समेत नाले में समा गया। https://www.amarujala.com/shimla/bailey-bridge-collapsed-on-chamba-holi-road-vehicles-fell-in-nala-2023-02-03 (03 Feb. 2023)
Centre 39 hydro projects under implementation, 9 stalled: Power Minister As many as 39 hydro projects totalling 14,623.5 MW capacity are under implementation in the country while nine out of these are stalled, Parliament was informed on Thursday. In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Power Minister R K Singh said that the steps are being taken by developers/government for revival of the stalled projects. In order to fast-track the development of HEPs in northeastern region, a basin-wise indication of projects has been undertaken by CPSUs, he said.
As on December 31, 2022, total 211 HEPs aggregating to an installed capacity of 46,850.15 MW were in operation in the country, he added. In another reply to the House, Singh said that at present, there are 30 large HEPs with aggregate installed capacity of 11,137.50 MW which are being developed in the Himalayan belt across different states in the country.
Out of these, 23 projects totalling 10,381.5 MW are under active construction and seven HEPs totalling 756 MW are held up, Singh said. Besides, there are 87 operational HEPs with an aggregate installed capacity of 22,982 MW in the Himalayan belt across different states, he added. https://psuwatch.com/39-hydro-projects-under-implementation-9-stalled-power-minister/ (02 Feb. 2023)
Budget 2023-24 Budget 2023 may give much needed fillip to pumped storage hydropower projects. Here’s how This report speculates that Budget could exempt off river or off stream pump hydro projects from need for EIA, quoting Union Power Secretary. This would be disastrous. In any case, can the budget by finance minister take decisions about areas that is some other ministry? https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/budget/budget-2023-finance-minister-likely-to-announce-measures-for-boosting-pumped-storage-hydropower-projects-9965501.html (30 Jan. 2023)
Hydro, renewable power push for UTs The allocations for the UTS of J&K and Ladakh are at Rs 35,581.44 crore and Rs 5,958 crore, respectively, for financial year 2023-24 in comparison to the current financial year as Rs 9,486.13 crore has be allocated to the former to meet the resource gap shown in the revised estimate for 2022-23 and a maximum of Rs 3,487.56 crore allocated to the latter as part of the UT’s Tribal Area Component.
– According to the data under the expenditure budget head, bulk of the allocations to J&K — to the tune of Rs 33,923 crore — is given as central assistance. Rs 130 crore has been earmarked as grants towards equity contribution for 624 MW Kiru Hydroelectric Project. Another Rs 476.44 crore has been given to meet equity contribution for 850 MW Ratle Hydropower Project and Rs 500 crore for Jhelum Tavi Flood Recovery Project (JTFRP).
– In case of Ladakh, besides allocation for the UT for expenditure under different heads, in her Budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also announced a transmission line project to evacuate 13,000 MW of renewable energy with central support of Rs 8,300 crore and a total project cost of Rs 20,700 crore. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/j-k/hydro-renewable-power-push-for-uts-475781 (02 Feb. 2023)
Opinion The suggestion here that we are better off with status quo of large hydro and coal is clearly that: status quoist and ends up lobbying for it. These options have never really taken the full costs of these projects into account, even if we were to do that, these were never good options. Now even less so. The arguments here are without facts or merits. https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/solar-energy-is-not-the-best-option-for-india/article66455016.ece (01 Feb. 2023)
Maharashtra Dams’ stock lower than in 2022 despite good rains Water expert Himanshu Thakkar, who is also the coordinator of SANDRP, said, “Large part of drinking water requirement is fulfilled by groundwater which is aquifer based local resource. The dam storage position gives only partial picture. Much more needs to be done in terms of recharging and regulating groundwater.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/maharashtra-dams-stock-lower-than-in-2022-despite-good-rains/articleshow/97591999.cms (04 Feb. 2023)
Karnataka Sharavathi project: State to make fresh bid to get title deeds for evacuees This report shows that some 12000 families who were displaced for the Sharavati project in Shivmogga district in 1964, are still, 60 years later, still struggling for justice. Now state govt plans to ask Union govt to give 9119 acres of forest land for them. This does not include the claims of some 15-20 more villages who too have submitted claims to dist administration. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/sharavathi-project-state-to-make-fresh-bid-to-get-title-deeds-for-evacuees-1187276.html (02 Feb. 2023)
INTERLINKING OF RIVERS
Ken-Betwa Linking Affected people raise questions about proper process of land acquisition, displacement and rehabilitation due to Ken Betwa project on Feb 2 2023. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pmBS3dW7TA
Budget 2023-24A budget allocation of ₹ 1,100 crore in the current financial year has been made for KBLP by Government of India. The total amount spent on the project till 31.12.2022 is ₹ 7,665 crore, including ₹ 5,038.28 crore from the Central grant and ₹ 2,626.70 crore from the State budget. https://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1895759 (02 Feb. 2023)
INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES
Cartoons on Mahadayi river water dispute.
Upper Bhadra Project People of Anantpur, Kurnool, Chittoor and Cuddpah in Andhra Pradesh are unhappy with Govt of India allocating Rs 5300 CR for Upper Bhdra Project in Karnataka in Union Budget on Feb 1 2023 as it will delay and possible deprive these people of their drinking water and irrigation. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/upper-bhadra-project-could-deprive-west-rayalaseema-of-it-share-of-water-say-activists/article66463632.ece (02 Feb. 2023)
The project is a lift irrigation scheme and the aim is to irrigate 2.2-lakhhectares across cover Tarikere and Kadur taluks in Chikkamagaluru district, Hosadurga, Hiriyur, Chitradurga and Challakere taluks of Chitradurga district, Jagalur taluk in Davanagere district, and Sira and Chikkanayakanahalli taluks in Tumakuru district. The government also intends to recharge groundwater tables and provide drinking water by filling 367 tanks to 50% of their capacity in these taluks through the project. The project is proposed to be implemented in two stages with different packages. “In the first package, the plan is to lift 17.4tmc water from Tunga river to Bhadra reservoir in two stages. Work is already under progress,” the department’s update on the project reads. “The second package will lift 29.9tmc water from Bhadra reservoir to Ajjampura tunnel in two stages; work is physically completed, and the third package will convey water through Ajjampur.”
– A March 2022 Jal Shakti Ministry statement said the Central Water Commission had ascertained that the proposed water utilisation was well within allocations made to the state by the Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal–I. “…Accordingly, the project has been considered acceptable from an interstate angle and has been accepted by the advisory committee for irrigation, flood control and multi-purpose projects of this ministry,” the statement read. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/poll-bound-karnataka-allocated-rs-5300-crore-for-bhadra-project/articleshow/97538976.cms (02 Feb. 2023)
CM Basavaraj Bommai in April 2022 had said that steps had already been taken to declare the Upper Bhadra project as a national project. The project also envisages filling up more than 350 tanks using 10.8 tmcft of water, along with augmenting the capacity of Vani Vilas reservoir. https://www.thehindu.com/business/budget/budget-2023-fm-sitharaman-announces-5300-crore-grant-for-upper-bhadra-irrigation-project-in-poll-bound-karnataka/article66457525.ece (01 Feb. 2023)
Andhra Pradesh has objected to Telangana’s reported plan to take up new lift irrigation projects under Godavari river:- Telangana is reportedly planning to utilise about 475 tmc ft of water for the proposed lift irrigation schemes which AP fears will leave Godavari delta dry. AP requested the Godavari River Management Board (GRMB) not to forward the DPRs submitted by Telangana to the Jal Shakti ministry. AP wants the GRMB to put on hold all new project till the Centre constitutes a new tribunal to make the allocations afresh between the two states.
– In a detailed letter to the GRMB chairman MK Sinha, AP water resources department principal secretary Sashibhushan Kumar explained that there is no surplus water in Godavari for any state to take up additional or new schemes. “GRMB should play role of a referee and take a critical view of the arguments placed by both states,” Sinha argued. Godavari tribunal estimated the total availability of water at 3000 tmc ft. It allotted 888.90 tmc ft to Maharashtra, 19.90 tmc ft to Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh 625.46 tmc ft, and Odisha 292.46 tmc ft.
– The undivided Andhra Pradesh got 1172.78 tmc ft of water. Subsequent to the bifurcation, AP and Telangana have been sharing water based on the projects that have already been completed and got specific allocation from the tribunal. Accordingly, Telangana is taking 433 tmc ft for its completed projects, while AP is drawing 739 tmc ft. Telangana’s proposal to take up five lift irrigation projects to utilise about 475 tmc ft has shocked AP as it would be left with just around 264 tmc ft in Godavari river.
– Telangana government is reported to have submitted DPRs for Kaleswaram Lift irrigation (additional 1 tmc ft), Tupakulagudem lift irrigation, Sitarama lift irrigation, Muketswaram (Chinna Kaleswaram) and Modikunta Lift irrigation schemes with redesigning them with their storage capacities. Notwithstanding AP’s objections, Telagana is reported to have submitted DPRs with the GRMB seeking its clearance. AP is irked with TS’s plans to take one tmc ft additional water through Kaleswaram. AP alleged that granting permission for two tmc ft allocation for Kaleswaram itself is illegal. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/amaravati/andhra-pradesh-objects-to-telanganas-project-on-godavari-river/articleshow/97429326.cms (30 Jan. 2023)
Cooum; Chennai Most polluted river in India Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)’s latest report has identified the Cooum River in Chennai as the most polluted river in India. The BOD in Coom was the highest among the 603 rivers in the country.
As per report titled ‘Polluted River Stretches for Restoration of Water Quality, 2022’, the BOD in downstream of Cooum between Avadi to Sathya Nagar was 345 mg per litre. Yamuna’s BOD level was 127. https://www.timesnownews.com/chennai/a-toxic-stew-in-chennai-this-river-is-the-most-polluted-river-in-india-now-article-97473812 (31 Jan. 2023)
Adyar; Chennai River bund turns official dumpsite The state government is spending crores to restore the Adyar, but the village panchayats of Kolapakkam, Gerugambakkam and Tarapakkam in Kundrathur taluk have converted the river bank near the Omega international school at Kolapakkam into their official solid waste dumping site. Not only do their battery-operated garbage vehicles regularly dump solid waste, last week bio-medical waste was dumped by private hospitals and vendors. And, the entire dumpsite was set on fire. The local administration and the SPCB have not acted on complaints though the dump has been smouldering for more than 10 days now. The smoke is impacting the flow of traffic and the health of locals.
V Pugazhvendhan, civic activist, who spotted the medical waste and complained, said the fire was burning on Friday too. “The panchayats, the TNPCB and other government departments are well aware of the issue. When I asked the battery operated vehicle drivers who instructed them to dump the solid waste there, they said, panchayat officals told them to do so,” he said. David Manohar, civic activist, said, “It is not just panchayats, even gated communities from nearby Greater Chennai Corporation areas dump waste here. We have taken several photos and videos and sent to the TNPCB and other government departments,” he said.
The TNPCB officials refused to comment on the issue despite several calls and messages. The district environmental engineer of Sriperumpudur didn’t respond to calls. The Kancheepuram collector M Aarthi had earlier stated in response to a complaint that “The panchayats don’t have funds for solid waste management and to clear this dumpsite. We have written to the government to find a permanent solution.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/adyar-bund-turns-official-dumpsite/articleshow/97593165.cms (04 Feb. 2023)
Sabarmati; Ahmedabad Second most polluted river in India The Sabarmati is the second most polluted river in India after the Cooum river in Tamil Nadu, according to a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) November 2022 report tabled by the Union ministry of jal shakti. The CPCB data identified 311 polluted stretches on 279 rivers based on monitoring results in terms of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), an indicator of organic pollution. According to the report, the stretch of Sabarmati between Raysan in Gandhinagar and Vautha in Dholka had a BOD of 292 milligram per litre between.
Despite the suo motu intervention by the Gujarat High Court in August 2021 to rein in river pollution, followed by a series of interventions by a court-appointed nine-member joint task force, the ecological status of the Sabarmati has only gone from bad to worse in the past five years. Far from being a lifeline, it is now the second most polluted river in India. This was revealed during the parliamentary proceedings.
Sources said that blatant discharge of untreated sewage into the rivers is the key cause of pollution. Along the specified stretch of the Sabarmati, a slew of textile manufacturing and processing units are situated in addition to chemical manufacturing units. In December 2021, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) severed drainage connections of 250 industrial units including Ankur Textiles in Raipur, Arvind Ltd in Naroda, and Ashima Ltd in Khokhra, among others.
Based on these BOD levels, the CPCB has identified 311 stretches on 279 rivers in the country that are polluted mainly because of untreated sewage being released into the water bodies. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/sabarmati-second-most-polluted-river-in-india/articleshow/97564660.cms (03 Feb. 2023)
The report also includes 12 other rivers of Gujarat. Among them, Bhadar, Jetpur (258.6 I), Amalkhadi along with Ankleshwar, (49.0 I), Bhogavo, Surendranagar (6.0 V), Bhukhi Khadi, Wagra (3.9 V), Damanganga Kachigaon and Chanod (5.3 V), Dhadar, Kothada ( 33.0 I), Khari, Lali village (195.0 I), Mahi Kotna, Mujpur (12.0 III), Mindhola, Sachin (28.0 II), Shedhi, Kheda (6.2 IV), Tapi, Nizar (3.4 V), Vishwamitri. The Bahela river in UP is the third most polluted river with a BOD value of 287 mg per litre.
The report also said that the number of polluted rivers in Tamil Nadu has increased in the last four years. The CPCBA report states that the water quality of 12 rivers in Tamil Nadu was monitored at 73 locations during the period 2019 to 2021. According to the report, Bio-Medical Oxygen Demand (BOD) at 53 locations in 10 rivers did not comply with the prescribed water quality standards. Coom river Even though the Coom river has become the most polluted river in the country, the current government has taken steps to clean it. has come. https://gujarati.news18.com/news/ahmedabad/most-polluted-river-in-india-sabarmati-river-pollution-cooum-sb-1331651.html (02 Feb. 2023)
Ghaggar 2 river stretches among most polluted in India With the state governments failing to take corrective measures, nearly 53% of polluted stretches of different rivers in the region fall in the category of Priority I class — most polluted – requiring most urgent remediation. What is more worrying is that the two stretches of the Ghaggar river passing through Punjab and Haryana are, respectively, the sixth and seventh most polluted stretches in the country.
Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh are grappling with the problem of contamination of river water, caused by the dumping of untreated industrial waste, untreated sewage and solid waste. The issue has been taken up time and again, especially about the Ghaggar river, in the respective state assemblies, but nothing concrete has been done so far to address the problem that can have long-lasting consequences.
According to data there are 311 polluted river stretches with categories between Priority I to V in the country, of which 17 such stretches are in the region — 9 in Himachal, 5 in Punjab and 3 in Haryana – and the level of pollutants in nine stretches of different rivers has been recorded manifold higher than the permissible limits. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/2-ghaggar-stretches-in-pb-hry-among-most-polluted-in-india/articleshow/97567369.cms (03 Feb. 2023)
Goa 6 rivers among 311 polluted in India The report also says the BOD in Mandovi, Zuari, Sal, Kalne, Khandepar and Mapusa rivers is more than 3 which means that if the BOD is more the river is more polluted. The detailed report mentions that some companies in industrial estates, factories and establishments discharge their sewage in these rivers. This is the main cause of pollution of rivers in Goa, the report stated. These six rivers in Goa including Mandovi and Zuari are said to be polluted for the past few years as several industries, factories and other establishments are discharging their sewage/waste water in these rivers. Citizens living on the banks of these rivers, and its vicinity, are also found to be throwing their garbage and discharging their sewage water in these rivers. This has in turn affected the health of these lifelines that flow through various cities in Goa. https://www.thegoan.net/goa-news/6-goa-rivers-among-311-polluted-in-india-report/94806.html (04 Feb. 2023)
If Only Rivers and Water Bodies Could Speak Albertina Almeida The first thing that Urban Planners would have to do, to start with, is to recognise the presence of rivers in the cities in respect of which they are doing the spatial planning, and not commodify rivers instead of having a symbiotic relationship with the rivers. However, the reality on ground seems to suggest otherwise. The recently drawn up Outline Development Plans which were up for objections, appear not to have factored rivers appropriately, coming as they have been after the approval of the Coastal Zone Management Plans which have overlooked the River Sal, for instance, in Salcete, or the St. Inez creek in Tiswadi. Hence river-centric planning, from the point of conserving the rivers is far from reality.
Consequently, the social fabric that the document says the rivers have a close relation with remains unfactored. This in turn means that fisherpeople and other people, who have been living near the banks of the rivers, due to various social and economic circumstances that require them to so live, are not factored at all. Also, zoning is done in these areas including commercial zoning as a look at the Outline Development Plan of Margao indicates.
There is no integrated planning. The lack of harmonisation between the various plans and guidelines, is only further compounding the problem. Not to speak of the vested interests that dictate the planning. Mhadei Diversion is only the tip of the iceberg of the river and water body neglect in planning processes because of larger dominant forces that dictate malplanning. https://www.heraldgoa.in/Edit/If-Only-Rivers-and-Water-Bodies-Could-Speak/200515 (04 Feb. 2023)
Godavari; Nasik Restoration of ancient steps begins The Nashik Municipal Smart City Development Corporation Ltd (NMSCDCL) has started restoring the ancient steps at Godaghat near Ramkund. A team of technical officials from the smart city corporation, along with environmentalists, inspected the sites on Monday (Jan. 30). The steps were damaged during the ongoing Godavari beautification works. An NMSCDCL official, while talking to TOI, said basalt stones from Rajasthan will be used to restore the damaged steps.
“The old stones that were washed away due to floods and recovered from the riverbed will also be used for the restoration,” the official said. The smart city corporation dried the riverbed stretch from Dutondya Maruti and Gadge Maharaj bridge and found some of the ancient stones. Earlier, a sizeable portion of the 500-year-old steps leading to the Godavari river were removed by the NMSCDCL during the beautification works and the same got washed away in floods during monsoon. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nashik/restoration-of-ancient-steps-at-godaghat-begins/articleshow/97471220.cms (31 Jan. 2023)
Ulhas; Thane Residents to restart drive to clean river The Ulhas river, which supplies drinking water to around 45 lakh people in Thane, Ulhasnagar, Kalyan-Dombivali and parts of the Navi Mumbai, has got polluted again due to untreated sewage water flowing into the river. Earlier, the pollution prompted the citizens of Ulhasnagar and Kalyan to clean the river themselves. Now they have resumed the drive. Sashikant Dayama, a social activist from Ulhasnagar said, “Earlier, the Ulhas River Rescue Action Committee and many other social organisations protested against the increasing pollution and complaints were filed with the SPCB.
However, Mr Dayama said the situation is the same now as hyacinths have started accumulating near Nayatharpada Kambagaon motor pump house again. “We will again carry out an independent drive,” he said. Satyajit Burman, a social activist from Ambernath said, “The complaints about water pollution are falling on deaf years. The officials do their work for a few days and leave the river as it is. Now NGOs have decided to join hands.” https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/thane-ulhasnagar-kalyan-residents-to-restart-drive-to-clean-ulhas-river (30 Jan. 2023)
Indrayani; Pune Toxic foam on river sparks concern among residents A layer of toxic foam on the Indrayani river over the last few days has worried residents of the temple town of Alandi, about 25km from the city. A section of activists claimed that earlier the foam would appear twice or thrice a year. But now it appears almost every fortnight. They blamed the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) authorities for doing little to address the issue.
“Hundreds of devotees come to the town to visit Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj temple and take a dip in the river. It is not only a matter of pollution, but also concerns devotees’ faith and devotion,” said Arjun Medankar, an activist from the town pursuing the matter over the last few years. Vikas Dhage-Patil, the former trustee of the Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj temple trust, said, “The authorities need to take concrete measures to address this issue permanently.” After receiving several complaints, the civic body has decided to form a committee to study the pollution sources of the Indrayani river that passes through its limits. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/toxic-foam-on-indrayani-river-sparks-concern-among-residents-in-pune/articleshow/97409708.cms (29 Jan. 2023)
The drainage department of the PCMC filed a complaint on Friday (Jan. 27) against six industrial units in Chikhali on the charge of releasing chemical effluents into the Indrayani river, by way of an illegal connection to the civic drainage system taken without permission from the municipal administration. The complaint, filed by PCMC executive engineer Kishore Mahajan, has been registered under the relevant sections of the Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act with the Chikhali police. The PCMC also issued legal notices to the owners of these six companies. An officer from the Chikhali police said that Mahajan and his colleague found out about this issue on January 27, when they were looking for the source of pollution in the river. “They also found that these companies were releasing effluents without taking prior permission from PCMC,” he said, adding, “The probe is on.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/6-chikhali-units-get-notices-for-river-pollution-in-pune/articleshow/97428573.cms (30 Jan. 2023)
Musi; Hyderabad Water pollution continues to be hazardous to life Untreated water from chemical and pharmaceutical companies is being directly discharged into Hussainsagar and Musi, along with hazardous waste, domestic sewage, and garbage, posing a risk to the downtown villages. Environmental experts noted that groundwater contamination was a major issue in the areas where the Musi and Krishna rivers meet at Vadapally. Nearby villages at this intersection have complained about the groundwater in borewells becoming contaminated over time due to the seepage from the Musi.
Hyderabad has three major common ETPs at Jeedimetla, Patancheru, and Bolaram, but these are inadequate. Partially treated water effluents are eventually discharged into Musi via direct pipelines, reaching Hussainsagar and the Musi river basin. “The contaminated and toxic water that flows down the Musi up to Suryapet enters the fields in the downtown stream villages,” stated Prof. Purushotham Reddy.
According to Dr Shiva Raju K., head of medicine department at KIMS Hospital, chronic and acute waterborne diseases caused by contaminated water can be classified based on the chemicals and bacteria present in the water. “Considering the pollution in the Musi river, heavy rains bring water-borne diseases such as typhoid, viral Hepatitis A and E, diarrhoea, dysentery, and acute gastrointestinal infections.” He stated that excess metal toxicity and chemical elements in the groundwater had proven to be a major health threat. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/010822/water-pollution-becomes-continues-to-be-hazardous-to-life-in-hyderabad.html (02 Aug. 2022)
DTE Urban farming requires holistic policy support Himanshu Nitnaware Even the recently released draft Master Plan of Delhi for 2041, does not acknowledge the role of the practice. It aims to divide 8,000 hectares of land along the Yamuna into two sub-zones and restrict human activity or settlement in areas directly adjacent to the river.
However, several communities on the floodplains practise urban farming. “If this (draft master plan) comes into practice, informal settlements like Chilla Khadar and Bela Estate will lose the agricultural land,” says Nishant, a founding member of the People’s Resource Centre and co-author of the non-profit’s draft policy. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/cultivated-idea-urban-farming-in-india-requires-holistic-policy-support-here-is-why-85450 (30 Jan. 2023)
Maharashtra Wardha riverbed: Western Coalfields Limited builds bridge, breaks rules Western Coalfields Limited, a subsidiary of Coal India, has built what it is calling a temporary bridge over Wardha river, without taking permission of PWD or without adhering to norms of such constructions.
PWD has said that, following petition by civil society groups, but has taken no notice. A report was earlier published in TOI on Jan 13 2023. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/coal/wardha-riverbed-western-coalfields-limited-builds-bridge-breaks-rules/97442555 (30 Jan. 2023)
Need concerted efforts to stop pollution in rivers Former sarpanch of Hiware Bazar village in Ahmednagar district and Padma Shri recipient Dr Popatrao Pawar on Wednesday (Jan. 18) said human life depends on the existence of rivers and if we ignore the issue of pollution of these water bodies, we will have to suffer the consequences. He was speaking at the concluding ceremony of the ‘Chala Januya Nadila’ (Let’s understand a river) campaign as part of Manjara Jal Sanvad Yatra at Aurad Shahajani in Latur district. The campaign which began in Beed district had entered Latur district last week and will proceed to Karnataka. https://www.outlookindia.com/national/need-concerted-efforts-to-stop-pollution-in-rivers-as-human-life-depends-on-them-padma-shri-awardee-news-254821 (19 Jan. 2023)
Himachal Pradesh ‘Follow Defined norms while treating sewage’ SPCB chairman, Sanjay Gupta in a communiqué issued on Friday (Feb. 03) said that PCB has taken cognizance of non-adherence of defined parameters for STPs by Shimla Jal Prabandhan Nigam Limited (SJPNL) and Jal Shakti Vibhag (JSV), and there is always a fear of contamination of water bodies. He said that as per the directions of NGT, action Plans for the rejuvenation of polluted stretches of few rivers namely Sirsa river near Baddi, Markanda river, Beas river, Ashwani Khad, Giri and Pabbar rivers were formulated in 2019-20 and SJPNL & JSV were required to expedite the works as per the directions of NGT, which should be conformed with the guidelines of NGT.
He said that JSV is operating 70 STPs with 99.97 MLD capacity, in different parts of the State covering major urban areas. Besides, the SJPNL has six STPs with installed capacity of 26.06 MLD, which needs to be upgraded. However, the rejuvenation of the polluted river stretch of Ashwani Khad is being done as per the orders of NGT. Review meetings will soon be held with the concerned department, he added. The Board has also requested the Principal Secretary, Urban Development and Secretary, Jal Shakti Vibhag to look into the matter urgently. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/follow-defined-norms-while-treating-sewage-plants-himachal-pradesh-pollution-control-board/articleshow/97581612.cms (03 Feb. 2023)
GANGA Uttarakhand CS orders to set up district, state-level bodies to save rivers Chief secretary SS Sandhu chaired an important meeting in the state secretariat on Feb 3, 2023 to discuss the measures required to save rivers of the Himalayan state and also the construction of check dams. In the meeting, Sandhu said there is a need to set up an authority to save the rivers of the entire state.
– For closely monitoring the development and implementation of programmes, Sandhu said that both state and district-level authorities need to be set up. “There is a need to work to save the rain-fed rivers from their source to the state border. For this, work should be done smoothly, the irrigation, minor irrigation, watershed and forest departments will have to work together,” he said. “A dedicated cell should be constituted for the purpose,” said the senior IAS officer. The CS directed that more check dams should be built by the forest and irrigation departments in their respective jurisdictions.
– On the occasion, a detailed presentation was made on the efforts undertaken for the rejuvenation of the Hanwal river in Tehri district. Appreciating the efforts, Sandhu said that a concept paper should be prepared on ways the project could be implemented in the entire state. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/cs-orders-to-set-up-district-state-level-bodies-to-save-rivers/articleshow/97594066.cms (04 Feb. 2023)
FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS
India Budget 2023-2024: Key highlights on fisheries: The Government will launch a new sub-scheme of PM Matsya Sampada Yojana with targeted investment of ` 6,000 crore to further enable activities of fishermen, fish vendors, and micro & small enterprises, improve value chain efficiencies, and expand the market. The government will also facilitate setting up of a large number of multipurpose cooperative societies, primary fishery societies and dairy cooperative societies in uncovered panchayats and villages in the next 5 years.
– Budget allocation for the Department of Fisheries during 2022-23 has increased from Rs. 1220.84 crore (BE) in the year 2021-22 to Rs. 2118.47 crore (BE) in 2022-23 which is 73.52% up. https://www.icsf.net/newss/india-budget-2023-key-highlights-on-fisheries/ (02 Feb. 2023) https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/doc/eb/sbe43.pdf
Jammu & Kashmir Director Fisheries, J&K, Mohammad Farooq Dar on Jan 29 2023 conducted an extensive tour of Ranjit Sagar Reservoir to monitor the progress of the development of Reservoir Fisheries. He reviewed the implementation of various fisheries developmental schemes being implemented in the area. Presently the area under reservoir fisheries in the UT is estimated at about 0.07 lakh hectares, this area is likely to further increase in the coming years. The department has established Reservoir Fisheries in Ranjit Sagar Reservoir and its area falls in three states namely Punjab, J&K UT and Himachal Pradesh. The reservoir has a total area of about 10,400 ha out of which about 5,500 ha falls in the territory of J&K in district Kathua. The department has realised revenue of Rs 121 lakh through e-auctioning of the said reservoir during 2021-22 and about 70-80 tons of fish is expected to be extracted from the reservoir during the current year. https://risingkashmir.com/fisheries-department-gears-up-to-tap-huge-potential-of-ranjit-sagar-reservoir
Odisha ‘Low oxygen killed fish in Bata river’ Lack of oxygen due to pollution is the main reason behind the death of a large number of fish in Bata river and other water bodies in the port town of Paradip recently, said Puskar Behera, the regional officer of SPCB.
“The scientists of SPCB tested the water from Bata river and its nearby water bodies in our laboratory in Bhubaneswar and found that the fish died due to lack of oxygen. The oxygen level was only 2 milligram per litre as opposed to the required 7 milligram per litre in the river. They have also noted that the presence of BOD had contributed to the death of fish on December 31 in the water bodies in the port town Paradip,” added the officer. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/low-oxygen-killed-fish-in-bata-river/articleshow/97571144.cms (03 Feb. 2023)
Bengaluru Ban fishing in city lakes, protect ecology: Activists In a rare such instance, Bangalore lake activists see fishing a threat to ecology of the lakes and have requested authorities to ban fishing in city lakes. However, city activists suggested that protect the livelihoods of fishers, the authorities should ensure that the fishing practices are sustainable. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/ban-fishing-in-city-lakes-protect-ecology-bengaluru-activists-urge-authorities-1187353.html (03 Feb. 2023)
Tamil Nadu SPCB shuts down 3 prawn processing units The SPCB has shut down three prawn processing units in Thoothukudi district to reduce pollution in the ‘Upper Odai’ river. A senior SPCB official told IANS that King Aqua Plant, Nisha Sea Foods and SRK sea foods are the units against whom the action has been taken. Falling under the orange category of industries, these units are engaged in peeling, de-veining and washing of prawns.
The units were shut down following the recommendations of the inspection units of the TNPCB under section 33 of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974 and Section 31 of Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981. The power supply to these units were disconnected following the shut down notice of the SPCB. The pollution control board action followed people’s protests on the extensive pollution that was subjected at river Upper Odai which turned pink. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=1044906 (30 Jan. 2023)
SANDRP Blog Riverbed Mining 2022: Judiciary tries but fails to bring effective change It is quite disappointing to see that the judiciary is increasingly required to exam thoroughly the entire riverbed mining governance structures beginning with formation or modification in policy; to mining plan approval processes; to make regulators ensure execution of norms and application of monitoring mechanism, to fixing responsibilities of respective agencies apart from deterring violations and illegalities. This only shows that the governments have no intention to improve and regulators wish to continue with business as usual approach.
Though presently the judiciary is the only hope for mining ravaged rivers and affected people, however its orders generally have not gone beyond formation of committees, imposition of fines, reprimanding of regulators or at best banning the mining in particular cases. These measures have brought temporary respite in limited sense and are broadly proving ineffective to bring any significant or systematic changes in the manner governments’ machinery operates. The regulators also are becoming used to judicial discourse and continue to prioritize revenue benefits and miners’ interests over governance and sustainability. https://sandrp.in/2023/02/03/riverbed-mining-2022-judiciary-tries-but-fails-to-bring-effective-change/ (03 Feb. 2023)
Haryana Illegal mining in Yamuna: NGT sets up probe panel To investigate illegal mining in the middle of the Yamuna riverbed on the Haryana-Uttar Pradesh border, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has formed a team with officials from both states under a Joint Secretary-rank officer of the Jal Shakti Ministry. The NGT order came on January 25 in response to a petition filed by a Yamunanagar resident in 2021 against private company Star Mines, alleging illegal mining in Belgarh village of Yamunanagar.
The Haryana Government, in its report sent to the NGT dated January 23, confirmed that illegal mining was being conducted “in the middle of the Yamuna” along its border with UP. The area illegally mined in the Yamuna riverbed is 300 metres from the area leased to Star Mines for mining in the adjoining Saharanpur district of UP. The report added that an FIR on June 3, 2021, was lodged in this regard and action had been initiated against the investigating officer for failing to take a remedial action. Haryana, however, said that due to the flow of water in the river, the quantum of mining could not be ascertained, and “thus, it is difficult to assess the environmental compensation”. On the other hand, UP told the NGT that there was no illegal mining on their side of the Yamuna where Star Mines had been granted a mining lease.
Earlier, too, Star Mines had come under the NGT scanner as its environmental clearance for operations in UP was held illegal for want of a replenishment study. In May 2022, the NGT had issued a directive to recover compensation for illegal mining from the company. Star Mines had then approached the Supreme Court, which stayed the order in August 2022, subject to the deposit of a penalty of Rs 2 crore with the NGT.
In another matter too, the NGT had passed an order against the firm. An appeal is pending in the Supreme Court regarding the case. The NGT in its last week’s order said that after Haryana’s report it was difficult to rule out the role of the firm in illegal mining. To investigate the issue, the NGT-formed committee will be assisted by a nominee of IIT-Roorkee and DMs of Saharanpur and Yamunanagar. It will submit its report within one month, looking at ways to help check illegal mining. It will also examine whether drone mapping and CCTV cameras could be helpful tools. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/criminal-nexus-illegal-mining-in-yamuna-ngt-sets-up-probe-panel-475072 (31 Jan. 2023)
A dumper of miners tried to overrun a DSP in Karnal when he tried to stop it. Dumper driver ran away with the vehicle, but police managed to nab a JCB machine. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/mining-mafia-tries-to-mow-down-dsp-in-karnal-village-476355 (04 Feb. 2023) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWwO2aMURyE
Unabated riverbed mining has lowered Yamuna river bed lower by about 8 feet in Karnal. (Amar Ujala, 06 Feb. 2023)
Uttar Pradesh Sentinel 03 Feb 2023 image shows sand miners created two bunds to divert Yamuna river’s natural course at Mandawar village in Kairana block of Shamli district.
Odisha IAS officer, driver attacked by sand mining mafia An IAS officer of Odisha cadre and his driver were attacked by the sand mining mafia in Balasore district on Friday (Feb. 03) while he was checking the papers of a sand-laden truck, the district administration said. Kunal Motiram Chavan, a 2020 batch IAS officer posted as sub-collector of Balasore and his driver were hit on shoulders and head at Fuladio bridge of Balasore district when the officer was checking the papers of a sand-laden truck which was suspected to be transporting sand without necessary papers. They were later discharged from hospital after treatment. SP Sagarika Nath said two persons have been arrested in the case.
Illegal sand mining has been rampant in the districts of Balasore and Mayurbhanj which have led the NGT to impose penalties on contractors in several cases. In September last year, the NGT ordered ₹36 crore penalty on two mining contractors of Mayurbhanj district for excess and illegal mining from Budhabalanga riverbed. In October, the tribunal ordered FIR against a revenue tehsildar during whose tenure illegal sand extraction took place in Subarnarekha riverbed of Balasore. In 2021, the NGT also ordered govt to stop sand mining in Subarnarekha river in Jaleswar tehsil. In January last year, the NGT said that illegal sand mining activity amounted to theft of government revenue and the accused were liable for prosecution under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/32yrold-ias-officer-driver-attacked-by-sand-mining-mafia-in-odisha-101675443325275.html (03 Feb. 2023)
Tamil Nadu PWD inspector assaulted by two illegal sand miners On Feb. 01 an assistant inspector of PWD in Trichy was injured after he was assaulted by two illegal sand miners who had created an illegal pathway for transporting the illegal sand from Cauvery riverbed in Kattuputhur area. Police said miscreants set up a pathway for movement of trucks on Cauvery riverbed for illegal sand mining. On getting information, PWD destroyed the pathway. The two accused suspected that the PWD took the action based on information from Prabhu. The duo intercepted Prabhu at M Puthur on Tuesday (Jan. 31) evening. They assaulted and verbally abused him. They also threatened him with dire consequences. Prabhu sustained internal injuries. He was admitted to the government hospital in Thuraiyur. He filed a complaint with the police on Wednesday (Feb. 01). Police were yet arrest the accused. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/trichy/pwd-inspector-assaulted-by-two-illegal-sand-miners/articleshow/97567158.cms (03 Feb. 2023)
Punjab A staff of the mining department in Abohar has been attacked, possibly by mining mafia persons. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/mining-depts-staffer-attacked-474464 (29 Jan. 2023)
CM Bhagwant Mann on Sunday (Feb. 05) inaugurated a public mining site at Gorsian Khan Mohammad village of Jagraon near Ludhiana. Interacting with the media after dedicating 16 public mining sites spread over seven districts, the CM said that sand will be available at ₹5.5 per cubic feet. He added that only manual excavation of sand will be permitted and no mining contractor will be allowed to operate in these public mining sites.
Sand from public mining sites will only be sold for use in construction of non-commercial projects, he said. The sale of sand will take place only till sunset and a government official will always be present to regulate the extraction of sand at each public mining site, the CM added. Sixteen mines have been dedicated to the people and by next month 50 more such mines will be operational across the state, he added. A mobile app has been launched that will be linked to Google maps and will guide the person to the nearest public mine, he said. It is now one of the lowest rates at which sand is available to any person across the country, he claimed. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/bhagwant-mann-dedicates-16-mining-sites-across-7-punjab-districts-to-people-101675612256993.html ; https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ludhiana/cm-bhagwant-mann-inaugurates-public-sand-mine-site-in-ludhiana-8426232/ (05 Feb. 2023)
Maharashtra SGNP forest officer booked for taking bribe Thane Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Tuesday (Jan. 31) arrested a Zonal Forest Officer of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs6,000 for allowing the transportation of sand trucks inside Yeoor forest in Thane city. Sunil Lokhande, Superintendent, ACB, Thane, said, “The suspect allegedly demanded Rs600 each from 10 truck drivers transporting sand on Jan 23. The complainant approached the ACB and our team caught the suspect while accepting Rs6,000 from the complainant near Upvan lake in Thane city.”
Yogesh Mundhara, a social activist from Thane, said, “It has become clear that forest department officials are involved in the increasing illegal constructions at Yeoor in the past few years.” Mr Mundhara added, “The material for construction is taken to Yeoor through SGNP’s entrance gate and there is a forest department office without whose nod not a single vehicle can go inside. It seems the trucks are gaining entry after giving bribe, which is why illegal constructions are flourishing inside the forest.” https://www.freepressjournal.in/mumbai/thane-sgnp-forest-officer-booked-for-taking-bribe-to-allow-sand-trucks-inside-yeoor-forest (01 Feb. 2023)
Report Sand: Too Much & Never Enough Extracting sand from these spaces is more complicated than mining a riverbed. As sediment begins to fill a dammed reservoir, the coarsest material begins forming what’s called a reservoir delta where the river empties into the lake, upstream of the dam. “The finer sediment tends to spread out more downstream, through the reservoir,” said Kondolf. “You get a complicated stratigraphy, which is why it’s not as easy to mine.” Size matters here, too: Smaller reservoirs trap gravel, larger ones hoard sand and silt, and the biggest amass even the finest sediment, said Kondolf.
Free-flowing rivers transport sediment continuously, typically from rapidly eroding mountainous areas all the way to the coasts, said Kondolf. This sediment supports deltas and beaches where a river meets the ocean. “By building a dam, you block that continuity of transport,” said Kondolf. Downstream from dams, starving rivers yearn for their lost sediment load; the hungry water erodes the beds and banks, attempting to satiate its appetite. With the proliferation of dams throughout river basins, sand supply to coastal deltas has been cut off at a decadal scale, Kondolf noted. Many of these deltas are already retreating because of sand mining.
Sand mining also has a gender dimension that needs to be addressed, said Chuah. Women may not own or even have access to land, which can be a problem in parts of the developing world where women are responsible for providing food and water for their families, said Chuah. Sand mining can cause water quality to diminish such that women have to go much farther to obtain potable water. However, families may depend directly on sand mining for their livelihood, she explained. In some instances, men are miners, but in others, women are becoming directly involved in sand mining because traditional ways to support their families, for instance, by fishing, have become threatened. https://eos.org/features/grains-of-sand-too-much-and-never-enough (25 Jan. 2023)
WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES
Budget 2023-24 FM announces MISTHI scheme for mangrove plantations “‘Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats and Tangible Incomes’, MISHTI, will be taken up for mangrove plantation along the coastline and on salt pan lands… Wetlands are vital ecosystems which sustain biological diversity… Local communities have always been at the forefront of conservation efforts. The government will promote their unique conservation values through Amrit Dharohar, a scheme that will be implemented over the next three years to encourage optimal use of wetlands, and enhance bio-diversity, carbon stock, eco-tourism opportunities and income generation for local communities,” Union Finance Minister Nirmal Sitharaman said in her budget speech on Feb 1, 2023. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/fmannounces-misthi-scheme-in-union-budget-for-mangrove-plantations-101675265659103.html (02 Feb. 2023)
However, growing mangroves may not suit all degraded coastal areas. Since mangroves can be grown in limited areas, the other vegetation (shelterbelts) can be planted along the shore to get protection and income to the community, says Ramasubramanian. Large areas of sandy coast are available in the country to take up large-scale shelterbelt plantation. Mangroves can not be planted all along the coast but only in muddy shore areas, especially in river mouth areas. Sandy shore can be planted with sand dune vegetation. Seaweeds can be grown on rocky shores. Hence, besides mangroves, the vegetation associated with them, can be used for greening India’s coast according to the suitability of habitats.
Das too is sceptical about mangrove plantation in Gujarat’s salt pans. “These are also called vanishing lands if wave action is high in the region,” she says. “There is much to learn from the Gujarat experience, where mangrove planting in the Gulf of Kachchh is so successful as it is a sheltered area, but not in the Gulf of Khambhat.”
A model for an effective melange of mangrove conservation and development has emerged in a new study along the coast of the western state of Gujarat in India, which offers one of the ways forward for reconciling the two. An analysis on a successful mangrove restoration model in Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science journal highlights two case studies, one in coastal urban port of Mundra in Gujarat’s Kachchh district, and the second in a coastal rural area in Surat district. Together, the two case studies indicate that concerted efforts and collaboration between government agencies, local communities and the private sector could pave the way for such working models in the country. Mangrove planting without involving the local community may be futile, points out K. Kathiresan. https://india.mongabay.com/2023/02/india-budgets-for-mangroves-and-wetlands/ (03 Feb. 2023)
Jammu & Kashmir Wetlands on verge of extinction Wetlands on the left and right of Jhelum act as reservoirs of the floodwaters. But in the last five decades, most of the wetlands, referred to as nature’s kidneys have lost their carrying capacity due to conversion into agriculture land or concrete landscape. Ecologically important wetlands in the Jhelum floodplains like Hokersar, Bemina wetland, Narakara wetland, Batamaloo numbal, Rakh-e-arth, Anchar lake and Gilsar have been degraded due to rapid encroachment and urbanisation. The total area of the major wetlands in the Jhelum basin with an area greater than 25 ha has decreased from 288.96 sqkm in 1972 to 266.45 sqkm at present. It has been observed that in and around Srinagar city only, 20 wetlands have been lost to urban colonies during the last five decades, particularly in the South of Srinagar.
As per a report of the Government of India, J&K has lost 2372 kanals of wetlands in the last over a decade. Over 120 hectares (2372 kanal) of wetland were lost in J&K between 2006-07 and 2017-18, according to a report by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI), a Department of the GoI concerned with coverage and quality of statistics. The major factors for deteriorating condition of wetlands are excessive habitat destruction, pollution and heavy human interference—affecting flora and fauna besides habitat of migratory birds.
Ajaz Rasool, hydraulic engineering expert and environmentalist said that the Wetlands in the valley have shrunk by about 50 percent in the last 100 years. “The main reason for deterioration of wetlands has been the anthropogenic stress due to increasing population resulting in encroachment, siltation due to erosion of topsoil in contributory catchment owing to degradation of forests. “Further growing pollution and disposal of wastes in the wetlands result in deterioration of their water quality. Overall neglect and lack of awareness in conserving wetlands and usually thinking that there are waste lands have resulted as wetlands to deteriorate and degrade,” Ajaz said.
Environmental Policy Group (EPG) convener Faiz Bakshi said majority of wetlands in Kashmir are in bad shape. “It is due to apathy of concerned officials who don’t provide factual report about deteriorating condition of wetlands in meetings of wetland committees. Conservation of wetlands must be monitored by non-official experts,” Bakshi said.
Despite being a Ramsar site no tangible measure has been taken to restore Wular and its associated wetlands which comprise an important habitat for migratory water birds within Central Asian Flyway. Considered to be Asia’s largest freshwater lake, Wular lake in north Kashmir is fast losing its grandeur to extensive pollution, siltation and encroachments. Belying tall claims of the government of launching an ambitious project to salvage Wular, it has been extensively encroached upon by massive plantation of trees and unbridled extension of agricultural fields.
Hygam, also a Ramsar Site, has also been extensively encroached upon and converted into land for paddy cultivation over the last two decades. Spread on 802 hectares equivalent to 1,28,420 kanals, Hygam has been disgustingly facing the onslaught of destruction by way of encroachments. Bala Nalla flowing from Baba Reshi was the main source of siltation and nutrients of Hygam. A team from Green Citizens Council, also called Environmental Policy Group (EPG), which made on the spot assessment of Hygam Wetland recently described the wetland as “dead and buried.”
Situation in another Ramsar site, Hokersar wetland is worst with unabated encroachments, siltation and pollution taking heavy toll the water body. In absence of any conservation measures, Hokersar has been pushed to the verge of extinction. Hokersar, is facing the brunt of societal greed and government apathy. Studies reveal that the wetland has shrunk from 18.13 sq. Km in 1969 to 13.42 sq km in 2008, a loss of almost 5.2 sq. Km during the last forty years.
Environmental lawyer Nadeem Qadri said the key for Wetland Conservation is active involvement of local stakeholders and community. “Seven Ramsar sites in J&K and Ladakh need immediate eco-restoration as the High Court Orders needs to be implemented in letter and spirit. In 2017 Supreme Court of India referred the important PIL to High Court of J&K and Ladakh for monitoring the process of Eco-Restoration, as I was appointed Amicus Curiae. We are closing monitoring seven Ramsar Sitse and other 1230 Wetlands which have been documented by the Department of Ecology, Environment and Remote Sensing,” Qadri said. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/todays-paper/front-page/world-wetlands-day-wetlands-in-kashmir-on-verge-of-extinction (03 Feb. 2023)
Assam Why Chandubi lake should be declared as Ramsar site? Located 60 km from Guwahati, the Chandubi lake is the result 1897 Assam earthquake when this land area sank. It attracts migratory birds. It is based on the foothills of Assam-Meghalaya border. Surrounded by forest areas with the river Kulsi river flowing in close vicinity, the biodiversity hotspot also reflects the cultural aspects of the indigenous communities living along the border between Assam and Meghalaya and are also dependent upon the lake for livelihood. The lake is a reservoir for many species of indigenous fishes, turtles, birds, amphibians, algae and several migratory birds.
– Over the years, several reports were published which highlighted the plight of the lake including illegal sand mining, deforestation and shrinking of the lake. A 2012 study conducted by the Assam Remote Sensing Application Centre (ARSAC) of the Assam Science Technology and Environment Council (ASTEC) in 1911-12, the Beel had a water-spread area of 448.60 hectares. In 1954, it spread to 481.19 hectares. In 1967-68, it recorded a decreased water-spread area of 392.61 hectares. In 1997, it recorded a water-spread area of 203.20 hectares and in 2007, it recorded a water-spread area of 186.52 hectares. https://assamtribune.com/guwahati/why-chandubi-lake-should-be-declared-as-ramsar-site-1460519 (02 Feb. 2023)
Kerala 79% of waterbodies contaminated A study conducted as a part of the Thelineerozhukum Navakeralam initiative of Suchitwa Mission in local bodies has identified the presence of coliform bacteria in 79 per cent of waterbodies in the state. 49,016 samples out of the 62,398 water samples collected from waterbodies like rivers, canals and ponds contained bacteria which poses serious health risks. The contamination has been mainly attributed to factors like septic tank waste. The sewage from houses and establishment have been reaching the waterbodies without proper scientific treatment, the study also found. https://english.mathrubhumi.com/news/kerala/79-of-waterbodies-in-kerala-contaminated-know-how-your-district-fare-in-recent-govt-study-1.8011019 (02 Nov. 2022)
Andhra Pradesh SPCB constitutes panel for action plan to utilise EC paid by ONGC The SPCB has constituted a 12-member expert committee to prepare an action plan for utilising the ₹22.76 crore ‘Environmental Compensation’ paid by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) as directed by the NGT for non-compliance with environmental guidelines in its operational areas in the Konaseema region. In its verdict in August 2022, the NGT had said, “We direct the 3rd Respondent / ONGC to pay the Environmental Compensation of ₹22,76,62,500 assessed by the Joint Committee to the SPCB within a period of six months. Certain recommendations were not fully complied with, and even they are operating the unit without obtaining ‘Consent to Operate’, and the application submitted by the ONGC for renewal of consent was rejected by the SPCB.” https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/andhra-pradesh-pollution-control-board-constitutes-expert-committee-to-prepare-action-plan-for-utilising-environmental-compensation-paid-by-ongc/article66454270.ece (31 Jan. 2023)
NPSSFW releases poster on World Wetlands Day 2023.
UNEP Although coastal and freshwater wetlands – such as swamps, mangroves and marshes – contain 40 per cent of all plant and animal species, many are polluted or degraded due to climate change and human development. https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/02/1133072 (01 Feb. 2023)
Bengaluru Cleaned and recharged, six wells spring to life Left unused, underused, or reduced to litter pits for years, six open wells in Hunasamaranahalli in Yelahanka taluk have been rejuvenated with fresh inflows and a promise of replenished water supply for the surrounding areas. After the rejuvenation, taken up under the Million Wells for Bengaluru campaign helmed by Biome Environmental Trust, the Town Municipal Council (TMC) has initiated work to supply water from at least two of the wells. Traditional well-diggers, the the mannu vaddars, worked for weeks on the six wells — some of them more than 50 years old — before they were opened for the drawing of water. Biome said two months after a 75-year-old open well was rejuvenated, the TMC supplies about a lakh litres of water from the 65 feet-deep well, every day, to three municipal wards. The council is also laying a pipeline to connect water from another rejuvenated well to an overhead tank, near Vidyanagar Cross.
The Million Wells project, launched in 2015, encourages communities to dig and maintain recharge wells and provides employment to the well-diggers. The project tries to address, through recharge wells, the problem of limited rainwater percolation in Bengaluru that contributes to the city’s groundwater table depletion. In December 2022, the project was adjudged winner, in the water category, at the People’s Choice Awards instituted by international civil society collective, Transformative cities. Biome is a technical partner in a pilot project on shallow aquifer management in 10 cities — Bengaluru, Chennai, Dhanbad, Gwalior, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Pune, Rajkot, and Thane — taken up by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/bengaluru-infrastructure/cleaned-and-recharged-six-wells-spring-to-life-in-b-luru-suburb-1188237.html (06 Feb. 2023)
Madhya Pradesh फिजिक्स के प्रोफेसर रहे 86 साल के विश्वास केशव डांगे की जल संरक्षण की अनूठी मुहिम लगातार चली जा रही है. शिवगंगा संगठन के सहयोग से अब तक 3 तालाबों का निर्माण करवाया जा चुका है. अब चौथे का भी भूमि पूजन कर दिया गया है. https://www.etvbharat.com/hindi/madhya-pradesh/state/jhabua/jhabua-professor-unique-campaign-jhabua-vishwas-keshav-dange-construct-fond-in-memory-of-family/mp20230205221630693693877 (05 Feb. 2023)
Report How can water be saved and recycled at home? Devices which conserve and recycle water could become critical infrastructure in our homes in the future, as global temperatures rise and the population’s water usage changes. New technology can treat ‘grey water’, which comes from the bath, shower or washing machine, so it can be used again for other purposes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9ODb6YAeFc (04 Feb. 2023)
MoJS Article by Subodh Yadav is Joint Secretary, Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Groundwater is the backbone of India’s agriculture and drinking water security in rural and urban areas, meeting nearly 80% of the country’s drinking water and two-thirds of its irrigation needs. Groundwater is pivotal to India’s water security.
– To achieve sustainable groundwater management goal, the central government has identified certain important deliverables that include a reduction in groundwater extraction to below 70%, increasing the network of groundwater observation wells, installing digital water level recorders for real-time monitoring, periodic monitoring of groundwater quality, aquifer mapping and data dissemination, having better regulation of groundwater extraction by industries, and promoting participatory groundwater management and even periodic groundwater resource assessment. Initiatives have also been taken, examples being the Atal Bhujal Yojana (ABY) and the National Project on Aquifer Management (NAQUIM).
– Around 24 lakh square kilometres of the country has been mapped from the available mappable area of nearly 25 lakh sq. km. A heli-borne based survey (state-of-the-art technology), has also been used along with traditional exploratory methods for rapid and accurate aquifer mapping. The remaining area is likely to be mapped by March 2023. Region-wise aquifer management plans are being prepared and shared with States.
– There are around 65,025 monitoring stations in India, which include 7,885 automated stations. The numbers are set to go beyond 84,000; in this, the number of automated stations will rise to over 35,000, with a special focus on identified high groundwater extracting industrial and urban clusters and groundwater stressed regions. Besides other quality-related exercises, samples from fixed locations are obtained to check for the presence of heavy and trace metals. Dynamic groundwater assessments will be done annually now. A software, ‘India-Groundwater Resource Estimation System (IN-GRES)’, has also been developed. The groundwater assessment in 2022 was completed in about five months (against the two to three years).
– According to the latest assessment, there has been a 3% reduction in the number of ‘overexploited’ groundwater units and a 4% increase in the number of ‘safe’ category units as compared to 2017. There was an improvement in groundwater conditions in 909 units. The assessment also showed a reduction in annual extraction (of about 9.53 billion cubic meters); the data for irrigation, industrial and domestic use, respectively, is 208.49 BCM, 3.64 BCM and 27.05 BCM. Overall extraction saw a declining trend, of about 3.25% since 2017. Around 9.37 BCM of additional groundwater potential was created through artificial water conservation structures. https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/indias-groundwater-governance-is-in-better-shape/article66440954.ece (28 Jan. 2023)
Kerala Drilling borewells without permit will be fined Rs 1 lakh For drilling wells without registering and obtaining a permit, borewell drilling companies will now risk serious punishment, including a sizable fee. Although a directive in this respect was issued earlier, in 2014, it was later halted due to ambiguity. This particular order has now been altered. Borewells that are illegally dug (in violation of the rules) will be fined Rs. 1 lakh, while unregistered wells will be fined Rs. 25,000. The penalty may be imposed at the discretion of the Executive Engineer, Groundwater Department.
The agencies must pay a one-time registration fee of Rs 60,000. The agent must register with the Groundwater Department’s ‘Neerarivu’ mobile app after the agency receives the registration certificate. Each borewell’s specifics must be uploaded to this application. Beginning in 2014, registration for borewell agencies became necessary. The order could not be executed until 2017 due to a court case. There were questions about how to impose the fine as well. This resulted in the suspension of the earlier order and the issuance of a new one that clarified these clauses.
The Kudumbasree is conducting the survey to gather information about the State’s borewells and the water supply. 39 blocks of data are uploaded via the ‘Neerarivu’ app during the first phase. For this study, the Groundwater Department has set out Rs 6 crore. 7 lakh wells’ worth of information have been gathered thus far. For gathering and submitting the information for one well, Rs 32.50 is provided. If the well is located in a hilly area, it costs Rs 52.50. https://www.eastcoastdaily.in/2023/01/31/drilling-borewells-without-permit-will-be-fined-rs-1-lakh-revised-order-issued.html (31 Jan. 2023)
Uttar Pradesh Hotels, industrial units get notices for using GW without permit After a survey revealed around 135 hotels, several industrial units and many other users are drawing ground water in bulk without permission from the government, the Meerut district groundwater council issued notices to them, asking them to apply for no objection certificates for the water they are using. If they fail to do it, a heavy file will be imposed, officials said.
Based on the survey’s findings, a detailed report was sent to the NGT. Thereafter, the NGT ordered the ground water department to take appropriate action against those extracting groundwater without proper permission from the groundwater department, said Pandey. He added that the users can apply for the NOC through the Nivesh Mitra portal. They will be fined if they fail to do it within a month. “These bulk users will also be apprised of the rules and regulations of extracting groundwater,” Pandey said. Nauratan Kamal, assistant geophysicist at the department of groundwater, said that around 35 hotel owners have applied for the NOC in the last few days. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/meerut/hotels-industrial-units-get-notices-for-using-groundwater-without-permit/articleshow/97593914.cms (04 Feb. 2023)
Flouride in groundwater causes water crisis in 3 Agra villages Fatehpur Sikri and other neighbouring villages in Agra are facing a groundwater crisis as the water available to them is laced with fluoride. Residents of these villages have been facing issues as there is either fluoride-laced water or no groundwater at all. Many have left the village as the only water they can drink is extremely saline. At present, efforts are being made to provide drinking water to these villages under the Nirmal Jal Dhara programme of the rural development department. https://www.indiatoday.in/cities/agra/story/flouride-in-groundwater-causes-water-crisis-in-3-agra-villages-2321388-2023-01-14 (14 Jan. 2023)
Punjab Fact-finding report on Zira distillery pollution released The pro democratic and human rights organisation ‘Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR) Punjab’ has released its fact finding ground report about spread of pollution in case of the distillery Malbros International Private Limited at village Mansooorwal Kalan in district Ferozepur.
The report says the agitation by residents of various villages in close vicinity of the distillery brought the agenda of effects of environmental pollution in the public domain. It states that serious efforts should be made to understand the questions raised by the agitators as the contaminated water and emanating of ash is like violating the fundamental right of living a healthy and wholesome life. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/education/news/afdr-punjab-releases-fact-finding-ground-report-on-pollution-from-zira-distillery/articleshow/97499766.cms (31 Jan. 2023)
Zira distillery violating right to healthy life AFDR has claimed that a report compiled by it lays bare pollution caused by a distillery in Ferozepur which has been facing protests for allegedly release effluents in groundwater and poisoning it. The report says the distillery, Malbros International Private Limited at Mansooorwal Kalan village, had been releasing contaminated water and ash, violating the locals’ fundamental right to living a healthy and wholesome life.
AFDR president Prof Jagmohan Singh and general secretary Pritpal Singh said that every industry, be it in priority or non-priority sector, must be examined for its pollution norms before issuing NOC. The distillery should be made to compensate for the pollution as it is an internationally established norm that he who pollutes, must pay for its losses (polluter pays). They also said investigation teams should be instituted under a sitting or retired judge of the Supreme Court or high court or NGT.
One of these teams may investigate about the loss of human and animal lives and loss of soil fertility. Another team of environment experts should go in for the loss of environmental degradation of air, water and soil, and should take necessary remedial steps to restore environmental elements to pre-polluted healthy status. A team of veterinary experts should look into the issue of reported deaths of livestock heads in 2022 due to consumption of the fodder which was smeared and polluted with factory ash. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/zira-distillery-violating-right-to-healthy-life-claims-group/articleshow/97509685.cms (01 Feb. 2023)
Gujarat Rising sea eroding coast, GW is sinking Ahmedabad by Haresh Jhala ISRO’s Space Application Center’s 2021 research on ‘Shoreline Change Atlas of the Indian Coast- Gujarat- Diu & Daman’ by researcher Ratheesh Ramakrishnan and other researchers has found that “Gujarat’s 1052 km coast is stable, 110 km coast has eroded and accretion is noted on a 49-km stretch.” It has also pointed out that because of the rising sea level and climate change, “Gujarat state is estimated to have gained an area of 208 hectares of land due to deposition of sediments, while due to erosion the state lost an area of 313 hectares.” Another research by Krunal Patel and others, 42 years of observation, is that the “highest coastal erosion took place in Kutch district, state’s 45.9% coast is eroded.”
In South Gujarat, Valsad and Navsari district’s many villages are at risk. Umargam taluka’s at least 15,000 people’s life and livelihood is at risk as sea water enters into the houses, narrated Sachin Machhi of Umargam taluka, a former president of the Taluka panchayat. The Institute of Seismology Research’s scientist Rakesh Dumka’s study has concluded that Ahmedabad is sinking 12 to 25 millimetres annually because of the underground water being drawn by the Ahmedabadis. According to Dumka, the state and the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation should ensure a sufficient quantity of surface water and ban the drawing of underground water, if it wants to stop the sinking. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=1039644 (14 Jan. 2023)
Mumbai Mulund to get muddy water for over a month The water to Mumbai and suburbs comes from the Bhandup water treatment plant (WTP), which runs through a water tunnel underground passing through Thane. An illegal borewell dug in Thane has damaged the tunnel, stated the civic body’s note. To ensure that the water from its source in Gundavali reaches the WTP, as a stopgap the civic body is using the pipeline which used to supply filtered water to Mulund. This has led to unfiltered water coming to the households. BMC is yet to appoint a contractor to fix the leak in the 5500 mm tunnel.
Over 15,000 households in Mulund West have been receiving muddy water from the BMC since the last two weeks and they may have to stick to the boil-and-consume routine or realign their household budget to procure bottled water for over a month from now – the time required to repair the damage. Residents from various parts of the suburb said that their tanks are now filled with mud, and dirty water was in their kitchens as well as bathrooms. Residents who do not have an RO water purifier are forced to buy drinking water. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/mulund-gets-muddy-water-for-a-month-thanks-to-bmc-s-laxity-101675366320224.html (03 Feb. 2023)
Tiruchi Corporation setting right broken pipelines A day after residents from some residential colonies in Cantonment area complained about contamination in drinking water supplied by the Tiruchi City Corporation, the authorities on Tuesday (Nov. 22) detected mix of sewage with drinking water caused by breakage of pipelines at a location where underground drainage work had been taken up.
A group of workers deployed to survey the drinking water network at various places in Cantonment area identified a point near the Lawsons Road and the Reynolds Road junction where the sewage was mixing with a drinking water pipeline. On information, Mayor M. Anbazhagan visited the spot and held a discussion with officials. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/tiruchi-corporation-setting-right-broken-pipelines-that-caused-drinking-water-contamination/article66169898.ece (22 Nov. 2022)
Hyderabad New trenchless tech to identify water pollution Faced with public outcry over two water contamination incidents at Vaddera Basthi in Madhapur and Mughal Colony in Mailardevpally recently, the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board has started using advanced equipment fitted with a camera and trenchless technology to identify the sources of water pollution and rectify them on the spot.
Despite the water board taking various measures, complaints about water pollution continue to flood the HMWS&SB’s metro customer care which receives, on an average, 150-200 complaints. In some instances, residents had to be hospitalised after consuming contaminated water and officials had to dig kilometres of length of roads to identify the source of contamination to iron out the problem. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/new-trenchless-tech-to-identify-water-pollution-in-hyderabad/articleshow/97427304.cms (30 Jan. 2023)
Gurugram ‘Disappointed’ NGT rejigs panel told to clear Bandhwari waste “Setting up of the waste to energy plant is proposed by November 30, 2024. If the MCG is processing 1,200 tonnes of its waste and MCF will also process all waste by 15.03.2023 … how (will) the WTE project will help? There is no clear and sound roadmap for achieving targets… There is no defined accountability and ownership,” the order said. “We are disappointed at the state of affairs. There is no credible progress in the matter,” it added. The bench further said that a “review” is needed to look at the “processes, agencies, persons engaged in the process, including modification of the constitution of the committee in terms of order dated 23 September 2022”.
Revising the panel, NGT said the state chief secretary will be assisted by MCG and MCF commissioners, and both the corporations will act as nodal agencies. The deputy commissioners of both the districts, GMDA and the regional officer of HSPCB are to be “suitably associated” in the process. “Ownership and accountability be defined with clarity, including consequences for not meeting targets. If targets and timelines remain undefined and loose ended, nothing is achieved,” the order said. The next hearing is on April 20. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/disappointed-ngt-rejigs-panel-told-to-clear-bandhwari-waste/articleshow/97566218.cms (03 Feb. 2023)
Expedite steps to clear legacy waste at Bandhwari NGT on Monday (Jan. 30) directed the Haryana government to expedite the process to clear legacy waste from the Bandhwari landfill, noting that there hadn’t been “any meaningful progress” in years. The tribunal made the direction while hearing a plea by environmentalist Vivek Kamboj, who alleged that authorities were not following norms in handling and disposing of legacy waste dump at the Bandhwari site.
On Monday (Jan. 30), the bench of NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, judicial member Sudhir Agarwal, and expert members Dr A Senthil Vel and Afrox Ahmed again asked the government to fasten the process of disposing of Bandhwari waste. “We have duly considered the matter and find that even after almost seven years of continuous monitoring by this Tribunal, there is hardly any meaningful progress in clearing the legacy waste,” the order said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/expedite-steps-to-clear-legacy-waste-at-bandhwari-ngt/articleshow/97470567.cms (31 Jan. 2023)
Himachal Pradesh Now, diarrhoea outbreak in Dharamshala villages; 46 fall sick Kangra CMO Dr Gurdarshan Gupta said a total of 46 diarrhoea cases have been reported in Shilla, Bhatehar and Passu villages in the last three-four days. Contaminated water is said to be the reason behind the outbreak. Recently diarrhoea outbreak was reported in Nadaun subdivision where more than 1,200 cases have been reported since last month. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/now-diarrhoea-outbreak-in-dharamshala-villages-46-fall-sick-101675362778273.html (03 Feb. 2023)
In view of diarrhoea cases in some areas of Hamirpur, the Una administration has swung into action to ensure the sanitation and cleaning up of all traditional water sources and storage tanks of the Jal Shakti Department. ADC Mahender Pal Gurjar today chaired a meeting of officials from the Jal Shakti and Education Departments and MC along with the BDOs here. He directed the officials to ensure that all storage tanks for the distribution of piped drinking water were desilted and chlorinated. The ADC said all heads of educational institutions must ensure that drinking water tanks and surrounding areas were cleaned and disinfected. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/una-administration-swings-into-action-to-prevent-diarrhoea-outbreak-476109 (03 Feb. 2023)
Deputy CM Mukesh Agnihotri, who also holds the charge of Irrigation and Public Health Department said on Feb. 01 water contamination at the source resulted in gastritis outbreak in various villages of the Nadaun constituency in the district. He said there were lapses on part of various departments, including mining and IPH. A sum of Rs 1 crore had been approved for the IPH Department to set up water treatment plants at various water supply projects in the affected area. In fact, all water supply schemes would be equipped with water treatment plants to avoid recurrence of such outbreaks in future, he added.
The Deputy CM said open defecation and unscientific mining in the area were key causes of water contamination. FIRs should be filed against those indulging in illegal mining. Speaking about the Rs 156-crore irrigation scheme at Nadaun, he said the work would be completed by March 31. The Rs 200-crore tender for a water supply scheme in the Barsar constituency was cancelled due to over-budgeting, he said. As per a new report, the project would now be constructed at cost of Rs 131 crore. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/water-contamination-led-to-gastritis-outbreak-in-nadaun-says-dy-cm-475762 (02 Feb. 2023)
JJM/ RURAL WATER SUPPLY
Budget 2023 JJM gets hike in funds ₹69,684 crore (27% up from Rs 54808 Cr in 2022-23) allocated to Centre’s Jal Jeevan mission that aims to provide piped water to every rural household by 2024; Swachh Bharat Mission-Rural that seeks to sustain open defecation free status in villages gets ₹77,000 crore (up from Rs 60 000 Cr in 2022-23) in Union Budget 2023-24. https://www.thehindu.com/business/budget/budget-2023-with-deadline-approaching-jal-jeevan-mission-gets-a-sharp-hike-in-funds/article66459348.ece (01 Feb. 2023)
Jammu & Kashmir Back-to-back avalanches hit Gurez, water supply hit Two villages in Tulail region of Gurez were hit by avalanches, blocking the river Kishanganga on Friday (Feb. 03) while another avalanche which hit earlier damaged the water supply. Officials said that avalanches struck the Tulail villages of Wizirthal and Neeru, blocking the flow of water in the Kishanganga. The avalanche at Gugran, Tulail, which hit on Thursday (Feb. 02) disrupted the water supply to the village although no loss of life has been reported from the region. An official said that teams have already been sent to the region and are evaluating the situation for more information.
According to Sub-Divisional magistrate’s office, the restoration works are being taken up. The official said that until the weather improves, the administration has requested the general population to exercise caution and avoid going outside near Kishanganga, mountains, or avalanche-prone locations. Meanwhile, District Development Council (DDC) Tulail member, Aijaz Raja requested the administration to speed up restoration works so that the water supply was restored at the earliest. He said that the water supply lines damaged due to the avalanche in Gugran had affected at least 200 families. The 84-km Gurez-Bandipora road remains shut with chopper services flying on and off to airlift stranded passengers or people with emergencies in and out of Kashmir. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/front-page-2/back-to-back-avalanches-hit-gurez-water-supply-hit (04 Feb. 2023)
Soil organic carbon as an indicator of health of agroecosystems requires qualification Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) as an indicator for land and soil degradation, is becoming central to climate change mitigation attempts. While SOC is a useful measure, it doesn’t fully capture the health of agro-ecosystems. The SOC indicator needs to be read in conjunction with microbial, biophysical, and biochemical properties of the soil. https://india.mongabay.com/2023/01/commentary-soil-organic-carbon-as-an-indicator-of-health-of-agroecosystems-requires-qualification/ (31 Jan. 2023)
IMD Rain deficit in Jan after 5 years; winter crop could be hit India’s January rainfall has hit a five-year low at 12.4 mm, with the month currently running a rainfall deficit of 25%, and the shortfall unlikely to be covered by January 31, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The IMD data showed rain shortfall in parts of Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, among others. December 2022 had also recorded 13.6 mm rainfall, the lowest monthly quantum after December 2016. The rain deficit may impact the winter crops. India had received good winter rain in the month of January consecutively since 2019, when it was recorded at 18.5 mm, followed by 28.3 mm in 2020, 20.2 mm in 2021 and 39.5 mm in 2022. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-sees-rain-deficit-in-january-after-5-years-winter-crop-could-be-hit/articleshow/97464965.cms (31 Jan. 2023)
Uttar Pradesh Dip in rainfall since 2001 may hit farm sector: Report Monsoon rainfall over Uttar Pradesh is declining data from 2001 to 2020 shows. This could have major repercussions for the agriculture sector, a paper published in India Meteorological Department’s Mausam journal in Jan 2023 has flagged. Monsoon rainfall has been below normal in UP for the 20-year period except during 2003 (24% excess) and 2008 (12% excess) with the highest negative departure recorded in 2014 (-47%).
– The analysis in the paper, “Study of southwest monsoon rainfall over Uttar Pradesh during last two decades (2001-2020)”, shows that east UP experienced below normal rainfall in the period except in 2003 (20%), 2008 (17%) and 2019 (02%) with the highest negative departure (-47%) in 2015. West UP also experienced below normal rainfall in all years except 2003 (32%), 2008 (03%), 2010 (0%) and 2018 (01%) with the highest negative departure in 2014 (-56%).
– On average, in a three-month long monsoon season, there were 66 rainy days in East UP, 59 in West UP, 68 days for the state as a whole. The rainfall intensity on average was 11.5 mm/day, 10.2 mm/day and 10.2 mm/day.
– Uttar Pradesh particularly east Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and north-eastern states are seeing a decline in rainfall in the past 20 years while the Western states such as Saurashtra, Kutch, Rajasthan are recording an increase in rainfall. The number of rainy days is also declining for UP, said IMD DG M Mahapatra.
– In 2003, when Uttar Pradesh reported excess rainfall, the onset of the monsoon happened over the state on July 5 and withdrawal on September 10. In the most deficient years– 2014 and 2015, the advance was early and withdrawal was delayed as compared to the excess monsoon years. “Therefore, it is inferred that advance and withdrawal dates are not directly related with the performance of monsoon rainfall over the state ,” the paper concluded. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/dip-in-up-rainfall-since-2001-may-hit-farm-sector-report-101675101837065-amp.html (30 Jan. 2023)
Delhi Overnight showers help bridge Jan deficit The Capital recorded 20.4mm of rain between Jan. 29-30, clocking 0.7mm more than Delhi’s January’s average monthly rainfall of 19.1mm in a single day. India Meteorological Department (IMD) attributed the rain to a western disturbance influencing northwest India and forecast that mainly clear skies and strong winds are now expected in Delhi in the next three days.
On January 12, Delhi also broke a 91-day streak of no rain. Before that, Delhi had not received rain since October 12, 2022, when it clocked 0.4mm of rain. Data shows Delhi recorded a similar dry spell in 2018, when no rain was recorded for 72 days between January 24 and April 7, 2018. Before that, Delhi had gone 82 days without rain between September 17 and December 9, 2011.
According to Met data, Delhi has recorded surplus rainfall every January since 2019. Last year, Delhi received 88.2mm of rain in January, an all-time record for the month in 122 years. In January 2021, Delhi recorded 56.6mm of rain, in January 2020, it recorded 48.1mm and in January 2019, it recorded 54.1mm of rain. The last time Delhi had a rain deficit in January was in 2018, when only 4.4mm of rainfall was recorded. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/overnight-showers-help-delhi-bridge-jan-deficit-101675104540178.html (31 Jan. 2023) The national Capital recorded 20.4mm of rainfall in a 24-hour period between 8:30am on Jan. 29-30, IMD data revealed, with overnight showers allowing Delhi to cross the normal average monthly rainfall mark of 19.1mm for January, in a single day. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/delhi-exceeds-january-s-normal-mark-in-a-single-day-with-20-4mm-rainfall-101675053121516.html (30 Jan. 2023)
Budget 2023-24 Solar power’s allocation rises by 48% According to the Expenditure Budget document for 2023-24, Rs 4,970 crore is allocated for grid interactive solar projects, Rs 1,996 crore for PM-KUSUM, and Rs 361 crore for off-grid solar power projects. The total amount, Rs 7327 Cr, is 48% above Rs 4979 in 2022-23 (RE). Allocation for wind id down 14% from 1413 Cr in RE 2022-23 to Rs 1214 Cr in 2023-24. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/energy-budget-2023-solar-powers-allocation-rises-by-48-per-cent/97538529 (02 Feb. 2023)
Rs 35K cr to power energy transition Rs 35000 cr has been allocated to power energy transition as one of the seven top priorities in Union Budget for 2023-24. Among the key projects is ‘Battery Energy Storage Systems’, with capacity of 4,000 MW. The project will be supported with viability gap funding. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/rs-35k-crore-to-power-energy-transition-475687 (02 Feb. 2023)
Budget 2023-24 Only 1% rise in MoEF’s allocation The MoEFCC has received little attention in the Budget presented on Feb 1 2023. The budgetary allocation is Rs 3,079.40 crore, just 1 per cent higher than last year’s allocation of Rs 3,030 crore.
– Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems received an allocation of Rs 38.40 crore, whereas it was Rs 48.40 crore last year. Even the flagship projects such as Project Tiger and Project Elephant have not received much attention. This budget collectively received Rs 331.80 crore, against last year’s Rs 335 crore. https://www.newindianexpress.com/business/2023/feb/02/budget-2023-environment-gets-little-attention-only-1-per-centrise-in-allocation-2543634.html (02 Feb. 2023)
Karnataka Red-flagged 11 times but rail project proposal may get bigger –The Karnataka and central governments have been pushing for the 164-km broad gauge line project, which will cut through biodiversity hotspot Western Ghats, amid concerns about a significant ecological impact. The project, conceived in 1998 to chiefly transport iron ore to the west coast, will pass through three elephant and tiger corridors and two districts of Dharwad and Uttara Kannada. Inaugurated by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1999, the rail line also involves diversion of 595 hectares of forest land – 42 ha from the Dharwad elephant corridor, 304.06 ha from Yellapura elephant corridor and 249.58 ha from Kanwar elephant corridor. The revised project cost has gone up over 10 times to Rs 3,749 crore and entails cutting of around 2 lakh trees.
According to the minutes of the last NBWL meeting, expert member HS Singh suggested that the railway line should be doubled. And if the Railways revises its proposal, it will have to look into the possibility of acquiring more forest land, said a railway official privy to the project. In the original plan, the Railways proposed a single-track, broad gauge line. “Dr HS Singh, member, NBWL stated that the construction phase of the project would be 8 years….being a more suitable site, there would be demand for doubling of the railway line in the near future. Therefore, if approval has to be given, it should be for the doubling of railway line,” read the minutes of the meeting. Earlier, a state wildlife expert had said that the construction would take 12-15 years. The inspection committee, formed on June 3, 2022, said the project proposal should not be considered in its “present form” and asked the project proponent to address “gaps and deficiencies”. https://www.newslaundry.com/2023/01/30/red-flagged-11-times-over-green-concerns-but-karnataka-rail-project-proposal-may-get-bigger (30 Jan. 2023)
Tamil Nadu Ruckus at public hearing on Pen Memorial as activists raise concerns Around 30 persons, including activists and representatives of fishers’ associations, put forth their opinions at Kalaivanar Arangam on the memorial proposed to be built about 360 metres into the Bay of Bengal off the Marina coast. The project falls in the Coastal Regulation Zones (CRZ) IA, II, and IV(A) areas. Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) chief coordinator Seeman said the pen memorial would be demolished, if built in sea. S. Mugilan, an environmental rights activist, opposed the construction of the memorial and asked why the 383-page draft Rapid Environmental Impact Assessment was published only in English and not in Tamil. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/ruckus-at-public-hearing-on-kalaignar-pen-memorial-as-activists-raise-concerns/article66454258.ece (31 Dec. 2023)
A planned offshore memorial to the late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi was opposed by representatives of some opposition parties and fishermen’s and environmental groups on grounds of environmental damage and loss of livelihoods in Chennai this week, and the leader of a Tamil nationalist party threatened to break the installation if it was built.
The proposed ‘Muthamizh Arignar Dr Kalaignar Pen Monument’ off Marina beach falls under Coastal Regulation Zones (CRZ) IA, II, and IVA, and requires clearance under Section 4(ii)(j) of the Union Environment Ministry’s Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011 (amended up to March 22, 2016). The Rs 81-crore ‘Pen Monument’, standing in the Bay of Bengal 360 m from the coast, was proposed by the government last year, and is expected to become a Chennai landmark on completion. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-culture/tamil-nadus-proposed-pen-monument-to-karunanidhis-memory-the-plan-and-the-criticism-8420848/ (03 Feb. 2023)
Pen memorial will be built only after getting all clearances, govt. tells NGT. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/pen-memorial-will-be-built-only-after-getting-all-clearances-govt-tells-ngt/article66468339.ece (03 Feb. 2023)
23 tribal families get Individual Forest Rights 3 decades after leaving forests A total of 23 families attached to the Poolapathi tribal settlement in Coimbatore district are all set to get about one acre of forest land as they have been sanctioned resettlement of Individual Forest Rights (IFR) under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006. The 23 families living within the limits of the Periyanaickenpalayam forest range had moved to the fringes of the forests, forced by various factors including livelihood, some 30 years ago. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/23-tribal-families-in-coimbatore-district-get-individual-forest-rights-three-decades-after-leaving-forests/article66455593.ece (01 Feb. 2023)
Ladakh ‘Himalayas more important than few happy corporators’: Sonam Hundreds of people on Monday (Jan. 30) joined education reformist Sonam Wangchuk on the final day of his five-day hunger strike here in support of the demand for various safeguards for Ladakh, including extension of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to the Union territory. Prominent among those who joined Wangchuk were leaders of the Leh Apex Body of Peoples Movement for Sixth Schedule and the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA). The apex body and KDA, a separate amalgam of socio-religious, political and youth organisations, are jointly spearheading a campaign to press for their four-point demands which include full statehood and safeguards under the Sixth Schedule to the region.
Wangchuk said safeguarding the Himalayas, including its glaciers, should be more important than making some “corporators happy” as it is having a direct bearing on the people of the sub-continent. “The government needs to have a futuristic plan for safeguarding the environment of the Himalayas. It should also keep its promise of extending the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to Ladakh,” he said. Wangchuk threatened to intensify his protest in case there was no response from the government.
“This was just a symbolic protest and if there was no response, I will go on a hunger strike for 10 days, later 15 days and so on till my last breath.” Former MP and Chairman of the Leh Apex Body of Peoples Movement for Sixth Schedule Thupstan Chhewang announced a grand rally on January 31 against the “failure of the government to protect the identity and culture of Ladakh”. On January 15, the Apex Body and the KDA jointly staged a protest in Jammu in support of their demands, including the protection of land and jobs, and announced a similar protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi in the third week of February. https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2023/jan/30/himalayas-more-important-than-few-happy-corporators-sonam-wangchuk-on-his-5-day-hunger-strike-2542754.html (30 Jan. 2023)
Himachal Pradesh 70 plastic dumps identified via satellite imagery In a bid to ensure speedy disposal of plastic waste dumped callously, the Department of Environment Science and Technology (DEST) has identified 70 sites across the state using satellite imagery. The elaborate exercise undertaken by DEST officials was accomplished after a scientific analysis of the images of dumped waste obtained from across the state.
“This is the first such endeavour in the country where satellite imagery has been put to use to identify plastic waste,” said Lalit Jain, Director, DEST. Once identified, DEST officials provide information about the sites to the local authorities comprising cantonment board officials, executive officers in urban local bodies (ULBs) and block development officers in rural areas, besides the Deputy Commissioners to ensure scientific disposal of the waste.
“Barring two tribal districts, 70 such sites have been identified in 10 districts. The process to apprise the local authorities of these dumps has begun,” said Jain. “The legacy waste accumulated for years has to be scientifically disposed of after inviting tenders from authorised agencies. A six-month period will be granted before the sites are revisited using satellite imagery,” said Jain. The maximum 17 sites have been identified at Shimla followed by nine each in Kangra and Hamirpur, seven each in Bilaspur and Mandi, five each in Chamba and Una and four each in Solan and Kullu. Such sites have been identified in towns or their precincts such as Solan, Baddi, Sundernagar, Paprola, Dharamsala, Rohru, Bilaspur, Chowari, Santokhgarh, Manali, Kullu, Dalhousie, Mandi, Sarkaghat and Rewalsar, and three in Sirmaur district. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/70-plastic-dumps-identified-in-himachal-via-satellite-imagery-474446 (29 Jan. 2023)
India-China India’s HEP dam duel with China sparks local resistance Communities in India’s China-bordering Himalayan state of Arunachal Pradesh are resisting plans to build what would be the country’s largest hydroelectric project. The Upper Siang Multipurpose Project would be a 10-gigawatt facility.
– On Jan. 3, the deputy commissioner of the district of Upper Siang in Arunachal Pradesh issued a circular announcing public awareness events at the community halls of four villages in the middle of the month. But on Jan. 7, residents of Gosang and Moying, including elected members of the panchayat (rural self-government council) and tribal leaders, gathered in a field and resolved to boycott the campaign. Residents of the other two villages, Gette and Ramsing, subsequently followed suit. In letters signed by local leaders, all four villages informed the government of their opposition, and none of the proposed community hall events went ahead.
– Dungge Apang, one of the signatories of the letter from Ramsing, said that back in October, the deputy commissioner of Upper Siang had met with local leaders “and elaborately described the benefits we were going to get.” “We then and there rejected the proposition and opposed the dam very clearly,” Apang said. “On Dec. 21, the commissioner met us, and it was a repeat of the previous meeting. We clearly know what the government has to say, and we know our answer. There will be no more discussion.”
– Tasik Pangkam, president of the Siang Indigenous Farmers’ Forum, said residents were not aware of the revived plan until the news broke in local media in May 2022. “We called for a meeting that very month, and it was attended by people from 30 villages. The large majority of the gathering opined against the project, and we have resolved to fight it,” said Pangkam.
– In a letter to the state government authorities on Dec. 21, the forum wrote, “As we have not inherited this land from any government but from great ancestors, we have [the] supreme duty to pass on the same to our next generation.” They listed the geological and ecological fragility of the region, sitting on India’s most-active seismic zone, among the reasons to scrap the project. “We know the government is trying to divide the local people, and we’ll do our best to keep them united in opposition,” Pangkam said. https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/India-s-hydroelectric-dam-duel-with-China-sparks-local-resistance (31 Jan. 2023)
IWT India raises the heat on the Indus Waters Treaty Omair Ahmad on current state of Indus Water Treaty after India notice to Pak to modify the treaty: “Rivers do not respect borders, nor can the health of a transboundary basin be managed merely by upper riparian countries. The IWT may survive this crisis, since it can only be abrogated or modified by agreement of both countries, something that the Pakistani attorney general referred to in response to the news stories last week. Nonetheless, a treaty is only as good as its willing implementation by signatories. If, instead of engendering cooperation, it is seen as yet another avenue where hostilities between states is acted out, it will make transboundary cooperation more difficult, not less. And this will make all of the people, of whatever nationality, living along these river basins, much more vulnerable as the climate crisis deepens.” https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/regional-cooperation/opinion-india-raises-the-heat-on-the-indus-waters-treaty/ (30 Jan. 2023)
The World Bank said its decision to allow two separate proceedings to resolve a long-running disagreement over water between India and Pakistan to run in parallel was because it feared the stalemate endangered the historic Indus Water Treaty. “The World Bank considers that the lack of success in finding an acceptable solution, despite the best of efforts by all Parties involved over the past years, is a risk to the Treaty itself,” the spokesperson said. “It has therefore decided to resume the two separate processes requested by India and Pakistan.” “The treaty has been a profoundly important international agreement in support of peace and development for South Asia … its preservation has been among the World Bank’s highest priorities,” the bank spokesperson said.
“According to international law, a treaty may be amended by agreement between the parties.” https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/world-bank-resumed-parallel-proceedings-concern-over-indus-water-treaty-2023-02-03/ (03 Feb. 2023)
India on Feb 2 2023 questioned the World Bank’s decision to appoint a Court of Arbitration and a neutral expert under two separate processes to resolve differences between New Delhi and Islamabad over the Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects in Jammu and Kashmir. “I do not think they (World Bank) are in a position to interpret the treaty for us. It is a treaty between our two countries and our assessment of the treaty is that there is a provision of graded approach… our assessment of the treaty is that there is a provision of graded approach,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
– “The world bank itself, around five-six years ago, acknowledged the problem of having two parallel processes. Our interpretation and assessment is that this is not in consonance with the provisions of the treaty and hence we have been talking about a graded approach,” Mr Bagchi said. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/world-bank-cant-interpret-it-for-us-india-on-indus-water-treaty-3748299 (02 Feb. 2023)
An example of hawkish interpretation of India’s notice to Pakistan on Indus Water Treaty modifications. It clearly states that this is a strategic move of India. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/demands-to-amend-indus-waters-treaty-not-new-but-theres-a-change-this-time-8416422/ (02 Feb. 2023)
India has stayed away from the proceedings of the Court of Arbitration that commenced at The Hague on January 27, 2023 to adjudicate the objections of Pakistan on the features of Kishanganga and Ratle hydropower projects in J&K. The government of Pakistan sent a delegation to the Hague. The proceedings have been initiated by the World Bank as per the Indus Water Treaty. After appointing Sean Murphy as the chairman of the Court of Arbitration in Oct 2022, the WB invited India and Pakistan to attend a meeting with him, where too no representative was sent by India. Pakistan representatives attended that meeting.
– India had sent a representative to the WB headquarters on Nov 21 2022 for a meeting with Michel Lino who had been appointed as the Neutral Expert on request of India for settling the differences with Pakistan on IWT. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/indus-water-treaty-india-stays-away-from-illegal-court-of-arbitration-sought-by-pakistan-1186195.html (31 Jan. 2023)
THE HINDU editorial on Jan 31 2023 on Indian notice to Pakistan on Indus Water Treaty: The government’s decision to issue notice to Pakistan, calling for negotiations to amend the Indus Waters Treaty, must be considered carefully… However, opening up the treaty for review has its own problems that India must deliberate on with a cool mind… if India and Pakistan have not been able to resolve issues over one case in their Indus Commission talks over 16 years, what guarantees are there that they can renegotiate the whole treaty within any reasonable time-frame? https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/water-woes/article66451180.ece (31 Jan. 2023)
Indian Express EDIT on Jan 30 2023 on Indus Water Treaty: “Using water as a weapon is never a good idea. It would be so much better for both countries to treat the IWT as an instrument for collaboration on climate action in the fragile Himalayan region… Given the record though, it is questionable if the two countries today have the political will and the inclination to arrive at an agreement to replace the IWT for the sharing of the waters. More likely, the issue will fester and grow into another active pressure point in India-Pakistan relations… it would be plain dangerous to build big dams to stop the western rivers from flowing across the LoC in a seismologically active region.” https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/indus-waters-treaty-threatens-to-become-another-pressure-point-in-indo-pak-relations-8411581/ (30 Jan. 2023)
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior official of NHPC said that India had to step up the matter after foreseeing more conflicts in the future. “The country has a massive hydropower expansion plan in the Kashmir and Ladakh regions, and Pakistan is likely to object to several of these. Pakistan’s objections and taking matters to ‘third parties’ like the World Bank or court of arbitration delays India’s plans, causes cost overrun, and can jeopardize the prospects of these projects,” the official said. “We had to try something different and push the envelope.”
– “For now, India has fired the first shot on the IWT,” wrote Sushant Sareen, a senior fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, speaking on India’s notice seeking modification of the Treaty. However, he also cautioned against setting any precedent that could encourage China to intensify “water aggression” and a Himalayan dam-building spree. https://thediplomat.com/2023/01/india-escalates-water-conflict-with-pakistan/ (30 Jan. 2023)
This article by Jehangir Ali provides some accurate dates. https://www.news9live.com/opinion-blogs/clouds-of-uncertainty-loom-large-as-india-moves-to-amend-indus-waters-treaty-au17-2040518 (30 Jan. 2023)
Pakistan has said in response to reports about the India notice to change the Indus treaty that India cannot unilaterally change the treaty. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/cant-unilaterally-alter-indus-treaty-pak-on-indias-notice-474440 (29 Jan. 2023)
Pakistan Punjab slaps 10-year ban on fishing in rivers The government has slapped a decade-long ban on fishing in province’s rivers, citing extinction threat to several fish species. Punjab Fishing Department also declared province’s water resources an “aqua sanctuary” for the next 10 years. The ban is on fishing for commercial purposes which automatically cancelled contracts worth millions. Under the new directives, only five fish weighing up to 8kg each cane be caught with the help of “rod line” in particular districts. For which, the contractor must obtain permit worth ranging from Rs500 to 5,000 from the Fishing Department. https://pakobserver.net/punjab-slaps-10-year-ban-on-fishing-in-rivers/ (26 Jan. 2023)
Bangladesh Banned but abundant, gillnets pose main threat to river dolphins Bangladesh is home to around 2,000 Ganga River dolphins and 6,000 Irrawaddy dolphins, found mostly in the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest. Both species, considered threatened on the IUCN Red List, run a high risk of entanglement in the gillnets used by local fishers. Gillnets are banned in Bangladesh, but remain popular among local fishers, with the government unable to crack down on their use. To conserve the freshwater dolphins, the government has embarked on a 10-year action plan that includes declaring more areas as dolphin sanctuaries and raising awareness among fishers. https://news.mongabay.com/2023/01/banned-but-abundant-gillnets-pose-main-threat-to-bangladeshs-river-dolphins/ (26 Jan. 2023)
Bhutan With 87.75 percent of the project completed, the 118MW Nikachhu Hydropower Project in Trongsa is expected to commission by December 2023. The project missed two deadlines so far. Of the initial estimated cost of Nu 11.89B, around Nu 12B has been spent. “The cost of the project is likely to increase to Nu 13B,” the project official said. The tariff as per Power Purchase Agreement with Power Trading Company India Ltd is Nu 3.30/kWh. https://kuenselonline.com/nikachhu-hydropower-project-commission-by-year-end/ (03 Feb. 2023)
THE REST OF THE WORLD
USA HOW DO YOU TRACK ATMOSPHERIC RIVERS: The Gulfstream IV cruised at 43,000 feet, high above a seemingly peaceful layer of thick clouds that stretched to the horizon. Crew members in blue jumpsuits stared at computer screens that revealed their hidden target miles below: a powerful atmospheric river that was churning across the Pacific Ocean toward California, bearing torrential rains and fierce winds. Soaring more than 1,000 miles northeast of Hawaii, the specially equipped hurricane-reconnaissance jet “Gonzo” was preparing to drop dozens of data-collecting devices into the heart of the storm. By capturing the equivalent of a CT scan, the crew would help to predict when and where the rains would hit. And how hard.
– The extreme weather specialists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were on their eighth straight mission tracking the series of January storms that unleashed deadly flooding and widespread damage across the state. The flights have become critical to preparing for floods and getting people out of harm’s way, said Marty Ralph, a meteorologist who joined the crew as a special guest on the mission. Ralph has helped pioneer research of atmospheric rivers, or as the experts call them, ARs. He said the flights have become essential for improving forecasts and managing reservoirs and water supplies in this age of extreme weather swings. “ARs are the big storm for water in the West,” Ralph said. “We are doing reconnaissance to measure these storms, and precisely get the data into the weather prediction models.”
– The plane would remain high above the storm, while the atmospheric river, shrouded in clouds, churned away at an altitude of about 10,000 feet. “It’s well below us. But we’ve got the tools and sensors to see into that,” he said. Research has shown that atmospheric rivers transport, on average, more than twice the flow of the Amazon River into the Atlantic Ocean. Driven by strong, low-altitude winds, they develop over the Pacific and build as they travel for two to five days toward the West Coast. They transport moisture in concentrated bands, often between 100 miles and 500 miles wide, and can stretch 2,000 miles. With changing climate, ARs will become more potent.
– The cylindrical (16 inches long, 3 inches in dia) devices that they drop from the plane at precise coordinates, called dropsondes, are equipped with parachutes and as they descend transmit data back to the plane — wind speed and direction, temperature and humidity — before hitting the ocean and sinking. https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2023-02-01/jet-california-atmospheric-rivers-climate-change (01 Feb. 2023)
States miss deadline to address Colorado River water crisis The seven states that depend on the Colorado River have failed to meet a Tuesday (Jan. 31) deadline for agreeing on a water-use reduction plan, raising the likelihood of more friction as the West grapples with how to manage the shrinking river. In a bid to influence federal officials after contentious negotiations reached an impasse, six of the seven states submitted a last-minute proposal outlining possible cuts to help prevent reservoirs from falling to dangerously low levels, presenting a unified front while leaving out California, which uses the single largest share of the river. https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2023-01-31/states-miss-deadline-for-agreement-on-colorado-river-water (31 Jan. 202)
Research Global water resources & role of GW in resilient water future ABSTRACT: “Groundwater monitoring provides longer-term context over the past century, showing rising water storage in northwest India, central Pakistan and the northwest United States, and declining water storage in the US High Plains and Central Valley. Climate variability causes some changes in water storage, but human intervention, particularly irrigation, is a major driver. Water-resource resilience can be increased by diversifying management strategies. These approaches include green solutions, such as forest and wetland preservation, and grey solutions, such as increasing supplies (desalination, wastewater reuse), enhancing storage in surface reservoirs and depleted aquifers, and transporting water. A diverse portfolio of these solutions, in tandem with managing groundwater and surface water as a single resource, can address human and ecosystem needs while building a resilient water system.”
– Groundwater and surface water are strongly linked, with 85% of groundwater withdrawals sourced from surface water capture and reduced evapotranspiration, and the remaining 15% derived from aquifer depletion.
– Climate and human interventions caused loss of ~90,000 km2 of surface water area between 1984 and 2015, while 184,000 km2 of new surface water area developed elsewhere, primarily through filling reservoirs. https://www.nature.com/articles/s43017-022-00378-6 (31 Jan. 2023)
GRED Dam A row is raging over largest dam Indeed, a cooperative approach is the best for sharing any river basin. Wish Egypt did it earlier when it built Aswan and related infrastructure. If the cooperative approach is adopted ab initio, the solutions could be even more beneficial to all concerned.
Now that Aswan and now GERD are fait accomplices, this is a good idea, the cooperative approach will also help in sharing the risks and warnings of possible disasters.
The article makes some confusing or misleading statements. For example, when it says “The Egyptian government, however, is convinced that a mega dam on the Nile, which supplies 90% of Egypt’s fresh water, will create water scarcity, trigger food shortages and put its farmers out of work.” Does GERD supply 90% of Egypt’s fresh water? I guess that is true of Aswan, not GERD? Better would have been if the authors had mentioned what % of Aswan’s inflows will be affected due to GERD.
Incidentally, Sudan and Ethiopia seem to have reached some understanding on the issue of GERD. I guess it is matter of time before Egypt also joins this understanding. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-023-00289-6 (03 Feb. 2023)
Compiled by SANDRP (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Also see: DRP News Bulletin 30 Jan 2023 & DRP News Bulletin 23 Jan 2023
Follow us on: www.facebook.com/sandrp.in; https://twitter.com/Indian_Rivers