DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 270223: How much Pump Storage Hydro capacity is required in India?

(Feature Image: State steps up pumped hydro storage projects amid coal crisis. Source: EQ Mag Pro/ May 2022)

On Feb 15, 2023, Union Ministry of Power issued draft guidelines for Pump Storage Projects, inviting comments from stakeholders in 15 days to the email id – hydro2-mop@gov.in. The guidelines say that more Pump Storage Projects (PSPs) are required in view of increasing solar and wind power capacity connected to the grid, to stabilize the grid, store the power to make it available during non-solar and non-wind power hours and for peaking power, reactive power, etc. It describes the PSP as “clean, green, safe, and non-explosive” and “environment friendly” option. No studies or basis are provided for this sweeping conclusion.

For providing energy storage and peaking power, we need to first optimize the power generation from about 50 000 MW of existing hydro, which we are not doing. In fact no agency is even monitoring as to how much of the power generation from existing hydro is peaking power. Secondly, we need to take all available measures for peak management including energy efficiency and higher price of power during peaking hours. Thirdly, we need to ensure that existing peaking power capacities are used, which is not the case currently even as per reports of Central Electricity Authority. Fourthly, 97% of India’s existing large dams have no hydropower component. We need to ensure that these existed dams are used to the extent feasible, for creating additional viable and justifiable PSPs. The second dam in this can be off stream. Fifthly, we need to realize that the non PSP storage options are getting cheaper by the day and considering the high cost and high gestation period of new PSPs, it may be better to also look at the alternative energy storage options including their costs and impacts using life cycle approach. It is based on such an exercise that we need to see how much of the new PSP capacity is viable and justifiable. No such exercise is mentioned in the draft guidelines.

The draft guidelines mention that according to draft National Electricity Plan there is need for 18.8 GW of PSP and 51.5 GW of Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) by 2032. The draft guidelines also state that 8 projects with capacity of 4745.6 MW of PSPs are already in operation, 4 projects of 2780 MW are under construction and 24 PSPs of 26630 MW are already allotted by the states. This total of in operation + under construction + Allotted PSPs capacity is already way above what is required by 2032 under Draft NEP. In fact the capacity required as indicated in draft NEP is likely to be much higher than what is required since it does not take into account the potential of peaking power from existing hydro capacity. So the proposed capacities indicated in the draft guidelines are already much higher than what may be required or justifiable.

And yet draft guidelines suggest exemption of off stream PSPs from need for Environment Impact Assessments or public consultation process. This is clearly without basis as all PSPs would have significant social and environmental impacts whether on stream or off stream. So the draft guidelines are not backed by science, optimality of use of available resources or need for informed and democratic decision making. One hopes that better sense prevails. Else these could be invitation for many more disasters particularly in the climate change context. https://powermin.gov.in/sites/default/files/Draft_Guidelines_to_promote_development_of_PSPs_in_the_Country_Seeking_Comments.pdf


Joshimath Disaster NTPC tunnel among reasons for land subsidence: Govt panel A ground survey by a committee of four experts from state-run Sri Dev Suman Uttarakhand University has revealed that Joshimath has cracks up to “2 feet wide and half-a-km long”.

This is the first time that government officials have publicly disclosed the dimensions of the cracks, thereby revealing the vulnerability of the area. The committee was formed by the university to “assess the ground situation”, and the experts had studied the fissures between January 25 and 28. Sharing some of its findings, the committee members said that “natural and anthropogenic pressure, including NTPC’s tunnel boring machine, led to a large amount of water leakage”. NTPC has strongly refuted its role in the crisis.

The panel members submitted the report to university vice-chancellor M S Rawat on Tuesday (Feb. 21). It will now be forwarded to the Uttarakhand government. The panel included D C Goswami, professor of geography; Krishna Goswami and Arvind Bhatt, assistant professors of geology.

The panel further said that this year’s monsoon rainfall would play a crucial role in determining the future of Joshimath. “It is the ‘load bearing capacity’ of the town that needs to be reduced. The experts pointed out, “Actually, there are two factors here. Joshimath is in a tectonically active seismic zone. And anthropogenic pressures by private and government construction works have triggered the present situation.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/joshimath-cracks-are-up-to-half-km-long-2-feet-wide-survey/articleshow/98132447.cms  (22 Feb. 2023)

श्रीदेव सुमन उत्तराखंड विश्वविद्यालय की तीन सदस्यीय विशेषज्ञों की समिति की रिपोर्ट में एनटीपीसी की तपोवन विष्णुगाड़ परियोजना के लिए सुरंग खोदाई से एक्वीफर (जलभर) में हुए पंचर (छेद) को जोशीमठ में हुए भू-धंसाव का बड़ा कारण माना गया है। हालांकि समिति का यह भी दावा है कि जोशीमठ की भूगर्भीय संरचना और भार धारण क्षमता से अधिक निर्माण से भी भू-धंसाव की स्थिति पैदा हुई। समिति ने मौजूदा परिस्थितियों में जोशीमठ की भार क्षमता को कम करने का सुझाव दिया है। विश्वविद्यालय समिति की अध्ययन रिपोर्ट को राज्यपाल, शासन और आपदा प्रबंधन विभाग को सौंपेगा। https://janaagaj.in/puncture-in-ntpcs-tapovan-vishnugad-project-became-major-cause-of-joshimath-landslide/  (21 Feb. 2023)

Around a week after a team of experts from Sri Dev Suman Uttarakhand University, which is under the aegis of the state government, had revealed that the cracks in Joshimath were half a km long and 2 metres wide, the university claimed that the survey was done on their college campus in Joshimath and was only intended for “internal purpose”. Meanwhile, the state government is yet to make the final report by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) public, which has findings by all eight scientific institutes mandated to ascertain the cause of land subsidence in Joshimath. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/now-university-that-measured-joshimath-cracks-says-it-was-for-internal-study/articleshow/98259319.cms  (27 Feb. 2023)

Nearly a month after the Centre set up a panel to study land subsidence in Joshimath, the committee recently submitted an interim report during a review held by the Prime Minister’s Office, ET has learnt. The committee has flagged concerns about potential problems in the adjoining areas and directed the state authorities to take immediate steps, according to officials. The committee is likely to submit a final report soon and may undertake more field visits, the officials said. The team, headed by DS Gangwar, secretary, border management, was set up after the principal secretary to the PMO, PK Misra, held a high-level review on January 8 and recommended a study by experts and scientists. The state and central authorities did not immediately respond to ET’s request for comment. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india/joshimath-subsidence-panel-submits-interim-report-pmo-reviews/articleshow/98256350.cms  (27 Feb. 2023)

Uttarakhand Locals protest Bokong Baling HEP in Pithoragarh The Darma Sangharsh Samiti on Monday held demonstrations at Dharchula town against the proposed Bokong Baling Hydroelectric Project in the Darma valley, and demanded the project be dropped in wake of Joshimath crisis. The villagers gathered at Gandhi chowk and reached the SDM’s office to hand over a memorandum to cancel the project. The construction of a 165-MW dam was proposed on the Dhauliganga River for which the Tehri Hydro Development Corporation was selected.

– Puran Singh Gwal, the president of Darma Sangharsh Samiti said that Darma valley is a fragile place that has faced several disasters in the past. “The construction of a dam will increase the risk of landslides and avalanches in the area. The villagers will stop the survey work and block the construction of the dam here,” he said while addressing a gathering. Roopsing Titiyal, a local resident, said, “If the dam is constructed, several areas here will be at the risk of submergence and hundreds of villagers will be displaced. In wake of the Joshimath crisis, the government should reconsider this project.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/locals-protest-bokong-baling-hydroelectric-project-in-uttarakhands-pithoragarh/articleshow/98103368.cms  (20 Feb. 2023)

दारमा संघर्ष समिति के अध्यक्ष पूरन सिंह ग्वाल ने कहा कि दारमा घाटी के कई गांव पहले से ही आपदा की मार झेल रहे हैं. ऐसे में टिहरी हाइड्रो डेवलपमेंट कारपोरेशन लिमिटेड की ओर से 165 मेगावाट की प्रस्तावित बोकांग बॉलिंग जल विद्युत परियोजना के बनने से घाटी में आपदा का खतरा और बढ़ जाएगा. उन्होंने कहा कि जोशीमठ के हालात देखते हुए सरकार को समय रहते ऐसी परियोजनाओं को बंद करना चाहिए, जो विनाश की बुनियाद पर विकास देते हों. साथ ही उन्होंने कहा कि दारमा के ढांकर गांव में बनी 15 मीटर टनल के कार्य को माइग्रेशन में जाने के बाद रोका जाएगा. https://hindi.news18.com/news/uttarakhand/pithoragarh-pithoragarh-news-darma-valley-darma-dam-protest-bokang-bowling-hydroelectric-project-thdc-darma-sangharsh-samiti-5424495.html  (21 Feb. 2023)

Turkiye-magnitude earthquake could hit Uttarakhand: Expert  An earthquake similar in magnitude to the one that hit Turkiye is “imminent” in the fault lines of the Uttarakhand region and can happen “any time”, chief scientist of seismology at the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), Dr N Purnachandra Rao, has warned. Rao said that a lot of stress is building up beneath the surface in the Uttarakhand region, and a “great earthquake” is inevitable to release the stress.

– “We have set up around 80 seismic stations in the Himalayan region focused on Uttarakhand. We are monitoring the situation real-time. Our data shows stress accumulating big time,” he added. “We have GPS networks in the area. GPS points are moving, indicating changes happening beneath the surface.” Rao said variometric GPS data processing is one of the reliable methods to determine what’s happening with the earth. Variometers record the changes in Earth’s magnetic field. In the Himalayan region, which stretches from J&K to Arunachal, an earthquake of 8-plus magnitude is likely to occur, he said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/turkiye-magnitude-earthquake-could-hit-uttarakhand-expert/articleshow/98106554.cms  (21 Feb. 2023)

NGT terms Mussoorie tunnel ‘dangerous’, residents worry  A 4.5 km-long tunnel planned to reduce traffic congestion on the approach road to Mussoorie has led to several residents expressing concern that the project, envisaged two years ago, could be an “ecological disaster” and pose a threat to the hill town. The concerns, which were raised even when the Rs 700 crore project was announced by Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari in June 2021, have heightened following the crisis in Joshimath and recent comments by NGT which termed the tunnel as “dangerous”. The tribunal while taking suo motu cognisance of media reports last month had said that the Joshimath disaster is “a warning for Mussoorie where unplanned construction activity is taking place beyond the town’s carrying capacity”.

– The bench, headed by NGT chairperson AK Goel, had observed in its order dated January 31 that “over concretisation leads to landslides. Proposed tunnel below Mussoorie is dangerous. So is proposed ropeway from Dehradun to Mussoorie. Ropeway and tunnel have damaged Joshimath”. Citing the Joshimath subsidence and subsequent reports by seismologists on how subsurface stress might lead to a massive earthquake in the region, Hugh Gantzer, member of a committee constituted by the Supreme Court (SC) for monitoring environmental issues in Doon valley and Mussoorie, said, “We have seen what has happened in Joshimath and since we are sitting in an earthquake-prone zone here in Mussoorie, we should not play around with the fragile environment of the Himalayas. NGT has also pointed this out in no uncertain terms. In my view, the proposed tunnel could prove to be an ecological disaster and a huge threat to Mussoorie.”

– “There are multiple water sources near the proposed tunnel which would be impacted during the tunnel’s construction.” The issue was flagged by TOI in June 2021 in a report titled ‘Mussoorie tunnel could hit 65% of town’s water supply, dry up springs’. According to Jal Sansthan officials, Jincy, Bhilaru, Kandighat, Khanalti and Bansi are among the nine water springs near the tunnel that have a discharge of over 6 million litres per day, of which over 5 million litres per day is used to supply water to the town. The average water availability in the town is about 7.7 million litres per day, which means these nine springs provide about 65% of the town’s water supply.

– Vikram Gupta, senior scientist at Dehradun-based Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, said that “a scientific study must be conducted of the area where the tunnel is being proposed…Planning for the project should be done only after considering the outcomes of the study”. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/ngt-terms-mussoorie-tunnel-dangerous-residents-worry/articleshow/98164970.cms  (23 Feb. 2023)

Jammu & Kashmir Land subsidence destroys homes in Ramban On the night of February 17, Friday, residents of Duksar village in Ramban were awakened by terrorising sounds from the forest triggered by a massive land subsidence, which has torn open nearly a 500-metre-long chunk of land in the mountainous village located in Gool tehsil of Jammu division.The tragedy in Ramban district took place days after Nai Basti village in Thathri town of the adjoining Doda district was brought to the verge of destruction due to land subsidence on February 3.

Locals have blamed the tragedy on unabated dynamite blasts and hill cutting for building roads and power projects in the district. Earlier this week, a massive landslide damaged more than dozen structures in Rezan village of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.

The twin tragedies in Jammu have taken place at a time when environmental experts across the country are urging the government to take a judicious view of the unabated road expansion into the Himalayan mountains. They have termed the road and hydropower projects straddling the ecologically fragile mountains as environmental vandalism which has put the lives and livelihood of the residents living close to these projects in the hilly areas at risk. https://thewire.in/environment/doomsday-in-slow-motion-land-subsidence-destroys-homes-in-jks-ramban  (24 Feb. 2023)

Landslides Block Jammu-Srinagar Highway Hundreds are stranded on the Srinagar-Jammu NH over the past two days after multiple landslides led to the blocking of the key road that connects Kashmir with the rest of the country. For the past several years, construction of a four-lane highway to provide all-weather connectivity to Kashmir is underway. But in many places, haphazard use of bulldozers to carve a road along the mountains has loosened the soil and contributed to the landslides. Of late, shooting stones have led to frequent blockades on the highway. Even yesterday, a massive landslide hit the highway near Banihal. The area is not avalanche-prone, but the highway has now become very unpredictable owing to the construction work. Officials said the shooting stones are also affecting restoration work at the blockade points.  https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/landslides-block-jammu-srinagar-highway-hundreds-stranded-3804145  (22 Jan. 2023)

Doda land subsidence: NGT constitutes committee Taking the suo moto cognisance of a media report stating damage in structures in Doda District, the NGT has ordered for the constitution of a joint committee to be headed by the Chief Secretary to suggest remedial measures and prevent environmental damage. A media report stated damages in 21 structures in the Doda District of Chenab Valley. The Tribunal said, “this is a matter of concern, calling for stringent preventive and remedial measures inter alia to regulate the locations and nature of constructions in the interest of the safety of the inhabitants”.

Earlier, the Tribunal had constituted a committee of concerned departments and experts to suggest remedial measures in relation to fragile areas in the Himalayan region and other places including Shimla, Kasauli, Manali, McLeod Ganj in Himachal Pradesh and Aravali hills in Rajasthan. The Tribunal had constituted a committee of concerned departments and experts to suggest remedial measures to deal with the situation based on which the Tribunal can consider directions under Section 15 of the NGT Act, 2010. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/doda-land-subsidence-ngt-constitutes-committee-headed-by-jk-chief-secretary/article66531439.ece  (20 Feb. 2023)

Himachal Pradesh 7 fold rise in landslip in 3 years No of actual landslides in Himachal Pradesh has gone up from 16 in 2020 to 117 in 2022, seven fold rise. While changing rainfall pattern is one cause, the increasing indiscriminate constructions including hydro projects, roads and towns without any confidence inspiring studies, assessments or democratic decision making process is a major cause. This is likely to get WORSE in years to come. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/himachal-pradesh-sees-7-fold-rise-in-landslips-in-3-years-482202   (23 Feb. 2023)

Report The Supreme Court has issued notices to Union of India and 13 Himalayan states on a petition filed asking that carrying capacity study be done in all the Himalayan areas, particularly those having high tourist footfalls, hill stations, fragile areas and high altitude areas and submit in 6 months. Petition has been filed by Dr Ashok Kumar Raghav, former IPS officer. The petition also asked for development plans for all such areas. http://www.uniindia.com/pil-for-carrying-capacity-sc-issues-notice-to-union-13-himalayan-state-uts/north/news/2919353.html  (19 Feb. 2023)

MoEF Agenda of EAC meeting to be held on March 7, 2023: 1. Completion of Balance Works of Two Units (2×115 MW) At Lower Sileru Hydro Power House and Improvement of Power Canal Works at Mothugudem (v), Chintoor (m) of Alluri Sita Rama Raju District, Andhra Pradesh – Environmental Clearance

2. Paidipalem North Pumped Storage Project (1000 MW) in 282.61 ha at village Paidipalem, Dist YSR (Andhra Pradesh) by New and Renewable Energy Development Corp of AP Ltd- Terms of Reference

3. Paidipalem East Pumped Storage Project (1200 MW) in 279.84 ha at village Paidipalem, Dist YSR (Andhra Pradesh) by New & Renewable Energy Development Corp of AP Ltd– Terms of Reference

4. Kodayar Pumped Storage Hydro Electric Project (1500 MW) in 40.72 ha at Village Pechiparai, Taluk Thiruvattar, Dist Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu) by Tamil Nadu Generation & Distribution Corp Ltd (TANGEDCO)- Terms of Reference

5. Demwe Lower Hydroelectric Project (1750 MW) in Lohit District of Arunachal Pradesh by Athena Demwe Power Ltd – Extension validity of Environmental Clearance http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Agenda/22022023U5VFK490.pdf 


Polavaram Project Centre asks Andhra to survey effects of backwater with Telangana govt Meanwhile, a high-level experts committee appointed by the Telangana government headed by irrigation engineer-in-chief (operations and maintenance) Nagendra Rao to study the causes for submergence of Bhadrachalam temple town and surroundings during the last year’s floods, submitted its report on Feb 22, 2023. The irrigation officials said the committee, too, observed that the backwaters of Polavaram project had a serious impact on Bhadrachalam.

– “This is because the backwaters of Polavaram had obstructed the flow of water from several tributaries like Sabari and Kinnerasani into Godavari river. This resulted in inundation of 40,000 acres of crops and several areas around Bhadrachalam, affecting 28,000 people,” the report said. The committee suggested that the government should take several measures to prevent flooding of Bhadrachalam and its surroundings including strengthening of embankments along Godavari river and construction of protection walls and cross drainage structures and at a cost of ₹1,629 crore. It also suggested payment of compensation to the people who have to be displaced form colonies that came up along the river bank in Bhadrachalam. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/centre-asks-andhra-pradesh-to-survey-effects-of-polavaram-backwater-with-telangana-govt-101677179804087.html  (24 Feb. 2023)

Mekedatu Dam Budget push revives Cauvery row In 2023-2024 state budget CM Basavaraj Bommai’s said that efforts would be made to start work on the project. Last year, Rs 1,000 crore was set aside for commencing the construction of the Rs 9,000 crore reservoir. Tamil Nadu — the lower riparian state — has claimed that the project is against the interest of the state’s water requirement. “Before every election, this is an agenda that Karnataka brings up. The matter is in court, and we will legally move against this,” Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) organisational secretary R.S. Bharathi told ThePrint on Bommai’s remark.

“The lower riparian state has to give its no-objection for any project that comes up on the Cauvery as per the Cauvery tribunal and Supreme Court order,” G. Sundarrajan, an activist with environmental organisation Poovulagin Nanbargal (Friends of the Earth), told ThePrint.  According to Sundarrajan, the dam is proposed near the Cauvery South Wildlife Sanctuary, which is a pristine forest area. “Building a dam there will jeopardise the environment.”  The project is likely to submerge around 4,996 hectares of land, including about 4,800 hectares of forest and wildlife land. “The rich flora and fauna will get affected by this project,” Sundarrajan said, adding that whatever water the Mettur dam gets now is from the rainfall in the region between Kabini Hemavati and Mettur. If Mekedatu is built then, he claimed, this will affect the inflow into Mettur dam. https://theprint.in/politics/bommai-budget-push-for-mekedatu-dam-revives-cauvery-row-with-tamil-nadu-will-destroy-farmers/1387503/  (21 Feb. 2023)

Karnataka Fearing contempt proceedings, Govt goes back on forest denotification Some key facts here about the people displaced over 5 decades ago due to Sharavathi Project in Shivmoga district.

– The project-affected people were to be rehabilitated in the revenue land in Shivamogga, Sagar and Bhadravati taluk. After that land was grabbed by the people in power, the government started denotifying forests. It seems the encroachment of revenue land by influential people, including an MLA, forced the government to turn to forest land.

– The forest dept had denotified 9,934 acres and 2 guntas, purportedly to resettle the displaced people. The 56 notifications, almost all of them issued between 2015 and 2017 were used for this. They used the Section 28 of the Karnataka Forests Act of 1963. These lands were notified as ‘State Forest’ in two separate notifications in 1920 and 1926.

– Gireesh Achar of Jana Sangram Parishath had moved the court against one such notification in a public interest litigation. The court noted that the state government’s power to denotify forests by invoking Section 28 of the Karnataka Forests Act of 1963 has been circumscribed by the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980. Accordingly, clearance from the Union government was essential for diversion of forest land for non-forest use.

– Hence In its proceedings dated Feb 16, the Forest Department cancelled 56 notifications.  Though the high court had ordered criminal action against officials responsible for allowing non-forest activities in a State Forest, no action has been initiated by the government. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/top-karnataka-stories/fearing-contempt-proceedings-karnataka-govt-goes-back-on-forest-denotification-1193635.html  (22 Feb. 2023)

DH File Photo

The concluding line in this EDIT in Deccan Herald on Feb 27 2023 about the thousands of people displaced for the Sharavathi project in Karnataka is relevant: The government should clear the encroachment of the designated revenue land or fnd other means to rehabilitate the affected people, while leaving our forests alone. https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/second-edit/end-uncertainty-for-sharavathi-land-losers-1195347.html  (26 Feb. 2023)

Odisha CSMRS expert team to visit Hirakud dam soon: Minister In a written reply to a question by MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, Minister for Water Resources Tukuni Sahu informed the Assembly that CSMRS and Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS) have been approached for the study using the latest technologies. “The relevant information on the reservoir and its present status sought by New Delhi-based CSMRS has been sent on January 24,” she said.

-no detailed study has been conducted since 2020 when a team of dam safety review panel had visited the dam and noticed cracks in its operation gallery, foundation gallery, gate shaft and sluice barrels of both left and right spillways. After the visit in January, 2020, the panel besides recommending a drone based inspection of the downstream face to find out cracks, had suggested to repair the erosion on downstream glacis of the left channel spillway and attend the cracks in right channel spillway to prevent further aggravation. They had also suggested systematic mapping and plotting of cracks on various surfaces of the dam on a regular interval. Even two years after the panel flagged cracks in different structures of Hirakud, the detailed study is yet to be conducted, let alone the restoration part. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2023/feb/26/csmrs-expert-team-to-visit-hirakud-dam-soon-minister-2551118.html  (26 Feb. 2023)

Punjab Ujh dam & 2nd Sutlej-Beas link projects hit roadblock India’s plans to build a multipurpose project on the Ujh river in Jammu & Kashmir for irrigation and hydro power and the second Sutlej-Beas link project in Punjab, so as to better utilise Indus river waters currently flowing to Pakistan, have hit a roadblock.

While the finance ministry’s Public Investment Board (PIB) has not cleared the strategic Ujh project on the ground that it is not financially viable, the Sutlej-Beas link project is facing land acquisition issues in Punjab as well as delay in finalisation of the location of its barrage, ThePrint has learnt.

The dam at Ujh (a tributary of Ravi), the second Sutlej-Beas link project, along with a third ongoing dam project in Shahpur Kandi in Punjab, are all on the eastern rivers of the Indus basin and are key to India’s aim of utilising the water it is guaranteed under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty with Pakistan. https://theprint.in/india/governance/why-indias-ujh-dam-2nd-sutlej-beas-link-projects-key-to-indus-waters-have-hit-roadblock/1391988/  (24 Feb. 2023)


Mahadayi Water Dispute Centre approves setting up Mahadayi authority The Union Cabinet on Feb 22 2023 approved the setting up of Mahadayi PRAVAH (Progressive River Authority for Progress and Harmony) to implement the final award of the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal. It has been set up along the lines of the Cauvery Water Management Authority as required under the award. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/centre-approves-setting-up-mahadayi-authority-1193834.html  (22 Feb. 2023)

Krishna Water Dispute Telangana objects to diversion of Krishna, Tungabhadra water by AP for HLC needs “Diversion of water by AP is in total contravention of the KWDT-I and KWDT-II Awards, although KWDT-II is yet to be implemented. About 81.5% of the water allocation to HLC is being utilised outside the Krishna Basin as 81.8% of the command area (ayacut) served by it falls in the Penna Basin, as highlighted by the K-G Commission Report”, Telangana said in a letter to the Tungabhadra Board.

Referring to a request made by AP to the Tungabhadra Board seeking diversion of 4 tmcft water (2 tmcft each meant for K.C. Canal and LLC) to HLC, Engineer-in-Chief (Irrigation-General) of Telangana C. Muralidhar wrote to Secretary of Tungabhadra Board G. Naga Mohan that AP’s request was “untenable and contravention to the KWDT-I Award”. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/telangana-objects-to-diversion-of-krishna-tungabhadra-water-by-ap-for-hlc-needs/article66536289.ece  (21 Feb. 2023)

“Diversion of two tmcft from regulated releases of KC Canal and further proposal of diversion of two tmcft from TB RB LLC to TB RB HLC (total four tmcft) by Andhra Pradesh is not agreeable to Telangana when there is a clear violation of the Tribunal Award. It is requested to reject the proposal of AP immediately,” Engineer-in-Chief (Irrigation) C Muralidhar said in the letter. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2023/feb/22/telangana-objects-to-tungabhadra-water-diversion-proposal-by-ap-govt-2549755.html  (22 Feb. 2023)


Rajasthan Centre will merge ERCP & Chambal river link projects: Modi The central government has prepared a mega proposal to merge two projects – the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) and the Parbati-Kalisindh-Chambal River Link – to provide water for drinking and irrigation to 13 eastern districts of the state, PM Narendra Modi said on Sunday (Feb. 13). “The central government has shared the proposal with them (Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh). It has been listed as a priority by a committee which takes care of such projects. Once both the governments agree with each other, the central government will consider taking it forward,” he said later, addressing a public rally.

A crowd of over a lakh had gathered from mostly ERCP beneficiary districts for the rally. The ERCP is touted as the lifeline for 43% of the total population in 13 districts, and has, in recent times, become a political flash point between the state and the Centre over granting it the status of a national project. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/centre-will-merge-rajasthan-canal-and-chambal-river-link-projects-narendra-modi/articleshow/97855898.cms  (13 Feb. 2023)

CM Ashok Gehlot on Thursday (Feb. 23) said that the petition by the Madhya Pradesh government in the Supreme Court to stay the work on the ERCP is an attempt to deprive Rajasthan of its share of water. He said that by stopping the work on the project, the MP government is trying to deprive 13 districts of eastern Rajasthan of their rightful share of water. The DPR of the project was prepared in accordance with the guidelines of the Central Water Commission. This project has been made as per the decision of the Rajasthan-Madhya Pradesh Interstate State Control Board meeting, and MP has built Kundalia and Mohanpura dams as part of it. Gehlot alleged that the central government and the MP government were putting hurdles to stop the rightful water meant for eastern Rajasthan. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/mp-trying-to-deprive-raj-ofits-share-of-water-gehlot/articleshow/98195020.cms  (24 Feb. 2023)

MP govt approach Supreme Court blaming Rajasthan govt for building Nonera barrage under ERCP in Kota district on Kali Sindh river without forest, wildlife, environment and CWC’s techno-economic approvals which would affect Bhind, Morena, Seopur districts and aquatic life in Chambal sanctuary.  

MP govt approach Supreme Court blaming Rajasthan govt for building Nonera barrage under ERCP in Kota district on Kali Sindh river without forest, wildlife, environment and CWC’s techno-economic approvals which would affect Bhind, Morena, Seopur districts and aquatic life in Chambal sanctuary.  

The Supreme Court has, on a petition by Madhya Pradesh, issued notices to Union Jal Shakti Ministry, Central Water Commission, MoEF, Rajasthan and UP on petition to stay the Eastern Region Canal Project of Rajasthan to link Parbati, Kali Sindh and Chambal Rivers. THe case will come up for hearing next on March 17 2023. MP has also sought to stay work on Navnera barrage on Kali Sindh river in Kota dist of Rajasthan.

– According to a 2005 agreement between MP and Rajasthan, the states can use the water from its catchment and 10% of the water flowing from the other state. Under this, MP has build dams on Parvati tributary and Kali Sindh under the agreement.

Tamil Nadu 712 tanks in Tirunelveli dry, water level in dams declining According to data, the poor rain last year is a major factor. As against the normal annual rainfall of 814.8 mm, the district recorded 722.32 mm. In 2021, it received 1,475 mm and in 2020 it was 716 mm. Since January this year, the rainfall has been 48.32% less than the normal average. In short, farmers depending on water for irrigation from the Tamirabharani and its sources would benefit, while others may have to face loss due to paucity of water. The irrigation wells too have dried up in remote locations in the district. The paddy growers are keeping their fingers crossed as the season looks bleak for them as compared with the past two years. The water storage level in the six dams, including Papanasam and Manimuthar, put together is 12,882 mcft However, the storage level stands at 3,774.83 mcft, while it was 8,010.19 mcft in the corresponding period last year. The storage level is 29.30% against 62.18% last year. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/712-tanks-in-tirunelveli-dry-and-water-level-in-dams-declining-say-agriculture-officials/article66552834.ece  (25 Feb. 2023)

Haryana Climate-smart agriculture in 1,669 villages For irrigation, govt is providing 75% subsidy (including 30% from PM KUSUM) for 3-10 HP Solar pumps under climate smart agriculture in 1669 villages in 36 blocks. Under the Atal Bhujal Yojna programme the government has provided an assistance of Rs 179.39 crore to 19,517 beneficiaries for opting drip, mini-sprinkler and portable-sprinkler systems on 58,000 acres, where water depth has gone down to 100 feet and installing micro-irrigation systems is mandatory. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/water-stressed-haryana-initiates-climate-smart-agriculture-in-1669-villages/98255439  (26 Feb. 2023)


Pune Ramnadi reclamation work underway, and in full swing! A suspected case of encroachment along Ram Nadi at Bhugao Road in Bavdhan has come to light. Residents staying in the area have complained that suspected activities have been carried out for the past few days ostensibly to reclaim land. A large chunk of space along the river has been filled with soil and rocks and then flattened. They have termed it illegal because when they checked with the KothrudBavdhan ward officer, Kedar Vaze, he confirmed that no such activity was being undertaken by his department.

Pune Mirror

As many as 20 trucks of soil and rocks were unloaded on the spot. Cranes and excavators have also been used. This, they say, will create an obstruction to the flow of the river which may get worse during the rainy season. The residents are afraid to reach out to the PMC ward office since their name will be revealed and the person carrying the activity might trouble and threaten the complainant. The city is already facing flooding all over due to such encroachments on the natural flow of the river. PMC is planning River Front Development for Mula and Mutha while conveniently giving up on Ram Nadi,” said the resident. https://punemirror.com/pune/civic/ramnadi-reclamation-work-underway-and-in-full-swing/cid1677355425.htm  (26 Feb. 2023)


NARMADA शिरीष खरे की नई किताब ‘नदी सिंदूरी’ पत्रकार और लेखक शिरीष खरे की पुस्तक ‘नदी सिंदूरी’ शहर और शहरी सभ्यता से दूर एक गोंड आदिवासी बहुल गांव की कहानी है जिसकी अंदर कई सारी कहानियां हैं. नर्मदा की इस सहायक नदी की कहानी मदनपुर गांव के इर्द-गिर्द घूमती है. शिरीष खरे ने बताया कि ‘नदी सिंदूरी’ महज नदी की ही कहानी नहीं है, बल्कि घाट, गांव, गांव-संस्कृति की भी कहानी है.

इस स्मृति-कथा में चरित्र प्रधान है और कई सारे चरित्र हैं. शिरीष खरे ने बताया कि नदी सिंदूरी जो अब सूख रही है कभी बारह महीने बहा करती थी. वह बताते हैं कि नदी सिर्फ संसाधन नहीं है, न ही बस गांव का भूगोल तय करती है, बल्कि एक समुदाय रचती है. यह है सिंदूरी जैसी छोटी नदी किनारे का समुदाय जो लोकरीति, लोकनीति, किस्से और कहावतों के महीन धागों से बुना हुआ है, जिसमें एक शुद्ध देहात की दुनिया दिखती है, जिसमें नदी को देख रोया, गाया या हंसा जा सकता है. https://hindi.news18.com/news/literature/nadi-sinduri-book-by-shirish-khare-to-be-relesed-in-world-book-fair-2023-vishwa-pustak-mela-5436431.html  (23 Feb. 2023)

Goa ‘If Goa dies real estate projects won’t survive’ Abhijit Prabhudesai about Goa Land issues: The regional plan is supposed to demarcate a number of things which it does not. Like groundwater resources, community lands, prime tenanted agricultural lands. These are often shown as settlement zones in regional plans. On affidavits the government has said it will look at projects very closely and not permit large projects. But on the ground, we see huge projects being passed across the state — projects on groundwater recharge areas, on slopes, in forests. Half the forests here are not identified and protected.

– Goa was always self-sufficient in water. The water in Goa is in the laterite zone which is in the hills. It permeates through springs and emerges as surface water. What we see now is the concretization of plateaux and the destruction of hill slopes and groundwater recharge areas. If you concretize the hill, you destroy its water springs.

– Rivers are under assault in several ways. The nationalization of rivers was a big setback because now the Inland Waterways of India is going to do its best to promote shipping which is what it is required by law to do. Then you have the Ports Authority Act which allows MPT (Mormugao Port Trust) to plan for rivers; the Sagarmala programme which says 136 million tonnes of coal is going to be transported through Goa. After MPT takes over all the neighbouring fishing areas it can handle only 51 million tonnes. The remaining 86 million tonnes will be transported through Goa’s rivers. There is assault from tourism, casinos, iron ore industries and the barges. Rivers have been decimated by iron ore mining. Fisheries were in abundance but have been reduced. https://www.civilsocietyonline.com/interviews/goas-big-projects-wont-last-if-its-ecology-is-destroyed/  (17 Feb. 2023)

Telangana Rs500cr proposed for cable bridge river The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has proposed Rs 500 crore in the Union Budget 2023-24 for the construction of the cable-stayed-cum-suspension bridge across the river Krishna between Somasila in Nagarkurnool district and Sangameswaram in Nandyal district in the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh. The total estimated cost of the project is about Rs 1,082.56 crore. The project once taken up would take about 30 months to be completed.

CM of the then united Andhra Pradesh Y S Rajasekhara Reddy had promised to build the bridge and sanctioned Rs 50 crore, however, the project did not take off due to the 2009 elections. After the division of Andhra Pradesh and formation of Telangana in 2014, the Telangana government approved the bridge plan and sanctioned Rs 190 crore and urged the Andhra Pradesh government to release their portion of funds, however, it remained on paper. https://telanganatoday.com/rs-500-cr-proposed-in-union-budget-for-cable-bridge-over-krishna-river  (20 Feb. 2023)

Karnataka Mangaluru: Saline water flows into farm lands In Aggadakaliya as the Nandini river flows close by, salt water has got accumulated in the agricultural lands. During the construction of a bridge in Pavanje, mud had been stored. As the authorities failed to dredge the problem emerged. As dredging hasn’t been done in the river estuary, saline water flowed to low-lying areas of Arand and Aggidalike. Though the issue has been brought to the notice of people’s representatives and officials concerned there has been no response forthcoming as alleged by the villagers. https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=1054564  (26 Feb. 2023)

Arunachal Pradesh NGOs clean up Yagamso river Volunteers of NGOs Abralow Multipurpose Memorial Society and Youth Mission for Clean River participated in a cleanliness drive here on Sunday (Feb. 26). “The drive was part of ‘Mission Clean Yagamso’, which is an effort by the NGOs to rejuvenate the Yagamso with support of the Itanagar Smart City Corporation Limited,” the NGOs informed in a release. The volunteers cleaned up a long stretch of the river by way of collecting trash from the water, unclogging drains, and removing garbage. https://arunachaltimes.in/index.php/2023/02/27/ngos-clean-up-yagamso-river/  (27 Feb. 2023)

SUTLEJ Punjab Take remedial measures to stop water pollution in river NGT has directed chief secretary, SPCB and Ropar district magistrate to look into the alleged huge water pollution taking place in River Satluj near Gurudwara Patalpuri Sahib at Kiratpur Sahib, of Ropar district and take remedial action in accordance with law and file an action taken report with the registrar general of this Tribunal within one month.

The directions have come after activist Sunaina had filed an application with the NGT seeking directions for remedial measures to prevent pollution taking place in River near “Gurudwara Patalpuri Sahib, Asthaghat at Kiratpur Sahib which is a sacred place to Sikh community as Sikh devotees from all over the country and world come to immerse the ashes of the departed ones and remains of their dead relatives, loved ones and friends in the river at the Asthaghat built on the bank of Sutlej River. She said that the dirty water of the Kiratpur Sahib town flows into the river through two canals. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ludhiana/take-remedial-measures-to-stop-water-pollution-in-river-satluj-near-gurdwara-patalpuri-sahib-ngt-to-punjab/articleshow/97605719.cms  (04 Feb. 2023)

GANGA Bihar Concern over govt’s plan to develop roadside amenities along Ganga Path With the state’s road construction department (RCD) and urban development and housing department (UDHD) planning to reclaim around 5,000 square metre land in the Ganga river bed to develop roadside amenities, including multi-level parking, a theme park, a shopping complex, stadium and a convention centre among others in the north side of the Loknayak Ganga Path, experts have raised fear that the proposed concrete structures will badly damage the natural ecosystem of the Ganga.

“It would not only hamper the interconnectivity of groundwater and the river Ganga, but would also force the river to change its course and go further away from the capital city,” said a professor of water resources, NIT, Patna, Ramakar Jha, adding that river morphology has already been affected badly due to construction of JP Setu and Ganga Pathway.

A recently retired officer of the BSRDC said that he had objected to the plan of reclaiming land in the river’s bed when he was in service. The retired officer said that he also fears that the proposal to raise concrete structures might face some serious hurdles, as it might require clearances from the Ganga River Basin Authority, the state environmental impact assessment authority (SEIAA), and the National waterways authority of India (NWAI). “This stretch of Ganga happens to serve as the national waterways as well,” said the retired engineer. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/patna-news/experts-raise-concern-over-govt-s-plan-to-develop-roadside-amenities-along-ganga-path-101677432336304.html  (26 Feb. 2023)

Varanasi गंगा जल एक साल में तीसरी बार हरा हुआ शुक्रवार (Feb. 24) आधी रात के बाद शैवाल आरपी से लेकर पांडे घाट तक भारी मात्रा में उतराए हुए दिखे। शनिवार सुबह घाट किनारे दूर तक गंगा बिल्कुल हरी दिखाई दीं। इससे पहले मई-22 के अंतिम सप्ताह मेंबड़ी मात्रा में शैवालों से गंगा का जल हरा हुआ था। तीन दिन के अंतराल पर दो बार भारी मात्रा में शैवाल आए थे। तब दशाश्वमेध से पंचगंगा घाट के बीच सबसे अधिक प्रभाव था। उस समय मिर्जापुर के एक एसटीपी से निकले शोधित मलजल को जल के हरापन का कारण बताया गया था। https://www.livehindustan.com/uttar-pradesh/varanasi/story-ganges-water-turned-green-for-the-third-time-in-a-year-7823882.html  (26 Feb. 2023)

वाराणसी में गंगा में अस्सी से राजघाट तक हरे शैवाल फिर जमा हो गए हैं। शैवालों के कारण गंगा का इकोसिस्टम एक बार फिर संकट में आ गया है। अधिकारियों का कहना है कि पिछली बार मिर्जापुर के पास से लोहिया नदी से ये शैवाल गंगा में आए थे, इस बार ये प्रयागराज से पहुंच रहे हैं।  बीएचयू के वैज्ञानिकों ने पूर्व में आशंका जताई थी कि हरे शैवाल फिर से गंगा में आ सकते हैं। हरे शैवालों के कारण गंगा में ऑक्सीजन स्तर कम होता जा रहा है। प्रदूषण नियंत्रण बोर्ड की प्राथमिक जांच में भी यह बात सामने आई थी कि गंगाजल में नाइट्रोजन और फास्फोरस की मात्रा निर्धारित मानकों से ज्यादा हो गई है।

नदी विज्ञानी प्रो. बीडी त्रिपाठी के अनुसार जब जल के अंदर का तापमान 25 डिग्री सेल्सियस से अधिक होता है तब शैवाल के पनपने के अनुकूल वातावरण बन जाता है। बीते सप्ताह प्रदूषण नियंत्रण बोर्ड की जांच में रामनगर की ओर गंगा जल के भीतर का तापमान 35 डिग्री के आसपास मिला था। प्रो. त्रिपाठी ने कहा कि जल्द ही इस समस्या का स्थायी हल नहीं खोजा गया तो गंगा का इकोसिस्टम प्रभावित होगा और जलचरों के जीवन पर संकट खड़ा हो जाएगा। सबसे पहले छोटे आकार वाले जीवों के जीवन पर संकट होगा। https://www.amarujala.com/uttar-pradesh/varanasi/algae-in-ganga-river-from-assi-ghat-to-rajghat-decreasing-oxygen-level-in-ganges-varanasi?pageId=1  (03 June 2021) काशी के चौरासी घाटों को छूतीं-तारतीं उत्तरवाहिनी गंगा में अभी तक नालों का ही गंदा पानी समा रहा था, अब तो उसमें काई भी जमने लगी है। शनिवार को मणिकर्णिका, सिंधिया, संकठा व गंगा महल सहित आधा दर्जन घाटों के किनारे तीन-चार दिन से जमी काई की मोटी परत से पानी हरा दिखने लगा है। https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/varanasi-city-ganga-changes-colour-in-varanasi-blue-green-algae-seized-due-to-low-flow-of-water-jagran-special-21672213.html  (24 May 2021)

Kanpur Rs 61cr to tap 5 nullahs polluting Ganga: Jal Nigam The jal nigam claimed that after having tapped more than a dozen nullahs, five nullahs are still open and pouring around 150 lakhs litre of contaminated water in river Ganga every day. Around Rs 61 crore are required to tap the remaining nullahs, the officials told TOI.

Recently, Allahabad high court had asked the government to submit the compliance report of orders passed by it during the hearing of Ganga pollution. As per the report, around 19 nullahs and some small drains are polluting the river in Kanpur district, out of which 14 have been tapped. Five nullahs- Rani ghat nullah, Satti chaura nullah, Golaghat nullah, Massacre ghat nullah and Rameshwar ghat nullah- are untapped and continue to dirty the river.

As per Kanpur Municipal Corporation’s claims, polluted water is treated by bioremediation process before being discharged in the river. However, according to a study, the process had failed to give required results. Gyanendra Chaudhary, project manager Jal Nigam, said, “Three years ago we had sent a proposal of Rs 48 crore to tap five nullahs. Now, the cost has risen to Rs 61 crore.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kanpur/61-cr-to-tap-five-nullahs-polluting-ganga-jal-nigam/articleshow/98243808.cms  (26 Feb. 2023)

In view of the auspicious ‘snan’ (bathing) days during the Magh Mela, the Allahabad high court has directed the authorities concerned to ensure regular monitoring of the quality of the Ganga water in Kanpur and Prayagraj. While taking the statement of the AG on record, the court in its order dated January 6 passed the above directives and fixed January 19 as the next date of hearing of this PIL. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/allahabad/monitor-ganga-water-quality-in-kanpur-prayagraj-during-magh-mela-says-allahabad-hc/articleshow/96945516.cms  (12 Jan. 2023)

YAMUNA Delhi Govt approves construction of 2 dams Deputy CM Manish Sisodia has approved the construction of two dams on Shah Alam Dam Road to stop sewage water from flowing into the Jahangirpuri drain, which ultimately falls into the Yamuna river through the Najafgarh drain. The project, which will cost Rs 1.7 crore, aims to divert the sewerage coming out of the area’s colonies for treatment at the nearest Sewage Pumping Station (SPS), according to a government release. https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/delhi-govt-approves-construction-of-two-dams-on-shah-alam-dam-road-123022100024_1.html  (21 Feb. 2023)


Karnataka Scientific survey of crocodiles in Kali river soon The survey is being conducted in the backdrop of an increase in the number of humans death due to crocodile attacks. Five people lost their lives due to a crocodile attack in 2022 alone and there are also multiple instances of amphibians crawling into human habitations.

Kali Tiger Reserve Field Director Maria Christu Raj told DH: “We are waiting for the approval of the chief wildlife warden, which is expected by March first week. The main aim of the survey is to study the population of the crocodiles, conflict reasons and methods to mitigate the conflicts. He said the survey will also look if the prey base (fish and others) of the crocodile has altered and has the carrying capacity of Kali river in the region reached its saturation capacity.

Dandeli-based Wildlife activist Rahul Bavaji said the survey ahul Bavaji said the survey should also study the impact of unscientific construction of a ramp nearing the crocodile breeding ground near Dandelappa temple. “Solid waste management on river banks, supervising of the nearly 20 entry points and diversion of water for various projects are also said to be the reasons for the increase in human-crocodile conflict. The forest department should conduct a detailed study about this and find solutions,” he said.  https://www.deccanherald.com/state/karnataka-districts/scientific-survey-of-crocodiles-in-karnatakas-kali-river-soon-1192933.html  (19 Feb. 2023)


Jammu & Kashmir Thousands of fish die at spring in Kulgam Thousands of fish at a spring in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kulgam have died after the water body developed a low concentration of oxygen. In a never-before incident, dead fish were flushed towards the mouth of the spring. A spring is a natural exit point at which groundwater emerges out of the aquifer and flows onto the top of the Earth’s crust to become surface water. It is a component of the hydrosphere as well as a part of the water cycle. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/jammu-kashmir-kulgam-fish-dead-fisheries-department-jal-shakti-2337136-2023-02-20  (20 Feb. 2023)

Punjab Area under shrimp farming to increase to 5K acres With the aim of promoting shrimp farming in unused saline-affected waterlogged land and increasing area under cultivation to 5,000 acres within next five years, the Punjab Government organised a State-Level Shrimp Farming Seminar at the Demonstration Farm-cum-Training Centre at Ena Khera village of Muktsar district.

While addressing the one-day seminar, organised by the Department of Fisheries, Director and Warden, Jasvir Singh said in 2022-23, as many as 366 farmers cultivated shrimp in around 1,212 acres with a total production of about 2,400 tonnes of shrimp. Shrimp farming is being practised on saline-affected waterlogged land in Punjab, which has proved successful in increasing the income of farmers, said Jasvir Singh, adding that shrimp and fish farmers were getting income up to Rs 3 lakh from one acre, but due to the high production of shrimps internationally, the rate had fallen this year. Hence, there was a need to develop local market to sell shrimps, he said. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/area-under-shrimp-farming-to-increase-to-5k-acres-481073  (19 Feb. 2023)

Andhra Pradesh Experts stress need for better management of aqua ponds Farmers, researchers, officials and scientists from the State and Central government organisations exchanged views on various aspects of aquaculture at ‘Fish India 2023’ conclave organised by the Society of Aquaculture Professionals (SAP) on Saturday (Feb 25). Experts have discussed the need for diversified aquaculture with better management of ponds and rearing of fish varieties in demand.  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/experts-stress-need-for-better-management-of-aqua-ponds-in-ap/article66553368.ece  (25 Feb. 2023)


SANDRP Blog UP: Satellite Images Reveal Betwa River Ravaged by Mining Clearly, the miners are using heavy machines to impound, divert river flows at will. The discontinuity of river course, impoundment of flows and increase in siltation load are bound to affect the river morphology, hydrology, aquatic biodiversity adversely.

Generally these problems go unaddressed in mining plans and slip through inadequate monitoring mechanism. https://sandrp.in/2023/02/21/uttar-pradesh-satellite-images-reveal-betwa-river-ravaged-by-mining/  (21 Feb. 2023)

Report Failure of regulatory machinery Besides the loss to habitat, illegal sand mining also causes violence. Villagers, media reporters, environment activists and government officers are brutally harmed and killed year after year when they raise objections to or take any action against illegal sand mining. In addition to rampant killings, there have been several instances where open threats were given to villagers, government officials, activists, and reporters. A (SANDRP) study reflects that around 418 people died and 438 people got injured in India from December 2020 to March 2022 in sand mining cases. The highest number of deaths have been reported in North India (95), followed by 42 in West and Central India, 41 in East India and 15 in South India. https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2023/02/08/sand-mining-in-india-grain-of-despair-failure-of-regulatory-machinery/   (08 Feb. 2023)

Bihar डूबने से हो रही मौतों में तेज़ बढ़ोतरी साउथ एशिया नेटवर्क ऑन डैम्स, रिवर एंड पीपुल संस्था की ओर से दिसंबर 2020 से मार्च 2022 तक रेत खनन गतिविधियों से जुड़ी मौतों पर किए गए एक अध्ययन के मुताबिक़, बिहार में सैंड पिट्स में डूबने से एक महिला समेत सात बच्चों की मौत हुई. जनवरी 2019 से 15 नवंबर 2020 के बीच अवैध खनन के चलते नदी में डूबने से बिहार के 25 लोगों की मौत हुई जो कि पूर्वोत्तर राज्यों में सबसे ज़्यादा है. इन 25 लोगों में से 11 बच्चों की मौत दक्षिण बिहार में बहने वाली सोन नदी में डूब कर हुई. https://www.bbc.com/hindi/india-64226670  (23 Jan. 2023)

When illegal sand miners try to put fire to the regulating officials in Sonpur, Saran district in Bihar. https://www.amarujala.com/bihar/bihar-news-attempt-to-burn-mining-inspector-and-sap-jawan-alive-in-sonpur-saran-2023-02-23  (23 Feb. 2023)

Haryana जिले में कोई लाइसेंस नहीं, फिर भी यमुना से निकाल रहे हजारों टन रेत करनाल जिले में किसी के पास टेंडर नहीं हैं। इसके बावजूद इंद्री एरिया से लेकर घरौंडा एरिया तक कई रेत माफिया काम कर रहे हैं। मुंडोगढ़ी में हरियाणा और यूपी दोनों साइड खनन हो रहा है । मुंडोगढ़ी में यमुना के अंदर से 15 से 20 एकड़ में रेत उठाया जा रहा है। वहां पर मौजूद किसानों ने बताया कि जनवरी से यहां से रेत चोरी किया जा रहा है। एक बड़ा ठेकेदार रेत माफिया से जुड़ा है, उसके साथ माइनिंग के अधिकारी भी मिले हुए हैं। माइनिंग अधिकारी कमलेश का तबादला हो गया, इसके बाद ज्यादा चोरी बढ़ गई है। सदरपुर गांव में रेत चोरी हो रहा है। इसके अलावा नगला फार्म, पुरानी खान, ढाकवाला, चंद्राव और राणा माजरा में भी रेत की चोरी हो रही है।

फिलहाल करनाल जिले में खनन का किसी के पास टेंडर नहीं है, जो खनन का काम चल रहा था, उनका टाइम पूरा हो गया है। 8 नए प्वाइंटों का टेंडर छूटा है, यह अप्रैल माह में काम शुरू होगा। शेरगढ़ टापू, चंद्रावी, जडौली, कुंडाकला, डबरकी, ढाकवाला सहित 8 जगह खनन के लिए सरकार ने टेंडर दिया है। इन पर अप्रैल माह में काम शुरू होगा। खनन के आरोप में किसानों को लगाया था 42 लाख जुर्माना: बल्हेड़ा के पास यमुना किनारे रेत का अवैध खनन करने के मामले में खान एवं भूगर्भ विभाग पानीपत की ओर से बल्हेड़ा निवासी जावत को नोटिस जारी किया है। अधिकारियों ने जब मौके पर हुए खेत में जांच की तो मौके पर 21 हजार मीट्रिक टन रेत का खनन पाया गया है। आरोपियों पर 42.10 लाख रुपए जुर्माना लगाया गया है। चंद्राव में खनन करते हुए पांच-ट्रेक्टर ट्रालियों को जब्त किया था। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/haryana/karnal/news/there-is-no-license-in-the-district-yet-thousands-of-tonnes-of-sand-are-being-extracted-from-the-yamuna-130955902.html  (22 Feb. 2023)

Rajasthan Picture of roads constructed by illegal sand miners in Kothari riverbed in Bhilwara district, where there has also been gang war at least four times in past one month alone.

https://twitter.com/Ajay_Rawat20/status/1628620490372964352?s=20 (23 Feb. 2023)   https://www.bhaskar.com/news/RAJ-OTH-MAT-latest-mandal-news-055503-1037981-NOR.html  (2018) माफिया नदी से अवैध रूप से पत्थर चुरा रहे हैं। वहीं लोगों ने इसे डंपिंग यार्ड बना रखा है। लोग कोठारी नदी में कचरा और मलबा डाल रहे हैं। https://www.patrika.com/bhilwara-news/kothari-river-stealing-stones-dumping-garbage-8057150/  (20 Feb. 2023)

Madhya Pradesh सिंध में बाढ़ आई, अवैध रेत परिवहन में लगे ट्रक, ग्रामीण बहने से बचे July 2022 report on sand mining trucks trapped in Sindh floods in Bhind district, Madhya Pradesh though govt & NGT rules prohibit riverbed mining during monsoon months. सिंध नदी में माफिया द्वारा अवैध उत्खनन थमने का नाम नहीं ले रहा है। बुधवार (20 July 2022) सुबह लहार के पर्रायच गांव के घाट पर अवैध तरीके से रेत निकालने के दौरान नदी में पानी का बहाव अचानक बढ़ गया। ड्राइवर जब तक कुछ समझ पाते, तब तक पानी ट्रक की आधी बाडी पर आ गया। हड़बड़ाहट में ड्राइवरों ने अपने वाहन ट्रैक्टर और जेसीबी की मदद से बाहर निकाले। जबकि बारिश शुरू होने से पहले प्रशासन के अलावा एनजीटी ने भी रेत के उत्खनन पर रोक लगा रखी है। बावजूद माफिया प्रशासन और माइनिंग की मिलीभगत से अवैध उत्खनन कर रहा है। https://www.naidunia.com/madhya-pradesh/bhind-sindh-river-flooded-trucks-and-villagers-engaged-in-transporting-sand-of-illegal-excavation-avoided-flowing-7683714   (21 July 2022)

Karnataka Identify illegal mines, plug revenue loss EDIT in Deccan Herald on Feb 24, 2023: The Public Accounts Committee of the Karnataka legislature has found that the state is losing Rs 18000 to 20 000 Cr in revenue due to illegal extraction of minor minerals. In its report tabled in the assembly, the report says that the state did not have an inventory of mining areas for granite, gypsum, silica sand and jasper, among others. The Comptroller and Auditor General which had earlier conducted a pilot study in Chikkaballapura taluk, had stated that the govt had lost potential revenue to the tune of Rs 2324 Cr due to illegal mining there. Current non tax revenue from minor minerals is Rs 6300 Cr.

– The EDIT recommends use of technology, audits, will etc but does not say a word about involving the local communities in governance of minor minerals. Unfortunate indeed. https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/second-edit/identify-illegal-mines-plug-revenue-loss-1194293.html  (24 Feb. 2023)


Tamil Nadu Madras HC orders removal of encroachment on pond The Madras High Court has directed the Directorate of Town and Country Planning (DTCP) to remove all encroachments made by Olympia Infra Tech Private Limited at Navalur in Chennai. The court has further ordered demolition of a compound wall along with a gate erected by the real estate developer blocking the public pathway. Acting Chief Justice T. Raja and Justice D. Bharatha Chakravarthy also directed the DTCP to restore a waterbody which was now being used as a car parking area and ensure public access to it. The orders were passed on a writ petition filed by Mandava Holdings Private Limited, another real estate firm, in 2020.

Disposing of the case now, the first Division Bench directed the revenue as well as local body officials to take physical possession of all Open Space Reserve (OSR) lands, the water body and also the public roads to be provided by Olympia Infra Tech as per the approved plan and declare them as public lands/roads. The Bench made it clear that necessary changes should be carried out in the revenue records to prevent encroachments in future. The entire exercise of taking physical possession of the OSR lands, public roads and the water body and altering the revenue records must be done within 12 weeks, it ordered. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/madras-hc-orders-removal-of-encroachment-by-olympia-infra-tech-on-pond-next-to-buckingham-canal/article66555769.ece  (26 Feb. 2023)

Book on Kodaikanal mercury poisoning episode  Ameer Shahul is an investigative journalist turned public policy leader. In his first book, Heavy Metal: How a Global Corporation Poisoned Kodaikanal, Shahul narrates the gripping story of how a Hindustan Unilever-owned thermometer factory unleashed a mercury poisoning catastrophe in Kodaikanal.

In this book, Shahul recounts his personal experiences tracking the events as a reporter and Greenpeace campaigner in addition to interviewing ex-workers and their families, and investigating documentary evidence. In this interview, Shahul gives us a glimpse of what transpires in his book. https://science.thewire.in/environment/kodaikanal-mercury-poisoning-ameer-shahul-heavy-metal/ (24 Feb. 2023)

Damage to wetland inside forest draws criticism from conservationists in Nilgiris The excavation of a patch of wetland near Lovedale near Udhagamandalam, in the Nilgiris, by a government department unaware of the importance of the area to local biodiversity, has drawn criticism from local conservationists. The wetland is located in the south range of the Nilgiris forest division, and local residents recently noticed that earth-movers were being used to dig up a portion of it by workers either from the Regional Transport Officer or the Highways Department. The wetland is located along the Udhagamandalam to Manjoor Road, and wetland bird species are often spotted there, residents said.

G. Janadhanan, president of the Ooty Public Awareness Association, said rules were in place to protect wetlands but were being ignored, even by government departments. “Already, the wetland at the Ooty Railway Station has been destroyed with buildings being partly built and abandoned. Construction waste is also dumped in the wetlands surrounding Ooty Lake, while there have been buildings which were built within wetlands in Ooty and had to be abandoned due to the buildings sustaining damage, as the soil was unable to support such structures,” said Mr. Janardhanan. Like grasslands, the importance of wetlands in preserving local biodiversity is often neglected, said Mr. Janardhanan, pointing to the loss of other wetlands in the Nilgiris such as the Rifle Range wetland in Kotagiri. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/damage-to-wetland-inside-forest-draws-criticism-from-conservationists-in-nilgiris/article66531601.ece  (20 Feb. 2023)

Maharashtra Activists raise alarm over illegal chesnut farming in Nerul wetland Despite a High Court order directing that no encroachment should be allowed near the Lotus Lake, environmental activists say that illegal chestnut farming has once again cropped its head in the wetland in Sector 27 of Nerul and have urged the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation to take immediate action.

Multiple mails and even messages have been shared on social media asking NMMC to abide by its statement given to the High Court of preventing any form of encroachment in and around the lake. A PIL filed in 2021 to protect the wetland from getting encroached is being heard by the HC. “The NMMC is duty bound to ensure that the wetland is preserved, in fact the civic body has assured the court that in the event of any encroachment in the vicinity of the lake, necessary steps would be taken,” said Patole.

Activists allege that failure of NMMC to take cognizance of their concern will lead to extensive damage to the lake’s ecosystem. In 2021, the activists had even got the PH level of the pond tested. “We have been putting in so much effort to conserve the little natural reserves of the city, Lotus Lake is one of them. For farming of chestnuts, farmers are known to use chemical fertilizers besides this variant of plant is known to form thick mat which further obstructs light into the pond and thereby adding to further damage of the pond,” said an environmental activist, Dharmesh Barai. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/activists-raise-alarm-over-illegal-chesnut-farming-in-nerul-wetland-101677087694183.html  (22 Feb. 2023)

The wetland and mangrove committees, mandated by the Bombay High Court, have been skipping meetings where they are supposed to address complaints about destruction of the swamps, environmentalists have told the government. The panels met only twice last year, once in January and again in June. Since then, there have been no meetings, the environmental activists have alleged. The scheduled meetings of the two committees on February 8 were cancelled without any justification, they said. The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) has asked Bhushan Gagrani, principal secretary, the Urban Development department and Anand Limaye, additional chief secretary, Home, to look into the complaints. https://www.mid-day.com/mumbai/mumbai-news/article/panels-not-lifting-a-finger-to-save-wetlands-mangroves-23271668  (22 Feb. 2023)


Telangana SCR revives 200-year-old well at zonal training college A 200-year-old heritage well at the SCR’s Zonal Railway Training Institute (ZRTI), Moula- Ali, Secunderabad, has been revived and it’s yielding one lakh litres of water, sufficient to meet the needs of the institute, besides generating substantial savings of around ₹5 lakh per month. The stepped-well has been inherited by the railways from the erstwhile Nizam’s government. The heritage well, which has a depth of about 50-ft., will be catering to the water supply needs ZRTI, Supervisors Training Centre (STC) and Territorial Camp (TA) office in the area. Rain water harvesting pits have also been provided in the surrounding areas to reduce rain water run-off and facilitate water conservation. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/scr-revives-200-year-old-well-at-zonal-training-college/article66541154.ece  (23 Feb. 2023)

The well is said to be a 200 years old provided with steps. It has historic significance during the pre-independence era of the Nizam period. Sir Mir Turab Ali Khan, Salar Jung-I (1829-1883), who was considered one of the greatest Prime Ministers of Hyderabad, used the well for irrigating mango gardens. In the post- independence period, the well was inherited by SCR in its formation year 1966. https://www.thehansindia.com/telangana/scr-revives-heritage-well-at-zonal-railway-training-institute-784483  (23 Feb. 2023)

Hyderabad Cultural Ecologies of Urban Lakes The Bathukamma festival, historically observed by Telangana-based Other Backward Classes and Dalit communities with traditional connections to waterbodies, has since 2014 become a state festival and a platform for political claim-making. This state-making project has had ripple effects revealing the everyday entanglements of caste associations, urban state–citizen relations, and the political ecology of urban waterbodies, in the capital city of Hyderabad. The paper sheds light on how competition between different caste groups, with distinct cultural ecological claims, shapes urban political ecologies. Urban communities mobilise narrowly defined caste associations to strategically make claims to place, and lobby for resources and recognition. Such claim-making exists even in slum settlements consisting of new migrant communities. We argue that attempts to gain recognition of caste-based claims for water-linked resources are an indirect articulation of belonging and connection to the state and the city. https://www.epw.in/journal/2023/8/review-urban-affairs/cultural-ecologies-urban-lakes.html  (24 Feb. 2023)


Groundwater table mapping to complete this year Responding to a question in the Rajya Sabha on Monday (Feb. 13), Minister of State for Jal Shakti Bishweswar Tudu said out of the total geographical area of around 33 lakh sqkm of the entire country, around 25 lakh sqkm of mappable area has been identified. “So far, an area of 24.57 lakh sq km (as on December 30, 2022) has been covered under the programme. The remaining areas are targeted to be covered by March 2023,” he said in a written response to a question. The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) has taken up the Aquifer Mapping and Management Programme since 2012 under the scheme of Ground Water Management and Regulation. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/after-decade-of-survey-indias-ground-water-table-mapping-to-complete-this-year-centre-3780662  (14 Feb. 2023)

Punjab 6-member central team in Mansurwala village to collect gw samples According to sources, the team was constituted to visit the plant after the matter was taken up by Jasbir Singh Gill, Member of Parliament from Khadoor Sahib, who had written to the CPCB on December 23, 2022 raising the issue regarding the pollution of the groundwater in the village allegedly due to the industrial effluents generated by the ethanol plant, as claimed by protesters who have been demanding that the plant be shut.

It is worth mentioning that the matter regarding the alleged contamination of groundwater caused by the plant is subjudice in both, the NGT and the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The next hearing of the NGT will be take place on February 23, while the hearing in the High Court is scheduled for February 28.

Members of the Central Pollution Control Board at Mansurwala. The Tribune

Earlier, four teams constituted by the state government had collected samples from various places and had submitted their reports to the district administration, which further sent it to PPCB for a detailed analysis. The fourth report of the water contamination committee has not been made public yet. On January 17, the CM Bhagwant Mann had announced the closure of the plant through a video uploaded on his Twitter account. However, the protesters had refused to lift the dharna and had asked for written orders of the CM, which are yet to be issued.

Meanwhile, members of the “Sanjha Morcha” met the DC and handed over a memorandum to him. The protesters again demanded that the written orders regarding the permanent closure of the plant and cancellation of the FIRs registered against the protesters should be issued. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/six-member-central-team-in-mansurwala-village-to-collect-groundwater-samples-482217  (23 Feb. 2023)


Bengaluru Only 8 of 31 STPs are with in parameters According to a 45 day survey of 31 online STP monitoring from Nov 1 to Dec 45, Action Aid has said that 13 of them were recording incorrect data or no data. 5 of the STPs record no data as they were not configured. At 9 stations, the water quality found to have exceeded the acceptable limits for at least 15 days. Only in case of 8 STPs, were all the parameters recorded and they were found to be within limits. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/online-monitoring-reveals-alarming-inaccuracy-in-stp-data-report-1193348.html; https://keremanju.blogspot.com/2023/02/bwssb-stps-not-following-norms.html  (21 Feb. 2023)

City wasting 29% water supply daily A shocking report has found that 29% of the water supplied to the city is wasted everyday. According to the latest data, 4% of water leakage is due to poor upkeep of public taps, 5% is wasted during the process of supplying it to homes, another 5% wasted due to faulty instruments, and 4% is wasted in slums. The BWSSB also suffers from 5% of water leakage as transmission loss due to usage of old/dilapidated underground reservoirs.

The ever-increasing traffic on roads is also increasing water leakage as the pipes are getting damaged due to heavy vehicular movement. Around 6% is wasted due to faulty pipes laid under roads with high vehicular density. While the BWSSB blames traffic for leakage, the BBMP blames the BWSSB for road damage that happens due to faulty pipes beneath. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/bengaluru-needs-better-water-management/articleshow/98072049.cms  (20 Feb. 2023)

There are 8,891 borewells in the city, 8,163 of which are in working condition. A BWSSB engineer said, “2,486 borewells are being handed over by the BBMP, and overall, we will be managing 10,180 in the city. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/civic/well-well-bengaluru-has-a-problem/articleshow/98188050.cms   (24 Feb. 2023)

BWSSB is all set to take the technology path to monitor the water supply at various pumphouses with the implementation of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. While the board had earlier implemented SCADA to monitor sewage flow through STPs, the technology is now being extended to monitor water supply. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/bengaluru-infrastructure/bwssb-taps-into-tech-to-monitor-water-supply-at-pumphouses-1194275.html   (23 Feb. 2023)

A 72-year-old resident of Okalipuram in Bengaluru has landed in prison for encroaching a stormwater drain by constructing a building on it. The order was issued by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court, based on an investigation by the Bengaluru the Bengaluru Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF).  In May 2014, a case of drain encroachment was registered with the BMTF. The investigation found that Muddukrishna T L had constructed a building on the rajakaluve. Based on the report, the court sentenced him to one-year imprisonment and imposed a penalty of Rs 5,000 on him. The order was issued on February 20.  https://www.deccanherald.com/city/bengaluru-crime/72-year-old-lands-in-prison-for-encroaching-drain-in-bengaluru-1194274.html     (24 Feb. 2023)

Thane Amidst repair works being initiated on water leakages, several parts of Thane will face water cuts for 12 to 24 hours and will receive only 50% supply till February 24. The shutdown of the water supply during summertime has, however, irked the residents. “The TMC should have planned this repair works in advance and finished before the onset of summer. Now, when we need more water for drinking and other chores, there won’t be enough supply. The civic authority should carry out such works considering the convenience of the residents also,” said Mayur Parsekar, a resident of Balkum, Thane. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/thane-to-face-50-water-cut-until-february-24-101677006323266.html  (22 Feb. 2023)

Pune Water supply to some areas in Pune will be closed on Thursday, February 23. Peth areas and the central part of the city and the suburbs will be affected by the water cut. The supply will be restored on late Friday (February 24) morning at low pressure. The water supply will be cut as ‘flow meters’ will be installed in some parts of the city by the Water Supply Department of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). https://www.timesnownews.com/pune/pune-to-face-water-supply-disruption-in-many-parts-on-february-23-affected-areas-here-article-98119637  (21 Feb. 2023)

Thiruvananthapuram  A 33-year-old man, who protested outside the Venganoor mini civil station on Tuesday (Feb. 21) against the water crisis in his locality by carrying a gun, was arrested by the Balaramapuram police under non-bailable charges. Murukan, a native of Amaravila near Nellivila, was arrested after he protested against water shortage in a unique manner. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/thiruvananthapuram/2023/feb/22/gun-toting-protester-held-in-thiruvananthapuram-2549654.html  (22 Feb. 2023)

Imphal CM launches water treatment plant in Imphal east district CM N. Biren launched a water treatment plant at Chingkhei Ching in Imphal east district on Sunday (Feb 19). The plant has a capacity of 45 mld.

CM N. Biren at the launch of a water treatment plant at Chingkhei Ching’ in Imphal east district. Photo: Twitter/@NBirenSingh (The Hindu)

The Singda dam, which has been supplying water to vast areas, had closed down a few weeks back as there was no water. The source of water for the dam and others in the State, is the rivers. However, all rivers except the Iril river had gone bone-dry. Private water tankers are collecting water from this river. Now, they are charging ₹400 per 1000 litre of raw water, a hike of ₹100. The private tankers say that they would stop supplying water from the first week of March since the Iril river water was fast drying up. All government and private hospitals are facing problems since there is no water for the hospital works. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/manipur-cm-launches-water-treatment-plant-in-imphal-east-district/article66529175.ece  (19 Feb. 2023)

Shimla Tikender Panwar The trajectory of Shimla water utility is an interesting story of development turning into water being used as a commodity for profit maximisation. https://www.newsclick.in/water-woes-cities-made-accept-terms-they-arent-even-aware  (25 Feb. 2023)

Chandigarh Rs 10-lakh fine slapped on 8 SWM establishments The Municipal Corporation has imposed a fine of over Rs 10 lakh in total on eight bulk waste generators (BWGs) of the city for their failure to comply with the solid waste management norms. The amount will be added to their respective water billing cycle. Nine BWGs were served final notices in December. The last report filed by the field staff of the MC on January 16 found that all BWGs were non- compliant, except Punjab Engineering College (PEC), Sector 12. Following the report, the civic body issued an order to impose the penalty on these establishments.

A fine of Rs 20,000 and administrative charges (per month) are levied on defaulters for failure to comply with Rule 4 (7) of the Solid Waste Management Rules. Failure to hand over the residual waste to the corporation attracts a penalty of Rs 2,000 per day. It was stated in the final notice that directions for lodging an FIR under Section 15 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, with effect from January 1, 2023, could also be given to officials concerned. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/chandigarh/non-compliance-of-solid-waste-management-norms-rs-10-lakh-fine-slapped-on-8-establishments-in-chandigarh-481079  (19 Feb. 2023)


Ghaziabad NGT has powers to execute its orders as decrees of civil court : SC The appellant had approached the NGT seeking remedial action to prevent untreated sewage and effluent being discharged in the storm water drains in Ghaziabad. NGT noted that the issue had already been dealt with by it in an earlier order related to remedial action required to prevent pollution of the river Yamuna and the drains and tributaries connected in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Accordingly, the appellant moved an execution application seeking execution of the said order. However, NGT, in its order, observed that the request made in the application “goes beyond what has been said in the order of the Tribunal dated 19 March 2021” and even otherwise, if there was a breach of the order of the Tribunal, the appellant would have to seek the remedy under Section 26 of the NGT Act 2010. The Tribunal did not find that there was any case for taking recourse to its power under Section 25 for executing the order.

The appellant’s counsel Advocate Akash Vashishtha submitted before the Supreme Court that the NGT failed to read its own order that raised serious issues of pollution arising from the absence of sewerage infrastructure in the area notwithstanding that residents had been paying sewerage charges for last 27 years. The grievance of the appellant is that the power to impose a penalty under Section 26 will not redress the substratum or the grievance which is the discharge of untreated sewage and effluent and the absence of a sewerage system.

The Supreme Court held– “The observation of the Tribunal that there was no case for executing the earlier order under Section 25 is misconceived. The Tribunal is entrusted with the wholesome power to ensure that its orders are complied with. The absence of sewerage facilities is an important aspect which would merit the exercise of powers by the Tribunal under Section 25. The invocation of the power to levy a penalty under Section 26 will not necessarily sub-serve the purpose.” Accordingly, the Supreme Court allowed the appeal and set aside the order of the NGT. It further directed the NGT to take up the application under Section 25 and consider what orders would be necessary to effectuate the original order dated 19 March 2021 of which execution was sought. https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/ngt-has-powers-to-execute-its-orders-as-decrees-of-civil-court-supreme-court-222552  (26 Feb. 2023)

Kerala Govt deploys robotic scavengers to clean manholes The government on Friday (Feb. 24)  launched robotic scavenger, Bandicoot, to clean sewages in the temple town of Guruvayur, becoming the first state in the country to use robotic technology to clean all its commissioned manholes. Bandicoot robots are currently deployed in few towns across 17 states in India and three Union Territories. In 2018, KWA started using Bandicoot to clean the manholes in Thiruvananthapuram. Later, it was introduced in Ernakulam also, the release said. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/kerala-becomes-first-state-to-use-robotic-scavengers-to-clean-manholes-10157811.html  (25 Feb. 2023)


Opinion Turn off the tap of urban bias in rural development Left to itself, this may exacerbate the rural-urban disparity across regions and districts. In the case of Tamil Nadu, even the provisioning of tap water connections by the government seems to be impacted by the persistence of this kind of urban bias in rural development. Hence, the government must take additional measures to prioritise the implementation of the JJM scheme in districts with a high rural population such as Sivaganga, Ramanathapuram, Virudhanagar, Dharampuri, and Nagapattinam.

Otherwise, it is highly unlikely that the goal of reaching all rural households by 2024 or even 2030 will be reached if the State does not change its methods. The achievements in these districts will likely have a demonstration effect on other districts with a high rural population. This will not only help to correct urban bias but also meet the SDG goal with regard to tapping water connections by 2024. In addition to the data on tap water connections, the provision of additional details such as the volume of water being supplied per day to each household as well as its quality will help in understanding the rate of progress better. https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/turn-off-the-tap-of-urban-bias-in-rural-development/article66537473.ece  (22 Feb. 2023)

Punjab All households get tap water supply With all of its 34,25,723 households connected to tap water supply, Punjab has become the eighth state in the country to achieve the feat, officials have said. The other states and Union Territories (UTs) that recorded 100 per cent coverage of households with tap water supply included Goa, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Haryana, Gujarat, Puducherry, and Telangana. In the country, as many as 11,26,17,552 households, which accounted for 58.07 per cent of the total 19,39,44,462 households, had been got tap water supply. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/all-households-get-tap-water-supply-in-punjab-482793  (25 Feb. 2023)


Report NITI Aayog should know high cost of water trading In a society where access to water resources is already deeply unequal, introducing water trading could make matters worse.

– India’s initiative to study the global benchmarks for water trading indicates that the NITI Aayog, as a national body of planning, has decided to continue with its neoliberalist stand and strengthen it further. This time, the idea is new because now private companies will be the legitimate owners of water and water resources. For Indians who are constantly facing floods and drought, the proposed idea of water trading holds considerable doubts and challenges. For a country like India, this idea also presents a challenge to equity. Instead of fighting for water for all, it encourages more water to the price payers. This further means that since the difference in purchasing power is different across society, the practice of water trading will sharpen the gap between the water-haves and water-have-nots. Such new water inequalities may lead to water clashes. https://thewire.in/government/as-niti-aayog-looks-into-water-trading-it-should-know-the-high-costs-it-may-bring  (17 Feb. 2023)

Cherrapunji When wettest spots on earth face water scarcity.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/drinking-water-top-issue-at-worlds-wettest-spots/articleshow/98107394.cms   (21 Feb. 2023)

Kerala Govt may turn off public water taps in state With water tariffs all set to go up, the authorities are planning to close down public these water supply points. The increase in coverage of household water connections too has prompted them to think of doing away with public taps. As per statistics with the Kerala Water Authority (KWA), there are around 1,62,556 functional public taps in the state. Of these, 1,20,422 come under panchayat limits, 25,632 under municipalities and 16,502 under city corporation limits. It is learnt that the local bodies owe around `955 crore to the KWA as pending bills for using public water taps. According to a KWA official, a majority of the local bodies haven’t paid their water bills for the past 10 years. “Thiruvananthapuram corporation owes us around Rs 40 crore, while the Kochi corporation has dues to the tune of Rs 80 crore,” said the official. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2023/feb/24/kerala-govt-may-turn-off-public-water-taps-in-state-2550315.html  (24 Feb. 2023)


IMD DG M Mohapatra asked people to wait till the agency issues its forecast in April, which will have more accuracy. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/wait-for-imds-april-forecast-for-more-accuracy-on-monsoon-dg/article66534887.ece  (21 Feb. 2023)

Until now, less than a sixth of the country — just 110 of the 717 districts for which data are available — has recorded normal or excess rainfall for February. The IMD has said that the plains have been relatively dry, and rainfall or snowfall in the hills has been subdued.  https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-climate/unusual-feb-heat-and-the-normal-abnormal-in-global-weather-8459137/  (22 Feb. 2023)


Unusual Feb heat Peak demand for electricity touched 211 gigawatts in January, close to an all-time high last summer when heavy industry roared back from pandemic curbs and the population contended with sweltering conditions that saw a 122-year-old heat record breached. Temperatures have been as much as 11C above normal in some regions in the past week and prompted the IMD to advise farmers to check wheat and other crops for signs of heat stress. The unusually early onset of hotter weather – and forecasts that power consumption will rise as irrigation pumps and air conditioners are cranked up – is fueling concern that the nation’s energy network will come under new strain, after two successive years of disruptions. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/heatwave-rising-heat-across-india-raises-alarm-on-another-energy-crunch-3812778  (25 Feb. 2023)


Jharkhand Crores spent on water-related works haven’t readied for droughts “Poor planning of water conservation and water harvesting structures is a major reason. Village residents are the best persons at understanding where structures, such as a dobha (typically, a 15 m x 30 m x 10 m water-storage pit), should be constructed, where they will hold water for long. Their help should be taken,” says James Herenj, convener of Jharkhand NREGA Watch, a non-profit.

Herenj talks about a drought to explain. “A severe drought in the state in 1993-94 made the government and voluntary organisations work together. Pani Panchayat Samitis were formed in every village to deal with water shortage. Scientists associated with the non-profit People’s Science Institute, Dehradun, also joined the campaign. Under this initiative, a large number of dobhas and check dams were built in the villages,” he says.

“But in 2016-17, works were undertaken, defying discussions and schemes drawn by the villages. As a result, accidents, such as death of children due to drowning, were reported. Today the situation is such that many check dams are lying vacant and dobhas have become bereft of water,” he adds.

The website of the state government’s disaster management department also quotes NREGA Watch as saying that if the works done under MGNREGA in Jharkhand had been undertaken as per the issues highlighted in the state’s climate action plan, 90 per cent of the irrigation-related problems would not have occurred. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/a-monumental-waste-crores-spent-on-water-related-works-haven-t-readied-jharkhand-for-droughts-here-s-why-87802  (20 Feb. 2023)


Budget 2023 Green only in name By Ashish Kothari. Finally, one has to consider that this government has also been brazenly weakening environmental regulations over the last few years (a trend that started with India’s entry into globalized economic regimes in 1991, but rapidly accelerated of late). https://vikalpsangam.org/article/india-budget-2023-green-only-in-name/  (21 Feb. 2023)

Report SC’s green bench clears 118 pending projects In the first 10 days of February, 118 pending projects, some of which have been on hold for 10 years, were cleared by the green bench of the Supreme Court.

The range of projects cleared in one fell swoop is also unprecedented—from permitting the axing of ancient ‘heritage trees’ in West Bengal to the destruction of evergreen forests that protect the coastal line of Tamil Nadu to the felling of Class 3 trees (whatever that may mean) in Himachal Pradesh to taking a wishy-washy stand on the steady stream of encroachments in India’s premier Periyar Tiger Reserve. Earlier orders delivered by the green bench on these very matters were overturned by Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Vikram Nath. https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/amp/story/opinion/green-bench-grey-future-supreme-courts-green-bench-clears-118-pending-projects  (25 Feb. 2023)

Haryana ‘Isn’t inaction a collusion with violators?’ NGT pulled up the SPCB regarding the shortage of staff and inaction against violators, asking it to “explain as to why inaction on account of alleged shortage of staff as well as strengthening of laboratories and monitoring capabilities be not treated as collusion with polluters”. The tribunal also asked the pollution board why environmental compensation “be not imposed upon them and/or criminal action be not directed, under environmental laws, against them”. It asked SPCB to file a response in two months. The next hearing is on April 24.

The bench of NGT judicial members Sudhir Agarwal and expert member A. Senthil Vel made the observations on Monday while hearing a petition filed by Varun Gulati, a Delhi-based environmentalist. Gulati had alleged that SPCB was unable to take action against violators because of acute shortage of staff.

According to petition filed by Varun Gulati, a Delhi-based environmentalist, there are 481 sanctioned posts in HSPCB, but only 178 of them are filled across the 22 districts of the state. “No reason has been assigned either by the State of Haryana or SPCB as to why vacant posts are not being filled in to have an effective control over polluters who are causing pollution and affecting not only the environment but also the health of people,” the petition read. TOI had reported earlier that 63% of posts in HSPCB were yet to be filled. The vacancies range from chief scientific officers (the state has none now) to senior scientists (9), assistants (36) and clerks (35). Of the 230 positions for officers, 71% are lying vacant. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/ngt-pulls-up-pollution-board-isnt-inaction-a-collusion-with-violators/articleshow/98136909.cms  (22 Feb. 2023)

Karnataka The Greenwash SPCB is reeling under a severe human resource crunch with more than 50% of its scientific and technical posts lying vacant. Over 60% of administrative posts are not filled as well. As per the performance audit report by the CPCB, while SPCB has 682 sanctioned posts, only 297 posts are occupied. The audit report prepared in compliance with the orders of 2019 by the NGT clearly states that the state pollution watchdog is under acute shortage of regular human resources in relation to the number of consented industries, local bodies, and other related functions of the board.

While the total number of sanctioned posts for scientific and technical roles is 411, as many as 216 posts are lying vacant and while the total number of sanctioned administrative posts is 271, 169 posts have not been filled. The board depends on temporary project staff for the majority of its workload. Experts said the board is facing a great challenge owing to manpower shortage and this is apparent in the way it has been functioning. They said the norms and procedures laid down by the CPCB to prevent any form of pollution are not being adhered to.

The audit report which was published in August 2021 recommended that the SPCB hire 56 % of the total sanctioned posts lying vacant, adding that the state government should grant necessary approvals for the recruitment of regular/permanent staff required at the board. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/cover-story/the-greenwash/articleshow/98130552.cms  (22 Feb. 2023)


India-Pakistan Could focus on climate ease water woes? Ahmad Rafay Alam, a Pakistani environmental lawyer and activist, said reopening the treaty is unlikely given Pakistan’s multiplying concerns and the two nations’ mutual suspicions. “But I understand (Pakistan’s) Ministry of Foreign Affairs is preparing a reply,” he said, adding that it was unlikely to be public as the government did not publish such documents.

– Yet India has yet to cite the climate or environment in any discussions around the treaty and that is unlikely to change, said Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of the New Delhi-based South Asia Network of Dams, Rivers and People, a research group. “The way it has panned out … with all the hostilities and lack of trust from both sides, there is little chance of an agreement on dispute resolution bilaterally,” he added. https://www.context.news/climate-risks/could-focus-on-climate-ease-water-woes-between-india-and-pakistan  (23 Feb. 2023)

Report 14 Indian states vulnerable to climate hazards Among the world’s top 100 the most risky states/ provinces from climate change perspective, the top three countries are: China (29), US (18) and India (14). The Indian states include Bihar (22), UP (25), Assam (28), Rajasthan (32), TN (36), Mah (38), Gujarat (44), Punjab (48), Karnataka (50) and Mp (52). The survey looked at distribution of at risk economic assets and based on that decided the top 100 such assets. One of the objective is to ensure that every investment decision is made in climate resilient way. In many high risk areas, property values are coming down and insurance rates are going up.

– It is surprising that none of the Himalayan states of India, including Uttarakhand, Himachal, J&K or North East states (except Assam) are included in top ten Indian states in this list. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/karnataka-tamil-nadu-among-14-indian-states-vulnerable-to-climate-hazards-report-1193059.html  (20 Feb. 2023)

Study Himalayan snow is turning black, melting faster Abhilash Panicker, a senior scientist at IITM, told TOI, “The high rate of BC influx during June, September and October in 2019 was attributed to its transport from the polluted IGP region, wildfires, and vehicular emissions in the valley. The long-range transport of BC aerosols from Punjab, Haryana, Pakistan and the Middle East also contributes to BC presence over the study region. Higher influx was further linked to biomass burning, especially wood-burning, during intense forest fires at the slopes of the mountains.”

Another study published this year, led by Dr Vijayakumar S Nair from the Space Physics Laboratory at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, has echoed that snow darkening due to aerosol deposition accelerates seasonal snowmelt over the Himalayas. It said that aerosol influx can shift Himalayan snowmelt timing by over 20 days, while aerosol-induced surface warming can increase the occurrence of snowmelt extremes by almost twice during melting season. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/himalayan-snow-is-turning-black-melting-faster-iitm/articleshow/98075481.cms  (20 Feb. 2023)


IWT India & Pakistan are playing a dangerous game Indian officials have now threatened to disregard any interim findings of the arbitration court (set up by the World Bank on Kishanganga and Ratle projects as per request of Pakistan) amid their demand to modify the treaty.

– India has made its demand to modify the treaty through the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC), the bilateral body which implements the treaty and discusses problems. This suggests that the Indian government has intentions beyond rhetorical grandstanding, as neither side has previously used the formal mechanism of the PIC to call for changes to the treaty text itself… But if India wants Pakistan to agree to new terms that favor India, when Pakistan is already fighting hard to prevent India from gaining advantages under the current terms, what realistic incentive is there for Pakistan to come to the negotiating table?

The Baglihar Hydroelectric Power Project on the Chenab River in Jammu and Kashmir, India. March 25, 2015. (International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development / Flickr/USIP)

– Of course, Indian leaders might be betting that their upstream advantage over Pakistan, coupled with a good dose of bellicosity, will scare Islamabad into submission. They might even be looking for an excuse to repudiate the treaty and press on with upstream project development, willing to accept whatever reputational cost might follow.

– So, the chances that Pakistan will agree to make substantive modifications to the treaty right now are slim. It is also unlikely that India will seek to unilaterally axe the treaty. It seems more likely that India is using the Permanent Indus Commission to express displeasure to Pakistan, and perhaps to the World Bank — trying to show that is losing patience both with Pakistan’s objections and what India sees as the Bank’s refusal to back India’s position.

– If the 90-day deadline which India has set passes without a Pakistani response, India will have to take some kind of action or risk looking weak… Perhaps New Delhi would declare itself free to press ahead with upstream construction, undermining the treaty even if the text does not change… One hopes that New Delhi has not boxed itself into a dangerous corner. https://www.usip.org/publications/2023/02/india-and-pakistan-are-playing-dangerous-game-indus-basin  (23 Feb. 2023)

Pakistan and India are set to initiate on February 27 the legal battle on the designs of 330 MW Kishenganga and 850 MW Ratle Hydropower projects before the Neutral Expert (NE), the international forum located in The Hague. The NE was constituted by the World Bank at the desire of New Delhi. “Pakistan’s delegation, headed by the secretary Water Resources Ministry and comprising Pakistan’s commissioner of Indus Waters, top officials of the Attorney General’s Office and a team of international lawyers hired by the Government of Pakistan would advocate the country’s case.” The NE proceedings to finalise the rules of procedures will continue for two days (February 27-28) on how to advance the legal fight on the designs of both the projects. India has built the Kishenganga project on Jhelum and is planning to build the Ratle on Chenab river.

– The World Bank on Oct 17 2022 appointed Sean Murphy as chairman of the Court of Arbitration (CoA) and Michel Lino as the Neutral Expert.

– Pakistan has raised three objections to the Kishanganga project’s design, saying that the pondage of the project is 7.5 million cubic meters, which is excessive and it should be one million cubic meters. Pakistan also wants India to raise the intake by up to 1-4 meters and also raise the spillways up to nine meters high.

– On the issue of the Ratle Hydropower plant, Islamabad raised four objections. Pakistan wants India to maintain the freeboard at one meter whereas India wants to keep it at two meters. In addition, India wants to keep the pondage of 24 million cubic meters but Pakistan wants it to be restricted to eight million cubic meters. Pakistan also wants the intake of the project should be raised by up to 8.8 meters and its spillways should be raised by up to 20 meters. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/1044675-kishenganga-and-ratle-projects-pakistan-india-face-off-before-neutral-expert-today  (27 Feb. 2023)

New Delhi has more or less made up its mind that as far as the ongoing Court of Arbitration (CoA) proceedings related to the Kishanganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects are concerned, it will not accept any interim measure or ex-parte decision. Under IWT provisions, the CoA consists of seven arbitrators, where two are appointed by India and Pakistan each. India has not appointed its two arbitrators so far. https://theprint.in/india/why-indias-unlikely-to-accept-any-interim-arbitration-decision-on-indus-waters-treaty-projects/1384918/  (20 Feb. 2023)

India-Nepal agreements on power trade, transmission, including about 50 MW of Power export from Nepal to Bangladesh. https://kathmandupost.com/national/2023/02/19/nepal-and-india-agree-to-increase-power-trade-build-more-cross-border-power-lines  (20 Feb. 2023)

Nepal is preparing a MoU in which India’s hydroelectric major NHPC will collaborate with state-run VUCL to develop a 480 MW semi-reservoir hydropower project in the western part of the country at an estimated cost of Rs 92 billion, an official said on Friday (Feb. 24). https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/power/nepal-preparing-mou-with-nhpc-and-state-run-vucl-to-develop-hydropower-project/articleshow/98216739.cms   (24 Feb. 2023)

Nepal High & dry Most of the country has remained dry this year in last five months since mid Oct 2022. The Meteorological Forecasting Division predicts that the dry spell will continue for at least two more weeks. In that case, this winter will be the driest in decades.

– Nepal’s Department of Hydrology and Meteorology had used computer modelling to predict this winter’s drought due to the Pacific Lala Nina effect, and a Polar Vortex pushing the jetstream north of the Himalaya. Says Binod Pokhrel, meteorologist at Tribhuvan University: “The westerlies that were supposed to bring winter rain in January vanished along the way. The seasonal forecast also shows that there won’t be much precipitation in the March either, this increase wildfire risk.” Hydroelectricity production has fallen by 72% compared to last year because of reduced flow on rivers. https://www.nepalitimes.com/banner/high-and-dry/  (21 Feb. 2023)


Europe braces for severe drought amid winter heatwave But an exceptionally warm and dry start to the year is affecting a swath of Europe, including central and southwest France, northern Spain and northern Italy. There are concerns for what this might mean for water supplies.

France, which is experiencing its driest stretch in more than 60 years, may soon bring in water restrictions. The country “suffered a series of 32 consecutive days without any significant rainfall from January 21 to February 21,” Simon Mittelberger, a climatologist at Météo-France, told CNN – the longest stretch since records began in 1959.

In Italy, some of country’s most famous bodies of water are drying up. It is now also a lot harder to take a water taxi in Venice, as some of its canals have become too shallow to keep gondolas afloat, in part, because of a lack of rainfall. The city which has long feared flooding is now grappling with the opposite problem.

The bed of the Issole River sits completely dry at Flassans-sur-Issole, in southeastern France, on February 23. Lauren Coust/Abaca/Sipa/AP

In Spain, which experienced its hottest year on record last year, there are concerns about water supplies. “We cannot guarantee water supply for drinking water or for economic uses by relying exclusively on rain,” Teresa Ribera, Minister for the Ecological Transition recently said at a press conference. Dry weather in Spain is also threatening the country’s prized jamón ibérico bellota, as low rainfall and rising temperatures affect the acorns eaten by the pigs.

While Europe has previously been blighted by summer droughts, experts fear the exceptionally dry last two months may signal a new reality, caused in part by rising average global temperatures. “These conditions were rare in the past, but climate change is altering precipitation regimes over Europe and making these extremes more recurrent and intense,” Andrea Toreti, a climatologist at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, told CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2023/02/24/europe/europe-winter-drought-rivers-climate-intl/index.html  (24 Feb. 2023)

France is preparing to introduce restrictions on water use in parts of the country from March, in an unprecedented move for the time of year following the driest winter in 64 years, environment minister Christophe Bechu said on Wednesday. France has recorded 32 days without rain, weather forecaster Meteo-France said.  

Meteo-France said the rainfall for the next three months would be crucial for groundwater and rivers returning to their usual levels ahead of the summer. Since August 2021, all months but three have had a rain deficit.

Hydro stocks are low in France compared to last year, the second lowest over ten years, and the quantity of snow in the Alps is also low in comparison with 2022, which was a particularly dry year. “Overall, we expect low hydro power production and river levels lower for the spring and summer,” Jean-Paul Harreman, director of EnAppSys BV consultancy said.  https://www.indiatoday.in/environment/story/france-eyes-unprecedented-water-curbs-after-driest-winter-since-1959-2338428-2023-02-23  (23 Feb. 2023)

Italy To make matters worse, Italy’s largest lake, Lake Garda, is also suffering from low water levels. Some experts suggest that the region hasn’t been able to recuperate from the after-effects of last year’s drought. In 2022, Italy experienced its worst drought in 70 years, with authorities declaring a state of emergency in five northern areas: Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-climate/why-venice-canals-drying-explained-8461784/  (23 Feb. 2023)


South Africa Dam Floods? Residents blame Rand water, DWS for man made Vaal floods Some of the residents affected by the recent floods in the Vaal have described the surge of water as man-made. Twelve of the Vaal Dam’s sluice gates were opened at the weekend, after it was filled following continued bouts of heavy rains. The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) said this was to relieve water pressure after heavy rainfall caused dams that feed into the Vaal and Orange river systems to overflow. On Friday (Feb 17, 2023), the DWS urged farming communities along the river system to take measures to protect human life and livestock and avoid damage to property as rapidly rising water levels were anticipated. https://ewn.co.za/2023/02/20/residents-blame-rand-water-for-man-made-vaal-floods  (20 Feb. 2023)

USA How weather forecasts can help dams supply more water Lake Mendocino is the first and, as yet, only reservoir in the country authorized to use weather forecasts in making decisions about when to keep and when to release water. The idea is that when a forecast is dry, an operator can safely keep more water in a reservoir. When the forecast is wet, they can cut into stores normally reserved for water supply to make space for the coming rain. “It’s all about the timing, and forecasts give you time,” says Cary Talbot, a researcher at the Army Engineer Research and Development Center.

Lake Oroville depleted by drought, October 2014. RICH PEDRONCELLI / AP PHOTO

–  Lake Mendocino increased the water it stored by nearly 20 percent in its first two years. A retrospective study of the reservoir’s operations between 1985 and 2010 found water storage would have been 33 percent higher on average at the end of the flood season if forecasts had been in use.

– In addition to their work at Lake Mendocino, the Army Corps of Engineers, along with researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and other partners, are studying the approach at four other reservoirs within their jurisdiction in California and Washington, including Lake Oroville, which is held back by the country’s tallest dam. These projects will support a process starting this year to consider using weather forecasts at more than 700 other dams the Army Corps operates across the United States, a few of which are among the nation’s largest.

– Without reliable forecasts, dams operated by the Corps were required by law to be managed only using data on streamflow, snowpack, and actual precipitation — water on the ground. The caution was justified, says Cary Talbot, a researcher at the Army Engineer Research and Development Center. “Dams are dangerous. They have the potential to kill people and cause tremendous damage.”

– At Lake Mendocino, a wet 2012 winter saw three atmospheric rivers fill the reservoir above flood levels. As required by the reservoir’s control manual, operators released the additional water in case another storm came through, but no more big rains came that year or the next. “The reservoir never rebounded,” says Ralph. The Corps was “pretty well criticized” by politicians for relying on out-of-date manuals, says Sean Smith, the principal hydrologic engineer at the Corps. “Reservoir operations should be based on modern science and weather forecasts, not antiquated rulebooks,” U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) said at the time.

– Marty Ralph, a climate scientist at Scripps, where he directs the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, proposed to collaborate with the Army Corps of Engineers on what he termed “forecast informed reservoir operations,” or “FIRO.” The project would involve research to improve forecasts of atmospheric rivers, and then use those improved forecasts to change how California reservoirs are operated. He says the Corps was interested in the idea, but it was slow to catch on.

– In 2016, Congress changed the law to give the Army Corps permission to consider weather forecasts at the reservoirs it manages. But before forecasts could safely be used, individual dams would have to be studied to make sure the approach was safe and that weather forecasts were reliable enough in that area.

– Lake Mendocino was the first to be studied. Detailed analyses of the weather forecasts and hydrology there found that a reliable forecast five days out would give operators enough time ahead of a heavy storm to release any additional water and for that water to make it past flood-prone areas downstream. In 2019 and 2020, Lake Mendocino’s first two years operating with forecasts, the reservoir stored 19 percent more water than it would have without using forecasts, enough to supply around 30,000 households for a year. The successful test at Lake Mendocino led to projects at four other reservoirs in California and Washington, which will test the use of forecasts in areas more affected by snowmelt, with more complex systems of reservoirs, or with greater flood risk downstream. https://e360.yale.edu/features/us-dams-weather-forecasts-drought-rain-climate-change  (23 Feb. 2023)

Study Rethinking river temperature in changing, human-dominated world

Red text indicates that the human influence results in an increase in maximum river temperatures, while blue text indicates a decrease in maximum river temperature. Black text indicates that influences cause increase or decrease in river temperature depending on specific conditions/context.

Climate change and other human activities are modifying river water temperature globally. A more holistic understanding of river temperature dynamics in an integrated climate–land–hydrology–human framework is urgently needed for sustainable river management and adaptation strategies. https://www.nature.com/articles/s44221-023-00027-2   (22 Feb. 2023)

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

Also see: DRP News Bulletin 20 Feb. 2023 & DRP News Bulletin 13 Feb. 2023  

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

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