(Feature Image: Conserving water: A farm pond being dug at a village in Kattakkada. The Hindu, Aug. 2020)
The story of how Kattakada village, 20 km from Kerala state capital Thiruvananthapuram conserved its water over the last few years is possibly the best candidate this week from water related stories of India. The work in this village with initiative from local CPM MLA has lessons for not only villages and towns of Kerala but also across India. It has lead to tanker dependent village in semi critical groundwater zone to become a safe zone and independence from dependence on tankers.
There is a lot here for the government in Kerala and other states of India and also Union government to stop hankering for large destructive projects and in stead focus on local solutions.
Kerala Village sets model to overcome ground water scarcity Water conservation pits at all public institutions in the constituency, cleaning and maintenance of the wells and ponds, revival of paddy fields, improving the drains, setting up of check dams to slow down water flow and sourcing water from quarries were the major initiatives in Kattakada village in the suburbs of Thiruvanathapuram.
It was in 2017 that the project was initiated in this village 20 km from state capital. Pits with a capacity of 8,000 to 10,000 litres were taken close to existing wells in all public institutions in the region and the entire drain water was collected in these wells. All ponds in the regions were cleaned and inland fishing started in 116 ponds so as to ensure that the ponds remain clean. As many as 19,000 wells in the regions that used to dry up during summer were cleaned and recharged.
Drains and streams in the region were improved to ensure proper water flow and eight check dams were constructed to slow down water flow. Ground water level of the region is being continuously monitored by setting up scales in around 100 ponds. An automatic weather station was also set up in the region for rain estimation.
The net ground water availability of Kattakada region, about 20 km from Thiruvananthapuram city, has increased to 4,909.69 million cube metric (mcm) in 2020 from 4,241.93 mcm in 2017, while other nearby parts witnessed a fall during the period. The region that was earlier classified as ‘semi-critical’ for ground water availability is now a ‘safe-zone’.
A slew of water conservation measures initiated by the local MLA I B Sateesh of the CPM is considered to have delivered this positive trend, which is still being sustained. The Jalasamridhi project of Kattakada was initiated by the MLA by incorporating various government projects like Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. It is now being replicated at Thrithala in Palakkad district and Dharmadam in Kannur, which is the constituency of CM Pinarayi Vijayan. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/south/kerala-village-sets-model-to-overcome-ground-water-scarcity-1199109.html (11 March 2023)
HYDRO POWER PROJECTS
North East Citizens consultation calls for halting dam projects A consultation on the protection of indigenous peoples’ lands and human rights has called on the central and state governments to abandon plans for big dam projects that will disrupt the lives of the local populations in their catchment areas.
The consultation was organised by Manipur’s Centre for Research and Advocacy in collaboration with Tripura’s Borok Peoples Human Rights Organisation, Sikkim’s Affected Citizens of Teesta and Civil Society Women’s Organisation of Meghalaya. It was held in Imphal on March 4-5 2023. https://highlandpost.com/ne-consultation-calls-for-halting-dam-projects/ (06 March 2023)
Arunachal Pradesh Mishaps at Subansiri HEP site Over the past three years, nine mishaps were reported from the construction site of the Subansiri project at Gerukamukh, which occurred during the monsoon and pre-monsoon months, including landslides, damage to diversion tunnels, breaches in the coffer dyke, and the collapse of a guard wall to protect the powerhouse. Last March, three people were killed in separate incidents, which provoked a group of workers to burn an office at the site. Three months later, a worker lost his life when a steel rib fell on him from a headrace tunnel. These episodes prompted the Central Electricity Authority, the highest technical body under the Union power ministry, to dispatch a team to the site. Their report raised disturbing questions on safeguards in the project. It instructed NHPC to improve construction safety measures and re-evaluate the impact of river diversion on the slope stability of the surrounding mountains. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/companies/nhpc-allays-fears-over-indias-largest-hydroelectric-project-10220921.html (09 March 2023)
Etalin decision a chance to reduce harm of dams The news of the denial of clearance for Etalin is a reminder of too-often-forgotten uncomfortable truths about the chaos and destruction caused by hydropower projects. Mamang Dai, the Arunachal Pradesh-based novelist, poet and journalist, spoke for many across the state when she described the development brought by hydropower as “an invasion”, deploring the labelling of those who protest as “illiterate”.
– Organisations such as the Siang People’s Forum, Adi Student’s Union and Save Mon Region Federation have spearheaded an anti-dam movement and protests across the state.
– The rush to build large hydropower dams in Arunachal Pradesh clashes with India’s international aspirations. On 22 December, just a few days before the FAC refused forest clearance to Etalin, the world’s governments adopted the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, aiming to halt species extinction and loss of biodiversity. One of the agreements specifies that countries will “Ensure and enable that by 2030 at least 30 per cent of terrestrial, inland water, and of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services are effectively conserved and managed” while “recognising and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, including over their traditional territories.” Since Arunachal Pradesh, and the whole of the Eastern Himalayas, is considered one of the world’s ‘biodiversity hotspots’, policymakers need to carefully consider the sentiments of indigenous tribal communities while undertaking any kind of developmental project.
– The FAC decision is a welcome step. It not only limits the Etalin project, but also commits the government of Arunachal Pradesh to review already approved projects like the Dibang mega-dam project and diligently implement environmental impact assessments (EIAs) before applying for approval of any new projects in the state.
– As United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has pointed out, biodiversity is facing an existential threat as humanity continues to wage “war on nature”. In order to “make peace with nature”, it will be crucial to integrate biodiversity concerns into decision-making tools like EIAs. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/energy/opinion-etalin-decision-chance-to-reduce-harm-of-dams-arunachal-pradesh/ (10 March 2023)
Uttarakhand Ranjit Kumar Sinha, Secretary, Disaster Management, Uttarakhand, said roads were built and widened without any consideration for water channels, while huge colonies and Army bases were allowed to come up in the region.
He said the lines between man-made and natural disasters had blurred and before thinking about development, the dynamics of mountains and hills should be considered. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/lines-between-natural-and-man-made-disasters-blurred-uttarakhand-disaster-management-secretary/article66607506.ece (11 March 2023)
West Bengal In principle approval for 3 HEPs on TeestaA source said the Bengal government had given in-principle approval to the preparation of a detailed project report (DPR) on the Teesta Low Dam Project (TLDP) I & II, on the Bara Rangeet river, which will have a combined capacity to produce 71MW electricity. Similar approval has been given for a DPR on the Balason Hydro Electric Project (38MW) on the Balason and Rangbhang rivers, the source added.
“In-principle approval has been given also to prepare DPRs relating to 10 other small hydro projects. It, however, needs to be seen whether all these projects are feasible,” the source said. The TLDP I and II have generated much interest as the Bara Rangeet, on which they will come up, joins the Teesta which flows into Bangladesh. Dhaka has a right to a share of the Teesta’s waters. The treaty was to be signed in September 2011 but was stalled because of opposition from Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
River experts on the Indian side also believe that too much focus on using the Teesta for irrigation and energy generation might kill the river. The justification for completing the two canals to meet Indian irrigation needs is overstated, an expert said, referring to how the Teesta’s waters have proved inadequate to feed to capacity even the existing irrigation channels in the region.
A river expert, however, asked whether hydropower projects can be called “green” in view of the Joshimath disaster. He said it was “sad” that state governments and central agencies like the NHPC, which is using the Teesta waters to generate hydropower in Sikkim, are going ahead with their own hydel projects without enough consultations with each other. “The problem is, there is very little discussion on how to save the river,” the expert said. https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/bengals-teesta-hydel-plan-ache-for-dhaka/cid/1922052 (13 March 2023)
MoEF Key decisions from minutes of the EAC on River Valley Committee meeting held on Feb 15 2023:
1. 1260 MW (revised capacity) Saundatti HEP Integrated Renewable Energy with Pumped Storage Project at village Karlakatti, Tehsil Saundatti, District Belgaum (Karnataka) by Greenko Solar Energy Pvt. Ltd. – Amendment/ correction in Env Clearance: APPROVED
2. 3660 MW (revised capacity, up from 3000 MW for which TOR given in Jan 2022) Greenko UP01 Off-Stream Closed Loop Pumped Storage Project at Village Gurar, Tehsil Robertsganj, District Sonbhadra (Uttar Pradesh) by Greenko Energies Private Limited – Amendment in Terms of Reference: APPROVED
3. 1440 MW Malshej Ghat Bhorande Pumped Storage Project at Village Adoshi & Bhorande, Tehsil Junnar & Murbad, District Pune & Thane (Mah) by Adani Green Energy Limited – Terms of Reference: APPROVED
4. Basin Wise Re-assessment of Hydroelectric Potential in the country, draft report of Indus Basin: Comments given.
5. Cumulative Impact Assessment and Carrying Capacity Study (CIA & CCS) of Yamuna River Basin in Himachal Pradesh by Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Dehradun – Terms of Reference: Additional TORs suggested
6. Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) and Carrying Capacity Study (CCS) of Hydroelectric projects in Sutlej River Basin in Himachal Pradesh including less than 10 MW projects—reconsideration of the draft Report: Govt of HP to discuss with ICFRE https://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/0503202372362664Approved_MOM_41_EAC_river_15_02_2023(2).pdf
Polavaram Project Diaphragm wall repair works begin With the DDRP giving its nod, work commenced on March 8 2023 by filling Gap-1 and Gap-2 with sand before proceeding with concrete work. The entire repair work would be monitored by the DDRP. In an official release, chief general manager of the Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Limited (MEIL) M. Muddu Krishna said that the work on the earth-cum-rock fill dam would continue soon after completion of the repairs to the diaphragm wall. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/diaphragm-wall-repair-works-begin-at-polavaram-irrigation-project-site-in-andhra-pradesh/article66595113.ece (08 March 2023)
“Nearly 10 lakh cubic metres of sand is required to fill up one scour and nearly one month is needed to complete it. There are three scours between Gap 1 and 2. The scour pits are expected to be filled by the end of April and thereafter vibro compaction will be done to strengthen the area,” Polavaram project Chief Engineer B Sudhakar Babu told TNIE.
– After the sand is filled in the scour pits, which are so deep that even a 10-storey building can be kept in them, the vibro compaction method will be used to strengthen the filled portion of the area.The entire area will be divided into a 50×50 grid for the propose. Already two rigs are stationed at the project site and another five rigs are being brought by March 20.
– “The scour pits are at the depth of -10 to -12 level and they have to be brought to +14 level, that is river bed level. On an average, difference of 20-23 levels have to be covered before taking up construction of a new diaphragm wall,” he said.
– During 2019-20 floods, diaphragm wall of the Polavaram project was damaged. Out of 1,400 metres length of the diaphragm wall, 180 metres extent was damaged on the left side and around 200 metres on the right side. “We have to construct another diaphragm wall parallel to the damaged portion of the D-wall. It should be more than what was damaged. We will be constructing around 500 metres of parallel D-wall in parts covering the damaged portion. This will be carried out after firming up the river bed, where it was scoured during the floods,” he explained. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2023/mar/09/sand-filling-of-scours-begins-at-polavaram-in-andhra-pradesh-2554509.html (09 March 2023)
Maharashtra Govt to set up SWIC for co-ordination of water resource data The Govt has initiated the process of setting up State Water Informatics Centre (SWIC) on the lines of National Water Informatics Centre (NWIC). According to the order issued by the Water Resources Department (WRD), it will be the nodal department for establishment of SWIC in Maharashtra, and the Chief Engineer (Hydrology and Dam Safety), Nashik will be the Nodal Agency. Water Supply and Sanitation Department, and Soil and Water Conservation Department, will be the supporting departments. All the other line departments and organisations shall collaborate with the SWIC. The State Water Informatics Centre is expected to act as a dedicated organisation for co-ordination, collection, and dissemination of water resources data of Maharashtra with support and guidance from NWIC. https://www.thehitavada.com/Encyc/2023/2/27/State-to-set-up-Water-Informatics-Centre-for-co-ordination-of-water-resource-data.html (27 Feb. 2023)
NBA बांध तो नहीं रुका, लेकिन क्या आंदोलन भी असफल रहा? द्वारा आशीष कोठारी करीब चार दशकों के लंबे अनुभव में ‘नर्मदा बचाओ आंदोलन’ को अपनी सफलता-असफलता के सवालों का सामना करते रहना पडा है। एक तरफ घाटी में प्रस्तावित बांध बनते रहे हैं, लेकिन दूसरी तरफ आंदोलन, अपनी स्थानीय, सीमित ताकत और प्रभाव से लेकर प्रदेश, देश की सीमाओं को लांघकर अंतरराष्ट्रीय हुआ है। क्या कहेंगे, इसे? https://www.spsmedia.in/dam-and-displacement/narmada-dam-did-not-stop-but-was-movement-also-unsuccessful/ (07 March 2023)
INTERLINKING OF RIVERS
SANDRP Blog Poster child for Interlinking follies: Damanganga-Vaitarna-Godavari project Pictures above have been taken two weeks apart. One would think River Interlinking entails transferring water from the bountiful right to thirsty left.
In case of Damanganga-Vaitarna-Godavari Link, it means the opposite: transferring water from dry Mokhada to the verdant Devnadi in Sinnar. Like many ILR projects, it highlights the farce that is “surplus” and “deficit” basins. More rainfall does not secure water access, nor does moderate rainfall negate it. https://sandrp.in/2023/03/09/poster-child-for-interlinking-follies-damanganga-vaitarna-godavari-project/ (09 March 2023)
Godavari-Krishna-Cauvery Link ‘No issue with river linking if Telangana share is safe’ The taskforce committee on interlinking of rivers said the water allocated to both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh would not be touched at all in the interlinking of river projects. Taskforce committee chairman Sriram Vedire said unutilised waters of other states such as Chhattisgarh will be utilised and the Centre will obtain the appropriate legal sanctions and build a consensus among the states including Chhattisgarh before taking up the project.
– The 17th taskforce meeting on interlinking of river was held in Hyderabad on Monday, which is working under the National Water Development Agency (NWDA), GOI. While the taskforce has been working on top five priority links, Telangana is concerned about Godavari-Krishna-Penna and Cauvery link and detailed project reports have already been prepared for Godavari (Inchampalli)-Krishna (Nagarjuna Sagar), Pennar (Somasila) and Cauvery (Grand Anicut). Telangana government said Chhattisgarh should have been invited for the meeting as the link contemplates to utilise the unutilised waters of that state. Telangana officials said they have submitted DPRs of various projects and requested their projects be cleared by the Central Water Commission (CWC) and ministry of jal shakti at the earliest. The officials said they will support the inter-linking project once the DPRs for Telangana projects were approved. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/no-issue-with-river-linking-if-telangana-share-is-safe/articleshow/98463902.cms (07 March 2023)
The 17th meeting of the Task Force for Interlinking of Rivers (TFILR) held here on Monday proposed to give a package to Chhattisgarh, if it forgoes its rights over 141 tmcft unutilised water in Godavari for Godavari-Cauvery river linking project. The TFILR proposed to offer hydel power or others as a package for that State. There might be indirect benefits to Chhattisgarh, once it is agreed to give 141 tmcft unutilised water of Godavari, TFILR chairman Sriram Vedire said after the meeting. “As the TFILR cannot take a decision, the proposal for a package for Chhattisgarh will be placed before the Union Cabinet,” Sriram said. Before that officials would hold discussions with Chhattisgarh officials to prevail upon them for the project.
– The TFILR proposed to construct a barrage at Inchampally in Telangana as off take point for Godavari-Cauvery link. However, Telangana officials wanted to take Sammakka barrage as off take point. Constructing a new barrage at Inchampally would adversely affect the operation of Medigadda barrage and Sammakka barrage, the TS officials said. The TS officials also wanted to give 50% share in 141 tmcft water to be diverted through the link, as vast extent of TS’ land would be submerged. The TFILR has decided to take up this issue with the Jal Shakti Ministry.
– AP officials proposed to take Polavaram as off take point. They proposed to divert Godavari waters from Polavaram to Nagarjuna Sagar Project. “If necessary, water from Nagarjuna Sagar can be diverted to Srisailam in reverse pumping method,” they suggested. However, Sriraim said they could not divert water from Polavaram, as Telangana would not get the benefit from Godavari-Cauvery link project. That was why they proposed Inchampally as off take point to benefit the TS, he added.
– As per the revised estimates, the 1,211-km long Godavari (Inchampalli barrage)-Cauvery (Grand Anicut) link’s estimated cost is Rs 39,274.92 crore. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2023/mar/07/chhattisgarh-to-get-packagefor-losing-godavari-water-share-2553905.html (07 March 2023)
On Telangana’s suggestion to invite Chhattisgarh for the meeting since the plan was to utilise its unutilised share of that State, Chairman of the ILR Task Force said it was not necessary since the Union government would deal with that State at an appropriate forum. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/no-tapping-allocated-shares-of-godavari-water-to-ts-ap-in-river-linking-project/article66587726.ece (06 March 2023)
Bharat Dogra elaborates on need or protection and rejuvenation of the Bundelkhand tanks rather than going for destructive Ken Betwa Link project. https://countercurrents.org/2023/03/rejuvenation-of-small-water-bodies-the-key-to-ending-water-scarcity-in-bundelkhand/ (09 March 2023)
Kerala Demolition of check-dams at MLA’s resort begins After five years of court battle, the environmentalists can finally celebrate victory as the authorities started demolishing the 4 illegally constructed check-dams at the PVR Nature Resort in Kakkadampoyil on Monday (Feb. 13). On Feb. 01, the High Court ordered the demolition of the dams at the resort owned by LDF MLA PV Anwar within a month. The court also ordered contempt of court proceedings against the district collector for not demolishing the check-dams in the resort built in 2017 at an altitude of 3000 feet above sea level. The water theme park is located in an extremely ecologically sensitive area and the construction of three concrete dams plus one earthen embankment, constructed without any permission blocked the natural flow of water to the Iruvazhinji River, according to environmentalists who challenged the construction in the court.
Murugesh Narendran, a planter, and industrialist filed the first complaint against the dams with the Chairman of the Disaster Management Authority, Kozhikode, demanding that the barriers be demolished, pointing out the construction of barricades without permission and the possibility of disasters. He pointed out that the barricades against the flow of water were built in the high-hazard zone which is the area of landslides. This was followed by KV Jiju, a native of Kakadampoyil, who filed a complaint with the Koodaranji Panchayat Secretary in 2018, asking to take action against the dams and the resort. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2023/feb/14/demolition-of-check-dams-at-anwars-resort-begins-after-fiveyears-of-legal-battle-2547190.html (14 Feb. 2023)
A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court has upheld a single judge’s directive to the Kozhikode District Collector to demolish the check dams illegally constructed on the property of PVR Natural Resort owned by Nilambur MLA P.V. Anwar at Kakkadampoyil in Kozhikode. Dismissing an appeal filed against a single judge’s order upholding the Collector’s directive the Bench headed by Chief Justice S. Manikumar said it was clear that the Collector had complied with the principles of natural justice and it was after taking into account the attendant circumstances and providing an opportunity of hearing affected parties that the order was passed. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/hc-upholds-directive-to-demolish-check-dams/article66462927.ece (02 Feb. 2023)
Rajasthan 1 करोड़ से बन रहे स्टॉप डेम की रिटर्निंग वॉल का घटिया निर्माण घाटी नीचे क्षेत्र में जारौली के पास क्वारी नदी के घाट पर बनाए गए स्टॉप डेम की रिटर्निंग वॉल का निर्माण जल संसाधन विभाग द्वारा ठेकेदार रवि राजावत से कराया जा रहा है, जिस पर तकरीबन एक करोड़ की राशि खर्च हो रही है। लेकिन ठेकेदार द्वारा इसका अत्यंत घटिया निर्माण कराया जा रहा है। एक तो इसमें चंबल नदी के प्रतिबंधित रेत का उपयोग हो रहा है, दूसरा जो सीमेंट लगाई जा रही है वह ‘सी ग्रेड’ है। विभाग के इंजीनियर निर्माण स्थल पर जाकर काम की गुणवत्ता तक चेक नहीं कर रहे।
यहां बता दें कि क्वारी नदी पर बने इस स्टॉप डैम का निर्माण 2021 में ही कंप्लीट हो चुका था। उस वक्त भी स्टॉप डैम की गुणवत्ता की जांच नहीं कराई गई। नतीजतन पिछले साल क्वारी नदी में आई बाढ़ में स्टॉप डैम बुरी तरह से क्षतिग्रस्त हो गया और इसकी रिटर्निंग वॉल पानी के साथ बह गई। अब जल संसाधन विभाग ने दोबारा एक करोड़ रुपए की लागत से इसकी रिटर्निंग वॉल का निर्माण कार्य स्वीकृत किया है। लेकिन ठेकेदार द्वारा वाल की नींव डेढ़ फुट की गहराई पर खुदाई कर बनाई जा रही है, जिसमें सी-ग्रेड सीमेंट लगाई जा रही है। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/morena/news/poor-construction-of-the-returning-wall-of-the-stop-dam-being-built-from-1-crore-c-grade-cement-being-applied-with-the-sand-of-chambal-130930835.html (17 Feb. 2023)
Mithi; Mumbai WRI identifies 5 spaces to help mitigate floods In a recent observation, the World Resources Institute (WRI) has identified five open spaces along the bank of Mithi river between Powai and Marol, which could be transformed into open urban spaces, bringing a solution towards flood mitigation in Mumbai. The WRI is set to submit the observation to the BMC, said WRI officials. WRI India is the knowledge partner to the BMC for the climate action plan of which urban flooding is a critical part.
Dr Kartiki Naik, programme manager of WRI, said, “At present, the authorities are implementing conventional flood mitigation methods like desilting or constructing a retaining wall along the banks of the river. These methods often contradict one another. Hence, we can make optimum use of the available land at the river bank in a way that could serve as a buffer zone for accumulated flood water.”
The report authored by Naik, along with Sahil Kanekar and Abhijit Waghre from WRI, said: “Along the course of the river, downstream of Powai Garden, the river passes through a natural, uninhabited area, and yet it is channelised. Instead, the river could be allowed to swell during heavy rainfall… to accommodate excess stormwater in floodable riverbanks. Such riverbanks, if naturalised, have the potential to improve accessibility to the river, biodiversity and habitat creation and river water quality in addition to stormwater management.” https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/wri-identifies-5-open-spaces-along-mithi-river-to-help-mitigate-floods-8481081/ (07 March 2023)
Bengaluru This self-explanatory infographic shows the surface hydrology of Anekal Taluk– Chinnar River, lakes & stream network of both Dakshina Pinakini & Arkavathi River Basin overlaid on topography.
Karnataka Experts’ panel finds major flaws in Hubballi-Ankola rly line plan A 7 member expert com constituted by the NBWL has said that the proposed Hubbali Ankola rainlway line should not be considered in present form. It will require many more than the suggested 2.2 lakh trees, more forerst land that 595.64 ha forest land given in the proposal and adversely impact the Gangavali and Bedthi rivers hydrologically. It will also make the area landslide prone. Ten committees have looked into the proposal between 2002 and 2022 and all of them have rejected the proposal. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/experts-panel-finds-major-flaws-in-hubballi-ankola-rly-line-plan-1198652.html (09 March 2023)
Madhya Pradesh Chambal River Gorge, an attraction like no other The Chambal River Gorge is one of the least visited places in Madhya Pradesh, and maybe because of that, the beauty of the place is still intact. Stunning landscape with steep cliffs and rock formations, as well as rich biodiversity, including several endangered species such as the gharial crocodile, the Gangetic dolphin, and the Indian skimmer bird, Chambal River Gorge is a gem of a destination. It is safe to say that the region is not only picture-perfect, but it also supports a rich variety of flora and fauna.
Apart from its natural beauty and wildlife, the Chambal River Gorge also has a rich cultural heritage. One of the most striking tourist attractions here is the Garadia Mahadev Temple (Kota, Rajasthan). The view of the Chambal river and the gorge from the temple is a sight to behold. The 16th century Chambal Fort is another major attraction in the region. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/travel/destinations/chambal-river-gorge-an-attraction-like-no-other-in-madhya-pradesh/articleshow/98584424.cms (12 March 2023)
Bihar WR minister has written to Union Jal Shakti Minister to constitute Kosi Development Commission as per directions of Patna HC in a petition regarding Kosi floods. https://www.prabhatkhabar.com/state/bihar/sanjay-jha-raised-the-issue-of-formation-of-kosi-development-authority-said-center-should-implement-asj (07 March 2023)
NDMA New policy for displaced by annual river & coastal erosion drafted The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) received the final inputs on the draft of India’s first national policy for the mitigation and rehabilitation of the people affected by the river and coastal erosion. Mapping coastal and river erosion impacts and coming up with a database of diverse challenges confronted by the affected and vulnerable habitations. District disaster management authorities (DDMA) would be the nodal agency to implement the measures, aided by other district agencies and a specific panchayat-level committee.
– The DDMA will prepare mitigation and rehabilitation plans → SDMAs → NDMA → the home ministry will approve the disbursal of funds. A qualified disaster management professional must be included in all teams. Projects under NDRF and NDMF should be sanctioned in such a manner that they can be completed within the award period of the Commission. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/environment/new-policy-to-help-indian-communities-displaced-by-annual-river-coastal-erosion-drafted-87862 (22 Feb. 2023)
Delhi Water crisis may worsen as river levels drop further The officials said water level in the Yamuna has reached 671.7 feet, almost 2.8 feet below the normal levels of 674.5 ft at the Wazirabad barrage — considered the standard for measuring water in the river. Water level in the river had started dipping since February 25, when the first alert was issued by Delhi Jal Board (DJB). Low water levels had earlier hit production at the Wazirabad treatment plant, and now production at the Chandrawal plant has also been hit.
According to the DJB status report on March 6 2023 evening, the Wazirabad water treatment plant was operating at 60% capacity while the Chandrawal water treatment plant was working at 75% capacity. DJB operates nine treatment plants to meet the daily water demand in the capital. A senior DJB spokesperson said Yamuna continues to receive poor flow of raw water from Haryana which has led to an acute shortage of water in the Wazirabad pond.
Delhi primarily gets 40% raw water from Yamuna through Haryana and rest from Ganga from Uttar Pradesh and Bhakra Nangal from Punjab. The Wazirabad Barrage was built in 1959 on the Yamuna in north Delhi and it forms the primary holding area where raw water is lifted for Wazirabad and Chandrawal treatment plants. Of of the total 995 MGD of Delhi’s daily water supply– almost a quarter of the overall supply (over 230 MGD) is supplied by Chandrawal & Wazirabad plants. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/water-crisis-may-worsen-as-levels-in-yamuna-dip-further-2-plants-hit-101678133217882.html (7 Mar 2023)
Delhi Jal Board’s chairman Saurabh Bhardwaj told reporters. “But the situation at hand is not due to the heat but rampant illegal sand mining in Haryana. The sand mafia has created a series of bunds downstream of Yamunagar and it’s blocking the flow of water to Delhi,” he said. https://www.ptinews.com/news/north/water-crisis-in-delhi-due-to-rampant-sand-mining-in-yamuna-in-haryana-saurabh-bhardwaj/526821.html (07 March 2023)
भारद्वाज ने बताया कि दिल्ली के सिंघु बॉ र्डर से महज पांच से 10 किलोमीटर के दायरे में यमुना नदी से लगातार हरियाणा इलाके में रेत की तस्करी हो रही है। खनन माफिया पूरी तरह से सक्रिय है और लगातार यमुना से रेत का खनन कर इसका स्टॉक कर रहे हैं। खनन माफिया ने इसके लिए जगह-जगह बांध बनाकर पानी को रोका हुआ है, जिससे दिल्लीवासियों को जल संकट का सामना करना पड़ रहा है। https://www.hindusthansamachar.in/Encyc/2023/3/7/Delhi-is-not-getting-water-due-to-sand-mafia-AAP.php (07 March 2023)
DJB tries to map the locations along Yamuna from Yamunanagar to Sonipat where for illegal sand mining, flow of Yamuna water is being blocked by bunds and check dams, affecting Delhi’s water supply, besides by pollution. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/illegal-mining-in-haryana-impeding-yamuna-flow-says-delhi-in-fresh-row-101678211610777.html (08 March 2023)
The DPCC’s Feb report that is released once every two months shows currently, about 236 MGD of sewage is still untreated while only 530 MGD of sewage could be treated to as per the current installed capacity. In December 2022, there was a gap of 171 MGD. Currently, the estimated sewage generation in the city is 768 MGD while the installed treatment capacity is 632 MGD. There is a total of 35 STPs in the city at 20 locations, out of which 25 STPs did not meet the standards in Feb. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/more-waste-getting-into-yamuna-delhi-pollution-control-committe/articleshow/98574289.cms (12 Mar 2023)
With low water levels in the Yamuna and disruptions in water supply over the past week, residents in several parts of Delhi are beginning to dread about water shortages in smmer. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/delhi-water-woes-residents-ask-how-will-it-be-in-summer-8488149/ (10 March 2023)
Bihar Anthropogenic threats pose risk to Muggers in Rapti Anthropogenic threats like illegal fishing and sand mining pose a threat to the mugger crocodiles (Crocodylus plaustris) of the Rapti river flowing along the Chitwan National Park (CNP) in south-central Nepal, contiguous to the Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar, according to a recent study. The researchers found that there were 46 muggers in the stretch of the Rapti that they surveyed. The animals were most likely to be found on moderate or moderately steep banks of the river. A win-win conservation situation between vulnerable muggers and the local community is necessary for the viable and long-term conservation of muggers in the Rapti river. The scientists urged the authorities of CNP “to prioritise integrating local ethnic and river-dependent communities into effective conservation and management programmes with livelihood opportunities”. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-biodiversity/muggers-of-rapti-anthropogenic-threats-pose-risk-to-saurians-in-nepal-s-chitwan-national-park-says-study-88081 (6 Mar 2023)
Report 4 indigenous species that need conservation in 2023 Though Cheetah project got attention, and money, there are several species of birds, mammals and reptiles indigenous to India, threatened due to illegal hunting, habitat fragmentation, diseases etc., whose conservation requires a greater push in 2023, experts say.
Some of the reasons behind the decline in Gharial numbers include dams and barrages disrupting river hydrology, deaths because of fishing nets, and historically, unregulated hide-hunting. Currently, the serious threats to the Gharial population are increased river-bank disruptions, especially due to sand mining and boulder removal.
“During the next decade, Gharial will likely to go extinct from some of the minor or non-breeding sites, including three sanctuaries in India designed for their protection (Son, Ken, Satkosia Gorge), as well as the Padma-Jamuna, Brahmaputra-Meghna, and Bhagirathi-Hooghly river systems, based on the infrequent sightings in these regions,” warns the IUCN Red List 2017 assessment.
Choudhury believes the Gharial is a species of concern. “Year 2025 will be the 50th year of India’s crocodile conservation programme that focuses on the Gharial,” he says, adding that they have bred in captivity but that they are not monitored after being released in the wild. “Measures like effective monitoring in the wild are needed to study their survival.” https://www.indiaspend.com/special-reports/4-indigenous-species-in-india-that-need-conservation-efforts-in-2023-846850 (22 Dec. 2022)
FISH, FISHERIES, FISHERFOLKS
Maharashtra Dead fish thrown into bungalow of Sangli commissioner Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana workers threw dead fish into the premises of the Sangli commissioner’s bungalow on Dec. 10 2022 night and threatened to repeat the act at other govt establishments after thousands of fish were found dead in the Krishna river at Udgaon in Sangli earlier in the day. Residents said dead fish have been found floating on the surface of the river over the past two days due to the release of polluted and murky water into the river from the Sheri nullah of the Sangli Municipal Corp & a nearby sugar factory. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolhapur/dead-fish-thrown-into-bungalow-of-sangli-commissioner/articleshow/98575759.cms (12 March 2023)
After several reported fish death incidents in the Panchaganga, dead fish were seen floating in the Krishna river as well at Borgaon village, of Walva taluka, in Sangli district. The local residents pointed fingers at the discharge of contaminated water — from the industrial area in Islampur and two sugar factories in the surrounding villages — into the river over the past few days. Meanwhile, water hyacinth has also covered a section of the Krishna river in the Vai region in the Satara district. The entire river bank is clogged with hyacinth. There is also a stench in the area. The invasive species needs to be removed before it spreads in a large area and starts affecting aquatic life. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolhapur/fish-death-in-krishna-river-now-residents-blame-industrial-discharge/articleshow/97044914.cms (17 Jan. 2023)
Thousands of fish, small and big, were found dead in Krishna river at Ankali Bridge connecting Kolhapur and Sangli districts. The reason behind the deaths is unclear. MPCB officials visited the site, collected fish and water samples. Sangli’s environmental activist Amol Jadhav said, “The fish death is most likely due to the release of toxic effluent.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolhapur/sangli-city-to-face-supply-cuts-as-krishna-water-level-dips/articleshow/98554999.cms (11 March 2023)
SANDRP Blog 2023: Riverbed Mining Deaths & Violence in East India At least 124 people have lost lives in sand mining related accidents and violence in 5 states of Bihar (83), West Bengal (13), Odisha (04), Jharkhand (11) and Chhattisgarh (13) in East India during April 2022 and February 2023. The maximum deaths 49 have taken place in road accidents involving sand transporting vehicles followed by 40 deaths of workers in accidents at mining sites or during mining activities in rivers. There have been 25 deaths due to drowning in deep sand mine pits while infighting and gang wars among rival groups have led to death of 9 illegal sand miners in this period.
Of the total 124 deaths, 83 has happened in just one state of Bihar. The state has also accounted for 32 deaths due to mishaps at mining sites out of 40, 24 drowning deaths out of 25, nearly 40 percent of road accident deaths and 6 of gang war deaths out of total 9 in past 11 months. The death tolls from Bihar includes about 20 sand workers who went missing in 2 boat capsize incidents in August & October 2022 and we did not find follow up reports on final or actual status of these workers. https://sandrp.in/2023/03/08/2023-riverbed-mining-deaths-violence-in-east-india/ (08 March 2023)
West Bengal 3 children crushed to death during illegal mining in Siliguri Three children were crushed to death on March 6 at Siliguri while they were allegedly loading illegally-mined sand on a truck on the bed of a river. The incident happened at the bank of the Balason river in Tripalijot in Matigara police station area. The children had gone to mine sand in the river bed in the night and the vehicle overturned, resulting in the death of these children. One of the children, who was injured in the accident and has been admitted in a hospital, said that they were promised ₹350 each to fill in the truck before the Holi festivities. The issue of illegal sand mining on the dry river beds is a major issue in the region. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/three-children-crushed-to-death-during-illegal-mining-in-siliguri/article66587557.ece (06 March 2023) While two of those killed are 15 years old, the other boy is aged 12, police added. The three boys were loading sand, mined illegally from the river which has gone dry, onto a truck in the dead of the night. The vehicle overturned as it got heavy on one side, leading to imbalance, police said. The bodies were found after daybreak when locals saw the overturned truck. Police used a bulldozer to remove the truck, and bring out the bodies buried in the sand. https://www.mid-day.com/news/india-news/article/west-bengal-three-children-killed-as-truck-overturns-while-loading-sand-in-siliguri-23273797 (06 March 2023) As the four armed with shovels went on with the work, they were unaware that the riverbank attained a precarious height of 10 to 15 feet because of the continuous mining. “After a few hours, suddenly, a huge chunk of earth loosened on the riverbank and fell on us. I was behind the vehicle and could save my life. The other three were on the other side of the vehicle and buried under the earth,” said Sahani, a Class IX student. He admitted that they all had gone for the illegal sand excavation for easy money to celebrate Holi. Usually, truck drivers pay around Rs 350 to each person for sand mining. Officials of the Matigara block administration said the mining was illegal. They said minor minerals like sand and stones were mined at 11 spots on the Balason river. https://www.telegraphindia.com/west-bengal/3-buried-alive-during-sand-mining/cid/1920861 (07 March 2023)
Bihar 3 की मौत: अनियंत्रित हाईवे ने कुचले कई वाहन छपरा में हाइवा सड़क किनारे खड़े वाहनों में जा घुसा, जिससे दो लोगों की मौत हो गई. जबकि चार लोग घायल बताए जा रहे हैं. घटना दाउदपुर में सीवान-छपरा मुख्य मार्ग पर स्टेट बैंक के पास हुई. घायल के दाउदपुर बाजार में कोहराम मच गया। स्थानीय लोगों ने घटना की जानकारी देते हुए बताया कि शनिवार (March 04) दोपहर दाउदपुर बाजार में छपरा की ओर से आ रहा हाइवा ट्रक अनियंत्रित होकर सड़क किनारे खड़े वाहनों में जा टकराया. ट्रक रेत से लदा हुआ था। टक्कर इतनी जोरदार थी कि हाइवा कई वाहनों को कुचलते हुए आगे बढ़ गई। इससे दो लोगों की मौके पर ही मौत हो गई। जबकि अन्य चार लोगों का अलग-अलग जगहों पर इलाज चल रहा है. घटना के बाद हाईवे का चालक फरार हो गया। https://samacharnama.com/city/chapra/3-people-died-in-a-road-accident-in-chapra-uncontrolled/cid10206993.htm (06 March 2023)
हाजीपुर नगर थाना क्षेत्र के पुराना गंडक पुल पर चेकिंग के दौरान 50 से अधिक बालू माफियाओं ने खनन विभाग के जवानों पर हमला कर दिया. हमले में दो सिपाही घायल हो गए। जानकारी के अनुसार नगर थाने के गंडक पुल पर शुक्रवार की सुबह खनन माफिया की पुलिस कार्रवाई कर रही थी. तभी पुलिस ने बालू से भरे एक ट्रक को पकड़ लिया। ट्रक को थाने लाते समय 50 से अधिक रेत माफियाओं ने जवानों की पिटाई कर दी। जब्त ट्रक को भी छुड़ाकर फरार हो गए। माफियाओं की पिटाई से 50 वर्षीय बब्बन सिंह पिता हरिनारायण सिंह व 56 वर्षीय सुरेंद्र साह पिता डोलन शाह घायल हो गये. घायल जवानों का इलाज सदर अस्पताल में चल रहा है। https://bit.ly/3Jx978u (03 March 2023)
Gaya प्रखंड के प्राणपुर गांव के सामने एनएच 83 पर सोमवार सुबह 10 बजे बालू लोडेड तेज रफ्तार अनियंत्रित ट्रैक्टर की चपेट मेंआने सेबाइक सवार युवक की मौत हो गई। घटना की सूचना के बाद मौके पर पहुंची पुलिस नेट्रैक्टर को जब्त कर लिया है। दुर्घटना में मारेंगए युवक की पहचान शशि शेखर पिता कृष्णा शर्मा, ग्राम तेजपुरा जिला अरवल के रूप मेंहुई है। थानाध्यक्ष धीरेन्द्र कुमार ने बताया कि एनएच पर दुर्घटना की सूचना पर पहुंची पुलिस नेशव को कब्जेमेंलेलिया है। घटना की जानकारी शशि शेखर के परिजनों को दे दी गई है। शशि शेखर जीविका संस्था मेंसमन्वय पद कार्यरत थेऔर टिकारी मेपदस्थापित थे। शशि शेखर प्रतिदिन जहानाबाद सेटिकारी बाइक सेआना जाना करतेथे। https://www.livehindustan.com/bihar/gaya/story-youth-dies-due-to-sand-loaded-uncontrolled-tractor-7830986.html (27 Feb. 2023)
रोहतास जिला में जब सोन नदी के धारा को कृत्रिम बांध बनाकर रोकने की कोशिश की जा रही थी, तो वह नाकामयाब रही और पानी के बहाव में दो मशीनें डूब गई. मिली जानकारी के अनुसार रोहतास के नासरीगंज थाना के अमियावर में सोन नदी में बालू खनन करने के लिए बांध बांधने के दौरान दो पोकलेन मशीन बह गई. https://hindi.news18.com/news/bihar/rohtas-artificial-dam-was-being-built-for-sand-mining-suddenly-the-stream-of-sone-river-got-faster-and-the-machines-were-swept-away-in-the-flow-4914501.html (17 Nov. 2022) बांध बनाने में दो पोकलेन मशीन लगी थी, कि बनाया गया बांध का तट टूट गया, जिससे तेज गति से पानी आने लगा और पोकलेन डूबने लगा। चालक ने गाड़ी को बाहर निकालने की कोशिश परंतु वह कामयाब ना हो सका। अंततः पोकलेन को डूबता देख चालक ने केद कर किसी तरह अपनी जान बचाई। बता दें कि बालू खनन करने के लिए लोग सोन नदी के प्राकृतिक बहाव को रोकने की कोशिश करते हैं। ताकि ज्यादा से ज्यादा उत्खनन किया जाए। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/bihar/rohtas/sasaram/news/raw-dam-broken-during-sand-mining-in-son-river-poklen-vehicle-engaged-in-sand-mining-in-rohtas-was-swept-away-by-strong-currents-of-water-the-driver-saved-his-life-by-jumping-130573271.html (16 Nov. 2022)
Jharkhand खूंटी की प्रसिद्ध और धार्मिक महत्व वाली बनई नदी के अस्तित्व को बालू माफिया ने लगभग खत्म कर दिया है। जिस बनई नदी में सालों भर निर्मल पानी बहता रहता था, वही नदी अक्टूबर महीने में ही सूख जा रही है। रेत के अवैध और अंधाधुंध उत्खनन ने नदी को ही समाप्त कर दिया है। बनई नदी अब महज एक नाला बनकर रह गई है, जहां हर ओर घास और झाड़ियां उग आई हैं। https://avnpost.com/sand-mafia-destroyed-the-existence-of-river-made-of-pegs/ (02 Feb. 2023)
Maharashtra Highway construction firm to pay Rs 55 cr for environmental damage NGT has ordered a highway construction company to pay Rs 55.47 crore for causing environmental damage by illegally excavating stone, sand and murram for its projects in the Nashik and Hingoli districts. In two separate orders on February 22, NGT’s western zone bench in Pune directed Rajendrasinh Bhamboo Infra Private Limited to pay Rs 36.35 crore and Rs 19.12 crore to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board within a month.
As per the pleas, the firm deliberately did not obtain “prior environmental clearance for its project at Kalamnuri in Hingoli and has illegally excavated more than 4,50,000 brass of stones, murom and sand”. For its project at Nandgaon in Nashik district, the company has carried out illegal mining of 25,000 brass of similar construction materials, the plea added. https://www.siasat.com/highway-construction-firm-to-pay-rs-55-cr-for-environmental-damage-2542949/ (08 March 2023)
NGT उत्तर प्रदेश, राजस्थान और मध्य प्रदेश में अवैध रेत खनन कारोबार की होगी जांच एनजीटी ने उत्तर प्रदेश, मध्य प्रदेश और राजस्थान के मुख्य सचिवों को एक माह के भीतर अवैध रेत खनन की स्थिति का जायजा लेने का निर्देश दिया है। साथ ही मध्य प्रदेश में भिंड, मुरैना और ग्वालियर, उत्तर प्रदेश में आगरा, इटावा एवं झांसी और राजस्थान में धौलपुर और भरतपुर के पुलिस अधीक्षकों और जिलाधिकारियों को इस विषय पर निगरानी करने के लिए कहा गया है। अदालत का कहना है कि इस मामले में जिला स्तर पर निगरानी के अलावा राज्य स्तर पर भी निगरानी की आवश्यकता है। एनजीटी ने अपने आदेश में 31 मार्च, 2023 तक तीनों राज्यों द्वारा कार्रवाई रिपोर्ट दर्ज करने को कहा है।
गौरतलब है कि एनजीटी के चेयरपर्सन जस्टिस आदर्श कुमार गोयल, जस्टिस सुधीर अग्रवाल और जस्टिस अरुण कुमार त्यागी की बेंच का कहना है कि उत्तर प्रदेश, राजस्थान और मध्य प्रदेश स्थिति को संभालने के लिए गंभीरता से लेने में नाकाम रहे हैं। वहीं दायर हलफनामे और ट्रिब्यूनल के सामने मौजूद अधिकारियों से की गई बातचीत से पता चला है कि इस बारे में कोई गंभीर योजना तैयार नहीं की गई है। वहीं धौलपुर कलेक्टर की रिपोर्ट से पता चला है कि 1 जनवरी, 2023 को एसीएस खनन, राजस्थान ने अन्य अधिकारियों के साथ साइट का दौरा किया था, जिसमें देखा गया कि खनन सामग्री से भरे 40 से 50 ट्रैक्टर मध्य प्रदेश के मुरैना से चंबल नदी की ओर आ रहे थे। वे स्वतंत्र रूप से घूम रहे थे और कानून की परवाह किए बिना अवैध रूप से खनन सामग्री का परिवहन कर रहे थे। 6 फरवरी, 2023 के एनजीटी के आदेश में कहा गया है कि इन राज्यों में बड़े पैमाने पर कानून का उल्लंघन हो रहा है। पिछले एक साल में राजस्थान में 12 और मध्यप्रदेश में 4 लोगों को अवैध खनन के मामले में गिरफ्तार किया गया है। इतना ही नहीं एमपी में 40 वाहनों को भी जब्त किया गया और उल्लंघन करने वालों से 97 लाख रुपए का जुर्माना वसूला गया था। https://www.downtoearth.org.in/hindistory/pollution/industrial-pollution/environment-in-court-09-feb-2023-87599; ; http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/content/474465/order-of-the-national-green-tribunal-regarding-illegal-sand-mining-in-madhya-pradesh-uttar-pradesh-and-rajasthan-06022023/ (09 Feb. 2023)
Madhya Pradesh Illegal sand mining: Over 500 cases registered Over 50 cases of illegal sand mining and 500 cases of illegal sand transportation from Naramada river were registered in Narmadapuram, Harda, Sehore and Dewas from April 2022 to February 2023, the state govt said in a written reply in the assembly. In the reply the Mineral Resources minister, Brajendra Pratap Singh stated that around 25 vehicles were seized for illegal sand mining, and 107 dumpers and 62 tractor trolleys were seized for transportation. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/illegal-sand-mining-over-500-cases-registered-in-state/articleshow/98555480.cms (11 March 2023)
Karnataka Cabinet decides to simplify royalty collection for quarries, stone crushers In a major decision favouring owners of quarries and stone crushers, the cabinet on Mar 8 2023 approved the Karnataka Minor Minerals Amendment Act that will ensure collection of uniform royalty across the state, instead of varied fee collected in different districts now. Members of the Federation of Karnataka Quarry and Stone Crushers Owners Association had gone on strike sometime ago, demanding simplification of rules. “We should have changed the mineral policy as many items were incorporated in minor minerals. We had set up a sub-committee and held deliberations for over a year. Now concessions will be given for stone quarrying, crushing and supply of materials. The approval & lease renewal of the quarries has been simplified,” said Law & Parliamentary Affairs Minister JC Madhu Swamy. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2023/mar/09/cabinet-decides-to-simplify-royalty-collection-for-quarries-stone-crushers-2554429.html (09 March 2023)
Tamil Nadu Farmer threatened by sand mafia supplying gravel for windmills Tamilaga Anaithu Vivasayigal Sangam appealed to the district administration to control windmill operators from allegedly damaging water bodies and government porambokke lands and ensure the safety of the agriculturists who have been lodging complaints against illegal transportation of gravel required for installing windmills.
In a complaint, the Sangam’s district secretary SK Arumai Raj of Keelaparaipatti said he caught two lorries that were illegally excavating gravel at a water body at Ottudanpatti village in Kayathar taluk, along with a few other farmers belonging to his Sangam on January 9. He also said he handed them over to the respective Revenue Inspector Pichaiya and VAO Paramasaivan for further action. Though an FIR was registered two days later at Kadambur station, the police and revenue had relieved the seized vehicles with the intention to protect their owners, he alleged. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2023/feb/05/farmer-threatened-by-sand-mafia-supplying-gravel-for-windmills-2544447.html (05 Feb. 2023)
Haryana Joint panel to submit report to NGT by March 20 On the directions of the NGT, a joint committee of officers from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and the Centre visited Belgarh village in Yamunanagar district to look into complaints of illegal mining in the Yamuna riverbed. The panel has to file its report before the NGT by March 20, the next date of hearing in this case. A Yamunanagar resident had filed a complaint regarding illegal mining in the Yamuna riverbed. He alleged accused firm had contract for UP, but it was doing illegal mining 300 metres away in Haryana. Passing an order on January 25, 2023, NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, judicial member Justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert member Professor A Senthil Vel said they had constituted a 10-member joint committee to be headed by an officer of the rank of Joint Secretary, nominated by the Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, to ascertain factual position of the illegal mining at Belgarh village. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/criminal-nexus-mining-in-yamuna-joint-panel-to-submit-report-to-national-green-tribunal-by-march-20-487112 (12 May 2023)
25 booked for illegal sand mining, assault The police have registered a case in connection with an incident of illegal mining of sand in the Yamuna. Cops also booked more than 25 persons for resorting to stone-pelting and creating hurdles for the police in taking action against the offenders of illegal mining, besides assaulting and threatening cops. A case under various Sections of the IPC, including Sections 307 and 506, and provisions of illegal mining, has been registered regarding the incident that took place in the Kheri Police station jurisdiction on Sunday night. Revealing that while the accused drivers resorted to emptying the trucks on various roads, they also damaged a police barrier near Kanwara Chowk by driving rashly and attempted to run over the cops posted at the naka during the run-and-chase incident. It was alleged that as the police vehicle chasing the trucks reached Kaboolpur Khadar village, a group of youths blocked the road and resorted to pelting stones at the vehicle, resulting in damage to the rear window pane of the police vehicle. The accused also threatened the cops, it was reported. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/25-booked-for-illegal-sand-mining-assault-485857 (07 March 2023)
The government launched a helpline number on Friday (March 10) where citizens can complain about illegal mining in the Aravalis. This toll-free helpline – 1800-180-5530 – will cater to complaints from Gurgaon, Faridabad and Nuh. A control room with six members has been set up by the mining department, which will share details of mining related complaints with the field staff. On November 27, the NGT directed Haryana to set up a control room and notify its mobile number for complaints regarding illegal mining by any member of the public. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/now-file-your-complaints-on-illegal-mining-in-aravalis-via-this-helpline/articleshow/98553722.cms (11 March 2023)
Punjab Cabinet Friday (March 10) approved ‘Punjab State Minor Mineral Policy-2023’ to provide sand and gravel at affordable rates to the people of the state. To ensure that there is no scarcity of sand and prices of the commodity do not skyrocket, the government would be allotting 250 clusters of mines in the next fiscal. A senior official said common people can now order sand online through an app, just like they order food through Zomato or Swiggy, and get the construction essential delivered at their doorsteps.
Under the new policy, the mining sites have been divided into two categories – commercial mining sites (CMS) and public mining sites (PMS). The commercial sites (100) shall be grouped into distinct clusters and will be auctioned through e-tender process, whereas, the PMS (150) shall be operated by the department manually in the interest of the general public, it said. Both, sand and gravel, will be sold at pit head price of Rs 5.50 per cubic feet, it said. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/punjab-policy-sand-gravel-online-delivery-8490182/ (11 March 2023)
Jammu & Kashmir Lithium discovery comes with environmental costs The discovery of vast lithium deposits, hailed as a win for the country’s clean energy transition, comes at a price for communities in the Himalayan region, say villagers and environmental scientists. “Use of heavy machinery for drilling and earth-cutting in the sensitive Himalayan region has been largely responsible for subsidence in Joshimath town,” says SP Sati, who teaches environmental science at the College of Forestry, Ranichauri in the adjacent Himalayan state of Uttarakhand where the subsidence has been devastating in recent months. https://phys.org/news/2023-03-india-lithium-discovery-environmental.html (06 March 2023)
WETLANDS, LAKES, WATER BODIES
Assam Divert rising water of Brahmaputra to save Deepor Beel, urges env. body Merely creating an inlet and outlet for the storm water of Deepor Beel will not save the Ramsar site of Guwahati city unless the rising water of the Brahmaputra is diverted to the wetland. This was suggested by Deepor Beel Suraksha Mancha (DBSM) in the aftermath of the visit of two ministers- Pijush Hazarika and Jayanta Mallah Baruah to the Deepor Beel on March 1 as per the directive of CM Himanta Biswa Sarma. “It is a welcome step of the state govt to rejuvenate the Deepor Beel. But the two ministers who had visited the wetland stressed strengthening the inlet and outlet of the Deepor Beel so that Guwahati city can be saved from flash floods,” said Pramod Kalita, general secretary of Deepor Beel Suraksha Mancha (DBSM).
“The inflow of untreated stormwater from Guwahati city to this wetland is degrading its water quality, making it hazardous for the aquatic flora and fauna. Municipal garbage and other solid waste dumping in the Belor Tol area near the wetland, and the lack of a comprehensive management policy with adequate institutional arrangements are the major threats to the existence of this wetland. There are other threats faced by the wetland and they need long-term management plans for effective mitigation,” said Pramod Kalita, general secretary of DBSM. “The diversion of flood water from the Brahmaputra refreshes the wetland. But it has been closed due to the fear of flash floods in Guwahati city. We drew the attention of the CM to it. Without diversion of flood water from the Brahmaputra to the Beel, the rejuvenation of the wetland is vain,” Kalita also said. https://www.eastmojo.com/assam/2023/03/08/divert-rising-water-of-brahmaputra-to-save-deepor-beel-urges-env-body/ (08 March 2023)
In a bid to rejuvenate a wetland located in Guwahati to mitigate floods in the city, the Assam government announced on Saturday (March 11) that it will acquire 179 bighas of land from 17 institutions in the area. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/guwahati/to-revive-wetland-in-guwahati-assam-govt-to-recover-land-from-17-institutions-8492905/ (13 March 2023)
Maharashtra Absenteeism of nodal officials on wetland, mangrove panel continues Despite intimation to Bombay High Court about repeated absenteeism of officials from various nodal agencies at the wetland and mangrove committee, appointed by it, the problem continues. The committee chairman Mahendra Kalyankar who has taken a serious view of the issue has now ordered that Demi-Official (DO) letter, a correspondence between officials for personal attention, be written about the failure of the officials to attend the crucial meetings. The minutes of the meeting held by Mangroves Protection and Conservation Control Committee on June 22 last year confirms that due to the absence of representatives / nodal officers appointed for the wetland committee there are delays in resolving the complaints received by the committee and that the chairman has taken a serious view of it.
According to committee member, Stalin D, “The whole of last year the panels met just twice – once in January and then in June – and the meetings scheduled for February 8 were abruptly cancelled without assigning any reason.” The committee meetings are supposed to be held regularly to attend to redress the grievances related to wetlands and to protect and conserve mangroves, NatConnect Foundation said in its missive to the State government. Not holding the regular meetings could amount to contempt of court, NatConnect director B N Kumar pointed out in his mails to the CM and the Chief Secretary.
Even when the rare meetings are held, the all important environment department, BMC and MMRDA have been absent making the committees’ task difficult, NatConnect said, quoting the minutes uploaded on the panels’ websites. Nandakumar Pawar, head of Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan, recalled that the HC committees, headed by Konkan Divisional Commissioner, had asked the district collectors to handle local level complaints. These district authorities have apparently not been able to attend to the issues and “this is evident from the continued destruction of wetlands and mangroves and the inaction against the culprits,” Pawar said. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/mumbai-news/absenteeism-of-nodal-officials-on-wetland-mangrove-panel-continues-101678276449999.html (08 March 2023)
Gujarat A study titled ‘Building Informed and Scalable Water Security Solutions for Gujarat,’ carried out by Development Support Centre (DSC) and other NGOs, assessed the groundwater, surface water, crop pattern and water quality among other parameters based on both primary and secondary data to estimate the demand-supply gap and the way forward. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/ahmedabad-among-16-districts-that-use-up-more-water-study/articleshow/98591048.cms (13 March 2023)
Bengaluru Treated water from one-third of BWSSB STPs is unsafe A study by ActionAid Association found several problems with the STPs managed by Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB). The quality of treated water is not being monitored at STPs despite it being mandatory, as per the CPCB. Worryingly, even the functional BWSSB STPs appear to have several issues. The ActionAid report highlighted that BWSSB had lower water quality standards compared to the SPCB, and was completely ignoring certain pollutants. Moreover, treated water from model STPs, such as the Jakkur STP, were found to still contain dangerous pollutants. https://bengaluru.citizenmatters.in/treated-water-bwssb-sewage-treatment-plants-107726 (07 March 2023)
Kannalli Lake adjacent to Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Layout could be one more lake in south Bengaluru that risks joining list of ‘dry’ or ‘dead’ waterbodies if authorities continue to dilly dally on conservation. The lake was handed over to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) more than six years ago. Its condition is deteriorating day by day due to lack of funds. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/cover-story/just-lake-that/articleshow/98460051.cms (07 March 2023)
Wire mesh fence on SWD buffer zone permissible, BBMP tells NGT The BBMP told the NGT that it has allowed an apartment builder to construct a wire mesh fence on the 15-meter buffer zone of a stormwater drain days after razing the building’s compound wall. The case involves SV Elegant, an apartment in Kumbena Agrahara. Following the NGT intervention, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) demolished a swimming pool and other infrastructure built on the buffer zone. The builder’s plea that the wall on the buffer zone be allowed for the sake of “the safety of the apartment owners” was rejected by the tribunal. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/top-bengaluru-stories/wire-mesh-fence-on-swd-buffer-zone-permissible-bbmp-tells-ngt-1198423.html (09 March 2023)
Residents want Puttenahalli lake restoration model replicated across city https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/lakes-of-bengaluru-puttenahalli-lake-restoration-model-replicated-residents-8491157/ (12 March 2023)
Chennai Residents plan agitation seeking water and sewer connections Residents of various areas along East Coast Road plan to go on agitation this Sunday (March 12) seeking water supply and sewer connections, which have been delayed for many years now. More residents’ welfare associations in areas like Uthandi plan to join the agitation to be organised by the Confederation of Sholinganallur Constituency Welfare Associations. Residents noted that the areas merged with the Greater Chennai Corporation were awaiting projects to cover the areas with comprehensive water supply and underground drainage network.
“Every family needs to spend about ₹4,000 per month for water needs and sewage disposal. Areas largely depend on groundwater. People have to shell out exorbitant amount for private sewer lorries as Metrowater’s fleet of sewer lorries are limited,” she said. Residents of Uthandi too said water pipelines had been laid about three years ago in their area. Abirami Balaji, secretary, Society of Liberals Valuing Environment, a residents’ welfare society in Uthandi, said many households were yet to get water through pipelines. Water supply would help reduce groundwater usage and minimise salinity. Uthandi residents too would join the strike to stress on the need to provide these facilities. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/residents-in-various-areas-along-ecr-plan-agitation-on-sunday-seeking-water-and-sewer-connections/article66591927.ece (07 March 2023)
Water to be drawn from Retteri lake to augment supply Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board is constructing a plant at Kolathur to treat water drawn from Retteri lake. The plant, with a capacity to treat about 10 million litres of water a day, is expected to be ready in about a month. After Porur lake, the water board is developing infrastructure to use water from Retteri lake to augment supply to the city.
Spread over 280 hectares of land, Retteri lake can store up to 133 million cubic feet of water. The project to tap the lake as another drinking water source was actively pursued after its use as an alternative source during the 2019 drought. Officials said water drawn from Retteri was supplied through lorries as part of the contingency plan in 2019. The ₹22-crore project had been chalked out after analysing its potential as a drinking water source on the lines of Porur lake.
The Water Resources Department had taken up eco-restoration efforts in Retteri a few years ago. It had led to plugging sewage outfalls in 2017. Periodical testing of water samples indicated that the water quality had improved. Constructed wetlands would be provided in the lakebed to treat sullage if needed, the officials said. The officials said a proposal had been submitted to the State government to deepen and enhance the capacity of the Retteri lake, which had been converted into a drinking water source. The improvements made to Korattur lake upstream had helped prevent flow of sewage into Retteri lake. More such waterbodies must be rejuvenated and tapped as drinking water sources to meet the growing needs of the city and prevent encroachments, the sources said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/water-to-be-drawn-from-retteri-lake-to-augment-supply-in-chennai-city/article66600244.ece (10 March 2023)
Kochi The Fire & Rescue units from throughout Kerala are working round the clock, pumping in 40,000 litres of water per minute, to put out the toxic fumes rising from the Brahmapuram waste dump yard. On the ninth day, since a major fire began at the 110-acre yard, the fumes that emanated from 70% of the waste have been snuffed out, said Ernakulam District Collector NSK Umesh in a press release. The remaining 30% of the area from where toxic fumes continue to rise is marshy. At least 20 fire tenders are on site, each with a capacity of 5,000 litres. However, according to Fire personnel, the marshy terrain on the Eastern side of the yard is difficult to be accessed by vehicle. https://www.onmanorama.com/news/kerala/2023/03/09/brahmapuram-fire-40000-litre-pumped-per-minute-24-hours.html (09 March 2023)
The Kerala High Court on Wednesday (March 08) said that incidents similar to the recent fire that broke out at the Brahmapuram waste plant at the edge of Kochi city can happen anywhere in Kerala if proper action is not taken for disposal of waste. The Court directed the corporation secretary, the district collector, the additional chief secretary to the State government, and the chairperson of the Pollution Control Board to submit reports on the action taken and the steps required to address the myriad issues caused by the fire and to prevent the same in the future.
The reports have to be submitted by March 10, Friday after considering the developments that take place at the high level conference called by the Chief Minister this evening. On being informed that the Brahmapuram plant depends solely on two electricity generators, the Court directed the Kerala State Electricity Board to ensure that a temporary power line is provided by 8 pm today. https://www.barandbench.com/news/brahmapuram-fire-can-happen-in-anywhere-in-kerala-why-are-we-not-learning-a-lesson-kerala-high-court (08 March 2023)
The fire at the 115-acre yard and the billowing hazardous smoke have brought to the surface the mismanagement and corruption in the waste handling and treatment in the Kochi corporation where the CPM is in power. https://www.newindianexpress.com/opinions/editorials/2023/mar/09/waste-problem-in-kochi-a-burning-issue-2554341.html (09 March 2023)
Brahmapuram is just one of some 3,000 Indian landfills overflowing with decaying waste and emitting toxic gases. Commissioned in 2008, the landfill is spread across 16 acres, according to a 2020 report from the International Urban Cooperation, a European Union program. The landfill receives about 100 metric tons of plastic waste each day, the study added, of which only about 1% is suitable for recycling. The remaining 99% is dumped as a heap at the site, the study said, calling it a “menace for the municipal corporation.” https://edition.cnn.com/2023/03/07/india/india-bhramapuram-landfill-toxic-waste-fire-intl-hnk/index.html (07 March 2023)
The state govt on Wednesday (March 08) decided that plastic will no longer be taken to the Brahmapuram waste plant where a fire, which broke out last week, is still smouldering leading to thick toxic smoke spreading out into the port-city of Kochi. https://english.mathrubhumi.com/news/kerala/plastic-not-to-be-dumped-anymore-at-brahmapuram-waste-plant-in-kochi-kerala-govt-1.8373769 (08 March 2023)
Hyderabad As water woes set in, private tankers make a killing Erratic water supply in most parts of the city and rising temperatures led to the growing demand for water tankers. The private water tankers seized this opportunity to increase the price. The normal price of a water tanker, with a capacity of 5000 litre, is around Rs 500 to Rs 600, but now they are charging Rs 1200 to Rs 1500. Earlier during the summer in areas where there was an acute shortage of water, the water board sent free water tankers but this year they have stopped due to various reasons. The residents are rightfully worried about the grim situation as the summer season approaches. Several residents have to purchase water from private water tankers and charges for the same are exorbitantly high. https://www.thehansindia.com/news/cities/hyderabad/as-water-woes-set-in-private-tankers-make-a-killing-in-hyderabad-787238 (11 March 2023)
Sangli City to face supply cuts as Krishna water level dips Sangli residents said that it is for the first time in many years that the water cuts have been introduced so early due to a dip in river water level. Civic officials said the city is currently facing a deficit of 60 MLD. The situation is unlikely to improve for the next six to seven days. It takes this much of time for the water from Koyna dam to reach Sangli city. The reason for the dip in the Krishna river level is the increase in the lifting of water for irrigating the fields located upstream of the city. This year, the sugar cane harvesting has been completed very early and therefore, the demand of water for cultivation for the next season has grown multifold.https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolhapur/sangli-city-to-face-supply-cuts-as-krishna-water-level-dips/articleshow/98554999.cms (11 March 2023)
Chandigarh Groundwater in Sector 43 being flushed into gutters Residents of Sector 43 have expressed concern over the continuous flushing of groundwater into sewage and gutters near the District Courts. The water comes out during the digging of earth for the construction of an underground multilevel parking site. According to reports, the flushing has been going on for several days. Rajan, one of the concerned residents, stated that instead of storing the water, the construction company has installed water pumps and fixed plastic pipes to drain the water into nearby sewage systems and gutters. He added that the administration should store this water.
Chief Engineer (UT) OP Ojha explained that the water level in southern sectors, such as Sector 43, is very high, and water often comes out during the digging of earth at a low level. He added that the water is contaminated and not portable, and draining such water is standard procedure. However, a local resident argued that millions of liters of water are being wasted, and there are many techniques to recycle and use this water. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/groundwater-chandigarh-sector-43-flushed-gutters-residents-outraged-8490516/ (11 March 2023)
भोपाल नया मास्टर प्लान:बड़े तालाब के कैचमेंट एरिया में सरकार दे सकेगी निर्माण की अनुमति 18 साल के इंतजार के बाद मंगलवार (March 07) को आखिरकार भोपाल का मास्टर प्लान-2031 आ सकता है। तीन साल पहले 5 मार्च 2020 को जारी ड्राफ्ट में दावे-आपत्ति की सुनवाई के बाद कई महत्वपूर्ण बदलाव किए गए हैं। जो फाइनल ड्राफ्ट बना है, उसके मुताबिक बड़े तालाब के कैंचमेंट एरिया को कई जोनों में बांटकर उसमें निर्माण की अनुमति दी जा सकेगी। ग्रामीण क्षेत्र में तालाब से 250 मीटर और शहरी क्षेत्र में पहले की तरह 50 मीटर का बफर जोन ही पूरी तरह से निर्माण मुक्त होगा। ड्राफ्ट में शहर में रेसीडेंशियल इलाकों को 5 जोन में बांटा गया है।
बड़े तालाब के लगभग 360 वर्ग किमी के कैचमेंट एरिया में फिलहाल ग्रामीण क्षेत्र में एग्रीकल्चर लैंडयूज है। यहां लैंडयूज में बदलाव की अनुमति नहीं मिलती। इस कारण यहां किसी भी तरह का निर्माण अवैध ही माना जाता है। अब इस कैचमेंट एरिया को कई भागों में बांट दिया गया है। इसमें बफर जोन को छोड़कर बाकी हिस्से को सरकार ने खोल दिया है। इसमें प्रोहिबिटेड, रेगुलेटेड और परमिटेड एक्टिविटीज की अनुमति सरकार दे सकेगी। तीन साल पहले जारी ड्राफ्ट में बड़े तालाब के कैचमेंट एरिया में एफएआर बढ़ाने से लेकर कई जगह ग्रीन एरिया में पीएसपी (पब्लिक-सेमी पब्लिक, जिसमें स्कूल-कॉलेज बन सकते हैं) की अनुमति देने की बात थी।
इस पर आपत्तियां दर्ज कराई गई थी। लेक कंजर्वेशन अथॉरिटी ने वेटलैंड रुल्स – 2017 के अनुसार भोज वेटलैंड रुल्स तैयार किया था। मार्च 2022 में जो शासन को भेज दिए गए थे। इन नियमों को मास्टर प्लान में जोड़ा जा रहा है। इसमें बड़े तालाब के कैचमेंट में शहरी क्षेत्र, ग्रामीण क्षेत्र, कोलांस नदी के साथ अन्य सहायक नालों के आसपास बफर जोन बनाए गए हैं। इनके नक्शे भी तैयार कर शासन के भेजे गए हैं, ताकि कोई भ्रम की स्थिति नहीं रहे। खास बात यह भी है बड़े तालाब को भरने वाली सबसे प्रमुख कोलांस नदी के आसपास भी 250 मीटर का बफर रहेगा। टीएंडसीपी एक्ट की धारा 19 (क) के तहत अधिसूचना जारी होगी और ड्राफ्ट में किए जा रहे बदलाव पर फिर से दावे-आपत्ति बुलाए जाएंगे। इस पर प्रमुख सचिव स्तर पर सुनवाई होगी। इसके बाद अंतिम निर्णय होगा। अनुमान लगाया जा रहा है कि इस प्रक्रिया में अधिकतम 3 माह का समय लगेगा। यानी जून के पहले सप्ताह में प्लान लागू हो जाएगा। https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/bhopal/news/the-government-will-be-able-to-give-permission-for-construction-in-the-catchment-area-of-bade-talab-the-residential-areas-in-the-city-are-divided-into-5-zones-in-the-draft-131011346.html (07 March 2023)
Maharashtra Protests over water pollution by factories in Chanda Alleging water pollution in the area and resultant crop damage due to discharge of untreated effluents from a chemical factory and a bunch of cardboard manufacturers near Ballarpur, Ulgulan Sanghatana, a socio-political organisation, staged protest on Friday (March 10). President of Ulgulan Sanghatana Raju Zode claimed untreated effluents from chemical factory Bamni Proteins Ltd and more than half a dozen cardboard units near Dehali village are discharged into the village nullah. While the polluted water is causing damage to crops in the surrounding area, cattle too are falling sick after drinking the water, he said.
“The pollution in also killing fish in the nullah and Wardha River ahead,” said Zode. The cardboard factories obtain sludge, a waste material from paper mill, and use it as raw material in their production. However, these factories discharge the effluents without any treatment into the nullah, he alleged. While Zode claimed to have support of the affected villages, a bunch of villagers submitted a memorandum to tehsildar claiming that protest by Zode is a farce. Villagers from Bamni, Kalmana, Lavari and Dehali in a joint memorandum claimed that discharge from these factories cause no damage to their crops or cattle. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/socio-political-body-protests-water-pollution-by-factories-in-chanda-villagers-counter-claim/articleshow/98570353.cms (12 March 20230
CWC As per the data, the total level of the stored water in these reservoirs stood at 86.449 billion cubic metre (BCM) as of 9 March, 2023. The current level is lesser than the last year’s live water storage, which was 94.027 BCM for the same period. The average of last 10 years live storage was 75.218 BCM. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/india-to-face-harsher-summer-with-lower-water-levels-in-reservoirs-11678436439386.html (10 March 2023)
“Recently, the Gujarat government said it would provide water to farmers for its summer crops. However, the Sardar Sarovar Dam’s water needs to be conserved to tackle the expected lean monsoon period,” said Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP. https://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2023/mar/12/water-shortage-this-hot-summer-143-reservoirs-facing-water-crunch-in-india-2555173.html (12 March 2023)
Odisha Kinley water falls within water & not aerated or mineral water The Orissa High Court held that the sale of packaged drinking water under the brand name Kinley Water falls within the expression “water but not aerated or mineral water sold in bottles or sealed containers,” which is covered under Entry No.39 of the Tax-Free List. The division bench of Chief Justice S. Murlidhar and Justice Murhari Sri Raman has observed that the packaged drinking water sold under the brand name “Kinley Water” is nothing but purified water.
The respondent, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd., claimed exemption in respect of the sale of “packaged drinking water,” which was sold under the brand name “Kinley Water,” treating it as embraced within the meaning of entries in Serial No. 39 of the Schedule of Goods declared exempt from the levy of sales tax. The court noted that the department has failed to appreciate that the processes described by the company are nothing more than the purification of water to make it more potable through the processes undertaken by the company for making water possible to reach the people for safe drinking purposes. https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/kinley-water-aerated-mineral-water-sold-bottles-tax-free-list-orissa-high-court-223294 (08 March 2023)
Punjab ‘Unburnt’ stubble improves soil moisture, crop yield: Experts At a time when the rising temperature poses a threat to the growth of wheat, farmers, who have sown wheat without burning the paddy stubble through happy seeder and surface seeding, say their crop is growing without any problem. Reason is the unburnt stubble has formed a layer over the roots of wheat and the rising temperature is likely to have a minimum impact on the crop. The authorities of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and the Agriculture Department have also confirmed that unburnt stubble protected crops from adverse effects of high temperature. The authorities said in the past also, the presence of such layer had helped the crop to beat the heat. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/unburnt-stubble-improves-soil-moisture-crop-yield-experts-485239 (05 March 2023)
Haryana Defying govt orders, farmers begin paddy-sowing Defying the government orders, some farmers in Karnal have started sowing the water-guzzling crop through direct seeding (DSR) method around two and half months before the fixed date (May 15). The administration swung into action and destroyed three acres of the sown crop and served notices to two farmers for violation of the Soil Water Conservation Act, 2009.
SDO Dinesh Sharma said that the government has fixed May 15 for sowing paddy nursery and sowing paddy crop through DSR method and June 15 for paddy transplantation. But these farmers sowed the paddy earlier in violation of the Soil Water Conservation Act 2009. He said that as per the Act, notices have been served to them and they have been directed to follow the government guideline, otherwise strict action will be taken against them. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/defying-govt-orders-karnal-farmers-begin-paddy-sowing-ahead-of-schedule-served-notices/articleshow/98387608.cms (03 March 2023)
Madhya Pradesh Untimely rain causes massive crop damage Heavy rain and hailstorm damaged crops in 18 districts of central and western Madhya Pradesh this week. Unseasonal rain, accompanied by strong winds, hit the state on Monday (March 06) and is predicted over the next few days too. Farmers lost around 10-40 per cent of the standing and newly harvested winter crops, said government sources. Vidisha and Rajgarh are the two central districts worst hit by the unseasonal rain that destroyed Rabi crops like wheat, gram, and pulses. The extent of the damage could be as high as 40 per cent in these two districts, said officials. In Mandsaur and Neemuch in western Madhya Pradesh, the extent of damage was around 20-30 per cent. In Bhopal, Ujjain, Ratlam and Raisen, the damage could range between 15 and 20 per cent while it could be around 10-15 per cent in Shajapur, Sehore, Narmadapuram, Agar-Malwa, Barwani and Guna. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/untimely-rain-causes-massive-crop-damage-in-madhya-pradesh-3848741 (10 March 2023)
IMD Rainfall over the country as a whole for the month of February 2023 shows that it has recorded 7.2 mm, which is 68% less than its Long Period Average (LPA) 22.7 mm. Rainfall over all India (7.2 mm) was sixth lowest since 1901. Prior lowest rainfall years were 1960 (2.7mm), 1902 (4.1mm), 1918 (4.3mm), 1955 (4.4mm) and 1911 (5.5 mm). Rainfall over homogeneous region of central India was nil which is lowest since 1901.
– NW INdia had the highest departure from NOrmal at 76%, rainfall of 10.9 mm. East and North East India had the lowest departure from Normal at 35%, rainfall of 19.6 mm, highest among all regions. South Peninsular had the second lowest rainfall at 3.6 mm, 54% below normal.
– The February 2023 witnessed heavy rainfall events (64.5 to 115.5 mm of rainfall) over fifteen stations mainly from Tamilnadu, Puducherry & Karaikal, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam & Meghalaya. https://mausam.imd.gov.in, Monthly Climate Summary report for Feb 2023
Uttarakhand 99 ha of forest cover hit by wildfires in past 5 months Nearly 99 hectares of forest cover was affected by forest fires in the past five months, says the data from the forest department. The data shows a maximum 40.43 hectare area was gutted in Garhwal region, followed by 31.55 hectare in Kumaon region and 27.02 hectare gutted in ‘admin wildlife’ (a category of protected forest area) since November 2022. This has led to monetary loss worth Rs 4,65,920, wherein a loss of Rs 3.66 lakh has been reported from Kumaon, Rs 89,000 in Garhwal and Rs 10,000 was recorded from admin wildlife.
In both Kumaon and Garhwal regions, almost two dozen fire incidents have taken place while a dozen such incidents have been reported in the protected forests. Across the state, the highest forest fire incidents were recorded from Almora forest division where 22.75 hectare area has burnt, followed by Govind Wildlife Sanctuary and Chakrata, where 15 hectare and 11 hectare area was affected by the wildfires respectively. The cases of fire spiked during February when the hot weather added to the dryness of the already dry forest floor. “The spike in wildfires was observed from February as the temperature hovered at least 6 to 7 degrees above normal,” said the frontline forest staff deployed in Dehradun forest division. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/99-hectares-of-forest-cover-hit-by-wildfires-in-past-5-months-in-uttarakhand/articleshow/98463349.cms (07 March 2023)
3 earthquake tremors were felt within 12 hours on the intervening night of Sunday and Monday (March 06-07) in Uttarkashi, said Disaster Management Secretary Ranjit Sinha. The epicenter of the earthquake has been described as the northern region of Uttarkashi. The area of Uttarkashi falls in India’s seismic zone ‘V Zone’ (maximum risk). In the state, the first tremor was felt at 12.45 AM in the Siror forest of Bhatwari block. The magnitude of the earthquake was 2.5 on the Ritcher Scale. The third tremor was felt at around 10.10 am. The intensity was measured at 1.8 on the Ritcher scale. With this, 12 earthquake tremors have been felt in Uttarakhand in the last two months. https://www.livemint.com/news/india/uttarakhand-feels-3-tremors-in-12-hours-are-they-warning-signs-of-greaterearthquake-11678091912595.html (06 March 2023)
And the state government is ill prepared to meet such a calamity if it occurs. One indication of this lack of seriousness is the proposal to appoint an engineer as the head of the Landslide Mitigation and Management Centre, instead of an eminent geologist.
There is an urgent need to formulate a disaster management strategy for the hilly areas with active participation of the local communities taking into consideration the unique geographic conditions. There is no special disaster management plan keeping in view the state’s unique geographic and topographical conditions. Past experience has shown that people are left to the mercy of the elements during the crucial first 24 hours after such a disaster, as the civil machinery takes a long time to react. This was seen during the Kedarnath deluge in June 2013 and many other disasters of smaller magnitude, when no relief reached the victims in the first 24-48 hours. https://citizenmatters.in/uttarakhand-joshimath-natural-disaster-management-earthquake-32983 (08 March 2023)
ISRO Rudraprayag, Tehri top list of landslide-prone 147 districts The two hill districts of Rudraprayag and Tehri in Uttarakhand have the “maximum exposure to landslide risk in the country”, according to the ‘Landslide Atlas’ report prepared by Hyderabad-based National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of Isro. Rudraprayag has 32 chronic landslide zones, with the maximum located on NH-107 that leads to the holy town, according to the District Emergency Operation Centre. Similarly, Tehri including Totaghati, which has been identified as a “very chronic landslide site”.
– Rudraprayag and Tehri have been ranked first and second respectively among 147 districts from across the country, which are prone to landslides. Chamoli, which houses subsidence-hit Joshimath, is at 19th position. District disaster management officer of Rudraprayag, NK Rajwar, said on Thursday, “The Sirobagad and Narkota landslide zones are the most problematic as they remain active almost throughout the year. On the other hand, maximum landslide zones are activated during the monsoon season.”
– According to data from the State Emergency Operation Centre, between 2018 and 2021, Uttarakhand reported 253 landslides, which resulted in 127 deaths. Rajouri and Pulwama (J&K); Kozhikode, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram (Kerala); and South Sikkim and East Sikkim (Sikkim) are the other high risk districts , according to the Landslide Susceptibility Zonation Map. In one of the major disasters, on June 29, 2022, at least 79 people were killed in a landslide in the Noney district of Manipur.
– It further shows that “over 11,000 landslides were recorded in Uttarakhand in the last two decades”, and the routes with maximum landslide zones includes Rishikesh-Rudraprayag-Chamoli-Badrinath, Rudraprayag-Ukhimath-Kedarnath, Chamoli-Ukhimath, Rishikesh-Uttarkashi-Gangotri-Gaumukh and Pithoragarh-Khela-Malpa. ; https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/rudraprayag-tehri-top-landslide-index-in-country-isro-report/articleshow/98529421.cms (10 March 2023)
The ISRO list of 147 most landslide prone districts of India published in the latest Landslide Atlas of India included all 13 districts of Uttarakhand that vary from each other in terms of vulnerability to landslides. Haridwar and Udham Singh Nagar figure at the bottom at 146th and 147th, respectively. Uttarkashi 21st, Pauri 23rd, Dehradun 29th, Bageshwar 50th, Champawat 65th, Nainital 68th, Almora 81st and Pithoragarh 86th.
– As per NRSC, apart from Uttarakhand, among the 10 most landslide-prone districts, four are in flood-prone areas of Kerala, two in Jammu and Kashmir and two in Sikkim. In fact, after the Himalayas, the Western Ghats, which has seen large-scale development in the past few years, has high landslide density.
– In the Landslide Atlas of India, the NRSC said that this is the first time, the NRSC scientists did a risk assessment on the basis of 80,000 landslides recorded between 1998 and 2022 in 147 districts in 17 states and two Union Territories to build a “Landslide Atlas” of the country. The atlas used satellite data of ISRO to map all seasonal and event-based landslides like the Kedarnath disaster in 2013 and landslides triggered due to the Sikkim earthquake in 2011.
– The new study recorded landslide hot spots between 2000 and 2017, with a maximum of 12,385 in Mizoram, followed by 11,219 in Uttarakhand, 7,280 in Jammu and Kashmir and 1,561 in Himachal Pradesh. Among the southern states, the most number of landslide hot spots have been recorded in Kerala (6,039).
– The scientists stated India is among the top four countries with the highest landslide risk, with over 12.6 per cent of land area prone to hazard, excluding snow-covered areas. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/rudraprayag-tehri-in-uttarakhand-have-highest-landslide-risk-exposure-in-county-isro-3848653 (10 March 2023)
Jammu & Kashmir Massive landslide kills 1, injures 6 in Ramban A person was killed and six others were injured when they were hit by a massive landslide in Seri village of Ramban district on the Jammu-Srinagar highway on Tuesday (March 07). The incident took place in the afternoon hours when there was a heavy rush of traffic on the road. The traffic police immediately shut the highway and did not allow people on the affected stretch. The traffic was suspended on the Jammu-Srinagar highway soon after the incident. An excavator operator, who was clearing the muck and stones from the road, also got trapped in a fresh landslide, resulting in his death. “Two landslides hit the highway at the same spot within an hour, resulting in the death of a crane driver working at the site, while six members of a family, travelling in a private car, were injured when their vehicle plunged into a gorge after being hit by a rolling boulder,” he said.
Initially, the six injured whose vehicle got rolled down into a nearly 200 feet gorge were shifted to the district hospital but were later referred to the Government Medical College, Jammu, for specialised treatment. Landslides and shooting stones have become a common sight on the highway in Ramban district which witnesses closure frequently. Many stretches in Ramban have become unsafe due to landslides and shooting stones, becoming a major problem for the traffic. Locals immediately went down to help those inside the vehicle. They also unsuccessfully tried to evacuate the excavator operator who was trapped. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/j-k/massive-landslide-kills-1-injures-6-in-ramban-486114 (08 March 2023)
Traffic authorities said that the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway on March 06 remained blocked for 4 hours and 30 minutes due to shooting stones on Mehar-Cafeteria stretch and for 1 hour and 27 minutes due to stone slide at Dewal, Bridge, Udhampur. https://www.greaterkashmir.com/todays-paper/state/traffic-on-sgr-jmu-nh-disrupted-for-5-hours-2 (07 March 2023)
Dave Petley on Biases in the reporting of landslide disasters. https://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2023/03/09/biases-in-the-reporting-of-landslide-disasters/ (09 March 2023)
Union Power Ministry has notified the renewable generation obligation of any firm commissioning coal fired power plant post Apr 1 2023 to mandatorily generate 40% capacity of such coal fired plants as renewable generation or procure and supply such RE equivalent to such capacity. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/renewable/power-ministry-notifies-40-per-cent-renewable-generation-obligation/98452201 (06 March 2023)
India’s power demand rose by 8% in 2022 to 149.7 TWhrs and by 10% in first two months of 2023 compared to same period a year ago. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/analysis-what-is-behind-the-surge-in-indias-power-demand/98504866 (09 March 2023)
CFA Banks need Environmental & social safeguards for loans
Banks cannot wash their hands from environmental disasters created by projects funded by them. They need to look in to the project impacts before funding it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1X_Nv138ZE (03 March 2023)
Report Limits to tree planting in Himalayas Rishika Pardikar The Indian government has an ambitious forestry goal. New research shows it may be out of sync with environmental and social constraints. By Rishika. https://eos.org/articles/the-limits-to-tree-planting-in-the-indian-himalayas (06 March 2023)
Gujarat Solar project left herders without a pasture Land, forest and community rights conflicts around renewable energy projects are becoming increasingly common in India, said Priya Pillai, a researcher doing her PhD on the socio-economic impacts of renewable energy. Some other examples include the impact of the Pavagada solar park in Karnataka, the opposition to the Andhra Lake wind farm in Maharashtra and to a wind energy plant in Kutch, Gujarat.
“There is no regulatory framework in our country for renewables projects. If one is to set up a solar or wind plant [less than 25 megawatt], there is nothing which says that a social or environmental impact assessment needs to be done. In the absence of such a framework, there have been a lot of violations of people’s land rights,” said Pillai.
“The whole carbon footprint of large scale solar and wind energy projects is not zero. We now see what destruction coal has caused, but we are yet to see the impact of these large scale renewables. A ‘just energy transition’ is not pulling out capital from one sector and putting it in another, it has to be done thoughtfully.” Attention to these conflicts becomes important as India has major renewable energy goals. https://www.indiaspend.com/development/gujarats-famous-solar-village-has-left-herders-without-a-pasture-855213 (05 March 2023)
Uttarakhand Govt issues ‘charge sheet’ to former head of forest force The government on Friday (March 10) issued a “charge sheet” to former head of Forest Force Rajiv Bhartari in connection with illegal constructions and felling of trees in the Corbett Tiger Reserve during his tenure. The “charge sheet” was issued by Ramesh Kumar Sudhanshu, Principal Secretary of the Forest Department, “with the consent of the governor”, according to the document.
It accuses Bhartari of misconduct, negligence in performing his administrative responsibilities during his tenure as the head of Forest Force (HoFF), flouting administrative orders and the All India Services (Conduct) Rules. The principal secretary asked Bhartari to file a written reply within 15 days defending himself or accepting the charges, failing which the investigating officials will conduct a probe against him. Bhartari was removed from the post of HoFF in November 2021 as part of a major reshuffle in the Forest Department following allegations of large-scale felling of trees and construction in Pakhro and Morghatti forest divisions in the buffer zone of Corbett. https://theprint.in/india/ukhand-govt-issues-charge-sheet-to-former-head-of-forest-force-seeks-reply-within-15-days/1434276/ (11 March 2023)
Jharkhand Rs10cr green breach fine on railways The green tribunal bench comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel as chairperson, Justice Amit Sthalekar (judicial member) and A. Senthil Vel (expert member) in its judgment on February 27 has observed that damage to the environment has taken place by ignoring the railway siting norms and not complying with environmental norms and directed “compensation (Rs 10 crore) to be deposited in the first instance by the railways within two months with liberty to recover the same from the user of the stockyard (West Bengal Power Development Corporation Limited)”. The order also states that “If payment (compensation) is not made, the consent (consent to establish-CTE and consent to operate-CTO) granted may be cancelled and the stockyard may not be allowed to be operated.” https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/rs-10-crore-green-breach-fine-on-railways/cid/1921687 (11 March 2023)
Opinion The hidden economics of nature Pavan Sukhdev The reason we are losing nature boils down to one basic problem: Our inability to perceive the difference between public benefits and private profits. https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/comment/the-hidden-economics-of-nature-1198409.html (09 March 2023)
Study Freshwater species bucking one climate change trend “One widely expected result of global warming is that animal body size is going to go down,” says Olaf Jensen, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Center for Limnology. Shrinking sizes is what Jensen and his collaborators expected to find when they began their analysis of a dozen different species of freshwater salmonids. Olaf Jensen is an associate professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and Center for Limnology.
– Instead, the resulting study — published on March 8, 2023 in the journal Global Change Biology — told a different, unexpected tale. Not only are many species of freshwater salmonids — which include trout, whitefish and their relatives — not shrinking in size, several are actually getting bigger.
– This trend puts these fishes at odds with what’s known in ecology as “Bergmann’s Rule,” which states that individuals in most species of animals get smaller closer to the Equator and bigger closer to the poles. The reasoning behind the trend, which generally holds true for all sorts of animals, is that evolution favors larger animals in colder climates because they can better retain body heat and regulate their temperature, while smaller animals can readily shed excess body heat at hotter latitudes.
– They focused primarily on body-length measurements and found that, over time, only four of their 12 study species were following the predicted script, with current adult fish growing to smaller sizes than fish from past generations. However, the remaining two-thirds of the species they studied weren’t showing signs of shrinking; they were getting bigger.
– Jensen says this development may have a lot to do with how climate change is reshaping our winters. Typically, winter months are a period of very slow growth for fish. Now, however, ice cover durations are shrinking as water temperatures stay warmer longer into the fall and warm up sooner in spring. The end result could be longer growing seasons for fish, and increased growth rates in aquatic ecosystems throughout the northern hemisphere, Jensen says. Another hypothesis is that warmer aquatic habitats tend to simply be more productive, with balmy waters encouraging increased growth of the plankton, plants and invertebrates at the base of the food web and resulting in more “fish food” for growing salmonids. https://indiaeducationdiary.in/study-reveals-various-freshwater-species-are-bucking-one-climate-change-trend/ (08 March 2023)
Bhutan Failed its hydropower goal Fifteen years ago, Bhutan announced that by 2020 it would be able to produce an additional 10,000 megawatts of electricity from hydropower. So far, the country is able to generate less than a quarter of this target: total installed capacity is 2,326 MW, up from 1,480 MW in 2008.
– The Punatsangchhu II project is nearly finished, and is supposed to start operating in October 2024 – almost seven years late. The Punatsangchhu I project was supposed to be completed in 2016 but has been plagued by accidents as a result of slope destabilisation. It has no indicated commissioning date.
– Yeshi Dorji, an environmentalist and prominent blogger, said: “We have been misled all along in relation to our hydropower projects. The locations of the projects are wrong – they are too far away from the market; the prefeasibility study and geological investigation was shoddy and amateurish.” the Punatsangchhu I project was supposed to cost 35.15 billion Bhutanese ngultrum (USD 425 million), and now has cost BTN 93.76 billion (USD 1.13 billion) and is still not online. The Kholongchhu project was originally to cost BTN 33.05 billion (USD 400 million), which has run to BTN 54.82 billion (USD 660 million) and is far from complete.
– Bhutan’s Sustainable Hydropower Development Policy, 2020 emphasises developing green hydrogen alongside hydropower. It also recommends keeping one or two river systems dam-free until and unless existing projects are no longer profitable. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/energy/bhutan-failed-hydropower-goal-and-geopolitics-of-energy/ (09 March 2023)
At Nu 8.35 per unit, Electricity rich Bhutan is paying the highest ever price for electricity imported from India during winter when our power generated is not enough to meet domestic demand. The new price is double the price of last winter’s import. Bhutan imported electricity at around Nu 4.50 per unit. The landed import tariffs are much higher than the export tariffs rate of Nu 2.23 per unit for Kurichhu and Tala, Nu 2.55 per unit for Chukha, and Nu 4.12 per unit for Mangdechhu. https://kuenselonline.com/nu-8-35-per-unit-for-imported-electricity/ (09 March 2023)
Pakistan Rivers When you go looking for the rivers Hakra and Puran in Sindh, you find floods, danger, poets and protestors.
THE REST OF THE WORLD
Study Scientists prove clear link between deforestation and local drop in rainfall For the first time researchers have proven a clear correlation between deforestation and regional precipitation. Scientists hope it may encourage agricultural companies and governments in the Amazon and Congo basin regions and south-east Asia to invest more in protecting trees and other vegetation. The study found that the more rainforests are cleared in tropical countries, the less local farmers will be able to depend on rain for their crops and pastures. The paper, published in the journal Nature, adds to fears that the degradation of the Amazon is approaching a tipping point after which the rainforest will no longer be able to generate its own rainfall and the vegetation will dry up.
– The team at Leeds University have now proven this using satellite and meteorological records from 2003-17 across pantropical regions. Even at a small scale, they found an impact, but the decline became more pronounced when the affected area was greater than 50km squared (2,500 sq km). At the largest measured scale of 200km squared (40,000 sq km), the study discovered rainfall was 0.25 percentage points lower each month for every 1 percentage point loss of forest. This can enter into a vicious cycle, as reductions in rainfall lead to further forest loss, increased fire vulnerability and weaker carbon drawdown. One of the authors, Prof Dominick Spracklen of the University of Leeds, said 25% to 50% of the rain that fell in the Amazon came from precipitation recycling by the trees. Although the forest is sometimes described as the “lungs of the world”, it functions far more like a heart that pumps water around the region. https://amp.theguardian.com/environment/2023/mar/01/scientists-prove-clear-correlation-between-deforestation-and-rainfall-levels (01 March 2023)
Iconic Nile River Delta faces existential threats Large-scale heavy metal pollution, coastal erosion and seawater intrusion pose an existential threat to the Nile River Delta and endanger 60 million people in Egypt who depend on its resources for every facet of life, according to new research from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. The Nile River Delta is also a critical stopover for migrating birds across their journey along the East African flyway. The study, led by Essam Heggy from the USC was published on March 7, in the journal Earth’s Future. Key findings included:
– Sediment at the bottom of the Nile River is highly polluted by heavy metals like cadmium, nickel, chromium, copper, lead and zinc.
– Contaminants primarily come from untreated agricultural drainage and municipal and industrial wastewater. Without proper treatment of recycled water, concentrations of heavy metals increase and are permanently embedded in the riverbed unlike organic pollutants which naturally degrade over time.
– Heavy metal concentrations could be exacerbated by increased damming of the Nile. Mega-dams built upstream disrupt the river’s natural flow and sediment flux and thus adversely affect its ability to flush contaminants out into the Mediterranean Sea, leaving toxins to build up in bottom sediment over time. https://phys.org/news/2023-03-iconic-nile-river-delta-existential.html (09 March 2023)
Mississippi Delta study reveals which human actions contribute to land loss Published in Nature Sustainability, the study compares the impacts of different human actions on land loss and explains historical trends. Until now, scientists have been unsure about which human-related factors are the most consequential, and why the most rapid land loss in the Mississippi River Delta occurred between the 1960s and 1990s and since has slowed down.
– “What we found was really surprising,” said Doug Edmonds, the Malcolm and Sylvia Boyce Chair in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. “It is tempting to link the land loss crisis to dam building in the Mississippi River Basin — after all, dams have reduced the sediment in the Mississippi River substantially. But in the end, building levees and extracting subsurface resources have created more land loss and, according to our research, building dams has not had that big of an effect.”
– The current Mississippi River Delta formed over the past 7,000 years through sediment deposition from the river near the Gulf Coast. But due to human efforts to harness the river and protect communities, the delta is no longer accumulating sediment. As a result, coastal Louisiana has lost about 1,900 square miles of land since the 1930s, according to the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.
– The study found that only about 20% of the land loss is due to dam building, while levee building and extracting subsurface resources like oil and gas each account for about 40% of the Mississippi River Delta land loss. The study also suggests that the most rapid land loss and the recent deceleration might be related to the reduction of subsurface resource extraction. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2023/03/230306143336.htm (06 March 2023)
Flash floods: why are more of them devastating the world’s driest regions? Shifting weather, changing settlement patterns and a lack of preparedness mean that dry land areas are most at risk from flooding. Researchers need to focus on data collection, early-warning systems, flood protection and more.
– Because parched soils repel water rather than allowing it to soak in, flash floods can be more devastating in dry lands than in wetter areas. Surges can result from relatively small amounts of rain, as little as 10 millimetres in one hour. By comparison, floods in wetter regions typically follow more prolonged bouts of rainfall. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-023-00626-9 (07 March 2023)
Australia Record-breaking Queensland flood A record-breaking flood in Australia’s Queensland state was forecast to peak on Sunday, after almost 100 residents of an outback town were moved to higher ground.
The flood, triggered by heavy rain over the past week, is worst in the remote Gulf Country town of Burketown, about 2,100 km (1,300 miles) northwest of state capital Brisbane. The crisis comes after frequent flooding in Australia’s east over the last two years due to a multi-year La Nina weather event, including once-in-a-century floods that hit remote areas in the neighbouring Northern Territory, in January. https://www.financialexpress.com/world-news/record-breaking-queensland-flood-peak-predicted-for-sunday/3006106/ (12 March 2023)
UN First-ever World Seagrass Day focuses on conservation The United Nations on Wednesday (Feb. 28) called for more action to protect one of the most widespread and important marine ecosystems on the planet, marking the first ever commemoration of World Seagrass Day. https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/03/1134022 (01 March 2023)
Compiled by SANDRP (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Also see: DRP News Bulletin 06 March 2023 & DRP News Bulletin 27 Feb. 2023
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