(Feature Image: Anti dam graffiti on the wall of the civil secretariat building in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh in July 2022. Source: Social Media)
Large Hydropower projects have bleak future as number of reports this week suggest, including the following Video. The large hydro is not renewable, sustainable or green or people friendly. In fact, it is increasingly seen as invitation to disasters. Much better options exist. In the changing climate situation, the destruction that hydropower projects bring about becomes even more relevant when we need the Rivers, Forests, the biodiversity and less disaster prone options. Earlier our governments see this writing on the dam walls from across the world, better it will be for all concerned.
Marking World Water Day 2023; this compilation by SANDRP highlights top ten successful and worth replicable initiatives and actions being taken in Indian cities for revival of surface water sources and recharge of depleting groundwater table.
This report highlights top ten positive water stories from rural India from last one year. SANDRP has been marking the World Water Day by presenting the stories of some remarkable efforts undertaken for protection, revival and management of water sources by individuals, local communities and governments.
(Feature Image: The spot where the 7 girls were drowned (in sand mine pit) at A. Kuchipalayam, near Cuddalore, in Tamil Nadu on June 5, 2022. The Hindu)
This report (fourth part of our series on this subject in 2023) summarizes the detailed compilation tracking the human death toll and violent incidents related to illegal and unsustainable riverbed mining activities in Southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in 11 months between April 2022 and February 2023. The first three parts of the series have covered sand mining related human casualties and violence in North, East and West Zones for the same period.
(Feature Image: Cover page of World Bank report titled What the Future Has in Store: A New Paradigm for Water Storage)
On the occasion of World Water Day 2023, the United Nation will be organizing a conference (March 22-24) in New York, USA. In its latest report the World Bank has also raised concern over decline in fresh water storages and underlined the need of a new approach for integration of built and natural water storages as a measure to adapt to climate change related water challenges and better management of water resources.
There is no doubt that large parts of the world are facing water scarcity and insecurity from existing and looming threats both from man made reasons and changing climates. Given the omnipresent & increasing shortages of cumulative storage capacity and adverse impacts of built water storages especially big reservoirs and dams; it is time global bodies like UN, World Bank, policy makers and governments at large must focus on conservation and replenishment of natural water storages, which are far better, cost effective options available to address and mitigate ever increasing and evolving climatic threats on human water security and sources.
(Wreckage of sand laden tractor after collision with sand loaded truck in Dholpur, Rajasthan in June 2022. Image Source: Patrika)
After analysis of the riverbed mining related deaths and violence incidents in North and East Indian states in Part one and Part two between April 2022 and February 2023, this third part in the series presents the summary of detailed compilation on the topic in West Indian states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa for the period.
(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.
Pictures above have been taken five days 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.
(Feature Image: A sand loaded truck overturned on a passenger auto killing 5 people & injuring 5 others in Motihari, Bihar in Sept. 2022. Image Source: Dainik Jagran)
In this second part, SANDRP present summary report on riverbed minerals mining related human deaths and violent incidents in East Indian states of Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and in North Eastern states of Assam and Manipur during April 2022 to February 2023. The detailed tabular report compiling all these incidents in past 11 months can be seen here. The first part of the series tracking the human death toll on account of illegal, unsustainable sand mining activities in North Indian states for the same period can be seen here.
This week the weekly DRP bulletin brings news of increasing threats from changing climate in inherently disaster prone Himalayas. The news come from Ladakh in the NW to Nagaland in the NE, and includes Uttarakhand among others. The news is about retreating glaciers, increasing threats of Glacial Lake Outburst floods and landslides. The news also notes that factors like indiscriminate infrastructure development and lack of drainage are worsening the disaster potential of the Himalayan states. Most importantly, implicitly more than explicitly, the news reports highlight complete inattention of the regulators to these increasing threats and risks in inherently vulnerable Himalayas while considering new infrastructure projects like Highways, Railways, Hydropower projects, Dams and urbanization and also in terms of disaster management laws and practices.
It underlines that the threats and risks in the Himalayan states is also increasing due to changing rainfall patterns due to changing climate. This trinity of inherent vulnerability, changing climate and inattention to the risks of indiscriminate infrastructure projects is clearly very very dangerous, but there is little hope for any immediate change. One clear indication is the handling of the Joshimath disaster, a clear case of how not to handle communication as Dave Petley has noted. The Prime Minister’s office is sitting on the report submitted by the investigating agencies several weeks ago. Why should this report be a secret or will we get a negotiated report?