(Feature Image: Flood water discharging from Polavaram Project to the downstream, in West Godavari district, on Jyly 12, 2022. The Hindu)
Polavaram is the largest and costliest big dam project under construction in India currently, though not much has been written about this projects and its impacts in mainstream in India. The project was given various clearances through a manipulated process, basic studies were not done before clearing it. Several petitions are pending before the various High Courts and the Supreme Court of India, but the project is allowed to go ahead without resolving them or the inter-state issues. A number of issues related to the project has been unravelling over the years and in 2022, the project further unraveled as the news reports compiled here reveal.
A snapshot of the status at Polavaram Project: The downstream coffer dam is damaged, the Gap 1 and Gap 2 of the Dam are yet to be constructed, the 1.7 km long Diaphragm wall of the ECRF dam is submerged in flood waters, it was earlier damaged (scoured at two places over an an area of 200 m X 200 m) in 2019 floods implying additional expenditure of Rs 600 cr, the water flow at the dam site on July 15, 2022 was highest since 1920 for July, the assessment of the earlier damage to the diaphragm wall and future options that was underway when the floods struck in the second week of July 2022, had to be stopped while still incomplete, the rehabilitation colonies have been submerged as the engineers assessment proved wrong about their elevation. There is an uncertainty on the structural stability of the other facilities of the irrigation project due to incomplete construction of the main dam, as it is receiving an unprecedented inflow. The height of the upper Coffer dam was increased by 1 m to 44 m between 17 and 19 July, 2022, in the middle of high floods, but that had impact on upstream Telangana and they opposed that this was done without consulting them.
Continue reading “2022: When Polavaram project further unraveled” →
(Feature image:- This is the second time in the six months that Rautdih village has become inundated by the breach of ash pond embankment in Bokaro. ToI, Oct. 09, 2022)
Most mining companies make dams to store the semi solid slurry waste from the mines. Similarly most thermal power projects have fly ash dams to store the fly ash slurry. These dams store highly toxic slurries but there is little happening by way of regulation, monitoring or compliance at design, construction or operation level. Many of these dams breach or overflow, leading of release of the toxic slurry in the downstream areas. These dams do not even come under monitoring of Central Water Commission or under the dam safety act passed by the parliament. Despite accidents happening with huge adverse consequences, there is no accountability.
In this report, we have compiled the instances that we could locate about breaches of such dams in 2022. We earlier wrote about the Singrauli instance in April 2020 and in the 2019 SW Monsoon dam breach compilation report.
Continue reading “2022 Fly ash dam breaches in India” →
Bharudpura dam (also called Karam dam) on Karam river, a tributary of Narmada river, near Gujari village in Dharampuri Tehsil of Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh faced major disaster after the very first filling in August 2022 when there was seepage from and massive erosion of the dam wall starting from Aug 11, 2022. The disaster at the Rs 304.44 crore project whose construction started in 2018 created a major turbulence in Madhya Pradesh with allegations of sub-standard work, corruption and attempts to hush up the safety issues. As a precaution, the administration has on Aug 12, 2022 vacated 12 downstream villages in Dhar district and 6 in Khargone district[i] and stopped traffic on roads close to the dam[ii]. Dhar Collector also said that the efforts to stop the seepage were not successful and that possible reason for erosion is the use of black rather than red soil in the construction of the earthn dam.
Continue reading “Bharudpura Dam in MP faces disaster after first filling in Aug 2022“ →
The 275 MW Kopili Hydropower Dam of NEEPCO (a Union Power Ministry organisation, now under NTPC) has again faced a major disaster on Saturday, March 26, 2022. Earlier, the same project had suffered disaster in October 2019.[i]
The penstock pipe that takes water at high flow rates and speed from the Umrangso dam to the hydropower house burst during early hours of Saturday in Assam’s Dima Hasao (earlier called North Cachar Hill) district. A large portion of the Kopili Hydro Electric Plant was also inundated.[ii] At least three employees of the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO) who were present at the site were killed in the mishap.
Continue reading “MAJOR DISASTER AGAIN AT KOPILI DAM OF NEEPCO IN ASSAM IN 2022” →
Feature Image:- NDRF team search at Tapovan Vishnugad barrage as rescue operations continue. Source: Business Standard
Hydroelectric projects (HEPs) in India have been causing avoidable accidents and amplifying disaster potential, thus damaging the rivers eco-system, local environment and lives & livelihoods of communities. There have been several of such incidents across the country in 2021. In this report we put together a state wise account of most such incidents.
Continue reading “Hydro Power Projects, Dams Accidents & Damages in 2021” →
Heavy water leakage has been detected from the Mahim-Kelwa dam at Zanjroli in Palghar district, Maharashtra causing danger to a few villages situated downstream, officials said on Saturday, Jan 8, 2022.[i] A massive three-metre breach was detected on Saturday morning in a 41-year-old earthen dam with a 3.34 Million Cubic Meters capacity at Zanzorli in Palghar.[ii] About 1200 litres per minute was being discharged downstream.
Continue reading “Mahim Kelwa Dam leakage in Maharashtra: Another case of negligence” →
Feature image:- Damaged Annamayya dam on Cheyyeru river in Kadapa (Source:NaveenReddy@navin_ankampali)
After Pulichintala dam gate disaster[i] of August 05, 2021, the state of Andhra Pradesh has witnessed another dam induced flood disaster in 2021. This started with, part of Annamayya dam in Pennar (also called Penna) river basin[ii] getting washed away resulting in widespread destruction in downstream areas on November 19.
Around same time, there were more incidents of damages to dams and dam induced flooding in Kadapa, Chittoor, Anantapur districts of Rayalaseema and adjoining Nellore district. Firstly, the collapse of Pincha project ring bund contributed to Annamayya flood disaster. Then, one of metal bund of Mylavaram project was washed away.
Fourthly, the sudden releases from Veligallu and Buggavanka dams in Kadapa and Kalyani dam in Tirupati resulted in flash flood destruction in downstream areas. Apart from this, the leakages in Rayalacheruvu tank bund in Chittoor district could have turned into a big disaster.
Continue reading “Andhra Pradesh: Dam Induced Flood Disaster in November 2021” →
In another dam related disaster in Andhra Pradesh, a flood gate of K L Rao multi-purpose irrigation project also known as Pulichintala Dam was washed away on August 5, 2021 raising flood alarm in downstream areas along Krishna river. As per latest information the gate has been fixed and officials have started filling up the reservoir again. However, there is no official statement regarding exact causes, financial losses, damages to dam structure and downstream flood impact caused by the apparently avoidable dam disaster. The rule curve seems to be violated in operation of every dam and the gates do not seem to have been properly maintained. An independent enquiry needs to be immediately set up to find out what lessons we can learn and how we can fix accountability for the disaster.
Continue reading “Andhra Pradesh: Pulichintala Dam Gate disaster shows improper maintenance and operation” →
Guest Article by Prof S P Sati
The suggestion of a robust early warning system always echoes as and when there is a disaster in the Himalaya. Hence, the murmuring of having a state of art early warning system after the February 7th 2021 Rishi Ganga disaster is nothing new.
Several concerned scientists of the country are considering of instituting a new centre using the state of art remote sensing techniques. The centre would be dedicated to the early warning forecasting in the Himalayan region. This is heard practically after every disaster since last two decades.
Continue reading “Himalayan Disasters: Early Warning Systems must, but much more needed” →
Abstract: While Uttarakhand is vulnerable to disasters, climate change is increasing these vulnerabilities. Major human interventions like hydropower projects and highways implemented without an informed or democratic decision-making process act as force multipliers during such disasters. The violations of legal and other prudent norms in their implementation further increase the damages. The absence of necessary monitoring, early warning systems and the overall disaster management system add another layer of damages during the disasters. The lack of the ability to learn lessons from disasters and lack of any accountability ensures the perpetuation of the situation.
Continue reading “The factors that worsen the Uttarakhand Disasters” →