India’s hydropower generation dropped by upto close to 20% compared to previous year in some of the months this year even as installed capacity of hydropower projects keeps climbing relentlessly. According to monthly generation figures from Central Electricity Authority, even as installed capacity of hydropower projects went up by 1516 MW in last one year, the power generation from hydropower projects dropped by 10.82%, 19.19%, 17.7% and 15.92% during February, March, April and May 2016 respectively at all India level, compared to the figures in the same months in 2015. Continue reading “Drought hits hydropower: Shows how unreliable is hydro in changing climate”
In a welcome move, Hon. Bombay High Court vacation bench of Justices Bhushan Gavai and Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi, while hearing multiple clubbed petitions about drought and the state’s response, has passed a strong order recommending release of water stored in PRIVATE DAMS and sources for drinking water purposes of drought hit region.
“Observing that natural resources are property of the entire nation and not just an individual or a private entity, the Bombay High Court directed the state government to consider supplying water from privately operated dams and wells to water-scarce areas.” Continue reading ““Water is not a private property of some groups”: Bombay High Court directs release of water from Private Dams like the Tata Dams”
Above: Red arrows indicate diversion of water from Tata Dams into surplus basin. Source: Google earth images and SANDRP
Since past three years, SANDRP has been raising the issue of West-ward water transfer during drought years by hydropower dams. Maharashtra annually diverts 3324 Million Cubic Meters of water from its water deficit Bhima and Krishna basins into the water surplus Konkan basin for hydropower generation. This happens though 6 dams on Bhima Basin privately owned by Tata Power and the Koyana Hydropower Project. Although drinking water is the first priority for any society and this is enshrined in the National and State Water Policies, there is no system in place to allocate the waters of these dams to the downstream, when there is dire need. During this drought, which is possibly Independent India’s worst droughts, Tata Dams have released nearly no water to the Bhima Basin and Maharashtra Government on its part has taken no stand on this issue.
After raising this issue several times at many platforms, SANDRP has sent a letter to the Prime Minister as well as to the National Human Rights Commission on this issue. If you agree with the points raised in the letter below, please send similar letter to the authorities. Continue reading “Letter to PM: Devise a policy for curbing hydropower water diversions during drought years”
What does it mean when landscapes, riverscapes, ways of life are altered forever? When a mighty, flowing river is plugged and made to stop, flow in tunnel and released as per our whims? For most of us, life and environment are so fundamentally modified that we would hardly question it. But as our worldview and our politics is set to dam some of the last free flowing rivers in the North East India into Hydro-Electricity Banks, what is at stake? Continue reading “India’s Free Flowing Frontier Part I: Dibang at Nizamghat”
Hydro fast loosing sheen in renewable energy basket and the share of hydro is likely to decline further as through the past three years, the installed capacity of hydropower projects has remained around 40,000 Mw. While the report superficially may appear as a sigh of relief nevertheless on ground Indian Govt. is still in a hurry to push many big hydro power projects particularly in North-Eastern States. Last month only Piyush Goyal Power Minister cleared the Teesta-III and spoke of clearing Subansiri too. In Siang basin Pauk, Heo, Tato-I are recently approved by MoEF Panel. Protest against 780 Nyamjang Chhu HEP is going on. Similarly several projects in Ganga, Barhamputra and Satluj basin are being cleared and constructed in plain violation of stipulated green norms. Public and private developers are repeatedly ignoring environmental concerns and not addressing the issues raised by local people.
Water has become a closely guarded resource in Latur city which receives municipal supply only once every 15 days. The Dhanegaon dam which supplies water here has been at “dead storage level” for the last four years because of the meagre rains. But this year the water crisis is much worse: the arid Marathwada belt where Latur is located has reported the highest rain deficit in the entire country.
JAMMU & KASHMIR: Eco concerns over Baglihar hydel project worry experts, locals The 900-MW Baglihar hydroelectric project continues to increase the worries of experts and inhabitants in the erstwhile Doda district comprising Kishtwar, Doda and Ramban districts as the region faces a major threat of severe climate change, courtesy successive regimes which have ignored all environmental concerns attached to the project. Torrential rain, cloudbursts and massive landslides are said to be new dangers confronting the people of the erstwhile Doda district which are mostly due to creation of the reservoir of between 30 km and 35 km in length. The region falls in Seismic Zone IV. In another interesting development referring to the All India Power Survey findings, the J&K government’s report—State Action Plan on Climate Change—states that climate change would have drastic impact on hydropower generation capacity in J&K in three possible ways. Firstly, the available discharge of a river may change since hydrology is usually related to local weather conditions, such as temperature and precipitation in the catchment area. Secondly, an unexpected increase in climate variability may trigger extreme climate events, i.e. floods and droughts, and thirdly, changing hydrology and possible extreme events may increase sediment risks. It further reveals that more sediment, along with other factors such as changed composition of water, raises the probability that a hydropower project suffers greater exposure to turbine erosion. Moreover, an unexpected amount of sediment will also lower turbine and generator efficiency, resulting in a decline in energy generated. Since the majority of power is generated from hydropower sources, there are high chances that Jammu and Kashmir may face power crisis if the projected impact of climate change happens. Higher demand of energy due to climatic variability and lower generation due to projected impact of climate change would widen the power supply-demand deficit in Jammu and Kashmir.
In the last week of June 2015, there were widespread rains in Uttarakhand, accompanied by warning by the Dehradun Met Department. The pilgrimage to Kedarnath and Badrinath was affected with massive landslides damaging roads and bridges. But strangely there was little news about the hydropower projects. It was only when Vimalbhai informed me y’day that power generation at Vishnuprayag hydropower project has stopped that I decided to dig deeper into this issue. Continue reading “Why Vishnuprayag and other Uttarakhand Hydro Projects continue to affect two years after the June 2013 disaster”
HIMACHAL: Himachal Pradesh engineers blames untrained engineers and human errors responsible for growing numbers of hydro power project mishaps (15 June 2015) HP engineers say that the board was suffering these losses as they lacked the trained engineers. The limited staff is under pressure to perform technical duties and pressure mount on them as the government was not serious about filling the posts, said Lokesh Thakur, general secretary, HP Power Engineers’ Association, expressing anguish over the death of three engineers, two of whom worked in the HPSEBL.http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/lack-of-trained-engineers-to-blame/94204.html Continue reading “Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin, June 22, 2015”
Guest Blog by विमलभाई (email@example.com)
उत्तराखंड में अलकनंदा नदी पर 330 मेगावाट की श्रीनगर जलविद्युत परियोजना बनाने वाली जी0वी0के0 बांध कम्पनी द्वारा लापरवाही से श्रीनगर बांध की मिट्टी डंप नहीं कि गई होती तो जून 2013 में नदी का पानी केवल घरों एंव अन्य जगहों पर आता किन्तु मलबा नहीं आता। लोग अभी तक दो सालों के बाद भी मानसिक, शारीरिक एवं आर्थिक रूप से परेशान एवं अस्त-व्यस्त ना होते।
वैसे श्रीनगर बांध निर्माण में पूर्व से ही काफी कमियां रही हैं तथा इसके पर्यावरणीय पहलुओं पर लोग इलेक्ट्रोनिक व प्रिंट मीडिया के माध्यम से कहते रहे हैं। जी0वी0के0 कम्पनी पर मुकदमें भी हुये, जिनमें से कुछ अभी भी चल रहे हैं। जी0वी0के0 कम्पनी की लापरवाही मीडिया व कई व्यक्तियों द्वारा प्रश्न उठाये गये जो लगातार सच साबित हुये हैं। आज स्थिति यह है कि बांध के खिलाफ केस भी चालू है और बांध कंपनी ने विद्युत उत्पादन भी करना आरंभ कर दिया है।
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been saying to Nepal and others that Bhutan is a good example to show how a country can prosper from hydropower generation and export. During his trip to Bhutan in June 2014, soon after taking over as Prime Minister of India, he said, “Our Hydropower cooperation with Bhutan is a classic example of win-win cooperation and a model for the entire region.”
However, this hydropower import by India from Bhutan is not a new development. Central Electricity Authority under Union Ministry of Power provides, in its monthly reports, power import from Bhutan, these figures are available since 2005-06. Continue reading “Changing profile of India’s Hydro Power Import from Bhutan”