Assam · brahmaputra · Dam Induced Flood Disaster · Floods

Role of Doyang Dam in bringing unprecedented floods in Golaghat

When Dhansiri river broke the highest flood level mark at Numaligarh site in early hours of Aug 2, 2018 in Golaghat district in Assam, it was not only completely out of the blue, the whole episode was unprecedented.

The earlier Highest Flood Level of Dhansiri River at Numaligarh was 79.87 m. The new HFL, it seems, was 80.18 m, full 31 cm above the previous HFL. This is rather rare, normally the new HFL would be a few cm higher, not almost one third of a meter. Secondly, the water level remained above 79.87 cm, the old HFL, for over 60 hours. This is also unusual, normally the water level rarely remains above HFL for more than a day or so. Thirdly, the earlier HFL was achieved on Sept 24, 1985, so this sudden episode of flood was breaking 33 year old record. Continue reading “Role of Doyang Dam in bringing unprecedented floods in Golaghat”

Bihar · Ganga · Inland Waterways

National Inland Waterways in Bihar: Viable or desirable?

A new surge in the developmental interventions in the rivers in India is seen with the implementation of National Inland Waterways Act, 2016. Under this Act, 138 stretches of the rivers, creeks, backwaters, estuaries, etc. in 24 states and 2 union territories will be developed as the ‘national inland waterways’ for the transportation of huge cargo and passenger vessels. Being declared as “national” means that the control and regulation of these waterways will be in the hands of the central government and not state governments. This project of Central Government is being pushed forward with the claims of inland water transport being cost-effect, environmental friendly and safe for the transportation of hazardous goods. However, these so called benefits are neither universal nor automatic as they will be dependent on certain conditions, and will accrue if and when those conditions are met. Development of these waterways will be controlled and regulated by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI). Continue reading “National Inland Waterways in Bihar: Viable or desirable?”

Bihar · Dams · Floods · Ganga

Will sluggish Farakka again create prolonged floods along Ganga in Bihar?

It’s a bit intriguing situation. IMD and Skymet experts are downgrading the monsoon rainfall from earlier forecast 100% to 92%. Both agencies are predicting even lower rainfall in remaining part of current South West Monsoon.  Bihar has received 413.2 mm rainfall till Aug 2, 2018, 22% below normal. And yet, starting Aug 1, CWC’s flood forecasting sites along the Ganga were showing ominous portents. For the first time this monsoon, the sites started showing steep upwards trend. Continue reading “Will sluggish Farakka again create prolonged floods along Ganga in Bihar?”

Beas · Fish · Fish Sanctuaries

Beas Dolphins: A Flash Of Fin, A Glimmer Of Hope

Above: A female Platanista gangetica minor breaks the surface of the Beas (Photo by Arati Kumar Rao)

India’s few remaining Indus river dolphins are confined to one short, beautiful stretch of the Beas. They have a fighting chance at survival only if we ensure a healthy river

Guest Blog by Arati Kumar Rao

A dark shape cleaves the Beas river, leaving a long wake in its trail. From the way it moves, it is neither a human, nor fish, nor even a river dolphin. The shape swims strongly, shrugging off the strong current. It holds its line and makes straight for a sandbar, hauling itself up on a buff-coloured spit.

A black dog, probably feral. It shakes itself free of water and, running across the sand, begins tugging at the beached carcass of a cow. Another bigger dog appears out of nowhere, and the two begin to snarl and gorge, yanking and tearing flesh off the arcing ribs.

River sandbars contain multitudes. I was upstream of Harike, the largest wetland in north India. The critically endangered gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), the fish-eating, long-snouted crocodilian, of which no more than a few hundred survive in the world, bask and nest on these sandbars. Freshwater turtles like the red-crowned roofed turtle (Batagur kachuga) and the Indian narrow-headed soft-shell turtle (Chitra indica), among the most endangered of freshwater species, use sand islands extensively to breed and to bask. Hundreds of thousands of birds — some transient visitors from China and Siberia and Central Asia wintering here, some resident — forage, nest, breed, raise chicks. Many of these creatures have this in common – they are all threatened, to greater or lesser degree.

The sight of predatory, feral dogs in this delicate ecosystem comes with chilling implications. Continue reading “Beas Dolphins: A Flash Of Fin, A Glimmer Of Hope”

Cauvery · central water commission · Dams · Disasters · Floods · Karnataka · Tamil Nadu

Cauvery is facing very serious flood risk, but CWC is in slumber

(The figure above is screen shot of CWC Flood forecasting site showing no warning signs even at 5 pm on 230718)

Almost all the big dams in Cauvery Basin are full on the earlier ever monsoon date this year. This includes Krishnaraj Sagar, Mettur, Kabini, Harangi, Hemavathi and Bhavanisagar. They are almost full and have started releasing large flows to the downstream areas. This is when we are past just about six weeks of South West Monsoon, the North East monsoon would come after that. It means that the basin is facing major risk of floods in next 2-5 months. And yet Central Water Commission, India’s flood forecasting agency, seems to be in deep slumber. It has not even bothered to update the flood readings on its designated sites from the 2017 figures.  Continue reading “Cauvery is facing very serious flood risk, but CWC is in slumber”

Dams · Rivers

Review of fascinating Dams, Rivers related developments in American continent in 2017

Brazil Announces the End of Mega-Dams in the Amazon The Brazilian government has announced it will stop building mega-dams in the Amazon, according to reports in the Brazilian newspaper O Globo and in an article published in Mongabay. This is great news indeed. Congratulations to everyone in Brazil Campaign.  https://www.internationalrivers.org/resources/brazil-announces-the-end-of-mega-dams-in-the-amazon-international-rivers-statement-16587 (3 Jan 2018) Continue reading “Review of fascinating Dams, Rivers related developments in American continent in 2017”

Floods · Rivers · USA

US Dams, Rivers and People in 2017: There is so much to learn!

DECOMMISSIONING OF DAMS

Map of dams removed since 1916 Dams cause considerable harm to rivers. Dams have depleted fisheries, degraded river ecosystems, and altered recreational opportunities on nearly all of our rivers. Today, many dams that were once at the epicenter of a community’s livelihood are now old, unsafe or no longer serving their intended purposes. Learn how USA is working to remove dams and restore the rivers.  (Map above is from Ameerican Rivers website, depicting the location of decommissioned dams in USA.) https://www.americanrivers.org/threats-solutions/restoring-damaged-rivers/dam-removal-map/ Continue reading “US Dams, Rivers and People in 2017: There is so much to learn!”

Maharashtra · Rivers · Urban Water Sector

India Urgently Needs Urban Water Policy: River Front Development Kills the Rivers

In the conference, “Dialogue on Urban Rivers of Maharashtra”, experts on water and rivers from all over the country strongly expressed their views and unanimously agreed that, “Pune River Front Development Project is certainly going to cause a disaster.” The conference also underlined the need for and decided to work for Urban Water Policy for Maharashtra and India.

The conference was jointly organised on 20 and 21st April at YASHADA by Indian National Trust for Art Culture and Heritage (INTACH – Pune Chapter) and South Asian Network for Rivers Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP). Experts from Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and various parts of Maharashtra attended the conference. Continue reading “India Urgently Needs Urban Water Policy: River Front Development Kills the Rivers”

Maharashtra · Rivers · Urban Water Sector

Pune Dialogue on Urban Rivers of Maharashtra on April 20-21, 2018

The health and future of our country is critically dependent on the health of our rivers. To compromise upon our rivers’ health is to endanger our own existence and future. Most of the urban rivers[1] in Maharashtra are in poor state affected by problems like pollution, with little or no biodiversity, little or no flow during most of the year, encroachment, dumping of waste, concretization and sometimes even mining. Water pollution from Urban Industrial effluents is a serious problem for the river, floodplain as well as ground water. With unplanned development, as the floodplains and riverbeds are being encroached, we are experiencing increased intensity and frequency of floods and flash floods. This can lead to an increasing possibility of water scarcity, depletion of groundwater levels and drought in spite of rains. Continue reading “Pune Dialogue on Urban Rivers of Maharashtra on April 20-21, 2018”