CWC - Central Water Commission

2022: Overview of CWC’s Flood Monitoring Sites in North East India

During monsoon CWC (Central Water Commission) monitors water level at several hundred sites in the county and publishes this information on its Flood Forecast website[I]. The website has three ways to get this information: Data Flow Map, List Based Exploration, and Hydrograph view. The Hydrograph view provides information for past 72 hours, supposed to be updated every hour. This is in addition to the list of current forecasts listed on the website.

Since 2018, SANDRP has been analyzing CWC’s flood forecast website in zone wise manner. After examining status of flood forecast and monitoring sites in North Indian[II] states, this overview is for North East India region covering Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram and Sikkim states. This also includes part of North West Bengal that is in Brahmaputra basin. Our 2018 and 2019 analysis on the North East region can be seen here[III] and here[IV].  .

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Monsoon · Rainfall

June July 2022: District wise rainfall in India’s SW Monsoon

In the just concluded month of July 2022, the second month of India’s South West 2022 monsoon, India received 327.7 mm rainfall, 16.8% above the normal July rainfall of 280.5 mm as per India Meteorological department. In July 2021, the rainfall was 266.1 mm[i], about 6.7% below normal and  in July 2020, the rainfall was 257.1 mm[ii], or about 9.9% below normal.

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CWC - Central Water Commission · Dams

2022: CWC Flood Monitoring Sites in North India

(Feature image: Bar Chart showing number of Level Forecast/Monitoring, Inflow Forecast sites in North Indian States & UTs)

Continuing analysis of Central Water Commission’s flood forecast website, SANDRP presents the details of flood monitoring sites in North Indian states comprising Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Chandigarh, Delhi and states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Before this, we have prepared similar critical reports and highlighted problematic issues in flood monitoring sites in North India in 2018, 2019 and 2020.   

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Book Review · Fish, Fisheries, Fisherfolk · Rivers

BOOK REVIEW: Rare book on Rivers and fisherfolks of North India

Guest Article by Dr. Ruchi Shree

BOOK: Ramashankar Singh (2022), Nadi-Putra: Uttar Bharat me Nishad aur Nadi, Setu Prakashan, New Delhi.

The arrival of books viz. Dipesh Chakravarty’s The Climate of History in Planetary Age (2021), Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (2016), A Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis (2021), Sunil Amruth’s The Unruly Waters: How Mountain Rivers and Monsoons have shaped South Asia’s History (2019) and numerous others has blurred the disciplinary divide between literature, politics and environment. These books have brought attention to the worsening environmental crisis worldwide and how developing countries or the global south is facing its severe brunt. As a consequence, one may notice an upsurge in literature in hindi and other regional languages around environmental issues in India. Last year, Shekhar Pathak’s book Hari Bhari Ummeed (2021) narrated the complexities of Chipko Movement at its 40 years and now this book here for review joins the club of interdisciplinary texts on environmental issues in India.

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 1 Aug 2022: Dams reduce sediment load in rivers leading to higher coastal erosion

(Feature image: Delta Land Loss Mechanisms. Source Wikimedia Commons)

A new study this week has reminded us what has been known for long. Dams not only store water but also trap the sediment flowing in the river. Whatever smaller quantity of water flow from dams to downstream areas, has much lower or no silt. A lot of that silt was supposed to reach the coast, helping fight against the erosion of the coast due to sea tides and waves. With drastically lower sediment reaching the coasts, higher coastal erosion is the result. While climate change is definitely contributing to the increased coast erosion due to more frequent and higher intensity storms from the sea, the role of dams tend to work as force multiplier in increasing the coastal erosion due to less sediment reaching the coasts from river.

While a new study by a Pune University has highlighted this phenomena in case of Godavari river, peninsular India’s biggest river, this is also happening at most other rivers and where they meet the coasts. As in case of Farakka, closer the terminal dam is to the coast, greater is its effectiveness to trap the river sediment and higher is its contribution likely to be to the increase in coastal erosion.

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 250722: State of Yamuna River ignored by NMCG and MoEF

(Feature Image:- A drain choked with solid waste and untreated effluents running through Yamuna floodplains in Mathura. Source: News 18, 13072022.)

This year, even in the middle of monsoon, the Yamuna river in the national capital is in such a pathetic state, there is insufficient flows in the most of the days. The govt may jump to blame it on poor monsoon rains, ignoring that the upstream dams like the recently commissioned Vyasi dam not releasing water in the downstream is also a major reason beside the unsustainable riverbed mining and also dumping of solid waste in the upstream, including due to the building of mindless projects like the Char Dham highway, all in the news this week. Both National Mission on Clean Ganga (NMCG) and Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) should be concerned about this lack of flows downstream from the dam and other issues listed above, but they clearly seem least bothered.

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 180722: Polavaram, Kaleshwaram projects damaged, Kadam dam overflowed

(Feature image: An aerial view of the flood-affected areas in Godavari districts on July 15. Photo by arrangement/Deccan Chronicle)

One of the noteworthy feature of the floods in ongoing on monsoon so far has been what is happening around large dam projects, particularly in Central India, Eastern India and Southern India. The Polavaram dam on Godavari river, the largest under construction dam in India, again suffered damage this monsoon as confessed by the Andhra Pradesh Irrigation Minister Ambati Rambabu after his frequent visits to the dam. The dam had suffered damage in 2019 floods and it is still not clear what is way forward and the dam has again suffered damage. This will make the unviable project even more unviable, but the government will continue to sink good money after the massive sunk funds.

The Kaleshwaram project in Godavari basin, the largest lift irrigation projects of India has also faced damages with at least two pump houses with large number of massive capacity pumps getting submerged, and third one partially flooded. The full impact of this damage will only be known after assessment once the floods recede.

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Landslide dam

Uttarakhand June 2022: Shambhu River Landslide Lake in Alaknanda basin

(Feature Image:- बागेश्वर के कुंवारी में इस तरह हो रहे भूस्खलन के कारण पहाड़ी से शंभू नदी में गिर रहा मलबा। Image: Amar Ujala)

In last week of June 2022, a landslide lake was formed on Shambhu river in Kapkot tehsil of Bageshwar district. Shambhu originates from Shambhu glacier near Borbalda village in the district. It joins the Pindar river another glacier fed river few kilometres upstream Jhaliya village. In turn, passing through Tharali, Narayanbagad the Pindar river merges into Alaknanda river at Karanprayag in Chamoli district.  

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Floods

Rivers Breaching and flowing close to HFLs in May-June 2022

In pre-monsoon month of May 2022 and first month of south west monsoon season June 2022, there have been Highest Flood Level (HFL) breach incidents at 6 sites on rivers in North East and North India. The rivers have also touched or missed crossing the HFLs at as many sites in the region in these two months. This include Kopili river at Kampur Level Forecast (LF) site in Nagaon district of Assam breaching HFL[i] in both  May and June 2022 months and Barak river at Fulertal LF site in Cachar district, Assam narrowly missing HFL breach in May 2022 and breaching the extreme flood level in June 2022.

SANDRP has been tracking the HFL breach incidents during pre-monsoon and monsoon months for past four years. The analysis of such HFL breaches in 2018[ii], 2019[iii] and 2020[iv], May-Sept 2021[v], Oct.-Nov 2021[vi] can be seen on our website.

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Hydro Disaster

Himachal Pradesh July 2022: Cloudburst at Malana II HEP in Parbati Valley

(Feature Image:- कुल्लू की मणिकर्ण घाटी के चोज गांव में बादल फटा है. मलाणा डेम साइट के पास से भागता युवक. Source: News 18 Himachal Pradesh)

Hydropower projects are force multipliers when cloud burst happens close to them. In 2021 at least 11 HEPs (4 each in Uttarakhand & Himachal, 2 in J&K and 1 in Ladakh) projects had faced cloud burst induced deluge and damages in lesser or greater degree.

In the latest such incident, the 100 MW Malana II Hydro Electric Project (HEP) in Parbati Valley in Himachal Pradesh has been affected by flash floods following cloud burst in Malana village area in early hours of July 6, 2022. The operational project is located on Malana stream, a tributary of Parbati river in Kullu district. This incident seemingly coincided with another devastating cloud burst near Choj village in Parvati valley located about 15 km south west from Malana.

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