Bihar · Ganga · Rivers

River Stories, Walking Across India – II

Guest Blog by Siddharth Agarwal

In the years 2018 and 2019, I spent months walking East across India with Paul Salopek on the Out of Eden Walk[i]. His trail started in the Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia in East Africa, roughly following the path of the early human migration out of Africa and across the globe.

The India trail of the Out of Eden Walk started from the India-Pakistan border at Wagah, Punjab. It then moved East through the Indus Basin, followed by the basins of West flowing rivers like Luni, then a large chunk through the southern Gangetic plains in Central India before crossing over to the Brahmaputra basin close to Siliguri in West Bengal. The crossover to Myanmar happened at Moreh in Manipur, also incidentally very close to the basin boundary of Brahmaputra and Irrawady. He entered India in March 2018, and crossed over to Myanmar in July 2019.

The Out of Eden Walk trail in India was ~4000kms, of which I was present for about 1500kms in different sections. These stretches were spread across Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and bit of Assam & Manipur.

Continue reading “River Stories, Walking Across India – II”
Indian Meteorological Department · Monsoon · Rainfall

District wise rainfall in June-Aug 2020 in India

In the ongoing South West Monsoon, India received 44 year old high surplus rainfall of 327 mm in just concluded Aug 2020, 26.6% above normal rainfall of 258.2 mm. This helped the total June-Aug 2020 rainfall to achieve 10% surplus, with actual rainfall 780.3 mm, 69.9 mm higher than normal rainfall of 710.4 mm. In June the country received 18% above normal rainfall and in July it received 9.9% below normal rainfall, the rainfall at the end of June was just 1.1 mm above normal. Thus almost the entire surplus rainfall is thanks to the rainfall during Aug 2020. The rainfall distribution has however, been far from normal that these figures suggest, as we can see from the state wise and district wise figures below.

Continue reading “District wise rainfall in June-Aug 2020 in India”
Monsoon · Rainfall

District wise Rainfall in India in June July 2020

During the just concluded first half of the South West Monsoon 2020, India received 453.3 mm rainfall, just 1.1 mm above the normal rainfall of 452.2 mm during the period. The Surplus of  18% rainfall that India received in June 2020 has thus been wiped out by the 9.9% deficit in July rainfall. Normal rainfall in July 2020 is 285.3 mm, while actual rainfall was 257.1 mm. IMD does not provide monthly figures of rainfall for different states, sub divisions and river basins, which it should along with comparison with respect to normal rainfall and rainfall last year.

To get July 2020 rainfall, we will need to use the figures given in this article along with the figures of June 2020 rainfall (see: https://sandrp.in/2020/06/30/district-wise-rainfall-in-india-in-june-2020/). The district wise figures of June-July 2020 rainfall can be seen in this PDF file from IMD: IMD DISTRICT WISE RAINFALL FROM JUNE 1 TO JULY 31 2020.

Continue reading “District wise Rainfall in India in June July 2020”

Bihar · Floods

Making sense of 2020 Gandak floods

While Bihar is again facing one of the worse floods this monsoon, one basin in Bihar that has possibly faced the maximum floods is Gandak, as a number of reports[i] have described. The floods in Gandak basin were pretty serious, as embankments along Gandak breached at multiple locations, first on western side (Gopalganj district) starting on July 23-24 night and then on Eastern side (Purbi Champaran district).  The flood lead to breaking of three year old HFL (Highest Flood Level) record at Dumariaghat, 19 year old HFL record at Lalganj and most shockingly, 34 year old HFL record at Rewaghat. Continue reading “Making sense of 2020 Gandak floods”

Dams · Sand Mining

Bihar Sand Mining 2020: Ruining rivers; aggravating floods

{Feature image: Up to 300 trucks a day take their fill of sand at a mine on the Sone River in Bihar state. India’s construction boom is stripping large volumes of sand, a vital ingredient in concrete, from its rivers. Environmentalists say the extraction is unsustainable, harming local hydrology and wildlife. Paul Salopek}

The 2018 review of sand mining[i] for Bihar highlighted how mismanagement by govt and then National Green Tribunal (NGT) ban on sand mining in Ganga river, Son rivers particularly during monsoon months resulted in sand scarcity and soaring prices affected public and livelihoods of mining laborers.

The video report featuring local people revealed that illegal mining was causing floods in West Champaran by damaging embankments. Similarly, the report on Gaya mentioned sand mining among reasons behind increasing air pollution. The death of four kids by drowning into sand mine pits was shocking. This compilation presents the situation after 2018 so far.

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Bihar · Nepal

Story of small transboundary river: Understanding Bhikhna Thori and River Pandai on India-Nepal border in Pashchim Champaran, Bihar

Guest Blog by Eklavya Prasad, Megh Pyne Abhiyan

Last week, a note was in circulation, which listed few border related conflicts between India (Bihar) and Nepal (Parsa). Of the nine points mentioned in the note, seven were directly or indirectly related to either a river, or access to water, or flood protection works. Out of the seven, one issue was with regard to an old concern involving River Pandai, which has witnessed different dimension of cooperation and discord between communities across the Indo-Nepal border in Pashchim (West) Champaran and Parsa districts respectively. However, the note highlight the conflict as a recent one with a specific intent and that was explained as नेपाल की करतूत : पानी रोक लिया, ताकि एसएसबी के जवान परेशान हों (Nepal’s handiwork : They stopped the water to trouble the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) jawans). After having read the note, I decided to write this piece based on my own understanding and learnings (through direct interactions and personal communication in the past and references) about River Pandai and Bhikhna Thori, to provide a comprehensive perspective.

Continue reading “Story of small transboundary river: Understanding Bhikhna Thori and River Pandai on India-Nepal border in Pashchim Champaran, Bihar”

Indian Meteorological Department · Monsoon · Rainfall

District Wise rainfall in India in June 2020

Here we present the rainfall figures from India Meteorological Department in the just concluded month of June 2020, the first month of SW Monsoon 2020. The overall rainfall at all India level in June 2020 was 196.2 mm, 18% above normal rainfall in the month at 166.9 mm. It was 33% deficit last year.

This is India’s wettest June 12 years, The Times of India reported on July 1, 2020. Agriculture Ministry Data shows that sowing is 68% higher at 31.56 m ha. The June rainfall was 202 mm in 2008, the rainfall this year is the highest since then. All four IMD regions (Northwest, Central, South, East & NE) have recorded surplus rainfall, the surplus is the highest in Central (30.5% surplus) and E-NE (15.7%) regions. North West India had the lowest surplus at 3.5%. IMD Head Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said that whole of India was covered by monsoon on June 26, 12 days ahead of the normal date of July 8.

State wise rainfall Three states had large excess rainfall (above 60% surplus rainfall), namely Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Sikkim. Eight states/UTs (Union Territories) had excess rainfall (20-59% surplus): Assam, Meghalaya, UP, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh & Andaman and Nicobar. Nine had deficient rainfall (20-59% deficit): Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Manipur, J&K, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Dadar & Nagar Haveli. Rest of India had Normal Rainfall. Continue reading “District Wise rainfall in India in June 2020”

Rainfall

State wise rainfall Pre Monsoon 2020 & Post monsoon 2019

India Meteorological Department (IMD) divides a water year (June 1 to May 31) into four seasons: Monsoon: (June 1 to Sept 30), Post monsoon (Oct 1 to Dec 31), Winter (Jan 1 to Feb 28/9) and Pre Monsoon (March 1 to May 31). For rainfall during all these seasons, IMD’s hydro-meteorological website[i] provides a lot of data on daily basis, including daily district wise rainfall, state-wise, sub division wise and river wise daily rainfall maps among many other weekly, monthly and seasonal products. However, one problem with it is that none of this information is achieved. So if you missed seeing or downloading available data on any date, there is no way to look at it even next day. This is even true of the seasonal rainfall maps, unfortunately.

Most observers look at the monsoon rainfall data, which is clearly the most important season, without doubt. However, the rainfall in other seasons is also very important from a number of perspectives.

Here we are giving a detailed account of the pre-monsoon season rainfall that India received in the season just ended on May 31, 2020, including state wise, sub division wise, river wise and also district wise figures. Along with it, we also provide the figures of post monsoon figures for the just concluded water year. For the winter season (Jan-Feb 2020) we have only the figures for Jan 2020 since we missed downloading the Feb 2020 figures. We had already provided the monsoon 2019 figures through two blogs in October 2019[ii].

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Bihar · Rivers

Bringing Life back to Champa River

Guest Blog by Dr. Ruchi Shree (TMBU, Bhagalpur)

Is it merely a coincidence that I am writing this last segment of my three-part writing on Champa river when due to ongoing lockdown amid unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the rivers not only all over India but worldwide are said to have become cleaner. Many scholars and environmentalists are calling it a ‘boon in disguise’ and asking us to take it as an opportunity to re-engage with human being’s relationship with the surrounding nature. To quickly recap what I have already said in my previous writings that rivers are more than merely water-bodies and each river has not one but many stories around it. These stories are about how did they come into existence to what are their specific features and many more. (Photo above: Live History)

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Bihar · Rivers

Champa’s Angpradesh to Champa Nala of Bhagalpur

                                                                                       Guest Blog by Dr. Ruchi Shree (TMBU, Bhagalpur)

The title of this paper is influenced by Anupam Mishra’s writing ‘Yamuna ki Dilli’[i] which narrates the significance of river for a city and how the equation between the two keeps changing along the passage of time. As mentioned in the previous part of the story, my writing is an attempt to explore the history of Bhagalpur around its one water body named Champa river. Continue reading “Champa’s Angpradesh to Champa Nala of Bhagalpur”