Guest blog by The Coastal Resource Centre, Chennai
This stories of Adyar and Kosasthalaiyar Rivers from Chennai is fifth in the series of online stories of urban rivers from across India. Please share your feedback and provide us with suggestions (read more in appendix). If you have any urban river stories or images that you might want to share, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
The South Indian coastal city of Chennai is home to more than 5 million people. The city is predominantly flat and consists of sandy coastal plains drained by three major rivers the Adyar, Cooum and Kosasthalaiyar. The latter is the largest and empties through a backwater and estuary at the Ennore Creek.
Because of its flat topography, early settlements in the region were possible only after making arrangements to hold rainwater through harvesting structures like Eri’s or irrigation tanks. Surplus from the tank network was designed to drain into rivers and thence to the Bay of Bengal.
Between 1980 and 2010, the built up area inside the city has grown from 47 square km to 402 sq km. During the same period, area under waterbodies declined from 186 square km to 71 square km.
Degrading land-use change and the abuse of the three rivers in the name of urbanisation is a major factor in the city’s increased vulnerabilities to droughts and floods.
Continue reading “Chennai: Playing With Water “
The minutes of expert appraisal committee (EAC) shows that Environmental Clearance (EC) for the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project has been deferred. The minutes were uploaded after 16 days of EAC meeting conducted on Oct 24, 2017. http://environmentclearance.nic.in/writereaddata/Form-1A/Minutes/09112017PCU6UH80Finalminutesof9thEACmeeting1.pdf
In the minutes, the EAC said that it would require to study the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the Nepal portion of the project to get a holistic view. It also directed the project proponent to obtain wildlife clearance as the project was located 300 metres from the Ascot Wildlife Sanctuary.
It is worth to mention that the Pancheshwar dam with a height of 315 meters is world’s second tallest dam proposed in ecologically sensitive region. Scores of media reports have underlined the unfair and politically influenced Environment Public Hearing (EPH) process, conducted during peak monsoon month in landslide ridden and disaster prone region. The venue of the EPH was also several kms away from villages going to be affected thus depriving the local people participation in essential decision making process. As a result the concerns and voices of villagers to have their voices heard. The EIA report of the project has also not mentioned several grave environmental issues of GOLFs events, cloud bursts, earthquakes etc in the catchment of the dam let alone the question of impact on endangered wildlife like Mahseer fish.
Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 13 November 2017 (EAC Defers To Clear Pancheshwar Dam But Ignores People’s Voices)”
While the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change never implemented Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2010, it has now brought out a new and seriously watered down Draft Wetland Rules 2016. The New Rules can jeopardise wetland conservation in the country and need to be rejected in entirety. Following is a submission made by SANDRP to the Secretary, MoEF and CC about the same. Last date for sending comments is 6th June 2016. Emails are firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We request you to kindly make similar submissions. Feel free to use our letter below. Our Wetlands need protection, not degradation! Continue reading “REJECT Draft Wetland Rules 2016: Designed to destroy wetlands”
In city after city wetlands are being built over, for houses, markets and offices to meet the demands of an increasing urban population. As agriculture is being rendered unviable because of soaring costs of inputs, declining prices of farm products, lack of water arising from water diversions and drought conditions and low support prices, there is increasing scale of urban migration. Availability of cheap, migrant labour alongwith the government’s policies to invite investment in the manufacturing sector, opening up of more sectors for foreign direct investment and weakening of labour laws have led to ‘development’ of many suburbs into industrial corridors, manufacturing hubs and economic zones. This suburban expansion has translated into a take over of wetlands which, until recently, were tilled by farmers or were the abode of birds or covered by mangroves. The development of the suburb is usually accompanied by a property boom in the new area which leads to complete destruction of the local ecology and construction of offices, residential complexes, shopping malls, educational institutions, parking spaces and other infrastructure for the urban elite and middle class.
Continue reading “Urban Wetlands and Floods”
Our cities with their high population density and poor civic standards are vulnerable to the domino effect that can be set off by freak weather it happened in Mumbai in 2005. Last year, it was Srinagar. Now it’s happening in Chennai. Could it happen to your city?
Judging by the burgeoning urban population, and the uncontrolled growth of urban centres that fail on every parameter including drainage and garbage disposal, most of our cities are disasters waiting to happen.
As per global standards cities across the world should prepare for a 100-year flood recurrence period. In other words, they have to be ready for a severe flood situation, even if it has one-in-100 chance of occurring. But our cities guardians overlook larger flood cycle as freak weather events.
That exactly is happening in IT corridor Hyderabad which is sitting on a plan that lacks a storm-water drainage system and Navi Mumbai International Airport in Maharashtra which will be built on the flood plains of Ghadi and Ulwe rivers. Amaravati the state capital of Andhra Pradesh is also doing away its underground water channels which drain out flood waters during stresses.
Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 14 Dec. 2015 (Your City can be Next Chennai?)”
Two new studies show that dam not only significantly increase evapo-transpiration but also worsen arsenic problem in groundwater. In the first study done by Stockholm University in Sweden researchers found that dams and irrigation significantly increase evapotranspiration, an effect that increases the loss of freshwater to the atmosphere, thereby reducing the water available for humans, societies and ecosystems on land. The researchers have compiled and analyzed data from 1901 to 2008 for climate, hydrology and water use in one hundred large hydrological basins spread over the world. In the second study done by Stanford University in Cambodia, researchers concluded that hydrological development particularly dams are responsible for release of increased and unnatural amount of arsenic in Cambodia’s groundwater.
Continue reading “Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin 07 Dec. 2015 (Dams sap Earth’s water, release arsenic in groundwater & fuel Climate Change)”