(Feature Image: Thousands form human chain along Mhadei river to celebrate #MahadaiAmchiMai festival. Source: ToI)
On May 20, 2023 when thousands of people of Goa, Rakhondars (protectors) came out to form a 7 km long human chain to save Mhadei or Mahadayi river, they were not only celebrating Goa’s unique Mahadayi River festival, but were also coming together to declare their resolve save and rejuvenate the River that is lifeline of Goa.
A large number of organizations came together, including Earthivist Collective, Goa Heritage Action Group, Save Mhadei Save Goa front, among many others. It was a unique attempt to reconnect with the river, its history, its soul. The people from all kinds of art forms and all walks of life came together in a state where the connection with the river has always been strong for the people.
One hopes their tribe multiplies and they succeed in saving the river from dam building plans and other river affecting activities. That success will provide an example and impetus for river conservation activities elsewhere too.
Continue reading “DRP NB 290523: Goa Fights to save Mahadayi River” →
(Feature Image: Waster Chest nut cultivators removing weeds from Giri Taal of Kashipur. April 2023)
As we await the onset of South West Monsoon 2023, we would like to highlight the water options stories in lead story here, that includes examples from Ladakh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Chennai, among others. It is important to remember these as we need to be ready to welcome and nourish the coming annual bounty that monsoon brings.
It also reminds us the fascination our poets have for this season, particularly the wonderment that Gulzar keeps expressing. In this one of his non filmy poetry “Baarish” he warns:
“Mujhko ye fikr, ke is baar bhi sailab ka paani…
Kud ke utrega kohsahr se jab..
tod ke le jayega ye kachhe kinaare..”
Continue reading “DRP NB 220523: Water Options as we await South West Monsoon 2023” →
The following report raises three caveats regarding Ken Betwa River Link Project, among others. Firstly it urges that the substantial impact of climate change on the rivers needs to be taken into account, particularly the need for accurate hydrological assessment. It underlines that the project themselves are accelerating the climate change impact on monsoons as they are reducing freshwater flows to the oceans, which in turn has an impact on the ocean’s thermal and salinity gradients, both of which are drivers of monsoon.
Secondly, it rightly says that the impact of projects on adaptive capacity of areas like Bundelkhand needs to be taken into account. In Bundelkhand, climate adaptation can be harnessed using rain water harvesting, rejuvenation of traditional water systems, less water intensive crops and alternative agricultural practices. Thirdly, the water sharing issues that may worsen with both climate change and big projects, need to be kept in mind while taking up mega projects, particularly its impact on water and other security issues.
Continue reading “DRP NB 150523: Will the govt listen to caveats against Ken Betwa Project?” →
Guest Article by: Aishani Goswami and Rahul Singh
Walking through Dhimarpura village, in Seondha block, Datia district, Madhya Pradesh, heaps of broken clay tiles, wooden logs and other construction materials could be seen. Temporary tent-like shelters made of plastic sheets were erected in place of the houses that fell due to the floods in River Sindh in 2021.
In this article we try and put together available information to understand the role played by the Madhikheda system of dams in worsening the flood disaster in Sindh River basin in first week of August 2021. It may be noted that whenever a dam proposed, one of the claimed benefits is that the dams can help moderate floods in the downstream area. This is indeed true, provided, the dam is operated with the objective. However, when the dam is not operated with that objective, then the dam can actually end up acting like a force multiplier for the flooded downstream areas. Let us see if Madhikheda dam played that role in August 2021.
Continue reading “Role of dams: 2021 Flood Management In MP’s Sindh River” →
(Feature Image: On April 29, thousands of Pune citizens join Chipko Andolan against the planned cutting of over 7,000 trees for the Mula Mutha Riverfront Development (RFD) project. Image Credit: Rahul Deshmukh, Source: Pune Mirror.)
It is heartening to see thousands of Pune citizens out on the streets over the last two weeks protesting against felling of thousands of trees for the destructive Mula Mutha River Front Development Project. The project will destroy the best biodiversity habitat along the rivers in Pune, fell thousands of trees, encroach on riverbeds and floodplains, destroy bird migration corridor, and create fresh flood hazards for the city, which will further worsen in changing climate.
We hope this protests continue and intensify till the Pune Municipal Corporation and the Maharashtra government wakes up and scraps the project and instead, uses the scarce available resources for protecting and rejuvenating the water bodies and biodiversity in Pune in collaboration with the people of Pune.
Continue reading “DRP NB 080523: Pune citizens Oppose River Front Development Project” →
While the publication by the Union Jal Shakti Ministry of the first water body census of India is not only welcome but urgently required, the usefulness of the census findings will depend on the quality of the information in the report. Firstly, such a census should have been conducted in a bottom up way, starting from villages in rural areas and ward in urban areas. That way, the census findings would have not only been more reliable, but also the process would have helped create greater awareness about the water bodies and issues surrounding them.
In case of Karnataka, as the report below shows the survey by the Tank Conservation and Development Authority and Karnataka Public Land Corporation in 2021 showed the state had 40483 water bodies, whereas the Jal Shakti Ministry census of 2022 says the state has just 26994 water bodies, a huge 13489 less than the 2021 census. Clearly so many water bodies cannot disappear in a year. As some experts from Karnataka have asked, is the Jal Shakti Census a deliberate attempt to show that a much lower number of water bodies exist, allowing encroachers to go ahead to destroy water bodies not registered in the census?
Continue reading “DRP NB 010523: Water bodies census welcome, but how reliable?” →
(Feature Image: Construction works going on at Polavaram Dam site. Source: The Hans Media, May 2021)
This well substantiated report from Yale School of Environment this week shows that the end of the big dam era is approaching. The well argued report from Jacques Leslie uses the reports from UN University, International Renewable Energy Agency, Oxford University, Inclusive Development International, China, among others to show how the pace of construction of dams and hydropower projects and also pace of financing such projects have hugely reduced in recent years and decades.
Even the International Hydropower Association, sensing the change, is now advocating pump storage hydro rather than conventional hydro and that too off stream version, to complement the power from solar and wind. Emerging economics with rising cost of hydropower projects and rising cost of power from such projects compared to solar, wind (onshore and offshore) are a major reason for the massively slowing pace of new hydropower projects.
Continue reading “DRP NB 240423: The world is moving away from Big Dams: Are we?” →
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has on April 11, 2023 forecast that rainfall at national level in four months of June-Sept 2023 Southwest Monsoon will be 96% of Long Period Average (LPA). IMD considers Indian Monsoon rainfall as normal based on just one parameter of total rainfall in these four months at national level is between 96% and 104% of LPA, with model error of +/- 5%. This raises large number of questions as media has rightly raised post the IMD announcement.
Firstly, in a strange turn of events, on April 12, an update jointly by US weather agencies under the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), contradicted a number of assumptions of IMD the previous day, including the period when El Nino will become active and probability of it being a strong event, both of which have a strong bearing on the Indian Monsoon in an adverse way. So the first question that arises is, did the IMD not have the benefit of the observations on April 11 based on which NOAA made the forecast very next day? Or was it an attempt at providing an unjustified feel good monsoon forecast? This question arises as in the past too questions have been raised about such attempts by IMD. This question also becomes important as only a day or two before IMD’s forecast, private forecaster had predicted that monsoon rainfall is likely to be deficient and not normal.
Continue reading “DRP NB 170423:Forecast of Indian SW Monsoon & definition of normal monsoon” →
(Feature Image: Stagnant waste water pools amid residential plots in Kashipur, Uttarakhand, Bhim Singh Rawat 10 April 2023)
That India’s track record in water pollution control is abysmal is self-evident. This is particularly important to note as India prepares to mark 50 years of Water Pollution Control Act enacted in 1974, next year. It was after that act that the huge institutional architecture of central and state pollution control boards and laboratories were created with huge bureaucracy. That whole institutional architecture is more known for inefficiency and corruption than for achieving any clean rivers or cleaning other water bodies. During the existence of this act the bureaucracy that came with it, the state of our rivers and water bodies have only gone worse with every passing year.
Continue reading “DRP NB 100423: Abysmal track record of water pollution control in India” →
(Feature Image: Graph showing annual growth in hydro power capacity in MW. Source: Rivers Without Boundaries, April 01, 2023)
The annual Renewable Statistics 2023 report from IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) says that globally, only 1.6% was added to the hydropower capacity in 2022, that too two thirds in non-democratic China. The capacity added in rest of the world outside China in 2022 was 7.3 GW, lowest figure in last 15 years. Similarly 99% of additional capacity added in pump storage projects in 2022 was in China. The report from IRENA also says that 97% of hydropower finance comes from public or government sources and private sector seems to have little enthusiasm for this sector. The projections for future painted in the report is no better. This is broadly in line with our lead story in DRP News Bulletin last week (dated March 27 2023) painting bleak future of large hydropower projects.
Continue reading “DRP NB 030423: IRENA confirms bleak future of Large Hydro globally” →