A new UN report released on January 21, 2021 UN has warned the major big dam owning counties about the aging population of fast silting up dams in changing climate and urgent need to start working on decommissioning of uneconomical large dams. Among the few countries that UN has warned includes India with its third largest number of big dams. The added problem in India is the ill maintained and ill operated large dams that UN report did not look into. Indian dams are sanctioned based on highly under estimated siltation rates, there is practically no transparency and accountability in operation of Indian dams and dam almost every year get away with creating avoidable flood disasters. This latest problem is not just related to old dams, but even the newest celebrated ones like the Sardar Sarovar Dam as happened in Gujarat in late August-early Sept 2020. No legal regime exists in India for dam safety, either structural safety or operational safety. And in changing climate, with increasing frequency of higher intensity rainfall events, such risks are already increasing multi-fold.Continue reading “DRP NB 25 Jan. 2021: UN warns about aging Dams & Floods in changing climate”
Analysis of official information shows that Big dams are not longer necessary or viable or optimal in India. Most (over 95% of India’s 5701 large dams (5264 completed and 437 under construction as per CWC’s National Register of Large Dams[i]) are built for irrigation, but most of our irrigation now comes from groundwater. In fact, about 90% of additional irrigation in last four decades has come from groundwater.Continue reading “Why are we still building Large Dams?”
In a mountain village in southwest China’s Sichuan province, authorities have demolished seven small dam projects this year along a river to clear illegal developments in a new nature reserve. The demolition is part of a nationwide programme to close hundreds of tiny and often ramshackle dams and turbines and bring order to China’s massive hydropower sector after years of unconstrained construction.
The dams sat on an unnamed tributary of the fierce and flood-prone Dadu river, which feeds into the Yangtze, Asia’s largest and longest river, where the government says the “irregular development” of thousands of small hydropower projects has wrecked the ecology. But green groups say the campaign will not necessarily save the environment because it will not affect big state hydropower stations, which they say have caused the most damage.
On the 48 km Zhougong, authorities have already demolished small projects built in nature reserves or encroaching upon new “ecological red lines” drawn up to shield a quarter of China’s territory from development.
The government says small dams have disrupted the habitats and breeding patterns of many rare species of fish, although green groups argue the damage wrought by bigger dams is more severe, with entire towns and ecosystems submerged in water, which they say increases the risk of earthquakes, landslides and even climate change.
In its latest report, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has questioned implementation of sixteen National Irrigation Projects. Before this, the CAG has held mismanagement in dams’ operation responsible for Chennai floods in 2015. Both these reports are available on its website now.
The CAG report on National Irrigation Projects, tabled in Parliament on July 20, has revealed that sixteen major multi-purpose water projects, taken up on an expeditious basis about a decade ago, are nowhere near completion, with no work being undertaken in as many as 11 projects despite the incumbent govt’s much-wanted focus on improving irrigation facilities in the country.
The report also mentioned that out of the 16 projects, undertaken under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) in Feb 2008, only five projects with estimated irrigation potential of 25.10 lakh hectares were under implementation and even these projects suffer from 8 to 99 per cent shortfall in physical progress, the CAG said. The remaining 11 projects with estimated irrigation potential of 10.48 lakh hectares are yet to commence and are at different stages of approval.
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!”
MASSIVE Farmer protest in PALGHAR (Maharashtra) The protest for the third day on World Water Day, was against diversion of water from Survya Dam for Vasai-Virar and Mira-Bhayander. under the aegis of the Surya Pani Bachav Samiti.
– The contract to construct the 88-km long pipeline has already been awarded to the L&T Group by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) under the Surya Regional Bulk Water Supply Scheme.
– Ramakant Patil, chief convenor of the SPBS who is also undertaking the fast, said the Surya dam, which was built in 1990 over the Kawdas and Dhamni rivers in Kasa taluka,Dahanu, was specifically for irrigational purpose for 19,000 odd acres of farmland in Palghar district. “Now the MMRDA is planning to divert around 89% of the dam water to the above cities so as to solve the cities’ drinking water issues, but we the farmers would be denied water for our land,”said Patil.
– They withdrew it after an assurance of a meeting with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. “We have raised this issue for many times in the past. But it is for the first time that a CM has agreed to sit with us and discuss. Now we are just waiting to hear from the CM’s office to know the date of meeting,” Brian Lobo of Kashtakari Sangathan adds. https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/palghar-farmers-fast-over-diverting-surya-dam-water-enters-third-day/story-LsTeF2vf6xuVroPRO2GSYJ.html, http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-urban-areas-rob-tribals-of-water-supply-2597713 Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 26 March 2018: Massive Farmer protest in Palghar against water diversion”
All through the month, several states in the country have been battling severe flood situation. The Northeastern (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam), Western (Rajasthan Gujurat), Central (Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh) and Eastern (Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal) regions have been particularly affected by floods following incessant rain.
Till July 28, 2017, 293 people have succumbed to flood related accidents. As per govt sources, the economic cost of flood damages has reached 53894.634 lakh. http://www.ndmindia.nic.in/flood-2017/floodsJuly-2017.htm
Superficially water deluge seems a natural disaster occurring on annual basis. But a closer observation of flood monitoring mechanisms and scores of media reports reveal that most of the flood crisis is man-made and dams have been playing a bigger role in creating a disaster out of a natural phenomenon.
So far there have been more than a dozen reported incidents across country where breaching of aged or unmaintained dams have led to inundation of human habitation. On July 06, 2017 breaching of Shiv Sagar dam was such an incident causing severe floods in several villages in Mirzapur district, Uttar Pradesh. http://amritprabhat.com/mirzapur-mirzapur-floods-with-heavy-rain-dozens-of-houses-and-five-people-of-the-same-family-found-dead-body-of-two-shivsagar-dam-broke/
Similarly, there is information from reliable sources proving that the wrong operation of dams end up creating flood situation in downstream areas which were already facing heavy rains. The devastating floods in Lakhimpur Assam around July 09, 2017, were a result of release of huge amount of water from Ranganadi dam in Arunachal Pradesh. https://scroll.in/article/844509/severity-of-assam-floods-heightens-old-fears-about-dams-in-the-brahmaputra-basin
In one more similar and latest incident, untimely release of water by Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), Jharkhand resulted in flood disaster in Birbhum, Purulia, West Medinipur and Hoogly districts. As per West Bengal Govt the DVC officials discharged the around 2 lakhs cusec of water on 25 July 2017, from many dams built on Damodar river without intimating it. https://scroll.in/latest/845268/mamata-banerjee-blames-west-bengal-floods-on-centre-run-damodar-valley-corporation
The third dimension in the flood tragedy is the fact that responsible authorities like Central Water Commission (CWC), concerned state department have failed to issue timely warning in so many incidences which could have otherwise been avoided or mitigated. There are also reports suggesting that there was no prior forecast and warning for ongoing floods in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Similarly there have been dozens of incidents in different parts where flood situation has been either caused or aggravated by faulty dam operation, breach in dams and lack of timely warning by responsible authorities.
The breach in Jaitpura dam and over spilling of Jawai dam in Jalor Rajasthan has inundated several villages. http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/jawai-dam-pali-disrict-floods-rajasthan-heavy-rains-rescue-operations-ndrf-food-material/1/1012924.html The breach in Narmada canal has led to floods in Badmer districts. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/narmada-canal-damaged/articleshow/59762317.cms
The sudden discharge from Seepu dam on West Banas River, Dharoi dam on Sabarmati river has created severe flooding in downstream districts killing many villagers. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/aerial-survey-of-banas-river-to-be-undertaken-as-death-toll-in-gujarat-floods-touch-111-4768335/ , http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/gujarat-sabarmati-waters-flood-anand-villages/articleshow/59786379.cms
Further, the latest Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) latest report only goes on reinforcing all these issues. The shocking report tells us that out of 4,862 large dams, emergency action plans or disaster management plans of only 349 (seven per cent) large dams had been prepared till March 2016. http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/jul/22/huge-delay-in-completion-of-flood-control-projects-in-country-cag-1632017.html
In a similar development another CAG report has put onus on Hirakud dam officials for 2011 floods. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2017/jul/23/cag-puts-onus-on-hirakud-officials-for-2011-flood-1632412.html
The CAG has also presented scathing indictment of India’s CWC’s shoddy flood forecasting system. https://www.dailypioneer.com/todays-newspaper/indias-flood-forecast-capability-a-washout-cag.html
The efficiency of flood monitoring can be judged from the fact that Irrigation Department Uttar Pradesh still relies on blade runners to convey flood information in the digital era. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/varanasi/in-e-age-runners-alert-officials-about-flash-floods/articleshow/59676066.cms
The DAM FLOOD sanction of this update is full of such reports proving that dams have turning the floods into disasters.
The December 2013 – January 2014 edition of SANDRP’s magazine ‘Dams, River and People’ is now available online. This is the 11-12th issue of magazine in its 11th volume. The contents magazine are mentioned in the list below. Packed with information on water, rivers, dams and environment, this issue covers matters at home in India as well in Bhutan, Nepal, Spain, Vietnam, United States of America and water dispute between India and Pakistan. The magazine in pdf format is available here — https://sandrp.in/DRP_Dec_2013_Jan_2014.pdf. Several of the articles are also available in SANDRP’s blog and they can be viewed just by clicking on the name in the list. Enjoy reading.
|Is Environment just a political football for the NDA and UPA?||1|
|Muck dumping by damaged Vishnuprayag HEP in River||3|
|Possible explanation for Seti River flood of Nepal in May 2012||4|
|Visit to Fish ladder at Kurichu HEP in Bhutan||9|
|Court Order on India-Pak Kishanganga dispute on E-flows||14|
|Water Sector Review for India for 2013||18|
|Water Sector Review for North East India for 2013||20|
|Water Sector Review for Maharashtra for 2013||23|
|Notice to GVK project over damage to Uttarakhand town||28|
|Illegal Public Hearing of Lower Siang HEP Called Off||29|
|US Congress Opposes Financial Support for Large Dams||30|
|Dam Removal & Cancellations in Vietnam, Spain and US||31|
|Short film on Uttarakhand disaster: Flood Ravage and the Dams||32|