Flood Forecasting (FF) is one of the important activities of Central Water Commission (CWC), which is undergoing expansion and improvement, but there is still a huge scope for improvement. In order to better understand the CWC’s flood monitoring and forecasting work, in this article, we have given an overview of CWC’s flood forecasting and monitoring sites in South India, the last region to be covered for 2019 flood season. It includes state wise list of CWC’s Level Forecast, Inflow Forecast and level monitoring sites in South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry (no FF sites) and Kerala. Similar report has been published for North India[i] and North East India[ii], East India[iii] and West India[iv]. Continue reading “South India Overview of CWC Flood Forecasting Sites 2019”
The tendency of filling up reservoirs in the beginning and middle of monsoon season have been leading to avoidable flood disasters in the country. Apart from Kerala flood 2018, which was aggravated by mismanagement of reservoirs, various reports show that reservoirs in river basin of Cauvery, Krishna, Godavari and Ganga were also filled up well before the end of South West monsoon season. Resultantly there were many man made flood spells in downstream areas affecting lives and livelihoods of people.
After highlighting role of dams in floods in Kerala and how improper dam operation affected people in Assam and Himachal Pradesh, this third and concluding part throws light on other dam induced flood (and canal breach) incidents in 2018. Continue reading “Dams Floods 2018: Filling up Dams well before Monsoon end, Invitation to Disaster”
This fourth rivers review presents developments related to rivers in States of South India including Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka.
Telangana Rivers 2017
Manair River Garbage polluting Manair river The shores are being polluted by the Municipal Corp of Karimnagar (MCK), which is dumping garbage generated from the town. Other private agencies such as chicken centres, hotels, private hospitals, mechanical shops and others too are also dumping garbage generated at their places into the river Manair. The State Govt had decided to develop the Manair front on the lines of Sabarmati river front development, which would spell further disaster for the river. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/Garbage-polluting-Manair-river/article17113713.ece (The Hindu, 30 Jan. 2017)
About Rivers Pollution and Pollution Control Board
Highest number of polluted rivers Maharashtra state has 49 polluted river stretches, highest in the country, which including Mithi, Ulhas, Vaitarna, Godavari, Bhima, Krishna, Tapi, Kundalika, Panchganga, Mula-Mutha, Pelhar and Penganga. 3,000 MLD of untreated sewage and industrial effluents are discharged into the state’s water bodies daily. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/pollution-in-three-maharashtra-rivers-is-nine-times-permissible-limit/story-RCuTrl8zi8tmFoOvgKR2zI.html(Hindustan Times, 16 Nov. 2017)
According to a report by Union Environment Ministry, Maharashtra generates about 8,143 Million Liter per Day (MLD) which is almost 13 per cent of the country’s sewage, butclaims to treats 5,160.36 MLD.In this way Maharashtra is releasing at least 3000 MLD untreated sewage in rivers, creeks and wetlands areas. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/834-factories-across-maharashtra-shut-down-in-2-years-for-causing-pollution-mpcb/story-MrmmXa9XH9Vdkzu2wKSdcL.html (Hindustan Times, 22 Dec 2017)
In this comprehensive article Mumbai-based author Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar throws the light on the plight of Uraban Rivers. “Rivers and streams have borne the brunt of the recent urban explosion in India, a nation whose population has nearly doubled in the last 40 years to 1.35 billion. Unplanned growth has led to the use of water bodies as dumping grounds for sewage and industrial effluent. According to CPCB, 63 % of the urban sewage flowing into rivers (some 62 billion liters a day) is untreated.
In addition, riverbanks, wetlands, and floodplains have been claimed over time by infrastructure, slums, offices, and housing developments – all of which has narrowed natural river channels and distorted flow, greatly reducing the ability of India’s rivers to buffer flooding. It also has taken a toll on biodiversity. http://e360.yale.edu/features/dying-waters-india-struggles-to-clean-up-its-polluted-urban-rivers (Yale Environment 360, 15 Feb. 2018)
Apart from mentioning Govt failure in checking Ganga pollution, the Comptroller & Auditor General’s (CAG) performance audit report on Ganga rejuvenation tabled in Parliament on December 19, 2017 specifically mentions that National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) “could not finalize the long-term action plans even after more than six-and-a-half years of signing of agreement with the consortium of Indian Institutes of Technology”. The fact that NMCG does not have a “river basin management plan even after a lapse of more than 8 years of National Ganga River Basin Authority notification”, mentioned in the report also has great significance.
It is surprising that NMCG is working without a river basin management plan or a long-term action plan. The CAG performance audit is also lacking. It rightly mentions that infrastructure to treat pollution has not been created but does no assessment whether the creation of infrastructure alone would revive the river.
Further, CAG audit does not look into the issues if lessons from past failures have been learnt, corrections done, independent scrutiny institutionalised, participatory governance achieved, and if this business as usual approach is going to achieve any better results even if all the money were spent, all the DPRs were sanctioned, all the meetings happened, all the manpower available and all the STPs constructed?
Hence it critical that CAG performance audit should have tried to address these issues. Can the state of Ganga improve without improving the state of tributaries? CAG does not even look at this issue.
The CAG report shows that this programme provides no real hope for better future of Ganga and Modi and his government will have a lot to answer when they go to polls in less than 1.5 years. It’s a serious indictment for the govt in general and Modi in particular since he has said right from the beginning that Ganga is their priority and all that they have tried is audited here. http://www.livemint.com/Politics/KW6MIOrOvMvZvEGeozwifJ/CAG-slams-Centre-for-failing-to-utilize-funds-for-Ganga-reju.html; http://indianexpress.com/article/india/ganga-pollution-hc-orders-uttarakhand-govt-to-seal-establishments-polluting-rivers-4991923/; https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/building-of-ghats-crematoria-on-ganga-misses-nov-deadline/articleshow/62234114.cms https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/environment/pm-modi-fails-to-clean-up-his-mother-ganga
Guest Blog by Shilpa Dahake
One of the youngest participants of the river walk along the Godavari, which happened on 10th December 2017, asked – “आपली गोदावरी खरच मेली का?” (Is our river Godavari, really dead?)
Such an innocent query, but it raises multiple issues and questions – Why we worship, and simultaneously pollute our rivers? Do we abuse rivers because we haven’t understood them? To deliberate upon these questions, I present a case study of Godavari River in Nashik city. In a span of about 30 km from its origin at Brahmagiri Mountain, the Godavari encounters a fast developing and urbanizing city of Nashik.
In the middle of monsoon season, authorities have fixed August 7, 11 and 17 as public hearing dates for the Pancheshwar Dam project, a giant dam on Mahakali river at India Nepal border. The proposed dam will submerge 134 villages in Pithoragarh, Champawat and Almora districts. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/uttarakhand/public-hearing-dates-for-land-fixed/437736.html
The public hearing is happening, when media news reports have widely revealed that villagers have not been informed properly. Many to be affected villagers have even said that they have no information regarding the public hearing. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/ngo-seeks-postpone-of-pancheshwar-dam-hearing/articleshow/59727412.cms Social media reports, too have disclosed that the state govt has disseminated no relevant information regarding Pancheshwar dam public hearing. https://www.facebook.com/pg/dev1bhoomi/posts/?ref=page_internal
The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project is incomplete and not shared with villagers in affected area in local language. On the contrary the environment ministry has waived off the requirement of a joint mechanism to assess its environmental impact. https://www.masterbuilder.co.in/india-nepal-pancheshwar-project-assessment-guidelines-now-eased/
The public hearing place is far away from the dam site making the public hearing site unreachable for many concerned villagers. It is worth to mention that its monsoon season, the region in landslide affected, several roads are blocked and it’s not possible for the most of the concerned villagers to reach the hearing venue.
Local people, regional parties, individuals and civil societies groups have been raising concerns on the disastrous impact of second highest dam project of the world. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/pancheshwar-dam-spells-doom-for-locals-of-130-villages-who-fear-tehri-re-run/articleshow/57561939.cms
Experts’ demand of postponing the meaningless is right. In a democratic system, the concerned authorities must hear the public voices. It is their responsibilities to share all the relevant information in public domain beforehand, conduct the public hearing in each and every dam affected districts instead of just one place. The present weather conditions are not favorable for the public hearing at all and it must be postponed. http://matuganga.blogspot.com/2017/07/23-8-2017.html
Its also beyond understanding that why such a unviable, high impact, risky project is being pushed in a seismically active region is a multi billion rupee question. http://www.firstpost.com/india/pancheswar-dam-uttarakhand-makes-steady-progress-project-to-generate-employment-power-irrigation-3837837.html
Himachal Pradesh Lahaul-Spiti people condemn Jispa dam, demand eco tourism During a public hearing held on July 17, 2017, regarding 300 mw Jispa hydro project, local people of Jispa village have severely criticized the project making it clear that they would not allow the project. Agitated people also forced the officials to leave the meeting without any outcome. It is worth to mention that since 2009, people of Todh valley in Lahaul-Spiti district are opposing the Jispa Dam project proposed over Bhaga river, a tributary of Chenab, at Jispa village. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/jispa-dam-locals-demand-eco-tourism-not-hydel-project/articleshow/59665492.cms
As per, Rigzin Samphel Hayerpa, Convener of Jispa Baandh Jan Sangarsh Samiti (JBJSS), hundreds of residents of the affected villages had made it clear to the officials that they would not allow the valley to be ruined in the name of development. He added that merely on the ground that the project was of national importance, destruction of fragile ecology could not be allowed.
Zila parishad member from Kwaring Chhime Lhamo said the state government wanted to construct the dam against the wishes of the local people. She said that from the start the people were against the project but the government was not scrapping it. She also said that development at the cost of destruction cannot be allowed. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/meeting-over-jispa-dam-yields-no-result/articleshow/59657026.cms
National There is very interesting discussion with Union Power Minister, which clearly shows that Hydro is no longer viable even with all the additional subsidies the govt is considering. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaGujdFCwCA&sns=em
This is about two states, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (the latter being 29th Indian state formed in 2013 after a protracted struggle). Since the discussion is on the state of rivers, it may be noted that these are two states whose historical trajectory is intrinsically linked to the history of, mainly, two major rivers—Krishna and Godavari, although the two states have many other rivers.
In fact, Telangana, was created after many years of struggle and out of one basic river-water discourse: over the utilisation of Godavari river and unequal development of the Godavari delta region vis-à-vis Telangana on account of the numerous irrigation projects and hydro-power projects commissioned and implemented in the coastal Andhra region.
In the wake of the recent contention between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and the resolution over utilisation of the other river, Krishna, the state of rivers in Andhra Pradesh cannot be seen without addressing the same in Telangana, which have a historical trajectory that necessitates an understanding of the two states together while discussing rivers.
To some extent, this report looks at the politics over rivers and the contemporary development paradigm, involving construction of hydro-electric projects and several subsidiary projects using rivers, as one of the major threats to the life of rivers. These projects also add to pollution, displacement, protracted battles, sometimes involving violence, such as the one we are witnessing over Cauvery river between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, where even Tribunals seem to have failed.
Karnataka is one of the four southern states of Peninsular India (Figure 1a), came into existence with the passage of the States Reorganisation Act (1956, Nov 1) and is located 11°30′ North and 18°30′ North latitudes and 74° East and 78°30′ East longitude (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Karnataka). The state covers an area of 191,976 km² (5.83% of India‘s geographical area). Karnataka is the eighth largest Indian state by area, the ninth largest by population and comprises 30 districts (figure 1b) divided in to 4 administrative divisions, 270 towns and 29406 villages (http://ssakarnataka.gov.in/). The state is situated on a table land where the Western and Eastern Ghats ranges converge into the complex, in the western part of the Deccan Peninsular region of India. Karnataka is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Goa to the northwest, Maharashtra to the north, Andhra Pradesh to the east, Tamilnadu to the southeast, and Kerala to the southwest.