Two interesting orders from National Green Tribunal (NGT) marked important developments on water-environment issues this week. NGT asking for PERFORMANCE AUDIT of pollution Control Mechanism is indeed long overdue necessity, considering the complete, abject failure of the pollution control mechanism in India. The hopes of effective action, like in the past, however, were dashed since CPCB, which is PART OF THE PROBLEM has been asked to do the audit. An independent audit, in addition to one possibly by CAG may have helped. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/ngt-slams-state-pollution-bodies/article26008687.ece (17 Jan. 2019)
Whatever positive signs were available by this order were further dashed by another NGT order in which it declared that EIAs (Environmental Impact Assessment) reports are already taking climate change into account, while the tribunal dismissed a petition asking that all development activities be screened/ regulated keeping climate change in mind.
This is totally WRONG contention. Just to illustrate, SANDRP has been pointing out to the EAC, MoEF and the developers how the EIAs of dams and hydropower projects are ignoring the climate change related issues and impacts. In response the consultants and developers have responded, approved by the silent or spoken nods by the EAC and MoEF that these were not even part of their TORs! One only wishes NGT was most discerning before making such claims and would have gone through a few EIAs to see if at all EIAs are dealing with these issues with any rigour or credibility. https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/climate-change-already-covered-under-environment-impact-assessment-ngt-119011600897_1.html (16 Jan. 2019)
The coastline between Chavara and Alappad in Kollam district of Kerala, has a decades-long story of people’s battle for survival against mining companies. This stretch in Kerala is where the extensive mineral beach sand mining has been happening since the 1960s. The abandoned buildings are the remains of people’s failed agitations and indefinite strikes. One by one the villages in the area are vanishing from the map of Kerala.
– In Alappad panchayat, activists estimate that more than 6,000 fishermen families have vacated over the years due to beach erosion, drinking water scarcity and lack of fish availability. Sooner or later the panchayat will also be turned in to a sand bund, remaining residents say.
Save Alappad the anti-mining campaign has got support from actor Tovino and Vijay fans.
– In 1968, two public limited companies, Indian Rare Earth, which comes under the Centre, and Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited, under the state government, began mining beach sand in the region. According to reports, while a litho map of Alappad village showed 89.5 square kilometre of land in the area, this shrunk to a mere 8 sq km of land by 2019.
Fishermen claim hamlet after hamlet was ‘disappearing’ from the map due to mining activities by the Indian Rare Earth (IRE), a central Public Sector Undertaking, and state government-owned Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited (KMML).
Seeking to save their remaining villages, the people of Alappad and nearby hamlets under the banner of Anti-mining People’s Protest Council have been on a relay-hunger strike at Vellanathuruthu near here for the past over two months demanding a complete halt to the mining activities. However, an official of the IRE, when contacted, said the company was following all mining norms.The two firms together have been engaged in mineral sand mining along the beach off the Kollam coast since the 1960s. https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/alappad-a-tale-of-lost-land-to-mineral-sand-mining-119011100385_1.html (11 Jan. 2019)
KarnatakaPolice-politicians accuse each other of illegal sand mining Legislators and police at logger-head over illegal sand mining issues. While D Shekhar BJP MLA from Goolihatti tried to immolate himself in front of a police station in Hosadurga on Jan. 6 night alleging local police of being involved in illegal sand mining, another BJP MLA M Chandrappa threatens that he and his supporters would picket police stations and “torch” them if the police did not take concrete steps to stop illegal sand mining in Chitradurga district.
Madhya PradeshDespite change in Govt. no respite for rivers:- Large scale illegal sand mining through heavy machines happening in Ken river in Panna and Chhatarpur district of Bundelkhand since last week of Dec. 2018. Sources said that ever since the Congress has come to power, its local leaders are keen to get their share of sand.
Illegal sand mining has intensified in Chhatarpur and Panna in Bundelkhand region. Since last week of December, illegal sand mining is taking place on a large scale at Banjari and Hinota sand mines in Ken river through heavy machines in Luvkush Nagar tehsil of Chhatarpur.
In Nov. 2018, over 300 farmers including around 50 women, started ‘Jal Satyagrah’ by entering the waters of the Ken river to protest against sand mining in the area due to which their crops are getting damaged,” in Ken river near Kolawal Raipur in Girwan area of the Bundelkhand region. As per Naraini SDM Awadhesh Kumar Srivastava, the company involved in the sand mining deviated from the allotted place and has also made a temporary bridge on the river to make passage for the sand-laden trucks. https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/jal-satyagraha-against-sand-mining-in-ken-river-118110100758_1.html (1 Nov. 2018)
GujaratGovt keen on drones with night-vision to track illegal sand mining8 months after its launch, the government’s UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) surveillance project to track illegal sand mining across the riverbeds has reported 48 per cent success. However, with most of the missions returning unsuccessful due to difficulty in operating after dusk, the Geology & Mining Department is now looking to source drones with infrared capability. In the 22 successful missions, the department has imposed a penalty of Rs 13.96 crore and filed four FIRs.
According to officials, the UAV missions were flown after the department received “intelligence” about illegal mining happening on the river-beds. However, most of the missions returned without success, especially from the Sabarmati riverbed, as most of the mining activity is happening during the night, officials said. To combat these issues, the department is planning to get drones with infrared vision.
Punjab Sand mafia threaten a farmer Panchkula farmer threatened by sand mafia for objecting to illegal sand mining. Police on Jan. 6 registered a case under Arms Act and criminal conspiracy against six sadn mafias for threatening a resident of Jalouli village in Chandimandir. Complainant, Sanjeev Kumar, a farmer alleged that the accused threatened to kill him after brandishing weapons including pistol and gun which the accused persons possessed.
Himachal PradeshHC refuses to stay land transfer to hydro facilityThe Himachal Pradesh High Court has refused to stay the transfer of forest land to an Asian Development Bank-funded hydropower project in the state’s Kinnaur district being executed by the state-run Himachal Pradesh Power Corp Ltd. However, local residents, activists and environmental groups, who are opposing the project, said the court order for the 130 MW Integrated Kashang Stage II and III project is “disappointing”.
It was passed “without looking into the merits of the case, which include violations of constitutional laws like Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act of 1996 and Forest Rights Act of 2006”, they said in a statement to the media on Jan. 12.
The Gram Sabha of Lippa village, known for endangered Chilgoza trees, has been struggling against the forest diversion for the hydro power project for over a decade. The villagers say the construction and tunneling activity for the project will lead to severe destabilisation of the land in the region and affect the natural water sources. Even the diversion of the Kerang stream for the project will impact the local hydrology.
Arunachal PradeshBook: Saving Lama’s cranesMust read for little readers. We are happy to announce an exciting new children’s story book by Kalpavriksh, Saving the Dalai Lama’s Cranes. It is written by Neeraj Vagholikar and illustrated by Niloufer Wadia.
You can order your copy by writing to us at email@example.com or buy online here: amzn.to/2EMz4zJ
Lakwar DamNGT asks EAC for re-appraisal of the projectCongratulations to petitioners, lawyers and everyone who supported this effort for achieving this NGT order dated January 10, 2019 on Lakhwar Dam on Yamuna, asking for stay till full appraisal is done. One only hopes the EAC will work with science and ecology in mind and not like dam ideologues that they are prone to.
“…direct the EAC to appraise the project afresh in terms of EIA notification 2006 and impose additional general and specific conditions as may be considered necessary. EAC will be free to call for any reports which it may consider necessary. EAC is further directed to complete the appraisal by 15.04.2019. Till the project is reappraised status quo shall be maintained,” a bench headed by Justice Raghuvendra Rathore noted. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/ngt-stays-lakhwar-project-asks-panel-to-appraise-it-afresh-5533345/ (11 Jan. 20169)
The green panel also took note of a study undertaken by an expert body, following Supreme Court orders after the 2013 disaster. “It was brought to the notice of the expert body that clearances to start work had been granted recently to the Lakhwar and Vyasi projects. This is in violation of the spirit of the SC’s August 2013 order. It is also noticed that these projects were approved more than 25 years ago. Consequently they do not have any EIA/EMP/DMP studies that are mandatory today,” the report which was submitted to the Centre in 2014, said.
Renuka Dam MoWR has entered into an agreement with six states — Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, UP and Uttarakhand — for the construction of the Renukaji Multi-Purpose Dam project in the Upper Yamuna Basin. The project is yet to receive the Stage-II forest clearance from the MoEF. About 1,508 hectares in the territory of Himachal Pradesh will be submerged by the project.
The project envisages construction of a 148-metre-high rock filled dam for supply of water to Delhi and other basin states. The project will also generate 40 MW of power during peak flow. The Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd. (HPPCL) will execute the project and its total live storage is 0.404 MAF. Stored water of the Renukaji Dam will be used by UP, Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan from Hathnikund Barrage, Wazirabad Barrage and Okhla Barrage.
PIB PR on Jan 11, 2019 says: – Gadkari “said that the government will try to get the Cabinet approval as soon as possible.He added that a consensus on Kishau Multi Purpose project has also been developed and soon an agreement for it will also be signed. He also informed about the Lakhwar Multi Purpose project for which agreement was signed on August 28th, 2018 among six basin states.”
– “The live storage of Renukaji MPP is 0.404 MAF and total submergence area is about 1508 hectares in the territory of HP. After the construction of the dam, the flow of river Giri will increase (in lean season?) about 110% which will meet the drinking water needs of Delhi & other basin states up to some extent in lean period. Stored water of Renukaji Dam will be used by UP, Haryana & NCT of Delhi from Hathnikund Barrage, by NCT of Delhi from Wazirabad Barrage and by UP, Haryana and Rajasthan from Okhla Barrage.”
– “The total cost of the project was estimated on Price Level 2015 is Rs. 4596.76 Crores out of which the cost of irrigation/drinking water component is Rs. 4325.43 crores and the cost of power component is Rs. 277.33 crore. The 90% cost of irrigation/drinking water component of the project i.e. Rs. 3892.83 crore will be provided by the Central Govt. and rest 10% of the above cost i.e. Rs. 432.54 crore will be provided by the basin States of Haryana, UP/UK, HP, Rajasthan & NCT of Delhi in the proportion as allocated in MoU dated 12.05.1994 signed by the CMs of the basin states for the allocation of surface water of river Yamuna up to Okhla Barrage.
The shares of these states viz. Haryana, UP/UK, HP, Rajasthan and NCT of Delhi are 47.82%, 33.65%, 3.15%, 9.34% and 6.04% respectively. Govt. of NCT of Delhi has agreed to fund 90% of the cost of power component of the said project. All the mandatory clearances in respect of Renukaji dam project except Stage-II forest clearance, invest clearance and approval from CCEA have been obtained.” http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1559576 (11 Jan. 2019)
– As per The Print, 4 Jan. report, MoWR has fixed new deadlines and revised budgets of three suspended multi-storage projects — Lakhwar, Kishau and Renukaji — in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. The projects were suspended at different stages since 1992 due to concerns over financial viability and environmental clearances from the basin states.
UttrakhandFor Ganga revival experts urge Govt to do away dam and hydro projects Ganga is a melting pot of many rivers that originate in the snowy mountains and make their journey through forests (about 45% of the State is forest) it hosts a diverse microbial life. This gives it anti-bacterial characteristics. Several research papers, and a 2015 report by the NEERI attest to the presence of ‘phages’, organisms that feed on bacteria, keeping the river clean and conducive to sustaining a spectrum of life forms — fish, turtles and dolphin.
But several dams built over the decades, first on the Bhagirathi and now increasingly on the Alaknanda, obstruct the flow of water. This accelerates siltation, chokes the oxygen supply in the recesses of the river, and eventually harms aquatic life. There is a ripple effect. The water loses its momentum lower down the course when the river extends beyond Haridwar, and from there it cannot deal with the immense volumes of sewage and industrial effluents released in Kanpur, Unnao and Allahabad. It leads to staggering levels of pollution, which extends all the way into Bihar and West Bengal. https://www.thehindu.com/society/and-quiet-flows-the-ganga/article25970106.ece (12 Jan. 2019)
Mullaperiyar Dam Dispute Tamil Nadu govt moves contempt plea over dam plan The State Govt has filed a contempt petition in Supreme Court (SC) against C.K. Mishra, Union Environment Secretary; Dr. S. Kerketta, Member Secretary, Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for River Valley and Hydro Projects, MoEF&CC; Tom Jose, Kerala Chief Secretary; and K.H. Shamsudeen, Chief Engineer, Office of the Chief Engineer Investigation and Designs, IDRB. The petition said that Kerala’s proposal for a new Mullaperiyar dam was in clear violation and utter disregard of a May 2014 Supreme Court judgment in the Mullaperiyar case. The court had specifically directed Tamil Nadu and Kerala to amicably agree to a new dam.
– The petition said the MoEF Secretary had responded in a letter on Nov. 8 that ToR were recommended by the EAC in view of the recent floods in Kerala and the condition of the existing dam which is 123 years old. “It was further stated granting ToR to the project does not necessarily mean that the project is eligible for getting Environmental Clearance (EC)…” the petition quoted the letter. The petition said the statement in the grant of ToR that the dam has “already outlived its useful life” amounts to contempt of the apex court judgment which had found the dam safe “in all respects”. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tn-moves-contempt-plea-over-dam-plan/article25915489.ece (5 Jan. 2019)
Polavaram Projects Guinness Book of World Record for concrete pouring?? The Polavaram project on Jan. 7 entered the Guinness Book of World by pouring 32,100 cubic metres of concrete in 24 hours. The project had recently bagged the Central Board of Irrigation and Power (CBIP) award for speedy execution of Polavaram multipurpose project and best implementation of water resources project for better planning, implementation and monitoring.
Krishna-Godavari-Penna LinkNGT asks MoEF to submit reportThe green tribunal has directed the MoEF&CC to submit a report on the alleged non-compliance with environmental norms in various river interlinking projects such as Pattiseema, Purushottapatnam, Chintalapudi and Godavari-Penna in Andhra Pradesh. The bench gave the direction after hearing the arguments pertaining to the petition moved by former minister Vatti Vasanth Kumar and member of Water Users Association K Trinath Reddy contending that the State government did not obtain mandatory clearances from the Central Water Commission (CWC) and MoEF for the said projects.
The NGT’s four-membered Principal Bench, headed by justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, on Jan. 8 directed the MoEF to look into the issue and submit a report on whether or not the projects adhering to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, and if they require the environment clearances. The bench posted the matter to Feb. 22. The tribunal also directed the petitioners to write a letter to MoEF and AP Pollution Control Board (PCB) regarding their grievances.It said that the authorities concerned have to take a decision on the grievances raised within a week of receiving the complaint. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/andhra-pradesh/2019/jan/09/river-linking-ngt-asks-moef-to-submit-report-1922708.html (9 Jan. 2019)
RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS
NW-IICall for subsidy in Kolkata-NE cargo movement via waterwaysThis shows Inlwand transport is neither cost effective nor cheaper:- Inland waterways cargo requires subsidy, at least till navigation in the protocol route via Bangladesh is smoothened to boost cargo movement to North East from Kolkata on the National Waterways-II, officials said.
“We are asking for some subsidy support for using NW-II, at least for a short term, till navigation issues in Bangladesh like dredging and installation of night navigation infrastructure are sorted out,” Summit Alliance Port East Gateway (SAPEL) COO Tushar Biswas told PTI.
Karnataka Irrigation plans no solution to farming woesDOES IT SMELL LIKE ANOTHER IRRIGATION SCAM? Since 2002, Karnataka’s irrigation allocation has steadily increased from a little over ₹1,600 crore to around ₹16,000 crore in the current fiscal, showing an average annual increase of around 6%. But this rise has not translated into a higher irrigated area. Area under irrigation in the state is around 3.1 million ha in 2016-17, which is below 30% of total farm area of 10.7 m ha. The area under irrigation increased from around 2.45 million hectares in 2002 to around 3.1 million ha in 2016-17 from all sources, including canals, tanks, lift irrigation, tube and borewells.
Uttrakhand20 सालों से नदी को बचाने में जुटे हैं भूपाल सिंह नैनीताल तहसील के मुझारचौरा निवासी भूपाल सिंह कठायत ऐसे व्यक्ति हैं, जो पिछले बीस साल से बुरसौल नदी को बचाने में जुटे हैं। बीस वर्ष पूर्व बुरसौल नदी एकदम सूखने के कगार पर पहुच गई थी। उन्होंने ऐसा भगीरथ प्रयास किया कि आज बुरसौल नदी उन्हीं की बदौलत सिंदा है। इसके लिए उन्होंने नदी के स्रोत से ऊपर दीपामाई मंदिर, जाड़ापानी और मुझारचौरा में चौड़ी पत्ती के पौधों का रोपण किया। बिना किसी सरकारी इमदाद के भूपाल ङ्क्षसह प्रतिवर्ष बुरसौल नदी के मुहाने से ऊपर सौ मीटर की दूरी पर चौड़ी पत्ती के पौधों का रोपण करते आ रहे हैं।
इतना ही नहीं वे खेती-किसानी करने के बाद अपना अधिकांश समय नदी किनारे लगाए गए पेड़-पौधों की देखभाल करने में बिताते हैं। उन्होंने नदी में पानी को मापने का यंत्र भी लगाया है। उन्होंने बताया कि उन्होंने इस उदगम स्थल से ऊपर दो सौ मीटर की दूरी पर तिमुल, कुरैणी, बांज, फलयांट समेत बहुजातीय प्रजाति का जंगल विकसित किया है। जिससे बुरसौल नदी अब सदानीरा बनी हुई है। उन्होंने बताया कि कुरैणी जलीय पौधा है। इससे काफी पानी मिलता है।इसे बहुतायत में लगाया जाना चाहिए। https://www.jagran.com/uttarakhand/nainital-bhopal-singh-is-busy-saving-the-river-for-20-years-18819047.html (4 Jan. 2019)
Uttar Pradeshसूख गई स्याही नदी, किसानों को सिंचाई के लिए पानी नहीं, पेयजल संकट भी गहराया Hindi report on drying up of Syahi river and its impact on village farming community:- यूपी के देवरिया और बिहार के गोपालगंज जिले के 150 से अधिक गांवों के लाखों लोगों की जीवनरेखा स्याही नदी सूख गई है। एक दशक से इस नदी में पानी नहीं है। इस कारण इसके तट पर बसे गांवों के लोगों को सिंचाई, पीने के पानी की दिक्कत का सामना करना पड़ रहा है।
GANGA Report‘66 of 97 towns along Ganga have at least 1 drain flowing into river’ – About 78 per cent of towns in West Bengal along the river Ganga have nullahs (drains) flowing directly into the river, a third party inspection of all 97 Ganga towns across five states has revealed. Overall, 66 of the 97 towns had at least one nullah draining into the Ganga, 31 of those were in West Bengal. West Bengal has the largest chunk of towns (40) along the river, followed by Uttar Pradesh (21), Bihar (18), Uttarakhand (16) and Jharkhand (2).
YAMUNA Delhi3 New STPs for treatment of drains 3 new STP of 166 MLD capacity will be developed in the city for the treatment of highly polluted 61 drains directly discharging in river Yamuna. An amount of Rs. 857.26 crore will be spent on the development of these 3 STP und the rehabilitation of Agra sewerage scheme.
Karnataka Workshop on lakes, wetlands and civic interventions in Bengaluru– A participatory planning workshop was recently held by Sensing Local-Living along with Biome Trust, Varthur Rising and Whitefield Rising, bringing together the various stakeholders to discuss and arrive at the appropriate guidelines for designing the Varthur Lake wetlands. The objective was to adopt the right approach for the development of the wetlands around the lake, arriving at the right size, depth, capacity as well as appropriate type, so as to impact positively its biodiversity.
The workshop witnessed representatives from four neighbourhoods, presenting their experience with rejuvenating their neighbourhood lake. These included Agara Lake, Puttenahalli Lake, Jakkur Lake and Lower Ambalipura Lake which had been revived with the active involvement of the local neighbourhoods and currently feature as fine examples of what citizen involvement and partnership can do to the city’s waterbodies. The workshop also had a lengthy presentation by T.V. Ramachandra, professor from IISc, on various components of wetland design, its type, biodiversity and the plant typologies best suited for it. https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/homes-and-gardens/lakes-wetlands-and-civic-interventions/article25970930.ece (11 Jan. 2019)
Kaggadasapura Lake froths; residents fumeKaggadasapura Lake, near CV Raman Nagar in east Bengaluru, on Jan. 9 began frothing, sending foam flying into the neighbourhood. Residents from areas abutting the water body were forced to close their doors and windows. After Bellandur, Varthur and Kalkere lakes, Kaggadasapura Lake is the fourth water body in Bengaluru to froth at its surface.
Residents from the neighbourhood said the lake had frothed a few times earlier. Locals alleged that industries in Pai Layout and Versova Layout were the major cause. “These industries release waste into the lake and these effluents are the major cause for the frothing,” said Krishnamurthy Iyer, a resident of Versova Layout.
Spread over 47 acres, the lake in under the custody of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). According to the Koliwad committee report, 3 acres 24 guntas of the lake bed have been encroached. “We have given 5 acres to BWSSB for installing an STP at the lake and work is under way,” said BBMP commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad.
GujaratWith dried Nalsarovar, livelihoods also dry upSAD situation at Nalsarovar:- But this January, there is none — neither the colony of birds nor the swarming tourists. Nearly 300 boatmen, who ferried tourists from one side of the lake meandering through flocks of brahminy ducks and purple moorhen, are sitting idle. The lake has dried up completely, revealing its cracked and blackened bed.
TelanganaExperts slam govt for apathy to water bodies In a workshop ‘Frothing Lakes: Causes and Mitigation,’ organised by CSIR-NEERI on Jan. 9, experts and concerned have criticized state govt. careless attitude towards water bodies alleging that situation would soon be worse than Bengaluru if corrective measure are not taken.
Maharashtra US-Based engineer help village save 200 Cr litres of water – He may be a resident of California’s Santa Clara with a lucrative annual package as the Director of Engineering for Yahoo USA, but Halgara (Six kilometres away from the Maharashtra-Karnataka border lies the tiny village of Halgara in Latur district) remain close to his heart for a very important reason. it was due to this young man that the drought-hit village embarked on the path of becoming jalyukt or drought-free in the last three years.
– Datta returned to Halgara with his family and spent almost three lakh rupees from his own pocket to start the watershed activities. His idea was simple. To preserve every drop of rainfall in his village by helping it seep into the ground and recharge the groundwater table, rather than allowing it to run off. The first step was desilting the 20 km canals in Halgara. It was only when the silt covering the riverbeds was cleared, that the water seeped into the layers of the ground below.
“Even if we manage to ensure that 30 per cent of this water (that runs off from the river beds into the sea) recharges groundwater tables, we can bring over 50 per cent of Indian agricultural land under the secure water zone,” informs Datta. They also used about 1,500 hectares of farmland to create compartment bunds to store water during the monsoons. The impact of the project is visible in how the groundwater level of Halgara, which was previously at a depth of 800 ft has now risen to 100 ft. https://www.thebetterindia.com/169271/latur-swades-real-story-water-drought-village-maharashtra/ (11 Jan. 2019)
Monga Bay reportRestoring tank irrigation can strengthen rural climate resilience –Since India’s Independence, tank water irrigation has declined in the country due to a combination of reasons: policies, neglect, population rise and the shift to groundwater. Tank water harvesting and irrigation offer a host of benefits such as replenishing groundwater levels, providing drinking water for rural communities and livestock, conserving top-soil and harbouring fish.
Op-Ed Politicians must recognise that groundwater plays big role in farmers’ crisisby K A S Mani:– India’s farm economy can be sustained only if its groundwater distress is properly assessed and ecological solutions implemented. The farm crisis is more serious in ecologically fragile regions, which are drought-prone, witness high temperatures with poor irrigation facilities and depend chiefly on groundwater irrigation. And it only become worse with climate change. In effect, politicians have to factor the global implications of the problems in their backyard into their manifestoes and promises.
Politicians can initiate schemes at the watershed level, through local institutions like the gram panchayat. Such schemes can be aimed at improving soil fertility, soil moisture, organic content, arrest degradation, reducing flash floods and manage pest impact.
A lot of farmers are indebted because of failing wells and falling groundwater levels, especially in the absence of a sustainable groundwater management policy. Moreover, the economic value of groundwater in food production hasn’t been assessed yet.
Tamil NaduMonsoon fails and groundwater level dips in 20 districts –Tamil Nadu is staring at a serious water crisis this summer. While on the one hand, the northeast monsoon failed the State, on the other groundwater levels have dipped remarkably. Analysis of December 2018, data – released by the State Ground and Surface Water Resources Data Centre of the Water Resources Department – reveals that the situation is much worse than the peak summer months of April-May.
Toxic threat to Chennai’s groundwater A cluster of tanneries based in Pallavaram are working to lay a 13.5 km-long underground pipeline to transport treated effluents to the Perungudi Sewage Treatment Plant. Because the Zero Liquid Discharge system — that they are required to use — “costs a lot to maintain” and encounters “technical glitches”. The pipeline project, pegged to cost about `40 crore — has received a No Objection Certificate from the TNPCB. Construction is likely to begin in April. While industrialists have welcomed the move, ecologists are worried about the potential damage it can cause to water bodies and groundwater.
Currently, there are 130 tanneries in the Pallavaram cluster that generate close to 2 MLD of effluents, which is treated at the Common Effluent Treatment Plant that has a capacity of 3 MLD. But that is not enough. To adhere to the pollution control board norms, tanneries must maintain a low rate of Total Dissolved Solids (TLD). They are supposed to send the treated effluents to a Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) system to completely eliminate any discharge.
But the Pallavaram Tanners Company has not been doing that. The (ZLD) system installed at their premises 10 years ago is not being used anymore. They are currently dumping the treated effluents into Adayar River. But since this does not solve the problem of maintinating a “low TLD rate”, they have come up with the pipeline idea. Their effluents will now be taken to Perungudi sewage treatment plant, mixed with domestic sewage and then released into Buckingham Canal.
A highly placed source privy to the matter explained the issue the tanners have with ZLD. Due to high contaminants in the reject water, the zero liquid discharge system is unable to turn the effluents completely into salt crystals. Instead, it turns into a paste-like consistency. “This is because of improper biological process. Reject water will have five times more toxins than the effluents. If the effluents are treated more rigourously, salt formation will not be a problem,” says the source.
The tanners have a different theory: “To be environmentally friendly, we did try to use the ZLD system. As we convert only semi-finished goods unlike other tanneries in the State, our effluents have low levels of dissolved solids — at 6,000 mg/l. Because of this, the salt in the effluents does not crystallise and instead turns into a paste,” says Mohamed Nazeeb, MD of the Pallavaram Tanners Industrial Effluent Treatment Company (PTIET).
Remember the 2012 Tondiarpet oil leak? A major leak was detected then in one of Bharat Petroleum’s pipeline transporting crude oil from Chennai Port to refineries. The accident severely contaminated groundwater table. Experts fear a similar scenario could occur here — industrial waste, though treated, contains contaminants that can pollute groundwater and damage human health.
Interestingly, of the 14 CETP facilities across the State, only the ones in Chennai do not follow the Zero Liquid Discharge model. In the ZLD model, toxic effluent is converted into salts. This will prevent it from being released into water bodies or farmlands and thereby harming human or animal health. In this process, 80 per cent of tannery waste is treated through reverse os mosis method while 20 per cent is evaporated to obtain salts. http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/2019/jan/11/toxic-threat-to-citys-groundwater-1923497.html (11 Jan. 2019)
West BengalOppn flags groundwater concerns, demands intervention of mayorWith three lakh people in Kolkata affected by depleting groundwater level — which is also triggering arsenic threat — Left Front councillors on Jan. 10 sought mayor Firhad Hakim’s intervention in the matter. From Shakuntala Park and Sarsuna in Behala to Subhaspally in Garia, the scene is the same everywhere.
PunePMC seeks to hike water charges by 15 per cent – The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) administration has tabled a proposal to hike water charges by 15 per cent and introduce user charges for the processing of garbage in the next financial year. The civic administration has submitted its tax proposal before the civic body’s Standing Committee, which would be taken up for discussion in a special meeting. According to the proposal, there will be no hike in property tax, but there will be a 15 per cent hike in water charges and the civic body will introduce user charges for garbage processing.
BengaluruResidents may soon have to pay 30 pc more for water The Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) officials are now working on a proposal which recommends the increase in water tariff by 30-35% and officials say that the proposal will soon be sent to the Karnataka govt for approval. The water supply agency is also planning to recover some of the expenses it incurred in projects in the city by increasing the tariff.
BWSSB will have to hold public consultation before the proposal is sent to the government. Officials say that in March 2018, the Karnataka government rejected the agency’s initial proposal made in October 2017 and had recommended that BWSSB hold public consultation. In 2014, the BWSSB had increased the minimum water tariff from Rs 48 to Rs 57 per month and the minimum monthly bill from Rs 83 to Rs 100 per month for domestic usage. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/bengaluru-residents-may-soon-have-pay-30-pc-more-water-94821 (10 Jan. 2019)
HyderabadWater crisis looms large Despite a bountiful monsoon, the city is heading towards a water crisis in the summer with levels in the Krishna river basin depleting at an alarming pace. On Jan. 11, water stood at 541 feet at Nagarjunasagar, and was depleting at the rate of a feet a week. Out of the 465 million gallons supplied to the city daily, Hyderabad receives 190.62 MGD from Nagarjunasagar.
The Water Board has decided to supply water from Manjira and Singur to conserve resources in the Krishna basin. Board officials have written to the irrigation department to stop supply for irrigation and maintain minimum draw down levels in Nagarjunasagar and Srisailam. A high-level meeting would be held soon to discuss measures to overcome the crisis. If water is released for irrigation, emergency pumping will have to be started from February and the situation would worsen in summer. Explaining why water was scarce despite the rain, a Water Board official said TS had not received Krishna water from Karnataka. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/120119/hyderabad-water-crisis-looms-large.html (12 Jan. 2019)
KarnatakaWaste water use in agriculture: ball reaches SCVishwanath Srikantiah on this important development:- The SC has put a stay on the pumping of treated wastewater to Kolar tanks from the wastewater treatment plants in the Koramangala and Chalaghatta valley of Bengaluru, comes the news.
The stay means that this volume of treated wastewater will flow in the Dakshina Pinakini, mix with volumes of untreated wastewater and reach Kelavarapalle dam near Hosur in Tamil Nadu. These waters will then be used to irrigate 1085 acres of land to be cultivated by Tamil Nadu farmers. Some amount of the water will also be picked up by farmers in Karnataka through pumps for irrigation.
A city consumes vast volumes of water. That which is consumed for domestic purpose should reach wastewater treatment plants, be treated to standards prescribed by the pollution control board and then released into the environment or reused. The Govt has thought up a scheme to pump this water from the sewage treatment plants in the Koramangala and Challaghatta valley to fill 136 tanks in Kolar District. This will recharge aquifers in the surrounds and be used for agriculture is their thinking.
BiharKoshi flood affected people “not being compensated”: NAPM writes to CMLed by the Koshi Nav Nirman Manch (KNNM), people displaced by the Koshi embankment area have been on an indefinite dharna at the Supaul district headquarters since January 10, 2019, seeking government assistance, as they have had to leave their place of residence following the disaster that has struck them because of frequent floods leading to soil erosion.
NAPM says, “Before they were forced to sit on dharna, the district administration was communicated about their plight, and on August 30, a protest meeting was held, after which district office bearers promised to fulfill all their demands, but it this has remained a mere assurance. On December 21 they met Principal Secretary, Disaster Relief Department, and on January 7 they declared their intention to start dharna.”
KNNM demands include a survey of the houses damaged due to floods, crop damage, providing compensation to the disaster affected people in accordance with SOP set by the government, providing people ration for the whole year to those who are deprived of food security, loans waiver to farmers, MNREGA work, and their resettlement and rehabilitation. https://www.counterview.in/2019/01/koshi-flood-affected-people-not-being.html (13 Jan. 2019)
Gujarat Ahmedabad: Canal incomplete, water for farming ends up in riverThe Dhatarvadi-II dam in Amreli district in Gujarat was completed in 2004 and is designed to irrigate around 2,600 ha. However, the command area development is hobbled by land acquisition issues. The water is released into the river for farmers to lift water from there. Water was released in a similar manner in 2014 and 2017.
Surat farmers march against water rationing Thousands of farmers marched on the streets of Surat on Jan. 8 against the ongoing water scarcity in the district and demanded the state government to supply water for irrigation for 80 days during the summer season instead of the 42 days as notified by the Irrigation Department. The farmers, under the banner of Khedut Samaj, also asked the government to rescind its circular asking farmers to not sow paddy next summer.
Following a deficient monsoon this year and less rainfall in the catchment areas, the water level in Ukai dam stood at 318.56 feet. Following which, the Irrigation Department decided that water from the dam will be released for 22 days in March and 20 days in April. The water from the dam supplies water for irrigation to farmers in Surat, Navsari, Bharuch, and Valsad districts. Last year, the water level in Ukai dam was 323 feet after monsoon, and the government had decided to supply irrigation water for 116 days on a rotation basis. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/surat-farmers-march-against-water-rationing/ (9 Jan. 2019)
To meet Rajkot city’s water demand, Narmada water reaches Aji-I dam After the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) approached the state government with a request to pump more water in Aji-I dam to meet drinking water requirement during summer, the state irrigation department had started pumping 150 MLD water from Dholidhaja dam in Surendranagar to Aji-I dam via link-III of SAUNI (Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation) Yojana from the beginning of this month. The department expect to last this water till the end of April 2019 and as a precautionary measure, requested state govt to pump 600 million cubic feet more Narmada water.
India- Pakistan‘Breakthrough’ as India greenlights Chenab hydropower projects inspection by PakistanPakistani Commissioner for Indus Waters Mehr Ali Shah said a delegation of Pakistani experts will visit the two Indian project sites on Chenab River for an inspection, scheduled for later this month. “India has also given positive signals regarding inspection of other projects constructed on Chenab River,” he revealed. Pakistan has objections to the pondage and freeboard of Lower Kalnal, and pondage, filling criteria and spillway of Pakal Dul hydropower projects on Marusadar River — a right bank tributary of the Chenab. https://www.dawn.com/news/1456907 (11 Jan. 2019)
Nepal Way forward for hydropower developmentThe article says half of this potential is unviable. Much more is likely to be unviable. – Karnali and Mahakali river basins have a catchment area of 48,811 km2 and 16,097 km2, with approximate hydropower potential of 36,180 MW (the watershed area of the Mahakali River lies in India and Nepal)
– Gandaki river basin has a catchment area of 36,607 km2 and approximate hydro potential of 20,650 MW. Koshi river basin has a catchment area of 57,700 km2 and hydro potential of 22,350 MW (the watershed area lies in Tibet/China and Nepal)
BangladeshTeesta, Dharla turn into canals 12 small rivers have already dried up and two major rivers — Teesta and Dharla — have been turned into canals in the district due to lack of water flow from upstream India.
– Mile of chars have developed on the rivers, causing problems for the char people as they have to cross many kilometres of sandy char land to go to the mainland.
The judgement was issued on a suo motu case pertaining to selling by the companies of water extracted from underground sources without any charge as well as the quality and fitness of the same for human consumption, Dawn newspaper reported.
StudySocial and environmental costs of hydropower are underestimated, study showsThe warning comes from an article by researchers at Michigan State University published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The lead author is Emilio Moran, a visiting professor at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in São Paulo State, Brazil. “We argue that if the construction of large dams in developing countries is to continue, it must always be preceded by a painstaking assessment of their real cost, including the environmental and social impact they have,” Moran said.
– “When a large dam is built, the result is a downstream loss of a great many fish species that are important to riverine populations. These communities will have to continue somehow making a living despite dwindling fish stocks for 15 or 20 years, for example, and the costs of these projects don’t take such economic and social losses into account.”
– “The cost of removing a dam once its useful life is over is extremely high, and should be taken into account when computing the total cost of a new hydro development,” Moran said. “If the cost of removal had to be included, many dams wouldn’t be built. It would be far more expensive to produce a kilowatt-hour of electricity via a hydro complex with a useful life of 30 to 50 years, like those under construction in Brazil.” https://phys.org/news/2019-01-social-environmental-hydropower-underestimated.html (11 Jan. 2019)
Easter Island statues: mystery behind their location revealedMystery of the Easter Island Statues:-The huge stone figures of Easter Island have beguiled explorers, researchers and the wider world for centuries, but now experts say they have cracked one of the biggest mysteries: why the statues are where they are.
Researchers say they have analysed the locations of the megalithic platforms, or ahu, on which many of the statues known as moai sit, as well as scrutinising sites of the island’s resources, and have discovered the structures are typically found close to sources of fresh water. They say the finding backs up the idea that aspects of the construction of the platforms and statues, such as their size, could be tied to the abundance and quality of such supplies. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/jan/10/mystery-of-location-of-easter-island-statues-revealed (10 Jan. 2019)
Op-EdA National Law for Urban TreesVERY useful article from RITWICK DUTTA on: However, unlike forest, wildlife, water, and air, there exists not even a single central legislation for the protection of trees in areas that are not a part of the forestland. Protection and preservation of trees is governed only through state-specific tree preservation laws of the respective states. This article examines the basic structure of the tree preservation laws, and appraises how effective these have been in protecting trees in certain instances where these were invoked.
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined. https://www.counterview.net/2019/01/99-mgnrega-funds-exhausted-govt-of.html (12 Jan. 2019)
Best Advertisement of What Dam Building can do. Great Expose by NYT: “The dam sits under the glare of an active volcano, with columns of ash spewing toward the sky. Officials had warned against the dam for decades. Geologists said an earthquake could wipe it away. Now, only two years after opening, thousands of cracks are splintering the dam’s machinery. Its reservoir is clogged with silt, sand and trees.
And the only time engineers tried to throttle up the facility completely, it shook violently and shorted out the national electricity grid. This giant dam in the jungle, financed and built by China, was supposed to christen Ecuador’s vast ambitions, solve its energy needs and help lift the small South American country out of poverty. Instead, it has become part of a national scandal engulfing the country in corruption, perilous amounts of debt — and a future tethered to China. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/24/world/americas/ecuador-china-dam.html (24 Dec. 2018)
READ MORE: Nearly every top Ecuadorean official involved in the dam’s construction is either imprisoned or sentenced on bribery charges. That includes a former vice president, a former electricity minister and even the former anti-corruption official monitoring the project, who was caught on tape talking about Chinese bribes.
Then there is the price tag: around $19 billion in Chinese loans, not only for this dam, known as Coca Codo Sinclair, but also for bridges, highways, irrigation, schools, health clinics and a half dozen other dams the government is scrambling to pay for. It doesn’t matter whether Ecuador can afford them. China gets paid either way. To settle the bill, China gets to keep 80 percent of Ecuador’s most valuable export — oil — because many of the contracts are repaid in petroleum, not dollars. In fact, China gets the oil at a discount, then sells it for an additional profit.
What applies to Ecuadorean Dam applies to almost every BIG dam that we are building.
The report says an important meeting was held by PMO over fate of stalled hydro projects on Ganga and its tributaries in Uttrakhand: गंगा व उसकी सहायक नदियों पर प्रस्तावित जल विद्युत परियोजनाओं के भविष्य पर गुरुवार को प्रधानमंत्री कार्यालय में अहम बैठक होने जा रही है। इस बैठक में परियोजनाओं को लेकर राज्य की ओर से मजबूती के साथ अपना पक्ष रखा जाएगा।
मेगावाट क्षमता के 25 प्रोजेक्ट
पर करीब 25 हजार
करोड़ का बजट खर्च होना है। अधिकतर प्रोजेक्ट गंगा व उसकी सहायक नदियों से जुड़े हैं। इनपर यूजेवीएनएल, एनएचपीसी
समेत कई केंद्रीय उपक्रमों की ओर से काम होना है। राज्य की परियोजनाओं पर रोक को दबाव बढ़ रहा है। पूर्व में भी इको सेंसटिव जोन से जुड़ी नौ परियोजनाओं को राज्य सरेंडर कर चुका है। 80 मेगावाट
क्षमता के नौ प्रोजेक्ट पर करीब 940 करोड़
खर्च होने है। 90 करोड़
खर्च हो चुके थे। प्रधान सचिव पीएमओ नृपेंद्र मिश्रा के समक्ष ब्यौरा रखा जाएगा।
(26 Dec. 2018)
On the other hand, Raini villagers known for Chipko movement (Joshimath) accuse 14 MW Rishganga HEP developers of grabbing village land. The project was closed in 2016 after Rishiganga Hydro Power Construction Company declared itself bankrupt. The project was then taken over by Kundan Group.
takers for hydro power projects in Chenab basin ANOTHER CASE OF UNVIABLE LARGE HYDRO
PROJECTS: There are no takers for power projects in the Chenab basin at
Lahaul-Spiti. The IPPs said that HEPs were unviable: “The cost of producing
1-MW electricity from hydropower has reached Rs 10 crore,” they added.
Independent power producers (IPPs) have surrendered seven projects allotted to
them, saying high cost of power generation and lack of infrastructure had made
IIPs are now pressuring the state government to pay them the upfront premium,
which the latter refused, saying the term and conditions did not permit them to
do so. “As a result, the IPPs – Reliance, Tata, Moser Baer, Larsen and Toubro —
have moved court, which has sabotaged the government’s plan to seek bids for
these projects,” sources said.
Reliance was the first to surrender the 300-MW Purthi project located in Pangi,
Chamba district. Then it surrendered 34-MW Schling and 90-MW Tailing in the
basin. The company has cited that the projects have become unviable. Moser
Baer, which was allotted the 400-MW Seli power project near Udaipur town of
Lahaul-Spiti district, also surrendered the project. Tribals had been opposing
the Seli project as they feared that it would submerge the green forest of
mini-Manali near Udaipur.
Tata surrendered the 450-MW Duggar power project located in the Pangi area this
year. The project was allotted to it in 2007-2008.
Larsen and Toubro surrendered the 190-MW Sach Khas and 400-MW Raili-Dugli
project downstream of Udaipur on the Chenab.
ABG energy surrendered the 126-MW Bardang project.
the same time, on the issue of rehabilitation and resettlement of the affected
families, whose houses were acquired for the implementation of a project of
National Hydro Power Corporation, Himachal Pradesh high court has observed that
the amount of compensation fixed per housing unit by the divisional
commissioner, Kangra at Dharamshala, lacks a pragmatic, practical and
progressive approach. The court said it appears prima facie, that the land
owners whose properties, including the residential houses, have been acquired
for implementation of the project of National Hydro Power Corporation cannot be
treated at par with landless/house-less persons for the purpose of rehabilitation.
https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/rehabilitation-of-nhpc-project-rs-1-42-lakh-per-housing-unit-too-low-says-hc/67307793 (30 Dec. 2018)
partners with IIT Roorkee for R&D collaboration WOW. What does “an ambassador of
hydropower development” do? Lobby FOR hydropower development? So IITR has
no qualms about it? What do the other academia think? Is this ok? Or is this
unacceptable for an academic institute?
statements here from JSW are totally fake, since they have not constructed ANY
big hydro in India. The statement from PwC suggests they are working as part of
hydro lobby. “Whatever
government support is required will be given as a part of the policy package,”
says AK Bhalla, Power Secretary. https://www.fortuneindia.com/enterprise/jsw-energy-harnessing-hydropower/102806
Hour long discussion on REVIVING OUR RIVERS on INDIA SCIENCE, a Union Ministry of Science and Technology initiated OTT TV channel. Moderated by Shalini Verma and panel includes former water resources secretary Shri Shashi Shekhar and Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP. https://www.indiascience.in/videodetails?id=5c1a1166c8954
Modi to lay foundation of Mandal dam project on Jan. 5PM Modi will lay the foundation of
North Koel Reservoir, also known as Mandal Dam Project in Palamu on January 5.
The project on North Koel River flowing through Palamu and Garhwa districts in
Jharkhand was started in 1972. It was, however, stopped by the forest
department, Bihar, in 1993. The union cabinet in August 2017 approved a proposal
to complete the remaining work of the project. The total cost of the project
assessed on the date was Rs 2,391.36 crore and an expenditure amounting to Rs
769.09 crore has been incurred till date. The project would benefit both
Jharkhand and Bihar. It is expected to irrigate 1.11 lakh ha, including over
91,000 ha in Bihar and 20,000 ha in Jharkhand.
The PM would also lay foundation of a water pipeline project for two dry
districts of Jharkhand, Palamu and Garhwa. “Water from Sone river will be
brought to the two districts through the pipeline. The project would cost
around Rs 1,138 crore. Feasibility tests has been done and the detailed project
report is being prepared,” said Jharkhand CM Das.
Tamil Nadu HC
seeks report on damage to check dams A division bench of Justices K.K. Sasidharan and P.D.
Audikesavalu of the Madras High Court Bench in Madurai has directed the Madurai
Collector to inspect the condition of four small check dams constructed near
Karumathur and file an action taken report since a PIL claimed that miscreants
had damaged the structures.
Mekedatu Dam DisputeGadkari
to call CMs’ meet on Karnataka’s water project
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari will convene a meeting of Karnataka and
Tamil Nadu Chief Ministers on the implementation of the controversial Cauvery
river project at Mekedatu for drinking water supply, said an official on Dec.
has sought the Central govt’s approval to build a dam at Mekedatu on the river
near Kanakapura in Ramanagaram district, about 100km southwest of Bengaluru,
for storing and supplying its water to the parched districts of Chikkaballapur
and Kolar districts.
also sought Gadkari’s intervention to make Goa allow Karnataka utilise the
Mahadayi river water for drinking purpose in the four drought-prone districts
in the state’s northwest region. Objecting to the project fearing denial of its
share of the river water, Tamil Nadu has also petitioned the Central government
and the Supreme Court not to allow Karnataka to build the balancing reservoir
at the goat’s leap gorge. https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/gadkari-to-call-cms-meet-on-karnatakas-water-project/1447170
(27 Dec. 2018)
New Dam on Tungabhadra RiverCWC
nod needed for new dam on Tungabhadra river: Telangana to Karnataka
Karnataka irrigation officials have proposed to construct a new dam with a
capacity of 40 tmcft on Tungabhadra river as the present Tungabhadra dam’s
capacity was reduced considerably due to siltation and desilting was
impossible. The Karnataka officials made this proposal at the Tungabhadra Board
meeting held on Dec 27, 2018.
Himachal Pradesh Sirsa
river facing ecological disaster Himdhara Environment Research and Action
Collective has asked the River Rejuvenation Committee and the Special
Environment Surveillance Task Force to look into ecological issues facing the
Sirsa river, a tributary of the Satluj river. In a memorandum on Dec 28, 2018
to state-level bodies set up by the NGT, Himdhara has highlighted that
industrial effluents from Baddi, Barotiwala and Nalagarh industrial areas in
Solan district, the discharge from a common effluent treatment plant, illegal
dumping of garbage and unlawful sand mining are the chief sources of threat to
the Sirsa river.
In Sept., the CPCB in its report “River Stretches for Restoration of Water
Quality” identified 351 polluted stretches on 323 rivers. In Himachal, seven
river stretches have been identified as “critically polluted”: Sukhana,
Markanda, Sirsa, Ashwani, stretches of the Beas, Giri and Pabbar. Following the
CPCB report, the NGT on Sept. 20 issued order to states to form the River
Rejuvenation Committees for identifying the sources and nature of pollution of
rivers and make time-bound action plan for reviving them.
committee of the NGT headed by Justice DP Singh on Dec. 24, expressed its displeasure
with the state government for failing to plan solid waste management for the
massive event which is slated to take place for a major part of January-
A recent study covering 100 km of rivers and channels around the Sunderbans have revealed that the national aquatic animal is no longer sighted in the central and eastern parts of the archipelago. Only in the western part of Sunderbans, where the salinity is lower, could researchers find some evidence of the species.
details of the study have been published in Journal of Threatened Taxa, in an
article titled Possible Range Decline of Ganges River Dolphin Platanista
Gangetica in Indian Sundarban. The paper, authored by Sangita Mitra and Mahua
Roy Chowdhury, states that “sighting records in the present study reveal that
distribution of GRD (Ganges River Dolphin) is influenced by the salinity level
of the waterways”.
the study, the researchers noted a higher rate of encounter with the species in
rivers and stretches that had limited use of motorised boats, less river
traffic and more country boats. The encounter rate was higher by almost 55 % in
such stretches, the publication stated.
PR Dec 26, 2018Save Bhandardaha Bill Campaign; Demands
Restoration of Bhandardaha Bill; Implores Concerned Citizens to Unite with
400 to 500 years ago Bhagirathi River flowed through Bhandardaha. In course of
time with shifting of the course of river large water bodies like Bhandardaha
were created in the Bhagirathi-Padma-Jalangi basin.
has been a very important water body of Murshidabad. Its contributions to
natural environment and historical sites of the district are undeniable.
Thousands of fishers earn their livelihood from this water body. Once a source
of large amounts of fish, Bhandardaha played a very important role in the food
security and nutritional status of local population. The farmlands around are
watered from this water body. Now water inflow from Padma and adjoining areas
has almost stopped. Silt, water hyacinth
and pollution have devastating effects on the water and fish resources of the
bil. Without getting fish the fishers are incessantly roaming around in search
of livelihood. There are reports that a fund of Rupees 400 crores had been been
sanctioned for restoration of Bhandardaha, but nothing happened on the ground.
Most of the fishermen’s cooperatives that had come up around Bhandardaha have
been usurped by people with vested interest. The water areas under these
cooperatives are illegally sub-leased and general fishermen members are deprived of livelihood opportunities.
Administrative indifference and delay-dallying make the situation worse.
this situation Dakshinbanga Matsyajibi Forum, as the organisation of small fish
workers, organised a big cycle rally and campaign for restoration of
Bhandardaha from 16th to 18th December 2018. The campaign started from
Kharibona-Nasipur of Akhriganj in Bhagobangola-II Block and ended at Tungi of Naoda
Block. The campaign concluded with a Citizens’ Meet and Press Conference in the
city of Baharampur.
mowed down by truck for trying to stop sand mafia In another testimony to the rapid
rise of the sand mafia in Karnataka, a village official was killed in broad
daylight while he was conducting a raid against the same in a village in the
Raichur district. The accountant was conducting a survey when he suspected a
lorry to be carrying illegal sand from Tungabadra River. He tried to stop the
vehicle when he was run over by the driver. The villagers tried to rush him to
the nearest hospital but he succumbed to his injuries by the time any treatment
could be administered to him.
the recent past, there have been multiple cases of illegal sand mining near the
Krishna and Tungabadra rivers and officials have often been attacked on duty.
Last year, the Deputy Commissioner, Priyanka Mari Francis, and the then
Assistant Commissioner Shilpa Nag raided the illegal sand mining activities in
Kandlur village and were assaulted by a gang of people. In 2016, the sand mafia
was suspected to be involved the incident where thirteen crest gates of the
Hingani barrage were broken and a large amount of water saved for irrigation
and drinking had gone to waste. https://www.timesnownews.com/mirror-now/crime/article/karnataka-shocker-official-mowed-down-by-truck-for-trying-to-stop-sand-mafia/335981 (24 Dec. 2018)
Krishna and Thungabhadra rivers flow into Raichur and the sand on the banks of
these two rivers have been fodder for sand mafia for many years now. Sources in
the district administration said that their efforts to curb illegal mining had
failed to yield desired results since many involved in sand mining had strong
Sand mafia in Raichur appears to be thriving because of the ever rising demand
for sand from other cities in the state, and from neighbouring Telangana and
Andhra Pradesh. The miners charge Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 70,000 per truckload of
sand and are reportedly walking off with handsome profits.
CCTV camewras at quarries to prevent illegal sand mining :HC
The Madurai bench of the Madras high court has laid down a set of
guidelines which have to be followed by licensed quarry operators mining gravel
in Virudhunagar district, after concerns were raised about indiscriminate and
illegal mining in Gundaru river sand before the court.
Uttar Pradesh Red flag against 36 UP sand mining projects NGT has withheld the environmental clearance (EC) given to at least 36 sand mining projects in Uttar Pradesh on the ground that it was obtained in violation of rules specified in the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification of 2006.
mines, located in the floodplains of the Ken, Yamuna and Betwa rivers, had got
a “Regional Environmental Impact Assessment (REIA)” done by a private
consultant. Based on the REIA, many projects were granted environmental
clearance by the Statelevel Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEAC).
according to the EIA 2006 notification, there is no concept called REIA. Each
sand mining project is required to submit an individual EIA report, which is to
be appraised individually by the SEAC. Some lawyers and competitors of the
private EIA consultant who did the REIA had noticed the aberration and informed
SEAC about it. https://www.pressreader.com/india/hindustan-times-st-mumbai/20181223/281840054779503 (23 Dec. 20118)
sand mining eroding Kihim Beach near Mumbai
Illegal sand mining at Kihim Beach, near Alibaug, has been going on
unchecked for a decade and is leading to soil erosion and loss of tree cover,
according to Awaaz Foundation which on Dec. 24 filed a complaint with the
Konkan commissioner and district administration of Raigad in this regard and
attached week-old pictures of bullock carts transporting sand away from the
recorded 26,628 cases of illegal mining in 2017, the highest across the
country, according to data from the Ministry of Mines. This year, data up to
June showed 2,751 cases. Between 2013 and 2018, 2,228 people were booked for
illegal mining, one court case was filed, and 163,366 vehicles were seized. The
fines collected for illegal mining over six years was ₹36,502 lakh.
officials demanded documents from a person present at the spot, Kalidas
Mangela, who failed to submit the necessary papers following which they seized
six pipes, two boats, and other equipment, all worth Rs 3 lakh. Kalidas in his
statements confessed that sand mining work was in progress since the last ten
days and the sand taken out from the dam has been sold in the market, officials
bans quarrying on Nandhaur riverThe
NGT has put a stop on quarrying on the Nandhaur river citing its proximity to
the Nandhaur Wildlife Sanctuary in Nainital district, barely a month after the
process of extracting sand and gravel for construction purposes had begun for
the current season.
Forest Development Corporation (FDC) had in late April allowed the quarrying
following the state government’s repeated attempts at seeking necessary
clearances from the Union ministry of forest and environment after the 10-year
lease for quarrying had ended in 2016.
the NGT, which was looking into a plea challenging the quarrying on the banks
of the river, accepted the petitioner’s contention that the site of quarrying
was within 10km of the sanctuary, whose boundaries establishing the limits of
eco-sensitive zone had still not been determined by the state government. Petitioners
Nandan Singh and Bahadur Singh of Chorgaliya have said that the government must
define the eco-sensitive zone of the wildlife sanctuary, which was created in
(20 Dec. 2018)
On the other hand, 115 years old British era bridge on Tons river in Birpur, Dehradun collapsed on Dec. 28 morning killing two people. The incident occurred while overloaded sand truck was passing through it.
arrested for illegal sand mining in Ravi riverThe
Ajnala police have arrested Rajbir Singh, a resident of Dabbar village, on
charge of illegal sand mining. Assistant mining officer Manjit Kumar arrested
him from Sarandev village, where he intercepted the truck bearing registration
No. PB-23-F-5324 carrying sand, which was illegally excavated from the Ravi
and Efficiency of Groundwater Use and Power Consumption in Haryana High power subsidy, along with
assured minimum support price and procurement by public agencies, has changed
the cropping pattern in favour of water-intensive crops, especially paddy, in
Haryana and Punjab. This has placed groundwater resources under severe stress
and also increased the demand for energy for extraction of water.
PunjabNGT team visit villages hit by water pollution On Dec. 24, NGT Team visited Chamiara, Gazipur, Athaula, Balerkhanpur, Gurdwara Tahli Sahib, Fatehpur and Nawa Pind Khalewal villages in the Jalandhar district which are affected by water pollution.
by NGT’s supervisory committee member Chander Babu, the team members visited
the Kala Sanghian drain and the Chitti Bein. While environmentalist Balbir
Singh Seechewal had recently raised the issue of pollution in the drain, he had
also written to the NGT on the defunct STPs across the state which were adding
to untreated water and creating pollution in the state.
living on the banks of the Kala Sanghian drain gave a long declaration to the
NGT. Detailing their experiences, they said they could not go to any other
village now. They complained that they were facing troubles in marrying their
children as no one wanted to marry their kin in a village which was affected by
diseases. They said a large number of people in the villages were dying of
cancer and hepatitis. Residents of Nawa Pind Khalewal said there had been over
10 deaths in the village due to cancer. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/jalandhar/ngt-team-visits-villages-hit-by-water-pollution/703336.html
(24 Dec. 2018)
notice to govt over water pollutionThe Gujarat high court on Dec. 26
issued a notice to the state government and the Gujarat Pollution Control Board
(GPCB) over a PIL complaining about water contamination in three villages near
Dholka town in Ahmedabad district due to the release of drainage water and
industrial discharge into an open canal. The HC has sought reply from
authorities concerned by January 24, when it will take up the matter for
petitioner has complained that Dholka municipality discharges drainage water
and chemical and pharma companies in the area release industrial discharge into
an open canal that passes through Trasad, Bhetavada and Nesda villages. He said
that the polluted water leaks from the canal and flows into farms and houses
affecting crops and drinking water. Villagers are fleeing due to water contamination
in the area, he said.
villagers have complained about water pollution to GPCB many times. GPCB has
not initiated any action against violators. The PIL has urged to the HC to
direct the government to stop the release of dirty water and chemicals into the
canal, to direct authorities to arrange for water for drinking and agriculture
because water has been contaminated in borewells. It also requested that Dholka
municipality be told to start its STP, which was built a few years ago but has
not been used. The petitioner has also demanded extraction of polluted water
from the fields. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/hc-notice-to-govt-over-water-pollution/articleshow/67263055.cms
(27 Dec. 2018)
Uttarakhand40 parched villages threaten to boycott election People from about 40 villages in Pauri Garhwal district have threatened to boycott the 2019 Lok Sabha elections if water crisis in their area is not solved. The villagers from Kot block held a protest outside the district magistrate’s office on Dec. 29, demanding a drinking water scheme.
Andhra PradeshSome farmers return to their rootsKey message: Even as the people of Anantapur were trying to survive one of the worst droughts in living memory, rains finally arrived in October last year. The initial delight led to another sombre experience, as the heavy rains led to flooding and even the death of a child. The district received its heaviest single-day rainfall in 15 years.
To deal with such extreme weather, many farmers in Anantapur as well as the rest of Andhra Pradesh are going back to farming as they used to before high-yield crop varieties, hybrid seeds, synthetic fertilisers and pesticides became the norm. They have found that crops grown the traditional way, with a little bit of agro-ecological innovation, have a better chance of survival in this errant climate.”
Despite an understanding of the need for this diversity, government policy is
still largely an obstacle rather than an enabler for CSA. There is a lack of
proper crop insurance mechanisms for multi-crop systems. Systems in India are
geared towards promoting mono cropping and growing certain prevalent crops. As
Kuruganti says, “If I want to grow millets, for instance, I won’t get bank
credit with a good scale of finance for it but if I do the wrong kind of
cropping, I’ll get at least INR 10,000 (USD 154) more on my Kisan Credit
shows an alternative to farm loan waivers Govt’s Rythu
Bandhu scheme, an alternative to farm loan waiver, is not without criticism.
Telangana farmer groups have demanded that 1.5 million tenant cultivators be
included in it. A senior official from the Telangana agriculture department,
requesting anonymity, said since the flagship scheme was announced, cheques
worth ₹5,256 crore were disbursed.
was some delay in cheque distribution for the rabi season because the model
code of conduct was in place before the assembly elections. More than 5 million
farmers have been given cheques out of the total 5.8 million. Some may not have
received it due to problems with their land records, or they may have been
absent when cheques were distributed.”
KarnatakaNearly 90% of taluks drought-hit again The Govt has on Dec. 26 declared that close to 90% of the state’s taluks were drought-hit in the Rabi season. 156 out of 176 taluks across 30 districts were declared drought-hit based on central government guidelines.
drought condition in the state has deteriorated since September, when 100
talukas across 23 districts were declared drought-hit. The state has been
facing three successive years of drought leading to low agricultural produce,
and has already sought central government assistance of Rs 2,434 crore.
meet drinking water needs, the government is supplying water to 283 villages
through 524 tankers and 315 private borewells (through pipelines) in 17
districts. For the next 90 days, the restriction on the supply of drinking
water through tankers has been removed.
tackle drought & climate changes, govt plans crop mapping by drones and on
groundAll the four
agriculture universities in Maharashtra have been roped in for the exercise.
Almost 62,000 students studying in these universities and colleges under it
would take part in the exercise along with Maharashtra officials and the
recommendations based on it implemented in the next kharif season. Teams would
fan out across 40,913 villages in Vidarbha, Marathwada, North Maharashtra,
Western Maharashtra and Konkan for the exercise.
laws in IndusTransboundary
Indus Basin Groundwater policy brief from Lead Pakistan. Its of 2016, but these
key takeaways remain valid: They key takeaways from this policy brief are:
groundwater use in the Indus basin threatens the quality and availability of
the resource, and has far-reaching transboundary repercussions;
is no legal arrangement between India and Pakistan – or any of the Indus basin’s
riparian States, with respect to groundwater;
water law is moving towards promoting sustainable and equitable utilization of
transboundary groundwater, in conjunction with surface water resources;
and regulation of groundwater is weak at the federal/union and province/state
levels in India and Pakistan;
and shareable measurement, quantification and assessment of the Indus River
plain aquifer is necessary for groundwater policy formulation and legal
regulation of transboundary groundwater in the Indus basin.
article shows how important the tariff of 720 MW Mangdechhu Project is for
Bhutan. The earlier gap between Bhutan demand of Rs 4.4 vs Indian offer of Rs
3.9 per unit has now narrowed to 4.27 vs 4.1, yet to be finalised. It seems
there were seven earlier rounds of talks between officials of two govts and
Bhutan argued that this is cheaper that Rs 6 that a new hydro in India offers
and in line with cost plus approach India followed in Tala. This article also
shows that Sankosh was third priority on Bhutan’s agenda. https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/bhutan-prime-minister-lotay-tshering-india-visit-5512504/ (28 Dec. 2018)
export tariff for Mangdechhu project, this report says: “Describing himself as “quite
happy” with the outcome, he said that towards the end, India was asking for 4.1
ngultrum per unit, while Bhutan’s proposal was for 4.27 ngultrum (1 ngultram =
1 rupee).” “So, there was not much difference actually… Whatever
difference is there can be reached with increase in rates periodically over the
new few years. This will be decided technically in a day or two,” Dorji said.
The tariff for Mangdechhu will be higher than the rates for power from five
operational hydropower projects. This has been predicated on the financing
structure of the Rs 5,000 crore Mangdechhu project. Unlike previous projects,
the loan to grant ratio is 70 to 30, which means that more revenue will be
diverted to service debt in the initial years.
In his press statement, the Bhutan prime minister specifically mentioned the
Indian prime minister’s support for starting the Sunkosh project, which has
received special focus from Thimpu as it will be the first reservoir hydropower
The Bhutanese foreign minister revealed that there were discussions on one more
stalled hydropower project. “(The) Kholongchu (power project) was also
discussed. It had been paused due to India’s cross-border guidelines,” said
Dorji. The foundation stone was laid by Modi in 2014, but Bhutan had refused
the sign the concession agreement for the 600 megawatt project, which was to be
a joint venture between the Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) and India’s
SJVN Limited. The point of contention was the 2016 Cross Border Trade in
Electricity guidelines issued by the Indian power ministry, which Bhutan felt
restricted access to Indian power exchange and also ability to execute
tripartite projects. Ten days ago, the Indian power ministry issued a revised
set of rules – 2018 Guidelines for Import/Export (Cross Border) of Electricity
– which purported to address some of these concerns. “We have not been handed
over the guidelines. We have seen it on the website and looked at it carefully.
At first glance, it seems conducive,” said Dorji. https://thewire.in/diplomacy/india-bhutan-mangdechhu-hydropower-project (29 Dec. 2018)
agree to set up ‘energy bank’India and Nepal have agreed to set up
an energy banking mechanism to prevent spilling of electricity when production
surpasses demand. The two countries agreed to the ‘Nepal-India energy banking
deal’ at the 13th meeting of the Power Exchange Committee held in New Delhi on
Dec 25, 2018. The Nepal Electricity Authority, and India’s Central Electricity
Authority have agreed to the draft guidelines, which would be presented for
approval before the energy secretary-level joint steering committee’s meeting
banking system would involve exchanging electricity for electricity instead of
cash. Under this, one country exports electricity to the other when it has a
surplus, and imports back the same amount of energy when it has a deficit.
“This agreement is a milestone in the country’s energy sector as it will secure
the market for the surplus energy we are on track to produce within a few
years,” said NEA Managing Director Kulman Ghising. Ghising further stated in
the report that Nepal would supply electricity to India during the wet season
when the domestic output is high and import it back during the winter when
domestic production is much lower than the demand. https://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/india-nepal-agree-to-set-up-energy-bank/67288280
(28 Dec. 2018)
Australia Drought 10K native fish found dead in Darling riverThe Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is expecting more mass fish deaths with a blue-green algae bloom blamed for 10,000 dead fish in the Darling River. The dead fish, mainly native species such as bony bream, Murray cod, and golden and silver perch, were found along a 50-kilometre stretch of the river.
treatment chemicals market outlook
The Global Water Treatment Chemicals Industry valued approximately 39.70
billion in 2016 in the U.S. and is anticipated to grow with a growth rate of
more than 6.40% over the forecast period 2017-2025.
to Market Journal, major factors driving the growth are growing usage of water
treatment chemicals in various industries to satisfy the escalating demand for
chemically treated quality water at a reduced price. The other factors
affecting the growth of the industry are increasing GDP, awareness about reuse
of wastewater, global population, upgrading of economic conditions and rising
number of new oil and gas sector discoveries. https://www.wwdmag.com/instrumentation-water-quality-monitoring/water-treatment-chemicals-market-outlook (25 Dec. 2018)
Ministry’s no to drone mapping of glaciers Defence Ministry has refused to give permission to Himachal Pradesh Council for
Science, Technology and Environment to map the glaciers of Himachal Pradesh
using Drone, following approval of Rs 40 lakh project for the purpose by the
Dept of S & T, Govt of India.
A study of 302 glaciers in Kullu district by Dr SS Randhawa, senior scientific
officer, between 1962 and 2002 has indicated 14 per cent deglaciation while
during the period between 2002 and 2006, it was 8 per cent. This clearly
indicates that the deglacaition is taking place at a faster pace. Even in case
of Spiti, 21 per cent deglaciation had taken place between 1962 and 2000, while
from 2001 to 2007, it was 8 per cent.
says biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev’s Divya PharmacyWelcome Order from UKD HC: In a significant decision, the
Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition
filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan,
challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing
fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS). The
judgment delivered by Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia held that the Court is of the
opinion that SBB has got powers to demand Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing
from the Divya Pharmacy.
Divya Pharmacy has claimed that UBB cannot raise a demand, under the head of “Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing” (FEBS), as the Board neither has the powers nor the jurisdiction to do that and, secondly, the Divya Pharmacy also claimed that it is not liable to pay any amount or make any kind of contribution under the head of FEBS.
main contention was that only a foreign entity was liable to pay under the FEBS
and not an Indian entity. Since Divya Pharmacy is a ‘purely Indian company’, it
was not required to pay any fees under FBES. In addition, unlike a foreign
company, an Indian company was not required to obtain ‘prior approval’ from the
National Biodiversity Authority but only ‘intimate’ the State Biodiversity
State Biodiversity Board however contented that there is no distinction between
an Indian entity and a foreign entity and the only entities who are not liable
to pay are growers and cultivators of biological resources including vaids and
According to the Court: “The Indigenous and local communities, who either
grow ‘biological resources’, or have a traditional knowledge of these
resources, are the beneficiaries under the Act. In return for their parting
with this traditional knowledge, certain benefits accrue to them as FEBS, and
this is what FEBS is actually all about. This benefit the ‘indigenous and local
communities’, get under the law is over and above the market price of their
‘biological resources’.” https://www.counterview.net/2018/12/uttarakhand-high-court-biodiversity.html
gets drones to keep a check on illegal forest activities Uttarakhand becomes the first-ever
state to get the Forest Drone Force, a security force to keep a check over
state of forest. Uttarakhand Forest Drone Force to be equipped with a set of 25
drones to keep a tight vigil over illegal mining, tree felling, and poaching
amongst other activities in the forest areas. The drones will be operated by
senior Indian Forest Services officers from the state and experts from Drone
Application Research Centre, Dehradun.
IUCN 6th NR Number of Indian species in endangered list going up The 6th national report, submitted on Dec. 29, lists habitat fragmentation, overexploitation of resources; shrinking genetic diversity; invasive alien species; declining forest resource base; climate change and desertification; impact of development projects; and impact of pollution as threats to genetic diversity. The list of animal species from the country under the international ‘red list’ in the critically endangered, endangered and threatened categories has been increasing over the years, according to the sixth national report (NR6) submitted to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
– India has a total of 683 animal species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable categories, as compared to 646 species in 2014 when the fifth national report was submitted, and 413 in these categories in 2009 when the fourth national report was submitted.
Meghalaya rat-hole mine incident:District
admin, NDRF team waiting for powerful 100HP pumps for the past 3 days The search and rescue operations to
look for 15 miners trapped since December 13 at a rat-hole mine in Meghalaya
have stopped now. Two 25-horsepower (hp) pumps used to drain out the flooded
illegal mine in the state’s East Jaintia Hills were ineffective, officials
said. Water from a nearby river kept flooding the mine, they said.
district administration and the NDRF teams have been waiting for powerful 100
hp pumps to arrive for the past three days, officials said. The state
government is yet to send them, people with direct knowledge of the matter
information about various parliamentary documents of Lok Sabha, the House of
People. The debates of Lok Sabha, from the First Lok Sabha to the Sixteenth Lok
Sabha are placed in this portal. The Reports of several
Committees, Presidential Addresses to Parliament, Budget Speeches, and several
publications of the Lok Sabha Secretariat are also part of its collections. The
treasured and historic legislative debates, tracing the growth and development
of modern parliamentary institutions in India, from 1858 to 1952, thereby
covering the period of 95 years, is being uploaded periodically. The portal
provides the users a single window information retrieval technology with
filtered and federated search from multiple searchable resources. http://eparlib.nic.in/
Feature image: A Hindu woman worships the sun god in the polluted waters of River Yamuna during Chhath Puja in New Delhi, on Nov. 14. (Image Source: Quartz India.)
In its latest report, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) appointed monitoring committee overseeing Yamuna River cleaning progress in Delhi says that the river is “fighting to stay alive” and it would not be possible to rejuvenate the Yamuna unless minimum environmental flow is provided as it is “virtually reduced to a trickle and remains dry in some stretches for almost nine months of the year”.
In the action plan, it is mentioned that “Although the Yamuna river flows only for 54 kilometres from Palla to Badarpur through Delhi, the 22 km stretch from Wazirabad to Okhla, which is less than 2 per cent of the river length of 1370 km from Yamunotri to Allahabad, accounts for about 76 per cent of the pollution level in the river”.
The committee has suggested that a team of scientists be formed from CPCB, DPCC and other institutions like IIT Delhi or NEERI to carry out inspections and submit reports to it for remedial action. The team can look into the risks and benefits of an alternative way of routing the same quantity of water which can help in reducing the pollution level, it said.
The monitoring committee also raised objection to the capacity utilisation of common effluent treatment plant (CETP) which is as low as 25 per cent. There are 28 industrial clusters in Delhi and 17 of these are connected to 13 CETPs. The remaining 11 clusters are not connected to any CETP. Another area of concern is the direct discharge of completely unregulated waste from industries and residences into the river.
(Feature image Gujarat state cumulative rainfall during SW monsoon 2018; Source: IMD)
Maharashtra State’s groundwater surveys and development agency (GSDA) has warned of a water scarcity in 11,487 villages of 167 tehsils in the State. In its 2018-19 report, the GSDA, which comes under the department of water supply and sanitation, has said the study of the groundwater level (in comparison to the level in October in the last five years) has shown that of the 353 tehsils in the State, 13,984 villages in 252 tehsils have shown a decrease by more than one metre.
Between October 15 and 21, 380 tankers were used across the State, against 91 tankers in the corresponding period last year. A week prior to that the number was 354, and 329 tankers were used in the first week of October.
In spite of all the protests against criticism of Floods worsened by Dams in Kerala in Aug, its refreshing that Kerala now accepts needs for better operation of dams with IMD red alert in three districts:
– Senior officers expressed confidence that the dams can contain the flood waters even if it rains continuously for four days. Better late than never, commented experts on the Kerala State Electricity Board’s (KSEB) decision to keep the water level low. “We’re prepared to face any eventuality. There won’t be any need to open the dam shutters even if it rains continuously for four days. We’re maintaining the water level low in major dams. The water level in Mattupatty dam is close to the full reservoir level and we’ve decided to release water from Thursday. The situation is under control and there’s no need to panic,” said KSEB chairman N S Pillai.Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 8 October 2018: “WELCOME CHANGE! Kerala Depletes Reservoir in Anticipation of Deluge from Cyclone””→
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.
Accepting that reservoirs operation and flood management in India lack scientific supports, Madhavan Nair Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, in an interview has revealed that dams and water reservoirs need flood management systems that use scientific methods to understand when the time is right to open the gates.
The various aspects of tragic Dam Disaster in Mekong Basin in Laos are still unfolding. But it is clear from many accounts that it was an avoidable, man-made disaster due to neglect of contractors, decision makers, consultants and supervising agencies. There is a lot we can learn from this if we want to avoid such disasters in India. We still do not have credible Dam Safety Law or institution, CWC is clearly not the right agency considering the conflict of interest with the various other roles of CWC. But for now let us look at the reports of Laos Dam Disaster.
Reminding the world of one of the worst dam disasters, the under construction dam Xepian Xe Nam Noy Hydro power project breached releasing 5 billion cubic metres of water in Southern Laos on July 23.
The gushing water current swept the surrounding leading to death of about 26 people and displacing about 6600 residents. As per report hundreds of people are still missing from neighbouring villages of Yai Thae, Hinlad, Mai, Thasengchan, Tha Hin, and Samong, which bore the brunt of flooding. The deluge has reportedly destroyed thousands of homes.
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.