DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 22 April 2019: Swami Aatmabodhanand to give up water; Why is BJP so little concerned about Ganga?

Following death of Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand (Prof G D Agarwal) while on fast unto death on Oct 11, 2018 and disappearance of Swami Gopal Das ji from AIIMS-Delhi, Swami Aatmabodhanand ji has been on fast unto death at Matri Sadan, Haridwar since Oct 24, 2019. In a letter to the Prime Minister on April 19, 2019 he has said that if the government does respond by April 25, 2019 to the four demands for which the fast undo death is undertaken, he will leave water from April 27, 2019. The four demands are well known:

  1. Cancel all under construction and proposed dams on Bhagirathi, Alaknanda and their tributaries.
  2. Prohibit all mining and tree cutting in the Ganga flood plains, particularly in Haridwar
  3. Enact Ganga Act for the preservation of River Ganga, the draft of which has been sent to the govt.
  4. Constitute an autonomous Ganga Council

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 15 April 2019: Bundelkhand villages demand ponds for votes, not Ken Betwa Link

A pond dug a few years ago in Jignanda village of Hamirpur district still holds plenty of water despite scanty rainfall (Photo by Soumya Sarkar)

In a remarkable campaign during the ongoing general elections, Bundelkhand villages have demanded PONDs for Votes. This is exactly what is required for Bundelkhand, and not the destructive, costly and contractor driven Ken Betwa link that BJP has been trying to push here. Congratulations to the Bundelkhand people and People’s Science Institute that has led this campaign.

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 8 April 2019: PM Modi asks: Are Dams ATM for Politicians?

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has possibly inadvertently, started a debate that really needs to be honestly looked at: ARE BIG DAMS ATM MACHINES FOR POLITICIANS? He may have raised the issue only in the context of Polavaram Dam and Andhra Government, but the question is equally valid for all big dams across the country. Including for Sardar Sarovar Dam, as Andhra Water Resource Minister has possibly only rhetorically asked.

As analysis by SANDRP and others including by numerous CAG reports have shown, dams are not adding to Net National Irrigated area since over 25 years. They in fact worsen the groundwater recharge and sustainability situation, directly and indirectly. And groundwater remains our water lifeline since several decades and will remain so.  And yet, thousands of crores get spent on big dam every year, while such resources are not available for sustenance of groundwater, India’s water lifeline. This election, we wont have that honest debate, since both the initiator and responder are not particularly serious about it. Nor the media seems to have the stomach for such a debate. WHEN WILL WE HAVE AN HONEST DEBATE THAT WILL ANSWER THIS QUESTION: ARE DAMS ATM MACHINES FOR POLITICIANS?

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Water

World Water Day 2019: Positive Stories from India

As we are celebrating world water day 2019 with the theme[1] ‘Leaving No One Behind’, two United Nation’s reports release in this month have underlined the growing water crisis on the watery planet. While the WaterAid report[2] has raised alarm over rapidly falling groundwater table in South Asia, the sixth edition of ‘Global Environment Outlook’, has warned of growing pollution of freshwater sources[3] and resultant impact on human health.

The situation this year in India indeed warrants wide attention as about 50 per cent of the country is facing drought[4] condition. With rapid fall in groundwater table, wells, tanks and streams are turning dry in most part of central and south Indian states. The farming, riverine and village communities are particularly at the receiving end of compounding water crisis. 

The cities of Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune are facing severe water scarcity which will turn worse in the coming days. The Cauvery river in Kodagu, Karnataka has registered unprecedentedly low flow[5]. The water level in Jayakwadi dam in Aurangabad has reached dead storage[6] and Mettur dam has been falling[7] sharply.

In a remedial but surprising move, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike has set up a team of water marshals[8] to act against water tankers charging exorbitantly from residents. Before this, Nasik district administration has formed patrolling squads[9] to protect canal water from theft by farmers. Tribal areas in Siddipet, Telangana are reeling under dearth[10] of potable water. The forest fire[11] and increasing summer has forced wild animals move towards human populated areas.

However, on positive note, many individuals, groups and communities have silently been investing efforts in water conservation works. Many have yielded positive out-comes. Many other institutions including some initiatives at government level have also set an example before others in preserving the water resources and treating and reusing polluted water. Also, there are a number of remarkable water conservation efforts by farming communities across the country. This compilation tries to put together some of the positive water actions in India during the past one year. 

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 25 February 2019: Listen, Climate Bonds Initiative: Big Hydro is NOT climate solution

As about 500 global financiers meet in London on March 5-7, 2019, one of the items on agenda pushed by Big Hydro lobby is criteria to include Big Hydro as climate solution. As following Comment in Nature shows, this is completely based on lobbying efforts and not based on merit of the case. If the merits of large hydro were to looked at objectively, there is absolutely no case of inclusion of Large Hydro as climate solution. In fact, the article does not attempt to list the severe, widespread and long lasting adverse social and environmental impacts of large hydro. Today when there is BIG question mark over even economic viability of large hydro, such attempts are clearly uncalled for. Hope the global financiers will see through this lobbying effort. 

The World Hydropower Congress will meet in Paris during May 14-16, 2019. Their program says:

Following over two years of discussions with industry, academia, governments and international NGOs, the Climate Bonds Initiative, an investor-focused not-for-profit is due to launch a consultation later this year on proposed green bond criteria for hydropower. This criteria is seen as key to fully unlocking the market to the hydropower sector, as to date it has been held back a lack of clarity over appropriate standards. https://congress.hydropower.org/2019-paris/programme/green-bonds-for-hydropower/

This shows that the Congress, essentially a Hydropower Lobby meeting, is also interconnected with the Climate Bond Initiative on Hydropower. 

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Wetlands

World Wetlands Day 2019: Save Wetlands to Face Climate Change

The theme of the World Wetlands Day[i] 2019 is very fittingly, “Wetlands and Climate Change”. With climate change already upon us and its impact likely to increase due to increasing emissions and global temperatures, its high time we understand the importance of wetlands to face inevitable impacts of climate change, even as we must continue to do everything possible to reduce emissions.

On the occasion, Martha Rojas Urrego, Secretary General, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands has said[ii]: “Peatlands[iii] for example cover just three per cent of our world. Yet they store nearly a third of all land-based carbon. This is twice as much as all the world’s forests.

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 7 January 2019: NGT REJECTS FLAWED GROUNDWATER NOTIFICATION

Good to see NGT rejecting the flawed Groundwater notification dated Dec 12, 2018 from CGWA that was also critiqued by SANDRP: https://sandrp.in/2018/12/31/groundwater-governance-why-dec-12-2018-cgwa-notification-would-be-disastrous/. However, NGT should have asked an independent panel to formulate the policy for sustainable groundwater use, rather than a committee of the same government persons. Besides, there is also need for restructuring of currently totally ineffective CGWA and make it COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT of government.

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Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 31 Dec. 2018: China Built Ecuador Dam, Best Advertisement For What Dam Building Can Do To River, Environment, Nation & Its Future

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.

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Dams · Rivers

अनुपम मिश्र मेमोरियल मैडल 2018 से सम्मानित अरुण तिवारी जी से बातचीत

श्री अरुण तिवारी जी वरिष्ठ पत्रकार-लेखक हैं। आप  लगभग पिछले तीन दशकों से नदियों को बचाने और जल संरक्षण के लिए उल्लेखनीय लेखन कार्य करते आ रहे हैं। आपका पानी पोस्ट हिंदी ब्लॉग काफी चर्चित है जिसपर आप नियमित तौर पर नदियों और पानी से जुड़े विभिन्न पहलुओं और समकालीन विषयों पर जानकारियां साँझा करते रहते हैं।  आपके अनवरत प्रयासों को देखते हुए आपको 25 नवंबर 2018 को अनुपम मिश्र मेमोरियल मैडल से सम्मानित किया है। आपके विचारों को अधिक से अधिक लोगों तक पहुँचाने के लिए, प्रस्तुत है,  भीम सिंह रावत,  SANDRP द्वारा आपके साथ ईमेल के जरिये हुए बातचीत के प्रमुख अंश।  

अनुपम मिश्र मेमोरियल मैडल देश में नदी संरक्षण पर उत्कृष्ठ मीडिया काम के लिए प्रदान किया जाता है। यह सम्मान प्रख्यात पर्यावरणविद और गांधीवादी स्व. अनुपम मिश्र की स्मृति में, वर्ष 2017 से, इंडिया रिवर्स फोरम (भारतीय नदी जनसभा) के द्वारा वार्षिक तौर पर आयोजित भारतीय नदी दिवस के अवसर पर दिया जाता है।

भीम सिंह रावत: अनुपम मिश्र मैमोरियल मैडल के लिए बधाई। आप पिछले तीन दशकों से निरंतर अपने लेखन से नदियों की दुर्दशा और संरक्षण की ज़रूरत का मुद्दा उठाते रहे हैं। आज नदियों की क्या स्थिति है ? नदियों पर मुख्य संकट क्या है ?

अरुण तिवारी नदियां, पृथ्वी की नसें हैं। ये नसें निरंतर सिकुड़ रही हैं। नीली की बजाय, काली, पीली और भूरी पड़ती जा रही हैं। भारत में यह चित्र तेजी से बढ़ रहा है। 

नदी संकट के नाम पर प्रदूषण, वैश्विक तापमान में वृद्धि आदि कई कारणों को गिनाया जा सकता है, लेकिन भारतीय नदियों पर आसन्न प्रमुख संकट यह है कि हम नदियों की बहने की आज़ादी को तेज़ी के साथ छीनते जा रहे हैं। नदियां आज़ाद बहें; इसके लिए ज़रूरी है कि हम अपनी नदियों को उनका प्रवाह, उनका वेग, उनकी भूमि तथा प्रवाह के उनके साथी वापस लौटाएं। 

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Dams · Fish, Fisheries, Fisherfolk

World Fisheries Day 2018: India’s Increasing Fish Kill Incidents

21 November is celebrated as world fisheries day across the world. Apart from crucial source of food and livelihood to lakhs of fisherfolks in India, fish diversity determines the health of the water body including lakes, ponds and rivers. However with growing threats and pollution mass fish mortality has been taking place in various rivers and lakes in the country every year. On World Fisheries Day 2018 SANDRP has put together known mass fish kill incidents that took place this past year to highlight the gravity of threat so that corrective measures can be taken by respective Governments and others concerned.

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