Dam Induced Flood Disaster · Gujarat · Narmada

SSD induced Bharuch Flood disaster: Reality behind SSNNL claims that it saved Bharuch

We showed on Sept 2, 2020[i] using official information that Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD) created an avoidable flood disaster in Bharuch, downstream of SSD starting on Aug 29, 2020, due to sudden, adhoc release of massive quantities water upto 10.72 lakh cusecs. The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL), official agency responsible for operation of the SSD is yet to provide any clear, coherent and fact based response. However, some of the spokespersons of SSNNL/ Government of Gujarat (GOG) are claiming that scientific operation of SSD saved Bharuch from bigger disaster. While this claim has no basis, this is like spraying salt on the fresh wounds.

Only an independent (not by serving or retired bureaucrats of the government) investigation would be able to bring out the truth as to how SSD operated, how it should have been operated, who is responsible for the massive disaster that Bharuch experienced, how can we fix accountability and what lessons we can learn for future.

Continue reading “SSD induced Bharuch Flood disaster: Reality behind SSNNL claims that it saved Bharuch”
Indian Meteorological Department · Monsoon · Rainfall

District wise rainfall in June-Aug 2020 in India

In the ongoing South West Monsoon, India received 44 year old high surplus rainfall of 327 mm in just concluded Aug 2020, 26.6% above normal rainfall of 258.2 mm. This helped the total June-Aug 2020 rainfall to achieve 10% surplus, with actual rainfall 780.3 mm, 69.9 mm higher than normal rainfall of 710.4 mm. In June the country received 18% above normal rainfall and in July it received 9.9% below normal rainfall, the rainfall at the end of June was just 1.1 mm above normal. Thus almost the entire surplus rainfall is thanks to the rainfall during Aug 2020. The rainfall distribution has however, been far from normal that these figures suggest, as we can see from the state wise and district wise figures below.

Continue reading “District wise rainfall in June-Aug 2020 in India”
Dam floods · Dams · Floods · Monsoon

Central India Heavy Downpour brings back nightmare memories of 2019 Chambal Scare

In a rather unusual development, no less than twenty districts in contiguous areas of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat had extremely high rainfall in the 48 hours ending at 830 am on Aug 23, 2020. Three of these districts had over 250 mm rainfall in this period, four others had between 200-250 mm, six each between 150-200 and 100-150 and one between 90-100 mm. This contiguous area broadly drains Mahi river to the West, Chambal to the North, Narmada to the South and Betwa to the East. These rivers, thus are now getting heavy flows, and will continue to get for the next few days, some of it from Chambal and Betwa will also end up in Yamuna and Ganga. It reminded one of the nightmarish memories of Sept 2019 when Gandhi Sagar Dam faced existential crisis and the flood peak downstream reached upto Farakka Dam, as CWC Flood forecasting director Sharad Chandra said in a television discussion recently. Continue reading “Central India Heavy Downpour brings back nightmare memories of 2019 Chambal Scare”

Monsoon · Rainfall

District wise Rainfall in India in June July 2020

During the just concluded first half of the South West Monsoon 2020, India received 453.3 mm rainfall, just 1.1 mm above the normal rainfall of 452.2 mm during the period. The Surplus of  18% rainfall that India received in June 2020 has thus been wiped out by the 9.9% deficit in July rainfall. Normal rainfall in July 2020 is 285.3 mm, while actual rainfall was 257.1 mm. IMD does not provide monthly figures of rainfall for different states, sub divisions and river basins, which it should along with comparison with respect to normal rainfall and rainfall last year.

To get July 2020 rainfall, we will need to use the figures given in this article along with the figures of June 2020 rainfall (see: https://sandrp.in/2020/06/30/district-wise-rainfall-in-india-in-june-2020/). The district wise figures of June-July 2020 rainfall can be seen in this PDF file from IMD: IMD DISTRICT WISE RAINFALL FROM JUNE 1 TO JULY 31 2020.

Continue reading “District wise Rainfall in India in June July 2020”

Book Review · Narmada

Book Review: Narmada Valley’s gripping story!

Guest blog by Abhilash Khandekar

BOOK: Rediscovering Narmada Valley; Author: Adil Khan; Publishers: Niyogi Books, New Delhi; 2020; Pages-208; Price: Rs 695/-

A life-giving organism can not be controversial, but in India rivers that ought to be naturally free-flowing have been made controversial by policy makers and politicians over the past few decades. Narmada is one of them! Continue reading “Book Review: Narmada Valley’s gripping story!”

Indian Meteorological Department · Monsoon · Rainfall

District Wise rainfall in India in June 2020

Here we present the rainfall figures from India Meteorological Department in the just concluded month of June 2020, the first month of SW Monsoon 2020. The overall rainfall at all India level in June 2020 was 196.2 mm, 18% above normal rainfall in the month at 166.9 mm. It was 33% deficit last year.

This is India’s wettest June 12 years, The Times of India reported on July 1, 2020. Agriculture Ministry Data shows that sowing is 68% higher at 31.56 m ha. The June rainfall was 202 mm in 2008, the rainfall this year is the highest since then. All four IMD regions (Northwest, Central, South, East & NE) have recorded surplus rainfall, the surplus is the highest in Central (30.5% surplus) and E-NE (15.7%) regions. North West India had the lowest surplus at 3.5%. IMD Head Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said that whole of India was covered by monsoon on June 26, 12 days ahead of the normal date of July 8.

State wise rainfall Three states had large excess rainfall (above 60% surplus rainfall), namely Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Sikkim. Eight states/UTs (Union Territories) had excess rainfall (20-59% surplus): Assam, Meghalaya, UP, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh & Andaman and Nicobar. Nine had deficient rainfall (20-59% deficit): Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Manipur, J&K, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Dadar & Nagar Haveli. Rest of India had Normal Rainfall. Continue reading “District Wise rainfall in India in June 2020”

Groundwater · Ken River

Groundwater in Bundelkhand: Unique geological features in upper Ken River catchment need to be conserved

Guest Blog by Seema Ravandale, People’s Science Institute, Dehradun

Kathayi (Shahnagar, Panna district), a ST (Scheduled Tribe) dominated village with 75 household amid the forested area of Shahnagar block, faces acute water scarcity during summer season – almost for 3-4 months. Under the government schemes, three wells and two hand pumps were installed in last 10-15 years, but most of them are dysfunctional. The problem becomes acute in the months of May-June, when there is a shortage of water everywhere and only perennial spring in the village supplies drinking water to 75 families. Women have to spend whole night queueing to fetch water. After a lot of perusal, water tanker was provided by Gram Panchayat, but supply is intermittent. Continue reading “Groundwater in Bundelkhand: Unique geological features in upper Ken River catchment need to be conserved”

Rainfall

State wise rainfall Pre Monsoon 2020 & Post monsoon 2019

India Meteorological Department (IMD) divides a water year (June 1 to May 31) into four seasons: Monsoon: (June 1 to Sept 30), Post monsoon (Oct 1 to Dec 31), Winter (Jan 1 to Feb 28/9) and Pre Monsoon (March 1 to May 31). For rainfall during all these seasons, IMD’s hydro-meteorological website[i] provides a lot of data on daily basis, including daily district wise rainfall, state-wise, sub division wise and river wise daily rainfall maps among many other weekly, monthly and seasonal products. However, one problem with it is that none of this information is achieved. So if you missed seeing or downloading available data on any date, there is no way to look at it even next day. This is even true of the seasonal rainfall maps, unfortunately.

Most observers look at the monsoon rainfall data, which is clearly the most important season, without doubt. However, the rainfall in other seasons is also very important from a number of perspectives.

Here we are giving a detailed account of the pre-monsoon season rainfall that India received in the season just ended on May 31, 2020, including state wise, sub division wise, river wise and also district wise figures. Along with it, we also provide the figures of post monsoon figures for the just concluded water year. For the winter season (Jan-Feb 2020) we have only the figures for Jan 2020 since we missed downloading the Feb 2020 figures. We had already provided the monsoon 2019 figures through two blogs in October 2019[ii].

Continue reading “State wise rainfall Pre Monsoon 2020 & Post monsoon 2019”

Betwa River

Photo blog: Walking Upstream the River-The Betwa and its people

Guest Blog by Mohit M Rao

The impetuous flow of River Betwa is the lodestar for Astha Choudhary and Mohit M. Rao, who for the first 14 days of December 2019, walk from the historic city of Orccha to the confluence of Betwa and Bina rivers. The walk, as part of Veditum’s Moving Upstream fellowship, traverses through forests, endless fields of florescent-green wheat fields, overflowing streams and the rocky banks of the river. Fueling the 270-km journey is the kindness of villagers along the way.

The map below depicts the walking route, stretching to some 270-km, from Orccha to Padoccha in the South where the Betwa and Bina rivers converge. The 14 day journey saw us halt in the friendly homes of villagers or in temples or religious institutions for the night. Three major dams and two barrages were seen along the way. The photo story aims to encapsulate the landscape, its forests and the joys and concerns of the riparian communities for whom River Betwa is a lifeline. Continue reading “Photo blog: Walking Upstream the River-The Betwa and its people”

Culture · Narmada

Experience of Narmada Parikrama in 2020: a 3500 km pilgrimage along the river

Guest Blog by Jubin Mehta

Narmada is a sacred river originating in the Maikal Hills of central India from a place called Amarkantak. Parikrama is a Sanskrit word derived from the root ‘pari‘ meaning around and ‘krama‘ meaning going. And hence, Narmada Parikrama means circumambulating the river. This is a spiritual/religious tradition of the Hindus existing from centuries wherein pilgrims start walking from any point along the river after collecting Narmadaji’s water in a vial and start walking with the river to their right.

If a person has started from the north bank, they’d walk upstream to the origin of the river in Amarkantak, cross over from beyond the origin point, come to the south bank and walk downstream till the point where the river meets the ocean in south Gujarat. From here, pilgrims board a large boat for an estimated four to seven hours to cross over and reach back to north bank at a place called Mithi Talai. From here, the pilgrim starts walking upstream again to arrive again at the point where they started from. At the end of the journey, pilgrims go to the super sacred Omkareshwar which is one of the 12 ‘Jyotirlingas’ and also a river island which means a person cannot go to this point during the parikrama. One of the rules of the walk is that a person cannot cross over the river and go to the other bank or in the middle. At Omkareshwar, the pilgrim pours back the water that she collected in a vial when she started the walk and completes the parikrama. Continue reading “Experience of Narmada Parikrama in 2020: a 3500 km pilgrimage along the river”