On this day in 2015, the massive Nepal earthquake of 7.9 intensity (Richter scale) shook the scenic Himalayan Nation. The earthquake left a major trail of destruction affecting over 20 districts and killing over 9 thousand people. According to expert Dave Petley, Langtang rock and ice avalanche was the most dramatic and significant landslide, that killed the most individuals. The earthquake killed over 9000 people, with 255 still missing. The severity of the quake can be gauged from the fact that more than a third of the disaster related deaths in 2015 occurred in Nepal’s April 25 earthquake. The earthquake-induced flash floods, landslides and aftershocks also damaged up to 15 hydropower plants, which has not been still restored fully. Surprisingly despite the increasing number of disasters taking place across the globe, world only spends less than a fifth of the money on Disaster Risk Reduction Compared to Disaster management. Nepal will still take years from recovering socio-economic losses caused by the quake. But it is pertinent that in the wake of the quake and other disasters, human civilisation must learn its lesson. It’s true that development and disaster cannot be stopped but we must make our developmental decisions more informed, rule based and democratic so that it helps us deal better with disasters by decreasing their intensity and velocity and our short-sighted developmental choices do not get translated into a disaster itself. Continue reading “DRP NEWS BULLETIN 25 APRIL 2016 (One Year After Nepal Earthquake, Has the World Learnt Any Lesson ?)”
Above: The dried up Manjara Dam near Latur. Photo: Vivek Bendre, The Hindu
On the 16th of January 2016, when Latur City in the heart of Marathwada was receiving drinking water once in 15 days and when plans of bringing water from Ujani Dam, about 300 kms away were being mulled upon, I was standing on the wall of the Lower Terna Reservoir in Osmanabad, about 40 kms from Latur. The dam has been at dead storage for the past 3 years. There are a string of jackwells inside the dam, to take water to rural drinking water supply schemes in Osmanabad and Latur for Nilanga, Killari and recently Ausa in Latur and Makani and Omerga in Osmanabad. Water Filtration System which is supposed to supply drinking water to 14 villages in Osmanabad lies defunct for years, even as the Revenue Minister inaugurated a brand new system for Latur City. Villages supposed to receive water from the dead stock stay thirsty. This is also the same Lower Terna Dam from where water is being taken for the Latur city in tankers now. Continue reading “Latur Drinking Water Crisis highlights absence of Water Allocation Policy and Management”
Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti in an interview tried to refute charges that the Centre reacted late to India’s drought crisis. Water minister makes strange statements that one cannot do any planning about drought & her govt is the first govt to provide water through tankers. However, Solapur, a chronically drought-hit district in Maharashtra was serviced with more than 200 tankers in 2013-14, even when the monsoon rainfall was better than this year. In this drought, there are only 16 tankers plying in Solapur. Drinking water sources have been secured, water from Ujani dam for and sugar cane has been disallowed. The district leads the way in Jal Yukta Shivar Program in the state, new avenues of Agricultural credit are opening, options to sugarcane are being developed, errant sugar factories are being fined for polluting drinking water sources. Will the Union Government accept its mistakes and make amends?
With ponds and lakes drying up, cattle in Telangana are forced to travel long distances for fodder and water. Here, buffaloes are moving towards a water source near Medipalli in Adilabad district on 09 April.
Solapur, a chronically drought-hit district in Maharashtra was serviced with more than 200 tankers in 2013-14, even when the monsoon was good. In this drought, there are only 16 tankers plying in Solapur. Drinking water sources have been secured. The district leads the way in Jal Yukta Shivar Program in the state, new avenues of Agricultural credit are opening, options to sugarcane are being developed, errant sugar factories are being fined for polluting drinking water sources…
All this sounds too good to be true in a state where it seems lessons are not being learnt from 3 droughts in past 4 years. But it is happening. These positive stories deserve to be told at a time when overall situation appears dismal.. Continue reading “Amidst a dismal Maharashtra drought, Seeds of change in Solapur”
SANDRP Comments India Water Week continues to show absence of any fresh thinking from water resources establishment The 4th India Water Week being organized by Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation during April 4-8, 2016 in Delhi shows continued absence of any fresh thinking from water resources establishment.
The Information Brochure of the event says: “Ministry of Water Resources, RD & GR is to organize the India Water Week -2016 between April 4-8, 2016 to use it as a platform to elicit ideas and opinions from global level decision makers, politicians, researchers and entrepreneurs in the field of water resources for mutual benefit and goodwill… This is the fourth event of its kind with the theme “Water for all : Striving together” focusing on improving efficiencies of water use across all sectors… ”
Above: Dry Pravara River Bed, with sugarcane on one side and frantic well drilling in the riverbed on the other (Photo: Parineeta Dandekar)
Large parts of Maharashtra are facing possibly the worst droughts in the past 100 years, the third drought in the last 4 years. There are multiple components to this: poor rainfall in 2015 monsoon on the back of failed 2014 monsoon, relative dry winter, loss of four back to back crops, dangerously depleting groundwater levels and no restriction on water intensive crops, water use by urban areas and industry. Currently, the situation is unprecedented even for drinking water. Section 144 has been clamped in Latur, possibly first time in the history for safeguarding water sources, protect tanker water supply and avoid unrest. Continue reading “Sugar Industry Lifts (read steals) drinking water released for Maharashtra’s Drought-hit places”
Is India facing its worst-ever water crisis? On 11 March first time in 30 years history power generation at Farakka power plant in West Bengal was suspended for 10 days due to non-availability of water in Ganges. Nobody is sure why but the evidence about the declining water levels and waning health of the 2,500km long Ganges is mounting. Monsoon rains have been scanty for the second year in succession. The melting of snow in the Himalayas has been delayed. Water tables have also been declining in the Ganges basin due to the reckless extraction of groundwater. The 3-month-long summer is barely weeks away but water availability in India’s 91 reservoirs is at its lowest in a decade, with stocks at a paltry 29% of their total storage capacity, according to the Central Water Commission. Thousands of villagers in drought-hit region of Maharashtra depend on tankers for water & authorities in Latur district, fearing violence, have imposed prohibitory orders on gatherings of more than 5 people around storage tanks. Tens of thousands of farmers and livestock have moved to camps providing free fodder and water for animals in parched districts. The govt has asked local municipalities to stop supplying water to swimming pools. States like Punjab are squabbling over ownership of river waters. In water-scarce Orissa, farmers have reportedly breached embankments to save their crops. Realy the waning health of the sacred river underscores the rising crisis of water in India.
Tamil Nadu A people’s initiative to restore a river’s glory The Noyyal River Restoration Federation will launch ‘Noyyalai Nokki’ (Towards Noyyal), a people’s initiative to restore the Noyyal river system on 26 March. Social activist Anna Hazare will launch the project at Kooduthurai in Alandurai in Coimbatore district. The river originates in the Western Ghats and runs through the four districts to join the Cauvery at Noyyal village. Known as Jungle stream, in olden times as many as 34 streams used to feed water into it and the river would flow throughout the year with two or three annual flood spell. But now, just 4 or 5 streams feed the river. In many places, the river is encroached upon, sewage is let into it, or the river needs to be desilted. The river is all set to regain its glory with the ‘Noyyalai Nokki’ initiative. What is encouraging is the willingness of the public to be part of it. The project proposes to divide the river into segments of 500 metres for restoration and maintenance. Ownership groups will be formed for every 500 metres and it will consist of the local people, experts and patrons (divide-distribute-develop model).
Promise of credible Irrigation Data remains unfulfilled yet again
Economic Survey Report of Maharashtra state for the year 2015-16 is out. For the Agriculture and allied activities sector, its findings are sad though not shocking. The sector has clocked negative growth rate of 2.7% and production of almost all Kharif and Rabi Crops has taken a hit following the second consecutive monsoon failure and 59.4% deficit. Continue reading “Maharashtra Economic Survey 2015-16”