Guest Blog by Sachin Tiwale
In summer of 2016, after witnessing two consecutive droughts, Art of Living (AoL) along with RSS Jankalyan Samiti, (RSS-JS) initiated Manjra River Rejuvenation program with the involvement of local leaders and residents. As a part of this program, the Manjra River channel was deepened and widened to create additional storage to meet the drinking water demand of parched Latur city of Marathwada, Maharashtra. During implementation, the leading organisations AoL and RSS-JS proclaimed rejuvenation project as a permanent measure resolving the crisis by creating storage of 18 million cubic metre (MCM) enough to meet Latur city’s water demand (Ghadyalpatil 2016; Thomas 2016). With a promise of supplying piped water every alternate day, they collected around Rs. 70 million from the people. However, as described below, even after completion of massive excavation damaging river ecology, this project failed miserably. It could not even supply one drop of water to the citizens of Latur. Surprisingly, this failure is never revealed or discussed and on the contrary, the project was celebrated as a success (Samvada, 2016). Continue reading “Beyond technological failure: Examining the role of religious organisations in water conservation”
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”
Guest Blog by Pradeep Purandare
SANDRP published my article entitled “Maharashtra Floods 2019: Don’t waste the crisis” on 26th May 2020.In that article I had explained the reasons behind my resignation from the Flood Study Committee. Exclusion of my chapter from the committee’s report was one of the reasons. Now, the said report is available in public domain & surprisingly enough, it includes my chapter; thanks to SANDRP!
In this note, I would like to draw the attention of all concerned towards the erroneous data, strange analysis & weird logic employed by the Vadnere Committee-2 in its report without discussing the serious issues in the committee meetings. Continue reading “Maharashtra Upper Krishna Basin Flood 2019 Vadnere Committee-2: A report with “difference”!”
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 archived. 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”
Seven major dams with high storage capacities in Upper Krishna Basin in Maharashtra’s Satara and Sangli districts have huge 1422.12 Million Cubic Meters (MCM) water in live storage as on May 30, 2020, just about a week away from the prospects of beginning of monsoon. The Wadnere committee’s efforts not withstanding, there is no doubt that almost simultaneous water release from these seven dams played a major role in creating highest ever flood levels in Maharashtra’s Upper Krishna Basin in August 2019. Though on this day last year, these seven dams had much lower water in live storage at 556.49 MCM, the almost simultaneous water release from these dams hugely contributed to the unprecedented flood disaster in Sangli district last year. With 256% water in live storage this year compared to last year on this date, the risk of these dams contributing to flood disaster in Sangli district is even greater this year. Unless the authorities in the water resources department, district administration and disaster management authorities wake up and ensure that these dams help moderate rather than contribute to floods. Continue reading “Maharashtra’s Upper Krishna Basin again faces prospects of Dam Floods?”
Guest Blog by Pradeep Purandare
Abstract: Flood Study Committee in Maharashtra has set up a record of sorts by not only denying technical information to its member but even excluding his chapter altogether from the final draft report. The humiliated member who opted to quit the committee shares his experience in this article. The article highlights: (1) the report was finalized without detailed discussions on all chapters together, (2) Maharashtra is well equipped with theory of ROS (Reservoir Operation Schedule) & Flood Zoning but doesn’t implement the same, (3) Maharashtra wasted full 13 years by not implementing the recommendations of Wadnere Committee-1 regarding revised ROS & integrated reservoir operation, (4) Total absence of flood management governance & (5) most importantly, the simulation study carried out by the committee indicates that backwater effect of Almatti project is not responsible for Maharashtra floods 2019. Next, the paper explains WRD’s (Water Resources Department) viewpoint regarding Maharashtra Floods 2019 & its emphasis on structural measures. The paper then points out WRD’s strange policy, raises questions regarding reliability of discharge measurement at observation points & makes following critical comment on Reservoir Operation.
“There is, therefore, room to believe that had there been the implementation of revised ROS as recommended by Wadnere Committee -1, less storage in the dams in the last week of July 2019 & staggered outflow from 9 projects based on the principle of integrated ROS, the flood situation would have been different & comparatively speaking less severe.”
In the end, the author requests the govt to follow the principle – “Don’t waste the crisis” and
- Take a critical review of the State’s preparedness regarding Flood Moderation
- Adopt & Implement the concept of Integrated Reservoir Operation
- Don’t make compromises in respect of flood zoning
- Ask Wadnere Committee-2 to make amendments in its report & modus operandi as well.
Continue reading “Maharashtra Floods 2019: Don’t waste the crisis”
On March 14, 2019 the Spencer dam on Niobrara river, located south of Spencer in Nebraska state in USA breached, killing four people in the downstream. The Investigation Report about the disaster has been made public now on April 24, 2020. The remains of Spencer Dam — a skeleton of concrete and steel amid a sea of sand — became one of the iconic images of the March 2019 “bomb cyclone” flood that caused billions of dollars in damage across Nebraska.
Less than four months later, on July 2, 2019, Tiware dam breached[i] in Chiplun taluka of Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, killing 23 people. The then Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on July 6, 2019 announced a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe into the disaster, the SIT was to submit a report in two months, but the report was submitted in January 2020, but the report is not in public domain. When SANDRP talked with the chairman of the committee, he disclosed that the report has been submitted to the department in early Feb 2020 and it can only be made public by the department once they accept the report. He revealed that the SIT had found that there were issues with material of construction (masonry in place of Concrete) and design of the conduit of the dam. He agreed that the report should be made public promptly, but expressed his helplessness in face of the norms in India. SANDRP also called Secretary, Department of Water Conservation, Govt of Maharashtra, but got no response.
There is a lot to learn for us in India in comparing the two dam breach incidents and how both are treated.
Continue reading “A tale of two dam breaches: Spencer (USA) and Tiware (India)”
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”
The Oct 2019 rainfall all over India was 109.7 mm, 44% above normal expected rainfall of 76 mm, following 53% above normal in Sept 2019. The rainfall this month has been unusual and has had some major impacts. One of the reasons has been that the SW monsoon withdrawal continued well into Oct 2019, when it almost always gets over by the end of Sept. There were also several cyclonic circulations and depressions mostly from Arabian sea. Continue reading “44% above normal rainfall in Oct 2019 creates hopes for Rabi, Disaster for Kharif crops at many places”
The first blog on just concluded South West Monsoon 2019, gave the national picture and broad picture of month wise, state wise, sub division wise and river wise rainfall. This blog provides some details of rainfall in districts of each of the 36 states and Union Territories (UTs) of India. Continue reading “Monsoon 2019: State wise rainfall”