DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 290523: Goa Fights to save Mahadayi River

(Feature Image: Thousands form human chain along Mhadei river to celebrate #MahadaiAmchiMai festival. Source: ToI)

On May 20, 2023 when thousands of people of Goa, Rakhondars (protectors) came out to form a 7 km long human chain to save Mhadei or Mahadayi river, they were not only celebrating Goa’s unique Mahadayi River festival, but were also coming together to declare their resolve save and rejuvenate the River that is lifeline of Goa.

A large number of organizations came together, including Earthivist Collective, Goa Heritage Action Group, Save Mhadei Save Goa front, among many others. It was a unique attempt to reconnect with the river, its history, its soul. The people from all kinds of art forms and all walks of life came together in a state where the connection with the river has always been strong for the people.

One hopes their tribe multiplies and they succeed in saving the river from dam building plans and other river affecting activities. That success will provide an example and impetus for river conservation activities elsewhere too.

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 220523: Water Options as we await South West Monsoon 2023

(Feature Image: Waster Chest nut cultivators removing weeds from Giri Taal of Kashipur. April 2023)

As we await the onset of South West Monsoon 2023, we would like to highlight the water options stories in lead story here, that includes examples from Ladakh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Chennai, among others. It is important to remember these as we need to be ready to welcome and nourish the coming annual bounty that monsoon brings.

It also reminds us the fascination our poets have for this season, particularly the wonderment that Gulzar keeps expressing. In this one of his non filmy poetry “Baarish” he warns:

“Mujhko ye fikr, ke is baar bhi sailab ka paani…

Kud ke utrega kohsahr se jab..

tod ke le jayega ye kachhe kinaare..”

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 150523: Will the govt listen to caveats against Ken Betwa Project?

The following report raises three caveats regarding Ken Betwa River Link Project, among others. Firstly it urges that the substantial impact of climate change on the rivers needs to be taken into account, particularly the need for accurate hydrological assessment. It underlines that the project themselves are accelerating the climate change impact on monsoons as they are reducing freshwater flows to the oceans, which in turn has an impact on the ocean’s thermal and salinity gradients, both of which are drivers of monsoon.

Secondly, it rightly says that the impact of projects on adaptive capacity of areas like Bundelkhand needs to be taken into account. In Bundelkhand, climate adaptation can be harnessed using rain water harvesting, rejuvenation of traditional water systems, less water intensive crops and alternative agricultural practices. Thirdly, the water sharing issues that may worsen with both climate change and big projects, need to be kept in mind while taking up mega projects, particularly its impact on water and other security issues.

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 240423: The world is moving away from Big Dams: Are we?

(Feature Image: Construction works going on at Polavaram Dam site. Source: The Hans Media, May 2021)

This well substantiated report from Yale School of Environment this week shows that the end of the big dam era is approaching. The well argued report from Jacques Leslie uses the reports from UN University, International Renewable Energy Agency, Oxford University, Inclusive Development International, China, among others to show how the pace of construction of dams and hydropower projects and also pace of financing such projects have hugely reduced in recent years and decades.

Even the International Hydropower Association, sensing the change, is now advocating pump storage hydro rather than conventional hydro and that too off stream version, to complement the power from solar and wind. Emerging economics with rising cost of hydropower projects and rising cost of power from such projects compared to solar, wind (onshore and offshore) are a major reason for the massively slowing pace of new hydropower projects.

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 170423:Forecast of Indian SW Monsoon & definition of normal monsoon

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has on April 11, 2023 forecast that rainfall at national level in four months of June-Sept 2023 Southwest Monsoon will be 96% of Long Period Average (LPA). IMD considers Indian Monsoon rainfall as normal based on just one parameter of total rainfall in these four months at national level is between 96% and 104% of LPA, with model error of +/- 5%. This raises large number of questions as media has rightly raised post the IMD announcement.

Firstly, in a strange turn of events, on April 12, an update jointly by US weather agencies under the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), contradicted a number of assumptions of IMD the previous day, including the period when El Nino will become active and probability of it being a strong event, both of which have a strong bearing on the Indian Monsoon in an adverse way. So the first question that arises is, did the IMD not have the benefit of the observations on April 11 based on which NOAA made the forecast very next day? Or was it an attempt at providing an unjustified feel good monsoon forecast? This question arises as in the past too questions have been raised about such attempts by IMD. This question also becomes important as only a day or two before IMD’s forecast, private forecaster had predicted that monsoon rainfall is likely to be deficient and not normal.

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 160123: Top Court appeals for EIAs for Urban Development: Welcome, but…

The Supreme Court of India, while disposing of a petition related Chandigarh, in its order on January 10, 2023 has said: “Before we part with this judgement, we observe that it is high time that the legislature, executive, and the policymakers at the centre and state levels take note of the damages to the environment on account of haphazard development and take a call to take necessary measures to ensure that the development does not damage the environment… We therefore appeal to the Legislature, the Executive and the Policy Makers at the Centre as well as at the State levels to make necessary provisions for carrying out Environmental Impact Assessment studies before permitting urban development.”

This is most welcome. And urgently required. That India’s urban development is happening at the cost of life sustaining environment resources including rivers, water bodies, forests, wetlands among others is well known. That the government sees all requirements of environmental scrutiny as road blocks is also well known. The consequences of this are clear for all concerned, not only in case of Bangalore as cited by the Supreme Court Bench, but also in case of Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Chennai, Delhi, Ernakulam, Faridabad, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Indore, Joshimath, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and so on. So is there a good chance that the apex court suggestion will be followed either in letter or in spirit? Unlikely. So what is clearly required is that the apex court emphatically directs the centre and states in this regard and follows it up with ensuring its implementation.

Continue reading “DRP NB 160123: Top Court appeals for EIAs for Urban Development: Welcome, but…”
DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 121222: Green Hydrogen from Hydropower is false solution

(Feature Image: Reservoir of Vyasi hydro project dam on Yamuna river in Dehradun. Credit: Varsha Singh/The Third Pole.)

A section of the hydro lobby has been trying to push hydropower in the name of producing green hydrogen as an alternative energy source. However, it has been known for a long time that this is a false solution. There cannot be green hydrogen when sourced from hydropower as not only hydropower projects have huge social and environmental footprint, they also have huge carbon footprint as the following article shows. It would be best to out rightly reject any such claim of green hydrogen when sourced from hydropower project.  

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 23 Aug 2021: World Water Week: 30 years long enough for stock taking?

This week (23-28 Aug 2021) it is Stockholm World Water Week (SWWW) with a 30 year history. The organisers say: “World Water Week 2021 is unlike any other week in our 30-year-old history.” But provide no clear reasons why they are saying that. Their possible explanation: “In 2021 people across the world are really beginning to understand the gravity of the situation we are facing – within a decade we must halve carbon emissions, restore the degraded natural world, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This will require massive transformations of all sectors of society. World Water Week 2021 is entirely focused on the role of water for these transformations and on developing real solutions.” https://www.worldwaterweek.org/news/join-the-most-important-world-water-week-ever 

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