Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 18 September 2017 (Why Madhaya Pradesh Depleted Its Meagre Water Storage To Fill up SSP Dam For Sept 17?)

As per the Daily Status Reports of Narmada Control Authority[iv], inflow into SSP Dam suddenly jumped from 495 cumecs (Cubic Meters per second) on Sept 12, to 2518 cumecs on Sept 13, 2383 cumecs on Sept 14 and 2210 cumecs on Sept 15, 2384 cumecs on Sept 16, in anticipation of the birthday, so that when Narendrabhai visits the dam site to formally declare the project complete, the reservoir is seen to have substantial water. Expectedly, SSP water level rose from 126.19 m to 128.5 m by 8 am on Sept 15. How was this made possible?

Madhya Pradesh depletes its water storage so that SSP looks full on Sept 17? The increased inflow into SSP was made possible only by increased outflow from upstream Madhya Pradesh dams like Indira Sagar Project (ISP) on Narmada. ISP, incidentally is India’s largest reservoir in terms of storage capacity.

So the ISP storage level which was already very low (about 33%) on Sept 11 with monsoon almost coming to close, was depleted by further 450 MCM (Million Cubic Meters) from Sept 11 to Sept 16 (date for which latest information is available), while SSP water level rose by 750 MCM during the same period. All this, so that water level at SSP could look more respectable on Sept 17. Its not known why Madhya Pradesh is ready to lose water from its low storage levels (in fact, the water level at Omkareshwar Project on Narmada is below Minimum Draw Down level throughout this period).

Will Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and MP Govt be held accountable for this by the media, judiciary and the people?

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Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 04 September 2017 (Uma Bharti Shifted, But Do Ganga Or India Have Better Hopes From Gadkari?)

In the Cabinet Reshuffle on Sept 3, 2017, Uma Bharti has been removed as Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, for what media is widely calling as her non-performance (http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/uma-bharti-ganga-experts-cabinet-reshuffle/1/1039555.html).

Unfortunately, some in Media are rather valiantly trying to show that she did achieve something (see for example: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/nitin-gadkari-60-minister-water-resources-river-development-ganga-rejuvenation-ganga-clean-up-the-biggest-challenge-4827277/), when what they are showing only the claims of expenditure or achievement of the ministry, no real achievement on ground based on independent scrutiny or evidence.

Mr Nitin Gadkari has been given the charge of this ministry in addition to his current charge of Ministry of Surface Transport. The first thing that strikes about Mr Gadkari is that as minister in current government he has been strong advocate for use of rivers for inland navigation and he also achieved through an act in Parliament, listing of 111 main stretches of rivers for this purpose. In the initial few months of this government in power, he actually publicly said that he wants to build a barrage every 100 km along Ganga, which he latter said could be done every 50 km. The impact of one existing such barrage on Ganga for navigation, namely Farakka is well known, and it is so severe that MPs and now even Bihar’s current Chief Minister have been demanding decommissioning of the barrage. Indeed, there are huge social and environmental impacts of use of rivers for navigation, but Mr Gadkari’s ministry has been pushing the case that there is no need for even social and environmental impact assessment of the inland navigation plans or activities. Now it will be interesting to see what does Mr Gadkari says about this as Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. If past is any guide, it does seem that Ganga, Brahmaputra and other rivers on the list of inland navigation could be in for greater deterioration rather improvement.

Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 04 September 2017 (Uma Bharti Shifted, But Do Ganga Or India Have Better Hopes From Gadkari?)”

Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 31 July 2017 (Dams Turning Floods into Disasters, Yet We Continue to Push More & Bigger Dams)  

All through the month, several states in the country have been battling severe flood situation. The Northeastern (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam), Western (Rajasthan Gujurat), Central (Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh) and Eastern (Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal) regions have been particularly affected by floods following incessant rain.

Till July 28, 2017, 293 people have succumbed to flood related accidents. As per govt sources, the economic cost of flood damages has reached 53894.634 lakh.  http://www.ndmindia.nic.in/flood-2017/floodsJuly-2017.htm

Superficially water deluge seems a natural disaster occurring on annual basis. But a closer observation of flood monitoring mechanisms and scores of media reports reveal that most of the flood crisis is man-made and dams have been playing a bigger role in creating a disaster out of a natural phenomenon.

So far there have been more than a dozen reported incidents across country where breaching of aged or unmaintained dams have led to inundation of human habitation. On July 06, 2017 breaching of Shiv Sagar dam was such an incident causing severe floods in several villages in Mirzapur district, Uttar Pradesh. http://amritprabhat.com/mirzapur-mirzapur-floods-with-heavy-rain-dozens-of-houses-and-five-people-of-the-same-family-found-dead-body-of-two-shivsagar-dam-broke/

Similarly, there is information from reliable sources proving that the wrong operation of dams end up creating flood situation in downstream areas which were already facing heavy rains. The devastating floods in Lakhimpur Assam around July 09, 2017, were a result of release of huge amount of water from Ranganadi dam in Arunachal Pradesh. https://scroll.in/article/844509/severity-of-assam-floods-heightens-old-fears-about-dams-in-the-brahmaputra-basin

In one more similar and latest incident, untimely release of water by Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), Jharkhand resulted in flood disaster in Birbhum, Purulia, West Medinipur and Hoogly districts. As per West Bengal Govt the DVC officials discharged the around 2 lakhs cusec of water on 25 July 2017, from many dams built on Damodar river without intimating it.  https://scroll.in/latest/845268/mamata-banerjee-blames-west-bengal-floods-on-centre-run-damodar-valley-corporation  

The third dimension in the flood tragedy is the fact that responsible authorities like Central Water Commission (CWC), concerned state department have failed to issue timely warning in so many incidences which could have otherwise been avoided or mitigated. There are also reports suggesting that there was no prior forecast and warning for ongoing floods in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Similarly there have been dozens of incidents in different parts where flood situation has been either caused or aggravated by faulty dam operation, breach in dams and lack of timely warning by responsible authorities.

The breach in Jaitpura dam and over spilling of Jawai dam in Jalor Rajasthan has inundated several villages. http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/jawai-dam-pali-disrict-floods-rajasthan-heavy-rains-rescue-operations-ndrf-food-material/1/1012924.html The breach in Narmada canal has led to floods in Badmer districts. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/narmada-canal-damaged/articleshow/59762317.cms

The sudden discharge from Seepu dam on West Banas River, Dharoi dam on Sabarmati river has created severe flooding in downstream districts killing many villagers. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/aerial-survey-of-banas-river-to-be-undertaken-as-death-toll-in-gujarat-floods-touch-111-4768335/ , http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/gujarat-sabarmati-waters-flood-anand-villages/articleshow/59786379.cms  

Further, the latest Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) latest report only goes on reinforcing all these issues. The shocking report tells us that out of 4,862 large dams, emergency action plans or disaster management plans of only 349 (seven per cent) large dams had been prepared till March 2016. http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2017/jul/22/huge-delay-in-completion-of-flood-control-projects-in-country-cag-1632017.html

In a similar development another CAG report has put onus on Hirakud dam officials for 2011 floods. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2017/jul/23/cag-puts-onus-on-hirakud-officials-for-2011-flood-1632412.html 

The CAG has also presented scathing indictment of India’s CWC’s shoddy flood forecasting system. https://www.dailypioneer.com/todays-newspaper/indias-flood-forecast-capability-a-washout-cag.html

The efficiency of flood monitoring can be judged from the fact that Irrigation Department Uttar Pradesh still relies on blade runners to convey flood information in the digital era. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/varanasi/in-e-age-runners-alert-officials-about-flash-floods/articleshow/59676066.cms

The DAM FLOOD sanction of this update is full of such reports proving that dams have turning the floods into disasters.

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Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 17 July 2017 (Northeast Continues To Experience Floods As Disaster Majorly Because Of Man-made Reasons) 

Since May 2017, several flood related incidents have taken place in the North East showing how our shortsightedness in understanding the rivers, how our thoughtless construction along the rivers in the name of flood control and how our careless operation of dams have converted floods into a disaster.

At the same time, there have been incidents raising suspicion over quality of construction of built and ongoing dams. Then the news of NHPC being accused of forging Gram Panchayats signs to build 520 MW Teesta IV dam is shocking revelation in itself. Contribution of such factors in worsening the floods is always underplayed. 

The countless landslides and Cyclone Mora (http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/cyclone-mora-reaches-northeast-many-houses-damaged-in-mizoram/story-UzcDuPOge0drAklftXW38L.html) have already left the region crippling, despite this there is no regular monitoring of flood situation and no timely warning being issued by States or Central Agencies about the rainfall and floods. All this is enough to prove that the ongoing flood devastation in North East has very much to do with the way we are destroying rivers with hydro projects, dams and embankments and disturbing the fragile environment of North East. These incidents also put question mark before govt agencies which are first pushing the destruction in the sensitive region and then lagging way behind in monitoring and issuing timely precautionary warnings.  

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Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 12 June 2017 (Rain Bearing Clouds Thinning Out Over India: IMD Study)

A recent IMD study has found that rain-bearing clouds have been thinning out across the country over the last 50 years. The study, published in the IMD journal Mausam, shows that between 1960 and 2010, annual mean low cloud cover (responsible for the bulk of the rainfall) over India has been decreasing by 0.45% per decade on an average.

According to the study, the number of rainy days is also declining during the monsoon season at an average rate of 0.23 days for every decade. This means that the country has lost approximately one rainy day over the last five decades. The study found that while the number of rainy days is decreasing, there is not much change in the total amount of rainfall. This shows a trend towards shorter, heavier bursts of rain.

That is bad news, because heavier raindrops can dislodge wheat and rice grains from their stalks while on the farm. It also means rainwater flows down a slope that much faster instead of percolating underground.

Meanwhile, a new NASA study has warned  the amount of rainfall in the Earth’s tropical regions will significantly increase as the planet continues to warm. As per study rainfall is not related just to the clouds that are available to make rain but also to Earth’s “energy budget” — incoming energy from the Sun compared to outgoing heat energy. High-altitude tropical clouds trap heat in the atmosphere. If there are fewer of these clouds in the future, the tropical atmosphere will cool.

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Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 15 May 2017 (MP talks about Narmada Seva after destroying the River with Dams, displacement of Lakhs of people)

On conclusion of five month long Narmada Sewa Yatra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is today ( May 15, 2017) launching a road-map for steps to be taken for the conservation of the Narmada river. The MP state assembly has also recently declared river Narmada a living entity. Even otherwise quiet on rivers environment minister Anil Madhav Dave has expressed concerns for Narmada.

Contrary to all this, the Central Govt and 3 states of MP, Maharashtra and Gujarat have begun a process towards sanctioning completion of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, with closure of the 17 meters high gates. It is a countdown towards impounding waters in the 214 km land stretch where more than 40,000 families are residing till date. There are standing crops and massive plantations; thousands of pakka houses, schools, other public and private services erected; hundreds of temples, tens of mosques (as opposed to three temples claimed by the authorities), adivasi gods and worship places, all of which will be submerged. In protest thousands of people from Narmada valley, to be affected by Sardar Sarovar Project created a Human Chain on the borders of living village communities and on the banks of the river, protesting against any decision to close the dam gates.

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