Cauvery

My mother is the river. The river is my mother.

Guest Article by Nirmala Gowda

This is time of immense grief and loss for me. Unable to face the harsh reality of my mother gasping for each breath in the ICU, I was drowning myself in work. Co-incidentally or so I think, I was working on a report analysing asphyxiation of Vrishabhavathi, Arkavathi and Cauvery rivers and suffocation of aquatic lifeforms the rivers supported. As the dissolved oxygen graph took shape, I realized : The  million times I had held the dissolved oxygen meter under water to measure oxygen saturation levels  across rivers was no different from the million times we plugged the oximeter to my mother’s forefinger to check for oxygen saturation levels.  The realization that the very element my mother was gasping for, is the very element the rivers have long been gasping for – Oxygen and this pushed me deeper into a state of despair. 

Continue reading “My mother is the river. The river is my mother.”
DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 25 Jan. 2021: UN warns about aging Dams & Floods in changing climate

A new UN report released on January 21, 2021 UN has warned the major big dam owning counties about the aging population of fast silting up dams in changing climate and urgent need to start working on decommissioning of uneconomical large dams. Among the few countries that UN has warned includes India with its third largest number of big dams. The added problem in India is the ill maintained and ill operated large dams that UN report did not look into. Indian dams are sanctioned based on highly under estimated siltation rates, there is practically no transparency and accountability in operation of Indian dams and dam almost every year get away with creating avoidable flood disasters. This latest problem is not just related to old dams, but even the newest celebrated ones like the Sardar Sarovar Dam as happened in Gujarat in late August-early Sept 2020. No legal regime exists in India for dam safety, either structural safety or operational safety. And in changing climate, with increasing frequency of higher intensity rainfall events, such risks are already increasing multi-fold.

Continue reading “DRP NB 25 Jan. 2021: UN warns about aging Dams & Floods in changing climate”
Free flowing rivers

World Rivers Day 2020: Celebrating Rivers across the world

The World Rivers Day[i] (WRD) is celebrated annually on the fourth Sunday of September. The event strives to highlight the invaluable ecological, hydrological services and cultural, recreational values offered by the rivers. Indeed, the most of the once wild, scenic, free flowing rivers across the globe are facing existential crisis on account of various anthropogenic activities hastened over the past century.

However, there are small but significant steps being undertaken by individuals, organizations and governments to restore some of the flowing eco-systems. This account attempts to compile some such positive developments that have taken place in the one year.

We have already published a compilation of the positive river stories of India on the occasion of International Day of Actions for Rivers being held on March 14 2020. In addition to Indian rivers, this compilation also covers some remarkable development concerning river conservation worldwide. There could be many more stories and developments happening, we invite readers to send us such stories they know about. 

Continue reading “World Rivers Day 2020: Celebrating Rivers across the world”
Dams

How much longer will Goa remain Otter Worthy?

Above: A fisherman on his traditional mango-wood canoe in Goa. (Photo: Atul Borker)

Guest Blog by Atul Borker, with Salil Chaturvedi

My deep engagement with Goan rivers began almost half a decade ago, when I started researching otters in the state. In this short span of time, an otter’s life has seen its ups and downs, and I don’t mean the daily rise and fall of tides that are critical to wildlife adapted to the mangroves!

Though Goa is the smallest state of India, it is blessed with as many as nine rivers. A unique aspect of Goan rivers is that they are tidal as well as rain-fed. During the monsoon months (June-September), water is drained out of the watershed through the rivers and into the sea. At the same time, the rivers experience a daily tidal influx upto 40 kilometers inland. The salinity of the rivers varies sharply between the monsoon and non-monsoon seasons, and so does the physico-chemical quality of the water. Needless to say, the people and the wildlife along the banks are highly attuned to these seasonal (and diurnal) changes, and the shy and elusive otter is one such animal. Continue reading “How much longer will Goa remain Otter Worthy?”