DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 18 Jan. 2021: Is there any hope for Yamuna from Delhi, SC actions?

Yamuna is again in headlines in this week’s Bulletin. It carries the Nov 2020 announcement of Delhi Govt plan to clean river by 2023 and the action by the Supreme Court. There is nothing very convincing, path breaking or new in what the Delhi Govt has announced, such announcements keep coming every few years and then tend to be forgotten, to be renewed with announcement of new deadlines in this case. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court action is not particularly different. One only needs to remind the apex court and everyone else that in 1994, the SC had taken up Yamuna case suo moto. No impact on the river could be achieved till around 2017, when the SC decided to handover the case to NGT. It is not clear what exactly has prompted SC to take it up again, but the move does not inspire confidence considering the past track record.

We hope we are wrong and the Delhi Plans and the SC move does lead to better days for Yamuna. In the meantime, the Yamuna Monitoring Committee set up by the NGT is doing its role, but one wishes, their hands and plans as strengthened and pushed by the NGT, which does not seem to be the case currently.

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Rainfall

Post Monsoon 2020: State wise Rainfall

According to India Meteorological Department (IMD), during the just concluded Post Monsoon Rainfall for 2020, that included rainfall during Oct-Dec months, India received 124.6 mm rainfall, 0.64% above the normal rainfall of 123.8 mm during the period. As per IMD[i] definition, the rainfall was thus normal.

This three-month period from Oct 1, to Dec 31 includes the North East Monsoon that mainly affects parts of South India including Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Rayalseema, parts of Karnataka and Kerala. IMD declared on Jan 1, 2021 that the of NE Monsoon ended on Dec 31, 2020 with normal overall rainfall: TN had 6% above normal, Karnatak 13% above normal, Puducherry 32% above normal, Andhra Pradesh 33% above normal. However, Lakshadweep had 9% below normal and Kerala 26% below normal. This monsoon provides 48% of the annual rainfall of TN so it is most imp for that state.

The rainfall revived only towards the end of November, mainly due to two consecutive cyclones — Nivar and Burevi — both of which developed in the Bay of Bengal. While Cyclone Nivar crossed the coast close to Karaikal near Puducherry and brought heavy showers for the east and coastal districts of Tamil Nadu, Cyclone Burevi weakened before it reached land.

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Monsoon · Rainfall · River Basin

IMD continues callous reporting of River Wise Rainfall in Monsoon 2020

This rarely gets reported in media, but IMD (India Meteorological Department) also provides river basin wise rainfall figures. Here is an overview of the river basin wise rainfall during SW Monsoon 2020 (June-Sept 2020, though the monsoon withdrew much later), like the way we have been doing for the last three years[i]. Our earlier monsoon 2020 articles provided district wise figures for rainfall in June 2020[ii], June-July 2020[iii], June-Aug 2020[iv] and June Sept 2020[v].

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 19 Oct 2020: India Rivers Week 2020: IS SAND MINING KILLING OUR RIVERS?

India Rivers Week (IRW) Organising Committee is excited to announce that the theme of the forthcoming annual event IRW 2020 will be: “Is Sand Mining Killing our Rivers?”. As part of IRW-2020, India Rivers Forum is organizing a series of Dialogues (digitally). This includes four regional dialogues focusing on North (Oct 31), South (Nov 7), West (Nov 12) and East (including North East: Nov 21)) India, and the final one (Nov 28) focusing on Sand Mining as a National issue.

Sand mining or mining of River Bed Material (RBM, including sand, gravel, boulders) has a huge impact on Rivers, in multiple ways: physical, ecological, livelihood impacts among others. While sand is also sourced from sources other than rivers, IRW 2020 will focus on sand sourced directly or indirectly from rivers. Sand is by definition, a key ingredient of the rivers. It provides habitat for multiple species of the biodiversity in the river. It provides both sub surface storage space and a mechanism to recharge the groundwater. The sand, along with silt, clay, pebbles and boulders are part of the river and are supposed to reach the deltas and provide a key existential medium in floodplain and deltas. To achieve that, sustaining river connectivities is very important.

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Cloud Burst · Dams

Cloud Bursts in Indian Himalayan Region in Pre-monsoon & Monsoon 2020

The Indian Himalayan region has been facing increased cloud burst incidents for past many years. These events are followed by flash floods, landslides causing widespread damages to human lives and properties. However the forecasting, monitoring and management efforts are lagging far behind. This state wise overview attempts to understand the trend and resultant losses from such incidents during the pre-monsoon (Apr-May) southwest monsoon season (June-Sept) 2020.

SANDRP has been highlighting the issue since 2018. The details of these can be seen by exploring the hyperlink of Uttarakhand in 2018 and 2019, Himachal Pradesh 2019, Jammu and Kashmir and North East 2019.

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Floods

Rivers That Reached New Highest Flood Level during Monsoon 2020

Flooding in Madhya Pradesh, late August 2020. Photo: MP Govt., flood list.

In 2020, south west monsoon season when rainfall was 8.74% above normal, rivers reached new Highest Flood Levels (HFLs) at least at 37 locations across the country, as per information available to SANDRP. Maximum 13 such instances come from Central and East India, each. Five instances happened in South India, three in North India and two in North East India. This article provides wise details and hydrographs of all these sites.

SANDRP has been tracking the Highest Flood Level (HFL) breach incidents during monsoon season. The analysis of such HFL breaches in 2018 and 2019 are available on our website. In 2018 we had listed 25 such instances though SW Monsoon rainfall was 9.4% below normal. In 2019 we listed 37 such instances when the SW Monsoon rainfall was 10% above normal.

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Monsoon · Rainfall

Monsoon 2020: District Wise Rainfall

India received 957.6 mm rainfall in Just concluded South West Monsoon 2020, during the scheduled 4 month monsoon from June 1 to Sept 30, 2020. This is 8.74% above normal monsoon rainfall of 880.6 as per India Meteorological Department (IMD). This is considered ABOVE NORMAL rainfall, since rainfall is in the range 4-10% above Normal rainfall. This sounds good at national level, but the situation on ground could be very different, if we see the rainfall across the country.

It is noteworthy as per even IMD, monsoon has not yet withdrawn from most parts of the country. But IMD closes its monsoon rainfall account at 0830 hours on Sept 30, so all rainfall after that hour has to be counted in “Post Monsoon” rainfall book, even though the rainfall is very much part of monsoon as per IMD.

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Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 14 Sep 2020: How should we define a Normal Monsoon?

IMD is happy to declare a monsoon as normal as long as total quantum of rainfall at national scale is within 4% of what is defined as normal monsoon rainfall during June 1 to Sept 30. Even if this means there is spatially or temporally or both spatially & temporally, the total rainfall or its distribution is abnormal in large parts of the country. It was good to see a national newspaper, asking question if the monsoon is normal even though it’s not temporally normal as was the case in large parts of the country this year.

The IMD normal only assures meteorological normal of national monsoon rainfall within given period. It does not assure hydrologic normal nationally or in different parts of the country, nor agricultural normal rainfall nationally or in different parts: sub divisions, states, river basins, districts, talukas/ tehsils or villages and wards. We clearly need much more realistic and nuanced definition of even meteorological Normal monsoon rainfall, which IMD needs to work on. But as far hydrological or agricultural normal rainfall is concerned, both temporally and spatially, those concerned outside IMD will need to work on.

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Indian Meteorological Department · Monsoon · Rainfall

District wise rainfall in June-Aug 2020 in India

In the ongoing South West Monsoon, India received 44 year old high surplus rainfall of 327 mm in just concluded Aug 2020, 26.6% above normal rainfall of 258.2 mm. This helped the total June-Aug 2020 rainfall to achieve 10% surplus, with actual rainfall 780.3 mm, 69.9 mm higher than normal rainfall of 710.4 mm. In June the country received 18% above normal rainfall and in July it received 9.9% below normal rainfall, the rainfall at the end of June was just 1.1 mm above normal. Thus almost the entire surplus rainfall is thanks to the rainfall during Aug 2020. The rainfall distribution has however, been far from normal that these figures suggest, as we can see from the state wise and district wise figures below.

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Urban Water Bodies

PATODI JOHAD: Narela Youth Rejuvenate a dry Pond

The monsoon rains of August 2020 have brought a soothing smile on the faces of villagers working towards revival of Patodi Johad a traditional water body in Narela, a bustling sub-city in North Delhi.

The greenery, cleanliness created over past one year around the pond with joint effort by youth, women, elderly and children have been now complemented by rainwater flooding the pond making it one of best locations in Narela where native plants, water body, blooming garden is thriving.

The sustained efforts by the villagers have not only brought positive change in society by involving people of all ages, but also leading to rebuilding of lost eco-system and improving micro climate. The biggest benefit is slow but sure improvement in ground water table. This account presents glimpses of how this happened.

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