DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 15 Nov 2021: District Level Vulnerability Assessment in India

This is the kind of study that was long overdue. In fact such a study should have been done before formulating India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) as SANDRP has been saying since 2009 (see SANDRP critique of NAPCC published under the title “THERE IS NO HOPE HERE) when NAPCC was made public by a dozen wise individuals sitting in a room without any participatory or transparent exercise. One hopes that India will restart the exercise of fresh formulation of NAPCC after doing such a study on an urgent basis, on the lines of the study described below. In any case one hopes the union and state governments will wake up and take up District level vulnerability assessment in India in an independent way on urgent basis.

“This study undertakes a first-of-its-kind district-level vulnerability assessment of India, which maps exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity using spatio-temporal analysis. To do this, we developed a climate vulnerability index (CVI) of Indian states and Union Territories (UTs). Instead of looking at climate extremes in isolation, we map the combined risk of hydro-met disasters and their compounded impacts on vulnerability. By doing so, we aim to inform policy goals in the resource-constrained context of India.

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 08 Nov 2021: Is heavy rain ALONE to be blamed for flooding in Chennai?

In past couple of days heavy rains have caused significant flooding in several areas of Chennai. While weather bloggers claim the rains were unusual and combination of several atmospheric factors, however the same can not be blamed for flooding in several residential areas, roads and other public spaces. Like common problem afflicting several urban centers across the country, Chennai is no exception to gradual encroachments of water bodies, wetlands, drainage channels and common lands.

Apart from lack of synchronization of hydrological factors in infrastructural projects, the urban water governance system is still missing despite the devastating 2015 flood event. Moreover the systematic and ongoing destruction of Ennore Creek which includes floodplain and wetlands of Adyar and Koshthiyar rivers has made lakhs of river, wetlands dependent people victims of such avoidable disasters.

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 15 March 2021: MoEFCC & NMCG join March 14 celebrations on the Day of Action for Rivers

The International Day of Action Against Dams and For Rivers, Water and Life,  or in short, “International Day of Action for Rivers” as used now, was adopted by the participants of some 20 countrties, at the first International Meeting of People Affected by Dams in March 1997 in Curitiba Brazil. Representatives from 20 countries including India, USA, Brazil & other countries from Asia, Americas, Europe, Africa decided that the International Day of Action would take place on March 14. Thus, the celebration started from 1997. The aim on this International Day of Action for Rivers is to raise voices against destructive water development projects, reclaim the health of our watersheds, and demand the equitable and sustainable management of our rivers.

This year, among many other events happening on this day in South Asia, we have reported in this weekly bulletin, besides the blog from SANDRP highlighting the resistence against destructive hydro and dam projects in India in last one year, the online discussion by the Endangered Himalayas on “Extinct Rivers or free flowing rivers: The future of Himalayan Rivers”, Official launch of Right of Rivers South Asia Alliance and Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum’s 14-days long campaign Rights of the River and personhood rights to Indus River and Indus delta.

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 4 Jan 2021: Bangladesh declares Halda River as Fisheries Heritage

Bangladesh has declared the whole 81 km long Halda River, a tributary of Karnaphuli River in Chittagong in South East Bangladesh. The Halda river is also famous for breeding pure Indian carp. This is the only pure Indian carp breeding field of Bangladesh, perhaps in South Asia. This is a remarkable river conservation decision that has a lot of lessons for much bigger India where no river has been protected as fisheries heritage. This is great way to begin the first weekly DRP Bulletin of 2021 and we hope the Indian government, civil society and judiciary will take due note of this.

Controversy is never far away from any such river conservation efforts as is evident from the news about proposal for a Halda River based water supply project for industrial estate that has been opposed by the Fisheries ministry, water resources ministry, the River Conservation Commission, the Department of Environment and independent researchers.

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Floods · Urban Rivers

Missing roadmap to solve Urban Floods Puzzle

There can be no dispute over the fact that the frequency, intensity and spread (new cities getting affected) of urban floods is increasing in India. The reasons are mostly known: increasing and mostly unplanned urbanisation, rural-urban migration, encroachments of water bodies, concretization of flood plains and other lands, decreasing capacity to hold, store, recharge and drain the rainwater, increasing rainfall intensities with changing climate, wrong operation of big dams and deteriorating governance.

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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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Hindi Blogs · Madhya Pradesh · Urban Water Sector

बाढ़, शहर और नियोजन !

Guest Article by: अभिलाष खांडेकर

कईं वर्ष पूर्व अमेरिका दूसरी बार जाना हुआ। किंतु उस यात्रा में उन पूराने शहर जहाँ मैं पहले जा चुका था, जाना नहीं था, इसलिए मैं ख़ुश था। नए-नए शहर देखना, उनकी बसाहट और इतिहास जानना व उस शहर के किसी भी संग्रहालय को भेंट देना मेरा शौक़ रहा हैं। तो शिकागो शहर जाना हुआ।  शहर का इतिहास जाना तो पता लगा की कैसे एक बार उस शहर का काफ़ी बड़ा हिस्सा जल जाने के बाद नगर नियोजको (अर्बन प्लानर) ने शहर वासियों की मदत से फिर से शिकागो को बनाया। शिकागो नदी के किनारे के इस शहर को नए सिरे से बसाने में नगर-नियोजक डैनीअल बर्नहम की महती भूमिका रही। उन्होंने ही १९०९ में जो विकास योजना बनाईं उसे नगर-नियोजन के वैश्विक इतिहास में स्वर्णाक्षरों में लिखा गया हैं। ‘द प्लान ऑफ़ शिकागो’ नाम से एक सुंदर पुस्तक कॉर्ल स्मिथ नामक लेखक ने उस योजना के लागू होने व शिकागो शहर ने अच्छी नगर-नियोजन प्रणालियों के चलते प्रगति और नाम हांसिल करने के लगभग १०० वर्ष बाद लिखी। उक्त पुस्तक पढ़ने के बाद मेरी दिलचस्पी नगर-नियोजन विषय मैं और अधिक बढ़ी। इंदौर का रहने वाला होने से मैंने स्कॉटिश नगर-नियोजक सर पैट्रिक गेडेज़ के बारे में काफ़ी पढ़-सुन रखा था। गेडेज़ साहब ने ही होलकर महाराज के निमंत्रण पर इंदौर का पहला प्लान १९१४-१९१६ के मध्य बनाया था। गेडेज़ ने इंदौर के अलावा देश के ५०-५५ शहरों की विकास योजनाए बनाईं थीं, जो एक दुर्लभ कीर्तिमान हैं। किंतु यह दुर्भाग्य ही है की उन्हें आज की पीढ़ी कम ही जानती हैं। इंदौर का वह प्लान भी अपने ज़माने का शहरी नियोजन का उमदा दस्तावेज़ हैं जिसमें नदियों का महत्व १०० साल पहले उन विदेशी नियोजक ने रेखांकित किया था।

ख़ैर, मैंने यह छोटी भूमिका इसलिए लिखी जिससे नगर नियोजन के महत्व पर अलग से प्रकाश डाला जा सकें।

जिस महान, प्राचीन भारत में नगरीय सभ्यता व नियोजन की सुंदरता के संदर्भ में मोहनजोदडो व हड़प्पा संस्कृति को चरमोत्कर्ष के रूप में जाना-पहचाना जाता हैं उसी देश में अब नगर नियोजन के समकालीन विज्ञान और कला के साथ-साथ वहाँ के नगरनियोजनकर्ताओं की क्षमताओं पर गम्भीर प्रश्नचिन्ह लगातार खड़े हो रहें हैं। ये इसीलिए की अलग अलग योजनाओं के बावजूद भी तमाम शहरों के हालात चिंतनीय बने हुए हैं।

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 5 August 2019: Why Dam Safety Bill and ISWD Amendment won’t help

India urgently needs a lot of effective work on Dam Safety, but the bill before the Parliament makes CWC (Central Water Commission) as focal point of Dam Safety, but CWC has conflict of interest and poor track record. The Bill does not provide any real independent oversight, nor clearly defined norms of complete transparency in the dam safety matters, and there is no role of the vulnerable communities, the most important stake holders. The Bill also tends to centralise the power with the Union govt, and states legitimately suspects this. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/dam-safety-bill-2019-why-evokes-opposition-stakeholders-1576391-2019-08-02 (Aug 2, 2019)

The Interstate Amendment Water Disputes Amendment Bill before the Parliament is basically tinkering with the existing system, which will not change anything fundamentally. It needs to be understood that disputes arise when an upper riparian state (or a country) build a large dam or diverts the massive amount of water, leading to lower availability of water for the lower riparian state (or country). When it comes to resolution, the tribunals look at a river as a channel of water and its distribution, ignoring that it is a complete ecosystem and that water in a river depends on the state of its basin and catchment area. It also depends on the extraction of groundwater. These aspects are ignored by the tribunals. Moreover, a state does not represent a river basin or all its stakeholders (the people using river water), which is why the Narmada tribunal’ award created a conflict between the states and their people. The central government’s impartiality is suspect and would have a great bearing on the resolution process. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/interstate-river-water-disputes-bill-2019-1575531-2019-07-31   (1 Aug. 2019)

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