Jammu and Kashmir has many wetlands of national importance and international recognition. These water bodies are critical source of livelihood and job opportunities for a large number of population in form of fishing, farming, tourism etc. Moreover, most of the wetlands in the region fall under Central Asian Flyway Zone (CAF) and visited by lakhs of migratory and endangered birds during their annual migration march. These wetlands areas also provide safe refuge to native vegetation and wild animals. Their protection is crucial to combat the dual impact of climate change, water scarcity and flooding.
In its latest report, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has questioned implementation of sixteen National Irrigation Projects. Before this, the CAG has held mismanagement in dams’ operation responsible for Chennai floods in 2015. Both these reports are available on its website now.
The CAG report on National Irrigation Projects, tabled in Parliament on July 20, has revealed that sixteen major multi-purpose water projects, taken up on an expeditious basis about a decade ago, are nowhere near completion, with no work being undertaken in as many as 11 projects despite the incumbent govt’s much-wanted focus on improving irrigation facilities in the country.
The report also mentioned that out of the 16 projects, undertaken under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) in Feb 2008, only five projects with estimated irrigation potential of 25.10 lakh hectares were under implementation and even these projects suffer from 8 to 99 per cent shortfall in physical progress, the CAG said. The remaining 11 projects with estimated irrigation potential of 10.48 lakh hectares are yet to commence and are at different stages of approval.
In a recent article Ashwin B Pandya, Former, Chairman Central Water Commission (CWC) refuses to acknowledge either the adverse impacts of dams or the better option of using groundwater aquifer for storing water. And thus making unscientific arguments against dam decommissioning and for dams. No one is talking of removal ALL dams as the author seems to postulate and then dismiss it as impossible and irresponsible.
This Sunday (October 08) has been a sad day for Narmada River and thousands of fisherfolk families who will further suffer due to the Rs 4350 Cr Bhadbhut dam of which PM Modi has laid the foundation Stone. The PM seems to love dams so much!
However, the project is facing opposition because it would adversely affect over 12000 fisherfolk families and their livelihoods. Neither they have been consulted, nor there have been any impact assessment, nor any question of compensation or rehabilitation.
The new dam is claimed to mitigate the impacts of upstream dams! It will actually store polluted water from urban and industrial areas and further destroy the estuarine ecosystems.
Raising these concerns, over 100 fishermen took out a boat protest with black flags against the PM laying foundation stone of the dam. They all were arrested and released only after PM left. Similarly, 250 women who were silently marching were arrested. They were denied permission to hold protest walk. Indeed, fishermen have amazing courage. But the national media unfortunately seems happy to ignore this.
Also see following links to know more why fishermen are objecting to the project.
Here are few more links on Kalpsar project of with Bhadbhut is part
Center Govt needs to understand that hydro power projects are no longer viable RK Singh, New Union Power Minister, got a presentation by Archana Agarwal, Jt Secretary in Ministry of Power, on the very next day after he took over, about the issues that is troubling the hydropower sector. If we take totality of the factors, the ministry needs to understand that Hydropower projects are NO LONGER VIABLE options, and all their attempts to flog this unviability is not going to turn into viability. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/hydro-power-generation-high-tariff-green-clearances-trouble-sector-4873266/
Arunachal Pradesh Kameng hydel project, still a long way from commissioning According to Energy Line India update on Oct 3, 2017NEEPCO’s 600 Mw project was meant to be commissioned in January, 2016. Until August, 2017 however, the project is yet to go through commissioning activities. The civil contractor is reported to be at fault. So far there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. http://www.energylineindia.com/
Amid this another committee has been set up to push dams in North East India. The past committees did not succeed since they were blind to ground realities. Let us see what this committee does. Establishing first user right is such a nonsensical objective. http://www.livemint.com/Politics/SNxWae2Uuiy91Cm32wYmCI/Govt-sets-up-committee-for-water-management-in-northeast.html
Himachal Pradesh CCEA to revise Rampur hydro project cost to Rs 4,233 cr As per report the CCEA will revise the cost of the project to Rs 4,233.21 crore from Rs 2,047.06 crore estimated on March, 2006 price level during detailed project report stage. There is smell of scandal? The Rampur project is a 412 MW project, the cost now proposed is in excess of Rs 10 crore per MW, for a project that does not need a dam or even desilting chambers. PM dedicated the costly affair to nation in Oct 2016. http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/ccea-to-revise-rampur-hydro-power-project-cost-to-rs-4233-crore/60932841
Karnataka 3 fold rise in upper Krishana project- III The estimated cost of the third phase of Upper Krishna Project has been increased to Rs 51,148 crore from the original cost of Rs 17,602 in 2012. The project, which aims to irrigate 6.19 lakh hectares of land in nine drought-prone districts of north Karnataka, will acquire 1.33 lakh hectares while rehabilitating 22 villages. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/ukp-iii-cost-rises-three-fold/article19764489.ece
SARDAR SAROVAR DAM Medha Patkar asks a lot of uncomfortable questions In an Indian Express Op-Ed she writes that in fact, there are several clues that can help us decide exactly what was dedicated to the nation — the project or the dam wall. For a project to be dedicated to the nation, shouldn’t it be completed in the first place? When the project in question pertains to a dam, is it enough to raise a wall to its envisaged height or should canals be constructed as well? Only 33 per cent of the canals in Gujarat have been constructed. Can the one dedicating the project and the one receiving the project — the nation — be satisfied if the enormous impacts of the 138.68 metre-high wall on communities upstream and the downstream, about 10 lakh people, and the ecosystem are not taken into account? The nation may not be aware of what has been gifted to it, but will soon realise the betrayal. http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/drowned-by-the-dam-sardar-sarovar-narmada-narendra-modi-4878153/
Here is link to a video report taking us through a time travel journey of last six decades on the issue of Sardar Sarovar Dam and explaining the cost behind the Sardar Sarovar dam. https://www.thequint.com/explainers/sardar-sarovar-dam-explained-narmada-river-narendra-modi
Karnataka NGT okays first phase of Yettinahole project In a setback, the govt has received the green signal on the controversial Yettinahole drinking water project with the NGT overriding objections to it and permitting its first phase with some pre-conditions. The ambitious Rs 13,000 crore project aims to divert the Yettinahole, a vital tributary of the Netravathi river originating in the Western ghats to provide drinking water to the parched villages of three districts. ANOTHER DISASTROUS DECISION BY NGT: It has taken many such decisions, while also taking many welcome ones. http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/071017/ngt-okays-first-phase-of-yettinahole-project.html
Telangana NGT stays Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project In the latest development NGT on Oct. 05, has ordered an interim stay on Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project, pointing out that the state govt did not have adequate environmental clearance. Kaleshwaram is stated to be the costliest irrigation project taken up in the country with an estimated expenditure of Rs 80,500 crore. NGT should have been much stronger. they should have in fact asked that there is no logic in excluding such massive projects in the name of drinking water project, in any case why did they start work without forest clearance and in fact held the officers accountable. http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/big-blow-telangana-govt-ngt-stays-construction-work-kaleshwaram-project-69498
Meanwhile in a strange development, before the stay, a consortium of lenders headed by Punjab National Bank has agreed to pitch in by extending a ₹11,400-crore loan. As per the arrangement, of the ₹11,400 crore, Punjab National Bank has agreed to extend ₹1900 crore, Bank of India and Canara Bank (₹1500 crore each), Allahabad Bank, Syndicate Bank, Punjab & Sindh Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce ₹1000 crore each, Indian Bank ₹750 crore, Union Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank and Bank of Maharashtra, ₹500 crore each and Central Bank of India ₹250 crore. This will surely prove seeds of massive non performing asset. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/kaleshwaram-irrigation-project-phase-ii-achieves-financial-closure-pnb-leads-consortium-of-lenders/article9878467.ece
It is worth to mention that last week, an under construction tunnel of massive 80, 500 crore Kaleshwaram Project lift irrigation project on Godavari river collapsed leading to death of six workers. More details about the project. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/telangana-kaleshwaram-project-roof-top-collapse-4874901/
Andhra Pradesh Polavaram project affected to intensify protest People displaced due to the Polavaram Project are intensifying their agitation to get better compensation on the lines of the Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Project. The public representatives of Odisha (Mattunagari) and Chattisgarh (Kunta) states, who come under Polavaram Project area have also joined hands with the agitators for better compensation package. http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/061017/andhra-pradesh-displaced-ryots-intensify-protest.html
Meanwhile, it looks like Andhra CM is trying to hoodwink the central leaders by showcasing Pattiseema project as the major part of the Polavaram project works to seek more funds. Even during the visit of Parliamentary Committee, too, he had played the same trick and the team members were all praise for him for completing the Pattiseema project, ignoring the actual Polavaram project. This is interesting to see that this club of Naidu and Gadkari, one trying to hoodwink and the other acting to be hoodwinked will be able to hoodwink everyone else how long. http://www.greatandhra.com/politics/gossip/naidu-hoodwinks-gadkari-with-pattiseema-84723.html
Tamil Nadu Mettur dam opens for Delta irrigation Mettur gates opened on Oct 2 to release water for Cauvery delta farmers. This is the most delayed opening of the gates in eleven years since 2007. The customary date is June 12 and in last 11 years,it was opened on that date or earlier only twice. In the last 84 years, that happened 26 times (15 times on June 12 and 11 times before that). http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2017/oct/03/mettur-dam-opens-for-delta-irrigation-1665891–1.html
INTERLINKING OF RIVERS
SANDRP Blog “Ken Betwa Project is Disaster for Ken Basin People, there is NO surplus water in Ken Basin”: Panna Collector Based on documents that SANDRP received recently from independent sources, we found that the then Panna district about a decade back, based on official facts, figures and papers, concluded that There is no surplus in Ken Basin, if the water of Ken River is first used for the people of Ken Basin, as it should be, and that the whole project would be a disaster for the Ken Basin in MP. Plz read, share and send your feedback. https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2017/10/06/ken-betwa-project-is-disaster-for-ken-basin-people-there-is-no-surplus-water-in-ken-basin-panna-collector/
SANDRP earlier blog on the issue has been carried out by ASIA TIMES http://www.atimes.com/indias-grand-canyon-will-drown-ken-betwa-linkage/ The blog is also published by Counter View https://counterview.org/2017/10/04/ken-betwa-project-to-destroy-raneh-falls-indias-mini-grand-canyon-cum-mini-niagra/
Here is the link ToI report carrying the story about former Panna Collector writing to state govt and planning commission that there is NO SURPLUS in Ken basin. This was published by SANDRP two days back, it also quotes SANDRP. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/ex-panna-collector-had-warned-govt-of-ken-betwa-project-flaws/articleshow/60986982.cms
Meanwhile there are reports of confirming agreement between UP & MP over the linking project. The report has two interesting facts: “It has also been decided that Panna will get a share of water for irrigating 70,000 hectares of land. An IAS officer, who accompanied CM Chouhan to the meeting, tried to pitch an old agreement for MP’s cause, but the Union minister wasn’t pleased. “Gadkari got angry and asked the officer to not to talk like a politician. The officer remained quiet after that,”” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/chouhan-yogi-agree-to-ken-betwa-solution-on-gadkari-table/articleshow/60905420.cms
Amidst reports of reconciliation between UP and MP, concerned and to be affected in Panna have started protesting. It may become an election issue in Panna during the assembly polls in the state. Opposing the project for “undermining the interests of the backward district of Bundelkhand”, the ‘rajmata’ of Panna has decided to take up cudgels against it. Indeed people of Panna needs to rise up united and unequivocally against the project in collaboration with other Ken Basin district and also downstream Banda in UP. There is still hope to stop this nonsense. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/rajmata-of-panna-against-ken-betwa-linking-project/articleshow/60931188.cms
In one more significant related development National Tiger Conservation Authority reports of death of 17 tigers in MP state during past one year. Indeed, with Panna Tiger Reserve slated to lose huge chunk of over 200 sq km to the Ken Betwa link, I have been told that the management of PTR is totally incompetent. NTCA itself is to be blamed for meekly allowing such decisions. Destruction of Panna will give a signal that there is no hope for tigers in India. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/mp-loses-17-tigers-in-2017-ntca/article9890231.ece
Gujarat Tribals oppose Par-Tapi-Narmada link Another Massive, disastrous project to AGAIN take more water to Central Gujarat. Good that the opposition launched multiple rallies. The report does not do justice to the issue though. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/par-tapi-narmada-link-tribals-oppose-river-interlinking-project-in-gujarat-4881302/lite/
Also see, Par-Tapi-Narmada Link: Divided States, United Tribals https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/par-tapi-narmada-link-divided-states-united-tribals/
It is surprising that Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that linkage of rivers will help farmers of the country to grow more crops and increase their earnings which in turn will contribute towards the progress of the nation. http://delhincrnews.in/2017/10/04/river-linking-help-farmers-grow-more-and-contribute-in-progress-of-the-country-vice-president/
Also see text of Vice President speech while addressing culmination of Rally for Rivers campaign. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/mbErel.aspx?relid=171332
RIVERS AS NATIONAL WATER WAYS
Foundation for NW-4 laid In the presence of Nitin Gadkari and Andhra CM the Vice President Venkaiah Naidu has laid foundation stone for the development of Muktyala to Vijayawada stretch of Krishna River (National Waterways – 4) in Vijayawada. National Waterway No.4 was declared in November, 2008 for a total length of 1078 km. This length was extended to 2890 km by NW Act-2016. The following stretches are included in this :
- a) River Godavari (Bhadrachalam to Rajahmundry) = 171 km
- b) River Krishna (Wazirabad to Vijayawada) = 157 km
- c) Kakinada Canal (Kakinada to Rajahmundry) = 50 km
- d) Eluru Canal (Rajahmundry to Vijayawada) = 139 Km
- e) Commamur Canal (Vijayawada to Pedaganjam) = 113 km
- f) North Buckingham Canal (Pedaganjam to Chennai) = 316 km
- g) South Buckingham Canal (Chennai to Merkanam) = 110 km
- h) Kaluvelly Tank (Markanam to Puducherry) = 22 km
- River Krishna from Wazirabad to Galagali (628 Km)
- River Godavari from Bhadrachalam to Nasik (1184Km)
A proposal for Phase-II has been recommended by IWAI board for PIB/Cabinet. Also, a proposal for formation of Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for implementation of the project is under consideration for the approval of Cabinet. The SPV is expected to be formed by November 2017. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=171321
MAHA IRRIGATION SCAM Protest over CM sharing dais with named in irrigation scam In a move that has raised eyebrows, CM Devendra Fadnavis is set to share the stage with controversial NCP leaders Ajit Pawar and Sunil Tatkare, who are under investigation in the irrigation scam. As per Anjali Damania the irrigation scam is bound to be buried with likes of Gadakari at the helm of even water resources now. “Bravo CM, you have done a great job. You will now share the dais with the cleanest people of Maharashtra. Why did you even fight the irrigation scam, was it a show? Rest in Peace irrigation scam,” social worker Anjali Damania said in a message. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/cm-plan-to-share-stage-with-ajit-tatkare-raises-eyebrows/articleshow/60989006.cms
Tamil Nadu Piles of garbage hinder Bhavanisagar dam water from reaching farmers Sad at critical juncture of farming season, garbage dumped in Lower Bhavani Canal of Bhavanisagar dam in Erode affecting irrigation services to 3200 acres of farmers of Kavindapadi at Gobichettipalayam taluk. The villagers alleged that panchayat officials were disposing the garbage that were collected in the villages into the canal. They said many hospitals in Erode city and Gobichettipalayam town were also dumping the medical wastes into the canal. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/erode/piles-of-garbage-hinder-bhavanisagar-dam-water-from-reaching-farmers/articleshow/60989062.cms
Study Negative rainfall in 8 out of 14 normal monsoons in 18 years Data from the IMD revealed majority of monsoons over the past 18 years had been below average like 2017, which ended on a below average note at -5% departure. From 2000, the country has seen as many as 12 monsoons with less rain than the long period average, more so from 2014 to 2017— a period marked by consecutive monsoons ending on a negative note.
Experts stressed there was a possibility of monsoon weakening due to the impact of the climate change, but this was something that researchers were unclear about. A K Srivastava, the head of IMD’s climate monitoring and analysis group, Pune, said, “The current epoch — from 1991 to 2020 — has shown a trend of negative or low rainfall. Past statistics show the epochal behaviour of monsoon, but how long will this rainall trend continues beyond the year 2020 cannot be gauged.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/negative-rainfall-in-8-out-of-14-normal-monsoons-in-18-years/articleshow/60916411.cms
Also see PATHBREAKING study mentioning that Northern and Northwest Arabian sea is warming up so much that it contributes 36% of moisture in the monsoon, compared to just 26% by Bay of Bengal (29% by land). This has lead to three fold rises in incidents of extreme high rainfall, flash floods and landslides. There is lot more here and lot more in the study that it quotes. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/rapid-warming-of-arabian-sea-among-causes-of-3-fold-rise-in-erratic-rain-in-central-india-weather-experts-4873351/
Here are key findings of another important study:
– “There have been 268 reported flooding events in India over 1950-2015 affecting about 825 million people, leaving 17 million homeless and killing 69,000 people (according to the International Disaster Data Base),” the study said. According to lead author Roxy Mathew Koll, a scientist with the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, a premium research body under the Ministry of Earth Science (MoES), extreme rainfall is defined as more than 15 cm of rain in a day and “spread over a large region, enough to cause floods”. “These widespread extremes were two per year in central India during 1950s. Now, it’s six per year,” Koll told PTI.
– “As the atmosphere and the oceans are getting warmer due to increasing carbon dioxide, a result of human activities, atmosphere holds more moisture. This results in two factors. The first is that warm moist air is lighter than cold dry air and hence makes the atmosphere unstable as it rises up,” Koll explained.
– The second factor, Koll added, is that since the atmosphere holds more moisture, it dumps it all together – a heavy rainfall event. But why is central India the focal point of erratic and extreme rain events? “The low pressure areas (circulation) that brings rains move around this region. Cloud formation also forms around this area,” Rajeevan told PTI.
– The fact that this intensification is against the background of a declining monsoon rainfall, which has been observed in previous studies, makes it catastrophic, as it puts several millions of lives, property and agriculture at risk, experts say. According to the paper, floods alone lead to losses amounting to $3 billion in India, 10 per cent of global economic losses.
– “The plains of central India are largely flood-prone. Flash floods, landslides and torrential rains often kill thousands and displace millions of people as well as animals, underscoring the urgency in comprehending and predicting these events,” Koll said. http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/science/extreme-rainfall-events-over-central-india-tripled-since-1950-study-4875917/ \
Similarly Mridula Chari analyses Monsoon rainfall this year. As per the report, of the 630 districts for which the India Meteorological Department tracks rainfall data, 308 received between 19% more and 19% less than normal rain. But 219 received deficient rain, or 20% less than normal rain. Of those, 12 had scanty rain, or 60% less than normal rain. On the other end, 103 districts received excess rain, or 20% more than normal rain. Of those, 27 were 60% above normal.” https://scroll.in/article/852793/after-uneven-monsoon-in-india-some-districts-that-faced-floods-end-with-deficient-rain
In a news report, IMD chief K J Ramesh on Oct 05, has said that the number of rainy days are going to shrink but the intensity of rainfall will increase. He also said that the amount of rainfall in the country this year was in line with the IMD’s forecast and the distribution has also been good. WHICH RAINWATER IS IMD CHIEF CONSUMING? What is the basis for this claim of IMD CHIEF? Does he not have access to all the data about such disastrous distribution both spatially and temporally? http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/expect-fewer-but-intense-rainy-days-in-coming-days-says-imd-chief-117100501147_1.html
Meanwhile IMD has predicted normal (89-111%) NORTHEAST MONSOON (Oct-Dec) this year, even though some global weather experts expect it to be slightly below normal for Tamil Nadu. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/winter-monsoon-to-be-normal-this-year-imd-4873271/
Report India fails to manage flood As per the report 14 percent of India’s landmass is vulnerable to flooding and more than 15 percent of this area gets flooded every year. Since 1953, almost 1,600 lives have been lost every year on an average due to floods.Yet, the central govt has not released 61 percent of the funds promised for flood management between April 2007 and March 2016, and 43 percent of the 517 projects approved have not been completed, a recent report by the CAG revealed. Indeed, India’s flood management has failed due to the failure of institutions like CWC, CAG and media needs to focus on that. https://www.thequint.com/news/india/flood-related-deaths-in-india
Urban Flood Highest Oct day rainfall in Hyderabad since 1903 The rainfall in Hyderabad on Oct 2, 2017 seems to have broken the highest one day rainfall of Oct since 1903. The 13.2 cm of rain at Mir Alam was the highest Hyderabad is believed to have witnessed in October ever. According to data with the India Meteorological Department, Hyderabad received 11.7 cm of rain on October 6, 1903, recorded at Begumpet. That number paled in comparison with the rainfall recorded near Mir Alam on Monday. In fact, two other areas, Rajendra Nagar and Amberpet, recorded more than the all-time record in about four hours.” http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/record-set-for-rainfall/article19787029.ece
As per GHMC executive engineer R. Srinivas Reddy there are two records. Usually rainfall is calculated over 24 hours. If the 24-hour rainfall from Sept 19 8.30 am to Sept 20 8.30 am is taken, then the highest is still the 24 cm rainfall of August 2000. But if we consider the two-hour spell, around 10 cm of rain was recorded at Shapurnagar in Quthbullapur, the highest short spell in city’s history. http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/220916/hyderabad-floods-167-cm-rain-breaks-16-year-old-record.html
Indeed, haphazard construction blocking the natural course of water, slow drainage due to choked storm water drains, and insufficiency of the existing drains were apparently the reasons behind the heavy inundation at the Biodiverstiy Junction, Gachibowli.
The engineering staffs were shocked to see the storm water pipes which were dug up after the water was cleared. The three pipes– two with the diameter of 900 mm and one with two metres– were fully choked with garbage, and plastic waste. The garbage which accumulated over long time, hardened into obstinate blocks of dirt, and hampered the flow of rain water leading to stagnation on the road. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/choked-storm-water-drains-drown-gachibowli/article19800638.ece
Jammu & Kashmir Increased siltation raises flood threat Kashmir’s deforested hills have been the prime cause of the heavy siltation of its water bodies. This is now being aggravated by changes in land use due to water scarcity in the catchments of the Jhelum – caused partially by climate change – adding to the siltation load in the river that feeds the Wular Lake, Kashmir’s largest flood basin.
Interesting: “silt load of nearly one million cubic meters stands removed at a cost of INR 600 million… An estimated 20 million cubic meters of slit load, Wani said, is yet to be dredged out of the lake. He added that WUCMA will soon start work to de-silt the remaining amount with the help of a INR 4 billion (USD 60 million) project… In Jhelum River, a project for de-silting an estimated 1.6 million cubic meters of sediment is going on. Close to one million cubic meters of silt has been dredged out so far.”
Where is the silt going? How far it is taken and how it is disposed off?
This somehow does not sound right… orchards in longer terms will have less erosion than agri land? “Experts have called for massive afforestation programmes in the catchments of Jhelum in both degraded forests and barren lands; and stopping conversion of paddy land into orchards for curbing the siltation of water bodies.” https://www.thethirdpole.net/2017/09/18/increased-siltation-raises-kashmir-flood-threat/
Meghalaya Flash floods destroy fisheries Due to incessant rains in the Meghalaya hills for the past few days, a devastating flash flood occurred in the entire Kalapani area under Mankachar revenue circle of South Salmara-Mankachar district and caused huge damages to agricultural fields and fisheries. The rush of flood water, while it came down from the hills, was so fast that within a few minutes three wooden bridges on Kalo river located at Boisabari, Tokpara and Lakhishari were washed away causing total disruption of road communication in greater Kalapani areas. http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=oct0317/state050
Tamil Nadu Change in the crop pattern need of the hour: River Parliament This is very interesting. Would like to know more:
– Farmers participated in the river water parliament, constituted to find amicable solutions to water disputes, which met for the first time in Trichy on Oct 6.
– Rainwater should be harvested and river water should be utilised judiciously only when there is no other option
– the river water parliament was proposed for five rivers including Cauvery, Vaigai, Palaru, Thamirabarani, and Thenpennai by Retrieval of Tamil Nadu Rivers and Water Resources in July 2017. It attempts to emulate the success of efficient water management mechanism of Arvari river parliament in Alwar district of Rajasthan.
– Leading farmers in the state like Mahadhanapuram V Rajaram, C Nallasamy, and Puliyur A Nagarajan were appointed president, general secretary and secretary respectively of Cauvery river parliament on Friday. Further, the farmers have planned to sensitise those in their respective blocks and villages about the functions of water parliament. The second meeting of the river parliament to be attended by farmers from all southern states has been scheduled at Chennai on December 10
– Farmers demanded that the Tamil Nadu government pass a GO recognising such river parliaments which would enable farmers to amicably solve the disputes. “we would work for preventing encroachments along river banks and to regulate river sand mining,” Advocate D Gurusamy, convener of Retrieval of Tamil Nadu Rivers and Water Resources, said https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/trichy/change-in-crop-pattern-need-of-the-hour-river-parliament/articleshow/60978049.cms
CPCB Report Maharashtra has the most polluted rivers in India While CPCB seems busy with experimenting new methodologies and SPCBs finding fault with technicalities, degeneration of Rivers continue unabated. Recent report by CBCB found Maharashtra had 49 polluted river stretches, including Mithi, Godavari, Bhima, Krishna, Ulhas, Tapi, Kundalika, Panchganga, Mula-Mutha, Pelhar, Penganga and Vaitarna, among others , Assam ranked second at 28, Madhya Pradesh third with 21, Gujarat 20, and West Bengal 17. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/maharashtra-has-the-most-polluted-rivers-in-india-report/story-niJlawYJcUykXtDmo1DQzJ.html
On Oct 06, the Supreme Court (SC) has also rapped the Maharashtra state govt yet again regarding inadequate efforts taken to check pollution at the Ulhas river and has directed the state chief secretary and municipal commissioners from Ulhasnagar, Kalyan Dombivili, the Ambarnath and Badlapur Municipal Corporations to be present in person during the next hearing scheduled on Nov 14 and respond regarding steps being taken to restore the river. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/revival-of-ulhas-river-supreme-court-summons-maharashtra-secretary-municipal-chiefs/story-ZLFLmTAQq3m2xBD03XfxAO.html
It is right that many cleanliness drives have been undertaken in Pune city in response to PM’s clarion call for Swachh Bharat but how far will these symbolic and cosmetic acts go towards reclaiming our dead rivers? http://www.hindustantimes.com/pune-news/citizens-worried-with-little-progress-on-cleaning-pune-s-rivers/story-QGstt9PVbZCT3YpIfxFASM.html
As per another report Civic Agencies and Civil Societies in Pune to great extent have achieved success in making citizens aware of pollution by idol immersion and positive results have started appearing.
Interestingly Pune district has five rivers, namely, Mula and Mutha being the main rivers and the three smaller rivers in the form of Ram Nadi, Dev Nadi and Ambil nullah. The Mula river runs for 22.2 km, the Mutha for 10.4 km and after confluence at Sangam, the Mula-Mutha runs for another 11.8 km. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/ganesh-festival-greener-than-last-year-pune-rivers-see-lesser-pollution-levels-4871937/
There is one more report highlighting dwindling aquatic life in Mula Mutha river. As per the report in 1840, a British scientist had conducted a study on the fishes of Mula-Mutha and found that the water body had 120 species. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/experts-say-damage-done-to-wetlands-is-beyond-repair-pune-govt-resolution-maharashtra-environment-4875090/
Jammu & Kashmir Jhelum faces water pollution in Baramulla town As per report, the absence of a solid waste plant in Baramulla town is directly impacting the health of the Jhelum here with tons of garbage and waste including human excreta daily finding its way into it. Notably, the drinking water for the town comprising over 80,000 souls is being supplied from the Jhelum. According to locals, the local administration had been in the process of identifying land for solid waste plant for last more than a decade. Surprisingly, the garbage dumping site at Jetty is in violation of the rules as the pollution control department Baramulla has served several notices to the municipal council authorities directing them to stop the use of land for dumping of garbage as the area “is close to the banks of river Jhelum”. http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/kashmir/jhelum-faces-water-pollution-in-baramulla-town/262193.html
Tamil Nadu Adyar desilting to stop airport flood Ahead of the northeast monsoon, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has started work to prevent a repeat of the 2015 floods which inundated the runway , taxiways and aircraft parking stands at the city airport. A series of checks are being conducted as the airport is located in an area through which rainwater from southern and eastern neighbour hoods flows into the Adyar river via drains crisscrossing the airport. It was these drains along with the river that caused the flooding. The AAI would also be clearing garbage and plastic that had choked the river 500 metres upstream and downstream from the runway bridge. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/adyar-desilting-to-stop-airport-flood/articleshow/60999272.cms
Uttarakhand 50 साल में सूख गईं उत्तराखण्ड की 300 नदियां प्रदेश सरकार ने इस बार हरेला पर्व की थीम ‘नदियों का संरक्षण एवं पुनर्जीवन’ रख विलुप्त होती नदियों को बचाने की एक कोशिश तो की है, लेकिन प्रदेश में बहने वाली नदियों की स्थिति यह है कि पिछले पांच दशक में 300 से अधिक नदियां एवं 5000 से अधिक चाल-खाल विलुप्त हो चुके हैं। http://www.janjwar.com/post/pachas-saal-men-sookh-gayin-uttarakhand-kee-300-nadiyan-dinesh-pant
GANGA Centre Future of Varanasi and Allahabad turtle sanctuary hangs in balance Another example how Nitin Gadkari headed Inland Water Ways Ministry projects are against the very purpose of Ganga rejuvenation work. Sad Ganga seems on the losing side in this conflict. NMCG to establish a turtle sanctuary in Allahabad at an estimated cost ₹1.34 cr. that would contribute to the sustenance of more than 2,000 aquatic species, including threatened gharials, dolphins and turtles. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=171361
However, it’s FUTURE HANGS IN BALANCE as the UP Govt & MoEF are considering de-notifying it over construction activities along the bank. It’s is worth to mention that MoEF in June 2017 set up a committee to decide whether the Varanasi Turtle Sanctuary should be de-notified. It has also ordered a “third-party” evaluation of the sanctuary to determine whether it is of any importance. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/varanasi/centre-sets-up-committee-to-decide-if-turtle-sanctuary-in-varanasi-should-be-de-notified/articleshow/59047347.cms
The Ganga and Yamuna at Allahabad are home to some of the most endangered fauna like turtles, the National Aquatic Animal — Gangetic dolphin, the Gharial and numerous migratory and resident birds. The government had planned such a sanctuary in Varanasi in 1989 under the Ganga Action Plan-I. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ganga-mission-plans-turtle-sanctuary-in-allahabad/article19797657.ece,
Similarly, it seems a lot more going on behind the door which is not in the interest of National River. A change of ministry has led to a sudden cloud of uncertainty over funds for an afforestation scheme along the Ganga in five states, including Uttarakhand. Post Uma exit Rs 2200 cr Ganga afforestation project to be carried out in five basin states has been transferred to MoEF causing some confusion among official over arrangement of funds for the project. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/change-of-ministry-jeopardises-funds-for-massive-afforestation-scheme-along-ganga/articleshow/60959622.cms
Meanwhile infighting going on among various religious group over demand of shifting the Kumbh venue. Last Kumbh in 2010, during Shahi snaan of April 12-14 about 1.63 crore pilgrims arrived in Haridwar. Current, Har-Ki-Pauri mela ghats are not sufficient to cater to such overwhelming pressure of pilgrims, which in 2021 will surpass 2 crore mark. http://www.hindustantimes.com/dehradun/akhara-parishad-wants-kumbh-bath-area-shifted-ganga-sabha-priests-object/story-1LEY7lrbwUyNJv59XHnxQJ.html
YAMUNA Delhi Illegal roads across Yamuna will damage the river The illegal road across the Yamuna constricting its flow could not only play havoc with the river’s ecology but also inundate the river’s banks threatening human settlements in the future. Experts claimed that as the Yamuna is already highly polluted, blocking its flow further would tantamount to increasing the pollution load further. This could contaminate the groundwater and aquifers, which the river used to recharge. http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/road-across-yamuna-will-harm-river-trigger-flood-experts/story-DwNFheAZt1vx6dLi5I2C6H.html
LG Anil Baijal reviewed DDA’s Yamuna rejuvenation and restoration plan on Oct 07 and directed it to finish the first phase by April 2018. DDA has identified 4,885 acres (four land parcels) of land on the Yamuna riverbed which will be taken up for redevelopment. In the first phase, 500 acres of area on western bank of the river — from old railway bridge to ITO barrage — will be taken up. What that DDA is so far doing is beautification of Yamuna banks which has nothing to do with restoration. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/finish-ph-i-revival-of-yamuna-by-april-lg/articleshow/60988706.cms
Meanwhile, the govt agencies in the Capital have failed the Yamuna yet again with tonnes of toxic and non-biodegradable waste choking the river post Durga idol immersions during Durga Puja. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/no-lessons-learnt-immersion-remains-choke-yamuna-again/article19782215.ece
Here is photo report showing Yamuna neck deep in trash after Durga Puja idol immersion http://www.hindustantimes.com/photos/india-news/photos-yamuna-neck-deep-in-trash-after-durga-puja-idol-immersion/photo-pw8nlqDnyWWrXgUrAioUpN.html
Amid this DDA has told NGT that it removed around 80 tonnes of debris dumped on the Yamuna floodplains after idol immersions. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/80-tonnes-of-debris-picked-up-from-yamuna-dda/article19798666.ece
As per another report UP CM Yogi Adityanath on Oct 7 has stressed on the need for carrying out a massive plantation drive on the banks of Yamuna, reiterating the state govt’s commitment for the cleaning of the river. http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/need-for-carrying-out-plantation-drive-on-yamuna-banks-up-cm-117100700019_1.html
Similarly, supporting Rally for Rivers campaign, Varun Gandhi, BJP MP has said that, the tree plantation drive should start with Yamuna floodplains that were destroyed last year for an event. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/i-support-rally-for-rivers-but-start-with-yamuna-floodplains-ruined-last-year-varun-gandhi-4871518/
WETLANDS & WATER BODIES
National 80000 water bodies in country unusable for irrigation Shocking, but could be worse? “Pollution, encroachments and urbanization are eating into waterbodies meant for irrigation, even as rain-dependent farmers continue to commit suicide. According to information accessed from the ministry of water resources, 80,128 (15.29%) of the 5.23 lakh waterbodies dedicated for minor irrigation in rural areas have become unusable due to these factors.”
– Among the worst-affected states are Andhra Pradesh-Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, whose farmers’ woes have made national headlines. The three states account for 61% of the 80,128 waterbodies, followed by Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Of the 72,000 waterbodies dedicated for minor irrigation in Andhra Pradesh-Telangana, 22,877 are unusable.The numbers stand at 29,481 and 14,918 for Karnataka, and 37,174 and 11,039 for Tamil Nadu.
– Karnataka fares the worst among the three states, with 50.6% of its waterbodies having become unusable compared to 31.6% in Andhra Pradesh-Telangana and 29.6% in Tamil Nadu.
– “It is a major crime.” said former environment secretary, Karnataka, A N Yellappa Reddy.
Report Difference between 2010 & 2017 Wetland rules The report pins down some significant difference between Wetland conservation & Management Rules 2010 & 2017. The 2010 Rules specifically included in the definition of wetlands “all inland waters such as lakes, reservoir, tanks, backwaters, lagoon, creeks, estuaries and man-made wetland and the zone of direct influence on wetlands”. These have not been spelt out in the 2017 Rules. Central Wetlands Regulatory Authority (CWRA) under the 2010 Rules has been replaced by the National Wetland Committee, which has a merely advisory role.
The differences between the old and new Rules are also apparent in their applicability. The 2010 Rules listed six points describing protected wetlands; the new Rules have done away with them, and instead state that wetlands are limited to and do not include wetlands under forest and coastal regulation zones. Under ‘Restrictions of activities in wetlands’, the new Rules say conservation and management would be “in accordance with the principle of ‘wise use’ as determined by the Wetlands Authority”. Environmentalists had criticised this principle when the draft Rules were circulated for comments and suggestions. http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/central-control-out-subjective-aspects-in-why-new-wetlands-rules-are-different-4876406/
Supreme Court Wetlands deserve more attention The Supreme Court on Oct 05 has expressed concern over the disappearance of wetlands in the country and told the government that this was an important issue which deserved very serious attention. The court also asked the Centre to inform it about the status of funds disbursed by them to the states for preservation of wetlands and also about how these have been spent by the states. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/wetlands-issue-deserves-very-serious-attention-sc-to-centre/articleshow/60941144.cms
The court had earlier observed that even after Rs 900 crore was spent on works related to wetlands, the activities shown were extremely general in nature. http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/central-control-out-subjective-aspects-in-why-new-wetlands-rules-are-different-4876406/
Madhaya Pradesh Bhopal lakes lose out to water pollution, poor sewer network Bhopal, the city of lakes, which has been declared country’s second cleanest city, has failed to keep its water bodies clean. According to reports, about 300 MLD of sewage is discharged from the city out of which only 50 MLD gets treated in the STP. This is because the existing sewer pipeline network does not have capacity to carry more sewage than this. As a result, remaining sewage gets mixed in other water bodies. http://www.freepressjournal.in/bhopal/bhopal-lakes-lose-out-to-water-pollution-poor-sewer-network/1149594
India Water Portal Story of degradation of another wetland Ousteri lake is the largest water body in the Puducherry region. Every year, the lake provides irrigation and tourism benefits worth Rs 11.5 million and Rs 5.72 million respectively and plays a crucial role in recharging groundwater aquifers. The lake is also a resting ground for many migratory birds and provides livelihood to thousands of people. It has been recognised as one of the important wetlands of Asia by IUCN. It is the largest freshwater lake in the Puducherry region. The lake, which is 390 hectares in area, supports a variety of fauna and flora. But, in the last one decade, 2800 acres of land around the lake has been converted into commercial non-agricultural purposes. The lake has suffered pressure from land-use changes in the catchment area, encroachment, siltation, pollution from the industry and agriculture.” http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/ousteri-lake-needs-help
Op-Ed Benefits of Water Tanks Vishwanath Srikanthiah so well celebrates the wisdom behind tanks and calls it way advanced than inter linking of rivers. The tank water harvesting system is a project linking the sky and the earth. It is a much bigger project than the linking of rivers for at its heart it teaches the lesson of cooperation and living within ecological means of a place. Building strong equitable communities is to build water resilience. Understanding that would be water wisdom. http://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/homes-and-gardens/the-benefits-of-tank-water-harvesting/article19811533.ece
Haryana Groundwater levels sinking in Gurugram Gurgaon ground water level fell 16 metres in 10 years due to Illegal extraction and private water tanker mafia thrives. With an estimate that its current population is 20 lakh, the city requires around 150 MGD (million gallons per day) water but Huda supplies only 75-80 MGD. The rest is met by groundwater extraction through illegal borewells which are more than 20000. The sad part is that the enforcement authorities have sealed not more a dozen such borewells in the past one-and-a-half years, despite a NGT ban on such illegal extraction in Delhi-NCR. Even though a 2012 Punjab and Haryana high court order prohibited extraction of groundwater through borewells, the practice is rampant in the city. There are around 40 water tanker services in the city. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/groundwater-levels-sinking-but-city-does-nothing-to-stop-extraction/articleshow/60931034.cms
Madhya Pradesh Sand mining ban lifted The State Govt has resumed sand mining in the rivers across the state except for the Narmada river. The state had imposed a ban on sand mining from May 22 to September 30. The govt has formed a committee that has tied up with IIT Kharagpur to provide a recommendation for sand mining in the Narmada river. The committee is also likely to finalise the new Sand Mining and Sale Policy 2017 by mid-October. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/sand-mining-in-mp-rivers-barring-narmada-begins-today/articleshow/60896750.cms
Odisha Sand mining poses threat to Kolab river ecology Rampant extraction of sand and its smuggling to Andhra from the riverbed of Kolab near Ghatbagara has apparently taken a toll on the ecological balance. Blame it on the alleged nexus between some officials and a local contractor, the extraction of sand beyond permissible limits continues unabated in the region. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2017/oct/09/sand-mining-poses-threat-to-kolab-river-ecology-1668966.html
Poorly maintained storm-water drains prove hazardous The 20-foot-wide drain has put the lives of several families living in Dwarka Sector-1 at risk. The resident body of Apna Niwas, a DDA SFS colony in Pocket-2, has been seeking relief from the pollution, but no help has been extended by either the Delhi govt or the SDMC. This is the state of over 50 residential neighbourhoods across the Capital, which are situated on the sides of open storm-water drains. Instead of maintaining cleanliness, the civic agencies have turned a blind eye towards it. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/poorly-maintained-storm-water-drains-prove-hazardous/article19825138.ece
Interview Beginning of farmers rebellion Yogendra Yadav rightly says that we are passing through a historic phase for Indian farmers’ movement. Historic because the farmers face a triple crisis today: economic – of not being able to obtain income; ecological – where a certain form of agriculture which was advocated to them as progressive agriculture has reached a dead end; and existential – a crisis. https://scroll.in/article/851846/interview-we-are-witnessing-the-beginning-of-a-peasant-rebellion-in-india-says-yogendra-yadav
India gets Lowest Wind Tariff of Rs. 2.64 per kWh The wind tariff in India touched lowest level of Rs.2.64 per kWh in the second wind auction conducted by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) on behalf of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, Government of India yesterday. The tariff discovered is much lower than first wind auction concluded at Rs. 3.46 per kWh in February this year. With improving technology and reducing tariffs Ministry is not only confident of achieving the target of 175 GW by 2022 but exceeding it. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=171394
Nepal PM Modi to visit Nepal in Oct 2017 During the visit, Modi and Nepali PM Sher Bahadur Deuba will jointly lay the foundation stone for the construction of 900 megawatt Arun III Hydropower Project. The project is being constructed by Indian developer Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited at an estimated cost of Rs 104 billion. Nepal will get 198 MW (22%) power free of cost from the project.” http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2017-10-03/indian-pm-modi-likely-to-visit-nepal-this-month.html
Bangladesh Court jails 15 fishermen over Hilsa ban violation 15 fishermen jailed, fined for defying Hilsa ban Courts sends fisherman to JAIL for defying Hilsa ban. While one feels sad for the fisherman who are generally the poorest of the lot, if this is helping save the fish and hence the river, that is welcome. http://en.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/news/161525/15-fishermen-jailed-fined-for-defying-Hilsa-ban
As per one more news, Indian fisherman are intruding to catch fish in Bangladesh waters, this report alleges, when fishing is banned by Bangladesh govt. Bangladesh govt has imposed a ban on catching, sales and transportation of hilsa for 22 days from 1 October to October 22 in order to save mother hilsa during the breeding and thus increase national hilsa output. http://en.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/news/161509/Indian-fishermen-intrude-into-Bangladesh-water
IWT No agreement on Kishanganga and Ratle Projects The World Bank statement after the Sept 14-15, 2017 India Pakistan meeting on Indus water disputes regarding Kishanganga and Ratle Projects of India, held in World Bank at Washington. Both countries and the World Bank appreciated the discussions and reconfirmed their commitment to the preservation of the Treaty. While an agreement has not been reached at the conclusion of the meetings, the World Bank will continue to work with both countries to resolve the issues in an amicable manner and in line with the Treaty provisions. http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2017/09/15/world-bank-statement-on-the-indus-waters-treaty-meetings
Urban China turns sewage into power There is a lot we can learn here, though it would be good if thermal hydrolysis could be avoided. https://www.thesourcemagazine.org/urban-china-turns-sewage-power/
As per another detailed report, the China govt is also keen to clean up water pollution. https://www.policyforum.net/tackling-chinas-water-pollution/
THE REST OF WORLD
New Research Satellite Radar “Sees” Invisible Changes in Groundwater Levels WOW, seems like very useful. Scientists have found that satellite-mounted radar can accurately detect subsidence or deformation to within just a few millimeters, precise enough to help scientists accurately estimate groundwater levels. In doing so, the scientists may have developed a low-cost way to monitor aquifer health. Satellite radar could potentially supplement other groundwater monitoring systems, or serve as a primary tool in places where no monitoring is done today. https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/aerospace/satellites/satellite-radar-sees-invisible-changes-in-groundwater-levels
WESTERN GHATS Destruction of India’s green gold Origin of some 58 years, habitat of 50 million people, about 4000 species of flowering plants, 645 species of evergreen trees, about 120 species of mammals, 500 species of birds and many reptiles, butterflies and fishes.
– The results of their findings by a team of IISc and IIT (Mumbai) were astounding. Just one square km of forest in Uttara Kannada provides close to Rs 7.38 million worth of timber, about Rs 1.1 million worth of fuelwood and Rs 3.2 million worth of medicinal plants and fruits. Add to that, the recreational benefits from Dandeli and Anshi protected areas which are part of a tiger reserve are worth about Rs 11.37 billion. If all these benefits come from just ONE SQ KM of forest, then one can imagine the value of over 1,29,000 sq km of the Western Ghats!
Putting too much faith in monetisation of ecosystem goods is of course dangerous. The currency printing presses of govt are capable of printing a lot of currency. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/western-ghats-green-gold-india
Gujarat Students object to cutting of crops for PM helipad Students of an agricultural college in Gujarat’s Bharuch district have objected to the administration making a helipad on its campus for PM Modi to land as the area given for the purpose had standing cotton crops that are required for research.This is the second time this year — the first was in March — that the College of Agriculture, affiliated to Navsari Agricultural University (NAU), has been told that a helipad needs to be built there. The process of clearing the cotton crops has started. Good to see students are speaking up and media reporting, but amazing to see how insensitive and anti people, anti farmer this administration can get. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/gujarat-helipad-for-pm-narendra-modi-students-object-to-cutting-of-crops-4874969/
Similarly, farmers and fishermen who sued an arm of the World Bank – for funding an Indian power plant they say hurts their livelihoods – have vowed to appeal a U.S. court ruling that the institution has “absolute immunity”. The Indian communities, represented by advocacy Earth Rights International (ERI), had sued the International Finance Corporation over its $450-million loan for a coal-fired plant operated by a Tata Power unit near Mundra, in Gujarat state. http://www.eco-business.com/news/indian-fishermen-vow-to-keep-fighting-devastating-world-bank-project/
As the President of India is in Patna today (April 17, 2017) to remember the centenary of Gandhiji’s Champaran Satyagraha, we need to remember that the Central message of Gandhi’s Satyagraha was to fight injustice, atrocities and abuse, irrespective of the source of the atrocities.
During the international workshop on INCESSANT GANGA in Patna on Feb 25-26, 2017, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar mentioned that this is the centenary year of Gandhiji’s famous Champaran Satyagraha in Bihar. He also mentioned how Bihar has suffered the increasing intensity, duration and destructive floods due to Farakka Dam.
In the picture-Drying Wular lake in J&K; Mass dish death due to pollution in Ulsoor Lake, Karnataka; Filling up of Wetlands in Maharashtra and Waste dumping on Deepor Beel in Assam
Wetlands are vital for human survival. They are among the world’s most productive eco systems. Wetlands are crucial for the survival of variety of plants and animals. They are indispensable for the countless services ranging from freshwater supply, food, sustainable livelihood options and groundwater recharge. They also host a huge variety of life, protect our coastlines, provide natural sponges against river flooding and store carbon to regulate climate change.
Here is an account on status of India’s wetland in 2016 underlining their ecological importance and urgent need of conservation of Wetlands across the country.
Patoda: How a village in drought hit State turned water self-reliant At a time when almost every village in drought-hit Marathwada is facing acute water scarcity tiny Patoda, on the fringes of water-starved Aurangabad city, is offering valuable lesson in water management conservation and harvesting. Though it is surrounded by arid villages but Patoda’s residents regard water as more precious than money. They follow strict rules about usage and strictly carry the water audits. Water meters are installed in every households and entire village recycles each drop of waste water it generates. Today no rain water flows out of the village. Percolation has recharged the aquifers and the water table has risen. So effective is its water conservation model that Patoda has now become a model for the rest of Marathwada and has won 22 state & national awards. But it did not happened over nights. In fact it is a result of over 10 years joint efforts done by villagers.
Municipal water supply systems in India are struggling to meet the demands of the burgeoning population in cities. Rapid urbanisation is increasing the freshwater demand for different purposes. Ground water being used to meet water shortages has fallen to dangerously low levels. The solution to the urban water crisis lies in harvesting rainwater and reviving local water bodies and wetlands which can store the water and help replenish ground water. It is also imperative that water is used judiciously and leakages in the distribution system are plugged.
Scarcity in water supply: Municipal agencies are struggling to supply water as water levels in reservoirs are plummeting because of the deficit rainfall in 2015. For instance, as of Jan 2016, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has suspended accepting applications for new supply connections until the onset of monsoon. To tide over the water shortage, the NMMC has disconnected many illegal connections, many in slum areas. It is also taking measures to prevent theft and plug leakages to bring down distribution losses which are currently 19% of the water supplied.
Unprecedented water crisis in Delhi due to Jat stir Terming the water crisis in the national capital as “unprecedented”, Delhi minister Kapil Mishra has warned that the situation might worsen in the next few days if the supply from Haryana is not immediately restored. He said the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) had almost run out of water and advised people to use water judiciously. Delhi gets its bulk of water supply from Haryana and the stir has affected 65% of water supply in Delhi has been cut with the shutting down of seven water treatment plants— Wazirabad, Chandrawal, Dwarka, Okhla, Haiderpur, Nangloi and Bawana which provide around 500 million gallons per day (MGD). In all Delhi has nine water treatment plants which together produce 820 MGD of potable water. Of these, only two Sonia Vihar and Bhagirathi fed by water from Uttar Pradesh are operational. The current production is only 240 MGD. Among the areas affected were Dwarka, Janakpuri, Munirka, Palam, Rajouri Garden, Punjabi Bagh, Vasant Kunj, Saket, Green Park and Lodhi Colony, where residents complained of little or no water. In another news report DJB is reported to have made 140 water filling points functional to feed tankers which would be sent across the city, reeling under an unprecedented water crisis. Water Minister Kapil Mishra reviewed the contingency plan for water management in West, North, North-west, Outer and Central Delhi and said tankers will deliver water at 663 points to partially meet the shortage of 480 MGD. These points will keep rotating. Plan is to cover around 2,000 points by Monday evening. The DJB supplies around 900 MGD of water daily out of which around 600 MGD of raw water come from Munak Canal. Even if Haryana releases water immediately, it will take at least 24 hours to restore the supply. Meanwhile Supreme Court on 22 Feb.16 scolded Delhi government. for approaching the court instead of resolving the water crisis with Haryana. The Kejriwal government had approached the top court on in view of the severe water crisis in the national capital after Jat protesters blocked water supply through Munak canal in Sonipat. During the hearing on government’s plea, the court took strong objection to Water Minister Kapil Mishra’s presence inside the courtroom. On the other hand, the minister accuses Haryana & Central Government for providing no official information on the crisis He said the Delhi government was “repeatedly trying to communicate” with the two governments to find out when will the supply resume, but without much success. Also see Jat quota stir: Water supply cut, Delhi may go dry
Govt plans National Water Commission In one of the most significant reforms in the water sector in a long time, the govt is in the process of ordering a complete restructuring of the organisations responsible for regulating the use of water resources, with the objective of bringing in greater efficiency, better planning and increased emphasis on conservation of water. According to news report the Central Water Commission (CWC), which oversees irrigation projects, flood management and drinking water supply, and the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) are likely to be disbanded, and a National Water Commission is proposed to be set up in their place. A few other smaller organisations with specialised mandate like data gathering and analysis are also likely to be created.
A team under Mihir Shah, a former member of the then Planning Commission of India, is already preparing a blueprint for better management of water resources. The idea of institutional restructuring is said to have the backing of this panel. It is likely to submit its report in the next two months. In the new scheme of things, more emphasis is being given to judicious use, and conservation, of ground water. It is estimated that despite elaborate irrigation projects, about 60 per cent of irrigation during the non-rainy season is still done by pumping out ground water. The large irrigation projects, meanwhile, have given sub-optimal results.
A large number of sewage treatment plants, being built as part of the Clean Ganga initiative that will eventually spread to other rivers as well, will provide a new source of water that is fit not only for industrial use but also for irrigation and many other purposes. The river rejuvenation plans, not just of Ganga but others as well, will become an integral part of overall water resources management. Apart from reducing pollution in the rivers, and maintaining a minimum ecological flow, the rejuvenation plans would also ensure that the rivers are able to adequately recharge the aquifers in its basins.
Allocation of water resources to each state is also on the agenda. But this process is likely to take time as it would involve extensive consultations with the state governments. Once a consensus emerges, a central legislation on allocation of water resources is planned to be brought in. This is aimed at reducing inter-state water disputes.