Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 1 October 2018: Hungry Water Effect due to Dams & Unsustainable Sand Mining Worsened Kerala Floods

Dams and reservoirs make rivers sediment-starved and menacing manifold downstream. While heavy rainfall is also a key factor behind the floods, hungry water had a more pronounced effect, says D. Padmalal, Scientist and Head, Hydrological process group, National Centre for Earth Science Studies.

– “When the sediment transport is interrupted, the potential energy of the hungry water released from dams will scour the river banks downstream, uprooting trees or riparian vegetation and damaging bridges and other engineering structures,” explains Dr. Padmalal. Overloaded with silt and clay from the eroding river banks, the highly turbid and viscous water clogs drainage channels. Subsequent discharge of water from the dam will lead to inundation and waterlogging of large areas.

– Hungry water can also develop in high gradient river channels devoid of adequate quantity of sand and gravel, especially during periods of high rainfall. “Years of uncontrolled sand mining have left most of the rivers in Kerala depleted or exhausted of sand and gravel. This creates a situation similar to the release of hungry water from dams,” notes Dr. Padmalal. When the river channel has adequate supply of sand and gravel, the potential energy of the water is used to transport the mixture. The water does not scour the banks or turn muddy.

Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 1 October 2018: Hungry Water Effect due to Dams & Unsustainable Sand Mining Worsened Kerala Floods”

Dams · DRP News Bulletin

DRP News Bulletin 26 Sep 2016 (Victory to tribals protest; Jispa HEP calls back staff)

Finally, tribals struggle wins, sends Jispa HEP company packing up Facing stiff opposition from the tribal community against the construction of 300 MW Jispa Dam in Lahaul-Spiti valley has forced the Himachal Pradesh Power Corportaion Ltd (HPPCL) to suspend the project for the time being. The dam which was declared a project of national importance now has residents from 14 villages oppose it. HPPCL has invested Rs 3 crore and has stated that it would begin study work only when locals extend their support.

Since 2009, people from the Todh valley in Lahaul-Spiti district were opposing the Jispa Dam project proposed over Bhaga river, a tributarJy of Chenab at Jispa village. The government had sanctioned Rs 7,000 crore for this project but local residents did not allow officials to work in smoothly for three years now.

Confirming the development, managing director, HPPCL, D K Sharma told that some people were continuously opposing the project without realizing that construction of project could have ushered development in the area. He said constant opposition of local people had resulted into wastage of limited human resource so HPPCL board had decided to withdraw the manpower as project was only at investigation stage.

Continue reading “DRP News Bulletin 26 Sep 2016 (Victory to tribals protest; Jispa HEP calls back staff)”

Dams · Rivers

Bhatiyali: The Eternal Song of the River

ओ रे माँझी, ओ रे माँझी

मेरे साजन हैं उस पार, मैं मन मार , हूँ इस पार

ओ मेरे माँझी अब की बार ले चल पार, ले चल पार

Everything about this song: its words, its music, its picturisation and Sachin Deo (SD) Burman’s evocative voice mesmerizes me (I’m one of many others, I’m sure). I loved this song’s connect with rivers and used to repeat it over and over, till my (visibly exasperated) husband told me, “But did you not know? Rivers have influenced SD’s music a lot. He has talked about his lone ramblings on the Gumti in Tripura, listening to folk music based on rivers many times”. I did not know that. Continue reading “Bhatiyali: The Eternal Song of the River”

Dams

Happy World Rivers Day!!

Indians and South Asians dont need a reason to celebrate our rivers. Rivers, in their myriad avatars, are celebrated and worshipped across the Indian subcontinent, by religions like Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism alike.

Most of our rivers are dying and the living, healthy and free flowing rivers are increasingly threatened. Indian Rivers have NO legal protection and there is no law that says that rivers should have freshwater! In the absence of political will and transparent and democratic governance more and more rivers are being damaged, diverted, destroyed and dried.

The species of flowing rivers are dwindling, the communities that depend are them are becoming increasingly vulnerable, governance surrounding rivers is becoming more and more non-transparent, strait jacketed and ecologically destructive. Decision makers are refusing to accept the dynamics, linkages, interdependencies and LIFE of rivers.

Religions too, have FAILED miserably in protecting rivers that they seem to worship so publicly.

We need to understand and appreciate the meaning and value of a healthy, flowing and giving river. Is river only a channel supplying drinking water? Is it only an irrigation canal? Is it only a powerhouse of electricity? Is it only an open drain to transport our sewage and effluents? Is it only an abstract religious idea in which we wash our sins?

What is the worth of a flowing river for us and the decision makers?

We do need every excuse to celebrate, nurture and contemplate our rivers. We need to take time and think more deeply about our connected future.

Last sunday of Sepetmeber has been celebrated as World Rivers Day by a small province in Canada since the past 33 years. Down the years, many countries, organisations and groups have joined in and this year, World Rivrs Day is being celebrated in over 60 countries across the world. (http://worldriversday.com/) Link to SANDRPs Note on World Rivers Day last year: https://sandrp.in/rivers/World_Rivers_Day_PR_Sept_30_2012.pdf

On this occassion, we look at some of our most spectacular, generous and threatened rivers and hope that the coming year will give us more reasons to celebrate our rivers!

Mighty Ganga at Rishikesh Photo: Himanshu Thakkar, SANDRP
Mighty Ganga at Rishikesh Photo: Himanshu Thakkar, SANDRP
Ganga, completely dry downstream Bhimgouda Barrage, Haridwar Photo: Parineeta, SANDRP
Ganga, completely dry downstream Bhimgouda Barrage, Haridwar Photo: Parineeta, SANDRP

DevPrayag, confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi Rivers, forming Ganga, threatened by Kotlibhel dam projects. Photo: trekearth.com

DevPrayag, confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi Rivers, forming Ganga, threatened by Kotlibhel dam projects. Photo: trekearth.com
The beautiful Baspa River, a tributary of Satluj in himachal Pradesh. A river renowned for its scenic beauty and spectacular fish. now thretened by 300 MW Baspa II Hydel Project, without fish ladders or passes. Photo: Debashsih Dey
The beautiful Baspa River, a tributary of Satluj in Himachal Pradesh. A river renowned for its scenic beauty and spectacular fish. Now threatened by 300 MW Baspa II Hydel Project, without fish ladders or passes. Photo: Debashsih Dey
The beautiful Nyamjangchu River, Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, now threatened by the 780 MW Nyamjangchu Hydel Project. Photo courtesy: Tenzing Rab Monpa
The beautiful Nyamjangchu River, Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, now threatened by the 780 MW Nyamjangchu Hydel Project. Photo courtesy: Tenzing Rab Monpa
Breathtaking floodplains of the Lohit River, an important tributary of the Brahmaputra, threatened by the 1750 MW Lower Demwe Dam.  Photo: Neeraj Vagholikar
Breathtaking floodplains of the Lohit River, an important tributary of the Brahmaputra, threatened by the 1750 MW Lower Demwe Dam.
Photo: Neeraj Vagholikar

The Brahmaputra during monsoon in Matmora, Dhakukhana Sub-division, Lakhimpur District, Assam.  Photo – Parag Jyoti Saikia, SANDRP

The Brahmaputra during monsoon in Matmora, Dhakukhana Sub-division, Lakhimpur District, Assam.
Photo – Parag Jyoti Saikia, SANDRP

A woman weaving below a ‘Chang ghar’, a house made on an elevated platform. People from Mishing ethnic community live on chang ghars which is traditional way coping with floods. This photo taken in Matmora area of Dhakukhana subdivision also shows the backwaters of the river Brahmaputra. Photo – Parag Jyoti Saikia, SANDRP
A woman weaving below a ‘Chang ghar’, a house made on an elevated platform. People from Mishing ethnic community live on chang ghars which is traditional way coping with floods. This photo taken in Matmora area of Dhakukhana subdivision also shows the backwaters of the river Brahmaputra. Photo – Parag Jyoti Saikia, SANDRP

 

Railway track washed away in the flash floods of Gai River I Dhemaji district of Assam of 15th August 2011.  Photo – Parag Jyoti Saikia, SANDRP
Railway track washed away in the flash floods of Gai River in Dhemaji district of Assam of 15th August 2011.
Photo – Parag Jyoti Saikia, SANDRP 

 

Fish, preserved in nets along Brahmaputra. Photo: Himanshu Thakkar, SANDRP
Fish, preserved in nets along the mighty Brahmaputra. Photo: Himanshu Thakkar, SANDRP

Gundia River and surrounding forests threatened by the 200 MW Gundia Dam and Yettinahole Diversion Photo: SANDRP

Gundia River and surrounding forests threatened by the 200 MW Gundia Dam and Yettinahole Diversion Photo: SANDRP

Estuary of the free flowing Shashtri River in Maharashtra
Estuary of the free flowing Shashtri River in Maharashtra, one of teh last remaining free flowing rivers of the country Photo: SANDRP
Seetha Nadi, free flowing river in Karnataka Western Ghats. Photo: SANDRP
Seetha Nadi, free flowing river in Karnataka Western Ghats. Photo: SANDRP
Fishing in Vashishthi Estuary, Western Ghats. Photo: SANDRP
Fishing in Vashishthi Estuary, Western Ghats. Photo: SANDRP
The beautiful Cauvery, shackeled in many small hydel projects at the gaganchukki falls, Karnataka. Photo: SANDRP
The beautiful Cauvery, shackeled in many small hydel projects at the gaganchukki falls, Karnataka. Photo: SANDRP
The lovely bharachukki falls on Cuavery, also shackeled by many mini hydel projects. Photo: SANDRP
The lovely bharachukki falls on Cuavery, also shackeled by many mini hydel projects. Photo: SANDRP
Estuary of the Karli River in Western Ghats. Photo SANDRP
Estuary of the Karli River in Western Ghats. Photo SANDRP
Thinking like a River at Athirappilly Falls on Chalakudy River, threatned by 164 MW Athirappilly Hydel Project Photo: SANDRP
Thinking like a River at Athirappilly Falls on Chalakudy River, threatned by 164 MW Athirappilly Hydel Project Photo: SANDRP
Celebrating RIvers!! The Kumaradhara in Karnataka, near site for Kukke Stage II Mini Hydel Proejct Photo: SANDRP
Celebrating RIvers!! The Kumaradhara in Karnataka, near site for Kukke Stage II Mini Hydel Proejct Photo: SANDRP