Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin, 20 July, 2015

HYDROPOWER

NORTH-EAST ARUNACHAL PRADESH: Green clearance to Dibang Project challenged in NGT (17 July 2015) The 2880 MW Dibang Multipurpose Project will see construction of a mammoth 278-metre tall concrete gravity dam and it will submerge a vast forest area of 4,577.84 hectares or 45.77 sq km, of which major chunks are community forests. The forest land to be diverted is also a major habitat of endangered species such as tiger, leopard, snow leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Slow Loris, Himalayan Black bear, Leopard cat and Fishing Cat. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-green-clearance-to-country-s-biggest-proposed-hydro-project-challenged-in-ngt-2105267

Violations of Forest Conservation Act by 780 MW Nyamjangchu HEP in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh (12 July 2015) As per a recent RTI response received by RTI-cum-environment activist Rohit Choudhury, the Shillong-based NE regional office of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has found clear violations of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, by M/s NJC Hydro Power Ltd, which is developing the 780-MW Nyamjang Chhu project in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh. As per the memorandum of agreement signed with the Arunachal Pradesh Government by the company that is a special purpose vehicle of Bhilwara Energy Ltd (BEL), two small hydropower projects are also being built to provide construction power to the 780-MW Nyamjang Chhu project. http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/mdetails.asp?id=jul1215/at057

Arunachal Pradesh received Rs 1,495.62 crore as upfront money for hydel projects’: CM Nabam Tuki (16 July 2015) From the report “Tuki further informed that MoUs and MoAs were signed with 159 companies, including central PSUs and private companies, to execute power projects in the state with installed capacities of 46,938.02 mega watt.” http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articlesh…/48100949.cms…

ASSAM:  Assam wants to have its say Nyamjang Chhu Hydroelectric Project proposed in Arunachal Pradesh (19 July 2015) Do the Assamese people not have any stake in the hydroelectric power plants coming up in Arunachal Pradesh, as they are not residents of that State and hence their pleas for cumulative impact studies of such projects have no locus standi? http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=jul2015/at055

MANIPUR: Maphithel Dam in NGT (01 July 2015) “The filling of the reservoir should be stopped untill rehabilitation has been satisfactorily completed while free, prior and informed consent of the indigeneous people is taken on board. The militarization of the region, in the name of battling insurgents, too should be halted immediately. Lastly, all forms of involuntary displacement in violation of the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples Rights, 2007 and the recommendations of the World Commission on Dams, 2000 should be put to a stop. Now.” http://www.internationalrivers.org/blogs/328-20

SIKKIM: A film on hydropower in Sikkim (17 July 2015) excerpts of email from filmmaker Taylor Graham…. Taming the Teesta has been viewed over 8000 times on Vimeo and has been shared by multiple news outlets. The film focuses on the hydroelectric dam projects that have sprung into existence along the Teesta River. It follows those who have been directly affected by the hydropower development as well as those who are fighting back at the ill-planned and damaging mega-projects. Here is the Taming the Teesta link: https://vimeo.com/128624202 and here is the link to one of the interviews I’ve been asked to do since the release of Teesta, this one by the Darjeeling Chronicle:https://www.facebook.com/TheDarjeelingChronicle/videos/560224850781967/ .

HIMACHAL: Cloudburst damages Parbati-II and 100 MW HPPCL projects in Himachal (18 July 2015) Three workers of a contractor engaged by the HP State Forest Development Corporation Ltd were washed away in the Garsa valley after a #cloudburst struck Pancha Nullah uphill, a feeder tunnel of the under construction Parbati-II hydel project at Shilagarh, undertaken by the NHPC in Bhuntar subdivision of this district yesterday night. Another cloudburst in Shenshar Nullah in Sainj reportedly damaged some portions of the under-construction 100 MW hydel project undertaken by Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd (HPPCL). Makhan Singh, GM of Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), a private company engaged in the project, stated that a temporary residential colony at Samba and a crusher were damaged. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/cloudburst-washes-away-3-in-kullu-s-garsa-valley/108002.html

SOUTH:  Karnataka scrapped 112 mini-hydroelectric project proposals (15 July 2015) Great to see this. Many problems with the report, but at least the news is good. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/112-mini-hydroelectric-Project-Proposals-Scrapped/2015/07/15/article2921138.ece

DAMS

One-third of Maharashtra state dams need urgent repairs: (17 July 2015) A third of the major dams across the Maharashtra state have developed defects that need immediate repairs, shows a survey by the irrigation department Maharashtra. According to the survey report, three major dams —Ambeghar and Kudki dam in Konkan’s Raigad, and Nignur in Vidarbha’s Yavatmal — had defects that could lead to failure and were a threat to dam safety. http://indianexpress.com/…/one-third-of-state-dams-need-ur…/

The Impending Dam Disaster in the Himalayas (14 July 2015)  Indian Dams in Himalayas could prove to be dangerous in the event of an earthquake: “The Nepal earthquakes also destabilized the region to the west, notes Laurent Bollinger, a seismologist at the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission. Destabilization makes a great earthquake, which is defined as having a magnitude of 8.0 or higher, more likely to occur sooner rather than later… Similarly Tehri Dam never underwent realistic simulations, asserts Gaur, who served on its oversight committee, along with civil engineer R. N. Iyengar, formerly of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-impending-dam-disaster-in-the-himalayas/

INTERSTATE WATER DISPUTES 

Telangana’s plan to more irrigation projects on Godavari irks Andhra govt. (17 July 2015) From the report “The Telangana government on Thursday opened a potential new front in the water wars with Andhra Pradesh by declaring that it will build projects on Godavari river in the state with a total storage and usage capacity of 400 tmc ft of water. Andhra Pradesh is already opposing some projects on Krishna river proposed by the Telangana government, particularly the Palamuru-Ranga Reddy lift irrigation scheme, which it says cuts into AP’s share of river water” http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Telangana-plans-more-irrigation-projects-on-Godavari/articleshow/48105409.cms

Water dispute between Punjab and Haryana (16 July 2015) he tussle between Punjab and Haryana over water sharing just got more intense. With Punjab not willing to release water in the Hansi-Butana canal, the Haryana government was not letting the Punjab government canalise the Ghaggar near Khanauri that was located on the interstate border, said sources. The Punjab government wants to complete the work to stop Ghaggar flooding its villages every monsoon. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/haryana-not-letting-us-tame-ghaggar-govt/107290.html

INTER LINKING OF RIVERS

Prof. Sanwar Lal Jat seeks Co-Operation of States (14 July 2015) Union Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Prof. Sanwar Lal Jat has asked States with sufficient water resources to appreciate the national need for Inter-Linking of Rivers (ILR) with a spirit of good will and co-operation. Chairing the 5th meeting of the Special Committee for inter-linking of Rivers held in New Delhi today he said this mega project will go a long way in enhancing water and food security of the country. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=123206

River interlinking not just about water and money (18 July 2015) The idea of transferring surplus water from one river to another in a deficit area would be tempting to any planner. Yet the UPA government for long moved slowly on this. There were reasons, which remain unchanged — cost-benefit balance, environment, human displacement and, the biggest of all, political disagreement.The Ken-Betwa link is also the worst example environmentally. It is going to drown a significant chunk of the Panna National Park that has been acclaimed for the first successful tiger reintroduction project. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/editorials/too-many-links-ignored/107934.html

Would not share water with Gujarat: Maharashtra (15 July 2015) States of Maharashtra and Gujrat are on logger heads over sharing of water from Par-Tapi-Narmada link. Maharashtra also rejected National Water Development Agency (NWDA) formula on water sharing with Gujrat. Maharashtra has demanded ‘water for water’ from Gujrat or let it go into sea. Maharashtra’s share from Par-Tapi-Narmada link is around 500 MCM but that state is not in position to use this water. Firstly the state will have to invest Rs. 11,000 crore for the proposed link. Then it would need spending of Rs. 1600 crore on annual basis to lift the water upto 200 ft to be able to supply it for irrigation. The expensive venture will earn revenue amount not more than Rs. 400 crore thus the state will suffer a loss of Rs. 1200 crore every year. The NWDA had worked out a formula and suggested Maharashtra to give its share to Gujrat. But Maharashtra has refused to accept this and has demanded equal amount of water from Gujrat in exchange of water.  http://epaper.bhaskar.com/detail/?id=592583&boxid=71513752984&view=text&editioncode=194&pagedate=07/15/2015&pageno=1&map=map&ch=cph

Projects worth 2200 crore for Narmada Vanvaasi irrigation link approved (12 July 2015) District Administration Aalirajpur has approved the Naramda Vanvaasi irrigation link project. As per the project plan the Naramda river water from Sardar Sarovar reservoir area will be lifted to areas between Aalirajpur and Dholkheda by construction of a irrigation canal. Shekhar Varma, district collector Aalirajpur stated that this project will resolve irrigation water crisis greatly in the district. The project will be completed in three phases and an amount of 582.80 crore has been approved for it. http://epaper.bhaskar.com/detail/?id=591397&boxid=71213325328&view=text&editioncode=194&pagedate=07/12/2015&pageno=4&map=map&ch=cph

MONSOON

Cumulative Rainfall till 19 July 2015

Cumulative Rainfall Map upto 19 July 2015 (Source: IMD)

Cumulative Rainfall Map upto 19 July 2015 (Source: IMD)

http://www.imd.gov.in/section/nhac/dynamic/Monsoon_frame.htm

Skymet may revise forecast as rains across country stand 32% below average (17 July 2015) Private weather forecaster Skymet may revise its monsoon forecast by the end of this month as it expects July rains to be less than its earlier forecast. Skymet has forecast monsoon rains to be 102 per cent of its long period average this year while IMD has predicted only 88 per cent of the average. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/indicators/monsoon-watch-skymet-may-revise-forecast-as-rains-across-country-stand-32-below-average/articleshow/48106239.cms

Prolonged dry spells continue over Central and parts of South India (16 July 2015) The entire belt from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, western Madhya Pradesh and the whole of south India have posted deficient precipitation during July 1-15. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/monsoon-tracker-dry-july/

DROUGHT 

Causes behind Vidarbha and Marathwada scanty rains (14 July 2015) From the report ” Vidarbha and Marathwada are most vulnerable to the impact of poor monsoon. A significant population is dependent on rain-fed agriculture and thus any changes in rainfall and temperature significantly impacts their lives. Other weather systems such as Western Disturbance and Monsoon trough do not reach that far and thus do not impact the rainfall status in Marathwada.” http://www.skymetweather.com/content/weather-news-and-analysis/scanty-monsoon-rains-in-vidarbha-marathwada/

AGRICULTURE

Amalgamation of Solar Photovoltaic Water Pumping System for Irrigation under the “Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization” (16 July 2015) Ministry of Agriculture, with the consensus of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, has introduced solar energy pumping systems under the” Sub Mission on Agriculture Mechanization” implemented through State Governments to cope up with the growing demand of solar pumping systems in irrigation. The detail information regarding financial assistance & its implementation are available in the operational guidelines of “Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM)” which may be downloaded from the Website. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=123337

Farmer deaths up by 5% in 2014 (18 July 2015) Rural India fared badly last year, with farm distress peaking and 12,360 farmers and agricultural labourers committing suicide, new data released on Friday showed. Three states accounted for over half of these farm suicides in 2014—Maharashtra (4,004), Telangana (1,347) and Madhya Pradesh (1,198). Agrarian distress peaked last year due to a deficit monsoon, low prices of key crops, such as rice, wheat and cotton, and a slump in rural wages. The report also, for the first time, listed causes of farm suicides. Of the 5,650 farmer suicides reported in 2014, “bankruptcy and indebtedness” was the leading cause, accounting for 20.6% of the cases. http://www.livemint.com/Politics/RT43A6oFJSchKkew0SP9YN/Farm-distress-led-to-12360-suicides-in-2014.html

Unexpected dry monsoon spell give rise to farmer woes (16 July 2015) From the report “For millions of farmers, where three fifths of the population depend on agriculture for their livelihood, the fate of a single crop can be the difference between life and death. The official forecast remains that this year India could suffer its first drought since 2009 because of El Nino, which can lead to scorching weather across Asia.” http://www.businessinsider.in/Unexpected-dry-monsoon-spell-give-rise-tofarmer-woes/articleshow/48101577.cms

Farmers in parched village switch from sugarcane to gerbera flowers (16 July 2015) There is still little sign of monsoon in this village of Osmanabad district in Maharashtra’s Marathwada region, which seems headed for a second consecutive drought year. But amidst this depressing sight of bright and blue skies at this time and vast stretches of land dotted with thorny bushes serving as fodder for goats and sheep, a handful of farmers still hold out hope. They have got together to cultivate gerbera, a flower plant popularly known as African daisy. For these farmers, it marks the beginning of an alternative to sugarcane cultivation requiring large quantities of water — a clearly unsustainable proposition today. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/farmers-in-parched-village-switch-from-sugarcane-to-gerbera-flowers/

IRRIGATION

Reservoir Level Update As on 16 July 2015:- The Water storage available in 91 important reservoirs of the country as on July 16 2015 was 51.22 BCM which is 33% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This storage is 133% of the storage of corresponding period of last year and 112% of storage of average of last ten years. The present storage position during current year is better than the storage position of last year and is also better than the storage of average of last ten years. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=123359

Draft Operational Guidelines of PMKSY Approved (14 July 2015) Union Agriculture Minister, Shri Radha Mohan Singh has approved the Draft Operational Guidelines of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) which was formulated in consultation with different Ministries/Departments including other stakeholders. The PMKSY guidelines has been uploaded on the website of DAC (www.agricoop.nic.in ) and also circulated to Chief Secretary of all the States for their valuable suggestions. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=123257

Breach in Karnal drain, over 500 acres of paddy flooded (15 July 2015) More than 500 acres in five villages of the district have been flooded as a result of a breach in Piyont drain yesterday. Paddy fields in Piyont, Shekhpura, Manchuri, Alawla and Jalmana villages have been submerged. Tube wells and rooms in the fields, too, have been submerged. Farmers said non-desilting of the drain was responsible for the flooding and alleged the drain was full with hyacinth. The banks of the drain were weak, they said. The Irrigation Department, however, refuted the claim of a breach in the drain. It claimed fields had been submerged because of rainwater. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/breach-in-karnal-drain-over-500-acres-of-paddy-flooded/106657.html

Maharashtra Govt may review 189 irrigation projects cleared by Ajit Pawar (20 July 2015) Following a court order, the state government is likely to review all the 189 irrigation projects cleared outside the scope of the Integrated State Water Development Plan (ISWDP) between 2007 and 2013 to ascertain irregularities and also check if the Governor’s directives were violated. A source in the Water Resources department told The Indian Express, “The interim order of the Aurangabad Bench of Bombay High Court responding to a public interest litigation has directed us to furnish all the details related to sanction and procedure followed in 189 irrigation projects.”  http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/govt-may-review-189-irrigation-projects-cleared-by-ajit-pawar/

MWRRA admits Ajit Pawar pressurised it to clear 189 irrigation projects  (14 July 2015)  Shocking to see Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority’s admission in Aurangabad Court yesterday that it cleared whopping 189 projects without any integrated State Plan, any River Basin Management Plans or any integrated approach (which was its main mandate), together costing nearly 6000 Crores. It also admitted that it did this due to pressure from then-WRD Minister Ajit Pawar. MWRRA is not a small department under the WRD to be pressurised like this. Its supposed to be an Appellate, Quasi Judicial Authority on its own. Shameful to see this admission. It speaks volumes about institutional structures put up without any accountability and participation which serve only as Pork Barrel Institutions for the political class. http://epaper.loksatta.com/c/5867768

WATER

URBAN WATER:  Experts say it could take THREE YEARS to upgrade Delhi’s drainage system (14 July 2014) Delhi’s monsoon troubles, including the water-logging crippling the city’s traffic flow, look to be far from over. The city faces at least two more monsoon mayhem seasons before it can enjoy a smooth drive in pouring rain. Delhi’s new drainage master plan will be ready by this year-end but the results will start showing only about 30 months after the project begins. That’s roughly three years. The last plan was prepared in 1976 and never reviewed, while Delhi’s population has since gone up threefold.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-3159863/Experts-say-THREE-YEARS-upgrade-Delhi-s-drainage-system.html

WATER GOVERNANCE: Louis Berger paid $976,630 bribe to win water projects in Goa, Guwahati (18 July 2015) Construction management firm Louis Berger has been charged with bribing Indian officials several crores of rupees to win two major water developmental projects in Goa and Guwahati. The bribery of $976,630 for a Goa project included payments to a Minister, the details of which have not been disclosed by the Department of Justice. On Friday, the company agreed to pay $17.1 million criminal fine to resolve charges that it bribed officials in India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Kuwait to secure government construction management contracts. Two of its former executives — Richard Hirsch (61) of Philippines, and James McClung (59) of the UAE — pleaded guilty to the bribery charges. Sentencing hearings for Hirsch and McClung are scheduled for November 5, 2015. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/us-firm-paid-976000-bribe-to-win-water-projects-in-goa-guwahati/article7438118.ece

Govt may purchase land from farmers for Yettinahole project (15 July 2015) Yettinahole and its illegal ways again: “The government is exploring all possibilities to expedite the project. Social impact study has to be conducted as per the Land Acquisition(the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act) Act ,2013. It would consume a lot of time. So the government is looking into the possibility of purchasing the land directly from farmers for the project,” the minister said while intervening in a discussion on the Water Resources Department in the Assembly. http://www.deccanherald.com/content/489306/govt-may-purchase-land-farmers.html

Delhi Jal Board to hand over water supply to people in 6 colonies, treat sewage locally under Jan Jal Prabandhan (16 July 2015) The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has decided to start a pilot project in six areas to give bulk water to colonies, which will be free to decide on how to distribute it. Delhi Jal Board CEO SS Yadav said the Jan Jal Prabandhan scheme will entail giving bulk supply connections to communities, treating sewage locally and using the treated water for bathing purposes. Handing over the entire water supply to the community, however, is still a step away and the DJB will manage it initially. http://paper.hindustantimes.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

प्यासी दिल्ली नहीं बचा सकी बारिश का पानी; फाइलों तक सीमित है जल संरक्षण (14 July 2015) दिल्लीमें पिछले एक पखवाड़े में खूब बारिश हुई, लेकिन बारिश का पानी धरती के नीचे जाने की बजाय नालों के जरिए यमुना में चला गया। सरकारी एजेंसियों की लापरवाही की वजह से दिल्ली में जलसंरक्षण के आदेश को ठेंगा दिखाया जा रहा है, परिणामस्वरूप दिल्ली का जलस्तर लगातार नीचे जा रहा है। खास बात यह है कि 15 साल पहले ही जल संरक्षण के लिए सरकार ने अधिसूचना जारी कर दिया था, बावजूद इसके बारिश का पानी संरक्षित होने के बजाय नालों में जा रहा है। पर्यावरणविदहिमांशु ठक्कर कहते हैं कि यदि केवल दिल्ली के सभी पार्क, फ्लाईओवर, स्टेशन, मेट्रो स्टेशन, कॉलेज, सरकारी इमारत, होटल, मॉल्स इत्यदि पर जलसंरक्षण के उपकरण लगा दिए जाएं तो काफी हद तक हम बारिश का पानी संरक्षित कर सकते हैं। http://epaper.bhaskar.com/detail/?id=592227&boxid=7141472578&view=text&editioncode=194&pagedate=07/14/2015&pageno=2&map=map&ch=cph

WATER OPTIONS:   DJB commissioned study on Bhati Mines potential as flood water strorage (17 July 2015) Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has commissioned a study to assess whether it can store floodwaters in the pits of Bhatti Mines and recharge the groundwater table in the area. A preliminary report has suggested that 2.3 million cubic metre of water can be stored in the area. Bhatti Mines were quartzite mines located in south Delhi. While mining stopped several years ago, the area is now full of pits, many of which are already full of water. Despite that, groundwater level in the region is extremely low. DJB has proposed to draw water from the Yamuna during floods and pump into as many pits as possible. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Can-Bhatti-Mines-store-flood-water/articleshow/48106605.cms

Revive natural drains, harvest rain, remove concretisation to prevent water logging in Delhi: Experts (14 July 2015) The massive waterlogging, traffic jams and inconvenience that Delhiites experienced over the weekend could have been avoided if, as environmentalists say, rainwater was diverted and stored, and the surface runoff prevented. Every monsoon, the city goes through the same drill — it pours, the civic bodies get caught off-guard, water accumulates on roads, the traffic becomes a nightmare and authorities blame each other. A year later, the cycle repeats itself. However, experts say if rainwater harvesting and de-concretisation programmes are carried out across the city, the monsoons will become an enjoyable season in Delhi instead of a dreaded one. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/revive-natural-drains-remove-concretisation-say-experts/article7418913.ece

A community managed Well in Jodhpur (Rajasthan) unfailingly quenching thirst of 10 thousands villagers for past 8 decades (13 July 2015) About 10 thousands villagers depend on a well for drinking water in Khairwa village in Pali block of Jodhpur. The well was donated to villagers by brother Nainuram and Mohanlal way back in 1935. Both brother had got dug this well and it contained sweet water. The brother worked for the royal family of then that had sole water use right over the well. During the famine of 1935-36 the brother donated the well to villagers seeing widespread water crisis. The villagers collect money annually to clean the well. Surprising the water level is constant at 50 feet and registered no drop despite withdrawal of 3-4 lakh litre of water on daily basis.  http://epaper.bhaskar.com/detail/?id=591859&boxid=71312949578&view=text&editioncode=194&pagedate=07/13/2015&pageno=13&map=map&ch=cph

RIVERS

POLLUTION: PCMC gets notice for pollution in Pavana river (19 July 2015) The notice issued last month directed PCMC to seek consent under the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, from the board within a period of 60 days. The secondary treated sewage has to be mandatorily sold for the use of non-potable purposes, such as industrial processes, railways and bus cleaning, flushing of toilets through dual piping, horticulture and irrigation. No potable water shall be allowed for such activities. The methane gas arising from digesters has to be used for captive power generation to improve viability of sewage treatment plants. There should be a time-bound action plan to set up a sewerage system covering proper collection, treatment and disposal of sewage, the notice said.  http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/environment/pollution/pcmc-gets-notice-for-pollution-in-pavana-river/articleshow/48129594.cms

FLOOD: Flood Impact 2015 Update (19 July 2015) As of now, flood has impacted the lives of 242170 human population. So far 182 people have died in 35 affected districts. The number of livestock including poultry died due to flood has increased to 53190. Overall estimated value of total damage (in lakhs) is 40,34,46,775 /-. For more details kindly visit http://www.ndmindia.nic.in/flood-2015/floodsJuly-2015.htm

Flood situation grim in Assam (16 July 2015)

SWIRLING WATERS:A woman wades through flood water at a village in Sonitpur district of Assam on Wednesday. Nearly 65,000 people in over 155 villages across the State have been affected in the flood, following incessant rain.— PHOTO: PTI

SWIRLING WATERS:A woman wades through flood water at a village in Sonitpur district of Assam on Wednesday. Nearly 65,000 people in over 155 villages across the State have been affected in the flood, following incessant rain.— PHOTO: PTI

Nearly 65,000 people in over 155 villages across the Assam State have been affected in the flood, following incessant rain. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/situation-grim-in-assam/article7426931.ece

2 yrs on, Haryana state yet to reply to Centre on Ghaggar issue (18 July 2015) Ghaggar, called “the river of sorrow”, continues to cause floods every year but the Punjab and Haryana governments dither on making plans to tame it. Both governments pass the buck at each other for delaying the matter. Though the Punjab Government claims to be making efforts to find a solution to the problem and blames Haryana for Ghaggar’s fury, documents available with The Tribune present a completely different picture. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/2-yrs-on-state-yet-to-reply-to-centre-on-ghaggar-issue/108176.html

Swan River Punjab in spate, fields inundated (18 July 2015) Hundreds of acres were inundated in villages near Anandpur Sahib when the water level in the Swan river rose sharply due to heavy rain in the region this morning. The district administration has asked residents of affected villages, whose houses are in low-lying areas, to shift to safer places. At 9 am today, 14,000 cusecs of water was flowing in the seasonal Swan river. Noticing a heavy inflow of water at the Bhakra Dam, the Bhakra Beas Management Board authorities released 13,700 cusecs of water in the Sutlej, which further merged with the Swan at Lodipur village near Anandpur Sahib. Water crossed over the damaged bundh and entered the fields. The villages affected are Mataur, Burj, Lodhipur, Dasgrain, Hariwal, Ballowal, Mehndli Kalan Lower Baddal, Nikkuwal, and Chandpur Bela. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/swan-in-spate-fields-inundated/108177.html

Sangrur (Punjab) farmers oppose admn’s move to break Ghaggar bandh (17 July 2015) Fearing damage to their crops, farmers from Karrail and Ballran villages today opposed the district administration’s move to break a bandh on the Ghaggar near a college in Moonak. The administration reportedly wanted to break the bandh to prevent the floodwater from entering residential areas. Crops in hundreds of acres have already been damaged since the Ghaggar has overflowed. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/community/sangrur-farmers-oppose-admn-s-move-to-break-ghaggar-bandh/107804.html

Floodwaters enter Sirhind; red alert in Fatehgarh Sahib (Punjab) (19 July 2015) The district administration today issued a red alert as the low-lying areas of Sirhind town and more than 48 villages were submerged this morning due to the overflowing Sirhind choe. The floodwaters entered the low-lying areas in and around the district administrative complex housing the offices of the Deputy Commissioner and police chief. Several offices and clubs operating in the buildings along the choe have been closed. A portion of the boundary wall of the Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College collapsed after flood waters entered the college premises. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/story/108472.html

Sirhind choe (Punjab) overflows, fields in 100 villages flooded (14 July 2015) Thousands of acres of agricultural land in around 100 villages in the district were submerged as the Sirhind choe overflowed in view of the heavy rain in the region. A survey of the district revealed that several fields were submerged in knee-deep water as drains passing through the district were overflowing. Nearly 155 mm rainfall was recorded in the region in the past three days as compared to 216 mm rainfall in 2010. Local residents alleged the area was flooded as Sirhind choe that originated from Khara in Mohali district had been encroached upon. Revenue Department records show the width of the choe had decreased from around 100 feet to 20 feet. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/sirhind-choe-overflows-fields-in-100-villages-flooded/106407.html

RIVER REVIVAL: Water table comes up along Kali Bein, desilting gives results (09 July 2015) Salutes to this great work: “At a time when the underground water table in most parts of the state has gone down drastically, water table in Sultanpur Lodhi has risen from one to two meters after the bed of rivulet Kali Bein was desilted. The desilting of stretch downstream Sultanpur Lodhi was started in 2005. “A very thick layer of silt had completely blocked seepage of water into the ground. After it was desilted and flow of fresh water started from Mukerian Hydel Channel, the water table started recharging,” said environmentalist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal, who lead the cause of cleaning the 164-km long historic rivulet.” http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/Water-table-comes-up-along-Kali-Bein-desilting-gives-results/articleshow/47995964.cms

Respect river space to save Hindon (18 July 2015) Apart from effluents and municipal discharge, the rain-fed rivers of western Uttar Pradesh also face issues of encroachment, disappearance of its supporting water bodies and underperforming sewage treatment plants. In a river panchayat held on June 11 in Delhi, eminent environmentalists, water activists, senior state and central government officials gathered to chalk out a strategy to infuse a fresh lease of life into the dying river. http://paper.hindustantimes.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

SAND-MINING: Lady tehsildar assaulted by MLA for objecting illegal sand mining in Andhara Pradesh ( 09 July 2015) D Vanajakshi, tehsildar of Musunuru, had visited a site of sand mining in the district on Wednesday and ordered that commercial sand mining there be stopped. Prabhakara Rao reached the spot and objected to her action. Some women present there allegedly dragged the tehsildar away from the spot, in the presence of Rao, revenue officials and police. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-lady-tehsildar-allegedly-assaulted-andhra-pradesh-govt-seeks-report-2103278

NARMADA: On 30th anniversary Narmada Dam oustees question govt. on rehabilitation issue (19 July 2015) The 30th anniversary of the Narmada dam oustees’ struggle for rehabilitation and resettlement is a time for reflection on a just land acquisition Bill that makes the consent of owners and a proper Social Impact Assessment (SIA) mandatory. The people who are on dharna at the Jantar Mantar here questioned the government about the rehabilitation of the people displaced by large projects. “Let us first know how many of the 10 crore people displaced by various projects [after Independence] have been rehabilitated and to what use the land acquired has been put,” asked the people displaced by dam projects in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/dam-oustees-question-govt-on-rehabilitation-issue/article7439154.ece

GANGA:  12 villages hold panchayat to stop sand mining in Ganga (15 July 2015) A dozen villages in Bijnor held a panchayat on Wednesday against indiscriminate sand mining in their area because of which Ganga is gradually changing its course and moving towards the inhabited areas. More than 1,000 villagers threatened a massive agitation if the state government did not take concrete steps to stop illegal sand mining in the area. Villages alleged that the river is now flowing at an alarming distance from them due to exhaustive sand mining being carried out allegedly by contractors who were tasked to clean up the river.  After villagers held protests and pelted stones at the contractor’s menon Monday, an FIR was lodged against eight villagers. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/meerut/12-villages-hold-panchayat-to-stop-sand-mining-in-Ganga/articleshow/48090197.cms

Clean Ganga campaign moves at snail’s pace in state (16 July 2015) The report highlights that sewage is entering non-stop into Holy Ganga directly and via natural streams and tributaries right from her homestate. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/…/articlesh…/48103803.cms

National Mission for Clean Ganga to undertake first unified dolphin survey  (14 July 2015) From the report “As per an estimate, the number of dolphins in the Ganga was around 3,500 in 2014, a drastic drop from over 5,000 in the early 1980s due to a variety of reasons. The decline in Ganga dolphins clearly warns us about the poor status of the river. Industrial pollution, pesticides, unregulated use of fishing nets, arbitrary sand mining, poaching and accidental deaths are cited as major threats to the survival of these dolphins. Officials claim anywhere between 10 and 15 per cent of Ganga river dolphin are killed annually. In fact, Ganga river dolphins are like the tigers of forests. These dolphins are in the top position of the food chain in the eco-system of the river. So, their growth is important for the good health of river Ganga. http://social.yourstory.com/2015/07/ganga-river-dolphin/

YAMUNA: ‘Sewage plants alone can’t clean Yamuna’ (17 July 2015) According to experts, the NGTs judgment on Yamuna is a landmark judgment and probably the dying river’s only hope for a clean-up. http://paper.hindustantimes.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

Green revival – Snakes last seen in 1940s found at Yamuna bio park (18 July 2015) From the report ” Commonly known as Seibold’s water snake, it may have been last seen in the capital in the 1940s, the team has subsequently found. Members are jubilant as it’s an indicator that important swamp reptile species can be revived—with some effort. Not much is known about this species of snake. It’s not a very rare one for other river or swamp habitats. But in Delhi it is really rare. The snake was last mentioned as part of fauna in British India in 1943 by Smith. The same reference appears in a publication by Zoological Survey of India in 1996.” http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/…/articles…/48120278.cms

HARNANDI: Once the lifeline of western UP, Hindon is just a toxic drain now (14 July 20015) The river may be almost dead but its horrors are alive and festering in Delhi’s backyard, slowly killing the Yamuna. The Hindon and its two tributaries — the Krishna and Kali – used to be the principal sources of water for nearby towns and villages but are heavily polluted now, adding tons of sewage to the already-choked Yamuna. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/once-the-lifeline-of-western-up-hindon-is-just-a-toxic-drain-now/article1-1368953.aspx

Polluted Hindon no more a sacred river (17 July 2015) Once revered like the Ganga by locals, the river has lost its connect with the people due to its dirty state. http://cjr7.com/polluted-hindon-no-more-a-sacred-river/

Release of Ganga water in polluted Hindon is waste of water: Experts (17 July 2015) The large amount of water that is released in to the river burdens the available water resources. This water could be used to provide drinking water to thousands of residents daily. http://paper.hindustantimes.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

Hindon tributary chokes under garbage (16 July 2015) Kali, once a healthy tributary of the Hindon and lifeline to hundreds of villages in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur and Muzaf far nag ar districts, is now struggling to survive, choking under tonnes of garbage and industrial effluents. http://paper.hindustantimes.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

Krishni: A river of deaths and diseases (15 July 2015) The Hindon tributary has brought respiratory, skin diseases, lung infections, abdominal disorders and even cancer for villagers living nearby. http://paper.hindustantimes.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

WETLANDS:

Lack of oxygen kills hundreds of fish in Rewalsar Lake in Himachal (14 July 2015) The deaths have been taking place in the lake, which is of religious importance, for the past many years during the rainy season. Rewalsar Nagar Panchayat president Bansi Lal said 3 quintals of the dead fish had been taken out of the lake and buried in a ditch. Assistant Director, Fisheries Department, Mahesh Kumar said overfeeding and overpopulation were the main reasons behind the deaths. Experts said pollution was the main reason behind the deaths. The poor sewerage system of Rewalsar is further aggravating the problem as contaminated water flows into the lake. As faith restrains one from eating these fish, the population has gone up to an alarming level. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/community/hundreds-of-fish-found-dead-in-rewalsar-lake/106280.html

Thousands of fish left by increasing pollution in Shukratal, Muzzafarnagar UP (07 July 2015) Increase in pollution caused death of thousands of fish in Shukratal Muzzafarnagar. The water of the lake has turned black and devotees have refrained from bathing in it. Local people protested against the district administration stating that it surrounding industries, time and again  keep discharging polluted water in the Lake. Mass fish death has become an annual phenomena in the lake. The Shukratal is of highly religious importance and is also popular as second Haridwar. Devotees in large numbers visit the lake round the year to have a holy dip. http://epaper.jansatta.com/537179/Jansatta.com/Jansatta-Hindi-07072015#page/1/1 Times of India news report dated 14 July 2010 on the same can be seen at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/Fresh-samples-collected-of-holy-waters-from-Shukratal/articleshow/6174022.cms

SOUTH ASIA

India is not responsible for our water crisis: Pakistan (13 July 2015) Rao Irshad Ali, Chairman, Indus River System Authority today rejecting to the rumours coming out from a section of media stated that India is not violating Indus Water Treaty and is not responsible for ongoing water crisis in Pakistan. Briefing a Parliament Standing Committee on Water and Power, he said that India is in fact using much less the water it is entitled to under the treaty. http://epaper.bhaskar.com/detail/?id=591852&boxid=7131293093&view=text&editioncode=194&pagedate=07/13/2015&pageno=13&map=map&ch=cph

CHINA

China begins construction of ‘world’s tallest’ Shuangjiankou dam (15 July 2015) From the report “Millions of people have been forced to relocate because of dam building in the country in recent decades, often with little compensation. Environmentalists say that the dams have caused large declines in fish stocks and other aquatic life. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/china-begins-construction-of-worlds-tallest-shuangjiankou-dam/articleshow/48083932.cms

ASIA

Poisoned legacy:- Uranium in Central Asia (16 July 2015) The local health effects are anecdotally heartbreaking, if poorly studied. Neighbouring countries worry. The river through Mailuu-Suu is prone to earthquakes and floods. It is only about 15 miles (25km) upstream from Central Asia’s breadbasket, the Fergana Valley, which is home to over 10m people. Every few years landslides block the flow, threatening to flood the dumps and wash radionuclides over the melon patches and cornfields downstream. A European aid official warns of a “creeping environmental disaster”. http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21657431-vast-region-suffers-soviet-unions-radioactive-hangover-poisoned-legacy

El Nino Tightens Grip in Asia as Rice, Soy Seen in Jeopardy (14 July 2015) El Nino risks disrupting harvests worldwide by reducing rainfall in Australia and altering patterns across South America as well as baking parts of Asia. Central Thailand is the driest in more than 20 years and India’s monsoon is heading for the first back-to-back shortfall in three decades. The inflation-boosting effect of the first El Nino since 2010 also poses a risk to the global economy, Citigroup Inc. says. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-15/el-nino-tightens-grip-in-asia-as-rice-soybeans-seen-in-jeopardy

WORLD

Small scale hydropower can provide stream of new jobs to rural regions (16 July 2015) Community owned and managed micro hydro projects are the way forward. The report emphasizes the and underlines that…. “Community ownership:The very nature of the technology involved, with a comparatively low capital investment and dependency on particular geographical features, makes it ideally suited to community ownership. The price of a typical installation varies, depending largely on size, with a typical installation costing £5,000-£8,000 per kW. For anything but truly tiny schemes this will be out of reach of all but wealthy individuals. However, it is within the grasp of of community ownership. And it is this community ownership that offers the key to unlocking the economic potential of hard-to-reach rural areas.” http://www.theguardian.com/…/community-hydropower-schemes-u…

Toms River: Pollution and its cancerous wake (18 July 2015) Toms River Chemical was now not only discharging five million gallons of wastewater directly into the river every day, it was also withdrawing at least five million gallons of clean upstream water to cool equipment (among other purposes) before returning it to the Toms. This “cooling water” picked up nitrobenzene and other chemicals during its labyrinthine journey through the plant. In addition, another two hundred thousand gallons of chemical-laced groundwater flowed off the property every day and seeped into the river through its sandy banks. The feeble stream was simply overwhelmed by the deluge of industrial waste. http://www.greenbiz.com/article/toms-river-pollution-and-its-cancerous-wake

Experts urges Obama administration to update Water-Pollution Rules for Power Plants  (09 July 2015) From the report “Air pollution has been getting a lot of attention lately, since the Obama administration is expected to finalize its carbon emission standards soon. But water pollution from power plants is a big problem, too. For decades, the energy industry has had virtually free rein to release toxins into the same waters that people depend on for drinking, fishing, and swimming. ” http://www.psmag.com/nature-and-technology/water-pollution-rules-for-power-plants-need-an-update-too

CLIMATE CHANGE

Warming of oceans due to climate change is unstoppable, say US scientists (16 July 2015) Scientists said the consequences of those warmer ocean temperatures would be felt for centuries to come – even if there were immediate efforts to cut the carbon emissions fuelling changes in the oceans. http://www.theguardian.com/…/warming-of-oceans-due-to-clima…

New climate change report predicts increase in floods, food scarcity, water conflicts and migration are key risks: report (14 July 2015) “The Ganga basin could face flooding once every five years rather than once in 30 years as currently estimated and the chances of a so-called 100-year flood event hitting Kolkata could grow by a thousand times due to climate change, climate scientists said in a report on Monday. The report said that the incidence of extreme drought affecting cropland could increase by about 50% in the US and South Asia, threatening food security.”   http://www.livemint.com/Politics/FfdNgalxJeQOCCMR45waTL/Floods-food-scarcity-water-conflicts-and-migration-are-key.html

Javadekar Urges Developed World not to Introduce New Agenda, Says Let Paris be the Celebration of a New Agreement (19 July 2015) Intervention by Environment Minister at the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate Change at Luxembourg Reacting to suggestions from some countries that “Annexes” should not be reflected in the new agreement as INDCs will themselves result in differentiation through self-differentiation, Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar has cautioned the developed world that for the success of Paris and for giving a chance to the action under NDCs, no new agenda should be introduced at this late hour. Shri Javadekar was making an intervention at the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate Change at Luxembourg today. http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=123380

ENVIRONMENT                                                                                                                    

Road to mayhem: Infrastructure projects affect protected habitats (19 July 2015) From the report “In Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, the proposed linking of the Ken and Betwa rivers stands to submerge 4,600 hectares of the Panna Tiger Reserve, affecting tigers, crocodiles, vultures and an entire ecosystem. “The current government has shown an utter disregard for the environment, for conservation and for wildlife,” says Himanshu Thakkar, ecologist and coordinator of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People. “In fact it is systematically dismantling environmental checks, weakening institutions such as the crucial Expert Appraisal Committees, Forest Advisory Committee and National Wildlife Board, which were formed to protect the environment, forests and wildlife.” http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/how-infrastructure-projects-are-affecting-protected-habitats/article1-1370892.aspx

India lost original forests 70 times Delhi’s area in 14 years (17 July 2015) The government claims a steady increase in the country’s forest turf since 1999. But official data indicate it may be missing the woods for the trees. Records show the country may have lost close to 10.6 million hectares. The disparity came to light from the analyses of the data and the methodology adopted in the past few years by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), the nodal agency of the government that maps forest cover. Experts say while any increase in green cover is welcome, the massive loss of original forests in the country should be a cause for concern. http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-lost-original-forests-70-times-delhi-s-area-in-14-yrs/article1-1370093.aspx

2 Comments on “Dams, Rivers & People News Bulletin, 20 July, 2015

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